PL EN


Journal
2017 | 4 | 2 | 29-44
Article title

“I’m On My Long Journey Home”: Rhetorical Identification in the Bluegrass Gospel Singing of Ralph Stanley and the Stanley Brothers

Authors
Content
Title variants
PL
“I’m On My Long Journey Home”: retoryczna identyfikacja w muzyce bluegrass gospel Ralpha Stanleya i Stanley Brothers
Languages of publication
EN
Abstracts
EN
The gospel songs of Ralph Stanley offer solace by means of identification with the singer’s losses and struggles, but they also offer a metaphoric framework of journey and homecoming found in many folk and country songs. The framework gives shape and meaning to the troubled aspects of life that make up much of the content of bluegrass songs, sacred and secular. Referencing Kenneth Burke’s early theories of rhetorical identification and symbolic appeal, this study reads the inclusion of gospel songs in stage and recorded performance as a secularized means of self-defi nition: singers and listeners are linked as people with common origins and destinations. While expected themes of repentance and faith run throughout these gospel songs, the progressive form of home that is lost and then recovered sets up a secular analogy to the story of sin and redemption so common in American Protestant Evangelicalism. By scattering these songs throughout a bluegrass performance, the journey toward home becomes the pathway by which all the troubles of betrayal, heartbreak, conflict, and hard times are borne and transformed. In place of creed or practices of piety, all are invited to find common purpose in the experiences of disappointment, regret, and loss in the knowledge that they are on the “Long Journey Home.”
Muzyka gospel Ralpha Stanleya daje pocieszenie poprzez możliwość identyfikacji z cierpieniem i zmaganiami piosenkarza. Jak w wielu utworach folkowych i w muzyce country znajdujemy tam również metaforę podróży i powrotu do domu. Ta metaforyczna rama nadaje kształt i znaczenie trudnym doświadczeniom życiowym, o których opowiada znaczna część utworów bluegrassowych, zarówno sakralnych jak i świeckich. Odwołując się do wczesnych teorii Kennetha Burke’a dotyczących retorycznej identyfikacji oraz symbolizmu, w niniejszym studium występy i nagrania muzyki gospel zostają odczytane jako zsekularyzowany sposób na samoidentyfikację: wykonawcy i słuchacze są połączeni jako ludzie o wspólnych korzeniach i celach. Motywy skruchy i wiary powtarzają się w utworach gospel, zaś powracający motywu domu, najpierw utraconego, a następnie odzyskanego, tworzy świecką analogię do historii grzechu i odkupienia, tak powszechnego w amerykańskim protestanckim ewangelizmie. Poprzez wykorzystanie tych motywów, w trakcie występu bluegrass, podróż do domu staje się wędrówką, w czasie której przeżywane i przekształcane są bolesne doświadczenia zdrady, rozpaczy, konfliktów. W miejsce wyznania wiary lub praktyk religijnych, słuchacze zapraszani są, by odnaleźli sens i cel doświadczanych rozczarowań, żalu i utraty w świadomości, że uczestniczą w „długiej drodze do domu”.
Journal
Year
Volume
4
Issue
2
Pages
29-44
Physical description
Dates
published
2017-06
Contributors
author
References
  • Brummett, Barry. 2004. Rhetorical Homologies: Form, Culture, Experience. Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press.
  • Brummett, Barry. 2003. The World and How We Describe It: Rhetorics of Reality, Representation, Simulation. Westport, CT: Praeger.
  • Burke, Kenneth. 1954. “Fact, Inference, and Proof in the Analysis of Literary Symbolism.” In Symbols and Values: An Initial Study, Thirteenth Symposium of the Conference on Science, Philosophy, and Religion, ed. Lyman Bryson et al., 283-306. New York: Harper.
  • Burke, Kenneth. (1931) 1968. “Lexicon Rhetoricae.” In Counter-Statement, 123-83. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Burke, Kenneth. 1966. “Poetics in Particular, Language in General.” In Language as Symbolic Action, 25-43. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Burke, Kenneth. (1950) 1969. A Rhetoric of Motives. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Burke, Kenneth. 1951. “Rhetoric Old and New.” The Journal of Education 5 (3): 202-209.
  • Burke, Kenneth. (1961) 1970. The Rhetoric of Religion. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Burke, Kenneth. 2007. “A Socioanagogic Approach to Literature.” In A Symbolic of Motives, 1950-1955, ed. William H. Rueckert, 261-82. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press.
