Transatlantic Roots MusicFolk, Blues, and National Identities

Transatlantic Roots MusicFolk, Blues, and National Identities

Jill Terry and Neil A. Wynn

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9781617032882

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi


This book presents a collection of essays on the debates about origins, authenticity, and identity in folk and blues music. The essays had their origins in an international conference on the Transatlantic routes of American roots music, out of which emerged common themes and questions of origins and authenticity in folk music, black and white, American and British. The central theme is musical influences, but issues of identity—national, local, and racial—are also recurring subjects. The extent to which these identities were invented, imagined, or constructed by the performers, or by those who recorded their work for posterity, is also a prominent concern, and questions of racial identity are particularly central. The book features a new essay on the blues by Paul Oliver alongside an essay on Oliver’s seminal blues scholarship. There are also several essays on British blues and the links between performers and styles in the United States and Britain, and new essays on critical figures such as Alan Lomax and Woody Guthrie. The book offers perspectives from both sides of the Atlantic on the connections and interplay of influences in roots music and the debates about these subjects, drawing on the work of eminent established scholars and emerging young academics who are already making a contribution to the field.