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See below for a selection of the latest books from Country & Western music category. Presented with a red border are the Country & Western music books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Country & Western music books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!
A new edition as part of the Faber Greatest Hits - books that have taken writing about music in new and exciting directions for the twenty-first century. In his critically acclaimed book, In the Country of Country, Nicholas Dawidoff travels to the origins of country music and talks to the musicians who created this original American art form. Here, amongst others, are indelible portraits of Johnny Cash, behind whose black apparel lies a Faustian dilemma; Merle Haggard, a man as elusive as he is gifted; and Patsy Cline, a lonely figure striding out bravely in a male-dominated world. An exhilarating journey from Maces Springs, Virginia to Bakersfield, California, In the Country of Country conveys the spirit and passion that informs country music and confirms Dawidoff's reputation as one of the most gifted cultural commentators of his generation.
Country Music: A Very Short Introduction presents a compelling overview of the music and its impact on American culture. Country music has long been a marker of American identity; from our popular culture to our politics, it has provided a soundtrack to our national life. While traditionally associated with the working class, country's appeal is far broader than any other popular music style. While this music rose from the people, it is also a product of the popular music industry, and the way the music has been marketed to its audience is a key part of its story. Key artists, songs, and musical styles are highlighted that are either touchstones for a particular social event (such as Tammy Wynette's Stand By Your Man, which produced both a positive and negative backlash as a marker of women's roles in society at the beginning of the liberation movement) or that encompass broader trends in the industry (for example, Jimmie Rodgers' T for Texas was an early example of the appropriation of black musical forms by white artists to market them to a mainstream audience). While pursuing a basically chronological outline, the book is structured around certain recurring themes (such as rural vs. urban; tradition vs. innovation; male vs. female; white vs. black) that have been documented through the work of country artists from the minstrel era to today. Truly the voice of the people, country music expresses both deep patriotism as well as a healthy skepticism towards the powers that dominate American society. Country Music: A Very Short Introduction illuminates this rich tradition and assesses its legacy in American popular music culture.
With its rich but underappreciated musical heritage, Washington, D.C. is often overlooked as a cradle for punk, the birthplace of go go, and as the urban center for bluegrass in the Untied States. Capital Bluegrass: Hillbilly Music Meets Washington, D.C. richly documents the history and development of bluegrass in and around the nation's capital since it emerged in the 1950s. In his seventeenth book, American vernacular music scholar Kip Lornell discusses both well-known progressive bluegrass bands including the Country Gentlemen and the Seldom Scene, and lesser known groups like the Happy Melody Boys, Benny and Vallie Cain and the Country Clan, and Foggy Bottom. Lornell focuses on colorful figures such as the brilliant and eccentric mandolin player, Buzz Busby, and Connie B. Gay, who helped found the Country Music Association in Nashville. Moving beyond the musicians to the institutions that were central to the development of the genre, Lornell brings the reader into the nationally recognized Birchmere Music Hall, and tunes in to NPR powerhouse WAMU-FM, which for five decades broadcast as much as 40 hours a week of bluegrass programming. Dozens of images illuminate the story of bluegrass in the D.C. area, photographs and flyers that will be new to even the most veteran bluegrass enthusiast. Bringing to life a music and musical community integral to the history of the city itself, Capital Bluegrass tells an essential tale of bluegrass in the United States.
In 1927, nineteen bands gathered for a recording session in Bristol, on the Tennessee-Virginia border, including some of the most influential names in American music - the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers and more. Organized by Ralph Peer for Victor records to capitalize on the popularity of hillbilly music, the Bristol Sessions were a key moment in country music's evolution. The musicians played a variety of styles largely endemic to the mountain region. Rather than traditional sounds, Peer sought a combination of their elements, an amalgam that would form the backbone of modern country music. The reverberations of the Bristol Sessions are still felt today, yet their influence is widely misunderstood, and popular accounts of the event are more legend than history. These 19 essays offer an examination and reevaluation of the Bristol Sessions - from their germination, to the actual sessions, to their place in history and continuing influence. The first section discusses technological advances that resulted in the unmatched quality of the Bristol recordings. The second examines the people and bands involved, including Peer, responsible for many of the mistruths long attached to the event. The third gives first-hand accounts of the Bristol Sessions, while the fourth presents musicological studies of two of the prominent acts. The final section details subsequent recording sessions in Bristol and nearby Johnson City, and explores the lasting local musical legacy.
