West Virginia Wesleyan College will kick off its new Faculty Lecture Series with “The Heartbreak Game: What Makes a Classic Country Song Classic?” presented by Eric Waggoner ’92, associate professor of English, on Monday, September 11. The lecture begins at 7 p.m. in the Culpepper Auditorium of the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts (PAC).
The talk will center on some of the consistent topics of many classic country songs by Loretta Lynn, Glen Campbell, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, and others.
“Many country songs, which draw from blues, folk ballads, and other forms of early American music, present themselves as a direct expression of longing and heartbreak,” stated Waggoner. “The singer becomes one with the expression of lost love or regret, and the song allows the listener to put themselves in the place of the singer, or the person being ‘sung to’ in the song. It makes for a very immersive experience, which is why country songs about breakups make the best breakup soundtracks.”
A music lover from the start, Waggoner’s family all made and loved music.
“I was steeped in it from the time I was little,” he said. “Eventually, I began making music myself and have been writing and playing music for many years.”
Waggoner received his bachelor of arts from Wesleyan, master of arts from Old Dominion University, and Ph.D. from Arizona State University. Since 2000, he has worked as a music journalist for various magazines and newspapers and is currently Contributing Editor and Writer for MAGNET magazine of Philadelphia.
Join the Wesleyan community for the WVWC Faculty Lecture Series fall lineup on the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the PAC. The series of lectures include “Beauty, Terror, Mystery, Consolation: Poetry and the Aesthetics of Environmentalism” with Debra Dean Murphy ’84, associate professor of religious studies, on October 9; “The Primary that Made a President: JFK and the 1960 West Virginia Primary” with Dr. Robert Rupp, professor of history and political science, on November 13; and “White Lung: The Opioid Crisis in West Virginia” with Travis Zimmerman, assistant professor of criminal justice, on December 11.