Trent Kelly

Trent Douglas Kelly is a writer who lives in Olympia, WA, along the shores of the Salish Sea in the Great Northwest. He tells stories that offer new insights into American popular culture and history. He has written and produced shows for Seattle’s NPR affiliate and has had his works published online and in print media. He can be reached at his website: hiddenharborlounge.com
What Puts the Pop in Pop Music?

What Puts the Pop in Pop Music?

As the Beatles learned, good music, even good looks, is seldom enough to break a band into the American mainstream. So what puts the pop in pop music?

The Nearly Lost World of American Folk Music

The Nearly Lost World of American Folk Music

If not for two eccentrics, Harry Smith and Moses Asch, American popular music wouldn’t have so many roots in folk music and we’d all be the poorer for it.

When Record Labels Blasted Through the Barriers in Segregated America

When Record Labels Blasted Through the Barriers in Segregated America

While their motives were more mercenary than musical, American small record label impresarios could hear the barriers falling between the races right before their ears.

Bob Dylan’s Art Is Best Served Naked

Bob Dylan’s Art Is Best Served Naked

As Bob Dylan learned, only through baring of one’s soul does one show the way forward, providing both a glimpse into the other and perhaps the shape of things to come.

Louis Jordan Straddled Two Epochs in American Popular Music

Louis Jordan Straddled Two Epochs in American Popular Music

Louis Jordan’s style and innovation helped American popular music transition from one global sound juggernaut to the next, moving from big-band swing jazz to rock ‘n’ roll.

Miley Cyrus Revealed All Long Before She Climbed Up On That “Wrecking Ball”

Miley Cyrus Revealed All Long Before She Climbed Up On That “Wrecking Ball”

Before Miley Cyrus performed the twerk heard ’round the world and then climbed up on that “Wrecking Ball” she showed the world who she really was with ‘The Backyard Sessions’.

Janis Joplin on the Outskirts of Town

Janis Joplin on the Outskirts of Town

Janis Joplin didn’t just play the blues or even live the blues, she was the blues – a figure of interminable longing and loneliness: the blues incarnate.