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In a series of indelible portraits of country music stars, Dawidoff reveals, among others, Jimmie Rodgers, the “father of Country”; Johnny Cash, the “Man in Black”; and Patsy Cline, a lonely figure striding out bravely in a man’s world. In the Country of Country is a passionate and expansive account of a quintessentially American art form and the performers that made count In a series of indelible portraits of country music stars, Dawidoff reveals, among others, Jimmie Rodgers, the “father of Country”; Johnny Cash, the “Man in Black”; and Patsy Cline, a lonely figure striding out bravely in a man’s world. In the Country of Country is a passionate and expansive account of a quintessentially American art form and the performers that made country music what it is today.   Both deeply personal and endlessly evocative,  In the Country of Country pays tribute to the music that sprang from places like Maces Springs, Virginia, home of the Carter Family, and Bakersfield, California, where Buck Owens held sway. Bestselling author Nicholas Dawidoff takes readers to the back roads and country hollows that were home to Chet Atkins, Doc Watson, Emmylou Harris, and many more.


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In a series of indelible portraits of country music stars, Dawidoff reveals, among others, Jimmie Rodgers, the “father of Country”; Johnny Cash, the “Man in Black”; and Patsy Cline, a lonely figure striding out bravely in a man’s world. In the Country of Country is a passionate and expansive account of a quintessentially American art form and the performers that made count In a series of indelible portraits of country music stars, Dawidoff reveals, among others, Jimmie Rodgers, the “father of Country”; Johnny Cash, the “Man in Black”; and Patsy Cline, a lonely figure striding out bravely in a man’s world. In the Country of Country is a passionate and expansive account of a quintessentially American art form and the performers that made country music what it is today.   Both deeply personal and endlessly evocative,  In the Country of Country pays tribute to the music that sprang from places like Maces Springs, Virginia, home of the Carter Family, and Bakersfield, California, where Buck Owens held sway. Bestselling author Nicholas Dawidoff takes readers to the back roads and country hollows that were home to Chet Atkins, Doc Watson, Emmylou Harris, and many more.

30 review for In the Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Whitney

    In preparation for an upcoming trip to Nashville. Super informative about some well-known country stars and some new-to-me country legends. Also, he ends the book with Bruce Springsteen, so we know he's right.

  2. 5 out of 5

    East Bay J

    In The Country Of Country is enthralling. Nicholas Dawidoff has compiled hours of research and interviews with country singers and musicians and their acquaintances to put together a real down home study of some of those folks who have made country music great. From Jimmie Rodgers to Jimmie Dale Gilmore & The Flatlanders, Dawidoff uses the experiences of the people who have been there to go a long way towards explaining what country music is all about. There's a great deal of (deserved) rancor fo In The Country Of Country is enthralling. Nicholas Dawidoff has compiled hours of research and interviews with country singers and musicians and their acquaintances to put together a real down home study of some of those folks who have made country music great. From Jimmie Rodgers to Jimmie Dale Gilmore & The Flatlanders, Dawidoff uses the experiences of the people who have been there to go a long way towards explaining what country music is all about. There's a great deal of (deserved) rancor for the then current spate of Nashville rock stars masquerading as country singers. Guys like Garth Brooks don't hold much water with the real country folk, the hard core country people. While those pop singers in tight jeans and cowboy hats were pulling down millions and getting airplay all over the world, the surviving originators and torch carriers were doing what they'd always done; making music for and about the common people. They're the same people who get left out of history books and who are more or less ignored when it comes time to pass laws, get opinions or take stock of the situation. They're you and me and, if they ain't you, you ain't like me. Probably the best chapter here is on the late Johnny Cash. Somehow, maybe because of his angle for In The Country Of Country, Dawidoff puts forth a view of The Man In Black that I hadn't encountered before. That alone makes this book worth reading. But even more important is the thread of purity and purpose that runs through every story on every character in this book. Real life folks living real life and writing the songs to prove it. The historical information on life in America in the late 19th and early 20th century is as valuable as the stories of the performers. Because the performers covered range across a large expanse of years, you get a real and very clear picture of America during that time. At least, a real clear picture of what the have nots had and what they made of themselves. These stories are poetry and they contain a clean, simple beauty having little to do with rock star excess or mainstream appeal. Which isn't to say Hank Williams or Johnny Cash didn't destroy themselves with the best of them. Getting an intimate, inside look into the lives and personalities of Patsy Cline, Bill Monroe, Merle Haggard or Earl Scruggs is a real treat. Reading about these people, regardless of the obstacles they faced or the choices they made, is inspirational. I'd like to shake Dawidoff's hand and personally thank him for this book. It's something else!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    In The Country of Country bills itself as a look at the history of country music. But if apply the same method of picking and choosing what you consider "country music" as does author Nicholas Dawidoff, then half of this book has nothing to do with country music. Dawidoff is plainly not a fan of "Hot Country", which is the equivalent of Top 40 in the pop world. By discounting that as a separate style of music, then one must also throw out his chapter on Bill Monroe (not country: bluegrass), John In The Country of Country bills itself as a look at the history of country music. But if apply the same method of picking and choosing what you consider "country music" as does author Nicholas Dawidoff, then half of this book has nothing to do with country music. Dawidoff is plainly not a fan of "Hot Country", which is the equivalent of Top 40 in the pop world. By discounting that as a separate style of music, then one must also throw out his chapter on Bill Monroe (not country: bluegrass), Johnny Cash (not country: rockabilly), Jimmie Dale Gilmore (not country: alternative country), and all of his references to Bob Wills (not country: western swing). Nonetheless, this book is a compilation of a wide variety of musicians whose music fall into the greater "country" category. Make no mistake: this book is no hagiography. Dawidoff is no fan of Johnny Cash (asserting that he hadn't written a "good" song since 1958), and he shows each persona in a light that reveals their personalities - warts and all.

