Homeplace: A Southern Town, a Country Legend, and the Last Days of a Mountaintop Honky-Tonk

Homeplace: A Southern Town, a Country Legend, and the Last Days of a Mountaintop Honky-Tonk

by John Lingan


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An intimate account of country music, social change, and a vanishing way of life as a Shenandoah town collides with the twenty-first century

Winchester, Virginia is an emblematic American town. When John Lingan first traveled there, it was to seek out Jim McCoy: local honky-tonk owner and the DJ who first gave airtime to a brassy-voiced singer known as Patsy Cline, setting her on a course for fame that outlasted her tragically short life. What Lingan found was a town in the midst of an identity crisis.
As the U.S. economy and American culture have transformed in recent decades, the ground under centuries-old social codes has shifted, throwing old folkways into chaos. Homeplace teases apart the tangle of class, race, and family origin that still defines the town, and illuminates questions that now dominate our national conversation—about how we move into the future without pretending our past doesn't exist, about what we salvage and what we leave behind. Lingan writes in “penetrating, soulful ways about the intersection between place and personality, individual and collective, spirit and song.”*
* Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544932531
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 07/17/2018
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

John Lingan has written for The Oxford American, Atlantic, BuzzFeed, The Baffler, Slate, The New Republic, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other places. He spent four years reporting and writing Homeplace, his first book.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Old Days

1 The Blue Ridge Country King 3

2 A Closer Walk with Thee 27

3 Resistance 57

New Ways

4 A Museum and a Mountaintop 79

5 How to Build a City 109

6 Toxically Pure 141


7 They'll Have to Carry Me Out 175

8 Better Neighbors 203

9 Blessed to Be Gray 227

Acknowledgments 239

Notes on Sources 242

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