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Lost Highway
The True Story of Country Music
By Colin Escott
Smithsonian Books
2003
192 Pages
ISBN:  1-58834-149-6

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This book tells the real story of country music, the quintessential soundtrack of American life and the most popular music in the world today. Colin Escott writes about the birth of country on the back porches in the hills and hollows of turn-of-the-century Appalachia; follows its westward swing into Texas; explores the Hollywood era of singing cowboys; charts the growth of the country music business in Nashville; and profiles the lives, often tragic and extreme, of many of its most famous down-home guitar pickers, fiddle players, lovestruck songsters, slick performers, and roughneck rebels. The book is laced with intimate interviews and stocked with rare photographs of country music idols and legends of both the studio and stage, including the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Monroe, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Glen Campbell, Emmylou Harris, Charley PRide, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Clint Black, and others. The book is both a celebration of the strange, raw spirit of authentic country music and a critique of the bland, soulless product that often passes for country music today.

Country music is the backwoods piety and rude ambition of the CAter Family; it's the dowdiness of Jimmie Rodgers and the honky-tonk singer; it's the fierce insurgency of Bill Monroe's bluegrass, it's the dark soliloquies of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash; and it's the defiant attitudes of Hank Jr. and Travis Tritt. This is the story of country music—its great stars, the turning points, the current crisis. Country music isn't the music of the hills or even the South anymore. It's playing in strip malls, Wal-Marts, small-town diners, chic urban apartments, and comfortable suburban homes everywhere. Lost Highway covers country music's incredible journey from the back porch to the stadium.

About the Author
Colin Escott has been writing about country music for more than thirty years. He co-produced the Grammy-winning boxed set The Complete Hank Williams and wrote Hank Williams: Snapshots from the Lost Highway. He also wrote Good Rockin' Tonight: Sun Records and the Birth of Rock 'n' Roll and two anthologies, Tattooed on Their Tongues? and Roadkill On the Three-Chord Highway.