Jerry Zolten

Jerry Zolten
J. Jerome Zolten
Alma mater Penn State
Occupation associate professor
Employer Penn State Altoona
Style roots music
Awards Kjell Meling Award for Distinction in the Arts and Humanities

Jerry Zolten is an American writer and advocate of roots music. He is known as the author of a book tracing the 30-plus year career of the African-American Dixie Hummingbirds gospel group and their influence on both sacred and secular music. Zolten is also known for numerous articles and CD liner notes on blues, country, and gospel music. He is an associate professor at Penn State University.


Undergraduate Years

As an undergraduate at Penn State, he was a member of a jug band, the New Old Time Wooly Thumpers. The Wooly Thumpers opened for Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company at a Penn State performance and also played at venues as diverse as the Jawbone Coffeehouse and Lewisburg Penitentary.[1]

Music Production and Criticism

Zolten was also instrumental in resurrecting the career of the Grammy-winning Fairfield Four, producing two CDs, Wreckin' the House/Live at Mt. Hope (Dead Reckoning) and, by their bass singer Isaac Freeman, Beautiful Stars (Lost Highway). Among his public radio productions are Chimpin' the Blues [1], a history of early blues and pre-blues co-hosted with underground cartoonist Robert Crumb, In the Spirit [2], a history of Black gospel music, and Boppin' With Pekar [3], an overview of jazz history with Harvey Pekar of American Splendor and special guest, artist Phoebe Gloeckner.


In 2010, he was named as the recipient of the Kjell Meling Award for Distinction in the Arts and Humanities.[2]


  • Zolten, J. Jerome; Phillips, Gerald M. (1985) (book). Instructor's guide for Speaking to an audience : a practical method of preparing and performing. Indianapolis: ITT Bobbs-Merrill Educational Pub. Co.. ISBN 0672616262. OCLC 10996060. 
  • Zolten, J. Jerome (1997). "In Memoriam: Samuel Bayard". Sing Out! (May). 
  • Kelly, Lynne; Robert Duran; J Jerome Zolten (2002). "The effect of reticence on college students' use of electronic mail to communicate with faculty". Communication Education (Taylor & Francis) 50 (2): 170–176. ISSN 0363-4523. OCLC 630732322. 
  • Zolten, J. Jerome (2009). "The Beatles as Recording Artists". In Womack, Ken. The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521869652. 
  • Bernhard, Mark; Womack, Kenneth; Zolten, J Jerome (2007). Glory days : a Bruce Springsteen celebration. Interdisciplinary literary studies. 9. Altoona, PA. OCLC 436997429. 


  • Interviewed...Jerry Jazz Musician [4]
  • Interviewed...Research/Penn State [5]
  • Entry on Penn State experts database
  • Cited in...Santoro, Gene, Highway 61 Revisited/The Tangled Roots of American Jazz, Blues, Rock & Country Music [6]


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