Calling Me Home: Gram Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock

Calling Me Home: Gram Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock

by Bob Kealing

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On September 19, 1973, Gram Parsons became yet another rock-and-roll casualty in an era of excess, a time when young men wore their dangerous habits like badges of honor. Unfortunately, his many musical accomplishments have been overshadowed by a morbid fascination with his drug overdose in the Joshua Tree desert at the age of twenty-six.

Known as the father of country rock, Parsons played with the International Submarine Band, The Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers. In the late 1960s and early 70s, he was a key confidante of Keith Richards. In 1972, he gave Emmylou Harris her first big break. When Tom Petty re-formed his Florida garage band Mudcrutch, he invoked the name of Gram Parsons as an inspiration. Musicians as diverse as Elvis Costello, Dwight Yoakam, Ryan Adams, Patty Griffin, and Steve Earle have also paid homage to alt-country's patron saint.

In Calling Me Home, Kealing traces the entire arc of Parsons's career, emphasizing his Southern roots. Drawing on dozens of new interviews as well as rare letters and photographs provided by Parsons's family and legendary photojournalist Ted Polumbaum, Kealing has uncovered facts that even the most stalwart Parsons fans will find revealing.

Travelling from Parsons' boyhood home in Waycross, Georgia, to the southern folk mecca of Coconut Grove, Florida, from the birthplace of outlaw country in Austin, Texas, to the Ryman auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee Kealing celebrates Parsons's timeless and transformative musical legacy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813042787
Publisher: University Press of Florida
Publication date: 09/23/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 728,851
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Bob Kealing, an Edward R. Murrow and three-time Emmy award–winning reporter for NBC’s WESH-TV in Orlando, is the author of Kerouac in Florida: Where the Road Ends and Tupperware Unsealed: Brownie Wise, Earl Tupper, and the Home Party Pioneers.

Table of Contents

1 Cosmic Roots 1

2 Legacy versus Legend 7

3 Pilgrimage to Waycross 11

4 Like Elvis 20

5 Coon Dog's Secret 24

6 Gram's Domain 30

7 Red Coats, Pacers, and Legends 36

8 The Youth Center Circuit 44

9 High Times and Earliest Recordings 67

10 Folk in the Other Room 74

11 Shilos and Bolles 81

12 Chicago Surfinanny 91

13 Senior Year and the Derry Down 99

14 "A Country Beatle" 112

15 The Polumbaum Photos 118

16 Orlando, New York City 126

17 Slaying Behind, Safe at Home 165

18 Vinny's Place 175

19 A Country Byrd 180

20 The Lost Burrito Brother 193

21 Like a Bird 206

22 Darkness and Light 220

23 Calling Me Home 231

Acknowledgments 243

Notes 247

Discography 267

Selected Bibliography 273

Index 275

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