Monday, March 29, 2021

Words & Music

An interesting sign of something, though I'm not sure what: all of a sudden a large number of the musicians I listen to regularly or occasionally have either come out with a book or have one in the pipe. The one I've been anticipating for some time is Richard Thompson's memoir, which is being published shortly, but just in the last week I've learned that Rickie Lee Jones is also releasing a memoir in April, and that Robin Hitchcock is publishing a hardcover volume of lyrics in July.

Just looking back four years and including only performers represented in my modest CD collection, I came up with the following short list:
  • Loudon Wainwright III, Liner Notes: On Parents & Children, Exes & Excess, Death & Decay, & a Few of My Other Favorite Things (2017)
  • Amy Rigby, Girl to City: A Memoir (2019) (reviewed briefly in this space here)
  • Peter Case, Somebody Told the Truth: Selected Lyrics and Stories (2020)
  • Peter Blegvad, Imagine, Observe, Remember (2020)
  • Rickie Lee Jones, Last Chance Texaco: Chronicles of an American Troubadour (April 6, 2021)
  • Richard Thompson, Beeswing: Losing My Way & Finding My Voice, 1967-1975 (April 13, 2021)
  • Mary Gauthier, Saved by a Song: The Art and Healing Power of Songwriting (July 2021)
  • Robyn Hitchcock, Somewhere Apart: Selected Lyrics 1977-1997 (July 2021)
  • Roy Gullane (of the Tannahill Weavers), untitled memoir (tentatively 2021)
Some of the above are self-published (or appear to be), but Rigby's memoir was admirably written and professionally produced, and the Hitchcock, which will include some of his drawings as well, looks nicely packaged. Others are being issued and supported by major US publishers. The Blegvad, available from Uniformbooks in the UK, is a bit of a ringer here, as it has no particular connection to his music.

Most or all of these performers, some of whom have worked with each other in the past, have had to drastically reduce their touring schedules due to the pandemic, which may have given them the incentive and leisure time to shift their attention to the written word, but several of the volumes listed appear to have been at least contemplated before last year. A more likely explanation is that all of these artists have reached a point in their careers that a bit of retrospective seems to be in order, and no doubt any extra bit of revenue is welcome as well.


Michael Leddy said...

I’m curious to see what Rickie Lee Jones has to say. Have you seen the documentary about her? Me, no, I think I lack the needed platform.

Chris said...

I haven't seen the documentary, no, but she's an interesting person. The book should be good.