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In industry circles, musicians from Kentucky are known to possess an enviable pedigree -- a lineage as prized as the bloodline of any bluegrass-raised Thoroughbred. With native sons and daughters like Naomi and Wynonna Judd, Loretta Lynn, the Everly Brothers, Joan Osborne, and Merle Travis, it's no wonder that the state is most often associated with folk, country, and blue In industry circles, musicians from Kentucky are known to possess an enviable pedigree -- a lineage as prized as the bloodline of any bluegrass-raised Thoroughbred. With native sons and daughters like Naomi and Wynonna Judd, Loretta Lynn, the Everly Brothers, Joan Osborne, and Merle Travis, it's no wonder that the state is most often associated with folk, country, and bluegrass music. But Kentucky's contribution to American music is much broader: It's the rich and resonant cello of Ben Sollee, the velvet crooning of jazz great Helen Humes, and the famed vibraphone of Lionel Hampton. It's exemplified by hip-hop artists like the Nappy Roots and indie folk rockers like the Watson Twins. It goes beyond the hallowed mandolin of Bill Monroe and banjo of the Osborne Brothers to encompass the genres of blues, jazz, rock, gospel, and hip-hop. A Few Honest Words explores how Kentucky's landscape, culture, and traditions have influenced notable contemporary musicians. Featuring intimate interviews with household names (Naomi Judd, Joan Osborne, and Dwight Yoakam), emerging artists, and local musicians, author Jason Howard's rich and detailed profiles reveal the importance of the state and the Appalachian region to the creation and performance of music in America.


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In industry circles, musicians from Kentucky are known to possess an enviable pedigree -- a lineage as prized as the bloodline of any bluegrass-raised Thoroughbred. With native sons and daughters like Naomi and Wynonna Judd, Loretta Lynn, the Everly Brothers, Joan Osborne, and Merle Travis, it's no wonder that the state is most often associated with folk, country, and blue In industry circles, musicians from Kentucky are known to possess an enviable pedigree -- a lineage as prized as the bloodline of any bluegrass-raised Thoroughbred. With native sons and daughters like Naomi and Wynonna Judd, Loretta Lynn, the Everly Brothers, Joan Osborne, and Merle Travis, it's no wonder that the state is most often associated with folk, country, and bluegrass music. But Kentucky's contribution to American music is much broader: It's the rich and resonant cello of Ben Sollee, the velvet crooning of jazz great Helen Humes, and the famed vibraphone of Lionel Hampton. It's exemplified by hip-hop artists like the Nappy Roots and indie folk rockers like the Watson Twins. It goes beyond the hallowed mandolin of Bill Monroe and banjo of the Osborne Brothers to encompass the genres of blues, jazz, rock, gospel, and hip-hop. A Few Honest Words explores how Kentucky's landscape, culture, and traditions have influenced notable contemporary musicians. Featuring intimate interviews with household names (Naomi Judd, Joan Osborne, and Dwight Yoakam), emerging artists, and local musicians, author Jason Howard's rich and detailed profiles reveal the importance of the state and the Appalachian region to the creation and performance of music in America.

