Summer Books on Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan

Insights About John Prine, Austin City Limits Also Available for Your Reading Pleasure

It’s never too early to start compiling your beach-reading list for the summer. So let us begin.

From the eternal Willie Nelson comes It’s a Long Story: My Life, set for release May 5. Written with David Ritz, this remembrance chronicles Nelson’s rich and rocky road toward cultural immortality, from the personal to the professional and from his highly publicized bankruptcy to his righty-celebrated founding and maintenance of Farm Aid.

Several new and upcoming titles fit in nicely with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s dazzling new exhibit Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats, a peek into the fusion between pop and country music in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

There are slew of freshly minted books on Bob Dylan, most with titles that are self-explanatory. Released Tuesday (April 28) Bob Dylan: NYC 1961-1964 (April) features Ted Russell’s photos of the then-upstart folksinger, with text by Chris Murray and a foreword by Donovan.

Then there’s Brian Southall’s worshipful Bob Dylan: The Story of the World’s Greatest Singer-Songwriter (May). Elijah Wald’s Dylan Goes Electric!: Newport, Seeger, Dylan and the Night That Split the Sixties (July) revisits the young bard’s schismatic appearance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.

Finally, we have two summing-up volumes: Jon Bream’s Dylan: Disc by Disc (August), an illustrated tour of the artist’s 35 studio releases, and Refractions of Bob Dylan: Cultural Appropriations of an American Icon (August), a collection of essays by Dylan scholars edited by Eugen Banauch.

Arriving on store shelves recently were other titles titles of interest, including Eddie Huffman’s John Prine: In Spite of Himself, a career retrospective and stories about Prine’s most famous songs.

Also, Tracey Laird, Brandon Laird and Scott Newton’s Austin City Limits: Forty Years of Legendary Music and Charles L. Hughes’ Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South, an account of the effects of the Civil Rights movement on the music being recorded in Nashville, Memphis and Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

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