Upcoming Release

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Planet Palm: How Palm Oil Became an Ingredient in Everything―and Endangered the World

By Jocelyn Zuckerman

(The New Press, May 2021)

It’s in our instant noodles and chocolate bars, our lipsticks and fuel tanks. But what is palm oil, and how has it come to dominate our lives so completely?

James Beard Award–winning journalist Jocelyn C. Zuckerman travels across four continents and back in time two centuries to find answers about the most widely used vegetable oil on Earth. The obscure oil palm fruit, she discovers, has played an outsized role in history, from greasing the gears of the Second Industrial Revolution to transforming the economies of Malaysia and Indonesia. But this little fruit also belies an industry of vicious exploitation and ruinous damage to our planet. The multi-billion-dollar palm oil business has been built on stolen land and slave labor, once spurred the colonization of Nigeria, and has swept away lives and cultures. Fires lit to clear the way for plantations spew carbon emissions to rival those of entire industrialized nations. Mass deforestation so ravaged the landscapes of Southeast Asia that animals like the orangutan now teeter on the brink of extinction.

Jocelyn C. Zuckerman spent years traveling the globe, from Liberia to Indonesia, India to Brazil, reporting on the human and environmental impacts of this poorly understood plant. The result is Planet Palm, a riveting account blending history, science, politics, and food as seen through the people whose lives have been upended by this hidden ingredient. Planet Palm offers an unsettling, urgent look at the global palm oil industry, illuminating what has today become an environmental, public health, and human rights disaster.

****

Jocelyn Zuckerman is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in Fast Company, The American Prospect, the New York Times Magazine, and other publications. She served as deputy editor at Gourmet, articles editor at OnEarth, and executive editor at both Whole Living and Modern Farmer magazines. An honors graduate of Columbia University’s Journalism School, she is the recipient of a James Beard Award for feature writing and numerous fellowships, including an Alicia Patterson Fellowship in support of her research on palm oil. She is based in Brooklyn, NY.

Upcoming Paperback Release

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Cruel to Be Kind: The Life and Music of Nick Lowe

By Will Birch

(Da Capo, March 2021)

Described as “Britain’s greatest living songwriter,” Nick Lowe has made his mark as a pioneer of pub rock, power-pop, and punk rock and as a producer of Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, the Damned, and the Pretenders. He has been a pop star with his bands Brinsley Schwarz and Rockpile, a stepson-in-law to Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, and is the writer behind hits including “Cruel to Be Kind” and “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding.” In the past decades, however, he has distinguished himself as an artist who is equally acclaimed for the second act of his career as a tender yet sharp-tongued acoustic balladeer.

Biographer Will Birch, who in addition to being a music writer was a drummer and songwriter with The Records, has known Lowe for over forty years and melds Lowe’s gift as a witty raconteur with his own authoritative analysis of Lowe’s background and the cultural scenes he exemplifies. Lowe’s parallel fame as one of the best interviews in the business will contribute to this first look into his life and work–and likely the closest thing fans will get to an autobiography by this notoriously charming cult figure.

This is not an authorized biography, but Lowe has given it his spiritual blessing and his management and label are fully on board. Cruel to Be Kind is the colorful yet serious account of one of the world’s most talented and admired musicians.

****

“[An] entertaining biography… [Birch] is casually expert in the way of those rare music writers who can both play music and write.”
The Wall Street Journal

“[Cruel to Be Kind] makes clear that Lowe’s contributions to pop music have been many and mighty–and certainly worthy of celebration with a biography…sure to please old-time admirers of an essential rocker.”
Kirkus Reviews

“In leisurely, insightful prose…Will Birch offers a solid biography for Lowe’s devoted fans.”
Publishers Weekly

“[Will Birch] has written a sunny book about the genial and underappreciated Lowe, following his career through its many incarnations… [A]n enjoyable portrait.”
Booklist

“A book that’s as warm, funny, and affecting as Lowe’s best songs.”
Pitchfork

****

Will Birch is a music journalist, drummer, and songwriter based in the UK. In the 1970s he performed with the bands Kursaal Flyers (“Little Does She Know”) and The Records (“Starry Eyes”), before moving into record production and music journalism. He is the author of No Sleep Till Canvey Island – The Great Pub Rock Revolution (Virgin Books 2000). Co-agented with The Soho Agency.

