Minkin's Music: History behind the music

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By Jay Minkin, Minkin's Music

Since working a day job within walking distance to the public library, my summer reading has exploded. Twenty-six books in 17 weeks to be exact.

Delving into the history and behind the music stories of musicians Allman, Cash, Dylan, Earle, Hynde, Jennings, Nash, Petty, Richards, Ronstandt, Springsteen and Young has caused me to scour for missing albums in my collection. 

Though most of these biographies aren’t for the faint of heart, with documented accounts of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll, the artists’ perseverance to be recorded or overcome addictions is inspirational. 

One songwriter I wasn’t that familiar with was Guy Clark. Without Getting Killed or Caught: The Life and Music of Guy Clark by Tamara Saviano educated me on the brilliant Texan who wrote songs like “Desperados Waiting for a Train,” “L.A. Freeway,” and “She Ain’t Going Nowhere.” His association with Townes Van Zandt along with everyone’s lives he touched in Nashville was deeply moving.

The Cake and the Rain: A Memoir by Jimmy Webb is about one of those folks you may not have heard of but sure know the songs. From “Up, Up, and Away,” “Wichita Linemen,” “The Highwayman,” and “MacArthur Park,” the book covers a who’s who of contemporary music. Meeting the likes of Sinatra, Elvis and Richard Harris are just part of the journey within the pages. 

Americana readers will appreciate Waiting To Derail: Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown, Alt-Country’s Brilliant Wreck by Thomas O’Keefe that I read in two days. The former tour manager of the brilliant but short band career from 1997-2000 gives you an inside view of young genius Ryan Adams. Released at the end of June by Skyhorse Publishing, O’Keefe saves you a seat on the tour bus next to the alt-country manic songwriter who blossomed afterwards with his debut solo release Heartbreaker. 

Contact Jay at Blues4Bird@aol.com or post on his Minkin’s Music Facebook page. 

Categories: Arts & Entertainment