Woman Walk The Line: How the Women of Country Changed Our Lives

Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 10:00am

 The Writers, The Artists, The Moments That Mattered Arrives 9/20
No Depression’s “An Early Harvest: Best of Fall” Selection

Along with Stevie Nicks, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith and Ann Powers’ Good BootyWoman Walk The Line: How The Women of Country Music finds a place on No Depression’s Reading Room “An Early Harvest: Best of Fall 2017’s Music Books” List. Though the anthology that finds 27 women writers reflecting on the female country artist whose life and music impacted their own life is not available until September 20, the eclectic collection that enlists women of all ages, races, orientations and occupations is already generating buzz among journalists, musicians and academics.
“To have Fisk’s poet in residence, Caroline Randall Williams writing about Rhiannon Giddens and self-identity on the set of a Denzel Washington movie, or the top James Beard Foundation Award winner Ronni Lundy reflecting on Hazel Dickens and what it meant to be not just free, but strong in the ‘70s,” Gleason explains, “is palpable, visceral stuff. These are great writers looking at how their life is different because of the music, the artists, or in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Shelby Morrison’s case, the T.V. shows these contributors encountered along the way.”
Eclectic doesn’t begin to cover it. Including poets, activists, journalists, New York Times bestsellers, rockers, icons, superstars, award-winning T.V. producers, archivists and radio hosts, Woman Walk The Line represents as many perspectives as there are “kinds” of country music. At a time when women are still vying for a meaningful place on country radio stations across the nation, these essays demonstrate both why and how the girl singers, as well as songwriters and musicians, carved out some of the genre’s most enduring recordings and empowering personas.
“To see a journalist who was part of a Pulitzer-Prize-winning team at the Miami Herald chase a crazy dream emboldened by discovering Patty Loveless on a biker bat jukebox, or see the seeds of an extra credit paper for an eighth grade teacher on Shania Twain foreshadow Emily Yahr’s career at The Washington Post is pretty heady stuff,” Gleason marvels. “As is reading the tale of emerging from lower working class expectations and definitions in Deb Sprague’s O. Henry-esque consideration of Rosanne Cash or feeling a 17-year-old on the brink of superstardom considering the power of Brenda Lee.”
Healing, cajoling, inspiring and plenty of empowerment fills the pages of Woman Walk The Line. As X founder Exene Cervenka said, “Whether we are country girls or city girls, we can all be inspired in a pure, high, country harmony way, by a plangent tone reverberating inside us, a sound we all know when we hear it, feel it, know it deep inside. The sound of pure generous emotion, that transforms us from pain to empowerment… These are personal stories about women, by women, yes. But this book is for everyone.”
No Depression’s Henry Carrigan wrote in his pre-publication review, “‘Bone to bone, soul to soul’: there’s no better description of the essays in Woman Walk the Line: How the Women in Country Music Changed Our Lives. The writers bare their souls in much the way the artists that have touched them have torn open, touched, healed the writers’ own souls. Music and writing are insidious, slowly and subtly working their way into our lives, under our skin, and into our souls, getting next to us in unexpected and enduring ways, and the essays in this collection illustrate that powerful truth.”

Renegade roots artist Kandia Crazy Horse considers Rita Coolidge as a muse and artist, while “The Bluegrass Situation”’s Kelly McCartney gets empowered to be Queer from k.d. lang’s fearless inhabiting of her truth and SiriusXM/NPR’s contributor Meredith Ochs’ looks at the mystery and self-determination of Bobbie Gentry as a design key for navigating her own life. The East Nashvillian’s Daryl Sanders wrote of the collection, “as the writers share their passion for the 27 iconic artists featured in the anthology, from Mother Maybelle Carter, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Party to Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, and Patty Griffin, they remind us of what made these artists inspirational, these women who walked the line.”

The Complete List of Artists, Essays + Writers Below

  • Maybelle Carter: The Root of It All by Caryn Rose
  • Lil Hardin: That’s How I Got to Memphis by Alice Randall
  • Wanda Jackson: When She Starts Eruptin’ by Holly George-Warren
  • Hazel Dickens: The Plangent Bone by Ronni Lundy
  • June Carter Cash: Eulogy for a Mother by Rosanne Cash
  • Brenda Lee: Rare Peer by Taylor Swift
  • Bobbie Gentry: Let the Mystery Be by Meredith Ochs
  • Loretta Lynn: The Pill by Madison Vain
  • Dolly Parton: Long Island Down Home Blues by Nancy Harrison
  • Emmylou Harris: Common Ground in an Uncommon Love by Ali Berlow
  • Barbara Mandrell: Lubbock in the Rearview Mirror by Shelby Morrison
  • Tanya Tucker: Punk Country and Sex Wide Open by Holly Gleason
  • Rita Coolidge: A Dark-Eyed Cherokee Country Gal by Kandia Crazy Horse
  • Linda Ronstadt: Canciones di Corazon Salvage by Grace Potter
  • Rosanne Cash: Expectations and Letting Go by Deborah Sprague
  • The Judds: Comfort Far from Home by Courtney E. Smith
  • k.d. lang: Flawless, Fearless by Kelly McCartney
  • Lucinda Williams: Flesh & Ghosts, Dreams + Marrow by Lady Goodman
  • Mary Chapin Carpenter: Every Hometown Girl by Cynthia Sanz
  • Patty Loveless: Beyond What You Know by Wendy Pearl
  • Shania Twain: But the Little Girls Understand by Emily Yahr
  • Alison Krauss: Draw Your Own Map by Aubrie Sellers
  • Terri Clark: Better Things to Do by Amy Elizabeth Mccarthy
  • Taylor Swift: Through the Eyes of a Critic, of a Mom by Elysa Gardner
  • Kacey Musgraves: Follow Your Arrow by Dacey Orr
  • Rhiannon Giddens: A Gift Past the Songs by Caroline Randall Williams
  • Patty Griffin: Remembering to Breathe by Kim Ruehl

Already hailed by NPR’s Ann Powers for “revealing how women in country music—world-famous and little-known, black and white, vintage and contemporary—helped shape the lives of many different kinds of women. It’s concrete evidence that country should and does belong just as much to women as to men,” country icon Reba McEntire raved, “These personal stories – from women, about women and the way music impacts lives – are entertaining, thought-provoking, and, most of all, memorable,” and best-selling memoirist and Grammy-winner Rodney Crowell’s offered “tender, tough, raw, informative, and emotionally intelligent, carefully framing twenty-seven of country music’s most evocative and enduring artists…It delivers truth and beauty on every page. I bow in earnest,” Woman Walk The Linebrings writers, musicians and readers together.

To hear the sound of women changing lives HERE.