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Genre in Popular Music - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Genre in Popular Music

Fabian Holt


The popularity of the motion picture soundtrack O Brother, Where Art Thou? brought an extraordinary amount of attention to bluegrass, but it also drew its share of criticism from some aficionados who felt the album's inclusion of more modern tracks misrepresented the genre. This soundtrack, these purists argued, wasn't bluegrass, but “roots music,” a new and, indeed, more overarching category concocted by journalists and marketers. Why is it that popular music genres like these and others are so passionately contested? And how is it that these genres emerge, coalesce, change, and die out? This ... More

Keywords: bluegrass, roots music, popular music genres, music categories, O Brother, Where Art Thou, rock and roll, country music, jazz, indie music, Chicago

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2007 Print ISBN-13: 9780226350370
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226350400.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Fabian Holt, author