Abstract

Bill Malone has rightly been known as the dean of country music historians, beginning with the publication of Country Music U.S.A. in 1968. Malone has continually argued that country music had its beginnings in the South and has long remained basically a regional musical style. It is not clear, however, if this should be assumed, since vernacular music, perhaps a better term, has always existed nationwide. This essay makes the argument that studies of country music should take a national approach, focusing in particular on the northern collecting trips of Alan Lomax and numerous other folklorists and scholars, as well as the work of various musicians, including Paul Clayton. Future studies, therefore, should not take the southern focus for granted but should assume a countrywide approach.

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