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Woman Walk the Line

Woman Walk the Line
How the Women in Country Music Changed Our Lives

In this collection of personal essays, a diverse group of women music writers pay tribute to the female country artists who have inspired them, including Brenda Lee, June Carter Cash, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, and Taylor Swift.

Series: American Music Series

September 2017
Active (available)
$24.95
236 pages | 5.5 x 8.5 |
ISBN: 
978-1-4773-1391-6
Description: 

Full-tilt, hardcore, down-home, and groundbreaking, the women of country music speak volumes with every song. From Maybelle Carter to Dolly Parton, k.d. lang to Taylor Swift—these artists provided pivot points, truths, and doses of courage for women writers at every stage of their lives. Whether it’s Rosanne Cash eulogizing June Carter Cash or a seventeen-year-old Taylor Swift considering the golden glimmer of another precocious superstar, Brenda Lee, it’s the humanity beneath the music that resonates.

Here are deeply personal essays from award-winning writers on femme fatales, feminists, groundbreakers, and truth tellers. Acclaimed historian Holly George Warren captures the spark of the rockabilly sensation Wanda Jackson; Entertainment Weekly’s Madison Vain considers Loretta Lynn’s girl-power anthem “The Pill”; and rocker Grace Potter embraces Linda Ronstadt’s unabashed visual and musical influence. Patty Griffin acts like a balm on a post-9/11 survivor on the run; Emmylou Harris offers a gateway through paralyzing grief; and Lucinda Williams proves that greatness is where you find it.

Part history, part confessional, and part celebration of country, Americana, and bluegrass and the women who make them, Woman Walk the Line is a very personal collection of essays from some of America’s most intriguing women writers. It speaks to the ways in which artists mark our lives at different ages and in various states of grace and imperfection—and ultimately how music transforms not just the person making it, but also the listener.

Awards: 

Winner of the Belmont Book Award
International Country Music Conference

Contents: 
  • Introduction
  • Maybelle Carter: The Root of It All (Caryn Rose)
  • Lil Hardin: That's How I Got to Memphis (Alice Randall)
  • Wanda Jackson: When She Starts Eruptin' (Holly George-Warren )
  • Hazel Dickens: The Plangent Bone (Ronni Lundy)
  • June Carter Cash: Eulogy for a Mother (Rosanne Cash)
  • Brenda Lee: Rare Peer (Taylor Swift)
  • Bobbie Gentry: Let the Mystery Be (Meredith Ochs)
  • Loretta Lynn: The Pill (Madison Vain)
  • Dolly Parton: Long Island Down Home Blues (Nancy Harrison)
  • Emmylou Harris: Common Ground in an Uncommon Love (Ali Berlow)
  • Barbara Mandrell: Lubbock in the Rearview Mirror (Shelby Morrison)
  • Tanya Tucker: Punk Country and Sex Wide Open (Holly Gleason)
  • Rita Coolidge: A Dark-Eyed Cherokee Country Gal (Kandia Crazy Horse)
  • Linda Ronstadt: Canciones di Corazon Salvage (Grace Potter)
  • Rosanne Cash: Expectations and Letting Go (Deborah Sprague)
  • The Judds: Comfort Far from Home (Courtney E. Smith)
  • k.d. lang: Flawless, Fearless (Kelly McCartney)
  • Lucinda Williams, Flesh & Ghosts, Dreams + Marrow (Lady Goodman)
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter: Every Hometown Girl (Cynthia Sanz)
  • Patty Loveless: Beyond What You Know (Wendy Pearl)
  • Shania Twain: But the Little Girls Understand (Emily Yahr)
  • Alison Krauss: Draw Your Own Map (Aubrie Sellers)
  • Terri Clark: Better Things to Do (Amy Elizabeth McCarthy)
  • Taylor Swift: Through the Eyes of a Critic, of a Mom (Elysa Gardner)
  • Kacey Musgraves: Follow Your Arrow (Dacey Orr)
  • Rhiannon Giddens: A Gift Past the Songs (Caroline Randall Williams)
  • Patty Griffin: Remembering to Breathe (Kim Ruehl)
  • Thank Yous
  • Contributors

Author: 

HOLLY GLEASON
Nashville, Tennessee

Gleason is a music critic, academic, and artist development consultant. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, HITS, Musician, CREEM, the Oxford American, No Depression, and Paste.

Reviews: 

Woman Walk the Line radiates heartfelt sincerity, revealing how women in country music—world-famous and little-known, black and white, vintage and contemporary—helped shape the lives of many different kinds of women. It’s concrete evidence that country should and does belong just as much to women as to men.”
—Ann Powers, author of Good Booty

Woman Walk the Line is tender, tough, raw, informative, and emotionally intelligent, carefully framing twenty-seven of country music’s most evocative and enduring artists. It delivers truth and beauty on every page. I bow in earnest.”
—Rodney Crowell, author of Chinaberry Sidewalks

“I absolutely loved this book. Whether we are country girls or city girls, we can all be inspired by its pure generous emotion, transforming pain into empowerment. But it’s not just for girls. This book is for everyone.”
—Exene Cervenka

“These personal stories—from women, about women and the way music impacts lives—are entertaining, thought-provoking, and, most of all, memorable.”
—Reba McEntire

"Not only will readers find some of the finest music writing in the business here, but they’ll also learn how the musicians’ evolution influenced each essayist’s own creative process. The result? Incredibly empowering writing about what it means to be an artist and a human being. . . .Woman Walk the Line will touch readers to their cores — reminding them of their first musical loves and the difference between a musician and a star.”
Nashville Scene

Woman Walk the Line is a deeply moving and profound look at the power of music and women. This book captures some of the best music writing you'll ever encounter, but it does much more than that. This is a book for this moment in America, a time when we all need to be reminded of the remarkable impact of women on all facets of our lives. Here we witness their joys, their sorrows, their determination and grit and defiance. More than anything, though, we witness their strength and brilliance.”
—Silas House, author of Clay’s Quilt and The Coal Tattoo