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Women in Country Music: The First Fifty Years

Fifty and Better Winter Session

Women in Country Music: The First Fifty Years

In this course, we will trace the roles of women in country music’s first half century.

Week 1: The 1920s and 1930s Women tentatively began making country records in 1924 with solo artists Roba Stanley and cowgirl singer Billie Maxwell leading the way.

Week 2: The Carter Family Country music’s first family has featured three generations of female performers.

Week 3: The Radio Programs Female country performers became popular through their appearances on national radio programs like the Grand Ole Opry in the 1930s and 1940s.

Week 4: The Cowgirls Women became more acceptable to audiences as solo performers when they donned leather fringe and ten-gallon hats.

Week 5: Rockabilly Women Women began asserting their equality in the 1950s with a series of rambunctious rockabilly singers like Wanda Jackson.

Week 6: The Nashville Sound and the Outlaw Movement Women begin to match men in record sales in the 1960s with artists like Loretta Lynn. In the 1970s, women joined their male counterparts in rebelling against Nashville’s curls-and-gingham appearance by becoming more assertive in terms of their image.

Cary Ginell is a Grammy-nominated writer and author of 12 books on American music. After a 30-year career in radio, he has spent the last 20 years as a public speaker, talking about music in classrooms, at conferences, and on cruise ships. Ginell brings a lifelong passion for the recording industry to his work and is one of the world’s foremost authorities on his specialty, western swing. Cary previously served as President of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, an international organization of music scholars and world-renowned institutions.  He holds a master’s degree in Folklore from UCLA and a bachelor’s in Radio/TV/Film from Cal State University Northridge.

Fifty and Better was designed to offer university-level courses and lectures (no tests, no homework) taught by experts in the field, and to host social engagement activities for people age 50 and older.


Register by 3 p.m., Jan. 25

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Christina Tierney