Yankee Twang

Yankee Twang : Country and Western Music in New England

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Merging scholarly insight with a professional guitarist's keen sense of the musical life, Yankee Twang delves into the rich tradition of country & western music that is played and loved in the mill towns and cities of the American northeast. Clifford R. Murphy draws on a wealth of ethnographic material, interviews, and encounters with recorded and live music to reveal the central role of country and western in the social lives and musical activity of working-class New Englanders.

As Murphy shows, an extraordinary multiculturalism informed by New England's kaleidoscope of ethnic groups created a distinctive country and western music style. But the music also gave--and gives--voice to working-class feeling. Yankee country and western emphasizes the western, reflecting the longing for the mythical cowboy's life of rugged but fulfilling individualism. Indeed, many New Englanders use country and western to comment on economic disenfranchisement and express their resentment of a mass media, government, and Nashville music establishment they believe neither reflects nor understands their life experiences.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 157.48 x 228.6 x 22.86mm | 521.63g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • 0252038673
  • 9780252038679

Review quote

"Clifford Murphy's Yankee Twang, an in-depth study of the history and current status of country music in New England, stands as a virtually unique and exceptionally welcome addition to the country music bookshelf. . . . A valuable work and a very welcome addition to the literature on country music. One hopes that it might help pave the way for more studies of country music in regions outside the South."--ARSC Journal "This book will be welcomed by those interested in American culture and country and western music and by fans of working country musicians. Recommended."--Choice "Contains a wealth of passionate, intrepid, and highly original research on a virtually undocumented and important regional sociomusical history. . . . I want this book on my shelf. It's a winner."
--Aaron Fox, author of Real Country: Music and Language in Working-Class Culture

"Yankee Twang offers important insights to scholars of regional country music, and when its theoretical frame works to erase untenable biases that leave out certain empirical evidence, Yankee Twang provides fruitful (re)interpretation of the genre's commercial/folk continuum."--Journal of Folklore Research
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About Clifford R. Murphy

Clifford R. Murphy was a member of the seminal New Hampshire alternative country bands Say ZuZu and Hog Mawl. He has a PhD in Ethnomusicology from Brown University and is Director of Maryland Traditions, the folklife program of the Maryland State Arts Council.
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