  4. 4 out of 5

    victor harris

    Written in 1997 so some of the information is a little dated, it is nevertheless an enjoyable tour through country music by using biographical sketches of some of its premier performers. Included in the sweep are the likes of Bill Monroe, Johnny Cash, and Emmylou Harris. Since the book was published, the distinctions between the genres have become increasingly blurred with Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood and other prominent crossover artists. This was a source of tension for traditionalists beg Written in 1997 so some of the information is a little dated, it is nevertheless an enjoyable tour through country music by using biographical sketches of some of its premier performers. Included in the sweep are the likes of Bill Monroe, Johnny Cash, and Emmylou Harris. Since the book was published, the distinctions between the genres have become increasingly blurred with Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood and other prominent crossover artists. This was a source of tension for traditionalists beginning in the 50s. The purists insisted that country was bound to rural roots and emphasized the emotional texture of music. This stands in contrast to "Hot" country embraces a broader range of performers from Elvis to many of the current divas. Regardless of one's position on defining genres, Dawidoff captures the spirit of the country as it moved from a regional to a national and even international phenomenon, and established itself with a permanent spot on the American musical landscape.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Chrissa

    Reading this was a reminder of songs that I had heard and forgotten growing up. Each section on individual singers or groups sent me to YouTube for hours of hunting through songs both familiar and unfamiliar. While I'm not a musician, I found the descriptions of the lives in the early and middle part of the twentieth century fascinating. The use of music to mark cultural boundaries and to escape (for the men)the lives they might otherwise have led while remaining connected to a community offered Reading this was a reminder of songs that I had heard and forgotten growing up. Each section on individual singers or groups sent me to YouTube for hours of hunting through songs both familiar and unfamiliar. While I'm not a musician, I found the descriptions of the lives in the early and middle part of the twentieth century fascinating. The use of music to mark cultural boundaries and to escape (for the men)the lives they might otherwise have led while remaining connected to a community offered me a perspective on the way music fences us out and links us together that I had not considered. This was an unexpected pleasure and I'm glad to have read it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steve Kohn

