192 pages, 6 x 9 in. Series: Folklore Studies in a Multicultural World
“Lee Bidgood is the first person to do a serious accounting of the forces, political and artistic, that have contributed to the popularity of this outlier music in this unlikely locale. By putting himself in the narrative, he gives us an up-close and personal sense of the various aspects of the bluegrass and old-time music wave that has swept across the Czech and Slovakian musical landscapes for years—and still counting.”
-Tony Trischka, from the foreword
"Czechs have inscribed "real imaginary" elements of Americana on their landscape, articulating an imagined "Amerika" in translated, newly-created, and recontextualized bluegrass songs that reveal a playful blurring of boundaries between what is American and what is Czech."
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in the journal Popular Music and Society available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03007766.2017.1302210
Bidgood, Lee. “Bill Monroe and Czech Bluegrassers: Imagination and the Production of Place in Music,” Bluegrass and Old Time Country Music: Buried Roots of Early Days [a special edition of the International Journal of Country Music] (Winter 2016) 23-46.
"Bluegrass' appeal ... is based in a sense of place that is to a significant degree constructed and/or imagined. In seeking to understand the connections between place and imagination, I provide an alternative to essentializing narratives of heritage and place-identity that have accrued to bluegrass in its relatively short history."
"Much bluegrass activity thrives—as does my fieldwork—in a state of in-betweenness, in a territory that is between work and play, here and there, self and other ... Czech bluegrass play can serve as a response to the encroachment of Americanization in economic and cultural globalization, but also a way of being 'Americanist'—and entirely Czech."
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"...as Czech fiddlers are able to access more information about the variety of American fiddle styles that contribute to bluegrass sounds, they are also using these same information technologies to connect with each other. As ever, the richness of musical life still depends on personal interaction and community life, which is thriving, in new and changing ways."