Three Chords and the Truth
I watched the first couple episodes of the PBS mini-series Country Music: A History by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan and was hooked. I love history. I love music. I love country music. I love Ken Burns’ documentaries. I was watching a free preview of the series and because I am not a PBS subscriber, didn’t get to see the whole thing. As you can guess, when I saw the book by Duncan was available in audio, I had to grab it.
Yes, the visuals of a Ken Burns documentary are an added treat but you know what? After a chapter or two into the 18 hour audiobook, I found I didn’t really miss the visuals. Yes, it would have been nice to have the songs playing as well but that was remedied by grabbing the accompanying playlists on Spotify.
It took much longer than the 18 hours of the audiobook because I had to stop and listen to some of that music several times. This is one of the best books I have read not only this year but ever… it is that good. Duncan does a great job of bringing you along with the development and changes in country music. I knew most of the information already (even the really old stuff) but I found several gaps in my country music knowledge.
Those gaps were likely during times when I was exploring other genres of music (jazz, classical, rap, pop, hip-hop and others) or artists that never really clicked with me. I took the extra step and when someone like Emmylou Harris (who I never listened to )was heralded for her role in developing country music, I felt she deserved to be heard. Each time Duncan went on about an overlooked artist (like Ricky Scaggs) I paid my respect for their contributions by listening to the songs and albums mentioned. And each time, I was impressed.
If you like history, if you like music (even if not country,) you will like this book. If you like country music to boot – you will love this book.
by Chris Doelle