MTSU Center for Popular Music Hosts Author Trio for Dolly Parton Lecture on Wednesday, March 24


MURFREESBORO, Tennessee – Guests at Middle Tennessee State University’s Center for Popular Music will discuss one of Tennessee’s greatest treasures on Wednesday, March 24, during a special online panel on ‘unlikely angel’ Dolly Parton .

The center will welcome the authors of three recent books on the humanitarian, the entrepreneur, the pop culture legend and the songwriting icon from 2:00 p.m. Central on March 24 via Zoom at https: / /

Kristine McCusker, history professor and ethnomusicologist at MTSU, will speak with Leigh H. Edwards, author of “Dolly Parton, Gender, and Country Music”; Lydia Hamessley, author of “Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton”; and Robert K. Oermann, co-author with Parton on “Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics”.

Discussion is free and the public is welcome. Registration is required on the Zoom link.

Edwards is Professor of English at Florida State University in Tallahassee. His studies focus on media studies as well as American literature and popular culture of the 20th and 21st centuries, including contemporary popular music and television, film, and new media.

She is also the author of “The Triumph of Reality TV: The Revolution in American Television” and “Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity” and is working on several new projects, including one on the artist Prince and his media image.

Hamessley, president of the music department at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, teaches country music, medieval and Renaissance music, music and film, and world music. Her research specialty is old-time and bluegrass music with a focus on women and the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

Her 2020 book “Unlikely Angel” addresses the myriad of ways Parton incorporates her cultural and musical heritage, including early music, into her songs about the lives of women.

Oermann, a veteran Nashville-based music journalist and recognized authority on country music, is the author and co-author of eight books, including “Finding Her Voice: Women in Country Music, 1800-2000” and a contributor. to film, television and radio.

His collaboration with Parton on “Songteller” leverages over 60 years of Parton’s songwriting to highlight 175 of his creations, exploring the lyrics, inspiration and memories attached to each.

The MTSU Center for Popular Music, part of the College of Media and Entertainment, is one of the oldest and largest research centers in the world dedicated to the study of early American folk and popular music. 18th century to the present day.

His Grammy-winning Spring Fed Records label, which focused on traditional Tennessee and Southern music, has expanded its repertoire to include new collections of artists ranging from Mississippi John Hurt to Lorenzo Martinez & “Rabbit” “Sanchez. The label released their first CD recorded at MTSU studios in 2020.

The center also develops and sponsors American vernacular music programs and presents concerts, lectures and special events for the campus and the surrounding community.

For more information on the Center for Popular Music and its special projects and events, visit


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