Cover for EWING: Bill Monroe: The Life and Music of the Blue Grass Man. Click for larger image

Bill Monroe

The Life and Music of the Blue Grass Man

From cradle to great, the comprehensive real story of Bill Monroe

The 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.

"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

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.


Tom Ewing was the guitarist/lead singer of Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys for ten years. He is the editor of The Bill Monroe Reader and wrote the "Thirty Years Ago This Month" column for Bluegrass Unlimited.

To order online:
//www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/35wgg6rh9780252041891.html

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

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