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Johnny Cash: The Life by Robert Hilburn | MACLEAN'S Review

Johnny Cash This past week MACLEAN'S reviewer Martin Patriquin eloquently contemplates the multifarious nature of Johnny Cash in Robert Hilburn's new biography. Here's a snippet from the article but you can read the entire review at http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/11/20/johnny-cash-the-life:

“Cash could make any song sound like it was pouring from his own guts, even if he hadn’t written it. We find out why in a pitch-perfect nugget typical of Hilburn’s brilliant Cash biography. Sincerity is country music’s greatest compliment, something Cash learned from his idol, country singer Jimmy Rodgers. “As Cash listened to Rodgers’s records, he identified with the man who had grown up in hard times and found in music both a comfort and a personal salvation,” Hilburn writes.

The Johnny Cash that Hilburn meticulously sketches is exactly this type of man—with an added caveat. Music was Cash’s comfort and salvation, but it also turned the shy, God-fearing boy from Kingsland, Ark., into an explosive, pill-popping, alcoholic womanizer who teetered on the edge of self-inflicted oblivion for much of his life.

There are already over 50 titles written about or by Cash, yet Hilburn’s work is a standout if only because of his access to the man. As a music critic, Hilburn followed Cash’s career from the late ’60s onward; as a friend, he was close to Cash in his dying days. He writes about the relationship between Cash and the latter’s second wife, June Carter, formed as it was in adultery, fuelled by music, misery and at times drugs, and punctuated by separation and longing. And yet this tornado-like union is brought to a scene of peaceful heartbreak by Hilburn, who documents the last moments of Carter’s life in a hospital, with Cash by her side. You might have to put the book down for a moment.”

The definitive biography of an American legend

In Johnny Cash: The Life, Robert Hilburn conveys the unvarnished truth about a musical icon whose colorful career stretched from his days at Sun Records with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis to the remarkable creative last hurrah, at age sixty-nine, that resulted in the brave, moving "Hurt" video. As music critic for the Los Angeles Times, Hilburn knew Cash well throughout his life: he was the only music journalist at the legendary Folsom Prison concert in 1968, and he interviewed Cash and his wife June Carter for the final time just months before their deaths in 2003. Hilburn's rich reporting shows the remarkable highs and deep lows that followed and haunted Cash in equal measure. A man of great faith and humbling addiction, Cash aimed for more than another hit on the jukebox; he wanted to use his music to lift people's spirits and help promote what he felt was the best of the American spirit.

Drawing upon his personal experience with Cash and a trove of never-before-seen material from the singer's inner circle, Hilburn creates an utterly compelling, deeply human portrait of one of the most iconic figures in modern popular culture - not only a towering figure in country music, but also a seminal influence in rock, whose personal life was far more troubled, and whose musical and lyrical artistry much more profound, than even his most devoted fans ever realized.

  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Price: $35.00 CAN
  • Pages: 688
  • Physical Dimensions: 6" x 9-1/4"
  • ISBN-13: 9780316194754
  • On Sale Date: 10/29/2013

Swipe Design Book Launch | TOD SEELIE: Bright Nights

On Friday, November 29th, Swipe Design | Books + Objects will host photographer Tod Seelie at their store for the launch of his new book BRIGHT NIGHTS: PHOTOGRAPHS OF ANOTHER NEW YORK (9783791348551) published by Prestel Publishing. Bright-Nights

“You've never seen New York this way before." --Slate

About the Book Tod Seelie loves New York, but not the version depicted in postcards. His city is an underground haven for people at society’s edges, people who come alive at night, who make music and art and noise and mess. This startlingly beautiful collection of images captures a gritty culture that belies the city’s glamorous persona. Here are punk bands and bike parties, abandoned spaces and skeezy clubs, junk-filled lots and sketchy streets. Interspersed throughout the book are texts from Seelie’s friends and fellow artists, along with an introduction by Jeff Stark, editor of the iconic alternative events e-mail list Nonsense NYC. The photographs in the book create a love poem to the city that not only doesn’t sleep—it cavorts around at 3:00 am looking for the next adventure.

Colorful, entertaining, and slightly shocking, this is the first book from Tod Seelie, a photographer whose images “elevate mere weirdness to a more striking realm of visual intrigue.” —New York Times

About the Author TOD SEELIE has taken pictures in more than 25 countries on five continents. His photographs have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world and appeared in publications including the New York Times, TIME, Rolling Stone, Spin, Thrasher, Vice, Der Spiegel and Juxtapoz. Seelie displays his work on multiple websites including Sucka Pants, which he has maintained for almost a decade.

For more event details visit Swipe's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events.

SAM SUTHERLAND: ON TOUR

PerfectYouthRoadTrip

SAM SUTHERLAND, author of PERFECT YOUTH: The Birth of Canadian Punk (ECW Press | 9781770410657) is going on tour this March!

