Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra |
& Stephen Thomas Erlewine, editors,
All Music Guide to Country
With country music and its manifestations reaching ever deeper into the world's cultural psyche, All Music offers this in-depth encyclopedic guide to the massive genre. The book covers the extended bluegrass scene given greater popularity by O Brother Where Art Thou? with entries from the close harmony traditionalists Osborne Brothers to such progressives as Darrell Scott. Doc Watson gets four pages and the FM country scene -- from Dwight Yoakam to popular western swing revivalists Asleep at the Wheel -- is here. The alt-country scene is present, too, covered from Bloodshot recording artist Robbie Fulks to the popular Old 97s.
The entries are in the expected form for these successful All Music encyclopedias. That is, there are biographies and then key reviews with recommended starting points for anyone setting out to explore the genre. This makes for over 10,000 rated reviews. The well-indexed tome includes style descriptions, a section for compilations, soundtracks, essential albums by genre and two dozen rich essays on aspects of country music, like "Country on Film" and "Country Soundtracks."
This is an invaluable resource for the serious fan of any part of the varied country music spectrum. Where else would you find that the Residents, Savoy Brown and Elvis Costello all drew on the early '70s countrified British pub rock group Chilli Willi & the Red Hot Peppers for members?