Friday, October 17, 2014

Twangy Tales

When I need inspiration for a blog post, I always turn to the Brownie Locks website. The webmaster has curated an impressive amount of authenticated official holidays for a number of years, and I can usually find a fun topic.  When I learned that October is Country Music Month, I knew that I could pull together a number of great reads for children and adults, including books about famous country music stars from Virginia.  Whether you're a little bit country or a little bit rock and roll, these books should entice many readers wanting to learn more about this uniquely American art form:

The queen of board book's country-flavored book and CD set, Frog Trouble, is guaranteed to get little (and big!) toes tapping.  Prominent country musicians such as Alison Krauss and Brad Paisley perform Boynton's original country songs.

Honky Tonk Heroes and Hillbilly Angels presents profiles of fourteen highly influential country musicians, including Virginians Patsy Cline and the Carter Family. Basic biographical facts, little-known tidbits, and lists of most important titles are included in each portrait.

While Honky Tonk Heroes and Hillbilly Angels is an appealing yet fairly straightforward overview of country music, The Long Gone Lonesome History of Country Music goes full-throttle folksy in its presentation of country music's amazing history, from its pre-World War I days to the present-day industry.  Its largely irreverent style (there's a section on hairstyles of famous country musicians!) makes for a rollicking read.

Somebody Everybody Listens To would appeal to YA readers looking for a sweet, fairly "clean" and satisfying read about a talented singer who heads to Nashville after high school graduation. The highs and lows of new independence are acutely depicted.

Want something a bit more in depth?

Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Country Music in America is an engrossing, richly illustrated, and eye-opening history of this unique music form. It's been several years since I've read it, but I remember that it shows unique insights into country music, such as the recent alt-country/outlaw country movement and political aspects of the genre. It's heavily illustrated, as is typical for a DK publication.

I have not read Johnny Cash: The Life, but it's been on my list for a long time.  It was on many "best of 2013" book lists and sounds like an excellent read.  If you want to read the most recent biography available on Johnny Cash, this is the one to read.

I also haven't read The Stories Behind Country Music's All-Time Greatest 100 Songs, but it looks like a fun read.  If you've ever been curious about the origins of "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys" or "Friends in Low Places," this is the book for you.

Many country stars have called Virginia home. If you decide to make a day trip to Winchester and visit Patsy Cline's home, check out I Fall to Pieces: The Music and Life of Patsy Cline or Patsy: The Life and Times of Patsy Cline.  (You can also take The Essential Patsy Cline  to enjoy in the car.)  We also have Sweet Dreams, the 1985 biographical movie that earned Jessica Lange an Academy Award nomination.

Did you know that Staunton-based The Statler Brothers were discovered by Johnny Cash? You can read more about them in The Statler Brothers: Random Memories. If you enjoy listening to music while reading, take The Best of the Statler Brothers with you.

Doing the Crooked Road is on my bucket list, but before I visit The Carter Family Fold, I want to read Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone? The Carter Family and Their Legacy in American Music; readers who want an intimate insight into June Carter Cash might be interested in her 1987 autobiography, From the Heart, or Anchored in Love: An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash, written by her son.

Of course, you have to listen to music in order to learn more about it. Our collection of country music CDs should satisfy most fans!

Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

To learn more about Fauquier County Public Library's collectionevents, and programs, visit us on FacebookTwitter (Kiddosphere's feed is here), or on our website.

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