March 29th in Hamilton

  • 9pm, 19+, free
  • Casbah Lounge
  • 306 King St. W

In conversation with George Pettit (Alexisonfire) plus live music from Arson

March 30th in Montreal

  • 3pm, all ages, free
  • BBAM! Gallery
  • 3255 Saint-Jacques

In conversation with Ralph Alfonso (Manager, the Diodes / Crash 'n' Burn)

March 30th in Montreal

  • 9pm, 19+, $5
  • L'escogriffe
  • 4467 Saint-Denis

Live music from the Normals and Electric Vomit, plus Chris Barry (222s) spinning classic punk all night

"Perfect Youth is a valuable and accessible addition to the study of punk in general, and to Canada's place within it." - Stephanie Hart, Quill & Quire

"Sutherland has brought the movement together with a clarity and intimacy never achieved before, and for its moments of guilelessness and raw delight, reveals the value of a scene that self-deprecates as often as it’s been dismissed." - Natalie Zina Walschots, The National Post

"Perfect Youth documents the undocumented, the unloved, the unwashed, and the foul-smelling glory of Canadian punk in its embryonic years." - Gillian McCain, co-author of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk

"Sam Sutherland's loving tribute to the True North Strong and Free punk daze explodes through the pages with a riveting blend of old-school insight and 21st Century analysis. Perfect Youth indeed!" - Steven Blush, author/filmmaker, American Hardcore

"A fascinating, necessary story written buoyantly and well, and with a whole lotta vomit." - Dave Bidini, musician and author of Writing Gordon Lightfoot

Come Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of NAXOS

Grigorian Classical Music Storein Toronto will host the launch of THE STORY OF NAXOS by Nicolas Soames and celebrate the 25th Anniversary of NAXOS on Monday, September 17 at 5-8 p.m.

Meet KLAUS HEYMANN The Man at the Heart of NAXOS

The Story of NAXOS by Nicolas Soames Price: $39.99 CDN ISBN: 9780749956899 Publisher: HUK Format: Hardcover Pub Date: 9/4/2012

Klaus Heymann will be available for media interviews, and will sign copies of THE STORY OF NAXOS at Grigorian Classical Music Store at 70 Yorkville Ave. at 5:00-8:00 p.m.

If you’re in Toronto, please join us for a Q&A with Klaus Heymann, the fascinating entrepreneur and founder of the leading provider of classical music around the world.

Hope to see you there!

Perfect timing...

Even More Rock Family Trees So we happen to be listening to a classic rock station here at the office today and guess what shows up at the door; my copy of Even More Rock Family Trees by Pete Frame. As I return to my desk, The Beatles start singing Day in the Life. Quick as a flash, I turn to the index in the back to find out where The Beatles are. Singing along: "Woke up, fell out of bed...", I discover that The Beatles are connected to Derek and the Dominoes through Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, with whom both Eric Clapton and George Harrison played. Who knew? Not me!

Whoa! Now it's Fleetwood Mac! Okay, so there are a billion connections there. But did you know that Rod Stewart sang for a band called Shotgun Express, in which Mick Fleetwood played drums? Did you know that it was around that very time - in 1967 - that Fleetwood Mac's first incarnation appeared? Not me! This book is really going to take some serious study time. I can't wait!

EVEN MORE ROCK FAMILY TREES by Pete Frame | Omnibus Press; Can. $30.95 | April 2012 | 9781844490073

For the Music Fan

"This book presents forty years of some of the greatest moments in rock-and-roll history."—From the introduction by Debbie Harry

 For 40 years, Bob Gruen’s name has been synonymous with rock and roll. From taking early photos on tour with Ike and Tina Turner, to capturing the early CBGB/Max’s Kansas City scene, to covering current stadium rockers such as Green Day, Gruen has always been at the right place at the right time—and he’s always gotten the shot.

In Rock Seen, Gruen has curated his favourite photographs from his career and paired them with intimate captions and behind-the-scenes anecdotes. This book features such iconic acts as the Clash, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, the Sex Pistols, and the Ramones, and includes an introduction by the legendary Debbie Harry. Rock on!

Rock Seen by Bob Gruen, Abrams Books; Can. $52.00; ISBN: 978-0-8109-9772-1

FENDER

THIS YEAR MARKS THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF A MUSIC ICON:

The FENDER TELECASTER

The Stratocaster. The Telecaster. During the quarter-century following World War II, Fender guitars didn’t just make music. They made musical history. Those spectacular years are remembered and celebrated in Fender: The Golden Age 1946-1970, a definitive book (now in a smaller paperback format), which tells the story of the Fender company and the wondrous instruments it created. The culmination of the passion and obsession of three authors who live on both sides of the Atlantic, almost ten years in development, this celebration of Fender’s “golden age,” 1946-1970, includes:

-       Over 250 spectacular photos of Fender guitars, including many of the rarest instruments from private collections

 -      The largest collection of Fender ephemera ever assembled, including every catalog, every price list and Fender Facts newsletter, along with hundreds of advertisements and promotional items.

