Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Paul McCoy

Happiness Is a Sad Song

Dr. Ralph Stanley discusses his 63 years in music

From the Chapter 16 archive: When he was a child, he was often called “the boy with the hundred year old voice.” In his book Man of Constant Sorrow, Stanley recounts a career spanning six decades and millions of miles.

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When Outlaws Ruled the West End

Michael Streissguth explores the rise of country music’s outlaw movement

June 17, 2013 In his new book Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris, and the Renegades of Nashville, Michael Streissguth provides an in-depth look at the rise of the outlaw movement, how it changed Nashville, and the formidable talents who led the way. Streissguth will discuss Outlaw: Waylon, Willie, Kris, and the Renegades of Nashville at Parnassus Books in Nashville on June 20 at 6:30 p.m.

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Can’t Stop the Signal

Craig Havighurst’s Air Castle of the South is the biography of an extraordinary radio station

May 21, 2013 Spin through your AM dial past the static, past the end-timer rants and the political talk, and eventually you’ll tune into 650AM, the home of WSM Radio. You are listening to a signal that’s been going strong for the better part of a century, a signal that helped create Nashville’s very identity and broadcasts the culture of country music to the entire world. In Air Castle of the South: WSM and the Making of Music City, Craig Havighurst follows an extraordinary group of artists, engineers, and managers as they created a broadcasting legend—and with it an entire industry—from the ground up. Havighurst will appear at Parnassus Books in Nashville on May 23, 2013, at 6:30 p.m.

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An Old-Time Progressive Revival

Former NEA chairman Bill Ivey looks to the past for a roadmap to the future

December 17, 2012 Twelve years into a new century, the U.S. is coming to grips with some hard truths: credit is finite, and our houses aren’t ATMs. We are less satisfied with our work, yet we work more and earn less. We are bombarded by advertisements and “news” that often obscures the facts. And our schools are training students for twenty-first-century jobs that may be outsourced overseas anyway. All in all, it’s a bleak picture, but Bill Ivey—writer, teacher, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, principal in Global Cultural Strategies, and trustee of the Center for American Progress—believes we have the tools to create a post-consumerist society. He talks with Chapter 16 about Handmaking America: A Back-to-Basics Pathway to a Revitalized American Democracy, a new book that outlines his ambitious vision for a new era.

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Something’s in the Water

The rich and fertile ground of Kentucky roots music is the subject of Jason Howard

September 28, 2012 Kentucky has been primarily known for its folk music: ballads and string bands in Eastern Kentucky, jug bands along the Ohio River, more thumbpickers than you can swing a cat at in the Western Kentucky coal fields, and of course, bluegrass. But the modern sounds emerging from Kentucky are as varied as its landscape, encompassing not only country and folk but also indie-rock, jazz, gospel, blues, and rap. In his new book, A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music, Jason Howard provides intimate profiles of a few Kentucky musicians who draw on their sense of place to inform their art. Among these venerable musicians is the iconic Naomi Judd, who will appear with Howard at Nashville’s Southern Festival of Books on October 12 at 3 p.m. in the Nashville Public Library Auditorium. All festival events are free and open to the public.

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A Drifter’s Story

Chapter 16 talks with biographer Diane Diekman about the great Marty Robbins

March 26, 2012 When he was a young singer, they called him “the boy with the teardrop in his voice.” Two decades later, as the Grand Ole Opry moved from the Ryman to its new home at Opryland, Marty Robbins was the last artist on the old stage and the first to perform on the new. In her latest biography, Twentieth Century Drifter: The Life of Marty Robbins, Diane Diekman provides a remarkably detailed narrative account of one of country music’s most beloved figures. Diekman will discuss and sign her book at 12:30 p.m. on March 31 at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. She answered questions from Chapter 16 via email in advance of her appearance.

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