Music from the political campaign trail
Lecture on Oct. 17 by Music Professor Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, whose research explores various facets of American musical culture, including the role of popular songs in presidential campaigns and the reception of music prodigies in the age of reality television,
DALLAS (SMU) - Music in presidential campaigns: Remember Bill Clinton blowing a soulful sax rendition of “Heartbreak Hotel” on The Arsenio Hall Show in 1992? Bob Dole strutting across the rally stage to Sam & Dave’s “Soul Man” in 1996? Barack Obama crooning a verse of Al Green’s classic “Let’s Stay Together” as his 2012 reelection campaign moved into full swing?
Americans remember each iconic image and its accompanying soundtrack because in such moments, the candidate establishes not only his own character, but the character of the American presidency.
The most recent presidential hopefuls have similarly attempted to constitute their identity in sound in various campaign contexts. From Hillary Clinton’s girl power playlists to Donald Trump’s affinity for show tunes, this presentation offers cultural and musical analyses of a handful of anomalies and oddities recently heard on the 2016 campaign trail.
About Music Professor Dana Gorzelany-Mostak
Lecturer Dana Gorzelany-Mostak is an assistant professor of music at Georgia College in Milledgeville, Ga. Her research explores various facets of American musical culture, including the role of popular songs in presidential campaigns, the reception of music prodigies in the age of reality television, and the untold history of music performance on the “freak” show stage in the 19th century.
She has received the Mark Tucker Award from the Society for American Music and the Peter Narvaez Memorial Student Paper Prize from the International Association for the Study of Popular Music-Canada for her work on the intersection of politics and music in the 2008 campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Her research on music and electoral politics appears in the summer 2015 issue of Music & Politics and the May 2016 issue of the Journal of the Society for American Music. Her work on Jackie Evancho appears in the edited volume Voicing Girlhood in Popular Music: Performance, Authority, Authenticity (Routledge).
Gorzelany-Mostak is the creator and co-editor of Trax on the Trail, a Georgia College-sponsored website that tracks the creative use of music and sound on the 2016 presidential campaign trail.