Why Tammy Wynette Matters (Music Matters) (Hardcover)

Why Tammy Wynette Matters (Music Matters) By Steacy Easton Cover Image

Why Tammy Wynette Matters (Music Matters) (Hardcover)


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How Tammy Wynette channeled the conflicts of her life into her music and performance.

With hits such as “Stand By Your Man” and “Golden Ring,” Tammy Wynette was an icon of American domesticity and femininity. But there were other sides to the first lady of country. Steacy Easton places the complications of Wynette’s music and her biography in sharp-edged relief, exploring how she made her sometimes-tumultuous life into her work, a transformation that was itself art.

Wynette created a persona of high femininity to match the themes she sang about—fawning devotion, redemption in heterosexual romance, the heartbreak of loneliness. Behind the scenes, her life was marked by persistent class anxieties; despite wealth and fame, she kept her beautician’s license. Easton argues that the struggle to meet expectations of southernness, womanhood, and southern womanhood, finds subtle expression in Wynette’s performance of “Apartment #9”—and it’s because of these vocal subtleties that it came to be called the saddest song ever written. Wynette similarly took on elements of camp and political critique in her artistry, demonstrating an underappreciated genius. Why Tammy Wynette Matters reveals a musician who doubled back on herself, her façade of earnestness cracked by a melodrama that weaponized femininity and upended feminist expectations, while scoring twenty number-one hits.

Steacy Easton has written about country music for NPR, Slate, and the Atlantic. They are a PhD student in critical disability studies at York University.

Product Details ISBN: 9781477324646
ISBN-10: 147732464X
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication Date: May 9th, 2023
Pages: 184
Language: English
Series: Music Matters
[An] illuminating debut...Easton paints a riveting portrait of an oft-misunderstood star. Country music fans won’t be disappointed.
— Publishers Weekly

Easton’s book incorporates the author’s relationship to Wynette’s music and vocal performances in a critical biography that focuses on the artist’s musical talents...Fans of Wynette and country music will be drawn to this reappraisal.
— Library Journal