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Phi Kappa Phi Forum Online ExtrasCountry Music

Annotated Reading List about Country Music

By Don Cusic

Cusic, Don. Discovering Country Music. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008. An historical overview of the evolution of country music from its origins through current stars and trends.

Malone, Bill C. Don’t Get Above Your Raisin’: Country Music and the Southern Working Class. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2002. A look at some of country music’s paradoxical themes such as home and wandering, religion and hedonism, fidelity and adultery, and working-class realities and middle-class aspirations.

Willman, Chris. Rednecks & Bluenecks: the Politics of Country Music. New York: The New Press, 2005. Essays that examine the various left- and right-wing beliefs of country music performers.

Wolfe, Charles K. and James E. Akenson, editors. Country Music Goes To War. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2005. Essays, from numerous disciplines, that analyze the function of war-related country music songs spanning the Civil War to the war in Iraq as well as country tunes and conflicts from other countries.

Don Cusic has written or edited more than a dozen books about country music including Eddy Arnold: I'll Hold You in My Heart; Baseball and Country Music; Poet of the Common Man: Merle Haggard Lyrics and Reba McEntire: Country Music's Queen. He has been a staff writer for the Country Music Association, the country and gospel editor for Record World and Cashbox, a columnist for Music City News and an album reviewer and special correspondent for Billboard. Cusic has written album liner notes for Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and George Jones, among others, and has had songs recorded by country, bluegrass and Christian performers. Cusic is the editor of The Western Way, the publication of the Western Music Association, and is on the editorial boards of the academic journals Journal of Popular Culture and Popular Music and Society. He has written for The Nashville Network and appeared on a number of the network’s shows as well as on Country Music Television programs and on the BBC series “Lost Highway: The History of Country Music.” Cusic is a lifetime member of the Country Music Association and Western Music Association, among others, and is a member of National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences, the Popular Culture Association, the International Bluegrass Music Association and the Music & Entertainment Industry Educators Association. With degrees from University of Maryland (B.S. in journalism) and Middle Tennessee State University (M.A. and Ph.D. in literature), he is Professor of Music Business at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Visit his home page at or email him at