-       The comprehensive account of Fender’s golden age, from its humble beginnings through its creative heyday, and five years beyond its sale to CBS in 1965.

 A unique look at some of the finest musical instruments ever produced, Fender: The Golden Age will be irresistible to anyone interested in guitars, rock ’n’ roll, or mid-century American collectibles and ephemera. Like the guitars it documents, the book simply brings down the house.

Fender: The Golden Age 1946-1970, By Martin Kelly, Paul Kelly, and Terry Foster; $29.99/287 pages ISBN: 9781844036660

Published by Cassell, an imprint of Octopus Books USA

Lady Gaga x Terry Richardson Book Cover REVEALED!

One of the biggest event books of the Fall is undoubtedly the collaboration between mega-star Lady Gaga and acclaimed fashion photographer Terry Richardson. And today we can reveal the cover of this sure to be gorgeous and controversial collection.  With over 500 never-before-seen photos taken over a 10 month period, this is the first and only official book to be released by Gaga herself. Get ready little monsters, you’re about to gain unprecedented access to Lady Gaga’s tour and her fascinating private life.

 “I didn’t hold anything back. It’s completely unfiltered. Nothing is staged. Terry can get you to do things and he can capture things that no one can ever capture.” —Lady Gaga, Hollywood Reporter

Lady Gaga x Terry Richardson (ISBN: 9781455513895) drops November 22, 2011 from Grand Central Publishing.

Guinness World Records: Drummer Raises Money for Cancer

Donations have been pouring in from supporters as Steve Gaul of Burlington Ontario drums his way to an ambitious $100,000 goal, and hopefully a new Guinness World Record.  Steve is raising money for Cancer, one beat at a time.

For more on Steve Gaul and his inspiring story, you can check out the full story at The Toronto Star, or to watch a live stream of the attempt please visist www.thescore.com or click on the flash player above.

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Bob Mould: See a Little Light

Bob Mould has just released his autobiography, See A Little Light.  Mould was the singer of Husker Du and Sugar, and has continued to record and tour under his own name.  I was a huge Husker Du fan and a pretty big fan of Sugar and his solo efforts as well.  If you grew up a fan of Husker Du, you are going to love reading his memoir.  It is honest, fast paced and intersects with tons of musical icons that likely played a big role in your coming of age.  I will ruin one surprise for you.  Where does the name Husker Du come from anyway?  From a board game contested between adults and kids, where the kids usually win. 

 

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An American Demon.

I just finished reading this amazing memoir.  It is not due to publish until May, 2011, but this post has two objectives.  One is to succintly tell you to read this book if you have the stomach for a brutally honest and amazingly well written memoir.  The other is to air my own personal experience of reading the book and the consideration of how the reading experience and the impact of the book would have been vastly different had it been an enhanced e-book.

  Jack Grisham, former lead singer of California hardcore punk band TSOL, has written an incredibly honest, disturbring and beautifully written memoir of his very troubled youth.

It is hard to put my finger on why it resonated so strongly with me as I moved from despising him to feeling sympathy for him, but I don't think that I have ever read anything so honest, and in the end it is this honesty that makes this such a moving autobiography of a seriously troubled young man.  Given the alcohol and drug fueled life he led, many of the details are probably a bit hazy, but for him to put pen to paper to recount this part of his life, it is certainly not to boast of any of these feats.  This amazing memor is not for the faint of heart, and it is much, much more than a document about life as the lead singer of TSOL.

The other reason for this post is related to the reading experience, which for me was by reading a printed galley.  Throughout my reading of the book, I knew that when I finished I would go to youtube to see footage of a TSOL show and to see what the author, Jack Grisham, actually looks like, (since he regularly refers to himself as gorgeous and big - 6'3" in the book).  I intentionally did not do this until I was done as I knew that it would influence the way in which I read the book and understood the author.  Had it been an enhanced e-book on an ipad for instance, there would likely have been the same videos embedded into the narrative which I would have absolutely watched while reading the book.  Having finished the book and created in my mind's eye an image of what Jack looks like and an impression of what kind of person he is, seeing the videos after the fact surprised me in terms of what he looks like, and they softened the impression I have of what kind of a person he is.  My point is that the experience and the intensity of emotion that I had in reading the book without any video images or video interruption for me was clearly more impactful, despite the fact that I wanted to see the video images as soon as I finished the book.  I am sure for others having an enhanced e-book experience will be preferrable, but for me the linear book was completely immersive and I can only guess, much more impactful.  Had I bounced back and forth between interviews, live concert footage, etc, I am sure I would have finished the book with a different and less intense sense of the tragic and brutal youth that Jack lived and imposed on many others. 

If I haven't bored you yet, had I been given the choice in reading this book between the book format and the nature of how that narrative unfolds, and the ehnaced multi-media book that a book like this might also evole into, I would hands down choose the linear unfolding of the traditional paper book narrative for maximum impact.

An American Demon.  By Jack Grisham.  Published by ECW Press - May, 2011.  9781550229561.

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