Bluegrass audiences required a rural, Southern authenticity from the "Father of Bluegrass," and Monroe was slow to deny their exaggerations. Smith, however, dismisses many of the backwoodsy stories that grew up around the Monroe myth, instead emphasizing truer biographical elements: loneliness, fear of abandonment, compulsiveness with women. Perhaps the book's main scholarly step forward is the depth of interviews and research the author conducted with the women in Monroe's life. Indeed, Smith remarks that "without exception," none of Monroe's platonic or romantic women friends had been interviewed before. These women reveal a second Bill Monroe, relaxed and gentle in private despite his imperious manner onstage.
Much of the book relies on the archives of the late Ralph Rinzler, a Smithsonian folklorist whose plans to write a Monroe biography were thwarted by his untimely death. Taking up where Rinzler left off, Smith employs solid scholarship and thorough fieldwork, yet he remains clearly in awe of his subject, ranking him as a "true giant of American music" on the level of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Hank Williams, and Charles Ives. Can't You Hear Me Callin' is the first published attempt at a comprehensive, critical biography of Bill Monroe. Surely, it won't be the last--a testament to the enigmatic genius whose every note extended one of our most emotive and demanding musical genres. --Edward Skoog --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
If you are interested in the history of bluegrass this is so informative.Published 2 days ago by cooking
Get book to get some insight into the man. Sad, awesome, disappointing. The real man. Not a shine job. Should be required reading for Monroe disciples!Published 1 month ago by Karl Svoboda
Thoroughly researched and documented, yet reads like a novel.
Kindle rendering could have used proofreading. Read more
Starting with the 2nd chapter ther was nothing but footnotes no text. returned to KIndle ,re-ordered with the same resultPublished 8 months ago by Laurence W. Albright
Bill Monroe's life and career are endlessly fascinating for bluegrass enthusiasts and this book does not disappoint. Read morePublished 12 months ago by James
It is a gift. I think it is great but I will be giving it away for Christmas to my Father.Published 13 months ago by Darlene Romat
Well written, it was enjoyable reading except that it showed a side of a musical and cultural giant few people not privy to the inner circle were aware of. Read morePublished 17 months ago by mtn. theologian