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Asheville-based Writer Alli Marshall Releases Debut Novel ‘How to Talk To Rockstars’  Through Logosophia Books in June 2015

Launches Indiegogo Campaign to Help Fund an East Coast Author Tour
www.indiegogo.com/projects/how-to-talk-to-rockstars-book-launch-and-tour

How to Talk to Rockstars’ cover artwork is by Joshua Spiceland, the design is by Susan Yost.

How to Talk to Rockstars’ cover artwork is by Joshua Spiceland, the design is by Susan Yost.

ASHEVILLE, NC — Music is a universal language. But sometimes it needs an interpreter. That’s the idea behind How to Talk to Rockstars, a novel about love, loneliness and rock ‘n’ roll. The debut of Alli Marshall, an Asheville-based author, journalist and editor, it’s available in the spring of 2015 from Logosophia Books.  In the words of author Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain, Nightwoods), “This bright, fleet novel is a true delight—an engaging, perceptive, precisely observed and slyly funny meditation on fame and love, in particular the love of music.”

Alli has written for the Mountain Xpress, an altweekly in Asheville, NC, since 2001 and has filled the role of the Arts & Entertainment editor since 2013. How to Talk to Rockstars is based in part on her 14-or-so years spent interviewing artists of all genres, but especially touring musicians.

The novel — think Almost Famous meets The History of Love — follows wallflower-turned-journalist Bryn Thompson. She has a dream job: she interviews rock stars. Bryn’s professionalism keeps her on track, but also emotionally removed from the gritty world of backstage, bars and drugs that she writes about. That is, until she meets musician Jude Archer, whose songs haunt her. As an unlikely friendship grows out of Bryn’s obsession with Jude’s album, Bryn begins to rethink all of the carefully-contrived rules that until now have helped her maintain a professional distance.

Musician and artist, Joseph Arthur calls the book, “A very interesting take on the world of rock ’n’ roll. An unheard perspective.”

The launch party for How to Talk to Rockstars takes place at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, N.C., on Friday, May 15. Festivities begin at 7pm with treats, a reading, a Q&A session, and live music by singer-songwriter Vickie Burrick of Warm the Bell. The event is free and open to the public.

Writing a novel takes time, time, time, patience, determination and at least a little bit of insanity. It takes months — possibly years — of missed parties, late nights and early mornings. It takes many hours in front of a computer screen, and a stronger eyeglasses prescription. Now that How to Talk to Rockstars exists on the page, it’s time to get it into bookstores and (more importantly) into the hands of readers. This takes money, so Alli launched an Indiegogo Campaign. The funds raised will go to a creatively sourced publicity campaign including print media, radio, blogs, podcasts and TV. The other part of the publicity campaign is author events such as readings and further book signings, talks, appearances at book clubs and festivals (both literary and music-oriented), as well as libraries, schools, and heck, maybe street corners!

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More about the Author
Alli Marshall photo credit Carrie Eidson
Alli Marshall grew up in Western New York and has called the mountains of North Carolina home for more than 20 years. She’s a Warren Wilson College graduate and completed her MFA in creative writing at Goddard College. She’s been named the best arts reporter in Western North Carolina in the annual Best of WNC reader’s poll, 2011-2014. She received awards in editorial reporting from the North Carolina Press Association in 2005 and 2014, and from the International Festivals & Events Association in 2004. She also took home top honors in the Cupcakes for the Cure bake-off (local ingredient category) — but that’s another story. And though Alli doesn’t like to brag or anything, over the course of her career she’s interviewed Yoko Ono, Cyndi Lauper, Chris Robinson (The Black Crowes), Aimee Mann, Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys), Britt Daniel (Spoon), Michael Franti, Neko Case, Daniel Lanois, Ziggy Marley, Peter Murphy, Grace Potter, Jamie Lidell, Kishi Bashi and many, many others.

For more information, please visit: www.alli-marshall.com and http://www.logosophiabooks.com.

Stay up-to-date with news from Alli at www.facebook.com/allimarshallauthor, www.twitter.com/alli_marshall and www.instagram.com/alli_marshall.

Read more of her feature articles at www.mountainx.com/author/amarshall.