    IN THE COUNTRY OF COUNTRY is an enjoyable book, if not an indispensable one, where we learn about some of the roots of our marvelous American country music tree. The author has a clear respect for this music, and to understand it better, spent much time with some of its legends and traveled to their childhood homes to talk with friends and neighbors. Young fans of modern Country might not even recognize some of these legends: Harlan Howard (the great songwriter); Bill Monroe; Ralph Stanley; Earl IN THE COUNTRY OF COUNTRY is an enjoyable book, if not an indispensable one, where we learn about some of the roots of our marvelous American country music tree. The author has a clear respect for this music, and to understand it better, spent much time with some of its legends and traveled to their childhood homes to talk with friends and neighbors. Young fans of modern Country might not even recognize some of these legends: Harlan Howard (the great songwriter); Bill Monroe; Ralph Stanley; Earl Scruggs; Buck Owens; Emmylou Harris (one of my ten Deserted Island Music favorites); Doc Watson; Iris Dement; and others. Not a scholarly reference, it's only until you get to the Notes at the end of the book to realize how deeply the author seeped himself in his subject. His sources list many books, articles and videos, as well as many interviews. Remarkably, this young man, in his early 30s, a Harvard grad and raised in Connecticut (yeah, maybe southern Connecticut) was made welcome by so many who were so different. Maybe even more remarkable is that not until almost the book's end does he offhandedly say, in describing how one musician led him to another, "I met Emmylou Harris at Harlan's birthday party. Emmylou then took me along to Bill Monroe's birthday party. And so it went." To have Emmylou Harris take you to a party and not tell anybody about it until page 315 ... now, that's class. As well as to have interviewed Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, and we learn it deep in the Notes, not on the cover. My only complaint (and why rated 4 stars, not 5) is in the artists the author chose to include and those he chose not to. I've never been a fan of George Jones the singer, and after reading about George Jones the person, think even less of him. I wish many more pages had been given to Emmylou Harris, and that Ricky Skaggs and Willie Nelson had been profiled, not just interviewed. In truth, country music has so many legends, it's hard to know where to begin in listing omissions. There's another book here waiting to be written. I started the book knowing what it was about but not knowing which artists would be profiled. After starting it, I couldn't wait to get to it at night, wondering who would be next ("Will he do Emmylou? YES!), but knowing this book would be waiting by the reading lamp for a brief time into another place.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ted Lehmann

