Ramblings about the Very Rough Draft

I was attempting to provide an overview of my project in casual conversation last night (you know, in response to the question, “So what exactly is your dissertation about?”). There was definitely a point in that conversation where my inner monologue said, “Wow. You have NO IDEA what you’re talking about. Great. Way to go.”

And it was sort of true. Of course, I said a few things and the other person was kind enough to pretend to be at least mildly interested. But I spent some time pondering where and when I derailed in that conversation. To recap and beat a topical dead horse, I’m hoping to write my dissertation on (American music of the 20th century>Country Music>Alternative Country Music) Bloodshot Records.

The dissertation has been explained to me (in very general terms) as several extensive and related essays… so I can’t help but think of what those essays (aka chapters) might be. When I think about Bloodshot, a few things swirl around in my mind. I’m interested in their Chicago-ness, particularly since I’ve heard more than one person say that the label wouldn’t exist but for the city (or as the Grand Master of Discourse has posed to me: What’s so dang special about Chicago? A question which could, in and of itself, spark great discussion and debate in general, but I digress). Also, I think about the broader musical context/landscape when the label began–particularly since the owners were way more tuned in to the punk/post-punk musical things going on at the time, rather than the Country Music and Nashville-y type things going on. There’s also the idea of alt.country/alternative country somewhere in the mix, I think. And again, I am still interested in the actual music. Really. That’s the whole point of this musicology thing, right? Right? Isn’t it?!? Um, yeah, at least, I think so.

So, between now and next Tuesday/Wednesday, I’ve got to make a Word document come to life with this sort of stuff… to flesh out my thoughts (I hate that phrase, it always reminds me of Frankenstein, which is unfortunately really appropriate here. I equally dislike the phrase “tease out,” which reminds me of my middle school bangs, but that’s a different post.). And hopefully the next time someone asks THAT question, I’ll do just a wee bit better at answering it.


4 thoughts on “Ramblings about the Very Rough Draft

  1. HA! “Teasing out.” Never thought about the connotations of that. “Fleshing out” is equally alarming.

    I am so gung-ho about your topic. Probably in a slightly unhealthy way. I love this blog.

    Here’s a thought I had: I recently watched the film-musical “Chicago,” and it reaffirmed to me what I told you on the phone–that the musical narratives of that city that are often celebrated/perpetuated in popular media seem to center around jazz or blues, with a healthy topping of some sort of undefined “grittiness.” “Chicago” (the movie, not the city in misplaced quotation marks) really seemed concerned to impress on the viewer that Chicago = dangerous, dark, morbid, in a way that is particularly bound up with the genre of jazz and the site of jazz clubs. Interesting. So along comes NPR with a bit of an alternative narrative about Chicago musical scenes. Have you looked @ Will Straw’s work on urban scenes?


  2. I love reading your blog, and I love your dissertation topic. AND I really want to read a blog post about your middle school bangs! I gave myself bangs in high school, which was (unfortunately) right when my hair decided to transform from stick straight to insanely wavy/curly. Curly hair + bangs = hair disaster.
    If you wrote a blog post about your hair, your twitter BFF would be so proud. : )

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