The writer of such influential songs as Pancho and Lefty, To Live's to Fly, If I Needed You, and For the Sake of the Song, Townes Van Zandt exerted an influence on at least two generations of Texas musicians that belies his relatively brief, deeply troubled life. Indeed, Van Zandt has influenced millions worldwide in the years since his death, and his impact is growing rapidly. Respected singer/songwriter John Gorka speaks for many when he says, `Pancho and Lefty' changed-it unchained-my idea of what a song could be. In this tightly woven, intelligently written book, Brian T. Atkinson interviews both well-known musicians and up-and-coming artists to reveal, in the performers' own words, how their creative careers have been shaped by the life and work of Townes Van Zandt. Kris Kristofferson, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Rodney Crowell, Lucinda Williams, and Lyle Lovett are just a few of the established musicians who share their impressions of the breathtakingly beautiful tunes and lyrics he created, along with their humorous, poignant, painful, and indelible memories of witnessing Van Zandt's rise and fall. Atkinson balances the reminiscences of seasoned veterans with the observations of relative newcomers to the international music scene, such as Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Josh Ritter, and Scott Avett (the Avett Brothers), presenting a nuanced view of Van Zandt's singular body of work, his reckless lifestyle, and his long-lasting influence. Forewords by Cowboy Jack Clement and longtime Van Zandt manager and friend Harold F. Eggers Jr. open the book, and each chapter begins with an introduction in which Atkinson provides context and background, linking each interviewee to Van Zandt's legacy. Historians, students, and fans of all music from country and folk to rock and grunge will find new insights and recall familiar pleasures as they read I'll Be Here in the Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt.
What does the 'country' in country music mean? Most interpret country as a regional or folk music that belongs to people in the hills and in honky-tonks, but Cecelia Tichi argues that it is in fact a national music form, one that belongs to all Americans. In High Lonesome, she shows that country music is strongly linked to our nation's literature and art. Country music, Tichi argues, explores the same themes that have intrigued this country's premier writers and artists over three centuries: the American road, the meaning of home, class struggle, spiritual travail, and the persistent loneliness of the American character. These are obsessions that country music artists like Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Rodney Crowell, Merle Haggard, and Emmylou Harris share with artists not thought of as 'pop'--Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, Thomas Cole, Edward Hopper, and Georgia O'Keefe. Generously illustrated with photographs of country music artists and images of American art, High Lonesome uses interviews and biographical profiles to provide an insider's look at the schooling, customs, demands, and discipline of country music--an art form that Tichi maintains is emphatically part of mainstream American culture. from the book When the poetry of Walt Whitman links up with the country music of Hank Williams, when Dolly Parton and Ralph Waldo Emerson pair up and Mark Twain and Emmylou Harris are found to have a common ground, and the vacationing traveler is also involved, then new ideas about cultural relations become possible. It is not a trivia question to ask, What does country music have in common with Thomas Jefferson, Walt Whitman, American painters Thomas Cole and Edward Hopper, and twentieth-century writers John Steinbeck and Jack Kerouac? Songs and partial songs found on the High Lonesome CD * indicates partial songs Dolly Parton, 'My Tennessee Mountain Home' Barry and Holly Tashian, 'Home' Emmylou Harris, 'Hickory Wind'* Steve Earle, 'Guitar Town' Robin and Linda Williams, 'Rolling and Rambling' Merle Haggard, 'Ramblin' Fever' Emmylou Harris, 'Lonely Street'* Emmylou Harris, 'A River for Him'* Hank Williams, 'I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry' Laurie Lewis, 'The Cowgirl's Song' Tex Ritter, 'High Noon' Dolly Parton, 'Wildflowers'* Eddy Arnold, 'Bouquet of Roses' Emmylou Harris, 'Roses in the Snow'* Emmylou Harris, 'Timberline'* Emmylou Harris, 'Red, Red Rose'* Emmylou Harris, 'Wayfaring Stranger'* Peter Rowan, 'Trail of Tears' Barry and Holly Tashian, 'Let Me See the Light' Kathy Chiavola, 'I Am a Pilgrim/We Are Pilgrims' Laurie Lewis, 'The Maple's Lament' Cody Kilby, 'Bill Cheatham' Rodney Crowell, 'Many a Long and Lonesome Highway' A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.
Texas singer-songwriter Hayes Carll declared, Ray would be at the top of the list if I were gonna read about somebody's life. In The Messenger: The Songwriting Legacy of Ray Wylie Hubbard, author, journalist, and music producer Brian T. Atkinson demonstrates why Carll and so many others hold Ray Wylie Hubbard in such high regard. Atkinson takes readers into and beyond the seedy bar in Red River, New Mexico, where the incident occurred that inspired Hubbard's most famous song, Redneck Mother. Hubbard tells the stories, and Atkinson enlists other musicians to expound on the nature of his abiding influence as songwriter, musician, and unflinching teller of uncomfortable truths. Featuring interviews with well-known artists such as Eric Church, Steve Earle, Kinky Friedman, Chris Robinson, and Jerry Jeff Walker, and also mining the insights of up-and-comers such as Elizabeth Cook, Jaren Johnston, Ben Kweller, Aaron Lee Tasjan, and Paul Thorn, The Messenger makes clear why so many musicians across a wide spectrum admire Ray Wylie Hubbard. Readers will also learn why Redneck Mother, the song that put Hubbard on the map for most listeners, is also a curse, of sorts, in its diminution of both his spiritual depth as a lyricist and his multidimensional musical reach. As Hubbard himself says, The song probably should have never been written, let alone recorded, let alone recorded again.. . . the most important part of songwriting is right after you write a song, ask yourself, Can I sing this for twenty-five years?' Atkinson's work makes a convincing case that Ray Wylie Hubbard's truest and most lasting contributions will long outlive him. And, with a couple of good breaks, they may even outlive Redneck Mother.
