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date: 31 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter offers new insights about the musical and cultural significance of singing styles in country music by contextualizing the details of predominant female vocal approaches within the rich and complex history of southern vernacular singing and by considering, the role of the performing body in relation to the singing voice. Specifically, it takes into account the vocal techniques of Loretta Lynn in relation to the musical conventions of honky tonk singing, the physiological and bodily components of vocal production, and the role of microphone and recording technology. With a chest-dominant vocal technique—amplified by the microphone—Lynn has projected a vocal identity of strength and conviction interpreted as the first working-class feminist voice in country music. This chapter demonstrates that singers such as Kitty Wells, Jean Shepard, and Rose Maddox helped to forge a distinct singing style that had a lasting influence on Lynn’s vocal performances.

Keywords: singing styles, vocal technique, Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells, Rose Maddox, Jean Shepard, nasal twang, feminist voice, vocal production, honky tonk

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