True Adventures with the King of Bluegrass

True Adventures with the King of Bluegrass

by Tom Piazza, Piazza
     
 

Jimmy Martin was just twenty-two years old when Bill Monroe asked him to join the Blue Grass Boys. That invitation was the start of a fifty-year recording career, recently celebrated with Martin's induction into the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Honor. At age seventy-two, he still regularly performs with his band, the Sunny Mountain Boys. Yet

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Overview

Jimmy Martin was just twenty-two years old when Bill Monroe asked him to join the Blue Grass Boys. That invitation was the start of a fifty-year recording career, recently celebrated with Martin's induction into the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Honor. At age seventy-two, he still regularly performs with his band, the Sunny Mountain Boys. Yet the man himself remains an obscure figure, compared with other bluegrass greats like Ralph Stanley or the Osborne Brothers. Fiction writer and music critic Tom Piazza couldn't understand why Martin wasn't better known. So, on assignment from the Oxford American magazine, he drove from his home in New Orleans to Nashville to find out. Although aware that Martin had "a reputation as a heavy drinker and a volatile personality," Piazza found himself pitched headlong into a world he couldn't have anticipated. Martin's mercurial personality drew the writer into a series of escalating encounters (with mean dogs, broken down cars, and near electrocution), culminating in a harrowing and unforgettable expedition, with Martin, to the Grand Ole Opry.

Piazza captured his visit with Martin in supple, electric prose, and the result, when it appeared in the Oxford American, quickly became a word-of-mouth sensation among musicians and fans alike. Included in this keepsake edition are a new afterword by Piazza, an essay on Martin's recordings, and a timeline of Martin's career.

True Adventures with the King of Bluegrass is a funny, scary, and powerfully poignant portrait of one of the living legends of American music.

Co-published with the Country Music Foundation Press

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
...one of the most engaging, revealing, funny and sad books ever written about a Nashville musician
The Tennessean

Tom Piazza unlocks the back door of bluegrass in his three-hundred-and-sixty-degree portrait of Jimmy Martin's tragic genius. Step inside—it's a fascinating, scary world, and you'll never be the same again.
Tim O'Brien

Nashville Scene
A jaw-dropping encounter that proves just how dull most other country-music reporting is.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780826513601
Publisher:
Vanderbilt University Press
Publication date:
06/28/1999
Series:
Co-published with the Country Music Foundation Press0915608154: Truth Is Stranger Than Publicity
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
7.60(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Tom Piazza's writing on American music has appeared in the Sunday New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, and The Village Voice. He is the author of The Guide to Classic Recorded Jazz (University of Iowa Press), which won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor award for music writing, and Blues and Trouble (St. Martin's Press), which won a James Michener award for fiction. He lives in New Orleans and is working on a novel.

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