Since 1998, Alexander Sebastian Dent has analyzed rural music in the state of São Paulo, interviewing and spending time with listeners, musicians, songwriters, journalists, record-company owners, and radio hosts. Dent not only describes the production and reception of this music, he also explains why the genre experienced such tremendous growth as Brazil transitioned from an era of dictatorship to a period of intense neoliberal reform. Dent argues that rural genres reflect a widespread anxiety that change has been too radical and has come too fast. In defining their music as rural, Brazil’s country musicians—whose work circulates largely in cities—are criticizing an increasingly inescapable urban life characterized by suppressed emotions and an inattentiveness to the past. Their performances evoke a river of tears flowing through a landscape of loss—of love, of life in the countryside, and of man’s connections to the natural world.
Alexander Sebastian Dent is Associate Professor of Anthropology at George Washington University.
Discovering Country Music is broken down into ten sections which include: key musical trends; ancillary business trends such as recording technology, radio, and the recording industry; and prominent artists, including as a small sample Stephen Foster, The Carter Family, Elvis, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Kenny Chesney. This work should appeal to fans, scholars, educators, libraries and the general reader alike.
Fox spent hundreds of hours observing, recording, and participating in talk and music-making in homes, beer joints, and garage jam sessions. He renders the everyday life of Lockhart’s working-class community in detail, right down to the ice cold beer, the battered guitars, and the technical skills of such local musical legends as Randy Meyer and Larry “Hoppy” Hopkins. Throughout, Fox focuses on the human voice. His analyses of conversations, interviews, songs, and vocal techniques show how feeling and experience are expressed, and how local understandings of place, memory, musical aesthetics, working-class social history, race, and gender are shared. In Real Country, working-class Texans re-imagine their past and give voice to the struggles and satisfactions of their lives in the present through music.
Beloved around the world, Randy Travis has sold more than 25 million albums in both country and gospel and is considered one of the finest performers of his generation, admired by superstars across the musical landscape, from Garth Brooks to Mick Jagger.
From a working-class background in North Carolina to a job as a cook and club singer in Nashville to his "overnight success" with his smash 1986 album Storms of Life--which launched the neotraditional movement in country music--Randy’s first three decades are a true rags-to-riches story.
But in 2009, this seemingly charmed life began a downward spiral. His marriage dissolved, he discovered that his finances had unraveled, and his struggles with anger led to alcohol abuse, public embarrassment, and even police arrest in 2012.
Then, just as he was putting his life back together, Randy suffered a devastating viral cardiomyopathy that led to a massive stroke which he was not expected to survive. Yet he not only survived but also learned to walk again and in 2016 accepted his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame by singing the hymn that explains his life today: "Amazing Grace."
Filled with never-before-told stories, Forever and Ever, Amen is a riveting tale of unfathomable success, great joy, deep pain, and redemption that can come only from above.