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Blue Guitar Highway Cover

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Blue Guitar Highway

Paul Metsa

This is a musician’s tale: the story of a boy growing up on the Iron Range, playing his guitar at family gatherings, coming of age in the psychedelic seventies, and honing his craft as a pro in Minneapolis, ground zero of American popular music in the mid-eighties. “There is a drop of blood behind every note I play and every word I write,” Paul Metsa says. And it’s easy to believe, as he conducts us on a musical journey across time and country, navigating switchbacks, detours, dead ends, and providing us the occasional glimpse of the promised land on the blue guitar highway.

His account captures the thrill of the Twin Cities when acts like the Replacements, Husker Dü, and Prince were remaking pop music. It takes us right onto the stages he shared with stars like Billy Bragg, Pete Seeger, and Bruce Springsteen. And it gives us a close-up, dizzying view of the roller-coaster ride that is the professional musician’s life, played out against the polarizing politics and intimate history of the past few decades of American culture. Written with a songwriter’s sense of detail and ear for poetry, Paul Metsa’s book conveys all the sweet absurdity, dry humor, and passion for the language of music that has made his story sing.

Bluegrass Bluesman Cover

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Bluegrass Bluesman

A Memoir

A pivotal member of the hugely successful bluegrass band Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, Dobro pioneer Josh Graves (1927-2006) was a living link between bluegrass music and the blues. In Bluegrass Bluesman, this influential performer shares the story of his lifelong career in music._x000B__x000B_In lively anecdotes, Graves describes his upbringing in East Tennessee and the climate in which bluegrass music emerged during the 1940s. Deeply influenced by the blues, he adapted Earl Scruggs's revolutionary banjo style to the Dobro resonator slide guitar and gave the Foggy Mountain Boys their distinctive sound. Graves's accounts of daily life on tour through the 1950s and 1960s reveal the band's dedication to musical excellence, Scruggs's leadership, and an often grueling life on the road. He also comments on his later career when he played in Lester Flatt's Nashville Grass and the Earl Scruggs Revue and collaborated with the likes of Boz Scaggs, Charlie McCoy, Kenny Baker, Eddie Adcock, Jesse McReynolds, Marty Stuart, Jerry Douglas, Alison Krauss, and his three musical sons. A colorful storyteller, Graves brings to life the world of an American troubadour and the mountain culture that he never left behind._x000B_

Blues All Day Long Cover

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Blues All Day Long

The Jimmy Rogers Story

Wayne Everett Goins

In Blues All Day Long , Wayne Everett Goins mines seventy-five hours of interviews with Rogers' family, collaborators, and peers to follow a life spent in the blues. Goins' account takes Rogers from recording Chess classics and barnstorming across the South to a late-in-life renaissance that included new music, entry into the Blues Hall of Fame, and high profile tours with Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. Informed and definitive, Blues All Day Long fills a gap in twentieth century music history with the story of one of the blues' eminent figures and one of the genre's seminal bands.

Blues Before Sunrise Cover

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Blues Before Sunrise

The Radio Interviews

Steve Cushing

This collection assembles the best interviews from Steve Cushing's long-running radio program Blues Before Sunrise, the nationally syndicated, award-winning program focusing on vintage blues and R&B. As both an observer and performer, Cushing has been involved with the blues scene in Chicago for decades. His candid, colorful interviews with prominent blues players, producers, and deejays reveal the behind-the-scenes world of the formative years of recorded blues. Many of these oral histories detail the careers of lesser-known but greatly influential blues performers and promoters._x000B__x000B_The book focuses in particular on pre-World War II blues singers, performers active in 1950s Chicago, and nonperformers who contributed to the early blues world. Interviewees include Alberta Hunter, one of the earliest African American singers to transition from Chicago's Bronzeville nightlife to the international spotlight, and Ralph Bass, one of the greatest R&B producers of his era. Blues expert, writer, record producer, and cofounder of Living Blues Magazine Jim O'Neal provides the book's foreword.

Blues Empress in Black Chattanooga Cover

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Blues Empress in Black Chattanooga

Bessie Smith and the Emerging Urban South

Michelle R. Scott

As one of the first African American vocalists to be recorded, Bessie Smith is a prominent figure in American popular culture and African American history. Michelle R. Scott uses Smith's life as a lens to investigate broad issues in history, including industrialization, Southern rural to urban migration, black community development in the post-emancipation era, and black working-class gender conventions. Focusing her analysis on Chattanooga, Tennessee, the large industrial and transportation center where Smith was born, Scott explores how the expansion of the Southern railroads and the development of iron foundries, steel mills, and sawmills created vast employment opportunities in the postbellum era, contributing to Chattanooga's African American community and an emergent blues culture.

Blues, How Do You Do? Cover

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Blues, How Do You Do?

Paul Oliver and the Transatlantic Story of the Blues

By Christian O'Connell

Christian O’Connell’s Blues, How Do You Do? examines Oliver’s contributions to the writing of blues history and to popular conceptions of the music during the post-war revival. The book focuses on the early days of blues appreciation in an austere post-war Britain, which includes detailed considerations of the scholar’s encounter with the first blues musicians to visit Britain in the 1950s within the context of the post-war jazz revival. The book also considers Oliver’s record collecting and analysis of blues lyrics, and the oral history and photography from the legendary field trip the US in 1960, which included the “discovery” of previously unrecorded musicians such as Mance Lipscomb. O’Connell’s study ends with Oliver’s creation of the first blues narrative, The Story of the Blues.