New Release

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Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics

By Dolly Parton, with Robert K. Oermann

(Chronicle Books, November 2020)

A New York Times Bestseller

Dolly Parton, Songteller: My Life in Lyrics is a landmark celebration of the remarkable life and career of a country music and pop culture legend.

As told by Dolly Parton in her own inimitable words, this book explores the songs that have defined her journey. It is illustrated throughout with previously unpublished images from Dolly Parton’s personal and business archives.

Mining over 60 years of songwriting, Dolly Parton highlights 175 of her songs and brings readers behind the lyrics. Dolly Parton, Songteller is packed with never-before-seen photographs and classic memorabilia and explores the personal stories, candid insights, and myriad memories behind her songs.

Dolly Parton, Songteller reveals the stories and memories that have made Dolly a beloved icon across generations, genders, and social and international boundaries.

Containing rare photos and memorabilia from Parton’s archives, this book is a show- stopping must-have for every Dolly Parton fan.

****

“‘My name is Dolly Parton, and I am a songwriter….In a song, I can go anywhere and do anything.’ So begins this volume dedicated to the craft of a country music superstar only belatedly being recognized as the national treasure that she is. The book presents the lyrics to 175 of her songs—from ‘Jolene’ and ‘Coat of Many Colors’ to ‘I Will Always Love You’ and ’9 to 5,’ along with many other lesser-known compositions—accompanied by the stories behind them. And the photos! A lavish scrapbook for Dolly fans.”
Kirkus Reviews

****

Dolly Parton is the most honored and revered female country singer-songwriter of all time. Achieving 25 RIAA-certified gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards, she has had 26 songs reach #1 on the Billboard country charts, a record for a female artist. Parton recently became the first country artist honored as Grammy MusiCares Person of the Year given out by NARAS. She has 41 career Top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, and 110 career-charted singles over the past 40 years. In 2014, the RIAA recognized her impact on recorded music with a plaque commemorating more than 100 million units sold worldwide. Her 2016 #1 album, Pure & Simple, which topped the Billboard Top Country Albums and Americana/Folk Albums charts and debuted at No. 1 in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Australia, added to that massive tally. She has garnered ten Grammy Awards and 49 nominations, including the Lifetime Achievement Award and a 2020 win with for KING & COUNTRY for their collaboration on “God Only Knows”; 10 Country Music Association Awards, including Entertainer of the Year; five Academy of Country Music Awards, also including a nod for Entertainer of the Year; four People’s Choice Awards; and three American Music Awards. In 1999, Parton was inducted as a member of the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame. Parton has donated over 130 million books to children around the world with her Imagination Library. Her children’s book, Coat of Many Colors, was dedicated to the Library of Congress to honor the Imagination Library’s 100 millionth book donation.

Robert K. Oermann is an award-winning multimedia music journalist who is considered the “unofficial historian of Nashville’s musical heritage.” He writes weekly columns for Music Row magazine and has been published in more than 100 periodicals including Entertainment Weekly, Esquire, Billboard, Hollywood Reporter, TV Guide, The Tennessean, and USA Today. Oermann is also a television and radio script writer and director of dozens of national productions. His various honors include the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, the Media Achievement Award from the Country Music Association, Country Music People’s International Media Award, Goldmine’s Best Historical Writer, and SESAC’s Journalistic Achievement Award. He has authored eight books and penned liner notes for over 100 albums and box sets. Oermann has lectured about popular music, journalism, and country music at many colleges and universities, and lives in Nashville with his wife, Mary A. Bufwack.

