For over fifty years, Bill C. Malone has researched and written about the history of country music. Today he is celebrated as the foremost authority on this distinctly American genre. This new collection brings together his significant article-length work from a variety of sources, including essays, book chapters, and record liner notes. Sing Me Back Home distills a lifetime of thinking about country and southern roots music.
Malone offers the heartfelt story of his own working-class upbringing in rural East Texas, recounting how in 1939 his family’s first radio, a battery-powered Philco, introduced him to hillbilly music and how, years later, he went on to become a scholar in the field before the field formally existed. Drawing on a hundred years of southern roots music history, Malone assesses the contributions of artists such as William S. Hays, Albert Brumley, Joe Thompson, Jimmie Rodgers, Johnny Gimble, and Elvis Presley. He also explores the intricate relationships between black and white music styles, gospel and secular traditions, and pop, folk, and country music.
Author of many books, Malone is best known for his pioneering volume County Music, U.S.A., published in 1968. It ranks as the first comprehensive history of American country music and remains a standard reference. This compilation of Malone’s shorter—and more personal—essays is the perfect complement to his earlier writing and a compelling introduction to the life’s work of America’s most respected country music historian.
“Bill C. Malone is an international treasure. His pioneering work on country music and the South has defined a field and remains vital to current conversations about the music and its people. Offering a wondrous variety of essays, Sing Me Back Home adds greatly to our understanding of America’s cultural history and chronicles the life of one of its greatest scholars.”—Charles L. Hughes, author of Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South
“Bill Malone is to country music scholarship what Bill Monroe is to bluegrass. He established the field of country music scholarship and provided the map and the blueprint for others to follow. Sing Me Back Home is a perfect complement to Malone’s pathbreaking Country Music, U.S.A. and will appeal to academic and general audiences alike.”—Don McLeese, author of Dwight Yoakam: A Thousand Miles from Nowhere