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Lives of the Poets (with Guitars): Thirteen Outsiders Who Changed Modern Music Paperback – April 12, 2016
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PRAISE FOR LIVES OF THE POETS (WITH GUITARS)
"[Robertson] brings a good ear and plenty of critical insight to essays aimed at helping readers discover new favorites or hear more familiar music from a fresh perspective ... [A] solid ... fresh collection."Kirkus' Reviews
[A] fine new book.”David McPherson, No Depression
"There is much to love and admire about Lives of the Poets (with Guitars). Robertson brings a discerning ear and keen passion, a sly sense of humour and a deep sense of philosophical questioning to each of these pieces ... [A] powerful book and one to which music fans are likely to often return. It’s not just that it serves as an introduction (and shopping list) for artists with whom one might be unfamiliar; the passion and intensity Robertson brings to his listening will likely have readers looking at their own record collections in a new light, the familiar suddenly new again."The Toronto Star
"[A] smart, amusing and compelling collection ... Robertson’s writing style walks the line between the scholarly approach of Robert Christgau of Village Voice ... and that of Lester Bangs (Rolling Stone, Creem, etc.) who rivaled Hunter S. Thompson in terms of opinionated and decadent balls-to-the-wall journalism ... Reading Lives of the Poets (With Guitars) is almost like having a buddy who works in a record store sit you down and say, 'OK, it’s time you got schooled about who has really been important in writing music.'"Winnipeg Free Press
Insightful and excellent ... Robertson [explores] the tension between artistry, survival, and motivation from the perspective of an ardent fan ... Highly entertaining.”Vish Kanna, The Globe & Mail
"The achievement of [Robertson's] book is that it directs fans and novices alike toward the myriad joys offered up by its subjects, while also prodding us to think and feel more deeply about the other poets with guitars or boom boxes or turntables who lie beyond these pages, in our own personal pantheons"Quill & Quire
Ray Robertson knows what he likes. He also knows how to pull the reader deep within what he likes, giving his words the same vibrant tones as the music and personalities they describe. Whether the artist he’s profiling is an acknowledged legend or barely even a cult figure, his passion for their work and their stories is overwhelming. And really, anyone who can bring the guitar tunes of Alan Wilson and Paul Siebel not only into my life but into such sharp focus has done a tremendous service.”Jonathan Woollen, Politics & Prose (Washington, DC)
Ray Robertson’s Lives of the Poets (with Guitars) takes a deep look at his personal pantheon of blues, country, and alt-folk artists for this idiosyncratic continuation of Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the Poets. Robertson splits his accounts between each artist’s personal lives, historical context, and musical contributions for a work that newcomers and long-term fans can enjoy alike!”Molly Odintz, BookPeople (Austin, TX)
"Steve Earle fans know that he once said 'Townes Van Zandt is the greatest songwriter in the world, and I'd stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.' I feel the same way about Ray Robertson's new book from Biblioasis, called Lives of the Poets (with Guitars). I'd stand on Greil Marcus' coffee table and politely suggest that Ray writes better sentences. For music nerds, Ray's book is essential. For anyone else, get thee to a good record store, then buy his book."David Worsley, Words Worth Books (Waterloo, ON)
PRAISE FOR RAY ROBERTSON
"Ray Robertson is an irrepressible voice, with brass balls, and a heart of gold."Jonathon Evison, author of The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
"Ray Robertson is the Jerry Lee Lewis of North American letters."Chuck Kinder, author of Honeymooners
"Robertson has been called 'word drunk.' That's good . . . his prose is undoubtedly major-league. There's wit and wisdom in abundance, delivered in clever, punchy style."The Globe and Mail
From the Back Cover
Lives of the Poets (with Guitars) picks up where Samuel Johnson left off nearly 250 years ago, collecting biographical and critical portraits of 13 of rock & roll, blues, folk, and alt-country's most inimitable artists. These often irreverent essays offer a riotous, toe-tapping and original take on how each musician shaped their genre, while looking into their tumultuous lives.
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