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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

  • Tommy Oswalt Weighs in on Pop Culture and the American Presidency
    On May 14th Trax Co-editor Dana Gorzelany-Mostak and Research Assistant Sarah Griffin had the pleasure of interviewing recent Vanderbilt University graduate Tommy Oswalt, who developed a TEDx talk and an interactive game exploring campaign playlists. Here Tommy weighs in on music and political engagement, candidate music strategies, and music’s role in sustaining a robust democracy.Continue reading “Home”
  • Trax on the Trail: Researching Music on the U.S. Presidential Campaign Trail
    Trax on the Trail Research Assistant Sarah Griffin presented her research on campaign music at the Georgia College 23rd Annual Student Research Conference in April 2020. You can check out her poster here. Sarah Griffin (Student, Georgia College), Dana Gorzelany-Mostak (Assistant Professor of Music, Georgia College), Haley Strassburger (Student, Georgia College), Naomi Graber (Assistant ProfessorContinue reading “Home”
  • 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 aContinue reading “Home”
  • 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 oddContinue reading “Home”
  • 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 theContinue reading “Home”