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Welcome!  The Center holds over one million items related to American vernacular music traditions, encompassing the full range of styles in popular music, folk and traditional music, sacred music, and community band music.  The materials are wide-ranging and include, in part, early American sheet music, songsters, and broadsides; sound recordings in all formats; published scholarly books and periodicals; unique archival collections; multi-media digital collections; and databases that offer the latest marketing statistics.

The Center also strives to stimulate learning and the exchange of ideas through grant-supported projects, conferences, classes, guest lectures, concerts, the Spring Fed record label, interviews, discussion blogs, social media engagement, digitization activities, and staff research projects.  You can explore many of our digital collections, activities, and holdings on this website.  Free and open to everyone, the Center has a staff eager to help you better understand our country's vast musical heritage.

Free Scott Barretta PosterFilm Screening  

Join us Monday, November 13th, at 7:30 pm for a special film screening of Shake 'Em on Down: The Blues According to Fred McDowell. The event will be held in the in the State Farm Room in the Business and Aerospace (BAS) building

Shake ‘Em On Down is a one-hour documentary film which aims to tell the story of Fred McDowell, who was first recorded by Alan Lomax in 1959, traveled to Europe with the Rolling Stones in the mid-1960s, mentored Bonnie Raitt, and served as the cornerstone of the unique and enduring North Mississippi- style of blues music.

Film screening will be following by a Q&A with Co-Producer Scott Barretta, and a performance by Bill Steber.

This event is free and open to the public.

CPM Items on Display

Communities in Time and SpaceThe Center currently has several different exhibits and displays located on campus for your viewing pleasure. Each display features items from our collection in many different formats so that you can get an idea of the variety and scope of items found within the stacks. 

In the CPM reading room, we have an exhibit curated by Katie Rainge-Briggs. "Communities through time and place tellin' their stories" captures local music that was made by ordinary people expressing their life experiences.  Thus, these diverse music communities gifted a larger audience with an extraordinary sonic experience through a process of commercialization. 

Also in the reading room, we have two exhibits curated by graduate assistant, Sam Shaefer: 

High Water Everywhere They Paved Paradise

"High Water Everywhere: Floods and Hurricanes in Popular Song" uses materials from the Center for Popular Music's archives to showcase records, reproductions of advertisements, lyric sheets and CDs relating to songs about the human aftermath of hurricanes and floods in American history. Songs reacting to these events from over 100 years of American popular music are featured, from the Johnstown Flood of 1889 to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"'They Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot': Environmentalism and Popular Music" tracks music made out of concern for America's natural environment from the 1830s through the 1980s. Using examples of sheet music, poet Carl Sandburg's popular "American Songbag," and several records from CPM's archives, songs representing a variety of contexts are represented, including deforestation in the 19th century, mass farming issues of the early 20th century, and the modern environmental movement that coalesced in the 1960s.

Gospel Music Hall of Fame ExhibitOver in the James E. Walker Library, items from our collection are on exhibit along with items from the collection of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. The display cases housing archival items from the Center for Popular Music were curated by our assistant archivist, Olivia Beaudry. This joint exhibit can be seen through the end of the Fall semester on the first floor. Read more about the exhibit here.

Not pictured here, staff from the Center for Popular Music have gotten into the Homecoming spirit and created a fun 90's themed display in our front windows. MTSU's 2017 Homecoming theme is "Fresh Raiders of the 'Boro", and as such, several 90's throwback music items can be seen until after MTSU's Homecoming Game on Saturday, October 7th. Stop by and take a picture!

Fall 2017 Brown Bag Dates

Marvin Hedrick Audio Collection

Brown County JamboreeThe MTSU Center for Popular Music announces the completion of the Marvin Hedrick Audio Collection website, a digitization and cataloging project funded by the GRAMMY Foundation (now part of the GRAMMY Museum). The collection includes historically significant recordings of bluegrass and country music made by influential documentarian Marvin Hedrick in Brown County, Indiana between 1954 and 1973. The Hedrick Collection was donated to the Center for Popular Music by Marvin’s sons, Gary Hedrick and David Hedrick in 2015.

Each item in the collection was evaluated, preserved, and digitized in the Center’s state-of-the-art audio preservation lab, then catalogued with essential data such as song titles, performers, and dates, using CONTENTdm archival management software. A Finding Aid was also created, giving an overview of the collection and its contents. The Marvin Hedrick Audio Collection is searchable through its dedicated website. One audio sample from each tape is provided as streaming audio for educational purposes. The entirety of the collection’s digitized contents is available to researchers on-site at the Center for Popular Music.

$19K Grammy grant will help MTSU digitize new bluegrass collection

MTSU’s Center for Popular Music is the recipient of another national grant from the Grammy Foundation, this time to digitize an extensive, “historically and culturally significant” live bluegrass audio collection from Indiana music lover Marvin Hedrick.

This rare 45 rpm single by “The Weedpatch Boys,” released in 1963, is part of a large “historically and culturally significant” bluegrass audio collection recently donated to MTSU’s Center for Popular Music by the family of Indiana music lover Marvin Hedrick. Hedrick was a member of the band, as were his two sons. The center received a $19,537 grant from the Grammy Foundation April 6 to preserve and digitize the collection.

This rare 45 rpm single by “The Weedpatch Boys,” released in 1963, is part of a large “historically and culturally significant” bluegrass audio collection recently donated to MTSU’s Center for Popular Music by the family of Indiana music lover Marvin Hedrick. Hedrick was a member of the band, as were his two sons. The center received a $19,537 grant from the Grammy Foundation April 6 to preserve and digitize the collection.

The $19,537 grant will make the center an even greater research resource for MTSU students and faculty as well as scholars from across the world, director Greg Reish said.

“Mr. Hedrick was, among other things, a fixture at the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival,” Reish explained. “He lived in Brown County, where the festival’s held, and befriended Bill Monroe and all the other pioneers of bluegrass. He also was very helpful to younger folklorists who took a serious interest in bluegrass.” Continue reading

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The Center for Popular Music is rolling out a monthly newsletter in April. This newsletter will keep you up-to-date with everything happening at the Center, including new events, exhibits, collections, books, projects, Spring Fed Records releases, and more. Sign up today to be entered to win an album of your choice from the Spring Fed Records catalog! To sign up, please follow this link or click the subscribe button on the sidebar.


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American Vernacular Music Manuscripts

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MTSU Box 41
1301 E. Main Street
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN 37132

Room 140
Bragg Media & Entertainment Bldg.

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