From Publishers Weekly
Country music scholar Pecknold (co-editor of A Boy Named Sue: Gender and Country Music) delves into the beginnings of the business of the oft-scorned hillbilly music—as country was called before the early 1950s—and studies how it grew into a nationwide moneymaking force by the 1970s. She traces the industry's footing back to radio advertising of the 1920s and the broadcast barn dances of the early '30s, then on to the convergence of the business in its ultimate epicenter, Nashville, in the late '40s and early '50s. Fledgling associations, both of deejays and fan clubs, played a powerful force in driving the music business until the 1958 formation of the Country Music Association (CMA). Pecknold is quite adept when analyzing both novels and films depicting the music business; however, the narrative sometimes lags when she recounts insider details of fan clubs and the formation of the CMA. This is not for the pleasure reader looking for stories of country music personalities; it's a serious academic tome that will be of great interest to the student of the business and cultural context of country music. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“The Selling Sound is the best book on country music that I have ever read. It is an important, valuable, and pleasurable book, likely to set the standard for years to come. Diane Pecknold brings the past alive, painting a rich picture of the cultures of consumption behind the stars and songs that comprise most historical studies of popular music.”—Aaron A. Fox, author of Real Country: Music and Language in Working-Class Culture
“A thorough and thoughtful historical account of how country music was ‘made to mean’ by fans, producers, and social critics. Diane Pecknold offers a definitive analysis of how the genre’s status and values are intimately connected to commercialism and ‘consumer democracy.’ A remarkable contribution to our understanding of how social class, cultural authority, and mass mediation shape the meanings of popular music.”—Joli Jensen, author of The Nashville Sound: Authenticity, Commercialization, and Country Music
“Any intelligent reader will enjoy The Selling Sound. Tackling an element of country music that few other writers have addressed, Diane Pecknold redefines the relationship between the ‘financial economy’ and ‘cultural economy.’”—David Sanjek, coauthor of Pennies from Heaven: The American Popular Music Business in the Twentieth Century
“I know of no other book in the realm of country music scholarship quite like this one, and I can think of few topics more deserving or neglected. Focusing on country music since it first emerged as a commercial entity in the 1920s, Diane Pecknold argues that commercialism itself has been a means of establishing the music’s legitimacy in the world of American popular entertainment. I applaud Pecknold’s originality and creativity. All country music scholars should embrace this book and its ideas.”—Bill C. Malone, author of Don’t Get above Your Raisin’: Country Music and the Southern Working Class
See all Editorial Reviews