From his earliest recordings to his posthumously released albums, the haunting baritone of Waylon Jennings marked him as an extraordinarily individualistic country music artist. This biography by the late R. Serge Denisoff, first published in 1983, recounts Waylon's west Texas upbringing, his introduction to music as a radio announcer at thirteen years old, his tutelage by rock star Buddy Holly, and his eventual stellar yet stormy music career. Where the original 1983 biography ends, music scholar Travis Stimeling picks up with the waning years of Waylon's recording and performing. Stimeling recounts in the new afterword Waylon's continued musical success in the early 1980s-though his financial troubles and battle with drugs and alcohol would soon cost him both professionally and personally-his triumphant and sober return in the 1990s and collaboration with longtime recording artists in the industry, and his continued musical relevance in an evolving industry driven by Nashville's urban popularization of country music. Additionally, series editor Ted Olson, in his foreword, touches on Waylon's legacy and the continued influence of his outlaw style of country music. Fans of Waylon, country music, and the Nashville music scene are sure to find this second edition of R. Serge Denisoff's classic biography a welcome addition to the publications on the father of outlaw country.
The music today known as classic country originated in the South in the 1920s. Influenced by blues and folk music, instrumentation was typically guitar, fiddle, bass, steel guitar, and later drums, with lyrics and arrangements rooted in tradition. This book covers some of the genre's legendary artists, from its heyday in the 1940s to its decline in the early 1970s. Revivalists keeping the traditions alive in the 21st century are also explored. Drawing on original interviews with artists and their associates, biographical profiles chronicle their lives on the road and in the studio, as well as the stories behind popular songs. Thirty-six performers are profiled, including Ernest Tubb, Ray Price, Loretta Lynn, Bill Anderson, Faron Young, Mickey Gilley, Freddie Hart, Jerry Reed, Charley Pride, David Frizzell, The Cactus Blossoms, The Secret Sisters, and Pokey LaFarge.
On January 13, 1968, Johnny Cash (1932-2003) took the stage at Folsom Prison in California. The concert and the live album, At Folsom Prison, propelled him to worldwide superstardom. He reached new Audiences, ignited tremendous growth in the country music industry, and connected with fans in a way no other artist has before or since. Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison: The Making of a Masterpiece, Revised and Updated is a riveting account of that day, what led to it, and what followed. Michael Streissguth skillfully places the album and the concert in the larger context of Cash's artistic development, the era's popular music, and California's prison system, uncovering new angles and exploding a few myths along the way. Scrupulously researched, rich with the author's unprecedented archival access to Folsom Prison's and Columbia Records' archives, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison shows how Cash forever became a champion of the downtrodden, as well as one of the more enduring forces in American music. This revised edition includes new images and updates throughout the volume, including previously unpublished material.
Celebrity has long been tied to political aspirations in American history. Decades before the United States had a president from the realm of reality TV or the movies, we had scores of politicians with strong connections to the world of country music. Performers of so-called old-time, hillbilly, and country music not only used their popularity to attract votes, but also became major supporters of nonmusical politicians. Tracing the long intertwining histories of country music and US politics gives us more than a sideways history of American populism and conservatism; it gives us a new view of the complexities of the American political character. In I'd Fight the World Peter La Chapelle traces the bonds between country music and politics from the rise of amateur fiddler-politicians-such as populist firebrand Tom Watson and Tennessee governors Bob and Alf Taylor in the nineteenth century-to twentieth-century figures like Pappy O'Daniel, Roy Acuff, George C. Wallace, Al Gore, Sr., and Richard Nixon, who all played or harnessed music for electoral success. La Chapelle brings the story to the present with examinations of the campaigns of musician-candidates like Kinky Friedman and Rob Quist, as well as recent political endorsements from figures like Hank Williams, Jr., Ralph Stanley, and Willie Nelson. The performers and politicians in I'd Fight the World both ride with and push against the prevailing cultural winds, with some acting as advocates for the rural poor and dispossessed and others giving voice to religious and racially-based anger. La Chapelle convincingly argues that country music campaigning has not only helped elect more celebrities than any other sector of entertainment but has profoundly influenced the American political landscape itself. These musicians and politicians walked the line between exploiting their celebrity and righteously taking on the world.