Home Read News Next Week in Music | Sept. 14-20 • New Books

Next Week in Music | Sept. 14-20 • New Books

From Hendrix and Lennon to Willie and Wagner, there's plenty to read this week.

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It’s the eternal Catch-22: When we had all that time to kill in the summer, there were virtually no new music books to be had. Now that we’re busy again, the titles are dropping like leaves. This week’s offerings include bios and/or memoirs of Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Chris Hillman, Willie and Bobbie Nelson and plenty more. So I guess we’re about to get even busier. Read all about it:

 


Wild Thing: The Short, Spellbinding Life of Jimi Hendrix
By Philip Norman

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Some 50 years after his death, Jimi Hendrix (1942–1970) is celebrated as the greatest rock guitarist of all time. But before he was setting guitars and the world aflame, James Marshall Hendrix was a shy kid in Seattle, plucking at a broken ukulele and in fear of a father who would hit him for playing left-handed. Bringing Jimi’s story to vivid life against the backdrop of midcentury rock, and with a wealth of new information, acclaimed music biographer Philip Norman delivers a captivating and definitive portrait of a musical legend. Drawing from unprecedented access to Jimi’s brother Leon Hendrix, who provides disturbing details about their childhood, as well as Kathy Etchingham and Linda Keith, the two women who played vital roles in Jimi’s rise to stardom, Norman traces Jimi’s life from playing in clubs on the segregated Chitlin’ Circuit, where he encountered daily racism, to barely surviving in New York’s Greenwich Village, where was taken up by The Animals’ bass player Chas Chandler in 1966 and exported to Swinging London and international stardom. For four staggering years, from 1966 to 1970, Jimi totally rewrote the rules of rock stardom, notably at Monterey and Woodstock (where he played his protest-infused rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner), while becoming the highest-paid musician of his day. But it all abruptly ended in the shabby basement of a London hotel with Jimi’s too-early death. With remarkable detail, Wild Thing finally reveals the truth behind this long-shrouded tragedy. Norman’s exhaustive research reveals a young man who was as shy and polite in private as he was outrageous in public, whose insecurity about his singing voice could never be allayed by his instrumental genius, and whose unavailing efforts to please his father left him searching for the family he felt he never truly had. Filled with insights into the greatest moments in rock history, Wild Thing is a mesmerizing account of music’s most enduring and endearing figures.”


Time Between: My Life as a Byrd, Burrito Brother, and Beyond
By Chris Hillman

THE PRESS RELEASE:Chris Hillman is arguably the primary architect of what’s come to be known as country rock. After playing the Southern California folk and bluegrass circuit, he joined David Crosby, Roger McGuinn, Gene Clark and Michael Clark as an original member of The Byrds. He went on to partner with Gram Parsons to launch The Flying Burrito Brothers, recording a handful of albums that have become touchstones of rock-influenced country.”


John Lennon 1980: The Last Days in the Life
By Kenneth Womack

THE PRESS RELEASE:John Lennon, 1980: The Last Days in the Life traces the powerful, life-affirming story of the former Beatle’s remarkable comeback after five years of self-imposed retirement. John Lennon’s final pivotal year would climax in several moments of creative triumph as he rediscovered his artistic self in dramatic fashion. With the bravura release of the Double Fantasy album with wife Yoko Ono, he was poised and ready for an even brighter future only to be wrenched from the world by an assassin’s bullets. John Lennon, 1980 isn’t about how the gifted songwriter died; but rather, about how he lived.”


Who Killed John Lennon?
By Lesley-Ann Jones

THE PRESS RELEASE: “In this compelling biography, acclaimed music biographer Lesley-Ann Jones unravels the enigma that was John Lennon to present a complete portrait of the man, his life, his loves, his music, his untimely death and ultimately his legacy. Pulling back the many layers, Jones closely tracks the life events and personality traits that led to Lennon living in self-imposed exile in New York, where he was shot dead outside his apartment on Dec. 8, 1980. Who, or what, really killed John Lennon? And when did the ‘real’ John Lennon die? Using fresh firsthand research, unseen material as well as exclusive interviews with the people who knew Lennon best, Jones’ search for answers offers a spellbinding, 360-degree view of one of the world’s most iconic music legends. Who Killed John Lennon? delves deep into his psyche — the good, the bad and the genius — 40 years on from his death.”


Me and Sister Bobbie: True Tales of the Family Band
By Willie Nelson, Bobbie Nelson & David Ritz

THE PRESS RELEASE: “The untold story of Willie Nelson and his sister Bobbie, who, over the course of their lives together, supported each other through personal tragedies and triumphs and forged an unbreakable bond through their shared love of music. Abandoned by their parents as toddlers, Willie and Bobbie Nelson found their love of music almost immediately through their grandparents, who raised them in a small Texas town. Their close relationship — which persists today — is the longest-lasting bond in both their lives. In alternating chapters, this heartfelt dual memoir weaves together both their stories as they experienced them side by side and apart. The Nelsons share powerful, emotional moments from growing up, playing music in public for the first time, and facing trials in adulthood, as Willie pursued songwriting and Bobbie faced a series of challenging relationships and a musical career that took off only when attitudes about women began to change in Texas. The memoir is Bobbie’s first book, and in it she candidly shares her life story in full for the first time. Her deeply affecting chapters delve into her personal relationships and life as a mother and as a musician with technical skills that even Willie admits surpass his own. In his poignant stories, Willie shares the depth of his bond with his sister, and how that bond carried him through his most troubled moments. Willie and Bobbie have supported each other through unthinkable personal heartbreak, and they’ve always shared in each other’s victories. Through dizzying highs and traumatic lows, spanning almost nine decades of life, Willie and Bobbie have always had each other’s back. Their story is an inspiring, lyrical statement of how family always finds the way.”


