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In Conversation with Dr. Terry Barr

March 7 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Join us on Tuesday, March 7th at 5:30 pm for an In Conversation event with Dr. Terry Barr! He’ll be chatting about his newest essay collection The American Crisis Playlist: 2020 – 2021 alongside Dr. Phillip Perdue, assistant professor of communications at Presbyterian College.

This collection features ten songs per week that are based off a collection of essays that Barr wrote for The Riff during “that crisis year leading up to and in the aftermath of the 2020 election.” Come by and hear more about Barr’s journey in making this book and compiling these playlists. 

So don’t miss out on this free event!


Barr has been writing for over thirty years. He believes American Crisis Playlist (2020-2021) will appeal to readers interested in rock, soul, country, and hip-hop music in its “golden oldie” past as well as today’s top artists. Barr states, “The American Crisis Playlist will also appeal to anyone who has followed the political news over the past few years, while having their
lives impacted by the COVID-19 virus. I hope the readers will appreciate my effort to keep myself sane and in good health during the trauma of these past few years.”
Barr comments, “This is the most political book I’ve ever written. Others I have written have included stories about Race and Religion, and though Secrets I’m Dying to Tell You had several stories focused on the #MeToo movement, The American Crisis Playlist addresses my fears related to the 2020 election, attempts by the former President to overturn our republic, and the continuous violence against people of color. But in the process, I also use one of my great loves—popular music—to help me and, hopefully my readers, cope with our ongoing political upheaval. Music, as Don McLean once said, can “save our mortal souls.”


Terry Barr’s The American Crisis Playlist (2020-2021) is his fourth essay collection, along with Don’t Date Baptists and Other Warnings From My Alabama Mother (2016); We Might As Well Eat: How To Survive Tornadoes, Alabama Football, and Your Southern Family (2018); and Secrets I’m Dying To Tell You (2020). He is a three-time Pushcart nominee, and his essays have been widely published in national literary journals. His most recent work, “Greyhound Seats,” won first place in Tell Your Story’s Spring 2022 Nonfiction contest. He writes regularly about music and culture at medium.com/@terrybarr, and teaches Creative Nonfiction at Presbyterian College. Barr lives in Greenville, SC, with his family.


Dr. Phillip Perdue, is an Assistant Professor of Communications at  Presbyterian College. He got his doctorate from Indiana University and has been teaching full time at PC since 2019.


“2021 is perhaps a year best forgotten. From a pandemic to political strife, we were a nation at war-with an unseen virus and with ourselves. We were, in short, a nation in crisis. Terry Barr chronicled it all with his weekly American Crisis dispatches. Weaving together playlists with his heartfelt writing, this was more than simple reporting. Each of these posts served as a light guiding the way, helping us remember that even in the darkest hour, there is always hope. Terry Barr’s heartfelt writing beautifully meshes current events with the healing power of music. In an era many of us spent in isolation, Barr’s American Crisis series reminded us that our story is one written collectively. In an era where music consumption is fueled by soulless algorithms, and bots pour fuel on the fire of social discourse, Terry Barr offers a refreshing antidote; writing that is straight from the heart. Weaving remarkable music playlists with his weekly take on the day’s issues, he’s not afraid to share his fears, rage, and joy. He cuts through white noise, reminding us that in the end, all we have is each other.”

-Kevin Alexander, author, Managing Editor of the online music publication, The Riff

“As both a music lover and a human being who was deeply affected by the various American crises in 2020 and 2021, I found a lot to enjoy and relate to in this excellent book by Terry Barr. Not only does Terry share his own experiences and feelings from those challenging times, but he also shares music that helped him, and I’m sure many others, through those very dark days. It’s often been said that the music each person listens to is the personal soundtrack for their own life. If this is true, and I believe it is, Terry Barr’s music playlists in this book have provided each of us with hundreds of wonderful additions to our own personal soundtracks. Music to help make our dark days brighter and our light days even lighter.”

-Pierce McIntyre, Founder and Chief Editor of Plethora of Pop on Medium.com

“Terry Barr’s American Crisis Playlist masterfully weaves memoir with the collective cultural narrative of music to mitigate terrifying, polarizing shifts in the political landscape that obliquely whisper all the way back to his young years in the South. You can pick thread’s of Terry Barr’s life in recurring characters and forgotten faces that come back to haunt like a song. American Crisis Playlist holds vigil through music to cope with the Orange Plague, the ultimate guise of emerging violence, hate, intolerance and fear. Barr offers refuge and a place to relate where music becomes a lens for literature, culture, politics and personal growth. The 520+ song playlist contains decades of eclectic tunes with deep cuts, concert trips, music history and narratives of growing up through music. His playlist sustains, gives us pause and feels as warmly relatable as his voice. Reading Dr. Barr will feel like sharing records in his living room. I can’t think of memoir or diary writing that has the same fidelity.”

-Jessica Lee McMillan, author, What You Exceed


March 7
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Categories:


M. Judson Booksellers
130 S. Main St.
Greenville, 29601 United States