All posts tagged: Music

“Trees and the Wild”: Matt Pond, the American Pastoral and the Sublime [Condensed Version]

*The article below is a shortened version of a conference paper of the same name that I presented at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference held in New Orleans, LA on April 4, 2015. Additionally, the presentation is portion a longer work exploring the role of musicians in the twenty-first century speaking to the idea of the landscape in American culture. Scholars show that American culture, in part, developed around the people’s reaction to nature and the wilderness. Americanist Henry Nash Smith describes the pull of the frontier in Virgin Land (1950), Perry Miller depicts a nature-manipulated change in the Puritan mind in Errand into the Wilderness (1956), and cultural variations are explored in Roderick Frazier Nash’s meticulous search for American interpretation and interaction with the outdoors in Wilderness and the American Mind (1965). This nature-driven response permeates American cultural production. American nature, and the wilderness, serves as an unavoidable topic of discussion when asking the question, “Who – or what – is America?” In the nineteenth century, Ralph Waldo Emerson reflected on …

Transcendentalism Today; or, Music as Cultural Thread

Each generation believes their ideas to be creative, inventive and the finest the world has seen. While the great art of history is venerated, musicians are inducted into halls of fame, and scientists are esteemed for their work – aside from the typical grievances against “strange” things – the newest generation imagines their view of the world to be the most complete. Similarly, if historians of culture make connections to earlier eras, often it is with the understanding that the current method is the preferred method; it is the most perfected method (possibly, the most politically correct method, too). Granted, big issues such as American slavery, pre-feminist/über-patriarchal society, homophobic, and pre-regulation factory eras always are foul and certain philosophies rooted in these ideas should not be revived. Yet, when considering more subtle undercurrents of American thought, should we continue upholding that eras/periods/phases are really finished? On to the new thing! We “debunked” the old way and are moving on to what is correct. Are we disconnected completely from, say, nineteenth century thought? Independent from nostalgia, …

Ha Ha Tonka: Not just a state park.

It is October!! I failed to continue a working blog in the beginning weeks of my PhD program. Nevertheless, I will not let this keep me from the ultimate goal: a useful template to hash out ideas and to (eventually) provoke conversation between academics, bloggers, cultural historians, musicians, artists, students, military historians, colleagues, and et cetera. This is the “big goal,” but for now, I will stick to writing about things that interest me – just for the sake of writing about them. Blogging is a great stage to reject academic “lingo” in favor of a more enjoyable style. This week, with the help of the most [insert superlative] academic advisor, I started exploration into my dissertation focus. There will be more on this later. Today, I want to dive into a topic that I will not be able to pursue academically, but something seriously on my mind. I like music. Actually, I love music. One of the more difficult questions to answer is, “What kind of music do you listen to?” I feel like …