Richard Polenberg: HEAR MY SAD STORY ….

                  Richard Polenberg HEAR MY SAD STORY: The True Tales That Inspired Stagolee, John Henry, and Other Traditional American Folksongs Cornell University Press 978-0-5017-0002-6 www.cornellpress.cornell.edu   In 1966 Phil Ochs remarked, “Before the days of television and mass media, the folksinger was … → read more

OLA BELLE REED and Southern Mountain Music On The Mason-Dixon Line

Olla Belle Reed

            Henry Glassie, Clifford R. Murphy, Douglas Dowling Peach OLA BELLE REED and Southern Mountain Music on the Mason-Dixon Line Dust to Digital 978-0-9817342-7-9 www.dust-digital.com   The Mason-Dixon line was created in Colonial America to end a regional boundary dispute between the British colonies of … → read more

PHIL JAMISON: Hoedowns, Reels and Frolics

        PHIL JAMISON Hoedowns, Reels and Frolics:Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance University of Illinois Press www.press.uillinois.edu   Alex Ross wrote recently in the New Yorker that “when classical-music fans hear that a new Hollywood production has a scene set at the opera or the symphony, … → read more

JOHN BYRNE COOKE: On The Road With Janis Joplin

John Byrne Cooke's On The Road With Janis Joplin

          JOHN BYRNE COOKE On The Road With Janis Joplin Berkley Books www.penguin.com   The Harvard-educated son of apprized British broadcaster Alistair Cooke and great-grand-nephew of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 74-year-old John Byrne Cooke is an award-winning author of Old West epics, an accomplished folk/bluegrass musician (the … → read more

John Prine: In Spite of Himself by EDDIE HUFFMAN

          John Prine: In Spite of Himself by EDDIE HUFFMAN University of Texas Press www.utpress.utexas.edu   John Prine In Spite of Himself is a breezy biography of the beloved, treasured songwriter and singer. As author Eddie Huffman notes in the final paragraph of the introduction his … → read more

ANDREA ROTONDO: Tom Petty: Rock n Roll Guardian

Tom Petty Book Image for Slider

          ANDREA ROTONDO Tom Petty: Rock ‘n’ Roll Guardian Omnibus Press www.omnibuspress.com   I’ve been a fan of Petty’s since his Southern Accents album, a work that really showcased his stellar songwriting. He’s a rocker with connections to folk music, doing collaborations with Bob Dylan and … → read more

IAN ZACK: Say No To The Devil: The Life and Musical Genius of Reverend Gary Davis

Say No To The Devil

          IAN ZACK Say No To The Devil: The Live and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis University of Chicago Press www.press.uchicago.edu   When someone like Bob Dylan says he’s “One of the wizards of modern music,” pay attention. And if you’re a blues aficionado, you … → read more

GARY B REID: The Music of the Stanley Brothers

          Gary B. Reid The Music of the Stanley Brothers University of Illinois Press 978-0-252-08033-3 www.press.uillinois.edu   From the Blue Sky Boys and Monroe Brothers down through the Everlys, brother duets have created some of country music’s most thrilling work. Take southwestern Virginia’s Stanley Brothers. Years … → read more

ROOTS OF THE REVIVAL: American and
    British Folk Music in the 1950s

        Ronald D. Cohen and Rachel Clare Robinson Roots of the Revival: American and     British Folk Music in the 1950s University of Illinois Press 978-0-252-08012-8 www.press.uillinois.edu   From chain-gang work songs and the skiffle music of Lonnie Donegan to the folk-blues of Josh White, the calypso of … → read more