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Down to the River: Portraits of Iowa Musicians (Bur Oak Book) Hardcover – June 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Bur Oak Book
  • Hardcover: 94 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Iowa Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877459975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877459972
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 9.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,382,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"From the melancholy genius of Bix Beiderbecke to the prairie visionary poetry of songwriter Greg Brown, Iowa has produced more than its fair share of great musicians and songwriters. Photgrapher Sandy Dyas has captured the rough and sweet uniqueness of many recent Iowa artists in beautiful images that make you want to dance in a hot bar on a summer evening while singing along with their every word. Even though this is not an all-inclusive, academic history of Iowa musicians and songwriters, Sandy's honest photographs reveal as much about the artists as any hisorical/biographical book could"-Dave Alvin


“These photographs bring to life a world very dear to me, through the eyes of a photographer whose love of that world is palpable on the page. You can hear the songs in these photos: in the stage lights, in the landscapes and barscapes, and in the faces of the people who make my favorite music in the world. I will read and reread this book with gratitude; it’s a vehicle—a hard-driven, hard-rusted, hard-loved farm truck!—driving me right into the music, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be.”—Thisbe Nissen, author Out of the Girls' Room and into the Night


“Sandra Dyas’s photos capture Iowa’s middle landscape, the one where human habitation has made a place for itself between the mechanization of the prairie and the collapse of the family farm. This is the Iowa that gets lived in and sung about. You might catch a glimpse of it at deep twilight, on some nameless county road, where you’ll find a guitar picker or fiddler or steel player: a mere mote on a blanket of soybeans and corn. Like every farmer or elevator operator or grain dealer who’s at home in the idea of moving on, Iowa’s musicians put down roots where they are. You really can’t miss the resemblance in these photos—wanderers who came to make a life and like it or not succeeded at it.” –-Robert Cantwell

About the Author

Sandra Dyas received her MFA in intermedia and video art from the University of Iowa in 1998; she teaches photography at Cornell College and has a thriving freelance photography business. Her photographs have been published on and in numerous CDs, websites, and magazines including No Depression, Vogue, Acoustic Guitar, and the New York Times.

Chris Offutt is the author of Kentucky Straight, Out of the Woods, The Good Brother, The Same River Twice, and No Heroes. His stories and essays have been published in Esquire, GQ, the New York Times, Best American Short Stories, and Best Stories of the South.

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Customer Reviews

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Elevate Difference on August 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Down to the River deserves a special place on the coffee table. With an 18-track CD, poetic foreword and remarkable photography collection, Down to the River is a rare find. Dyas' photographs capture moments throughout twenty years of live music venues in Iowa and are brought to life through the music on the accompanying CD.

Having grown up in Iowa myself, I have a special affinity to Dyas' book. While the music represents a quality and style representative of Iowa, the collection as a whole transcends a relationship to a particular location and becomes a portrait of a lifestyle, an experience. Dyas captures a peace, freedom and oneness that radiates from live music venues through her candid portraits of musicians.

The CD features an array of talented artists with genres blending country, rock 'n' roll and the blues. I had no previous knowledge of any of the artists featured, but immediately connected with Pieta Brown whose soft, bluesy style made me feel as though I had been transported to an outdoor summer festival and become part of a crowd listening to the music. I also enjoyed Greg Brown's "Poor Back Slider," David Zollo's "Parnell" and Kelly Pardekooper's "Not in Iowa."

Down to the River honors the relationship between various art forms, and the beauty that occurs when a photographer uses her craft to capture the talent of a musician. With its blend of writing, photography and music, Dyas has created a remarkable collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jenna L. Nims on May 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
this book brings back all of my best memories from living in iowa city. the pictures are so personal that i almost feel like i am still there... dancing with angie at gabes, singing the songs and never wanting it to end!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Photographer Sandra Dyas has been documenting Iowa City's music scene since 1987. Down to the River: Portraits of Iowa Musicians features sixty of her black-and-white photographs of musicians in and around the city, at live music venues and elsewhere. A brief forward by Chris Offutt and a very small amount of text by the photographer complement this gallery, but the pages are primarily devoted to the pictures themselves, capturing the intensity of music and performance in the moment. A companion audio CD with eighteen tracks of Iowa's greatest singers and songwriters (including Dave Moore, Greg Brown, Bo Ramsey, David Zollo, and Pieta Brown) is included in this stunning visual presentation.
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By mamasarika on February 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Music in Iowa is diverse but the community of musicians has loyalty and support each other with writing and collaboration. Need a followup including Will Whitmore.
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By Cochranmusic on January 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Music has been a big deal for me my whole life. I've been playing it for over 20 years. I have a particular passion for local and lesser known bands. In this book, you get a glimpse of some Iowa musicians. Non-national groups have more to say in my opinion. They come up with more unique music than any national bands ever will. It's time to give local music scenes the credit they deserve. This is what.the author is doing in this book. Fantastic book, fantastic author. Thank you Ms. Dyas for the wonderful book
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