Willie Nelson: A Graphic History
By T.J. Kirsch

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Since he was a child in Hill County, Texas, he has been writing and performing for adoring crowds. Though his mainstream success did not come until later in his life, he has been determined to take his unique sound and voice to the people even before he was a household name. There have been tragedies, missteps, IRS troubles, good times and bad along the way, but Willie continues to shine his positive outlook and project his humble voice out into the world. In this graphic novel biography, all the chapters represent a different era of his life and struggles — each illustrated by a unique indie comics talent.”


Redemption: Reflections on Creating a Better World
By Bob Marley & Cedella Marley

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Filled with quotes from Bob Marley’s speeches, interviews, and writings, this collection is sure to resonate with fans of his music and political activism, and a new generation at a time when we need exemplary heroes. Redemption has many meanings, but there is one definition that embodies the spirit of Bob Marley’s beliefs and music: to reform, or to change for the better. Forty years after the release of his iconic Redemption Song, his desire to make the world a better place through mental and spiritual emancipation — important first steps to physical emancipation for the larger community — remains powerful and vital to this day. Using Marley’s own words from interviews and his powerful song lyrics, his eldest daughter Cedella Marley creates a powerful narrative about the hard but rewarding path to redemption.”


It’s About Time — Jeff Porcaro: The Man and His Music
By Robyn Flans

THE PRESS RELEASE:Jeff Porcaro was a founding member of the Grammy Award-winning band Toto, and he also recorded and toured with a list of artists that reads like a who’s who of popular music in the late twentieth century. His long-time friend Robyn Flans has written this biography of one of the most recorded drummers in history, held in equal esteem by fans and music professionals alike. It includes interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Ron Howard, Jackson Browne, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs, Peter Frampton and others, plus extensive commentary from Jeff’s Toto bandmates and his family. The book also includes a 24-page glossy photo center section, including many never-before-seen pictures.”


Birth of a Band, the Record Deal and the Making of Present Tense: 40th Anniversary Edition
By Jeff Murphy

THE PRESS RELEASE: “With nothing more than their love of melodic, guitar-driven, rock music and the will to be in a band, three friends from a small mid-western town in Illinois; John Murphy, Gary Klebe and Jeff Murphy started their band Shoes before any of them even knew how to play an instrument. Raised on the pop/rock inspiration of the British Invasion and Chicago’s vibrant AM radio of their childhood, they not only taught themselves how to play their instruments and write songs, they also learned how to record and produce themselves, as well as manufacture and release their recordings on vinyl. They ended up signing a major-label record deal and having videos on MTV and VH-1. Getting their start during the early days of the Do-It-Yourself, home-recording renaissance of the 1970s, Shoes went from recording in their living room to recording their major-label debut in England at the legendary Manor Studio, with Queen’s production alumnus Michael Stone as their co-producer. They eventually built and ran their own recording studio and indie record label. With a musical career that now spans more than 40 years, this book documents the band’s inception, through the process of recording that first major-label album, Present Tense. This 40th Anniversary re-release edition includes a new epilogue that expands on the years since that release. It’s a “behind-the -music” peek at how they did it and what they went through along the way. In a testament to their common bond, they remain close friends and are still musically active, today.”


Can’t Be Faded: Twenty Years in the New Orleans Brass Band Game
By Stooges Brass Band & Kyle DeCoste

THE PRESS RELEASE:The Stooges Brass Band always had big dreams. From playing in the streets of New Orleans in the mid-1990s to playing stages the world over, they have held fast to their goal of raising brass band music and musicians to new heights — professionally and musically. In the intervening years, the band’s members have become family, courted controversy, and trained a new generation of musicians, becoming one of the city’s top brass bands along the way. Two decades after their founding, they have decided to tell their story. Can’t Be Faded: Twenty Years in the New Orleans Brass Band Game is a collaboration between musician and ethnomusicologist Kyle DeCoste and more than a dozen members of the Stooges Brass Band, past and present. It is the culmination of five years of interviews, research, and writing. Told with humor and candor, it’s as much a personal account of the Stooges’ career as it is a story of the city’s musicians and, even more generally, a coming-of-age tale about black men in the United States at the turn of the twenty-first century. DeCoste and the band members take readers into the barrooms, practice rooms, studios, tour vans, and streets where the music is made and brotherhoods are shaped and strengthened. Comprised of lively firsthand accounts and honest dialogue, Can’t Be Faded is a dynamic approach to collaborative research that offers a sensitive portrait of the humans behind the horns.”


