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Bluegrass Bluesman: A Memoir (Music in American Life)

Bluegrass Bluesman: A Memoir (Music in American Life) [Kindle Edition]

Josh Graves , Fred Bartenstein , Neil V. Rosenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description


"Graves's name won't ring a bell for many outside musicians' circles, but Burkett 'Uncle Josh' Graves helped take bluegrass from southern Appalachia to college campuses and beyond, to the world-music status it enjoys today. When he joined Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs in 1955, his fiery, blues-inspired playing on the Dobro resonator slide guitar gave the Foggy Mountain Boys a signature sound that set the band apart from the herd. The Foggy Mountain Boys played fast and hard-driving and as loud as acoustic music can get. Their dynamic stage shows, featuring acrobatic turns at a lone mic for breakneck solos, remain the stuff of legend." Wall Street Journal, October 2012 "An excellent autobiography of a highly creative musician. Graves was a first-rate storyteller with a discerning sense of what was important in his many memorable experiences." - John Wright, author of Traveling the High Way Home: Ralph Stanley and the World of Traditional Bluegrass Music "Josh Graves inspired hundreds of musicians to pick up the steel bar and slide it over the strings of the Dobro... It's good and fitting that the story of this talented and influential musician is being preserved in his own words." - from Neil Rosenberg's foreword to the book "Josh Graves, previously of Flatt & Scruggs and Foggy Mountain Boys has an autobiography posthumously published by University of Illinois Press. Bluegrass Bluesman: A Memoir is edited by Fred Bartenstein and includes lively anecdotes that describe Grave's upbringing in East Tennessee, his involvement in the emergence of bluegrass and later work with Alison Krauss, Kenny Baker, Marty Stuart, Jerry Douglas and many others." - R2 (Rock-n-Reel) Magazine, November 2012

Product Description

A pivotal member of the hugely successful bluegrass band Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, Dobro pioneer Josh Graves (1927-2006) was a living link between bluegrass music and the blues. In Bluegrass Bluesman, this influential performer shares the story of his lifelong career in music._x000B__x000B_In lively anecdotes, Graves describes his upbringing in East Tennessee and the climate in which bluegrass music emerged during the 1940s. Deeply influenced by the blues, he adapted Earl Scruggs's revolutionary banjo style to the Dobro resonator slide guitar and gave the Foggy Mountain Boys their distinctive sound. Graves's accounts of daily life on tour through the 1950s and 1960s reveal the band's dedication to musical excellence, Scruggs's leadership, and an often grueling life on the road. He also comments on his later career when he played in Lester Flatt's Nashville Grass and the Earl Scruggs Revue and collaborated with the likes of Boz Scaggs, Charlie McCoy, Kenny Baker, Eddie Adcock, Jesse McReynolds, Marty Stuart, Jerry Douglas, Alison Krauss, and his three musical sons. A colorful storyteller, Graves brings to life the world of an American troubadour and the mountain culture that he never left behind._x000B_

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1421 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1st Edition edition (31 Aug 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #562,379 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book from a hand on musician 6 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Being a Dobro player i obviously found this excellent but think it would appeal to anyone interested in the inner goings on of a famous pioneering bluegrass band at the start of it all.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Josh Graves telling it the way it was. 27 Oct 2012
By Howard Parker - Published on
This is an opportunity to hear the iconic musician speak his piece in his own words long after his passing. Fred Bartenstein has edited Josh's memoir interviews with an oh so light touch.

Josh speaks in a matter of fact, unapologetic tone as a kid that just happened to choose his own destiny and manage to ride a 60 year career to a legendary status. He did it as a side man with the most beloved bluegrass band of all time and he did it following his muse wherever it led him.

You learn of Josh Graves the man and musician of course but, Graves is fascinating when he details the business of early country and bluegrass music. He details the economics,pitfalls and real danger of being on the road during that time. Not for the faint of heart.

So much has changed of the years in some respects. So much hasn't changed at all.

Fred Bartenstein has given us a compact memoir Of "Uncle Josh", compact and straight forward. Josh speaking his mind, straight as an arrow, no frills. No apologies. Josh Graves telling us the way it was.

I'm going to read this again.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for bluegrass and early country fans 29 Oct 2012
By Kindle Customer - Published on
This is quite simply one of the most important books on bluegrass to be published in the last twenty years. The life and importance of Buck "Uncle Josh" Graves to bluegrass goes beyond his introducing the dobro into the music. He was a consummate showman, musician, comedian, songwriter, and singer. This memoir was lovingly assembled and edited by renowned bluegrass polymath Fred Bartenstein and a host of knowledgable people.

I have a fuller review in [...]

But basically, buy it and read it. The voice and memories of Josh Graves are worth hearing.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Bluegrass Classic 3 Dec 2012
By floraposte - Published on
I saw this glowingly reviewed in the Wall Street Journal and was intrigued enough to buy a copy. So glad I did. This fascinating and detailed autobiography of dobro player Josh Graves is richly informative about the world of bluegrass, an invaluable addition to American musicology, a resource for serious musicologists and quite simply, a riveting read for anyone. Fred Bartenstein's skillful and informed editing has brought Graves to life and allowed him to tell his own story in his own words, at his own pace,probably just as Graves himself would have wished . The effect is mesmerising- I felt like Graves was sitting across the room, talking away and getting ready to tune up his dobro. Highly recommended- this book deserves to become an American classic.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man who Put the Dobro into Bluegrass 30 Oct 2012
By benny frenchie - Published on
What an enjoyable book! Uncle Josh created the role played by Dobros (or resophonic Guitars) in bluegrass music today because of the prominence he enjoyed in the influential band of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs after 1955. I was surprised to learn that Earl taught Josh the three-finger banjo-style roll when he was still playing with Esco Hankins in the late `40s.

Graves' memoir offers forthright views of the music, other personalities and his own place in that world. Without saying anything hurtful, Josh diplomatically lets us know where he stands. He's candid about the F&S breakup in 1969, spelling out details without casting aspersions on the principals. It's the first time I've seen the story spelled out so clearly. It's been convenient to blame their differences on Louise & Earl, but clearly Lester had a role as well.

I can only guess at the work that went into assembling, editing, transcribing and unifying the tape interviews that made this book possible. Congratulations to Fred Bartenstein on a first class job!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important and Entertaining Look at Bluegrass's Beginnings 27 Nov 2012
By katie laur - Published on
Ironically, Josh Graves reveals more about Flatt and Scruggs and the inner workings of that group of men than almost any other book I've seen lately. The importance of this book can't be overstated. Fred Bartenstein has some kind of genius to make the words he touches just exactly right. My hat's off to him!
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