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Northfield’s Content Bookstore to host reading & discussion by Andy Flory

September 13, 2017

Carleton music professor Andy Flory will celebrate the release of his new book, “I Hear a Symphony: Motown and Crossover R&B,” with a reading and discussion on Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. at Content Bookstore, 314 Division Street in downtown Northfield.  

“I Hear a Symphony” (The University of Michigan Press, 2017) opens new territory in the study of Motown’s legacy, arguing that the music of Motown was indelibly shaped by the ideals of Detroit’s postwar black middle class, influenced by an African-American tradition of creative expression in rhythm and blues while developing what would become known as the infamous “Motown Sound.”

Throughout the book, Flory focuses on the central importance of “crossover” to the Motown story; first as a key concept in the company’s efforts to reach across American commercial markets, then as a means to extend influence internationally, and finally as a way to expand the brand beyond strictly musical products. The book reveals the richness of the Motown sound, and the equally rich and complex cultural influence that still exists.

Flory, who directs the American Music concentration at Carleton and also plays bass guitar in the popular indie rock band The Counterfactuals, received a BA from the City College of New York and a MA and PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

At Carleton, Flory teaches courses in American music, focusing on rock, rhythm and blues, and jazz. He has spoken at national meetings of the American Musicological Society, the Society for Music Theory, the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the Society for American Music, as well as the University of Surrey, Princeton University, the University of Michigan, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Flory has written articles, encyclopedia entries, and reviews on the music of Marvin Gaye, the Beatles, African-American pop singers and balladeers, and Bang On a Can. He has written extensively about American rhythm and blues, and is an expert on the music of Motown. Working directly with Universal Records, he has served as consultant for several recent Motown reissues. He is also co-author of the history of rock textbook What’s that Sound (W.W. Norton).

For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-9238. Copies of “I Hear a Symphony” will be available for purchase at the event, which is free and open to the public.