Right by Her Roots: Americana Women & Their Songs

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9781602580602: Right by Her Roots: Americana Women & Their Songs
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In this day of digital delivery, more and more popular music arrives to its listeners in downloadable bits, giving away very little about where the songs come from or who is behind them. At the same time contemporary popular culture, with its ancestry-excavating Web sites and television shows, reveals that people are craving answers to those very same questions about themselves. Right by Her Roots is a book for this moment, a thorough and thoughtful exploration of the bodies of work of eight groundbreaking artists who acknowledge, in their songs and in their lives, their relationships to their roots--both musical and personal. Jewly Hight, a highly regarded and spiritually-savvy music writer, delves into the journeys and styles of eight of the most distinctive voices in Americana music: Lucinda Williams, Julie Miller, Victoria Williams, Michelle Shocked, Mary Gauthier, Ruthie Foster, Elizabeth Cook, and Abigail Washburn. Hight proves there is much to be gained from digging into the oeuvres of singers and songwriters who put something of themselves and their pursuits of meaning into their music. What she unearths, through vivid original interviews and perceptive analysis of their spirits, sounds, and styles--not just their lyrics--is rich insight into what animates their work and how they view and experience the world. Giving music-making women the serious attention they deserve but rarely receive, Right by Her Roots is an especially important and engaging account.

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Review:

"In this remarkable book, music journalist Hight offers a perspective rarely seen in books on contemporary music--the stories of women singers and songwriters who have probed deeply and examined their geographical, cultural, familial, and religious roots in their music. Through interviews with Lucinda Williams, Julie Miller, Victoria Williams, Michelle Shocked, Mary Gauthier, Ruthie Foster, Elizabeth Cook, and Abigail Washburn, Hight allows these women to tell of the ways they have used music to go beyond their roots in search of their identities. She splendidly explores each artist's entire catalog, reflecting on the ways their music reveals the struggle to stand right by their roots. For example, Gauthier speaks of and to people on the social margins, identifying with them particularly through her own experience of being orphaned. Hight offers readers a glimpse of the many ways that music can transcend the ordinary to reveal the ongoing spiritual struggles that define an individual's relationship to others and to the world. Verdict This beautifully crafted little book introduces the deeply felt music of many of these women for the first time and brings their music to new audiences. For all collections."
--Henry L. Carrigan Jr., Evanston, IL, Library Journal

In this remarkable book, music journalist Hight offers a perspective rarely seen in books on contemporary music the stories of women singers and songwriters who have probed deeply and examined their geographical, cultural, familial, and religious roots in their music. Through interviews with Lucinda Williams, Julie Miller, Victoria Williams, Michelle Shocked, Mary Gauthier, Ruthie Foster, Elizabeth Cook, and Abigail Washburn, Hight allows these women to tell of the ways they have used music to go beyond their roots in search of their identities. She splendidly explores each artist's entire catalog, reflecting on the ways their music reveals the struggle to stand right by their roots. For example, Gauthier speaks of and to people on the social margins, identifying with them particularly through her own experience of being orphaned. Hight offers readers a glimpse of the many ways that music can transcend the ordinary to reveal the ongoing spiritual struggles that define an individual's relationship to others and to the world. Verdict This beautifully crafted little book introduces the deeply felt music of many of these women for the first time and brings their music to new audiences. For all collections.--Henry L. Carrigan, Jr., Evanston, IL "Library Journal ""

As incisive and insightful as the women she profiles, Jewly Hight has filled these pages with remarkable, creative portraits of remarkable, creative people.--Peter Cooper, Senior Music Critic "The Tennessean "

In this remarkable book, music journalist Hight offers a perspective rarely seen in books on contemporary music--the stories of women singers and songwriters who have probed deeply and examined their geographical, cultural, familial, and religious roots in their music. Through interviews with Lucinda Williams, Julie Miller, Victoria Williams, Michelle Shocked, Mary Gauthier, Ruthie Foster, Elizabeth Cook, and Abigail Washburn, Hight allows these women to tell of the ways they have used music to go beyond their roots in search of their identities. She splendidly explores each artist's entire catalog, reflecting on the ways their music reveals the struggle to stand right by their roots. For example, Gauthier speaks of and to people on the social margins, identifying with them particularly through her own experience of being orphaned. Hight offers readers a glimpse of the many ways that music can transcend the ordinary to reveal the ongoing spiritual struggles that define an individual's relationship to others and to the world. Verdict This beautifully crafted little book introduces the deeply felt music of many of these women for the first time and brings their music to new audiences. For all collections.

--Henry L. Carrigan, Jr., Evanston, IL "Library Journal"

As incisive and insightful as the women she profiles, Jewly Hight has filled these pages with remarkable, creative portraits of remarkable, creative people.

--Peter Cooper, Senior Music Critic "The Tennessean"

About the Author:

Jewly Hight is a music writer whose work has appeared in No Depression, American Songwriter, Performing Songwriter, Relix, The Nashville Scene, The Christian Century , and a number of other publications. She holds a Master of Theological Studies from Vanderbilt University Divinity School. She lives, writes, drums, and clogs in Nashville, Tennessee.

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