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Whether found in country barn dances, the plaintive twang at Hank Williams, the glitzy of Dolly Parton, or the country-pop sound of Faith Hill, country music has always maintained an allegiance to its own authenticity. Its specific soimdsand images Have changed over the past century, but country musk has consistently been associated with rusticity, a notion connected to the working; class and rooted in ideals like unspoiled rural life and values and humble origins. The music suggests not only uncomplicated musical arrangements and old-time instruments such as the banjo and fiddle, but performers who identify with their everyday fans.
Natural Acts explores the ways that country musicians-particularly women artists-have established a "natural" country identity. Pamela Fox focuses on five revealing moments in country performance; blackface comedy during country music's "Golden Age" of pre-1945 radio and stage programming; the minstrel's "rube" or hillbilly equivalent in the same period; postwar honky-tonk musk and culture; the country star memoir or autobiography of the '80s and '90s; and the recent roots phenomenon known as alt.country.
Chapter 1 Blacking Up and Dressing Down: Unmasking Country Music Authenticity 1
Chapter 2 Reluctant Hillbillies: Rube and Blackface Performance in the Barn Dance Era 17
Chapter 3 "After Dark:" Honky-Tonk Music, Postwar Modernity, and tire Masculinization of Country Identity 63
Chapter 4 Coal Miners Daughters: Women (Re)Write Authenticity in the Country Music Autobiography 113
Chapter 5 Revivals, Survivals, and the Future of Authenticity: Alternative Country's Reclamation of Rusticity 145
Country Girls, "Unglamorous" Mothers, and Redneck Women: The Refeminization of Authenticity in Recent Mainstream Country 200