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Women have been pivotal in the country music scene since its inception, as Charles K. Wolfe and James E. Akenson make clear in The Women of Country Music. Their groundbreaking volume presents the best current scholarship and writing on female country musicians. Beginning with the 1920s career of teenage guitar picker Roba Stanley, the contributors go on to discuss Polly Jenkins and Her Musical Plowboys, 50s honky-tonker Rose Lee Maphis, superstar Faith Hill, the relationship between Emmylou Harris and poet Bronwen Wallace, the Louisiana Hayride’s Margaret Lewis Warwick, and more.

Charles K. Wolfe, professor of English and folklore at Middle Tennessee State University, is the author of numerous books on music.

James E. Akenson, professor of curriculum and instruction at Tennessee Technological University, is the founder of the international Country Music Conference.

"In this well-timed collection of essays, Wolfe and Akenson have compiled a solid representation of contemporary scholarship that focuses on the significant role female musicians have played in the development of country music."—Agricultural History

"Its contributors demonstrate that, although women have long been perceived to be on the periphery of country music, they have in fact been integral to its production from the earliest days of its commodification."—American Music

"Contains more than a dozen articles about famous, forgotten, or often ignored women who have shaped the country music industry."—Cookeville (TN) Herald-Citizen

"These well-researched 200-plus pages chronicle the pioneering women of country, whose immeasurable contributions and artistry have been allowed to gather dust for far too long."—Country Weekly

"A welcome addition to the modest resources available on women in country music."—Gulfstream

"Gathers a wide range of current scholarship in country music studies, reflecting disciplinary backgrounds from history, literature, musicology, and education alongside the scholarship of aficionados."—Indiana Magazine of History

"Needs to be placed for easy reference in the library of every country music scholar."—Lexington Herald-Leader

"This book is highly recommended for academic libraries and will make a fine contribution to both gender studies collections and collections with a focus on American vernacular music."—Library Journal

"A continually interesting series of articles about some of the best known performers as well as a few whose names were new to me."—Marietta (OH) Times

"Pays dues to these savvy new players, as well as to the performers who blazed a path for their success."—McCormick (SC) Messenger

"From the electric Roni Stoneman to the plucky Polly Jenkins, the womenpresented here pioneered trails for women in country music and receivedlittle attention as thanks—until now. The Women of Country Music turnsover new earth."—Michael Streissguth, author of Ring of Fire: The Johnny Cash Reader .

"In this serious but thoroughly readable anthology of the most outstanding writing and analysis of the careers and contributions of female country musicians, editors Wolfe and Akenson examine some world class and unforgettable performers, of any gender, in any musical genre."—Pegram (TN) Advocate

"Such a well-done and solid (yet fabulously readable) group of essays on an often-overlooked set of strong cookies that it deserves a lot more notice than it has received."—Rockland (ME) Courier Gazette

"What separates this book from most musical journalism is that its biographies cover great characters about whom few of us are aware, and its histories are almost universally unknown to us."—Splendid E-Zine

"Casting a net over country music’s better-known female performers and most interestingly over obscure pioneers, this collection . . . marks an important advance in the academic study of American popular music."—Tidal Wave Magazine

"A welcome resource in a field with too few."—Western Folklore

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Country music, Women country musicians



The Women of Country Music: A Reader
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