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Hillbilly Maidens, Okies, and CowgirlsWomen's Country Music, 1930-1960$
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Stephanie Vander Wel

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043086

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043086.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022

Gendering the Musical West

Gendering the Musical West

Patsy Montana’s Cowgirl Songs of Tomboy Glamour

(p.69) 3 Gendering the Musical West
Hillbilly Maidens, Okies, and Cowgirls

Stephanie Vander Wel

University of Illinois Press

Chapter 3 continues the focus on WLS’s 1930s radio stars and their treatment of gender by examining the musical and cultural significance of Patsy Montana’s singing cowgirl persona. Like Lulu Belle, Montana included a fluid mix of musical styles and vaudevillian practices. But instead of offering parodies of southern culture, Montana’s gender-bending songs took place in the imaginary West. In her musical depictions of tomboy cowgirls and glamorous western heroines, Montana combined virtuosic yodeling with what her listeners described as a “sweet” singing style. As such, she refashioned the West into a place where standard models of gender could include autonomous cowgirls who yodeled to the heights of their vocal range while singing sweetly about the symbolic freedoms associated with frontier individualism.

Keywords:   Patsy Montana, singing cowgirl, WLS, yodeling, tomboy, glamour, West, gender

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