Holly Gleason, in Woman Walk the Line ( University of Texas Press, 2017, 236 pages, $19.65) has presented twenty-seven women who are country singers profiled by twenty seven woman writers each of whose experience has been enriched by they relationship to the woman they have profiled. The writers’ perspective in the contemporary world, young-middle aged, parent, child, straight, gay, trans, newbies, established, performer who writes, writer who performs inform, and are informed by the world in which they live and which they observe, just as the singer/songwriter seeks to do as a participant observer. What a way to develop postures toward the world of music! As the songs themselves move from abstracted reflections on life and love to increasingly personal and revelatory through, now, nearly 90 years of music covered in this marvelous volume, the book projects elements of society and changes in music that many might decry. Lovers of Maybelle Carter or Hazel Dickens may find themselves turning away from Taylor Swift or Kacey Musgraves as too self-revelatory. Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton fans might decide that Lucinda Williams and Patty Griffin aren’t their cup of tea. But Holly Gleason has unleashed a lushly written, highly personalized book of profiles that captures the artists and the writers in revealing ways that make this book irresistible. I read the Woman Walk the Line as a digital download provided by the publisher through Edelweiss on my Kindle app. It gets my highest recommendation.
Please remember that if you order this book through the links on my review or the Amazon portal on the left side of my blog, I receive a small commission which helps support this blog and our travels to bluegrass events.