    In the Country of Country by Nicholas Dawidoff (Random House, 1997, 365 pp., $18.95/14.99) explores country music from its earliest recognized and recorded luminaries (The Carter Family & Jimmy Rodgers) through the great periods of classic and outlaw country to the newest musicians on tour at the time of the book's writing in the late 1990's. The book is filled with anecdotes that surprise and enlighten. For instance, Dawidoff recounts a story heard from Charlie Louvin about a boy near a show in In the Country of Country by Nicholas Dawidoff (Random House, 1997, 365 pp., $18.95/14.99) explores country music from its earliest recognized and recorded luminaries (The Carter Family & Jimmy Rodgers) through the great periods of classic and outlaw country to the newest musicians on tour at the time of the book's writing in the late 1990's. The book is filled with anecdotes that surprise and enlighten. For instance, Dawidoff recounts a story heard from Charlie Louvin about a boy near a show in Dyess Arkansas who showed him to the nearest bathroom. On the way back, Charlie ate a soda cracker. When the boy asked him why, he said, “To keep from starving.” The kicker: that's why Johnny Cash ate crackers before every performance. Such connections between the early practitioners who emerged in the 1940's and great stars of the last decades of the twentieth century appear everywhere. While I read the book, I listened to recordings of the subjects of each chapter, thereby enriching my experience and deepening my understanding. Individual chapters focus on major figures in the development of country music, including bluegrass. Dawidoff interviewed all of his subjects, including Bill Monroe, Earle Scruggs, George Jones, Kitty Wells, Doc Watson, Buck Owens, EmmyLou Harris, and more) except Jimmie Rodgers, Sara Carter, and Patsy Cline, all of whom were deceased at the time of the writing. One other luminary is strangely not included, although his name crops up in almost every chapter: Hank Williams. Perhaps Williams, who died in 1953) was simply too big and dominating a character to be adequately covered in simply a chapter. It's a joy to read a book about music by a writer who's taking on a subject rather than a fan who decided to write. The use of lively imagery, thoughtful narrative, careful structure and apt description raise Dawidoff's writing above the pedestrian, bringing life to the characters who've enriched country music for nearly a hundred years. Published in 1998, the book uses living artists and extensive interviews with those who knew the subjects, bringing them to life in a way no other book I've read has managed. In the chapter on Doc Watson, the actual voices of Tom Ashley and Ralph Rinzler give the descriptive passages a greater reality that brings Watson's background and development as a performer to life. Insights, such as the fact that Doc grew up with music he heard on an old gramophone and the radio differentiated his music from that of others who learned theirs in church or on the front porch, giving it the distinctive precision that other country and bluegrass musicians of the time lacked. Such connections, found in each chapter distinguish Dawidoff's pellucid writing as they permeate Watson's playing. The Johnny Cash chapter examines the role of celebrity on productive song writing along with his image, life, and the road with comments from Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. In the George Jones chapter, I learned more about the reality of Jones in one short chapter than I did in the entire Grand Tour bio by Rich Kienzle. Part of this comes from the quality of Dawidoff's writing, and I think also from the distance he achieves by not being fully tied to the music community. While the book is often admiring, it never falls into hero worship as it keeps a clear, though sympathetic but never sycophantical eye on the character and development of each person in every profile. Dawidoff gives attention to the social and geographical mass movements of the mid- and late-twentieth century. Often, this is a book of displacement and connection. Most of the singers profiled came to stardom in music when they brought their music to honky tonks, theaters, and recording studios far removed from the southern poverty so many of them were born into during the depression. Even performers, like Rose Maddox and Buck Owens, who were from California, are the of product of southern migrations to places where they or their parents could find more lucrative employment or escape the rigors of depression era farming conditions. His insights punctuate and extend the insight that today's country musicians don't share that experience, leading their music to go into other directions, because it has often come from less challenging circumstances. EmmyLou Harris represents a changing voice and sensibility in country music. Discussing her view of country's past and future, she says, “We're bringing a different experience to it, and that's right. Mimicking the past because the past is a safe bet is the worst thing to do.” Nicholas Dawidoff is the author of six books. One of them, The Fly Swatter, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and another, In the Country of Country, was named one of the greatest all-time works of travel literature by Conde Nast Traveller. His first book, The Catcher Was A Spy: The Mysterious Life Of Moe Berg was a national bestseller and appeared on many 1994 best book lists. His latest book, Collision Low Crossers: Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football was published in 2014. A graduate of Harvard University, he has been a Guggenheim, Civitella Ranieri and Berlin Prize Fellow, and is a contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and the American Scholar. The fact that he chooses a wide range of topics, including sports, family history, and country music suggests that Dawidoff brings broad experience to his writing, allowing unusual, piercing insights to emerge. In the Country of Country by Nicholas Dawidoff (Random House, 1997, 365 pp., $18.95/14.99) was written after all the people he interviewed were well past their prime. Fortunately, he was able to interview them in their own contemporary setting before they left us. He portrays a time when what so many people today call “real” country was still a close memory, even while it had been replaced in popular music by rock and roll, contemporary pop, and hip hop. His vivid profiles, along with my listening contemporaneously to the performers themselves, helped clarify their place in music history for me and to realize why the music so many people seem to yearn for lies in our past rather than our present. I consider this book to be essential reading for anyone interested in the growth and development of country music. I read In the Country of Country in a used trade paperback version I bought through Thriftbooks. Note: All books mentioned in my reviews are linked to the book through my Amazon.com account. If you wish to purchase the title in any format, you can do so thorough my link. This will result in a small commission to me with no increase in the price for you. It helps maintain our travels, writing, and photography while assuring your complete privacy

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tim Basuino

    I've been studying a lot about Americana, so when I found this book used, it was an easy decision to purchase. And what a worthy purchase it was. Obviously, Ken Burns' "Country Music" was heavily influenced by this effort - in fact, given that that series essentially concludes around 1996, about the time this was published, you could consider this a substitute (or is "Country Music" the substitute... I'll let the reader decide). As for this.... Dawidoff focuses on a lot of the old time country sup I've been studying a lot about Americana, so when I found this book used, it was an easy decision to purchase. And what a worthy purchase it was. Obviously, Ken Burns' "Country Music" was heavily influenced by this effort - in fact, given that that series essentially concludes around 1996, about the time this was published, you could consider this a substitute (or is "Country Music" the substitute... I'll let the reader decide). As for this.... Dawidoff focuses on a lot of the old time country superstars, such as George Jones and Johnny Cash, and finishes with a couple who don't quite fit the "Hot Country" format such as Iris DeMint (trivia: The Goo Goo Dolls' 1998 smash "Iris" was in fact named for DeMint). A lot of effort is expended in analyzing how such performers came to be, and the point that Hot Country quite sucks is brought up quite a bit. So there's a little bit of "back in my day" that detracts from the score, but all in all this was more than worth it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ted Daniels

