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Calling Me Home: Gram Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock
     

Calling Me Home: Gram Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock

4.3 3
by Bob Kealing
 

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Selected as one of the best books of the year by:

Uprooted Music Revue
Engine 145
Uncut

Calling Me Home: is about just that: a land that always beckons, that underlies most of Gram’s songwriting, . . . a land that informs not only him but all others with whom he associated and learned from him.

Overview


Selected as one of the best books of the year by:

Uprooted Music Revue
Engine 145
Uncut

Calling Me Home: is about just that: a land that always beckons, that underlies most of Gram’s songwriting, . . . a land that informs not only him but all others with whom he associated and learned from him.”—Gram InterNational

“Takes the reader from the present to the past and back again, conveying a vivid document of Gram Parsons’s life and career, as well as those who played essential roles in the country-rock pioneer’s journey. There are lots of surprises along the way.”—Holly George-Warren, author of Public Cowboy No. 1: The Life and Times of Gene Autry

 “Has a great narrative velocity. Even though we know how this story is going to end—tragically, of course—Kealing keeps us turning the page as we follow Gram Parsons through his short, rich life.”—William McKeen, author of Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson

 “I could almost hear the music coming from those now-dilapidated buildings where Gram Parsons received his musical education. Bob Kealing makes them come alive as he explores the faces and places that turned Parsons from a southern-bred trust fund child into a self-destructive yet visionary musical pioneer.”—Jeffrey M. Lemlich, author of Savage Lost: Florida Garage Bands: The ’60s and Beyond

On September 19, 1973, Gram Parsons became yet another rock-and-roll casualty in an era of excess, a time when young men wore their dangerous habits like badges of honor. Unfortunately, his many musical accomplishments have been overshadowed by a morbid fascination with his drug overdose in the Joshua Tree Inn at the age of twenty-six and the failed attempt to steal his body and burn it in the desert—but not in this literary journey.

Known as the father of country rock, Parsons played with the International Submarine Band, The Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers. In the late 1960s and early ’70s, he was a key confidante of Keith Richards. In 1972, he gave his musical soul mate, Emmylou Harris, her first big break. When Tom Petty re-formed his Florida garage band Mudcrutch, he invoked the name of Gram Parsons as an inspiration. Musicians as diverse as Elvis Costello, Dwight Yoakam, Ryan Adams, Patty Griffin, and Steve Earle have also paid homage to alt-country’s patron saint. In the decades after his death, tribute albums, concerts, and biographies have legitimized the role Parsons played in the evolution of modern music and freed his legacy from that half-charred coffin abandoned in the desert.

In Calling Me Home, Kealing traces the entire arc of Parsons’s career, emphasizing his southern roots. Drawing on dozens of new interviews as well as unpublished letters and photographs provided by Parsons’s family and rare images from legendary photojournalist Ted Polumbaum, Kealing examines the remarkable array of musicians and friends with whom Parsons collaborated and from whom he gained inspiration. Through his tireless efforts, Kealing has uncovered facts that even the most stalwart Parsons fans will find new and revealing.

Starting in Waycross, Georgia, Parsons’s boyhood home, Kealing traces Parsons’s journey through both famous venues and out-of-the-way dives. From the overlooked teen youth centers of Orlando and central Florida, to the southern folk mecca of Coconut Grove, Florida, and from the birthplace of outlaw country in Austin, Texas, to the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, Kealing celebrates Parsons’s timeless and transformative musical legacy—a legacy that’s still alive among the swamps, palmettos, cypress knees, and Spanish moss of the American South.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The most well-rounded, most multi-dimensional picture we’ve ever had of the visionary yet maddeningly complex musician. . . . If you read just one biography of Gram Parsons, make sure it’s this one.”—Underground Nashville

“Kealing’s skilled reporting uncovers new twists in the Parsons narrative. It’s a worthy addition even to a bookshelf already groaning with Gram bios, and it’s best read with Parson’s music playing in the background.”—Nashville Tennessean

“A sympathetic human portrait of the man that neither glosses over nor sensationalizes him.”—Detroit Metro Times

“Looks beyond the melodrama at the musical influences that Parsons absorbed and the ones that he passed along to pals such as Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.”—Orlando Sentinel

“A compulsively readable and intimate portrait of a young man who introduced the pure strains of country stars such as the Louvin Brothers and Merle Haggard to musicians like Bernie Leadon of the Eagles and Chris Hillman.”—Engine 145

“Follows Parsons through a succession of teenage bands and juvenile collaborations, visiting along the way many of the places . . . where in the early ‘60s there was a flourishing if mostly undocumented music scene.”—Uncut Magazine

“Read it for the tragic tale of a local boy who flew too close to the sun, and use it as a reference for, and introduction to, the thriving music scene in our neck of the woods during the 1960s.”—Florida Times-Union

“Illuminates new parts of the myth, deepens the story and further underscores that plaintive, high lonesome voice singing ‘In My Hour of Darkness.’”—REAL SOUTH Magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780813042046
Publisher:
University Press of Florida
Publication date:
09/23/2012
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
836,723
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.06(h) x 0.97(d)

Meet the Author

Bob Kealing, an Edward R. Murrow and three-time Emmy award–winning reporter for NBC’s WESH-TV in Orlando, is the author of Kerouac in Florida: Where the Road Ends and Tupperware Unsealed: Brownie Wise, Earl Tupper, and the Home Party Pioneers.

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Calling Me Home: Gram Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Top Music Book of 2013 -Uncut
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