The MTSU Center for Popular Music hosts a trio of songwriters for the Dolly Parton Lecture on Wednesday, March 24


MURFRESBORO, Tenn. — Guests from Middle Tennessee State University’s Center for Popular Music will discuss one of Tennessee’s greatest treasures on Wednesday, March 24, during a special online panel on that “unlikely angel,” Dolly Parton.

The center will host the authors of three recent books about the humanitarian, entrepreneur, pop culture legend and songwriting icon beginning at 2:00 p.m. on March 24 Central via Zoom at https:/ /

Kristine McCusker, professor of history and ethnomusicologist at MTSU, will speak with Leigh H. Edwards, author of “Dolly Parton, Gender, and Country Music”; Lydia Hamessley, author of “Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton”; and Robert K. Oermann, co-author with Parton of “Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics”.

Discussion is free and the public is welcome. Registration is required on the Zoom link.

Edwards is an English professor at Florida State University in Tallahassee. His academic studies focus on media studies as well as 20th and 21st century American literature and popular culture, including contemporary popular music and television, film, and new media.

She is also the author of “The Triumph of Reality TV: The Revolution in American Television” and “Johnny Cash and the Paradox of American Identity” and is working on several new projects, including one on the artist Prince and his media image.

Hamessley, chair of the music department at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, teaches courses in country music, medieval and Renaissance music, music and film, and world music. Her research specialty is early and bluegrass music with a focus on women and southern Appalachia.

Her 2020 book “Unlikely Angel” discusses the myriad ways Parton incorporates her cultural and musical heritage, including early music, into her songs about women’s lives.

Oermann, a veteran Nashville-based music journalist and recognized authority on country music, is the author and co-author of eight books, including “Finding Her Voice: Women in Country Music, 1800-2000,” and a contributing in cinema, television and radio.

His collaboration with Parton on “Songteller” harnesses over 60 years of Parton’s songwriting to shine a light on 175 of his creations, exploring the lyrics, inspiration and memories attached to each.

The Center for Popular Music at MTSU, part of the College of Media and Entertainment, is one of the oldest and largest research centers in the world devoted to the study of early 18th-century American folk and popular music. century to the present day.

His Grammy-winning Spring Fed Records label, which focused on traditional music from Tennessee and the South, has expanded its repertoire to include new collections from artists ranging from Mississippi John Hurt to Lorenzo Martinez and “Rabbit “Sanchez. The label released its first CD recorded at MTSU studios in 2020.

The center also develops and sponsors American vernacular music programs and presents special concerts, lectures, and events for the campus and surrounding community.

For more information about the Center for Popular Music and its special projects and events, visit


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