"If It Sounds Country, Then That's What It Is, a Country Song"

Blending lecture, images, video, and audio clips, Dr. Alex Macaulay looks at the emergence and impact of what some dubbed a “new breed” of Nashville singer-songwriters breaking onto the country music scene from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s.  This presentation examines how the early careers of Kris Kristofferson, Tom T. Hall, Mickey Newbury, and John Hartford broadened country music’s image, audience, message, and overall appeal.  By writing and performing “progressive” country music, these singer-songwriters changed the landscape of country music at a time when songs “Okie From Muskogee” and “Fightin’ Side of Me” dominated not only the charts and airwaves, but also people’s impression of the genre and the audience for which it supposedly spoke. 

Many hoped that a time of social and political divide, the “new breed” of country music could help bridge these divisions.  Dr. Macaulay offers insights into how the careers of these four key singer-songwriters builds understanding of key political and social developments of the time.  This program provides audiences with an opportunity to consider new perspectives about country music, its audience, and the implications of both in establishing new ideas about southern and national identity.”

Lectern, audio to play music, computer and screen to show video clips