New Paperback Release

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Janis: Her Life and Music

By Holly George-Warren

(Simon & Schuster, October 2020)

Longlisted for the 2020 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction

This extraordinarily intimate and “gripping” (Vanity Fair) biography of Janis Joplin establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was.

Janis Joplin’s first transgressive act was to be a white girl who gained an early sense of the power of the blues, music you could only find on obscure records and in roadhouses along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast. But even before that, she stood out in her conservative oil town. She was a tomboy who was also intellectually curious and artistic. By the time she reached high school, she had drawn the scorn of her peers for her embrace of the Beats and her racially progressive views. Her parents doted on her in many ways, but were ultimately put off by her repeated acts of defiance.

Janis Joplin has become a legend known as a brash, impassioned soul doomed by the pain that produced one of the most extraordinary voices in rock history. But in these pages, Holly George-Warren provides a revelatory and deeply satisfying portrait of a woman who wasn’t all about suffering. Janis was a perfectionist: a passionate, erudite musician who was born with talent but also worked exceptionally hard to develop it. She was a woman who pushed the boundaries of gender and sexuality long before it was socially acceptable. She was a sensitive seeker who wanted to marry and settle down—but couldn’t, or wouldn’t. She was a Texan who yearned to flee Texas but could never quite get away—even after becoming a countercultural icon in San Francisco.

Written by one of the most highly regarded chroniclers of American music history, and based on unprecedented access to Janis Joplin’s family, friends, band mates, archives, and long-lost interviews, Janis is the “significance-establishing project Joplin appreciators have been waiting for” (The New York Times Book Review).

****

“[Janis] performs a service by stripping away a lot of the noise around Joplin . . . and telling her story simply and well, with some of the tone and flavor of a good novel.”
The New York Times

“In encapsulating Joplin’s dual nature so concisely, George-Warren delivers the definitive portrait of one of pop culture’s most misunderstood martyrs…. [In] dwelling so sympathetically on her tangle of talents, contradictions, and mythology, Janis brings one of rock’s most enduring legends down to earth while holding her justly up to the light.”
NPR.com

“[Janis] is sober and thorough, and it amounts to the last word on a brief candle of an existence, a life whose peaks and valleys make your average mountain range look as flat as an acre of Texas farmland.”
The Washington Post

“Never before the revelatory new book Janis: Her Life and Music has [Janis Joplin] been fully recognized as a groundbreaking musician charting a fresh course for the blues, for rock, and for women, while, at the same time, obliterating the line between the performance of a song and essence of her soul.”
Entertainment Weekly

“A richly detailed, affectionate portrait…. A top-notch biography of one of the greatest performers to emerge from a brilliant era.”
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

****

Holly George-Warren is an award-winning writer and music consultant. As editorial director of Rolling Stone Press from 1993-2001, she created over forty books, including New York Times bestsellers and ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award-winners. She has worked as a curator for the GRAMMY Museum and currently serves on the nominating committee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A two-time Grammy nominee, she teaches Arts Journalism at the State University of New York in New Paltz, NY.

New Release

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Wish You Were Here: A Murdered Girl, a Brother’s Quest and the Hunt for a Serial Killer

By John Allore and Patricia Pearson

(Random House Canada, September 2020)

A Toronto Star National Bestseller

As compelling as Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark or Stevie Cameron’s On the Farm, Wish You Were Here is the story of a brother’s lifelong determination to find the truth about his sister’s death, a police force that was ignoring the cases of missing and murdered women, and, to the surprise of everyone involved, a previously undiscovered serial killer.

In the fall of 1978 teenager Theresa Allore went missing near Sherbrooke, Quebec. She wasn’t seen again until the spring thaw revealed her body in a creek only a few kilometers away. Shrugging off her death as a result of 1970s drug culture, police didn’t investigate.

Patricia Pearson started dating Theresa’s brother, John, during the aftermath of Theresa’s death. Though the two teens would soon go their separate ways, the family’s grief, obsession with justice and desire for the truth never left Patricia. Little did she know, the shockwaves of Theresa’s death would return to her life repeatedly over the next 40 years.

In 2001, John had just moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with his wife and young children, when the cops came to the door. They had determined that a young girl had been murdered and buried in the basement. John wondered: if these cops could look for this young girl, why had nobody even tried to find out what happened to Theresa? Unable to rest without closure, he reached out to Patricia, by now an accomplished crime journalist and author, and together they found answers far bigger and more alarming than they could have imagined—and a legacy of violence that refused to end.

****

Wish You Were Here is at once a riveting mystery, an astute analysis of sexual violence, an investigation of a police force and a study in grief and loss. On all levels it succeeds brilliantly. An engrossing, heartbreaking and necessary book.”
Don Gillmour, author of The River, winner of the 2019 Governor-Generals Award

Wish You Were Here is an investigation intimate and mournful in nature, yet heroic in its level of forensic detail. By bearing witness to how a malefactor slips through the cracks of a haphazard, morally bankrupt system, infected by misogyny and cronyism—and how the legacy of that injustice connects to further calamity—the brave authors take back some of what is lost, bringing some measure of justice to an unending spiral of tragedy.”
Bob Kolker, author of Lost Girls and Hidden Valley Road

“Infuriating, gripping and devastating, Wish You Were Here is…a heartfelt memorial to Theresa, and a testament to her family, who have never stopped seeking justice for her and many others who were stolen.”
Jessica McDiarmid, author of Highway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference and the Pursuit of Justice

****

John Allore is the creator and host of the podcast Who Killed Theresa, which concentrates on unsolved murders in Quebec, and other criminal and social-justice issues. He launched one of the first crime blogs, and the website theresaallore.com not only documents the search for his sister’s killer but a trove of information on other unsolved cases in Canada and the US. He’s created a database for all such cases in Canada that uses software to identify clusters and serial predator patterns. He lives with his family in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Patricia Pearson is an award-winning author and the recipient of three Canadian National Magazine Awards, the Arthur Ellis Award for best Canadian nonfiction crime writing, and a North American Travel Journalism Association award. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Toronto Life, Reader’s Digest, the Toronto Star, National Post, The Guardian, the New York Times, More, the Globe and Mail, The Daily Telegraph, Business Week, NPR, CBC Television, The History Channel, and TV Ontario, among many others. In 2003, she was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, Canada’s version of the Mark Twain prize.

New Release

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The Darkest Hearts: A D Hunter Mystery

By Nelson George

(Akashic Books, August 2020)

In the fifth book of Nelson George’s D Hunter mystery series, the eponymous former bodyguard has moved full-time to Los Angeles, becoming a talent manager and trying to put his past in New York City behind him. Business is good for D Hunter: he has signed a hot Atlanta rapper named Lil Daye for management and negotiated a huge endorsement for Daye with a liquor brand. It’s a big payday for both of them.

Along the way, D finds out that Samuel Kurtz, the liquor company’s CEO, has some unsavory sexual habits and deeply reactionary political views. D worries that he has sold his soul and wonders what to do about it. Back in Brooklyn, a body has been found in the waters near the Canarsie Pier, a body that connects D and the retired hit man Ice to incidents from back in The Plot Against Hip Hop, the second book in the series. Because of this discovery, an FBI agent wants to speak to D, which is making Ice nervous. And Ice is not a man you want worrying about you.

Meanwhile in London, Serene Powers, a vigilante and sometimes collaborator with D, breaks up a human trafficking ring. In the process, she makes some new, unlikely allies. When Serene returns to the US, D asks her for assistance with a sensitive and volatile matter in Atlanta involving Lil Daye, his wife, his mistress, and a thug on his payroll named Ant.

The Darkest Hearts is a crime-fiction novel that reflects the challenges of being a black businessperson in an era when the rules of entrepreneurship are constantly shifting due to technological advancements and an increasingly polarized political environment.

****

“This action-packed crime novel both educates and entertains.”
Publishers Weekly

“Thoroughly satisfying reading.”
Booklist

“A showcase of different approaches to values, business, and hip-hop seen through a lens that feels personal.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Once again, my brother Nelson George comes through in the clutch like he’s batting clean-up. I’ve known Nelson over 30 years and he has been our cultural storyteller for that length of time. Keep telling. Keep writing our stories. I know I will keep reading them too.”
Spike Lee

****

Nelson George is an award-winning author, filmmaker, television producer and critic with a long career in analyzing and presenting diverse elements of African American culture. His books have been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Before Columbus Foundation. As a filmmaker, George was a producer on the Emmy Award-winning The Chris Rock Show (HBO) and directed Queen Latifah to a Golden Globe in the HBO film Life Support, which he also co-wrote. He was also a writer/producer on The Get Down (Netflix), which ran from 2016-2017. Currently, he is working as an executive producer on a documentary series about Tupac Shakur being directed by Allen Hughes. He is based in New York City and Los Angeles.

New Release

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Space Is The Place: The Lives and Times of Sun Ra

By John Szwed

(Duke University Press, May 2020)

Space Is The Place is the definitive biography of Sun Ra, a.k.a. Herman Poole “Sonny” Blount (1914-1993), a composer, keyboardist, bandleader, philosopher, poet, and self-claimed extraterrestrial from Saturn. As the leader of the “Intergalactic Arkestra,” a band of more than 30 musicians, he was unparalleled for his purposeful outlandishness and exerted a powerful influence over a vast array of artists. Considered by many to be the founding figure of Afrofuturism, he composed a musical philosophy that extends beyond the international to the interplanetary. Space Is The Place reveals the life, philosophy, and musical growth of one of the 20th century’s greatest and most outrageous avant-garde musicians.

Reissued over 20 years after its original printing, the 2020 reprint edition of Space Is The Place brings Sun Ra into the 21st century. A lengthy new preface considers the musician’s life within the context of Afrofuturism and the current state of race politics.

****

“One of the great jazz biographies.”
The Guardian

“The achievement of this biography is that it carefully articulates Ra’s views of life and art at the same time that it provides hard data and analysis to locate his theories in historical context. . . . [Ra’s] story is told with brilliance and grace in this deeply simpatico biography.”
Washington Post

“Szwed reveals the breadth and depth of Sun Ra. . . . It’s more than a biography. Reading this book, like encountering Nietzsche or Zen, can make you rethink everything.”
L.A. Weekly

“One of the best books ever written about anything.”
The Idler

“Quite possibly the most inspirational music biography ever written – Essential.”
Muzik

****

John Szwed is Adjunct Senior Research Scholar in the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University. He is the former John M. Musser Professor of Anthropology, African American Studies, and Film Studies at Yale University. He has authored or edited 18 books, including the highly acclaimed Billie Holiday: The Musician And The Myth (Viking 2015), Alan Lomax: The Man Who Recorded The World (Viking 2010), and Jazz 101: A Complete Guide To Learning And Loving Jazz (Hyperion 2000). Szwed’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Village Voice, and many other publications. He has received fellowships from the John M. Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. Szwed has produced several recordings and has appeared in a number of documentaries and television specials. As a jazz musician, he played the bass and trombone professionally for over a decade. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Ohio State University and lives in Philadelphia.

New Release

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Looks Can Kill: A Doctor’s Journey through Steroids, Addiction and Online Fitness Culture

By Riam Shammaa, with Patricia Pearson

(Random House Canada, January 2020)

A leader in sports medicine reveals the prevalence of anabolic steroids and appearance-enhancing drugs for recreational use, and explodes the myths and silence around these dangerous drugs of choice for the Instagram era.

From fitspiration vlogs touting “fit” as the new skinny to magazines imploring men to get “shredded” and “massive” in the gym, fitness stars and elevated body-image standards are driving a burgeoning industry meant, ostensibly, to make us all more healthy. But are those images of rippling abs, bulging shoulders and tiny waists truly inspiring good health? In Looks Can Kill, leading sports doctor (and former champion powerlifter) Riam Shammaa exposes the dirty secret of online fitness culture: rampant steroid and drug use, not only amongst its Instagram stars and wellness gurus, but eagerly enjoined by millions seeking to emulate a new beauty ideal (and its myth, of being all-natural).

Never mind the high-profile cases of athletes Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong. Steroids and other pharmaceuticals are being sold and consumed in life-threatening quantities online and through the backrooms of gyms and fitness centres, and the people buying them range from teen girls trying to look good on Instagram to middle-aged men who can’t say good-bye to their youthful physiques.

This is a vivid, eye-opening and compassionate journey alongside a young doctor as he discovers an underworld of misinformation and misdirected ambition, drug abuse and lives cut short for the glory of competition, pageantry or the mistaken belief that we need to be fantastically beautiful in order to be fit.

****

Dr. Riam Shammaa is an expert in musculoskeletal medicine, pain medicine and regenerative and translational medicine. Having completed his residency in family medicine at McGill University and a fellowship in sports medicine at the University of Toronto, Dr. Shammaa was appointed lead physician at the 2015 Pan Am Games and has served in a similar role for many other sports organizations. Today, he is the medical director of the Canadian Centres for Regenerative Therapy. A pioneer in stem cell therapy, he conducted the first spinal discs repair using stem cells in Canada and lectures at the University of Toronto on Musculoskeletal diseases.

Patricia Pearson is an award-winning author and the recipient of three Canadian National Magazine Awards, the Arthur Ellis Award for best Canadian nonfiction crime writing, and a North American Travel Journalism Association award. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Toronto Life, Reader’s Digest, the Toronto Star, National Post, The Guardian, the New York Times, More, the Globe and Mail, The Daily Telegraph, Business Week, NPR, CBC Television, The History Channel, and TV Ontario, among many others. In 2003, she was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, Canada’s version of the Mark Twain prize.

New Release

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Switched On Pop: How Popular Music Works, and Why it Matters

By Nate Sloan and Charlie Harding

(Oxford University Press, December 2019)

Pop music surrounds us—in our cars, over supermarket speakers, even when we are laid out at the dentist—but how often do we really hear what’s playing? Switched on Pop is the book based on the eponymous podcast that has been hailed by NPR, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, and Entertainment Weekly for its witty and accessible analysis of Top 40 hits. Through close studies of sixteen modern classics, musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding shift pop from the background to the foreground, illuminating the essential musical concepts behind two decades of chart-topping songs.

Despite the importance of pop music in contemporary culture, most discourse only revolves around lyrics and celebrity. Switched on Pop gives readers the tools they need to interpret our modern soundtrack. Each chapter investigates a different song and artist, revealing musical insights such as how a single melodic motif follows Taylor Swift through every genre that she samples, André 3000 uses metric manipulation to get listeners to “shake it like a Polaroid picture,” or Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee create harmonic ambiguity in “Despacito” that mirrors the patterns of global migration.

Replete with engaging discussions and original illustrations, Switched on Pop brings to life the musical qualities that catapult songs into the pop pantheon. Readers will find themselves listening to familiar tracks in new ways—and not just those from the Top 40. The timeless concepts that Nate and Charlie define can be applied to any musical style. From fanatics to skeptics, teenagers to octogenarians, non-musicians to professional composers, every music lover will discover something ear-opening in Switched on Pop.

