Country Music Goes to War

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"Dramatic and tragic sentiments are often at the heart of country music lyrics, making the theme of war a natural subject for this genre of music. While the popularity of war songs has varied over the last two centuries, several of these songs have become part of the standard country music repertoire. Country Music Goes to War presents fourteen essays that explore the tradition of war-related country music and its impact." The essays in Country Music Goes to War discuss songs dating from the Civil War to the 9/11 attacks and the current war in Iraq, as well as country musicians from such unlikely places as Northern Ireland and Australia. Although the authors approach their subjects from varying perspectives, all address one common concern: what functions do these songs play in different societies and historical periods? The authors contend that country music is a cultural bellwether, and its artists and songs continue to spark discussion, capture hearts, and inspire listeners.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Offers many valuable insights into country music's wartime function as a means of capturing the mindset of those on the front lines and the homefront, and understanding the contributions of country music performers and promoters." — Alabama Review

"An informative tool for any scholar interested in the formation of white Western cultural ideologies and identities in the 20th century and into the 21st." — Appalachian Journal

"If you're a country fan, or if you're a music theoritician, you'll love this book." — Books-On-Line

"Fourteen scholarly essays explore various aspects of the connection between county music and war.... Highly recommended." — Choice

"Country Music Goes to War has essays on topics ranging from patriotism in present-day country music to reflections on how country musicians sized up the Soviet Union." — Chronicle of Higher Education

"A timely piece of work." — Country Music People

"This thematic collection offers the interested reader a range of cases that illuminate how an American cultural genre can include, be shaped by, and offer an arena for interpreting military conflicts from the Civil War to the present." — Journal of Southern History

"Serious historians seeking more information about country music's long-running fascination with the themes of war won't be disappointed." — Lexington Herald-Leader

"Serves a real purpose and deserves a respected place in the historical record." — Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"This timely offering explores how patriotism and feelings of anger, grief and loss are given context through country music." — (Iola, WI) Goldmine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813123080
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Civil War in country music tradition 1
2 "Bloody war" : war songs in early country music 26
3 "There's a star spangled banner waving somewhere" : the story behind its success 33
4 Gene Autry in World War II 43
5 Peace in the valley : the development of John Lair's enterprises during WWII 58
6 Hayloft patriotism : the National barn dance during World War II 81
7 "Jesus hits like an atom bomb" : nuclear warfare in country music, 1944-56 102
8 Purple hearts, heartbreak ridge, and Korean mud : pain, patriotism, and faith in the 1950-53 "police action" 126
9 "Dear Ivan" : country music perspectives on the Soviet Union and the Cold War 143
10 "True patriot" : Brian Letton goes to war 152
11 "Alternative" to what? : o brother, September 11, and the politics of country music 164
12 Ulster loyalism and country music, 1969-85 192
13 In whose name? : country artists speak out on Gulf War II 208
14 Country music : a teaching tool for dealing with war 227
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