Wilf Carter (Montana Slim) crossed the Canadian-U.S. border in 1935 to further his career as a country musician. Hank Snow moved to Nashville in 1945, reaching the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in 1950. Twenty-one years later Neil Young settled into Nashville’s Quadraphonic Sound Studio to record songs that would be featured on the album Harvest. Today, Nashville’s New West Records represents country-inspired Canadian musicians Daniel Romano and Corb Lund. These artists make up part of a notable history of northerners blending North American identities through country music. A significant and overlooked part of this history came to light in 2014 with the release of the Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966-1985 compilation from Light In The Attic Records. NNA (Vol. 1) is a collection of limited releases from Indigenous musicians from across Canada and Alaska. It is significant because it makes audible that Indigenous musicians performed—and continue to perform—country, folk, and rock music, challenging the borders and identities forced on them through settler-colonialism. These artists bring together southern sounds and northern voices—often using northern Indigenous languages—to articulate different experiences under North American colonization. This paper begins to explore how artists such as Willie Dunn, John Angaiak, and William Tagoona unsettle North American boundaries and identities through country music. This paper also begins to explore the opportunities and challenges this compilation presents to white settler listeners.
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Research Article| December 04 2018
Southern Sounds, Northern Voices: Unsettling Borders Through Country Music
Journal of Popular Music Studies (2018) 30 (4): 177–190.
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Ryan Ben Shuvera; Southern Sounds, Northern Voices: Unsettling Borders Through Country Music. Journal of Popular Music Studies 4 December 2018; 30 (4): 177–190. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jpms.2018.300412
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