The man who largely created the role of country music journalist has donated hundreds of sound recordings to Special Collections. Jack Hurst, BA’64, began writing about country music in the late 1960s. His donation of rare interviews with celebrities and industry leaders from the 1970s and 1980s are a rich treasure trove of insider information from the people who made country music. Among the hundreds of recordings are interviews with legends Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton and Garth Brooks.
Hurst was the first full-time music writer for The Tennessean, the first Nashville contributing editor for Country Music Magazine and originated the country music beats at the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Chicago Tribune. In 1981, the Maryville, Tenn., native was the first recipient of the Country Music Association media achievement award. In 2001, he won Charlie Lamb Award for Excellence in Country Music Journalism in the category of lifetime achievement. His twice-weekly country music column was syndicated nationally for more than two decades, and he has written several books on country music.