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The Band: Pioneers of Americana Music

By Craig Harris
(Rowman & Littlefield - Available April 16)

$40 plus shipping and handling

At a time when Acid Rock and Heavy Metal dominated popular music, The Band rebelled against the rebellion with a masterful mix of tight ensemble arrangements, great vocals, highly literate lyricism, and a respect for the musical traditions of the American South. Comprised of Canadians Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, and Garth Hudson, and Arkansas-born Levon Helm, they sparked a new appreciation for America's musical roots, fusing R&B, jump blues, country, folk, boogie-woogie, swing, Cajun, New Orleans-style jazz, and rock, and setting the foundations for the Americana that would take hold 30 years later. “The Band: Pioneers of Americana Music” explores the diverse influences on the quintet's music, and the impact that their music had in turn on contemporary music and American society. Through previously unpublished interviews with Robbie Robertson, Eric Andersen, Pete Seeger, and the late Rick Danko, as well as numerous other sources, Craig Harris surveys The Band's musical journey from sidemen for, among others, Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan to rock legendry in their own right. “The Band: Pioneers of Americana Music” touches on the evolution of rock and roll, the electrifying of folk music, unionism, the Civil Rights Movement, the growth of America's musical roots, changes in radio formatting, changing perceptions of the American south, and the commercializing of the counter-culture, as well as drug dependency, alcoholism, suicide, greed, and the struggle against cancer. Harris takes readers through their albums, from “Music from Big Pink” and “The Band” to their final releases and solo recordings, as well as their historic appearances at Woodstock, Isle of Wight (with Dylan), Watkins Glen (with the Allman Brothers Band and the Grateful Dead), and the Last Waltz (with an all-star cast) and their participation in the Festival Express. This biography is a must-have publication, not only for fans, but also for anyone interested in music history. Craig Harris sets the record straight as he shares the story of this incredibly influential rock act.

Craig Harris has documented an eclectic range of music for newspapers, magazines, and websites, for more than four decades. The author of The New Folk Music (White Cliffs Media) and The Heartbeat, Warble, and Electric Powwow: The Magnificence of Native America’s Music (forthcoming), he was a major contributor to Music Hound Folk Music: Essential Album Guide and Music Hound World Music: Essential Album Guide.