42 review for A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    A FEW HONEST WORDS is a wonderful book! I am a huge fan on roots and Americana music. I am from Kentucky, but this is a book that people from outside the state who enjoy music will like also. I anticipated my favorite chapters to be the ones featuring the musicians I know and love, but I found each chapter interesting; my favorite section was the one on Dwight Yoakam, whose music I was unfamiliar with, so you’ll find great surprises in the book also. I felt like I was in the room with Jason Howa A FEW HONEST WORDS is a wonderful book! I am a huge fan on roots and Americana music. I am from Kentucky, but this is a book that people from outside the state who enjoy music will like also. I anticipated my favorite chapters to be the ones featuring the musicians I know and love, but I found each chapter interesting; my favorite section was the one on Dwight Yoakam, whose music I was unfamiliar with, so you’ll find great surprises in the book also. I felt like I was in the room with Jason Howard and each musician, but something about the Dwight Yoakum chapter resonated in me. I look forward to listening to his music paying more attention to him; I hadn’t before since I’m typically more of an alt-folk listener, but I have a deep appreciation for “real” country music and look forward to checking his music—and that of the other artists I was unfamiliar with who are featured in the book. The way that Howard takes the reader right into the houses, coffee shops, offices and such with the musicians is wonderful. I liked that insider’s view of the artist—the tea with Naomi Judd, the coffee with Joan Osborne, the shared food with Dwight Yoakum; doing this let the reader be part of the scene and enjoy the experience along with the author. I felt like I had met the musicians and not just that I had read about them. Howard also clearly knows and loves music and that is obvious throughout the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes good music, peeks into others’ lives, discovering artists one is unfamiliar with, or likes roots music. I generally read fiction, but this book pulled me right through, and I enjoyed every page. Howard’s writing is seamless. It’s a great read! Don’t miss it!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Derek

    Serving as a love letter from Jason Howard to his home state of Kentucky, A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music is a full-hearted and honest tribute to the music of the land where Howard grew up. The book pays its respect to Dwight Yoakam, the Judds, My Morning Jacket, and other KY favorites.

  3. 5 out of 5

    howdy

    it's no exaggeration for me to say that this book changed my life. jason effortlessly explains so many things i thought i knew about, including my homeland of appalachia and my first love, music, in a way that makes me wonder what the hell i thought i knew before reading this. his brilliance shines not only in the artists he chose to interview and in the way he frames their words (and ostensibly their lives), but also in the sensuous and sinuous commentary he uses to connect one generation or ge it's no exaggeration for me to say that this book changed my life. jason effortlessly explains so many things i thought i knew about, including my homeland of appalachia and my first love, music, in a way that makes me wonder what the hell i thought i knew before reading this. his brilliance shines not only in the artists he chose to interview and in the way he frames their words (and ostensibly their lives), but also in the sensuous and sinuous commentary he uses to connect one generation or genre to another. the whole that is this book is so very much more than the sum of its parts, which is a huge testament to jason's skill-- not overshadowing the words of the speakers themselves, but shrouding them in an ever-enriching context. in case you can't tell, i really like this book, and cannot recommend it enough to anyone interested in appalachian culture, "roots music", authenticity, and plan good writing. thank you, jason. you changed my life.

  4. 5 out of 5

    sylvia woods

    Love. Love. Love this book. In a voice that resonates as a music lover, the author introduces the musicians who hail from Kentucky. Even if you don't love music, you will love the way the author takes you into the homes and lives of the musicians. Love. Love. Love this book. In a voice that resonates as a music lover, the author introduces the musicians who hail from Kentucky. Even if you don't love music, you will love the way the author takes you into the homes and lives of the musicians.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Leif

    Reviewing this for an academic journal.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Suzanna Minor

    Howard offers a fresh look at Kentucky music. I especially loved the chapters on Naomi Judd, Matraca Berg, & Dwight Yoakum.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  8. 5 out of 5

    Donna

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christine

  10. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  11. 4 out of 5

    Page

  12. 5 out of 5

    This I Believe

  13. 4 out of 5

    David Mold

  14. 5 out of 5

    Red Shoes

  15. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Dangerfield

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mick Parsons

  17. 4 out of 5

    Wesley

  18. 4 out of 5

    JODY A CLARK

  19. 4 out of 5

    Despina Panagakos Yeargin

  20. 5 out of 5

    Colleen Wynn

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Harmon

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alison

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jim Nirmaier

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lori

  25. 4 out of 5

    Price

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dixie Diamond

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erik

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  30. 5 out of 5

    Angela Garrison

  31. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

  32. 5 out of 5

    University Press of Kentucky

  33. 4 out of 5

    Alan

  34. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  35. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Tolley

  36. 5 out of 5

    Jolie

  37. 5 out of 5

    Alvera

  38. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  39. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  40. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  41. 4 out of 5

    Jenni Oglesby

  42. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

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