Barry Mazor lecture examined Ralph Peer music influence

Barry Mazor

Barry Mazor

Longtime music business journalist and author Barry Mazor was on campus Jan. 26 to present his new book, “Ralph Peer and the Making of Popular Roots Music.”Mazor’s biography follows recording engineer and publisher Ralph Peer and his 50-year career working in the music industry. Peer was a pioneer in field recordings of many musical genres, including blues, jazz, country, gospel and Latin music. His recording of Mamie Smith’s Crazy Blues is credited with sparking the blues craze, and his discovery of Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family at the famous Bristol Sessions changed the scene of gospel and country music. During a time when music companies represented local artists of one musical genre, Peer created the first independent music-publishing firm that not only included multiple genres of music but also focused on global marketing and publishing promotions.

Mazor book cover“[Peer] saw universal power locked in regional roots music,” Mazor said, “and [he] tapped it to revolutionize music around the world.”

Mazor, a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal and to the roots music blog Engine 145, is the first to write a biography on  Peer. He is also the author of “Meeting Jimmie Rodgers and Connie Smith: Just for What I Am.” His work has appeared in numerous publications, including American Songwriter, the Nashville Scene, the Village Voice and The Washington Post. Mazor was awarded the Charlie Lamb Award for Excellence in Country Music Journalism in 2008.

The Center for Popular Music is a research center devoted to the study and scholarship of popular music in America. Spearheaded by its director, Dr. Gregory Reish, the Center maintains an archive of research materials stretching from the early 18th century to the present and develops and sponsors programs in vernacular music. All are welcome to use the CPM’s collections and services for research and scholarly pursuits.

An audience of 75 students, faculty and members of the community gathered to hear Barry Mazor's talk on Ralph Peer and his contribution to the modern day music industry.

An audience of 75 students, faculty and members of the community gathered to hear Barry Mazor’s talk on Ralph Peer and his contribution to the modern day music industry.

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