This course focuses on American southern old-time string band music, bluegrass, and early country song. We draw on cultural theory to explore the growth of these musics throughout the 20th/21st centuries as well as the influences of African-American musical expression, class, gender, and music revivalism. We will consider old time and bluegrass both from an historical perspective and ethnographically as vital forms in communities today. The course will include weekly reading/listening assignments, occasional evening film screenings, written assignments based on the reading, and a midterm essay. While this course is primarily academic, there will also be a performance component: students will learn to play old time music by ear and develop a repertoire of traditional dance music. Prior experience with old time music is not necessary, but a working knowledge of one of the following acoustic instruments is required: fiddle (violin), cello, banjo, guitar, upright bass, mandolin, harmonica, ukulele, and others.