Lost Highway: Journeys & Arrivals of American Musicians

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9780060971748: Lost Highway: Journeys & Arrivals of American Musicians

This masterful exploration of American roots music--country, rockabilly, and the blues--spotlights the artists who created a distinctly American sound, including Ernest Tubb, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, and Sleepy LaBeef. In incisive portraits based on searching interviews with these legendary performers, Peter Guralnick captures the boundless passion that drove these men to music-making and that kept them determinedly, and sometimes almost desperately, on the road.

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Review:

A companion to the author's 1971 entrée to book publishing, Feel Like Going Home, Lost Highway reveals Peter Guralnick's growth as a chronicler of American roots music. Originally published eight years after Going Home, Lost Highway tills the same rich soil--the likes of Sun Records chief Sam Phillips, bluesman Howlin' Wolf, and dispirited countrypolitan star Charlie Rich resurface. But here Guralnick also explores the psyches and works of kindred spirits both celebrated (Elvis Presley and Merle Haggard) and obscure (rockabilly journeyman Sleepy LaBeef and the "world's oldest teenager," Rufus Thomas). Guralnick reveals a unifying hook: for each musician, touring has become "journey, arrival, process, definition, virtually replacing in almost every instance the very impetus that set them out on the road in the first place." The author has a knack for finding the insecurities entangled with the talents of his peripatetic idols--perhaps they feel more comfortable opening up to him, sensing he only seeks to understand how their anxiety affects their art. Regardless, you can't read Lost Highway without gaining a greater appreciation of the music that prompted its writing. --Steven Stolder

From the Publisher:

A powerful tribute to the roots of rock and roll, Lost Highway celebrates country music, the blues, and their revolutionary offspring, rockabilly.

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Guralnick, Peter
Published by Perennial (1994)
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