Drop the record needle on any vinyl album in your collection, then read the first pages of that novel you've been meaning to pick up—the reverberations between them will be impossible to miss. Since Dylan went electric, listening to rock 'n' roll has often been a surprisingly literary experience, and contemporary literature is curiously attuned to the history and beat of popular music. In The Ink in the Grooves, Florence Dore brings together a remarkable array of acclaimed novelists, musicians, and music writers to explore the provocatively creative relationship between musical and literary inspiration: the vitality that writers draw from a three-minute blast of guitars and the poetic insights that musicians find in literary works from Shakespeare to Southern Gothic. Together, the essays and interviews in The Ink in the Grooves provide a backstage pass to the creative processes behind some of the most exciting and influential albums and novels of our time.
Contributors: Laura Cantrell, Michael Chabon, Roddy Doyle, Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, William Ferris, Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens, Dave Grohl, Peter Guralnick, Amy Helm, Randall Kenan, Jonathan Lethem, Greil Marcus, Rick Moody, Lorrie Moore, the John Prine band (Dave Jacques, Fats Kaplin, Pat McLaughlin, Jason Wilber), Dana Spiotta, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Richard Thompson, Scott Timberg, Daniel Wallace, Colson Whitehead, Lucinda Williams, Warren Zanes.
Introduction: Needles and Pens, by Florence Dore Part 1: The Inescapable Dylan
1. Let it Rock
2. The Genius and Modern Times of Bob Dylan
3. All the Poets (Musicians on Writing): An Interview with Rhiannon Giddens
4. Chronicles: Volume One (Excerpt) Part II: Rock 'N' Roll Saved My Life: Writers on Music
5. Banjo Interlude: An Idle Teen's Life Is Saved by Music
6. Tonight We Improvise: From Sag Harbor (Excerpt)
7. Ubu Lives! Remembering Punk and Its Stories
8. By Heart: From Eat the Document (Excerpt)
9. Precious Resource (Rock and Our Generation of Novelists): An Interview with Jonathan Lethem and Dana Spiotta
10. Whack Fol the Daddy-O: How I Learned to Hate Irish Music Slightly Less Part III: Rock's Literary Identity: Musicians on Literature
11. Dear Dylan: An Interview with Lucinda Williams
12. Iambic Pentameter and the Blues: An Interview with Steve Earle
13. Sir Patrick Rocks! Dragging Ancient Ballads into the Twentieth Century, and What That Can Do to Fragile Young Minds
14. Two Blue Suedes Part IV: Don't Let Anyone Write Your Story: Musings on Rock as Literature
15. When We All Get to Heaven
16. English as a Second Language
17. Cosmic Ray: How Ray Charles's "I Got a Woman" Transformed the Music of Ray Charles, Allowed Him to Keep His Band, and Created a Musical and Social Revolution
18. Ain't It Always Stephen Stills Part V: Losses and Erasures
19. Black Cowboys and Jimi Hendrix: An Interview with Dom Flemons
20. Anatomy of a Canned Heat Hit: "Let's Work Together" by Wilbert Harrison
21. John Prine (The Reluctant Genius): An Interview with Dave Jacques, Jason Wilbur, Fats Kaplin, and Pat McLaughlin
22. The Day the Live Concert Returns
23. Unknown Band on a Forgotten Stage
24. Right on Time: An Interview with Amy Helm,
Florence Dore is a Nashville-born, North Carolina–based musical artist as well as Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her second album, 2022's Highways and Rocketships, was produced by Don Dixon and Mitch Easter. She is the author of Novel Sounds and coexecutive producer for the Billboard-charting compilation album Cover Charge.
Novelists, musicians, and other cultural movers and shakers muse on the intersection of literature and rock music in this rich collection of essays. Music lovers with a literary bent will find this worth tuning in to.
Florence Dore has created an excellent collection of old and new writing that explores the convergence of rock and literature. Readers will want to take the time to slowly savor this rich gathering.
Florence Dore's search along the seam of rock music and fiction evinces rare moments in the lives of writers and musicians, epiphanies suggesting a shared psyche of art seeking freedom, art quaking with hungers of expression that anyone who has gone stomp-down dancing in a club where the music soars will feel into the bone.
~The Daily Beast