Bluegrass Breakdown: The Making of the Old Southern Sound

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University of Illinois Press, 2003 - Music - 308 pages
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Winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award Bluegrass Breakdown is an expansive foray into the makings of bluegrass. More than any other book of its kind, it gets to the roots of a uniquely American music that is deeply linked to working-class ideals and romanticism. Robert Cantwell engages the historical background, commercial origins, internal workings, and cultural and social significance of popular, old-time music to provide a unique musicological and sociological perspective. Well versed in the history of the tradition and equally as interested in those who listen to the music as in those who create it, Cantwell links bluegrass to its hillbilly roots in Appalachia and shows how the music was transformed by African American folk traditions, the influence of jazz, ragtime, blues, and country music, and the growth of radio and recording technology.

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This book's insights into the history and meaning of "bluegrass" are easy to understand but fascinating and eloquent...hehehe, I am not going to lie, I am only a high-schooler working on my junior thesis research paper on bluegrass, but this book cleared a lot up for me and was actually quite interesting. 


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About the author (2003)

Robert Cantwell teaches at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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