A Guitar and a Pen: Stories by Country Music's Greatest Songwriters

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Overview

Nothing tells a story better than the story-songs of country music. A GUITAR AND A PEN presents, for the first time, the literary work of some of the best storytellers in the world: the songwriters who cut and polish tales down to sparkling three-minute gems. A blend of humor and poignancy, these tales range from Kris Kristofferson's charming tale of how an explicit natural rock formation causes chaos in a small farming town, to the domestic drama of a Kentucky family with six daughters, to Charlie Daniels' ...

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A Guitar and a Pen: Stories by Country Music's Greatest Songwriters

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Overview

Nothing tells a story better than the story-songs of country music. A GUITAR AND A PEN presents, for the first time, the literary work of some of the best storytellers in the world: the songwriters who cut and polish tales down to sparkling three-minute gems. A blend of humor and poignancy, these tales range from Kris Kristofferson's charming tale of how an explicit natural rock formation causes chaos in a small farming town, to the domestic drama of a Kentucky family with six daughters, to Charlie Daniels' character-driven fable of money and unhappiness, to Gary Nicholson's riveting tale of an albino African American singer/songwriter who inspired him to be a musician.

A celebration of music and storytelling, other contributors include Hal Ketchum, Janis Ian, Mark D. Sanders, Tom T. Hall, Marshall Chapman, and Robert Hicks, among many other notable Nashville luminaries.

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Editorial Reviews

B. B. King
"Country songs have always told the best stories and no one--really, no one--has ever done it better than Nashville."
<b>Barton Herbison</b> - Executive Director of the Nashville Songwriters Association Int'l
"A GUITAR AND A PEN is a wonderful vehicle to show that songwriters possess a creative dimension that extends way beyond their musical creations...fascinating and refreshing!"
Bill Anderson - legendary songwriter
"A GUITAR AND A PEN is long overdue. But I feel like I do when I hear a great song: I sure wish it had been my idea!"
From the Publisher
"Country songs have always told the best stories and no one—really, no one—has ever done it better than Nashville."—B. B. King

"A GUITAR AND A PEN is a wonderful vehicle to show that songwriters possess a creative dimension that extends way beyond their musical creations...fascinating and refreshing!"—Barton Herbison, Executive Director of the Nashville Songwriters Association Int'l

"A GUITAR AND A PEN is long overdue. But I feel like I do when I hear a great song: I sure wish it had been my idea!"—Bill Anderson, legendary songwriter, Country Music Hall of Fame member

Barton Herbison
A GUITAR AND A PEN is a wonderful vehicle to show that songwriters possess a creative dimension that extends way beyond their musical creations...fascinating and refreshing!
Executive Director of the Nashville Songwriters Association Int'l
Bill Anderson
A GUITAR AND A PEN is long overdue. But I feel like I do when I hear a great song: I sure wish it had been my idea!
legendary songwriter, Country Music Hall of Fame member
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599950648
  • Publisher: Center Street
  • Publication date: 5/1/2008
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 931,123
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Hicks

Robert Hicks, John Bohlinger, and Justin Stelter all live in the greater Nashville area in Tennessee.

Biography

The Widow of the South is based on the true story of Carrie McGavock, whose house was commandeered as a field hospital during the 1864 Battle of Franklin, a Civil War bloodbath in which over 9,000 Confederate and Union soldiers were killed in one afternoon. Over a thousand of them were eventually reburied on the McGavocks' land, Carnton Plantation, and Carrie McGavock devoted much of her life to tending their graves.

Author Robert Hicks, a music publisher, art collector and preservationist, felt the story of Carrie McGavock needed to be told, but he wasn't sure at first that he should be the one to tell it.

"I tried to foist and pawn the idea on others, collaborations, walk away from it and read Russian novels -- anything to keep me from tackling it," he said in a Barnes & Noble interview. "Then one day I knew I had to do it."

