On the Shelves: Books on Hank, Wynonna

Other Titles Examine Country Politics, Pop Subjects

A biography of Hank Williams, a memoir by Wynonna Judd and a study of country music and politics are among the flood of music-themed books set for release this fall and winter. Of these, the hottest subject is John Lennon, the assassinated Beatle, who has inspired five forthcoming studies, including books by each of his wives.

Already on the shelves is Paul Hemphill’s Lovesick Blues: The Life of Hank Williams (Viking). Hemphill first delved into country music with his now classic The Nashville Sound. He brackets his new study of Williams with contemporaneous boyhood memories of growing up in the South.

Judd’s autobiography, Coming Home to Myself, was released last week by New American Library. She was assisted in writing the book by Patsi Bale Cox, who has done similar work with Tanya Tucker and Ralph Emery, among others.

Rednecks and Bluenecks: The Politics of Country Music (New Press) is by Chris Willman and slated for an October debut. Newspaper columnist Michael Corcoran has compiled some of his previously published works for All Over the Map: True Heroes of Texas Music (University of Texas Press). The book, out in October, covers 32 Lone Star musicians from all genres.

Other titles of interest to country fans are Music City Reader 2005: Great Writing on Country and Bluegrass Music (Music City Book Publishing), edited by Randy Rudder, October (popular and scholarly articles on a wide variety of musicians, including Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Kris Kristofferson, Gretchen Wilson, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings and Ricky Skaggs); The Best of No Depression: Writing About American Music (University of Texas Press), edited by Grant Alden and Peter Blackstock, September; Grievous Angel: The Authorized Biography of Gram Parsons (Thunder’s Mouth Press), Jessica Hundley with Polly Parson (Gram’s daughter), November; and And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey (New Press), Studs Terkel, October (includes interviews with Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger).

Lennon’s years in the Beatles will be highlighted in John, written by his first wife, Cynthia Lennon. Their son, musician Julian Lennon, wrote the foreword for the Crown Press publication set to arrive in October. In December, Harper Entertainment will publish Memories of John Lennon by Lennon’s second wife, Yoko Ono. Related tomes include Lennon Revealed (Running Press), Larry Kane, October; John Lennon: Nothing’s Gonna Change My World (Spotlight), a collection of columns, photos and articles from the Associated Press, September; and John Lennon: The New York Years (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), Bob Gruen, October.

Readers with a general interest in music may want to check out The Producer: John Hammond and the Soul of American Music (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Dunstan Prial, January; I’ll Take You There: Pop Music and the Urge For Transcendence (Continuum), Bill Friskics-Warren, September; Made in the UK: The Music of Attitude: 1977-1983 (Powerhouse Books/Miss Rosen Editions), Paul Smith and others, September; Classic American Popular Songs: The Second Half Century, 1950-2000 (Routledge), David Jenness and Donald Velsey, November.

Also, Brown Sugar: The History of America’s Black Female Superstars (Continuum), Donald Bogle, February; On This Day in Black Music History (Hal Leonard), Jay Warner, January; Is Rock Dead? (Routledge), Kevin J. Dettmar, November; Music Lust: Recommended Listening for Every Mood, Moment and Reason (Sasquatch), Nic Harcourt, September; Spin: Original Writing on 20 Years of Alternative Music by Spin Magazine (Three Rivers Press), edited by Will Hermes and Sia Michel, October; and Jook Right On: Blues Stories and Blues Storytellers (University of Tennessee Press), Barry Lee Pearson, October.

This article was compiled from information listed in Publishers Weekly and other sources.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.