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Genre in Popular Music$
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Fabian Holt

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226350370

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226350400.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 19 October 2019

Roots and Refigurations

Roots and Refigurations

Chapter:
(p.31) Chapter Two Roots and Refigurations
Source:
Genre in Popular Music
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226350400.003.0002

This chapter investigates the role of genre in a contemporary revival culture. It evolves from a case study of the film O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) and its representation of the American South in the 1930s. It also explores the soundtrack of the film and its connections with the culture of American roots music. O Brother is a larger-than-life Hollywood adventure that glorifies the past in accordance with dominant sensibilities of the present. It has contributed to the growth of the emerging culture of American roots music. The PBS products show that the word roots are being used as an essentialist metaphor for timeless authenticity in the context of a common cultural history. The O Brother soundtrack was not designed for the traditional bluegrass fan. The contemporary American roots music revival develops a new context for understanding some of the roots impulses.

Keywords:   genre, O Brother, American South, soundtrack, American roots music, contemporary revival culture, cultural history

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