By Curtis W. Ellison
A look for the center of America's so much familiar type of song to profit what brought on its impressive reputation
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Extra info for Country Music Culture: From Hard Times to Heaven (Studies in Popular Culture (Paperback))
Phil Campbell and Jerry Clower gave generously of their private time to help me consider the significance of country humor. Ellen A. Long shared information about Dollywood and activities of the Dollywood Foundation, and Chris Praetor described the evolution of Page xii Twitty City. At the Country Music Foundation, Ronnie Pugh encouraged the work as a whole and assisted me several times as I pursued scarce resources. The International Country Music Conference and its co-chairs, Jim Akenson and Bill McNeil, offered a model of supportive scholarly conversation and follow-up aid.
Grandpa Jones hosted the second Opry segment, sponsored by the Country Music Hall of Fame. Jones, an Opry member since 1947, was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1978. His stage persona is reminiscent of the early Opry performer Uncle Dave Macon, featuring rustic banjo-playing in the character of an old man Jones created when he was a young entertainer in Ohio during the 1930s. One of Jones's guests, "Jumpin' Bill" Carlisle, has promoted the rustic motif on the Opry since 1953. Carlisle told the audience that if we cross a hog with an octopus, ham would come down because we'll have hog in the middle and ham all around.
He even rusticated his own image in Nashville, adopting the stage persona "The Solemn Old Judge," although he was just thirty years old. Hay first programmed old-time fiddle-playing by Page 10 Uncle Jimmy Thompson, achieving a considerable audience response of telephone calls and telegrams. Then a rival radio station paid his strategy a compliment by broadcasting a fiddling contest which they claimed stimulated 360 telephone responses in two hours. Within two months Hay was producing press releases suggesting that commercial hillbilly entertainment was a folk culture evocative of rural life.