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Born in the summer of 1912, Woody Guthrie remains one of the most significant figures in American folk music to this day. While most Americans know his iconic anthem This Land Is Your Land , surprisingly few understand Guthrie's place in the greater context of American radicalism and protest in the 1930s and beyond. In Searching for Woody Guthrie, Ron Briley embarks on a chronological exploration of Guthrie's music in the vein of American radicalism and civil rights. Briley begins this journey with an overview of five key periods in Guthrie's life and, in the chapters that follow, analyses his political ideas through primary and secondary source materials. While numerous biographies on Woody Guthrie exist - including Guthrie's own 1943 autobiography - this book takes a different approach. Less biographical and more thematic in nature, Searching for Woody Guthrie centres around Guthrie's faith in the common working people of America, bringing together People's Daily World Woody Sez newspaper columns, Guthrie centennial secondary source texts, research in the Woody Guthrie Archives, and Briley's own personal reflections to present a narrative that is at once personal to the author and relatable to America's rural working class. Interlacing Guthrie's music with his own geographic and economic background, Briley presents an original and eloquent chronology of Guthrie's life and work in what amounts to a compelling new case for why that work, more than fifty years after Guthrie's death, continues to leave its mark.
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.
Canada's Prince Edward Island is home to one of the oldest and most vibrant fiddling traditions in North America. First established by Scottish immigrants in the late eighteenth century, it incorporated the influence of a later wave of Irish immigrants as well as the unique rhythmic sensibilities of the Acadian French, the Island's first European inhabitants. In Couldn't Have a Wedding without the Fiddler, renowned musician and folklorist Ken Perlman combines oral history, ethnography, and musical insight to present a captivating portrait of Prince Edward Island fiddling and its longstanding importance to community life. Couldn't Have a Wedding without the Fiddler draws heavily on interviews conducted with 150 fiddlers and other Islanders -including singers, dancers, music instructors, community leaders, and event organizers-whose memories span decades. The book thus colorfully brings to life a time not so very long ago when virtually any occasion-a wedding, harvest, house warming, holiday, or the need to raise money for local institutions such as schools and churchs-was sufficient excuse to hold a dance, with the fiddle player at the center of the celebration. Perlman explores how fiddling skills and traditions were learned and passed down through the generations and how individual fiddlers honed their distinctive playing styles. He also examines the Island's history and material culture, fiddlers' values and attitudes, the role of radio and recordings, the fiddlers' repertoire, fiddling contests, and the ebb and flow of the fiddling tradition, including efforts over the last few decades to keep the music alive in the face of modernization and the passing of old-timers. Rounding out the book is a rich array of photographs, musical examples, dance diagrams, and a discography. The inaugural volume in the Charles K. Wolfe American Music Series, Couldn't Have a Wedding without the Fiddler is, in the words of series editor Ted Olson, clearly among the more significant studies of a local North American music tradition to be published in recent years.