The Band: Pioneers of Americana Music chronicles the successes and struggles of the five-piece group that countered Rock’s rebellion, inspired scores of artists including The Beatles, Eric Clapton, and the Grateful Dead, and paved the foundation for today’s Americana groups, including the Alabama Shakes, Old Crow Medicine Show, and the Civil Wars. A decade and a half after they last played a note together, The Band remains an important influence on popular music, and Harris’ biography tells their story like never before.
At a time when Acid Rock and Heavy Metal dominated popular music, The Band rebelled against the rebellion with tight ensemble arrangements, masterful musicianship, impressionable lead vocals, earthen harmonies, highly literate lyrics, and a respect for the musical traditions of the American South. Comprised of Canadians Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, and Garth Hudson, and Arkansas-born Levon Helm, The Band sparked a new appreciation for America’s musical roots, fusing R&B, jump blues, country, folk, boogie-woogie, swing, Cajun, New Orleans-style jazz, and rock, and setting the foundations for the Americana that would take hold 30 years later.
The Band: Pioneers of Americana Music explores the diverse influences on the quintet’s music, and the impact that their music had in turn on contemporary music and American society. Through previously unpublished interviews with Robbie Robertson, Eric Andersen, Pete Seeger, and the late Rick Danko, as well as numerous other sources, Craig Harris surveys The Band’s musical journey from sidemen for, among others, Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan to rock legendry in their own right.
The Band: Pioneers of Americana Music touches on the evolution of rock and roll, the electrifying of folk music, unionism, the Civil Rights Movement, changes in radio formatting, shifting perceptions of the American south, and the commercializing of the counter-culture, as well as drug dependency, alcoholism, suicide, greed, and the struggle against cancer. “This book sets the record straight about The Band,” said the author, “who they were and how they changed modern society.”
Included among the sixteen photographs, by Harris, in the book, are previously unpublished photographs of Band members Garth Hudson, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, and Richard Manuel.
Available April 16th – Preorders begin March 15 at www.drumawaytheblues.com
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