Singin' the Blues

For some years, the College has been considering the idea of reviving the campus radio station. Much like a weak signal, it has faded in and out on our channels. But last spring a student group brought WRMC to life, and it has been available on a limited basis ever since.

In the fall, when Joel Nathan Rosen joined the faculty as assistant professor of sociology, he took to the air waves almost at once. Before he embarked on his Ph.D., Rosen earned two Master of Arts degrees at the University of Mississippi, one in sociology and one in Southern studies. The aspect of Southern life that he studied was back-country music such as rural blues and hillbilly traditions.

Early in the fall semester, he created a program called “Southern Exposure” for the radio station. It’s a weekly one-hour program of “some of the best Southern music ever recorded.”

He also gave a talk on “Teaching the Blues: The Black Country Music Tradition as Academic Fare” for an alumni group. This was quite a lecture: Rosen played dobro, washboard, kazoo, and train whistle, and recordings of great names in the blues from the turn of the 20th century.

This spring, he’ll be teaching a course called “The Sociology of the Blues.”