About the BookThe Father of Bluegrass Music, Bill Monroe was a major star of the Grand Ole Opry for over fifty years; a member of the Country Music, Songwriters, and Rock and Roll Halls of Fame; and a legendary figure in American music. This authoritative biography sets out to examine his life in careful detail--to move beyond hearsay and sensationalism to explain how and why he accomplished so much.
Former Blue Grass Boy and veteran music journalist Tom Ewing draws on hundreds of interviews, his personal relationship with Monroe, and an immense personal archive of materials to separate the truth from longstanding myth. Ewing tells the story of the Monroe family's musical household and Bill's early career in the Monroe Brothers duo. He brings to life Monroe's 1940s heyday with the Classic Bluegrass Band, the renewed fervor for his music sparked by the folk revival of the 1960s, and his declining fortunes in the years that followed. Throughout, Ewing deftly captures Monroe's relationships and the personalities of an ever-shifting roster of band members while shedding light on his business dealings and his pioneering work with Bean Blossom and other music festivals.
Filled with a wealth of previously unknown details, Bill Monroe offers even the most devoted fan a deeper understanding of Monroe's towering achievements and timeless music.
* Publication of this book is supported by the Otto Kinkeldey Endowment of the American Musicological Society, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and by a grant from the L. J. and Mary C. Skaggs Folklore Fund.
Reviews"Insightful . . . [Bill Monroe: The Life and Music of the Blue Grass Man] presents bluegrass history as it happened, as well as a fresh look at 'this extraordinary individual.'" --Wall Street Journal
"A fair, objective, and entertaining chronicle."--Publishers Weekly
"A detailed, decade-by-decade, almost moment-by-moment chronicle of the Father of Bluegrass. Because of its thoroughness, it will be the standard biography."--No Depression
"Bluegrass fans will worship and adore Ewing's achievement."--Booklist
"Fans of bluegrass and old-school country will enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at Monroe's storied career."--Kirkus
"Remarkable." --Bluegrass Country
"His biography will be valuable for anyone researching the roots of American music." --Shepherd Express
"Ewing skillfully captures Monroe's personal life, the relationships and the personalities of an ever-changing roster of band members, and his business dealings and his pioneering work with Bean Blossom and other music festivals." --Kentucky Mercury
"Filled with a wealth of previously unknown details, Bill Monroe offers even the most devoted fan a deeper understanding of Monroe's towering achievements and timeless music." --Pickin' Post
"This story has been told before, but never before so definitively as Ewing has related it in these pages." --Rambles.Net
"Highly recommended for any fan of country music or bluegrass." --PopCultureShelf.com
"A sweeping, richly detailed biography." --Songlines
"With its sweeping narrative of Monroe's ancestry, his family, his band members and associates, the nine decades of his life in country music, Bill Monroe: The Life and Music of the Blue Grass Man is a case study in the history of a people. . . . It is one of a kind." --Journal of Folklore Research
"Ewing has a fine eye for detail, and a complex portrait emerges." --Old Time Herald
"This account bears witness to the gigantic achievement which was Bill Monroe's music. His energy and creativity knew no bounds. This book successfully captures that."--Jim Rooney, Grammy-winning record producer and author of In It for the Long Run: A Musical Odyssey
"An exciting and rewarding read. No one knows the literature about and by Bill Monroe better than this author. He stitches what other readers have seen as fragments into the first deep and coherent narrative of Monroe's early years. They are sewn into a fabric of intense research into the time, place, and people in Monroe's life."--Neil V. Rosenberg, author of Bluegrass Generation: A Memoir
"Brilliantly-written, exhaustively-researched, and meticulously-documented, Ewing’s fascinating opus is now the gold standard biography of Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music."--Thomas A. Adler, author of Bean Blossom: The Brown County Jamboree and Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Festivals