Historians, musicologists, and sociologists have long studied the relationship between politics and music. Peter La Chapelle
’s new book, I’d Fight the World: A Political History of Old-Time, Hillbilly, and Country Music
(University of Chicago Press, 2019) traces interactions between country music and politics beginning with two late nineteenth-century politicians who fiddled to their supporters and ending with the 2016 election season. He establishes some long-standing associations between celebrity candidates, populist insurgents, outsider politics and country music. La Chapelle also does not shy away from exposing the ways that racist and anti-Semitic political figures have used country music to support their beliefs. While today many people think of country music as a politically conservative genre, La Chapelle brings to light a more complex story of politicians across the spectrum looking to country music to support their beliefs, publicize their campaigns, and establish their authenticity with their constituents.
Peter La Chapelle is a professor of history at Nevada State College. A cultural historian, his research centers on the intersections between country music, politics, and national identity in the United States.
Kristen M. Turner, Ph.D. is a lecturer at North Carolina State University in the music department. Her work centers on American musical culture at the turn of the twentieth century and has been published in several journals and essay collections.