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is sad to pass along that scholar and Vanderbilt professor of sociology emeritus Richard "Pete" Peterson
has died. Peterson was one of the earliest academics to treat country music as a subject worthy of consideration. His book Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity
is one of the most important scholarly works ever written about the genre.
Peterson wrote that the tension between "keeping it real" and "appealing to the widest audience with the deepest pockets possible" is not something that just came to light with the likes of Taylor Swift or Billy Ray Cyrus or whomever; it's built right into the music's foundation. Maybe that's one reason his book seems as fresh and insightful today as it did when released. (I've long thought rap aficionados and scholars would find it illuminating as well.)
Peterson was a well respected professor at Vanderbilt and a genial friend to many folks around town. He will be missed.