Event Name: CCM Thinking About Music Lecture Series
Event Locator: 2023-ACBCNN
1:30 p.m. Friday, April 5
The Joseph and Frances Jones Poetker Thinking About Music Lecture Series
GENDERED ACTS IN COMEDY: JUNE CARTER’S VOCAL AND KINETIC PERFORMANCE IN COUNTRY MUSIC
Stephanie Vander Wel, Associate Professor, Department of Music and Global Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University at Buffalo
June Carter is typically known as a member of the country ensemble Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters as well as the self-sacrificing wife and duet partner of the iconic Man in Black, Johnny Cash. These modernist concepts of femininity linked to traditionalism and domesticity, however, have obscured Carter’s dynamic career as one of the most prominent comediennes in mid-century country music. This paper, thus, centers on Carter’s multi-faceted practices of adapting and modernizing the comedic tropes of early country music into her own performance style of the 1940s and 1960s. In a variety of media, Carter offered a kaleidoscopic array of gendered images that highlighted the kinetic and verbal excesses of the white unruly female rustic. Her strategies of aggressive and parodic vocal humor proved integral in her 1960s duets with Cash, revitalizing his failing career at the time, and broadening the expressive opportunities for other female artists, including Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton.
Location: Baur Room