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True Adventures with the King of Bluegrass
Jimmy Martin
By Tom Piazza, Marty Stuart - foreword
Vanderbilt University Press
1999
108 Pages
ISBN:  0-8265-1360-3

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Jimmy Martin was just twenty-two years old when Bill Monroe asked him to join the Blue Grass Boys. That invitation was the start of a fifty-year recording career, recently celebrated with Martin's induction into the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Honor. At age seventy-two, he still regularly performs with his band, the Sunny Mountain Boys. Yet the man himself remains an obscure figure, compared with other bluegrass greats such as Ralph Stanley or the Osborne Brothers.

Fiction writer and music critic Tom Piazza couldn't understand why Martin wasn't better known. So, on assignment from The Oxford American magazine, he drove from his home in New Orleans to Nasvhille to find out. Although aware that Martion had "a reputation as a heavy drinker and a volatile personality," Piazza found himself pitched headlong into a world he couldn't have anticipated. Martin's mercurial personality drew the writer into a series of escalating encournters (with mean dogs, broken-down cars, and near electrocution), culminating in a harrowing and unforgettable expedition, with Martin, to the Grand Ole Opry.

Piazza captured his visit with Martin in supple, electric prose, and the result, when it appeared in The Oxford American, quickly became a word-of-mouth sensation among musicians and fans alike. Included in this edition are a new afterword by PIazza, an essay on Martin's recordings, and a timeline of Martin's career. True Adventures with the King of Bluegrass is a funny, scary, and powerfully poignant portrait of one of the living legends of American music.

Tom Piazza, writing on American music has appeared in the "Sunday New York Times", "The Atlantic Monthly", "The New Republic", and "The Village Voice". His books include "The Guide to Classic Recorded Jazz" (University of Iowa Press), which won the ASCAP-Deems TAylor Award for music writing, and "Blues and Trouble" (St. Martin's Press), which won a James Michener Award for fiction. He lives in New Orleans (where he can be reached at www.tompiazza.com) and is currently working on a novel.