Since the 1960s, the hybrid popular music called luk thung has embodied the aspirations, frustrations, and sorrows of Thailand's working class. Global scholarship, however, has been slow in pulling back the curtain on this seminal genre. In this pioneering book, ethnomusicologist James Mitchell traces the history of luk thung , lays out its musical influences and characteristics, and gives an inside view into the world of luk thung through ethnographic research with singers, songwriters, fans, and other professionals in the entertainment industry. Throughout this account, the author maintains a focus on the historically overlooked region of northeastern Thailand and its intricate connections with luk thung . This culminates in the groundbreaking final chapter, which refutes the widespread opinion that luk thung is an apolitical genre, not only through a close look at its high-profile role in the political turmoil of recent years but also by tracing currents of protest and sociopolitical commentary back to the music's origins.