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Take on the South

How Has the South Shaped American Music?

Watch How Has the South Shaped American Music on PBS. See more from wrlk.

Dr. Edgar and his guest will discuss the roots of American Music.  What influence has the South had on all of America Music?  Was the beginning of American music the blues, country or a mixture of both?  Join Dr. Walter Edgar, Dr. William Ferris, Senior Associate Director, Center for the Study of the American South, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Dr. Bill Malone, Professor Emeritus at Tulane University as they discuss the roots of American music and it's influence on music world wide.

Download the Lesson Plan (doc)


William R. FerrisWilliam R. Ferris is a professor of history at UNC-Chapel Hill and an adjunct professor in the Folklore Curriculum. He is associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South, and is widely recognized as a leader in Southern studies, African-American music and folklore.

He is the former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Prior to his role at NEH, Ferris served as the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, where he was a faculty member for 18 years.

Ferris has written and edited 10 books and created 15 documentary films, most of which deal with African-American music and other folklore representing the Mississippi Delta. He co-edited the Pulitzer Prize nominee Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, which contains entries on every aspect of Southern culture and is widely recognized as a major reference work linking popular, folk, and academic cultures. His latest book Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues. 


Dr. Bill Malone

Bill Malone is an historian specializing in country and traditional American music. He is the author of the 1968 book Country Music USA, the first definitive academic history of country music, he is the author of five other books on country music including Singing Cowboys and Musical Mountaineers: Southern Culture and the Roots of Country Music and Don't Get Above Your Raisin': Country Music and the Southern Working Class.

Malone is Professor Emeritus at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA and now resides in Madison, WI, where he hosts a weekly Country Music radio show on WORT community radio.  In addition to his radio show Malone performs regularly with his his wife and other local musicians in Madison and is in the process of writing a biography of Mike Seeger.


More Info


Recording by William Ferris

Recording by William Ferris, courtesy of William R. Ferris Collection, Southern Folklife Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


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