Analysis Of Authenticity: The Father Of Country Music

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Authenticity “Authenticity” is a difficult concept to put into words in the music realm because it is not clearly defined. There are so many different ideas about authenticity that we are forced to wonder if it actually exists and if so what is it, exactly. There is a widely used quote that says, “There is nothing new under the sun.” This quote applies directly to how music is made and passed down over time. There is no musician that is completely authentic. “Authenticity” is simply an idea created by society that no musical artist has achieved, artist give their own take on what is happening around them and in the world in general. “To call something authentic is to say it is ‘real,’ implying that it is also sincere, trustworthy, spontaneous.”…show more content…
Peterson’s book Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity he writes that Jimmie Rodgers is “eventually anointed the ‘Father of Country Music’” (Peterson, 33). “The Father of Country Music”, such a title would lead people to believe that Jimmie Rodgers has to be an authentic artist, this is not necessarily correct. Jensen’s definition of authenticity highlights being real and spontaneous these words cannot be applied to Jimmie Rodgers as a musician. Ralph Peer the scout who discovered Rodgers’ talent said, “I made Jimmie Rodgers” (42). This statement by Ralph Peer insinuates that each thing Jimmie Rodgers did in his musical career was created and calculated as opposed to being spontaneous and authentic. “He was not a good musician…Rodger’s gift was the ability to take a song and by bending the melody, breaking meter, finding guitar work that fit, and adding his signature yodel, to make his music seem an expression of his own personal feelings” (48). Jimmie Rodgers’ authenticity comes from creating music and not from the content and lyrics of his songs. Unlike, Guthrie who wrote most of his own songs Rodgers, “actually wrote very little of the material” (45). Peterson reveals, “In addition to rearranging old songs and buying new ones from admiring fans and aspiring songwriters, Jimmie was able to charm, coax, and beg a number of songs from his sister-in-law, Elsie McWilliams, who was a proficient musician and…show more content…
And when someone comes along who’s trying to be real, they don’t know the fuckin’ difference” (Barker and Taylor, 25). Eddie Vedder’s words show how it is essentially impossible for listeners to define authenticity. There is no way for an artist to be completely authentic in all elements of their music. We can see that a musical artist cannot be entirely authentic through looking at the careers and music of Woody Guthrie and Jimmie

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