Finding Her Voice: The Saga of Women in Country Music

Finding Her Voice: The Saga of Women in Country Music

by Mary A. Bufwack, Robert K. Oermann

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is a comprehensive and entertaining history of women as an integral, yet widely unrecognized, influence on the evolution of country music. After sketching how the form of today developed from the ballads and often violent love songs of the 17th century, anthropologist Bufwack and music reporter Oermann move to the American women who shaped this form and who will eventually, they contend, achieve full parity in what is probably the fastest growing segment of the music industry. The careers of hundreds of country music heroines are outlined, from the obscure to those who, like Reba McEntire and Lorrie Morgan, have attained superstar status. Of particular note are the scope and continuity of the material. Far from providing simply a series of vignettes, the authors present an extraordinarily well-written, powerful story of struggle and triumph. Photos. (Sept.)
Library Journal
A unique collaboration between the director of Nashville's United Neighborhood Health Services (Bufwack) and the founder of the reference section at the Country Music Hall of Fame library (Oermann) has resulted in a magnificent document on women in country music. Beginning with mountain women and folk music in the 1890s and ending with present-day country music, the account is a thorough study of ordinary, working-class women and their music. The volume also functions as a social, political, and economic report that covers such topics as 19th-century showgirls, radio, protest songs, World War II, honky-tonks, Southern gospel music, rockabilly, bluegrass, and more. The text is well written, clearly organized, and accompanied by photographs (not seen). The book's extensive bibliography justifies purchase in and of itself. Highly recommended.-- Kathleen Sparkman, Baylor Univ., Waco, Tex.
Ray Olson
Bufwack and Oermann start their chronicle very promisingly by considering women's role in nurturing the twin roots of twentieth-century country music: the balladry of Scotland and northern England and the sentimental parlor and religious songs of nineteenth-century America. In their first chapter, they emphasize that Appalachian mountain women kept the ballads and other Scottish and English songs alive; in the second, they reveal how many nineteenth-century popular songs were, if not in fact created by women, at least popularized by female performers. But thereafter the book subsides into the kind of hagiographic procession of profiles that is the bane of popular music historiography. Oh, Bufwack and Oermann's version of what might be called the higher press-agentry is better than most; it's better written and publicizes performers who have not been given much of their due before. Any lover of American popular music in general will be amused and educated by it--unfortunately more in show business than in music. Country music needs and deserves its Gunther Schuller (the musical historian of jazz). But in the meantime, don't neglect getting this book.

Product Details

Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.87(w) x 9.84(h) x (d)

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