April 24 was Independent Bookstore Day. Independent bookstores are another casualty of Covid and Big Tech disruption. We need to support artists; we should also support authors and independent book stores.
Of course, I read Bruce Springsteen’s memoir and Brandi Carlile’s new book is on the NYT best seller list (#1 last week!) but here’s a few books by artists you may not know. By no means complete. Send me your suggestions.
First, a little shameless self-promotion. I have book coming out later this year. It’s called the Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How we Can Fight Back. My day job is running the national non-profit, In the Public Interest. Click here to learn more (and how to find your local bookstore to pre-order!)
Mary Gauthier – Saved by a Song: the Art and Healing Power of Songwriting.
Her book comes out in July. I’ve seen Mary several times. Her latest album that she co-wrote with veterans with the non-profit Songwriting with Soldiers, Rifles and Rosary Beads, is a powerful picture into the realities of those who go to war and those who are left behind.
A Singing Army: Zilphia Horton and the Highlander Folk School, by Kim Ruehl
Zilphia Horton and the Highlander Center have had enormous impact as anchor institutions in the labor movement, the civil rights movement and today the movement for racial and economic justice. Zilphia is responsible for finding and giving We Shall Overcome to the world. She first heard the song in 1946 when she went to help tobacco workers with a labor strike in Charleston, South Carolina. She taught it to Pete Seeger when he visited Highlander and the rest is history that you can read here.
Allison Moorer – Blood: A Memoir
Allison and her sister, Shelby Lynne, suffered immeasurable tragedy as teenagers. She is a fantastic writer. The book is powerful description of her life and resilience – and her music is wonderful.
Valerie June – Maps for the Modern World
I’ve seen Valerie June in concert several times. This book just came out so haven’t gotten it yet. She’s a wonder to behold. So I’m sure it’ll be fantastic.
Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music by Ann Powers
Ann is a music writer at NPR Music. She’s one of my favorite music curators and writers. Every sentence she writes needs to be digested and relished. It’s a fascinating book.
Dar Williams – What I Found in a Thousand Towns: A Traveling Musician’s Guide to Rebuilding America’s Communities—One Coffee Shop, Dog Run, and Open-Mike Night at a Time
Dar’s book title says it all. What it doesn’t say is that she is artist with a deep understanding of urban policy as an engine of community building.
Books About Music, Books by Musicians
We need to support Artists and independent bookstores