Bluegrass Bluesman: A Memoir

. September 2012. 184p. 978-0-25207-864-4. 21.95.
The father of bluegrass Dobro (a resonator guitar), Graves is a big name in the world of bluegrass, akin to Earl Scruggs or the Smoky Mountain Boys. This memoir, compiled primarily from interviews taped in 1994 at Graves’s Nashville home, tells not just his own story but the history of American bluegrass from the 1940s through the 1960s, providing a fascinating look at the musical culture of the South and encompassing themes of race, commercialization, and the divide between bluegrass and country music. Graves’s love of music, his talent for working with musicians of all stripes, and his folksiness come through as readers absorb his spoken words. Introductions to each chapter set the stage for Graves’s comments. The book also includes 16 pages of black-and-white photos, a chapter of testimonials about Graves, and an extensive list of notes and bibliographic information.
VERDICT While the exterior suggests it may be a bit dull, this book is in fact thoroughly Southern, spicy, real, and lots of fun. Excellent for popular music history collections.

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