PERFORMING ARTS

Looking To Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing

Little, Brown. Oct. 2020. 576p. ISBN 9780316412629. $30. MUSIC
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Early on in the prolific and always interesting Guralnick’s (Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ’n‘ Roll) new collection of musical portraits, the author references the old saw that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” He then spends the next 500-plus pages demonstrating exactly why that quote is so very wrong. Through the very best criticism, the writer instills into readers and would-be listeners the magic, creativity, and the vibrating synapses of excitement that result from the first taste of life-changing sounds. It’s not an easy task, but Guralnick is among the greatest at this. Holding forth on everyone from Robert Johnson to Leiber & Stroller, from Ray Charles to Tammy Wynette, Guralnick takes readers through a wide swath of the essential figures in American music, including those we know and those we should know, in a way that demonstrates both the unique qualities of these amazingly artistic individuals and the author’s own extraordinary ability to get to the heart of the matter.
VERDICT A wide-ranging vision and appreciation of American musical creativity from a writer who is himself an essential voice.

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