Can't You Hear Me Callin': The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass

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9780306810541: Can't You Hear Me Callin': The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass

Considering the range of stars that have claimed Bill Monroe as an influence—Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Jerry Garcia are just a few—it can be said that no single artist has had as broad an impact on American popular music as he did. For sixty years, Monroe was a star at the Grand Ole Opry, and when he died in 1996, he was universally hailed as "the Father of Bluegrass." But the personal life of this taciturn figure remained largely unknown. Delving into everything from Monroe's professional successes to his bitter rivalries, from his isolated childhood to his reckless womanizing, veteran bluegrass journalist Richard D. Smith has created a three-dimensional portrait of this brilliant, complex, and contradictory man. Featuring over 120 interviews, this scrupulously researched work—a Chicago Tribune Choice Selection, New York Times Notable Book, and Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2000—stands as the authoritative biography of a true giant of American music.

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The legendary mandolinist and bandleader Bill Monroe wove his personal vision through more than 60 tireless years of recording and performing, inventing almost single-handedly the music that is now known--in a nod to his first band, the Blue Grass Boys--as bluegrass. In his thoughtful biography Can't You Hear Me Callin', Richard D. Smith argues that "no single artist has had as broad an impact on American music." As evidence, he highlights dozens of country and rock & roll musicians, both white and black, who were inspired by Monroe's powerful mandolin playing on the Grand Ole Opry's weekly broadcasts. (Chuck Berry's "Maybelline," for example, is an almost note-for-note copy of Monroe's instrumental "Ida Red.") Until now, however, Monroe's hesitation to reveal personal details has kept his personality as mysterious as one of the foggy mountaintops he sang about in his signature high lonesome tenor.

Bluegrass audiences required a rural, Southern authenticity from the "Father of Bluegrass," and Monroe was slow to deny their exaggerations. Smith, however, dismisses many of the backwoodsy stories that grew up around the Monroe myth, instead emphasizing truer biographical elements: loneliness, fear of abandonment, compulsiveness with women. Perhaps the book's main scholarly step forward is the depth of interviews and research the author conducted with the women in Monroe's life. Indeed, Smith remarks that "without exception," none of Monroe's platonic or romantic women friends had been interviewed before. These women reveal a second Bill Monroe, relaxed and gentle in private despite his imperious manner onstage.

Much of the book relies on the archives of the late Ralph Rinzler, a Smithsonian folklorist whose plans to write a Monroe biography were thwarted by his untimely death. Taking up where Rinzler left off, Smith employs solid scholarship and thorough fieldwork, yet he remains clearly in awe of his subject, ranking him as a "true giant of American music" on the level of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Hank Williams, and Charles Ives. Can't You Hear Me Callin' is the first published attempt at a comprehensive, critical biography of Bill Monroe. Surely, it won't be the last--a testament to the enigmatic genius whose every note extended one of our most emotive and demanding musical genres. --Edward Skoog

About the Author:

Richard D. Smith is the author of Bluegrass: An Informal Guide and Images of America: Princeton and has written for the New York Times, Bluegrass Unlimited, and the Journal of Country Music, among others. A musician who plays the mandolin and guitar, he lives in Rocky Hill, New Jersey.

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Descrizione libro The Perseus Books Group, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Considering the range of stars that have claimed Bill Monroe as an influence,Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Jerry Garcia are just a few,it can be said that no single artist has had as broad an impact on American popular music as he did. For sixty years, Monroe was a star at the Grand Ole Opry, and when he died in 1996, he was universally hailed as the Father of Bluegrass. But the personal life of this taciturn figure remained largely unknown. Delving into everything from Monroe s professional successes to his bitter rivalries, from his isolated childhood to his reckless womanizing, veteran bluegrass journalist Richard D. Smith has created a three-dimensional portrait of this brilliant, complex, and contradictory man. Featuring over 120 interviews, this scrupulously researched work,a Chicago Tribune Choice Selection, New York Times Notable Book, and Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2000,stands as the authoritative biography of a true giant of American music. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780306810541

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Descrizione libro INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US, United Kingdom, 2001. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Considering the range of stars that have claimed Bill Monroe as an influence,Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Jerry Garcia are just a few,it can be said that no single artist has had as broad an impact on American popular music as he did. For sixty years, Monroe was a star at the Grand Ole Opry, and when he died in 1996, he was universally hailed as the Father of Bluegrass. But the personal life of this taciturn figure remained largely unknown. Delving into everything from Monroe s professional successes to his bitter rivalries, from his isolated childhood to his reckless womanizing, veteran bluegrass journalist Richard D. Smith has created a three-dimensional portrait of this brilliant, complex, and contradictory man. Featuring over 120 interviews, this scrupulously researched work,a Chicago Tribune Choice Selection, New York Times Notable Book, and Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2000,stands as the authoritative biography of a true giant of American music. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780306810541

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Descrizione libro The Perseus Books Group, United States, 2001. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Considering the range of stars that have claimed Bill Monroe as an influence,Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Jerry Garcia are just a few,it can be said that no single artist has had as broad an impact on American popular music as he did. For sixty years, Monroe was a star at the Grand Ole Opry, and when he died in 1996, he was universally hailed as the Father of Bluegrass. But the personal life of this taciturn figure remained largely unknown. Delving into everything from Monroe s professional successes to his bitter rivalries, from his isolated childhood to his reckless womanizing, veteran bluegrass journalist Richard D. Smith has created a three-dimensional portrait of this brilliant, complex, and contradictory man. Featuring over 120 interviews, this scrupulously researched work,a Chicago Tribune Choice Selection, New York Times Notable Book, and Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2000,stands as the authoritative biography of a true giant of American music. Codice libro della libreria BZE9780306810541

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