From Publishers Weekly
Gram Parsons is remembered as much for wearing sequined cowboy suits on stage and for being illegally cremated in the desert by one of his friends after dying of a drug overdose as he is for the half-dozen albums he played on in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including the Byrds' classic Sweetheart of the Rodeo
. Meyer (A Girl and a Gun
) covers both aspects of the legend, but he gives particular attention to the way Parsons brought together elements of country and rock music to forge a new sound. After a leisurely telling of Parsons's rich white trash family drama in Florida and Georgia, including his father's suicide and the barely contained contempt of his mother's family, the biography plunges into his musical career, careening from one band to the next just as Parsons himself did. Meyer is appreciative but never adulatory of Parsons, who he believes threw his talent away; while citing the influence of the Flying Burrito Brothers' debut album, for example, he repeatedly mentions the band's unbelievably sloppy sound. This isn't the first biography of Parsons, but Meyer's semidetached stance as a critical fan makes it a valuable one, in the vein of Peter Guralnick or Greil Marcus. (Oct. 30)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
'A vivid, unravelling tragedy' The Times 'One of the best five rock books of 2008' Rolling Stone 'Meyer's definitive biography peels away the layers of myth to reveal the brief, bright life within' LA Times 20 Best Non-fiction Books of the Year 'Finally his life not only has a book to do it all justice, but possibly also a book that grabs the mantle of biography of the year - music-based or otherwise' Record Collector