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A Heartbeat and a Guitar

A Heartbeat and a Guitar

Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears

A Heartbeat and a Guitar tells of the collaboration of two distinct yet connected musicians–iconoclast Johnny Cash and pioneering folk artist Peter La Farge– Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, the album that influenced the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan. In this intimate portrayal of the two musicians, D’Ambrosio interviewed surviving members of Cash’s band, his producers, and admirers Pete Seeger and Kris Kristofferson. He renders a dramatic picture of both an era of radical protest and the making of one of the most controversial and enduring works of political pop art of the 1960s.

A Heartbeat and a Guitar is the inspiration for the new album “Look Again to the Wind: Johnny Cash's Bitter Tears revisited” featuring a collective of top Americana artists including Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Gillian Welch, and Kris Kristofferson.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Music / History & Criticism

On Sale: May 3rd 2011

Price: $16.99 / $19.95 (CAD)

Page Count: 296

ISBN-13: 9781568586373

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

“This book is a truly fascinating journey, charting the historical and social context of a courageous musical statement by one of our greatest rebel voices. It has since been locked away in the ‘denial drawer' (aren't First Nations people just an extinct species, systematically exterminated by European ‘progress'?), but D'Ambrosio admirably shines his investigative lantern into every darkened corner, finally offering some greatly appreciated illumination.”—Jim Jarmusch, filmmaker

“Antonino D'Ambrosio's A Heartbeat and a Guitar is a beautiful and inspiring book. D'Ambrosio's possess the rarest of gifts, an artist who infuses his work with compassion and courage.” —Pete Seeger, musician

"Antonino D'Ambrosio's book on the making of Johnny Cash's album "Bitter Tears" is much more than the story behind those extraordinary songs. It is a rich history, not only of Johnny Cash's life, but of the Indian struggle for justice, which inspired Peter La Farge to write the song ‘The Ballad of Ira Hayes' and Cash to sing it. The book is full of fascinating character sketches of the great folk singers of the Sixties, and their part in the social movements of that exciting era. I believe D'Ambrosio has made an important contribution to the cultural history of our time." –Howard Zinn, historian
“With his latest, A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears, D'Ambrosio offers a fascinating account of how that album embodied the true grit of Cash's courage and conviction.”—The Boston Globe

“Though many books have been recently written about Johnny Cash, this one provides an original perspective on Cash's ability to span musical boundaries. Recommended for fans of social history or American popular music.” –Library Journal
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