Stompin' Grounds: Performing Country Music in Canada
Country music in Canada and its different geographical regions existed within a transnational set of fictions which were shared by a great many North Americans. Industry members, performers, and fans have relied upon the markers of sound, rurality, masculinity, and later “Canadian-ness” to prove the music’s “authenticity.” More than anything, what is noteworthy about country music is not that it is a continuation of “authentic” folk practices, but the music’s ability to continually reinvent itself while maintaining these fictions. By examining five distinct country music performers who had active careers in Canada – Wilf Carter, Earl Heywood, Don Messer, Stompin’ Tom Connors, and Gordon Lightfoot – this study examines how Canadian country music artists between the 1920s and the 1970s created “authentic” images. This was achieved through song lyrics and instrumentation, visual markers such as cowboy hats, and through interviews, autobiographies, photographs, and other publicity materials.