Blues Traveling Cover

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Blues Traveling

The Holy Sites of Delta Blues, Third Edition

At a crossroads in the Mississippi Delta, Robert Johnson is said to have sold his soul to the Devil so that he could become a guitar virtuoso and King of the Delta Blues. Blues Traveling: The Holy Sites of Delta Blues will tell you where that legendary deal was supposed to have been made and guide you to all the other hallowed grounds that nourished Mississippi's signature music. Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, Memphis Minnie, Jimmie Rodgers, Bessie Smith, Muddy Waters, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Howlin' Wolf, B. B. King, Little Milton, Elvis Presley, Bobby Rush, Junior Kimbrough, R. L. Burnside-the list of great artists with Mississippi connections goes on and on. A trip through Mississippi blues sites is a pilgrimage every music lover ought to make at least once in a lifetime, to see the juke joints and churches, to visit the birthplaces and graves of blues greats, to walk down the dusty roads and over the levee, to eat some barbecue and greens, to sit on the bank of the Mississippi River, and to hear some down-home blues music. Blues Traveling is the first and only guidebook to Mississippi's musical places and blues history. With photographs, maps, easy-to-follow directions, and an informative, entertaining text, this book will lead you in and out of Clarksdale, Greenwood, Helena (Arkansas), Rolling Fork, Jackson, Natchez, Bentonia, Rosedale, Itta Bena, and dozens of other locales that generations of blues musicians have lived in, traveled through, and sung about. Stories, legends, and lyrics are woven into the text so that each backroad and barroom comes alive. Touring Mississippi with Blues Traveling is like having a knowledgeable and entertaining guide at your side. Even people with no immediate plans to visit Mississippi will enjoy reading the book for its photos, descriptions, and lore that will broaden their understanding and enhance their appreciation of the blues. Steve Cheseborough is an independent scholar and blues musician. His work has been published in Living Blues, Blues Access, Mississippi, and the Southern Register.

Blues Unlimited Cover

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Blues Unlimited

Essential Interviews from the Original Blues Magazine

Mike Rowe

In 1963, the launch of the magazine Blues Unlimited helped fuel the then-nascent, now-legendary blues revival of the time. For the next twenty-five years, Blues Unlimited heightened the literacy of blues fans, documented the latest news and career histories of countless musicians, and set the standard for revealing long-form interviews. Conducted by Bill Greensmith, Leadbitter, Mike Rowe, John Broven, and others, and covering a who's who of blues masters, these essential interviews from twenty-five years of Blues Unlimited shed light on their subjects while gleaning colorful detail from the rough and tumble of blues history. Here is an eyewitness account of the blues written in neon lights and tears, an American epic of struggle and transcendence, of Saturday night triumphs and Sunday morning obscurity, of clean picking and dirty deals. Featuring interviews with: Fontella Bass, Ralph Bass, Fred Below, Juke Boy Bonner, Roy Brown, Albert Collins, James Cotton, Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, Joe Dean, Henry Glover, L.C. Green, Dr. Hepcat, Red Holloway, Louise Johnson, Floyd Jones, Moody Jones, Freddie King, Big Maceo Merriweather, Walter Mitchell, Louis Myers, Johnny Otis, Snooky Pryor, Sparks Brothers, Jimmy Thomas, Jimmy Walker, and Baby Boy Warren.

Bobby Braddock Cover

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Bobby Braddock

A Life on Nashville’s Music Row

Bobby Braddock

If you know country music, you know Bobby Braddock. Even if you don't know his name, you know the man's work. "He Stopped Loving Her Today." "D-I-V-O-R-C-E." "Golden Ring." "Time Marches On." "I Wanna Talk About Me." "People Are Crazy." These songs and numerous other chart-topping hits sprang from the mind of Bobby Braddock. A working songwriter and musician, Braddock has prowled the streets of Nashville's legendary Music Row since the mid-1960s, plying his trade and selling his songs. These decades of writing songs for legendary singers like George Jones, Tammy Wynette, and Toby Keith are recounted in Bobby Braddock: A Life on Nashville's Music Row, providing the reader with a stunning look at the beating heart of Nashville country music that cannot be matched.

If you're looking for insight into Nashville, the life of music in this town, and the story of a force of nature on the Row to this day, Bobby Braddock will take you there.

Boccherini’s Body Cover

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Boccherini’s Body

An Essay in Carnal Musicology

Elisabeth Le Guin

In this elegant study of the works of the undeservedly neglected composer Luigi Boccherini, Elisabeth Le Guin uses knowledge gleaned from her own playing of the cello as the keystone of her original approach to the relationship between music and embodiment. In analyzing the striking qualities of Boccherini's music—its virtuosity, repetitiveness, obsessively nuanced dynamics, delicate sonorities, and rich palette of melancholy affects—Le Guin develops a historicized critical method based on the embodied experience of the performer. In the process, she redefines the temperament of the musical Enlightenment as one characterized by urgent, volatile inquiries into the nature of the self. A CD of sound examples, performed by the author and her string quartet, is included with the book.

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