Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Half Title, Series Info, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-viii

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. ix-x

This is a book about music writing, but it’s inspired by decades of informal conversations I’ve shared around kitchen tables and on bar stools in Boston and San Francisco, in my dad’s car, in high school Spanish class (sorry, Mr. Allen), and on a dilapidated screened-in porch on Berkshire Street in Rochester, New York. ...

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 1-16

Although I am writing a book about the written word, I begin with sound. I was awakened to the world by the music of my parents’ voices and by the din of my immediate surroundings, which on the eastern shore of Maryland was gentle: breezes on the riverside, waterfowl on the wing. Reading was still a long time off, as was writing. ...

read more

1. Hip Americana: The Cultural Criticism of Greil Marcus

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 17-50

In 1976, as many in our nation were celebrating the Bicentennial and listening to AM radio schlock like “Afternoon Delight,” I persuaded my father to buy me an oversized paperback I had been perusing at the mall. The book was the Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll, a landmark collaboration edited by Jim Miller. Throughout my teenage years, I pored over its photographs, ...

read more

2. “Life’s Little Ups and Downs”: Peter Guralnick and Roots Biography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 51-91

In graduate school, I regularly cast aside advice from professors and wallowed in what’s known, pejoratively, as the “biographical fallacy.” As budding post-structural critics, we were encouraged to frame discussion of literary texts with an array of theories and to regard authorial intent as a fiction. ...

read more

3. “Searching for a Truer Sound”: No Depression Magazine

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 92-129

Soliciting southern radio markets in 1955, Sun Records founder Sam Phillips attempted to promote his latest musical discovery, Elvis Presley. To his chagrin, he faced a round of rejections from R&B deejays who played Sun’s early singles but wouldn’t play Elvis. Fats Washington explained his rejection of Presley in decidedly down-home terms: ...

read more

4. “Learning to Live on Your Own”: Growing Up in DIY America

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 130-184

In 1986, having just graduated from college, I lived in a furnished room in a rickety apartment house one block down from the independent bookstore where I earned the minimum wage. I was in a new city, broke, staring college loans in the face, but actually pretty happy. Many nights, I dined alone on spinach salad, Progresso soup, and Genesee Cream Ale. ...

read more

Epilogue

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 185-188

In It’s Just the Normal Noises, I’ve attempted to underscore the connection between rock music and serious thought in an American context, and to showcase writers who have put that connection on the page. The impulse to write can be mysterious. “Somewheres back I took the time to start writin’,” Bob Dylan confessed in a 1963 Town Hall program, ...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 189-208

Works Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 209-220

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 221-228

Further Series Titles

pdf iconDownload PDF