    If you enjoyed Ken Burns' PBS documentary on Country Music, this book is a good follow-up. The book was published in 1997, so 15 of the 18 musicians Mr. Dawidoff features were still alive and available for interviews. Burns, by contrast, had to address his subjects in the past tense. This book is as much about the people, their backgrounds and the places they lived as it is about their music.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ian Hamilton

    Dawidoff's portraits dig deep into the souls of many of country music's greats. One theme that transcends most of the artist profiles is this notion of how geography indelibly shaped their music, whether it was Appalachia, the Arkansas delta, or the desert climate of Bakersfield. Finely layered and a dense 300-page read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jonny Brick

    A late-90s examination of country music's rise from the Carter Family to Garth Brooks. Excellent on the importance of Nashville.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dusty

    I have to admire Nicholas Dawidoff, the Ivy League Yankee who liked country music and decided to interview his favorite artists for a book. As another reviewer points out, it's a kind of incongruous read, with Dawidoff reflecting on poverty and southern values he knows only through music. But still, I think it's an effective although eccentric introduction to the development of country music between Jimmie Rodgers and Emmylou Harris. It has certainly kept me busy downloading songs from iTunes. Of I have to admire Nicholas Dawidoff, the Ivy League Yankee who liked country music and decided to interview his favorite artists for a book. As another reviewer points out, it's a kind of incongruous read, with Dawidoff reflecting on poverty and southern values he knows only through music. But still, I think it's an effective although eccentric introduction to the development of country music between Jimmie Rodgers and Emmylou Harris. It has certainly kept me busy downloading songs from iTunes. Of course, the author is unable to cover everybody important. Great older performers like Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Porter Wagoner, Ray Price, Willie Nelson, and Charley Pride are sidelined, presumably because Dawidoff just doesn't find them terribly interesting. Similarly, money-raking newer performers like Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, and Shania Twain (the book's from the 90s) are summoned only as examples of the foul state of current country music. If you're a Brooks fan, you had better brace yourself for some harsh, and not terribly well-informed, criticism. Ultimately, the book's greatest contribution is its interviews. Though it was published only fifteen years ago, it already reads a bit like a time capsule. Two of its main subjects, Bill Monroe and Rose Maddox, died before the book hit shelves, and in the years since then almost all of the other musicians interviewed -- Buck Owens, Chet Atkins, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Harlan Howard, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, and, most recently, George Jones -- have also died. Hopefully, Merle Haggard and Emmylou Harris will be with us for a good while longer, but they too are not as young as they used to be. Sure, the book has its limitations, but I think for a lot of these artists, Dawidoff provided one last, great chance to explain what was so country about their country. This is an easy book to recommend.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    It's all too easy, when thinking of country, to think of singers and bands that are called country because marketing needed a label to fix on them. Living in the town where Garth Brooks went to college does not help that impression. This book is on the other side of country, that which falls into what Emmylou Harris calls 'roots music.' It's the music of the people, their sorrows, their joys, their lives, and at its best, it's powerful in the same way as the best of the blues. Visceral, it's lik It's all too easy, when thinking of country, to think of singers and bands that are called country because marketing needed a label to fix on them. Living in the town where Garth Brooks went to college does not help that impression. This book is on the other side of country, that which falls into what Emmylou Harris calls 'roots music.' It's the music of the people, their sorrows, their joys, their lives, and at its best, it's powerful in the same way as the best of the blues. Visceral, it's like a punch in the stomach, and reminds you that though the specifics of experience differ from person to person, there are still emotions that are universal enough that we can all hear them in a refrain, a fragment of lyric. This book covers some of the historical country musicians who might have captured some of this feeling at some point in their careers. Short biographical sketches of such luminaries as Kitty Wells, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Patsy Cline and Earl Scruggs, among many others. I'm not a country fan, per se, but I am always likely to fall into music that captures some part of what America is, what it can be and what it was. A pretty readable book. Recommended for those who are interested in music in general.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Denise Ballentine

    Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this book, which consists of essays about several different country artists. The author's insights proved interesting and I learned a lot I didn't know about the "old-timey" music. Dawidoff has a real disdain for the "hat acts" of new country, and the newer pop sounding music. Because the book was published in the late 90's some of his references are a bit dated. Many of the sketches of the people he wrote about really struck me. Many struggled through really diffi Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this book, which consists of essays about several different country artists. The author's insights proved interesting and I learned a lot I didn't know about the "old-timey" music. Dawidoff has a real disdain for the "hat acts" of new country, and the newer pop sounding music. Because the book was published in the late 90's some of his references are a bit dated. Many of the sketches of the people he wrote about really struck me. Many struggled through really difficult times, and hard a hard life. I found the chapter on Doc Watson fascinating. Although blind, he amazingly functioned better than many sighted people, able to repair broken things, fix automobiles, and build stuff, as well as play a mean guitar. I thought one of the saddest chapters in the book was the one about Johnny Cash, who despite his success and his faith, was never really able to conquer his personal demons and live a contented and happy life. Good read!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Morris

    An excellent book on Country Music. It highlights the movers and shakers of Country Music and separates the wheat from the chaff... Garth Brooks, bad country... Buck Owens, good country... the author interviews many personalities from the world of country, songwriters, and musicians... great stories and good up close looks at some of country's brightest stars and innovators... I discovered, Iris Dement and picked up a Kitty Wells cd, she was great... Country Music, the old stuff, not the slick, An excellent book on Country Music. It highlights the movers and shakers of Country Music and separates the wheat from the chaff... Garth Brooks, bad country... Buck Owens, good country... the author interviews many personalities from the world of country, songwriters, and musicians... great stories and good up close looks at some of country's brightest stars and innovators... I discovered, Iris Dement and picked up a Kitty Wells cd, she was great... Country Music, the old stuff, not the slick, big hat crap of today, was just good music without studio tricks, honest players, singing and pickin'...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anthony Gerace

    Huge, huge yeesh energy. Another misfire from Faber Social. I feel like this book ought to be confined to history’s dustbin as it completely misses everything happening right under its nose. Even though it’s written in 1997 there are only passing utterances to No Depression and everything happening in Chicago, Johnny Cash is spoken about as essentially an also ran (“...but I hear he’s teamed up with Rick Ruben, we’ll see how *that* goes”), and Merle Haggard is venerated as “true” country. Politi Huge, huge yeesh energy. Another misfire from Faber Social. I feel like this book ought to be confined to history’s dustbin as it completely misses everything happening right under its nose. Even though it’s written in 1997 there are only passing utterances to No Depression and everything happening in Chicago, Johnny Cash is spoken about as essentially an also ran (“...but I hear he’s teamed up with Rick Ruben, we’ll see how *that* goes”), and Merle Haggard is venerated as “true” country. Politics is left at the door, Townes Van Zandt is barely mentioned, and it’s just... perplexingly bad?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    Excellent book! Takes you to the roots of country music and how it originated as a regional sound, from bluegrass to Texas swing to the Nashville sound, and the influence of the particular cultures in each area (a big one being the African-American community that is often overlooked as a huge influence). Also, discusses all of the greats from The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Jones, Cash, Loretta, Rose Maddox, etc. Historical and entertaining!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Fraser

    This book was a revelation to me as I clearly knew so very little about the formation and artists of country music. Certainly names were often familiar but this book gave me a much greater understanding not only of them but the music. An enjoyable read which has led me to explore so much further.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nick

    Great set of essays about country music and the people who make it. Kind of quirky, in that some people, like Steve Earle, are mentioned but not profiled. But an excellent tour of past and present giants in the genre.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Totally engrossing personal account of the lives of some of the most famous and not so so famous people invovled in country music. Dawidoff uses Garth Brooks as the cut off line for what true country is, and is not. as such it may not be agreeable to some modern country listeners.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Fantastic collection of essays on the giants of country music that really gets to the heart of what makes good country music great - think sorrow, regret and everything we've ever lost and will.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Regan

    Revisited this excellent survey of the state of country music ca. mid-1990s.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carly

    Please remember two stars on Goodreads is an "ok" rating. That's what I felt (or rather didn't feel) about this book. It is ok....

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    A series of essaies about country music and the people who make it. Organized by geography. A great read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

  26. 5 out of 5

    JC Moretta

  27. 5 out of 5

    Juli

  28. 4 out of 5

    AJ

  29. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  30. 4 out of 5

    Janean C

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