A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music by Jason Howard

By Jason Howard

In circles, musicians from Kentucky are recognized to own an enviable pedigree -- a lineage as prized because the bloodline of any bluegrass-raised Thoroughbred. With local little kids like Naomi and Wynonna Judd, Loretta Lynn, the Everly Brothers, Joan Osborne, and Merle Travis, it really is no ask yourself that the kingdom is ordinarily linked to people, state, and bluegrass music.

But Kentucky's contribution to American song is way broader: it is the wealthy and resonant cello of Ben Sollee, the velvet crooning of jazz nice Helen Humes, and the famed vibraphone of Lionel Hampton. it really is exemplified via hip-hop artists just like the Nappy Roots and indie people rockers just like the Watson Twins. It is going past the hallowed mandolin of invoice Monroe and banjo of the Osborne Brothers to surround the genres of blues, jazz, rock, gospel, and hip-hop.

A Few sincere Words explores how Kentucky's panorama, tradition, and traditions have stimulated extraordinary modern musicians. that includes intimate interviews with loved ones names (Naomi Judd, Joan Osborne, and Dwight Yoakam), rising artists, and native musicians, writer Jason Howard's wealthy and particular profiles display the significance of the nation and the Appalachian quarter to the construction and function of track in America.

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It was your fabric. And frankly, my life had been so hardscrabble and so iff y that there was an amazing comfort in that music. ” “I’d never thought about where songs come from,” Naomi admits. Her interest was piqued, though, when she watched Minnie’s daughter, Sonja, write a song. ” She began writing songs around the house, nothing more than ditties to pass the time and entertain the girls. I ask her to sing a couple of them, and she smoothes her hair, leans forward, and lets loose that husky alto, so rarely heard without Wynonna’s piercing lead.

Naomi grins and shakes her head, remembering the young Wynonna. “We couldn’t talk to each other, but we could sing together. ” She bought Christina a secondhand guitar, and a neighbor, Craig Williams, began to teach her chords. One day while Diana was in Berea, she wandered into a music store on Main Street. Looking through the bargain bin, she came across an album by two women: Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard. She couldn’t wait to get it back to Chanticleer. 28 Naomi Judd “I heard these songs and it was like you were wearing the most beautiful outfit in the world that someone had made just for you.

It wouldn’t mean anything to them. ” She paid the rent 25 A Few Honest Words and supported her daughters by working at a health food store, being a girl Friday, and taking the occasional modeling gig. One black-and-white photograph from her foray into modeling shows her in full makeup, her shoulders exposed dramatically in a 1940s-style striped dress, a cigarette dangling lustily from her lips. Looking at the picture, it’s apparent that Diana could have had her choice of men. Her sensuous beauty is on full display, interwoven with a quiet intelligence and flamboyant style.

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