Tracey E. W. Laird
Professor of Music and Chair
Office Location: Presser Hall 200
Mondays and Wednesdays: 3:30pm - 4:30pm or by appointment
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, forthcoming 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 soon to be released in paperback this coming Winter.
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 recent 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. This past year, senior students explored diverse topics that included the physics of piano timbre, the physiology of human responses to music, and the meaning of music in the soundtracks of three Bollywood films.