The Downhome Sound: Diversity and Politics in Americana Music

Louisiana State Univ. Mar. 2023. 200p. ISBN 9780807179161. $60. MUSIC
American music embraces country, bluegrass, blues, folk, gospel, cowpunk, jazz, rock and roll, rockabilly, southern rock, and emphasizes narrative. Bailey (political science, Valdosta State Univ.) examines American music to see how it reflects the country’s attitudes about race and gender identity and whether it affects listeners’ perceptions of inclusion and diversity. She looks at nominations for the Americana Music Association awards—not the same as the AMAs—for performers, recordings and songs and compares them to how they’re distributed among white, BIPOC, heterosexual, and LGBTQIA+ performers. She analyzes audience responses to songs’ themes to gauge whether listening to them produces a change in attitude about the performers, the musical genre, or the topic. The academic author’s first book reads like a dissertation: thesis, testing, statistical analysis, conclusion. But when she relates her own experiences growing up in the South, it’s appealing.
VERDICT Mostly for scholars, the book’s conclusions, though less than startling, are worth reading.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing