Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 1:15pm

For an anthology designed to preserve key women writers’ voices and a myriad of women country artists’ impact, Woman Walk The Line: How The Women of Country Music Changed Our Lives has turned into a personal manifesto for contributors and readers alike. Named one of No Depression’s Top 10 Books of 2017, the 27 essays spanning writers and artists of all ages, races, occupations, orientations and perspectives keeps finding new champions, new believers and new opportunities every week.

Beyond Keith Urban, Billy Bob Thornton, Bettye LaVette, Luke Bryan, John Prine and Reba posing with the book, Kellie Pickler and co-host Ben Aaron reached out to editor Holly Gleason about stopping by their Emmy-nominated daytime talk show to discuss the book that’s been singled out by The New York Times Book Review, People, New York Newsday, Variety, Washington Post, Billboard, Oxford American and Salon.com. Gleason will join the pair at the table for their April 20 show.

“Kellie is such the product of what this book is,” Gleason enthuses. “She understands how those female country singers can change everything, whether you’re a girl with a dream – or a young woman finding her way in the world. Kellie lives this every day, and man, she and Ben were invested in the process, so we all had a really good conversation.”
The conversation will be equally compelling when Gleason joins New York Times best-seller Joe Nick Patoski and musicians/authors Joe Ely and Augie Meyers for the 1:30 pm panel at the Wittliff Collection’s Literature That Rocks: Adventures in Texas Music presentation. Designed to consider how music moves writers, Michael Corcoran, Diana Finlay Hendricks, Jesse Sublett and Eddie Wilson will also panel. For more information, visit thewittliffcollections.txstate.edu.
“Hector Saldana and Texas State’s Wittliff Collection do all types of innovative presentations around Texas’ musical legacy,” Gleason says. “It’s an incredible honor to be in a room with these panelists, let alone up sharing ideas. But that was the point of Woman Walk The Line: get people considering how music endures, marks and defines lives.”
What began as a way to collect women’s voices and show the many ways music made by women changes lives continues to connect. Rolling Stone proclaimed, “There’s probably no better time for Woman Walk The Line… the groundbreakers continue to strike many chords,” Santa Fe New Mexican declared, “a sisterhood — even a whisper network — in the genre that predates #MeToo by decades,” and Las Vegas Review Journal opined, “testifies to women’s impact in country music… personally and palpably.”

Even Britain’s MOJO offered, “The stylistic line from Maybelle Carter through Dolly Parton on up to Taylor Swift isn’t a straight on, and the intention of this absorbing anthology isn’t to pretend that it is…intimate, inspirational essays.”  
Fixin To Write put the anthology People called “A rhapsodic moving look at music’s transformative power” on their 2017 Books We Loved list with Roxanne Gay’s Hunger, Lidia Yuknavitch’s The Misfit’s Manifesto, Marie Howe’s Magdalene, Stasha Steensen’s House of Deer, Ariel Levy’s The Rules Do Not Apply, Jennifer Weiner’s Hungry Heart and Sarah Vowell’s Lafayette in the Somewhat United States.
“People find so much of their lives in music,” Gleason says. “Word of mouth begets coverage. I get calls from old friends who didn’t even know I was involved. But especially, when you see Kellie Pickler’s eyes light up, as she talks about Tammy Wynette… That’s when you see the real power of this music. Here’s a little girl raised by her grandparents who harnessed Tammy power, slayed on ‘American Idol,’ chased a dream – and now is hosting one of the most successful new talk shows out there. That’s what music can do, and she’s exactly why Woman Walk The Line matters.”