Highways and Heartaches: How Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, and Children of the New South Saved the Soul of Country Music

Hachette. Aug. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9780306826108. $29. MUSIC
The 1964 murder of three civil rights workers in Philadelphia, MS, might seem like an odd bookend for a history of the careers of country and bluegrass mainstays Ricky Skaggs and Marty Stuart. But Philadelphia is the latter’s birthplace, and if the political, cultural, and spiritual currents of the ensuing 60 years otherwise linger lightly in Streissguth’s (Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris, and the Renegades of Nashville) narrative, this framing is an acknowledgment that no music occurs in a vacuum. The book’s title is taken from Skaggs’s 1982 album and is a mosaic, or perhaps a map, with Skaggs’s and Stuart’s careers as navigational threads through an important and tumultuous period of country and bluegrass music history. Though even casual fans will recognize some of the stars with whom both players have been associated—Emmylou Harris and Johnny Cash, most famously—it’s unsurprisingly a who’s who of significant names, with mandolinist/singer/songwriter Bill Monroe’s long shadow cast over all.
VERDICT An absorbing and richly detailed retrospective that will especially appeal to country and bluegrass aficionados.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing