A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music

A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music

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Overview

In industry circles, musicians from Kentucky are known to possess an enviable pedigree — a lineage as prized as the bloodline of any bluegrass-raised Thoroughbred. With native sons and daughters like Naomi and Wynonna Judd, Loretta Lynn, the Everly Brothers, Joan Osborne, and Merle Travis, it's no wonder that the state is most often associated with folk, country, and bluegrass music.

But Kentucky's contribution to American music is much broader: It's the rich and resonant cello of Ben Sollee, the velvet crooning of jazz great Helen Humes, and the famed vibraphone of Lionel Hampton. It's exemplified by hip-hop artists like the Nappy Roots and indie folk rockers like the Watson Twins. It goes beyond the hallowed mandolin of Bill Monroe and banjo of the Osborne Brothers to encompass the genres of blues, jazz, rock, gospel, and hip-hop.

A Few Honest Words explores how Kentucky's landscape, culture, and traditions have influenced notable contemporary musicians. Featuring intimate interviews with household names (Naomi Judd, Joan Osborne, and Dwight Yoakam), emerging artists, and local musicians, author Jason Howard's rich and detailed profiles reveal the importance of the state and the Appalachian region to the creation and performance of music in America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813147451
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 01/02/2015
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Jason Howard is coauthor of Something's Rising: Appalachians Fighting Mountaintop Removal. His work has been featured in the New York Times, the Nation, Sojourners, Paste, the Louisville Review, Equal Justice Magazine, and on NPR.

Table of Contents

Foreword Rodney Crowell ix

Introduction 1

1 Naomi Judd: Ancestral Memory 20

2 Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore: Sword and Snow 40

3 Chris Knight: Trailer Poet 62

4 Carla Gover: Mountain Edge 74

5 Kevin Harris: Freedom Doxology 91

6 Joan Osborne: Brooklyn Meets Appalachia 104

7 Dwight Yoakam: A Hillbilly in Hollywood 118

8 Nappy Roots: The Pursuit of Nappyness 132

9 Matraca Berg: Headwaters 144

10 Cathy Rawlings: From the Wings 167

11 Dale Ann Bradley: These Prisoning Hills 179

12 Jim James: The Ghost of Jim James Past 192

13 Kate Larken: Far West 205

14 The Watson Twins: Southern Manners 218

Acknowledgments 235

Bibliography 239

Index 243

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