In Creating Country Music, Richard Peterson traces the development of country music and its institutionalization from Fiddlin' John Carson's pioneering recordings in Atlanta in 1923 to the posthumous success of Hank Williams. Peterson captures the free-wheeling entrepreneurial spirit of the era, detailing the activities of the key promoters who sculpted the emerging country music scene. More than just a history of the music and its performers, this book is the first to explore what it means to be authentic within popular culture.
"[Peterson] restores to the music a sense of fun and diversity and possibility that more naive fans (and performers) miss. Like Buck Owens, Peterson knows there is no greater adventure or challenge than to 'act naturally.'"—Ken Emerson, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"A triumphal history and theory of the country music industry between 1920 and 1953."—Robert Crowley, International Journal of Comparative Sociology
"One of the most important books ever written about a popular music form."—Timothy White, Billboard Magazine
Peterson (sociology, Vanderbilt U.) traces the creation of the billion-dollar industry from its humble roots. He shows how the hillbilly music spurned by recording companies was appropriated by Henry Ford for ideological purposes in the 1920s; its rise to respectability in Atlanta, Chicago, Charlotte, Tulsa, and eventually even Nashville; the first generations of stars such as the Carter Family, Jimmy Rodgers, and Gene Autry; and the origin of the dominant image of the he-man in the person of Hank Williams. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.