MTSU welcomes music historian for ‘Hillbilly to Ro...

MTSU welcomes music historian for ‘Hillbilly to Rockabilly’ lecture

Music producer, historian and educator Jerry Zolten will link artists like Uncle Dave Macon and Bill Monroe to musicians like Elvis Presley and his contemporaries in a special lecture, “From Hillbilly to Rockabilly: The Country Roots of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Friday, Nov. 21, at MTSU’s Center for Popular Music.

Zolten poster webThe free public lecture is set from 11 a.m. to noon in the center’s reading room, located in Room 140 of MTSU’s Bragg Mass Communication Building.

A searchable campus map with parking notes is available at

Zolten, producer of the Grammy-winning Fairfield Four and author of “Great God A’Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds: Celebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music,” is an associate professor of communication arts and sciences and American studies at the Pennsylvania State University at Altoona.

Jerry Zolten

Jerry Zolten

Among his specialties is American roots music, which also is a specialty of MTSU’s Center for Popular Music.

The center, established in 1985 by the Tennessee Board of Regents as one of 16 Centers of Excellence across the TBR system, is devoted to the study and scholarship of popular music in America.

Its staff maintains a unique archive of research materials that spans shaped-note songbooks to hip-hop mash-ups in a collection stretching from the early 18th century to the present.

The Center for Popular Music also develops and sponsors programs in American vernacular music and regularly presents special concerts, lectures and events for the campus community.

Zolten’s Nov. 21 MTSU talk will include historic performance clips of artists such as Jimmie Rodgers, Macon and Monroe and show how they pointed the way to supercharged rockers such as Presley, Carl Perkins and the like.

Zolten also is set to present the lecture at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Nashville. That talk will be included in the $24.95 museum admission price.

For more information on the Nov. 21 lecture at MTSU, email the Center for Popular Music at