A fascinating analysis of the music scene in Austin, Texas.
Music of the bars and clubs of Austin, Texas has long been recognized as defining one of a dozen or more musical "scenes" across the country. In Dissonant Identities, Barry Shank, himself a musician who played and lived in the Texas capital, studies the history of its popular music, its cultural and economic context, and also the broader ramifications of that music as a signifying practice capable of transforming identities.
While his focus is primarily on progressive country and rock, Shank also writes about traditional country, blues, rock, disco, ethnic, and folk musics. Using empirical detail and an expansive theoretical framework, he shows how Austin became the site for "a productive contestation between two forces: the fierce desire to remake oneself through musical practice, and the equally powerful struggle to affirm the value of that practice in the complexly structured late-capitalist marketplace."
The Imaginary Tourist: An Introduction to Austin's Rock'n'Roll Scene
Constructing the Musicalized Performance of Texan Identity
Desperados Waiting for a Train: The Development of Progressive Country Music
The Collapse of the Progressive Country Alliance
Punk Rock at Raul's: The Performance of Contradiction
The Performance of Signifying Practice
The Inscription of Identity in the Music Business
The Commodification of Identity
The Coming Importance of Musicalized Experience
"Captures some of the essence and truths about the Austin scene, especially within the punk and new wave movement of the early Eighties . . . fascinating."~Austin Chronicle
""With two powerful chapters on identity and commodification in the music industry, Shank covers much Austin ground and other pertinent music-scene grounds in general. Interviews abound, and Shank's work on the institutionalization of 'alternative' music in the major media conglomerations helps make Dissonant Identities a must.""~The Rocket (Seattle, WA)
""Any book that begins with a Reality Sandwich at Austin's famed Hole in the Wall nightclub displays much promise . . . A must-read book for those who with to understand popular music-making in Austin, and others who seek a case study in the complexity of music ethnography.""~Notes (Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association)
""Captures some of the essence and truths about the Austin scene, especially within the punk and new wave movement of the early Eighties . . . fascinating.""~Austin Chronicle
""Some of the most incisive commentary I've yet to read on the music of Daniel Johnston, Ed Hall, Grains of Faith, and the interdependencies of artists and audience in Austin, Texas . . . A provocative addition to the short shelf of indispensible books about Austin music.""~Austin American-Statesman
"Shank brings contemporary theory to contemporary music in one of its most vital communities. This combination . . . results in a richly detailed and strongly argued analysis of rock'n'roll as it is lived, created, and loved in Austin."~Horace Newcomb, University of Texas