Dissonant Identities: The Rock'n'Roll Scene in Austin, Texas by Barry Shank

By Barry Shank

Song of the bars and golf equipment of Austin, Texas has lengthy been well-known as defining one in all a dozen or extra musical "scenes" around the state. In Dissonant Identities, Barry Shank, himself a musician who performed and lived within the Texas capital, experiences the historical past of its well known song, its cultural and financial context, and in addition the wider ramifications of that tune as a signifying perform in a position to reworking identities.

While his concentration is totally on innovative kingdom and rock, Shank additionally writes approximately conventional nation, blues, rock, disco, ethnic, and folks musics. utilizing empirical element and an expansive theoretical framework, he exhibits how Austin turned the location for "a effective contestation among forces: the fierce wish to remake oneself via musical perform, and the both strong fight to verify the worth of that perform within the complexly established late-capitalist marketplace."

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Society, then, was here reduced to it s lowest terms. The work of the men, their daily experiences, their thoughts , thei r interests , were al l in common" (Lomax 1910, xxvi). Here in this imagined world of masculine equality and freedom , th e socia l contract wa s renegotiated daily . Social powe r came fro m th e cowboy' s abilit y instantly t o enac t hi s desires , fro m a willingness t o provok e confrontation, an d from th e physica l agilit y t o defeat a n opponent face to face . On the trail, where everyone's interests and even their thoughts were supposedly in common, thes e aggressiv e behaviors worked together fo r the good of the community.

Loma x argue d tha t thes e songs, anchore d in th e cowboy' s ex perience, were directl y expressive of the cowboy' s tru e character . His argument carrie d th e authorit y of hi s ow n experience : Lomax wa s a Texan who ha d hear d these songs himself as a child. In his autobiography, Adventures of a Ballad Hunter, Lomax described his first encounter with the material that would become his life's work : I couldn' t hav e bee n mor e tha n fou r year s old whe n I first hear d a cowbo y sing an d yode l t o hi s cattle.

8). One o f th e ke v moments i n thi s narrativ e i s when th e re d blanke t The Muskalized Performance o f Identity I 2, 5 shows underneath the saddle. Just beneath a layer of cowboy utility, indeed under Lenore's seat, lies a hidden passion. Lenore shows her inadequacy first by displaying this passion an d then by falling to the ground at the obvious result , when the animals go out of control. The next key moment i s when th e cinche s fail. Th e tool s o f cowboy presociet y ar e strained beyon d thei r limit s when force d t o carr y the weight o f bot h men and women.

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