In this Book
In It’s Just the Normal Noises, Timothy Gray examines a wide array of writing about roots music from the 1960s to the 2000s. In addition to chapters on the genre-defining work of Guralnick and Marcus, he explores the influential writings of Grant Alden and Peter Blackstock, the editors of No Depression magazine, and the writers who contributed to its pages, Bill Friskicks-Warren, Ed Ward, David Cantwell, and Allison Stewart among them. A host of memoirists and novelists, from Patti Smith and Ann Powers to Eleanor Henderson and Dana Spiotta, shed light on the social effects and personal attachments of the music’s many manifestations, from punk to alt country to hardcore. The ambivalent attitudes of rock musicians toward success and failure, the meaning of soul, the formation of alternative communities through magazine readership, and the obsession of Generation X scenes with DIY production values wend through these works.
Taking a personal approach to the subject matter, Gray reads criticism and listens to music as though rock ‘n’ roll not only explains American culture, but also shores up his life. This book is for everyone who’s heard in roots rock the sound of an individual and a nation singing themselves into being.