Texas Tech University

Curtis Peoples

Archivist
Crossroads of Music Archive at the Southwest Collection
University Libraries

What are your research objectives and interests?

My research interests center on history, music and place. As an archivist for the Crossroads of Music Archive in the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, my main focus is the music history of West Texas. It is exhilarating and a privilege to collect and preserve music collections to share with others. I also research music from areas around the globe, which in turn helps me when creating my own original music.

My research objective is to inform others about the rich musical history of our region. My primary objective, as an archivist, is to save the region's musical heritage by collecting historical and contemporary materials. Utilizing archival materials and gained knowledge, I teach others in the classroom, give conference presentations and curate exhibits, which are presented on campus and in the greater community. When I am performing music, I try to incorporate relatable stories about my work as a music archivist at TTU. I see my work in academia as extending beyond a 9-to-5 job and integrated into many facets of my personal life.

peoples with recording machineHow do you feel your research impacts the globe?

Music is a worldwide language, and West Texas music is a recognizable dialect. Since Buddy Holly's meteoric rise, West Texas music has been heard and appreciated by many around the globe. I want to continue to provide the world access to the region's musical talent, especially historical artists that have been somewhat forgotten or overlooked.

What types of service projects have you been involved with?

Through the years I donated a considerable amount of my time to service in the community, the institution and within my profession. At Texas Tech I have served as a mentor to students and served on numerous committees within the library and for the greater university. Within the local community, I have served on the Arts Alliance Board, taught music to children at the Buddy Holly Center, and helped teach music interaction to mentally challenged people at the YWCA . Professionally, I currently serve as chair for the South Plains College Sound Technology Advisory Board, chair for the Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Education and Training Committee and as the assistant conference planner for ARSC.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on a book that will be the first comprehensive music history of Lubbock, Texas. I recently completed a chapter for publication with Kaley Daniel, marketing director for the TTU Libraries, titled "Sounding Out: Texas Tech Libraries' Crossroads Recording Studio, a Creative Process Service." I will be presenting two conference papers in spring 2017. One is about Margaret Lewis Warwick. She is a West Texas native who performed on the Louisiana Hayride and now owns the organization with her husband Alton. The second presentation will highlight famous fiddle players captured on rare and unique sound recordings in the Texas panhandle from the 1940s-1960s.

I am developing new course material that I hope to teach in the near future: Underrepresented Music in Texas. The course will address how people identify with music in Texas by examining topics like race and ethnicity, gender, age and social class. I am also currently writing and recording a new album of original songs that will be based around country, blues and folk music styles.

peoples with lubbock peace festival posterWhere do you find your inspiration?

I find inspiration everywhere: the environment, people, books, archival collections and occasionally the internet. I remain aware, listen and always keep an open mind. Inspiration can be found at any time, so when it happens you have to be ready to act upon it, or at least take a note to explore it at a later time. Awareness and assessment often lead to creativeness.

What advice do you have for new faculty members about balancing the components of Integrated Scholarship—teaching, research, and service—in their careers?

Although you may focus heavily on one aspect, like research or teaching, make sure to devote time to service. Through service work I have made very important contacts and have been exposed to new ideas that helped me advance in my academic career and life in general. Actually, all three components form a symbiotic relationship and should be embraced equally.

More about Curtis Peoples

Curtis Peoples is an archivist for the Crossroads of Music Archive at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library at Texas Tech University.  Peoples has 19 years of experience in archival work. After working for the Vietnam Archive for five years, in 2002 he helped launch the Crossroads of Music Archive in the SWC/SCL. He is the archivist for the collection and head of the Crossroads Recording Studio in the TTU Library. Additionally, he is a musician who has worked in the music business for three decades. He is a graduate and former instructor of the Sound Technology program at South Plains College. He received his doctorate in history from Texas Tech. Peoples teaches the History of West Texas Music in the TTU Honors College. His research centers on music and place.