Home Read News Next Week in Music | Aug. 7-13 • New Books

Next Week in Music | Aug. 7-13 • New Books

The joker, the thief, the Starman, the children of the New South & more.

The joker and the thief, highways and heartaches, wisdom and Wailers, jazz and Jarreau — they all belong on your summertime reading list. Let’s dig in:


Highways and Heartaches: How Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, and Children of the New South Saved the Soul of Country Music
By Michael Streissguth

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In a dim clearing off a county road in Kentucky sits a sagging outdoor stage buried in moss and dead leaves. It used to be the centerpiece of carnival-like Sunday afternoons where local guitarists, fiddlers and mandolin players hammered out old mountain ballads and legends from the dawn of country music performed their classic hits. Most of the musicians who showed up have long since passed, but Nashville stars Ricky Skaggs and Marty Stuart survive. They were barely teenagers in the early 1970s when they visited this stage in the care of legends Ralph Stanley and Lester Flatt, respectively. Skaggs and Stuart followed their bosses to dozens of stages throughout Appalachia and deeper into the American southland. They were the children, absorbing the wondrous music and strange dramas around them as they became innovators and living symbols of country music. Highways and Heartaches takes readers on the rural circuit Skaggs and Stuart traveled, where an acoustic sound first assembled by masters such as Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, and Mother Maybelle Carter ruled the day. The young men were heirs to a bluegrass tradition transmitted to them early in life. One part mountain soul and another African American–influenced rhythm, the music they received was alternately celebrated and neglected in the more than fifty years after the two met in 1971, but since then it has never stopped evolving and influencing the wider American culture thanks to Skaggs and Stuart and other actors in this book, such as Jerry Douglas, Tony Rice, Keith Whitley, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. Their journeys — populated by grizzled mentors, fearsome undertows, and cultural upheaval — influenced their creativity and, ultimately, cut life-giving tributaries in the ungainly, eternal story of country music.”

Never Givin’ Up: The Life and Music of Al Jarreau
By Kurt Dietrich

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “This is the first biography to chronicle the life and career of one of the most distinguished and beloved musical artists to come out of Wisconsin: Al Jarreau. From his earliest days singing in the 1940s until his death in 2017, Jarreau defied categorization. While his biggest hit, We’re In This Love Together, is pure pop, he smashed music industry stereotypes as the first artist to win Grammy Awards in three genres: Jazz, pop, and R&B. Never Givin’ Up traces Jarreau’s singing career from humble beginnings in his hometown of Milwaukee to international fame. The narrative includes his formative student days as well as the years spent honing his craft at nightspots in Milwaukee, San Francisco, and the Twin Cities. After he was signed by Warner Bros. Records in 1975 at the age of 35, Jarreau achieved stardom with his innovative vocal stylings and electric live performances. This book includes more than 20 sidebars with bonus information about every Jarreau album and behind-the-scenes stories about the making of the records. Author Kurt Dietrich conducted interviews with dozens of Al’s friends, fellow musicians, professional associates, and family members — most notably Al’s sister, Rose Marie Freeman, who was a major contributor to the project. Featuring 54 images spanning Jarreau’s life, from never-before-seen family snapshots to stills from his legendary stage performances, Never Givin’ Up celebrates a Milwaukee hometown hero and global sensation.”

The Little Guide to David Bowie: Words of Wit and Wisdom From the Starman
By Malcolm Croft

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Beloved by millions of fans the world, David Bowie was the ultimate icon, the perfect pop package that united sound with vision. In his 50-year career, and across more than 26 studio albums, Bowie sold more than 140 million records, making him one of the most successful artists of all time. Since his passing, he has been greatly missed, and remembered, by those who loved him the most. Filled with quotations by, and about, one of the most innovative artists in history. A perfect companion for Bowie fans everywhere, this collection of bite-sized quips helps capture exactly what made Ziggy Stardust so special. From insightful quotes by fellow artists, collaborators, and friends, to words of wit and wisdom from David Robert Jones himself, you’ll find more than 170 amusing and inspiring soundbites inside. As Bowie said: “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”

The Joker & the Thief: Bob Dylan
By Peter Stone Brown

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “This book is a collection of the best writing about Bob Dylan by Peter Stone Brown — a freelance writer, singer-songwriter and renowned Dylanologist. He had a love for Bob Dylan that would find him attending nearly 200 concerts spanning 1963 to 2018. In 2008 Peter was commissioned to write liner notes for Dylan’s Tell Tale Signs. He spent about a week listening to tracks sent by Dylan’s office, suggesting songs and writing as he listened. In the end his notes didn’t make the final release but were used on Dylan’s website.”

This Is Reggae: My Life in Jamaican Music, from Zap POW to Bob Marley and the Wailers
By Glen Dacosta & Dave Peters

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “For more than six decades, reggae legend Glen DaCosta has worked as a musician, songwriter and producer. As a session player, his distinctive sax sound backed many international reggae stars at Joe Gibbs’ studio and Lee Scratch Perry’s Blackheart Studio. Twenty-two years in the writing, his revealing memoir gives an insider’s view of the Jamaican popular music industry, and recounts his fascinating childhood and years on the road with Bob Marley and the Wailers and Zap Pow.”