Jerry Zolten... an educator, author, musician, CD & radio producer, and speaker in the realm of American Roots Music and Popular Culture.  

An Associate Professor of Communication Arts & Sciences and American Studies at Penn State Altoona, he teaches a variety of courses...

Read about his research and creative work at Penn State Research


Communication Arts & Sciences 100: Communicating in Public

American Studies 105: The Cultural Roots of Rock 'n' Roll

Integrative Arts 100W:  Stand-Up Comedy and Social Change

Communication 497G: TV and 1950s Culture


Jerry Zolten is the author of Great God A'Mighty! The Dixie Hummingbirds: Celebrating the Rise of Soul Gospel Music
[Oxford University Press, 2003]

Great God A'Mighty! tells the story of the renowned Dixie Hummingbirds and their rise from the Jim Crow South of the 1930s to top Grammy-winning gospel group and collaborators with Paul Simon on the 1973 pop hit, "Loves Me (Like a Rock)."

He is the producer of CDs by the Fairfield Four and their bass singer Isaac Freeman:

The Fairfield Four

Wreckin' the House: The Fairfield Four

Dead Reckoning Records 

Isaac Freeman

Beautiful Stars: Isaac Freeman and the Bluebloods

Lost Highway Records

He is the creator/host of public radio programming:

In the Spirit A history of African American gospel music featuring interviews with Horace Boyer, Isaac Freeman of the Fairfield Four, Ira Tucker and Howard Carroll of the Dixie Hummingbirds.

On tour with the Fairfield Four and the Dixie Hummingbirds/Rochester,New York, 1991

  From left to right:  Rev. Willie Richardson, James Walker, Paul Owens, Ira Tucker, Howard Carroll, Jerry Zolten, Wilson Waters, Isaac Freeman, Robert Hamlett, James S. Hill

Chimpin' the Blues  A history of early blues on phonograph records co-hosted with fellow record collector and cartoonist Robert Crumb.



134 Community Arts Center
Penn State Altoona
(814) 949-5113