IT STILL MOVES: LOST SONGS, LOST HIGHWAYS & THE SEARCH FOR THE NEXT AMERICAN MUSIC > by Amanda Petrusich

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

This book, as its subtitle suggests, is constructed as a sort of report back from the road from musical locales-Nashville, Memphis, the Mississippi Delta-and from research into moments in roots music history-the making of the Harry Smith Anthology, the Lomaxes’ explorations, the founding of No Depression magazine-taken to be key to understanding the direction of Americana music.

Label: FABER & FABER
[Rating: 1.5]

This book, as its subtitle suggests, is constructed as a sort of report back from the road from musical locales-Nashville, Memphis, the Mississippi Delta-and from research into moments in roots music history-the making of the Harry Smith Anthology, the Lomaxes’ explorations, the founding of No Depression magazine-taken to be key to understanding the direction of Americana music. If the historical exploration in the book, its second half, suggests (reasonably) that Americana is a genre construct, the travelogue half assumes it to be a sort of ancient natural phenomenon that’s been mishandled by jerks-and so the trip we’re asked to share resembles a search for the natural causes of Mt. Rushmore. The prose can be colorful, but owes much to Twitter-era diary-making, of the “I don’t believe it; I’m in Memphis!” and “I put down my iPod and then …” sort-and veers between being unaccountably snarky one moment and ga-ga the next. If It Still Moves is supposed to be a sort of intro course for complete novices in American music, there are deeper-and more consistently accurate and revealing-places to go, some of them, the author’s sources.

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