A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears

A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears

3.7 4
by Antonino D'Ambrosio
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


A Heartbeat and a Guitar tells of the collaboration of two distinct yet connected musicians--iconoclast Johnny Cash and pioneering folk artist Peter La Farge-- Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, the album that influenced the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. In this intimate portrayal of the two musicians, D'Ambrosio

Overview


A Heartbeat and a Guitar tells of the collaboration of two distinct yet connected musicians--iconoclast Johnny Cash and pioneering folk artist Peter La Farge-- Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, the album that influenced the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. In this intimate portrayal of the two musicians, D'Ambrosio interviewed surviving members of Cash's band, his producers, and admirers Pete Seeger and Kris Kristofferson. He renders a dramatic picture of both an era of radical protest and the making of one of the most controversial and enduring works of political pop art of the 1960s.

A Heartbeat and a Guitar is the inspiration for the new album “Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears revisited” featuring a collective of top Americana artists including Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Gillian Welch, and Kris Kristofferson.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This book is a truly fascinating journey, charting the historical and social context of a courageous musical statement by one of our greatest rebel voices. It has since been locked away in the ‘denial drawer’ (aren't First Nations people just an extinct species, systematically exterminated by European ‘progress’?), but D'Ambrosio admirably shines his investigative lantern into every darkened corner, finally offering some greatly appreciated illumination.”—Jim Jarmusch, filmmaker

“Antonino D’Ambrosio’s A Heartbeat and a Guitar is a beautiful and inspiring book. D’Ambrosio’s possess the rarest of gifts, an artist who infuses his work with compassion and courage.” —Pete Seeger, musician

"Antonino D'Ambrosio's book on the making of Johnny Cash's album "Bitter Tears" is much more than the story behind those extraordinary songs. It is a rich history, not only of Johnny Cash's life, but of the Indian struggle for justice, which inspired Peter La Farge to write the song ‘The Ballad of Ira Hayes’ and Cash to sing it. The book is full of fascinating character sketches of the great folk singers of the Sixties, and their part in the social movements of that exciting era. I believe D'Ambrosio has made an important contribution to the cultural history of our time." –Howard Zinn, historian

“With his latest, A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears, D’Ambrosio offers a fascinating account of how that album embodied the true grit of Cash’s courage and conviction.”—The Boston Globe

“Though many books have been recently written about Johnny Cash, this one provides an original perspective on Cash’s ability to span musical boundaries. Recommended for fans of social history or American popular music.” –Library Journal

“D’Ambrosio skillfully weaves together [Johnny] Cash’s story and [Peter] La Farge’s...This is cultural history at its finest.” – The Progressive
“I enjoyed Antonino D'Amrbosio's A Heartbeat and a Guitar immensely. D'Ambrosio really did his homework and he is an exceptional storyteller. D'Ambrosio successfully tied vast events and peoples real-life experiences into a fast moving, dramatic arc that reads like an epic novel. Tragic, infuriating, darkly funny and profoundly inspiring. D'Ambrosio captures an important slice of our cultural and political history.”
--Wayne Kramer, legendary musician from the MC5
“If you saw the Oscar winning film Walk the Line, tapped your foot to a Johnny Cash bass line, or didn't know the Man in Black before his late-career revival, you don't know the full story and you have an obligation to read A Heartbeat and a Guitar. This remarkable book is the missing link: it explains the gut-level political passions of Cash like nothing that exists in print. History is trying to give Cash a political root canal. D'Ambrosio sets the record straight shines the light on his fangs.... and a remarkable and forgotten album. I utterly lost myself in this book.”--Dave Zirin, author a People's History of Sports in the United States
“...a fresh look at an American icon and an illuminating dive into an issue that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.”--Oregon Music News
“To really trace the progressive politics of Johnny Cash, I can't recommend enough Antonino D'Ambrosio's book A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears, which places Cash in the center of a web of social-justice-minded artists whose influences came together and set Cash to the making of his most overtly political record—subtitled "Ballads of the American Indian"—right after his biggest success.” —Bitch Magazine

“Art is the antidote. This timeless truth is clear in Antonino D’Ambrosio’s new book A Heartbeat and a Guitar.” —LA Weekly

“Antonino D'Ambrosio has really done his homework like no one ever before. I performed with Cash for 40 years and have read every book written about him yet D'Ambrosio astonishingly reveals another side of Cash framed around perhaps his most important work, Bitter Tears. A Heartbeat and a Guitar is a rare and extraordinary work thanks to D'Ambrosio's exceptional and masterful storytelling. This book must be read, not just by Cash fans, but everyone who loves music and believes in its power and spirit. D’Ambrosio’s work, like Cash himself, is highly original and a force to be reckoned with."Johnny Western, musician and longtime emcee of The Johnny Cash Show

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781568586373
Publisher:
Nation Books
Publication date:
05/03/2011
Edition description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Pages:
296
Sales rank:
211,755
Product dimensions:
5.28(w) x 8.09(h) x 0.79(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author


Antonino D'Ambrosio is an author, filmmaker and visual artist. His books include A Heartbeat and A Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears, Mayday with artist Shepard Fairey, and Let Fury Have the Hour. D’Ambrosio’s essays from the latter inspired his acclaimed feature length documentary feature film of the same name. D’Ambrosio’s writing appears in The New York Times, The Nation, The Progressive, The Believer, Salon.com, Moviemaker, Huffington Post, among others. D’Ambrosio’s film-work includes No Free Lunch starring comedian Lewis Black. He is the founder of the nonprofit La Lutta NMC, selected by The Nation as one of the top independent media groups. D’Ambrosio was New York University’s Gallatin Lecturer, an honor bestowed upon a contemporary artist creating innovative and social engaging work and Artist-In-Residence at the Center for Contemporary in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he produced the natural land art installation and multi- media project La Terra Promessa, which included the production of D’Ambrosio’s film series In Sun and Shadow. In 2014, Sony Music Masterworks released Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited featuring Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris and Steve Earle. Executive produced and with liner notes by D’Ambrosio, the record was inspired by D’Ambrosio’s book A Heartbeat and a Guitar. D’Ambrosio also produced, wrote and directed the documentary We’re Still Here: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited. to be released in Fall 2015 by PBS. D’Ambrosio is currently in production on feature length documentary Frank Serpico: Only Actions Count, produced by Gigantic Pictures. His newest book is The Free Space: How Creative-Response Transforms Our World.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago