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Mapping African American Entertainment Venues in Rutherford County, Tennessee from the 1860s to the 1960s: the History of Black Musical Geography and the Road to Popular Music

This thesis is a case study of African American entertainment venues and vernacular music culture in Rutherford County, Tennessee from the 1860s to the 1960s. The study utilizes spatial analysis of geolocated maps to understand the social, cultural, and historical contexts of this musical geography locally, regionally, statewide and nationally. These maps are imagined as an ethnic geography, suggesting unique relationships to the history of early road building systems and African American travel during the first half of the twentieth century. Put into a sociohistorical context, the venue maps suggest relationships to the cultivation, development and spread of African American vernacular music forms across a racialized, musical landscape that emerged during the twentieth century called The Chitlin’ Circuit.

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Writing about music is where all of my personal, creative and intellectual passions converge:

history, art, music, culture, criticism, eduction, and theory.

In 2019, I began working with Sundazed Records to author the liner notes for two record re-issues:

Livin' Love by The Feminine Complex, Nashville's first all-female rock band, and

X-Dreams by jazz artist Annette Peacock.

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Occasionally I am asked to contribute to blogs, alternative weeklies, books, magazines, journals and other publications as a pop culture critic-at-large, journalist and musician.

Over the past decade, I have written or been interviewed to give my professional opinion, criticism and insight on myriad topics related to music, film, and community activism.  Here are some of those contributions:

2020: Nashville Scene’s Annual “Rock ‘N’ Roll Poll” (online)

2020: Interview, Nashville Scene (Nashville, TN)

2020: Interview, Nashville Scene (Nashville, TN)

2020: Interview, Tomboy, dir. Lindsay Lindenbaum

2019: Nashville Scene’s Annual “Jim Ridley Film Poll” (online)

2019: Interview, All About Nashville, WXNA (Nashville, TN)

2019: Interview, My Fantasy Funeral (Nashville, TN)

2018: Nashville Scene’s Annual “Jim Ridley Film Poll” (online)

2018: Interview, Nashville Scene (Nashville, TN)

2018: Press, Hello Hooray, WXNA (Nashville, TN)

2017:  Nashville Scene’s Annual “Rock ‘N’ Roll Poll” (online)

2016: Nashville Feminist Collective’s Esoteric, Vol. 2 Iss. 1 (online)

2016: Interview, Weekend Edition, NPR (Washington, DC)

2016: Press, Girl Happy, WXNA

2013: Interview, Tom Tom Magazine (New York, NY)

2012: Press, Noisey, Vice (New York, NY

2012: Nashville Scene’s Annual “Rock ‘N’ Roll Poll” (online)

2012: “Sofa King Bent Record Store Day Edition,” Get Bent (online)

2011: Nashville Scene’s Annual “Rock ‘N’ Roll Poll” (online)

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2008: “Riot Grrrl,” McGill University’s Encyclopedia of Girl Culture, Ed. Mitchell-Kerman, Claudia, and Jacqueline Reid-Walsh. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press

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