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Bluegrass Bluesman: A Memoir (Music in American Life) Paperback – September 20, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Josh speaks in a matter of fact, unapologetic tone as a kid that just happened to choose his own destiny and manage to ride a 60 year career to a legendary status. He did it as a side man with the most beloved bluegrass band of all time and he did it following his muse wherever it led him.
You learn of Josh Graves the man and musician of course but, Graves is fascinating when he details the business of early country and bluegrass music. He details the economics,pitfalls and real danger of being on the road during that time. Not for the faint of heart.
So much has changed of the years in some respects. So much hasn't changed at all.
Fred Bartenstein has given us a compact memoir Of "Uncle Josh", compact and straight forward. Josh speaking his mind, straight as an arrow, no frills. No apologies. Josh Graves telling us the way it was.
I'm going to read this again.
I have a fuller review in [...]
But basically, buy it and read it. The voice and memories of Josh Graves are worth hearing.
I find that music is much richer when I can understand something about the musician. So, I relished learning more about the musical hero of one of my musical heroes. What's clear throughout the book is Graves' humility surrounding his status as a musical pioneer. That, itself, has made me a bigger fan of his. He lived a sometimes-gritty life, and it's amazing that he persevered to build the career in music that he did.
My complaints are few; I expected a linear story, but Graves' tales skip around a bit. Also, I hoped that he would elaborate a little more on the development of his style and the teachings of Earl Scruggs. Toward the end of the book, Graves gets on a bit of a soapbox about the irreverence of a newer generation of musicians, too. However, I can appreciate that it's all part of the fuller picture of Graves that I now have-- thanks to this book.
It's an easy, enjoyable read, and if you're a dobro player, it's required reading. Not all of us were lucky enough to cross paths with Graves while he was alive, so this book is the next best thing.
Graves' memoir offers forthright views of the music, other personalities and his own place in that world. Without saying anything hurtful, Josh diplomatically lets us know where he stands. He's candid about the F&S breakup in 1969, spelling out details without casting aspersions on the principals. It's the first time I've seen the story spelled out so clearly. It's been convenient to blame their differences on Louise & Earl, but clearly Lester had a role as well.
I can only guess at the work that went into assembling, editing, transcribing and unifying the tape interviews that made this book possible. Congratulations to Fred Bartenstein on a first class job!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
LOVE FLATT AND SCRUGGS? HERE'S THE STORY OF THE MAN WHO SET THEM APART IN THE BLUEGRASS WORLD.
NO DOBRO IN BLUEGRASS UNTIL JOSH GRAVES WROTE THE BOOK.
Josh Graves is a great story teller. There are plenty of funny stories about life on the road as well as some history of the Dobro and it's place in Bluegrass music.Published on March 22, 2014 by alan ackerson
I don't know the material the author had to work with but I totally enjoyed the book. I also appreciated the almost absence of profanity. Bluegrass is a family music. Read morePublished on January 26, 2014 by Russell Lee Elkins
Love the easy style reading and how it's told in Josh's own words. Makes you feel like you're visiting with Josh as you read it.Published on October 18, 2013 by blugrssmom
This is an interesting and informative book at many levels -- Josh's own words, the history of the times, the words spoken of Josh by others. I would give it a very high rating.Published on July 15, 2013 by Sandy O'Seay
Really great read about one of the deepest musicians in Country music. Between Josh and Earl, they wrote the book on "feel".Published on May 16, 2013 by Kimberly Carson
The book was pieced together and after his death and it shows. If you are interested in the whole Flatt and Scruggs dynamic, it's worth the time but that's only a chapter or two if... Read morePublished on May 2, 2013 by Banjodeathbomb
This narrative, distilled from intervews and tapes is entertaining and also captures the beginning of modern blue grass as it emerged from the traditional tunes from the mountains. Read morePublished on April 9, 2013 by J. Williams