Published March 16, 2021

As part of the all-virtual 2021 Virginia Festival of the Book, Regina Bradley (Chronicling Stankonia: The Rise of Hip-Hop South), Adam Gussow (Whose Blues? Facing Up to Race and the Future of Music), and Claudrena Harold (When Sunday Comes: Gospel Music in the Soul and Hip-Hop Eras) discussed the ways that music, history, and race intersect in the creation of American identity, with a focus on blues, southern hip-hop, and late-century gospel music.

After the discussion, The Blues Doctors, a two-man band out of Oxford, Mississippi, featuring Adam Gussow and Alan Gross, performed a set of live music. They play a mix of down-home Delta standards and urban grooves from the Clarksdale-to-Chicago axis with some New Orleans funk thrown in. Since joining forces in 2012, they’ve transformed themselves into a two-man band with a bold and distinctive sound: Gussow on harmonica and drumset, Gross on guitar, with both men sharing vocal duties. CLICK HERE to watch a performance of one of Gussow’s original compositions, “Thunky Fing Rides Again,” performed by his longtime “other” duo, Satan & Adam.

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Thanks to our bookseller for this event, UVA Bookstore.

“A brilliant, beautifully written, creatively innovative, and field-shifting work…. Bradley is already recognized as one of the key figures in the study of the contemporary black South. This book solidifies the centrality of the South to hip-hop studies and Bradley to the future of the field.”—Imani Perry, author of May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem

“In Whose Blues?, Gussow tackles the provocative reality of the blues. He ties the music’s tortured history to the current racial climate and adds chapters on blues’ place in African American literature and the Black Arts Movement. This is essential reading to better understand the power of the blues.”—Art Tipaldi, Blues Music Magazine

“The beauty of Harold’s brilliant When Sunday Comes is in how it illustrates the power of gospel music to maintain its character, grow from its roots, evolve to reach new listeners, and spiral steadily upward in its call-and-response to new audiences who acclaim the uplifting spiritual strength and enduring beauty of the music.”—No Depression


Thanks to W. Tucker Lemon, advocate for Reading Under the Influence, for his support of this program.

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Thanks to The Muse Writers Center for sharing information about this event.

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