From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The perfect country song, according to the late songwriter Steve Goodman, always had references to mama, being drunk, cheating, going to prison and hell-bent driving. Taking a page from Goodman's songbook, Jennings, a New York Times
editor, brilliantly captures the essence of country music in this hard-driving tale that is part memoir and part music history. With the wild-eyed, hard-edged energy of Hank Williams and Jerry Reed, Jennings tells of his upbringing in the hardscrabble hollers of New Hampshire. He recalls characters from his family to illustrate the themes of what he believes is the golden age of country music: 1950–1970. Grammy Jennings, "like Patsy Cline, knows what it is to go walkin' after midnight searching for her man, to fall to pieces, to be crazy-you don't go chasing your oldest son with a butcher knife if you ain't crazy." With the lonesome strains of the steel guitar and tales of hunger and poverty, reckless driving, cheating and drinking, country singers Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and Merle Haggard-no longer heard on the radio-sang not only to Jennings and his family but the millions of folks just like them struggling to face "The Cold Hard Facts of Life" (Porter Wagoner) in a postwar world. (May)
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About the Author
Dana Jennings, a native of New Hampshire, is an editor with The New York Times. He lives in Montclair, New Jersey.