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Nashville: Music City USA
By John Lomax III
Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
224 Pages
ISBN:  0-8109-1345-3

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What does America listen to today? As likely as not, it is listening to country music, the fastest-growing musical form in the nation. Music City USA celebrates that success and the place where it all happened. It's all here—from the stars to the fans, from the movers and shakers to the wheelers and dealers—the whole story of country music today, in words and pictures, 100 of them in glorious, glamorous color.

The extensive gallery of stars includes Alabama, Crystal Gayle, Ronnie Milsap, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Barbara Mandrell, and Willie Nelson. They are shown in a variety of situations—on-stage, "giving it their all," mingling with the fans at Fan Fair, working backstage on their music or business affairs, relaxing at home.

In a lively text, the author tells the story of the new country music—from the late 1960s, when, in the aftermath of the "British invasion" led by the Beatles, which left country music devastated, it retrenched and came back stronger than ever. Revitalized by new stars, producers, and, most important, new young fans drawn by the rock-country fusion of the "outlaws", country music renewed itself by accepting, and adapting to its own particular form, many other modes. This approach has also led to country music's phenomenal crossover success in the pop and adult-contemporary fields.

Lomax also takes us behind the scenes for a step-by-step demonstration of how a song gets written, recorded, and marketed, illustrating along the way the inner workings of the Music City business. Nor, we learn, is business limited to country music: Nashville is well on its way to becoming the premier city for making music of all kinds. The list of pop and rock singers who have recorded in Nashville would make a mini-who's Who of the music world: Paul McCartney, REO Speedwagon, Olivia Newton-John, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, Neil Young, to name but a few. Lomax fills us in on why the big names, as well as performers on their way up, are more and more often making the trip to Music City to record.

For a full measure of information, the book contains many charts (including "The Ultimate Country Music Chart"), lists, and tables, as well as a bibliography, a chronology, and short biographies of about one hundred of the top country music performers.

About the Author
John Lomax, country music editor for Goldmine Magazine, has written extensively on country music for such publications as Variety, Country Rhythms, Esquire, and Music City News. A United Features column he wrote was syndicated to thirty-two daily newspapers across the country. In the field of country music, he has worked in a variety of capacities: as a publicist for several record companies, as a radio scriptwriter, as a personal manager for a country singer, and as an oral historian for the Country Music Foundation in Nashville.

As a country music historian, John is following the tradition of the famous Lomax family, which has been collecting American folk songs and ballads since the turn of the century. The Lomaxes donated over ten thousand of these to the Library of Congress, where they became the basis for that institution's Library of Recorded Sound, established in 1929.


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