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Creating Country Music

Fabricating Authenticity

In Creating Country Music, Richard Peterson traces the development of country music and its institutionalization from Fiddlin’ John Carson’s pioneering recordings in Atlanta in 1923 to the posthumous success of Hank Williams. Peterson captures the free-wheeling entrepreneurial spirit of the era, detailing the activities of the key promoters who sculpted the emerging country music scene. More than just a history of the music and its performers, this book is the first to explore what it means to be authentic within popular culture.

"[Peterson] restores to the music a sense of fun and diversity and possibility that more naive fans (and performers) miss. Like Buck Owens, Peterson knows there is no greater adventure or challenge than to ’act naturally.’"—Ken Emerson, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"A triumphal history and theory of the country music industry between 1920 and 1953."—Robert Crowley, International Journal of Comparative Sociology

"One of the most important books ever written about a popular music form."—Timothy White, Billboard Magazine

Read a web exclusive: Ten Things You Didn’t Know about the Origins of Country Music.


320 pages | 37 halftones | 6-1/4 x 9-1/4 | © 1997

Culture Studies

Music: Ethnomusicology

Sociology: Sociology of Arts--Leisure, Sports

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments: A Note on Method
1. Introduction: Finding Country Authenticity
PART 1- MAKING THE MUSIC COMMERCIAL
2. Atlanta: Birthplace of Commercial Country Music
3. Renewable Tradition: The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers
Gallery 1
The Folk vs. Pop Look
PART 2- FABRICATING THE IMAGE OF AUTHENTICITY
4. Old-Timer Image of Authenticity
5. Hillbilly Image of Authenticity
6. Cowboy Image of Authenticity
Gallery 2
Geezers, Hillbillies, and Cowboys
PART 3- RADIO-MADE COUNTRY MUSIC IN THE 1930s
7. The Barn Dance in the Air
8. Radio Station Barnstorming
9. Soft Shell vs. Hard Core: The Vagabonds vs. Roy Acuff
Gallery 3
The Evolving Hard-Core and Soft Shell Looks
PART 4- MAKING COUNTRY REPRODUCIBLE
10. Honky-Tonk Firmament: Lives, Music, Lyrics
11. Hank Williams as the Personification of Country Music
Gallery 4
Iconic Country
12. Creating a Field Called "Country"
PART 5- AUTHENTICITY AND THE FUTURE OF COUNTRY MUSIC
13. Authenticity: A Renewable Resource
14. Can the Circle Be Unbroken?
Notes
References
Credits
General Index
Song Index

Awards

Association of American Publishers: PROSE Book Award
Honorable Mention

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