  • Cantwell, Robert. 1984. Bluegrass Breakdown: The Making of the Southern Sound. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
  • Cauthen, Joyce H., ed. 1999. Benjamin Lloyd’s Hymn Book, A Primitive Baptist Song Tradition. Montgomery: Alabama Folklife Association.
  • Davis, Adda Leah. 2003. “Dr. Ralph Stanley and a Journey of Faith.” Appalachian Journal 30 (2-3): 203-11.
  • Dawidoff, Nicholas. 1997. In the Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music. New York: Vintage Books.
  • Eddy, Beth. 2003. The Rites of Identity: The Religious Naturalism and Cultural Criticism of Kenneth Burke and Ralph Ellison. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Ellison, Curtis W. 1995. Country Music Culture: From Hard Times to Heaven. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.
  • Ellison, Ralph. 1986. Going to the Territory. New York: Vintage Books.
  • Fillingim, David. 1997. “A Flight from Liminality: “Home in Country and Gospel Music.” Studies in Popular Culture 20 (1): 75-82. Reprinted in 2004. More Than Precious Memories: The Rhetoric of Southern Gospel Music, ed. M. P. Graves and D. Fillingim, 289-97. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press.
  • Fillingim, David. 2003. Redneck Liberation: Country Music as Theology. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press.
  • Goff, James R. Jr. 2002. Close Harmony: A History of Southern Gospel. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press.
  • Johnson, David W. 2013. Lonesome Melodies: The Lives and Music of the Stanley Brothers. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.
  • Katison, John. 2013. “The Hymn ‘Amazing Grace’: The Grace Anecdote as Equipment for Living.” Journal of Communication and Religion 36 (2): 134-50.
  • Lane, Horace. 1849. The Wandering Boy, Careless Sailor, and Result of Inconsideration: A True Narrative. Luther A. Pratt.
  • Malone, Bill C. 1998. “The Gospel Truth: Christianity and Country Music.” In The Encyclopedia of Country Music, compiled by the staff of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, ed. Paul Kingsbury et al., 218-21. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Patterson, Beverly Bush. 1995. The Sound of the Dove: Singing in Appalachian Primitive Baptist Traditions. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
  • Ritchie, Fiona, and Doug Orr. 2014. Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
  • Rosenberg, Neil V. 1985. Bluegrass: A History. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
  • Selzer, Jack. 1996. Kenneth Burke in Greenwich Village: Conversing with the Moderns, 1915-1931. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
  • Smith, Richard D. 2000. Can’t You Hear Me Callin’: The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
  • Stanley, Ralph with Eddie Dean. 2009. Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times. New York: Penguin.
  • Stern, Richard C. 2007. “Dr. Ralph Stanley, Bluegrass Theologian.” The Covenant Quarterly, 65 (2): 16-35.
  • Swearingen, C. Jan. 1991. Rhetoric and Irony: Western Literacy and Western Lies. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Tichi, Cecelia. 1994. High Lonesome: The American Culture of Country Music. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
  • Titon, Jeff Todd. 1988. Powerhouse for God: Speech, Chant, and Song in an Appalachian Baptist Church. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • Tucker, Scott. 2004. “Looking for a City: The Rhetorical Vision of Heaven in Southern Gospel Music.” In More Than Precious Memories: The Rhetoric of Southern Gospel Music, ed. M. P. Graves and D. Fillingim, 23-42. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press.
  • Wess, Robert. 1996. Kenneth Burke: Rhetoric, Subjectivity, Postmodernism. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.
  • Wolin, Ross. 2001. The Rhetorical Imagination of Kenneth Burke. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.
  • Wright, John. 1993. Traveling the High Way Home: Ralph Stanley and the World of Traditional Bluegrass Music. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.ojs-doi-10_29107_rr2017_2_3
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.