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Founded at Georgia College in 2015, Trax on the Trail is a website where scholars, educators, journalists, students, and the general public can learn about American presidential campaign music and gain insight into how sound participates in forming candidate identity.

Our interdisciplinary team includes academic experts from the fields of political science, musicology, sociology, history, communications, and ethnomusicology, as well as industry professionals and students.

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The latest from Trax on the Trail

  • Analyzing and Creating Playlists
    Over the past few electoral cycles, political candidates have capitalized on the popularity of playlist sites such as Spotify, circulating campaign playlists in hopes of forging a bond with voters, communicating their values and vision, and asserting their pop culture cred. This assignment offers students the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of playlists as a … Read more
  • Jamming with Andrew Yang: Rap and the Model Minority
    March 26, 2020 Although businessman and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang preferred to ignore it, his campaign attracted a large number of disaffected Trump voters from the alt-right. At first glance, Yang and the former Trumpsters seemed like strange bedfellows given rampant racism among that part of his base, but closer examination reveals an odd … Read more
  • Studying the Presidential Soundscape
    Trax on the Trail in the Classroom (Workshop) In this workshop presented at the Georgia Music Educators Association Conference, Haley Strassburger and Dana Gorzelany-Mostak offer strategies for teaching 9-12 students about the history of American songs. The attached documents include assignment instructions for a lesson on "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and slides from the … Read more
  • On the Inside Trax: Dr. Nicholas Phillips, Pianist, Educator, and New Music Advocate
    A search by genre in the Trail Trax database will reveal very few examples of classical music on the trail. There was Stephen Colbert’s live string quartet with underscore for the final debate, “Hillary” (Kate McKinnon) and “Bernie’s” (Larry David) "Waltz of the Flowers" on Saturday Night Live, and Trump’s memorable entrances to “Nessun dorma” in 2016. Although a … Read more
  • Rebecca Pronsky: Singer-Songwriter, Brooklyn’s Truth Bearer
    On October 28, 2019 Trax research assistant Sarah Griffin and Trax founder Dana Gorzelany-Mostak had the pleasure of speaking to Rebecca Pronsky, a singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn. Pronsky first came to our attention when we heard her delightful 2020 Candidate Jams, 60-second didactic songs dedicated to each Democratic presidential candidate. What made this country-noir artist … Read more