Finding the avant-garde in the old-time: John Cohen in the American folk revival Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 21, 2019
Creator
  • Jones, Brian
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Music
Abstract
  • This thesis explores aesthetic developments in the American folk revival by examining the career of John Cohen. As a founding member of the New Lost City Ramblers, Cohen was an influential figure in the revival during the late `50s and early `60s. A significant aspect of Cohen's outlook was his extensive involvement with avant-garde movements in art and literature. The approaches Cohen encountered among New York artists and intellectuals provided a paradigm from which he could understand the rough-hewn aesthetic of old-time country music. This thesis examines Cohen's aesthetic by mapping his background and associations in art, photography, and folk music, giving special attention to the connections he saw between folk revivalism and the avant-garde. It then examines his work recording and promoting Roscoe Holcomb, a traditional singer from Daisy, Kentucky, to demonstrate the application of these ideas and connections.
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  • In Copyright
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  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in the Department of Music."
Advisor
  • Neal, Jocelyn
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Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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  • Open access
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