History of American Roots & Blues Music

Course Number: MUS-107DLCredit Hours: 2

Course Description

The History of American Roots and Blues Music offers students a glimpse of the styles, songs and singers that helped shape American popular music as we know it today. The course will focus primarily on early-to-mid 20th century genres—including African-American work songs and spirituals, minstrelsy, blues, traditional folk balladry, hillbilly music, protest songs, early rock ‘n’ roll—which will be explored via lectures, reading and research assignments, listening exercises, YouTube videos and biographical sketches.

Teresa James

Growing up in Texas, Teresa James started singing and playing piano at a very young age and has been performing ever since. With her band, the Rhythm Tramps, she has toured throughout the US and Europe and has released 8 CDs, receiving a nomination from the Blues Foundation for Contemporary Female Blues Artist of the Year in 2008 and an Independent Music Award nomination in 2010. In addition to working with her band, she has sung for many films and TV shows, including Toy Story 3, Runaway Jury, Hole, The Simpsons, Ellen, Step By Step, to name just a few. She can also be heard singing with Reba McIntyre on the theme to her television show Reba. As a professional session singer, Teresa has also been featured on commercials (for McDonald’s, Barbie, Michelob, etc.) and works regularly in the studio with Burt Bacharach, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Steve Dorff, and many others. She has served as a studio coach for many other professional singers and actors, including Andie McDowell, Tommy Castro and the Radio City Rockettes. Some of the artists that she has toured or recorded with include Randy Newman, Bill Medley, Neil Diamond, Eric Burdon, Spencer Davis, Peter Gallagher and others (including a duet with Mickey Mouse). For more info, please visit Teresa’s website at www.teresajames.com.

Week 1:

Lesson 1: Early Influences; Cajun & Zydeco; Tejano Music

Lesson 2: Development of the phonograph and early radio; Bristol Sessions

Week 2:

Lesson 3: Country Music

Lesson 4: Folk Music

Week 3:

Lesson 5: Delta Blues

Lesson 6: Urban Blues

Week 4: 

Lesson 7: Texas Blues

Lesson 8: Gospel; Women’s Role in America’s Roots Music

Week 5:

Lesson 9: Music of New Orleans

Lesson 10: Rockabilly and the Beginnings of Rock and Roll

Hardware & Equipment Requirements:

This course will require you to use a computer to view web pages with text, audio, and video examples.

You will need:

·         Desktop or laptop PC or Mac with speakers, running the most up-to-date versions of Google Chrome or Firefox (see “Software Requirements” for more info)

Software Requirements: