Want some intimate behind-the-scene glimpses of Big & Rich? A look at the down-home life of Charlie Daniels? An insight into the guy who co-wrote what many consider to be the best country song of all time? Well, all these delights are coming soon to a bookstore near you.
When Publishers Weekly rolled out its massive list of books to be released this spring and summer, CMT.com sifted out the music titles you might find engrossing, starting with Big & Rich: All Access, penned by Big Kenny and John Rich themselves and due out in June.
Daniels calls his biography Growing Up Country: What Makes Country Life Country. Look for it on April 3. Songwriter Bobby Braddock, who co-wrote the heart-ripping "He Stopped Loving Her Today" and a ton of other classics, holds forth about his early days in the just-released Down in Orburndale: A Songwriter's Youth in Old Florida.
Fans too young to have seen Hee Haw during its first run on TV may not remember Roni Stoneman, the gap-toothed comedienne who was equally quick with a quip or a banjo. Of course, she had an illustrious history as a member of the pioneering Stoneman Family band well before Hee Haw came along. With the assistance of Ellen Wright, a folk music performer and writing lecturer at Northwestern University, Stoneman recounts her colorful career in Pressing On: The Roni Stoneman Story. Publication is set for April. Stoneman read excerpts from her book at a meeting of the International Country Music Conference a few years back. They were revealing, tender and often hilarious.
In that vast non-country world of music, we have: Let's Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies, Pamela Des Barres, July; Heart Full of Soul: An Inspirational Memoir About Finding Your Voice and Finding Your Way, Taylor Hicks, July; I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon, Crystal Zevon (the late singer-songwriter's wife), May.
Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer -- The Authorized Biography, Chris Salewicz, May; Clublife, Rob the Bouncer, March (about the New York club scene); Dr. Dre: The Biography, Ronin Ro, March; Dr. Dre in the Studio: From Compton, Death Row, Snoop Dog, Eminem, 50 Cent, the Game and Mad Money -- The Life, Times & Aftermath of the Notorious Record Producer, Jake Brown, March.
Billy Joel: The Biography, Mark Bego, June; Elvis: Still Taking Care of Business -- The Truth About the King From His Bodyguard Confidant, Sonny West with Marshall Terrill, May; Morrissey: The Pageant of His Bleeding Heart, Gavin Hopps, April; The Beatles: A One Night Stand in the Heartland, Bill Carlson and Denise Gardner, July; Roadwork: Thirty Years of Touring with the Who, Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart and the Eagles, Tom Wright with Susan VanHecke, May.
Van Halen: A Visual History 1978-1985, Neil Zlozower, June; I Got Your Back: Our Bond as Father and Son, Eddie and Gerald Levert, May; My First Time: A Collection of First Punk Show Stories, edited by Chris Duncan, May; Inside the Music of Brian Wilson: The Songs, Sound and Influences of the Beach Boys' Founding Genius, Philip Lambert, March.
Nirvana: The Biography, Everett True, April; Fab Four FAQ: Everything Left to Know About the Beatles ... and More, Stuart Shea and Robert Rodriguez, June; The Rough Guide to Blues, Nigel Williamson, March; Led Zeppelin Crashed Here: The Rock and Roll Landmarks of North America, Chris Epting, April; White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s, Joe Boyd, April; Making Music Videos: Everything You Need to Know From the Best in the Business, Lara M. Schwartz, June.
One book we don't expect to get review copies of is Uncommon Sound: The Left-Handed Guitar Players That Changed Music, a two-volume set with companion CD by John Engel, coming in May. It profiles 150 left-handed guitarists from the 1920s to the present. And it sells in this limited edition for $350. You might have to pawn your guitar to buy it.