Country music is an American original. Perhaps the most popular music in America today, it's also big business. Bringing together a varied cadre of scholars & critics, this analyzes the inner workings of the industry, the iconology of certain stars, to the development of certain styles within the genre. Essays include: the shift from "hard-core" to "soft-shell" in recent years, Johnny Cash as a lesbian icon; gender, class and region in Dolly Parton's star image, bluegrass' gothic tradition, more. 424 pp.