"Cohen introduces this overview of American folk music by discussing regional differences, the influence of immigration and migration, and the folk song's origins, function, and meaning within the community."
Reference & Research Book News
"Aiming to present an overview of the field of American folk music that stresses breadth rather than depth, Cohen offers considerable information not easily found elsewhere, particularly about the differences in musical traditions of various regions and ethnic groups. In so doing he contributes significantly to the discussion Kip Lornell began….Highly recommended. All collections; all levels."
"This is an attractively presented and enthusiastically written work which essentially serves as an introduction to the diversity of regional styles in American folk music. Beginning with an explanation of the origins, styles and instrumentation of folk music, the author then proceeds to discuess American folk music region by region, concluding with a chapter on folk music in urban settings. The book is less a study than a guide to folk music for students and enthusiasts….[f]or its beautiful illustrations; its suggestions for further reading, listening and viewing; its helpful appendices and song lyrics; and, above all, the obvious enthusiasm of Norm Cohen for his subject, this book is worth obtaining (possibly alongside its companion volumes) for library shelves."
Journal of American Studies
"The book will appeal to the general reader with an interest in American folk music, as well as to the secondary school student who need to learn more about the subject."
"Cohen is a deft folklorist who knows the traditional academic literature, but he is also most interested in such commercial products assongsters, sheet music, and recordings, all products of the industrial age, with which folklorists might quibble. He has always made a strong case for connecting the past and the present as part of the country's folk music legacy, and his current exploration is a mature defense of this approach. Indeed, it will be of immense value not just tonewcomers to the topic, but also to scholars who will continue to study Cohen's wide range of topics….Cohen has compiled a most valuable, detailed study of the topic, a wonderful roadmap."
Popular Music and Society