****

Switched on Pop weaves these meta-analyses [of songs] into its more clinical breakdowns, creating a reading experience as multidimensional as the songs they describe. Readers come away from each chapter understanding not just the building blocks of a particular song or why those are so satisfying to listeners, but also how each of those elements — and the song itself — fit into the arc of American music history.”
The Atlantic

“Sloan and Harding’s ode to popular music reintroduces the Billboard Top 100 to the field of musicology and the snobbiest of vinyl collectors. A necessary addition to any music collection.”
Library Journal, starred review

“Sloan and Harding take great care in helping us understand why pop music sounds the way it does, and why pop music is important in your life, no matter who you are…They’re not just two guys—they’re experts.”
Paste

****

Nate Sloan is a musicologist, performer and educator based in Los Angeles. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University and currently teaches at the University of Southern California. Nate is co-host of the music podcast Switched on Pop and a pop music panelist on Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) Radio’s Day 6. Nate is also an award-winning performer and composer. His two-man vaudeville act “The Gideon and Hubcap Show” has played at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and at the Soho Theatre in London, and Nate composed the score for the 2014 SXSW Short Doc prize film Slomo.

Charlie Harding is the co-host of Switched On Pop, a songwriter and longtime musical collaborator with his co-host Nate Sloan. Charlie also works in the humanitarian sector, serving as the Director of Product Management at Ushahidi, which builds crowdsourcing software to help people raise their voices. Previously, Charlie worked for Google and Google.org where he worked on internet access software and infrastructure projects to bridge the digital divide in the developing world. He also co-founded Runa, a social enterprise tea company that works with over 2,000 indigenous farming families. He is based in Los Angeles.

New Release

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Time Is Tight: My Life, Note by Note

By Booker T. Jones

(Little, Brown, October 2019)

The long-awaited memoir of Booker T. Jones, leader of the famed Stax Records house band, architect of the Memphis soul sound, and one of the most legendary figures in music.

From Booker T. Jones’s earliest years in segregated Memphis, music was the driving force in his life. While he worked paper routes and played gigs in local nightclubs to pay for lessons and support his family, Jones, on the side, was also recording sessions in what became the famous Stax Studios-all while still in high school. Not long after, he would form the genre-defining group Booker T. and the MGs, whose recordings went on to sell millions of copies, win a place in Rolling Stone’s list of top 500 songs of all time, and help forge collaborations with some of the era’s most influential artists, including Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and Sam & Dave.

Nearly five decades later, Jones’s influence continues to help define the music industry, but only now is he ready to tell his remarkable life story. Time is Tight is the deeply moving account of how Jones balanced the brutality of the segregationist South with the loving support of his family and community, all while transforming a burgeoning studio into a musical mecca.

Culminating with a definitive account into the inner workings of the Stax label, as well as a fascinating portrait of working with many of the era’s most legendary performers-Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Tom Jones, among them-this extraordinary memoir promises to become a landmark moment in the history of Southern Soul.

****

“Booker T. Jones composed some of the finest music of the last century, and now he’s given us one of the finest music books of this one.”
Wall Street Journal

“Booker T. will forever be known as the Booker T. from Booker T. and the MGs. But this book reveals so much more of the man.”
Bob Dylan

“Booker T. is a great producer, a great musician, and a great friend. Those three ‘greats’ together pretty much let you know how I feel about Booker. He and I worked together on many projects, all were fun-just like this book, which is as joyful to read as Booker’s music is to listen to.”
Willie Nelson

“Booker is simply one of the tenderest-hearted people I’ve ever met and I’m so honored to have ever been in his company. This beautiful memoir is a near perfect reflection of the man I would walk a million miles for: engaging, unforgettable, and deeply creative.”
Sinéad O’Connor

****

As the keyboardist for the Memphis-based quartet Booker T & the MGs, Booker T. Jones performed R&B and funk hits by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and Sam & Dave, and, as a member of the house band for Stax Records, helped define the sound of Southern soul music. Booker T & the MGs are also known for original hit singles like “Green Onions,” and for being one of the first integrated instrumental groups. In 1992, the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and they received a Grammys’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.