Tracey Laird

Tracey E.W. Laird

Harry L., Corinne Bryant, and Cottie Beverly Slade Professor of Music / Chair Music

Phone: 404.471.6474
Office Location: Presser Hall 200

Academic Degrees

  • B.A., Loyola University
  • M.A., University of Michigan
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan

Teaching and Scholarly Interests

Tracey Laird is an author or editor of four books, including Austin City Limits: A History (Oxford University Press, 2014) and Austin City Limits: A Monument to Music (Insight Editions, released in September 2015), the latter co-authored with her spouse who is also a writer. Both projects explore the significance of the 40 years-and-running PBS television music program, with the 2nd including beautiful photos by longtime ACL photographer Scott Newton. Now entering its 41st season, ACL’s story intertwines with that of its home city, now known as the "Live Music Capital of the World," as well as changing ways audiences engage with music and media. The ACL Music Festival and the ACL Live at the Moody Theater constitute the most recent chapters in the four-decades-and-counting history of Austin City Limits. Laird has also written about the famous radio barn dance that launched both Hank Williams and Elvis Presley into the national spotlight in Louisiana Hayride: Radio and Roots Music Along the Red River (Oxford University Press, 2004), a book released in paperback in 2016. She recently contributed a chapter on "Country Music and Television" to the collection edited by Travis Stimeling, The Oxford Handbook of Country Music (Oxford University Press, 2017).  Her perspective on the twenty-first century will be part of the 50th Anniversary edition of Bill Malone's seminal Country Music, U.S.A. (University of Texas Press, forthcoming in 2018).

Her courses at Agnes Scott include American Popular Music, History of Jazz, Musical Elements in Global Perspective, Issues and Methods of Ethnomusicology, and others, including a course on the Beatles co-designed by a senior music major. She also regularly leads the senior seminar in music, with recent topics like music's relationship to neuroscience, to politics, or to the experience of meaning. Recent senior seminar students explored diverse topics that included exploration of identity among Asian-Americans through musical creation, both virtual (like YouTube) and face-to-face (like p'ungmul ensembles); use of music in the 2015 film The Martian; intellectual and intuitive facets of the compositional process; and the integration of music and other arts across disciplines as a critical strategy for 21st century pedagogy.

Professional Activities

Web Links

Music Department Page
Amazon Author Page
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