I Hear a Voice Calling: A Bluegrass Memoir

Overview

During the final years of Bill Monroe's life, bluegrass fiddler Gene Lowinger took a series of on- and off-stage photographs of Monroe on the road—preparing for shows, performing, interacting with fans and audiences—and in informal settings with family, friends, and fellow musicians. As a bandmate, Lowinger was given unique access to Monroe's private life, and this book presents these photos as well as other photos documenting Lowinger's involvement with the bluegrass scene ...

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Overview

During the final years of Bill Monroe's life, bluegrass fiddler Gene Lowinger took a series of on- and off-stage photographs of Monroe on the road—preparing for shows, performing, interacting with fans and audiences—and in informal settings with family, friends, and fellow musicians. As a bandmate, Lowinger was given unique access to Monroe's private life, and this book presents these photos as well as other photos documenting Lowinger's involvement with the bluegrass scene beginning in the early 1960s.

Lowinger also tells his own story of a New Jersey boy obsessed with folk and old-time music, and he recounts college trips to country music parks in Pennsylvania to see Monroe and other bluegrass masters; his stints as a fiddler for the New York Ramblers, Greenbriar Boys, and Blue Grass Boys; and his memories of playing at the Grand Ole Opry and music festivals. A photographic reflection on Bill Monroe's public and private life, I Hear a Voice Calling also testifies to the bluegrass master's profound mentorship and guidance.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"One cannot overrate the important of either the photographs or the memoir in terms of [Bill] Monroe, who is one of the most important American vernacular musicians of the last century.  Highly recommended."—Choice

 "A welcome addition to the growing list of bluegrass memoirs."—Bluegrass Unlimited

 
"The sense of an era that has passed, of a time now far distant when giants walked the earth and played the Grand Ole Opry is perfectly captured in dozens of rare and relishable on-stage and behind-the-scenes images."—R2

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252076633
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 1,341,715
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Gene Lowinger is a freelance photojournalist based in New York and New Jersey. The first "Northern" fiddler to join the ranks of the Blue Grass Boys, Lowinger is also the author of Bluegrass Fiddle, one of the first books to accurately capture the bluegrass fiddle style in standard musical notation.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 31, 2009

    City Bluegrass Boy Recalls Monroe Days

    Gene Lowinger, a Jew whose roots are deep in the New York metropolitan area, realized his dream to be a fiddler with the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe. He recalls the wonderful experience of playing with Monroe but candidly acknowledges he just couldn't adjust to the south. Lowinger details the difficulty of being a bluegrass fiddler and a classical violinist. He succeeded at both after being assured there was no way he'd make it as a violinist starting out as a young adult instead of a child. He proved otherwise. While he never adjusted to the ways of the south, he had a very good relationship with the musicians who played key roles in the first generation of bluegrass bands. Those of us who grew up in the northeast and had a love for this music didn't find it easy to find radio stations playing it and record stores selling it. It was interesting to find Lowinger listened to the same clear channel stations I heard as a child and he visited the same country music parks in Pennsylvania and Maryland where I went for bluegrass at an early age. He can add writing books to his list of talents along with playing the fiddle and violin.

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    Posted December 14, 2009

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    Posted June 17, 2009

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