Book Review: Summertime Blues

Gonna raise a fuss, gonna raise a holler: rock & roll books

Summertime Blues

Whispering Pines: The Northern Roots of American Music ... From Hank Snow to the Band

by Jason Schneider
ECW Press, 350 pp., $28.95

Canadian musicians have played an important part in shaping American music. With Whispering Pines, Jason Schneider deftly explores this influence, presenting minibiographies of some of the best known and slightly obscure Canadians, mostly singer-songwriters, who have commingled with artists from the United States. At times the latticework becomes a little thick, but Schneider's overview of the careers of Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, the Band, Anne Murray, Bruce Cockburn, Hank Snow, the McGarrigle sisters, and Ian & Sylvia are informed and comprehensive enough to make for an engrossing and enlightening read. Tidbits, like the fact that Southern rock's Charlie Daniels, just a fiddler at the time, was a member of Cohen's band in 1970 or that the careers of the stridently political Cockburn and middle-of-the-road songstress Murray were intertwined, are sprinkled throughout. A great deal of time is spent on the Band thanks to its time with both Arkansan Ronnie Hawkins, as the Hawks, and Bob Dylan, bringing country, blues, and folk to rock & roll in a fashion that still reverberates, while also examining the reasons behind the Band's Last Waltz. The author's thesis that there are no borders in music is one he presents lucidly and stylishly.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
<i>Me & Mr. Cigar</i>
Me & Mr. Cigar
Butthole Surfers singer Gibby Haynes debuts a deeply weird and wonderful young adult novel.

Alyssa Quiles, Feb. 21, 2020

Revenge of the She-Punks
Revenge of the She-Punks

Rachel Rascoe, Dec. 6, 2019

More by Jim Caligiuri
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Carrie Elkin’s Life-and-Death Folk
Her father's death and daughter's birth upped the stakes of the singer's finest work

April 14, 2017

SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
SXSW Music Live: Richard Barone Presents Greenwich Village in the Sixties
Soft Boys, Youngbloods, Moby Grape, Brian Jones’ grandson, etc.

March 18, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Cananda, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, the Band, Hank Snow, McGarrigle sisters

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle