The Life and Murder of a Country Music Legend
Author: Taylor Hagood
The artist’s impact on country music and how his death changed the genre
Cloth – $110
Paper – $19.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 05/02/2023
Cloth: 05/02/2023
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About the Book

A beloved member of the country music community, David “Stringbean” Akeman found nationwide fame as a cast member of Hee Haw. The 1973 murder of Stringbean and his wife forever changed Nashville’s sense of itself. Millions of others mourned not only the slain couple but the passing of the way of life that country music had long represented.

Taylor Hagood merges the story of Stringbean’s life with an account of his murder and courtroom drama that followed. Mentored by Uncle Dave Macon and Bill Monroe, Stringbean was a bridge to country’s early days. His instrumental savvy and old-time singing style drew upon a deep love for traditional country music that, along with his humor and humanity, won him the reverence of younger artists and made his violent death all the more shocking. Hagood delves into the unexpected questions and uneasy resolutions raised by the atmosphere of retribution surrounding the murder trial and recounts the redemption story that followed decades later.

About the Author

Taylor Hagood is a professor in the Department of English at Florida Atlantic University. His books include Faulkner, Writer of Disability and Secrecy, Magic, and the One-Act Plays of Harlem Renaissance Women Writers.


"The story about the life of the man and the details of his life's tragic end is expertly covered in this new book. . . . After reading this book, I feel as though I got to know David "Stringbean" Akeman and his story very well. Highly recommended!" --Dan Miller, Bluegrass Unlimited

"Get your orders in! You will like this book. Thanks , Taylor Hagood, for filling in so many blanks, even those you filled in from your remote closeness to the gentle and genuine spirit of Stringbean. Stringbean is still a vital part of our music. Stringbean shows us that." --Bluegrass Standard

"This tale will appeal to readers curious about the formative years of the United States' country-music scene." --Library Journal

"Stringbean: The Life and Murder of a Country Legend by Talyor Hagood, not only serves to remind and establish Stringbean’s often overlooked musical legacy, but also serves as a true crime thriller with a highly detailed account of the murder and ensuing trial. Hagood expertly details Stringbean’s long career and gives new meaning to both him and his music." --Americana UK


“Stringbean was one of the very first friends Doolittle, my husband, and I made when we first came to Nashville in 1960. He and his wife Estelle were some of the nicest folks you could find anywhere. . . . It was heartbreaking when we lost him and his wife.”--Loretta Lynn

“Stringbean and Estelle would be like your favorite aunt and uncle, or your favorite cousin. Any time we had a celebration, they were always there, and most of the time cooked for everybody. Those were precious times.”--Lulu Roman, Hee Haw star

“It was always a rare treat to get to see the hat-flipping, banjo-picking man from ole Kentucky on the television or old video tape. Stringbean was one of my first musical heroes as a kid while learning to play the banjo. I'm very excited to get this book! I can never get enough of Ole String! Thank you, Taylor!”--Leroy Troy, Grand Ole Opry star and 1996 National Old-Time Banjo Champion