The Amazing Jimmi Mayes: Sideman to the Stars
By Jimmi Mayes & V. C. Speek

THE PRESS RELEASE: “For more than fifty years, Chicago drummer Jimmi Mayes served as a sideman behind some of the greatest musicians and musical groups in history. He began his career playing the blues in the juke joints of Mississippi, sharpened his trade under the mentorship of drum legends Sam Lay and Fred Below in the steamy nightclubs of south Chicago, and hit it big in New York City behind such music legends as Tommy Hunt from The Flamingos, Marvin Gaye, and James Brown. Mayes played his drums behind blues giants Little Walter Jacobs, Jimmy Reed, Robert Junior Lockwood, Earl Hooker, Junior Wells, Pinetop Perkins, and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. He lived for a while with Motown sensation Martha Reeves and her family and traveled with The Shirelles and The Motown Review. Jimi Hendrix was one of Mayes’ best friends, and they traveled together with Joey Dee and the Starliters in the mid-1960s. Mayes lived through racial segregation, the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the integration of rock bands, and the emergence of Motown. He personally experienced the sexual and moral revolutions of the ’60s, was robbed of his musical royalties, and survived a musical drought. He’s been a pimp and a drug pusher — and lived to tell the tale when so many musicians have not. This sideman to the stars witnessed music history from the best seat in the house — behind the drum set.”


Red Dirt: Roots Music Born in Oklahoma, Raised in Texas, At Home Anywhere
By Josh Crutchmer

THE PRESS RELEASE:Red Dirt tells the story of a roots music scene that grabbed a foothold in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and spread across the country. The scene took roots in the late 1970s as an outlet for college-town hippies. The scene gave rise to Garth Brooks, who credits it with helping his early rise to prominence. Later, The Great Divide, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jason Boland and the Stragglers and Stoney LaRue rose from the scene to become regional stars, including a major record deal for The Divide and Ragweed. They were followed by the Turnpike Troubadours, who carried the scene to its highest heights in the late 2010s. Using exclusive interviews and unprecedented access to the artists themselves, Red Dirt tells their story. The book also explains how key relationships with artists like Reckless Kelly, Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen helped Red Dirt gain acceptance and then immense popularity across Texas, which claims a burgeoning original-music scene of its own.”


Critical Themes in World Music: A Reader for Excursions in World Music, Eighth Edition
By Timothy Rommen

THE PRESS RELEASE:Critical Themes in World Music is a reader of nine short essays by the authors of the successful Excursions in World Music, Eighth Edition, edited by Timothy Rommen and Bruno Nettl. The essays introduce key and contemporary themes in ethnomusicology — gender and sexuality, coloniality and race, technology and media, sound and space, and more — creating a counterpoint to the area studies approach of the textbook, a longstanding model for thinking about the musics of the world. Instructors can use this flexible resource as a primary or secondary path through the materials, on its own, or in concert with Excursions in World Music, allowing for a more complete understanding that highlights the many continuities and connections that exist between musical communities, regardless of region. Critical Themes in World Music presents a critically minded, thematic study of ethnomusicology, one that serves to counterbalance, complicate, and ultimately complement the companion textbook.”


Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music
By Alex Ross

THE PRESS RELEASE: “Alex Ross, renowned New Yorker music critic and author of the international bestseller and Pulitzer Prize finalist The Rest Is Noise, reveals how Richard Wagner became the proving ground for modern art and politics—an aesthetic war zone where the Western world wrestled with its capacity for beauty and violence. For better or worse, Wagner is the most widely influential figure in the history of music. Around 1900, the phenomenon known as Wagnerism saturated European and American culture. Such colossal creations as The Ring of the Nibelung, Tristan und Isolde, and Parsifal were models of formal daring, mythmaking, erotic freedom, and mystical speculation. A mighty procession of artists, including Virginia Woolf, Thomas Mann, Paul Cézanne, Isadora Duncan, and Luis Buñuel, felt his impact. Anarchists, occultists, feminists, and gay-rights pioneers saw him as a kindred spirit. Then Adolf Hitler incorporated Wagner into the soundtrack of Nazi Germany, and the composer came to be defined by his ferocious antisemitism. For many, his name is now almost synonymous with artistic evil. In Wagnerism, Alex Ross restores the magnificent confusion of what it means to be a Wagnerian. A pandemonium of geniuses, madmen, charlatans, and prophets do battle over Wagner’s many-sided legacy. As readers of his brilliant articles for The New Yorker have come to expect, Ross ranges thrillingly across artistic disciplines, from the architecture of Louis Sullivan to the novels of Philip K. Dick, from the Zionist writings of Theodor Herzl to the civil-rights essays of W.E.B. Du Bois, from O Pioneers! to Apocalypse Now. In many ways, Wagnerism tells a tragic tale. An artist who might have rivaled Shakespeare in universal reach is undone by an ideology of hate. Still, his shadow lingers over 21st century culture, his mythic motifs coursing through superhero films and fantasy fiction. Neither apologia nor condemnation, Wagnerism is a work of passionate discovery, urging us toward a more honest idea of how art acts in the world.”