Many Musics of America

Tyler Fritts

Dr. J. Tyler Fritts is an ethnomusicologist studying community and race in the blues and Memphis music. He holds a BA in General Music (Berea College, 2007), a MM in Music History and Literature (University of Louisville, 2010), and a PhD in Musicology/Southern Regional Studies (University of Memphis, 2016). He has been an adjunct instructor at Rhodes College since 2016, where he has developed and taught classes in the history of the blues, African American music, world music, and the innovative music appreciation replacement Music, Myth, and Magic. Fritts also served as the Area Coordinator (Writing, Research, and Archives) for the Mike Curb Institute of Music at Rhodes College where he oversaw the archives, the art zine Dredge, and the Memphis music podcast Beyond Beale (a 2020 and 2021 NPR Student Podcast Challenge National Honorable Mention). Fritts is also a faculty member of the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies, where he guides creative and innovative student projects concerning community, race, history, gender, and music. Additionally, Fritts was a visiting professor of Popular Music and Media Studies the Universtsität Paderborn, in Germany in 2019. His article on lyric formulas in traditional blues composition can be found in the Jan. 2020 issue of Ethnomusicology. His essay and liner notes on Memphis blues musician Furry Lewis will be published as part of the upcoming Memphis Blues: 1914 – 1969 Box Set by Bear Family Records. He has presented his work at local, regional, national, and international conferences. He also serves as judge for the International Blues Challenge, hosted annually in Memphis by the Blues Foundation. Fritts is a first-generation student from Appalachia.