Rachel Clare Donaldson“I Hear America Singing”: Folk Music and National Identity

Temple University Press, 2014

by Kreg Abshire on November 12, 2014

Rachel Clare Donaldson

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[Cross-posted from New Books in Pop Culture] The last few decades has seen a turn toward traditional forms of American music; call it Americana, alternative country, or a new folk revival.  In “I Hear America Singing”: Folk Music and National Identity (Temple University Press, 2014), Rachel Clare Donaldson, an independent scholar based in Baltimore, offers a history of the first folk revival, tracing it from the early twentieth century into the 1970s.

A historian by training, Donaldson brings together a history of folk music and performers such as Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, and Bob Dylan, a comprehensive understanding of U.S. political and social history, and the various strains of the American Left.  Throughout, she traces the history of an idea, an inclusive and open image of what it means to be American.  And she does so through song.

In our conversation, she talks about all of that and, among other things, the punk band Anti-Flag.

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