Hicks, a native of South Florida, moved in 1979 to an 18th-century log cabin near Leiper's Fork, Tenn., where he still lives. In 1987, he joined the Board of Directors of Historic Carnton Plantation, where he has done everything from house restoration to hauling out the trash.

As his connection with the historic site grew, so did his curiosity about its former mistress, whom Oscar Wilde once described as "the high priestess of the temple of dead boys."

"Around the time we were seriously beginning a state-of-the-art restoration of Carnton's house and grounds, descendants of the McGavock family, who had moved out of Carnton in 1911 and had lived in the same house in Franklin ever since, opened up their family archives to us," Hicks explained in an essay on his publishers' Web site.

The scrapbooks and papers, he said, "began to suggest some answers, even while I found myself asking more questions." Among the papers were obituaries from newspapers across the country for Carrie McGavock.

"The obituaries clearly linked Carrie to the creation and maintenance of the Cemetery, but no journals or diaries were left to explain her motivation -- so, in the end, I felt that I had to sit down and explain, for myself, why she did what she did."

The resulting novel made it to the number five spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Kirkus Reviews called The Widow of the South "an impressive addition to the library of historical fiction on the Civil War, worthy of a place alongside The Killer Angels, Rifles for Watie and Shiloh."

"You'll swear you were smelling gunpowder and blood, and you may shed real tears," wrote Jeff Guinn of the Dallas Star-Telegram.

Hicks is pleased with the success of his book, but his work as a guardian of Tennessee history isn't done. More recently, Hicks has headed up Franklin's Charge, a coalition dedicated to preserving the remaining open space on and near the Franklin battlefield as a historic site.

"Why do we want to save it?" he asked in a National Geographic interview. "Because in the South's loss at Franklin, all of us won. This is where the Old South died and we were reborn as a nation."

Good To Know

"My first job was in a bookstore during college. I got the job to make enough money to pay for a dinner party for 50 friends of my parents in honor of their 25th wedding anniversary. I didn't want a penny to come out of their pockets, so I got a job."

"My passion for many years has been the preservation of Historic Carnton Plantation. It is the site of most of the novel. Simply put, Carnton, Carrie McGavock, and her cemetery are the inspiration of my writing."

"I live in a magical place: my cabin, 'Labor in Vain,' my community, the green hills of Middle Tennessee, and within my head. The entire world, both within and without, is surrounded by the stories from my father, older relatives, strangers, books, and movies. I was raised surrounded by storytellers. They've made the world I live in forever magical and rich, even within the solitude of my cabin walls."

"I am forever a southerner. By this I mean to say that I remain forever eaten up with religion, passion, history, the past, the land, and stories."

"I'm passionate about travel, but always return to my cabin and to my past. I claim little connection with Faulkner, other than the hold that the past had on him and has on me. Like him, I remain optimistic about the future, despite the turmoil of the world."

"I am a collector by nature. I've collected since I was a kid. It began with fossilized shells from our driveway to rocks and leaves and baseball cards to books, 18th-century maps of Tennessee, Tennesseana in general, southern decorative arts, to outsider art. I am surrounded by collections. A friend says that the next thing I bring home must come with a crowbar -- to get it into my cabin."

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    1. Hometown:
      Franklin, Tennessee
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 30, 1951
    2. Place of Birth:
      West Palm Beach, Forida

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 3 of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2008

    Short stories from your favorite song writers¿

    Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com 4/08 Songwriters have a story to tell. Usually they share it through their lyrics. In a short time, they must convey the complete story. A Guitar and A Pen offered those same writers the opportunity to share a story in a slightly different media. The stories run the gamete from sad to funny. ¿Cybersong¿ by Bobby Braddock left me laughing. Kris Kristofferson has long been a favorite of mine he offers a story about a rock that looks like a naked woman and the commotion it causes. My favorite story was ¿The Clock Struck Nine¿ by Hal Ketchum. Readers will recognize many of the authors in A Guitar and A Pen. They will enjoy all the stories. A Guitar and A Pen is a delightful read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2009

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    Posted May 12, 2011

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