John M. Shaw, "Following the Drums: African American Fife and Drum Music in Tennessee" (UP of Mississippi, 2022)


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Following the Drums: African American Fife and Drum Music in Tennessee (University Press of Mississippi, 2022) is an epic history of a little-known African American instrumental music form. Carefully documenting the music's early uses for commercial advertising and sports promotion, John M. Shaw follows the strands of the music through the nadir of African American history during post-Reconstruction up to the form's rediscovery by musicologists and music researchers during the blues and folk revival of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Following the Drums is a journey through African American history and Tennessee history, with a fascinating form of music powering the story.

John M. Shaw is a musicologist, musician, writer, and blogger, currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Memphis.

Emily Ruth Allen (@emmyru91) holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Florida State University. Her current research focuses on parade musics in Mobile, Alabama's carnival.

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