Program Details

Music Americana: The New Golden Age

Rod MacDonald
Video Catch-up

Course Description

Artists become celebrated as their words and music speak to the hopes and dreams of the people, with grace, humor, passion, and style. From the historic grandeur of Tchaikovsky to the spare classicism of Pink Floyd; from the tales of the Singing Cowboys to the Key West parables of Jimmy Buffett; from the sultry sound of Peggy Lee to the bigger-than-life presence of Tina Turner; from the street-corner dreams of doo-wop groups to the footlights of "Moulin Rouge", their music describes our lives and times in song. This course examines the work, biographies, and enduring importance of these musical artists and attempts to sort myth from reality, using updated videos and excerpts from feature films, live performances, and a few surprises.


  1. The Russians Are Coming: Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Anna Federova
  2. The Singing Cowboys: Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Ian Tyson
  3. Blondes of Jazz: Peggy Lee, Diana Krall
  4. A History of Doo-Wop: The Orioles, The Moonglows, Dion
  5. Classic Rock: Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd
  6. Storytellers: Jimmy Buffett, Garth Brooks
  7. The New Broadway Musical: "Moulin Rouge, Ain't Too Proud"
  8. Simply The Best: Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner

About the Instructor

  • Rod MacDonald has 21 songs in the Smithsonian Folkways collection and 13 solo albums, including his 2020 cd Boulevard, which made the top ten on national folk music charts. He performs in festivals, concerts, and clubs and throughout North America, Europe, solo and with the bands Big Brass Bed and Rod MacDonald & The Humdingers. He was named Best Local Acoustic Performer by New Times and one of the "10 Magnificent Musicians of Palm Beach County" by The Palm Beach Post. Previous Music Americana courses include "The Birth of Rock & Roll," "The Great American Songbook," and "Mastery of the Art."

    Recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Faculty Award