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Doc Watson Biography ‘Blind But Now I See’
by Kent Gustavson

A Definitive Biography of an American Icon

DocBookcover_KentG“A touching story about overcoming life’s obstacles…”
–Vintage Guitar Magazine

“Musicologists will appreciate the chapters on Doc’s singing style and guitar work… Music fans will delight in the book as a whole, a splendid recounting of Doc Watson as man whose ‘…approach to folk music on a guitar was like Horowitz’s approach to the piano…”
–Gary Presley, The Internet Review of Books

“This is a highly informative, fascinating biography of the great Doc Watson. What a life. It’s a page-turner that will keep you up past your bedtime. Don’t miss it.”
–The Inland Northwest Bluegrass Association

“This is a valuable, anecdotal work anyone interested in Doc’s music and life will enjoy reading.” –Bluegrass Unlimited

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Award-winning author Kent Gustavson was born immersed in a rich musical heritage. As the son of peaceniks, he grew up with family sing-alongs. From Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan, he darted to classical, jazz, and avant-garde jazz, before circling back to the Greenwich Village folk canon and tracing that music back. In singer-guitarist Doc Watson, Gustavson found a treasure of American music. His biography of Watson, Blind But Now I See (Sumach-Red Books) is the definitive biography of an American icon.

KentWithDocBook23664The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based author is uniquely qualified to write a book that merges myth, musicology, and American history. He holds a PhD in classical composition from Stony Brook University in New York, where he taught leadership, writing, literature, music and German for ten years. He’s an active musician with 14 critically acclaimed albums, and his music has been featured on National Public Radio’s All Songs Considered. He also hosts a radio show, Sound Authors, where he has interviewed hundreds of award-winning authors and musicians.

Blind But Now I See is the first comprehensive biography of Doc Watson. It was written over 6 years, culled from meticulous archival research and well over a hundred interviews. The book brims with insights from such legendary musicians as Bela Fleck, Ben Harper, David Grisman, David Moultrup, Jerry Douglas, Jonathan Byrd, Marty Stuart, Michelle Shocked, Mike Seeger, Norman Blake, Ricky Skaggs, Tommy Emmanuel, Tony Rice, Tony Trischka, and Warren Haynes, among many others. It is a winner of a Next Generation Indie Book Award, and finalist in the Foreword Book of the Year Awards. The book has sold 5,000 paperbacks and 25,000 e-books. Vintage Guitar Magazine praises it as: “A touching story about overcoming life’s obstacles.” Blind But Now I See is now available in its expanded second printing, with a third and even more expansive edition already in the works.

Doc23447Two-time Grammy Award winner Ben Harper says in his Blind But Now I See interview: “There was a sense of grace, effortlessness, and fluidity to Doc Watson’s musicianship and singing that is nothing short of miraculous.”

Watson’s influence has been recognized by presidents and by heroes of modern music such as Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Ben Harper, Robert Plant, and Gillian Welch, but little is known about his personal life, his complex relationship with his son, Merle, his mythical rise to prominence, and his awe-inspiring musicality. Watson was a blind boy from the small town of Deep Gap, North Carolina who grew up in the Depression, then lived in abject poverty until being brought into the 1960s folk scene. For over 52 years, Watson mesmerized bluegrass, folk, and rock audiences with his soft baritone and fiery guitar licks

Gustavson’s congenial but probingly insightful interview skills help piece together a powerful and honest character mosaic. His vibrant, erudite, and enthusiastic prose demystifies Watson’s astounding musicality and dissects the paradoxes and complexities of the man with bold sensitivity.

DocandFreindJOhn23444In an interview with esteemed alt-country publication No Depression Gustavson said: “I stumbled across a copy of The Watson Family by Folkways records. Watson’s voice was so rock-solid in those family hymns that I still sing the bass part today, because it’s stronger in my mind than the melody! He pointed me towards the blues, early rock and roll, traditional Appalachian fiddle music, and balladry. He literally started a brush fire in my musical mind.”

In 2004 Gustavson began writing Blind But Now I See, and nearly 10 years later and three editions in he’s emerged an authority on the enigmatic icon. He told No Depression: “Countless close friends and family members of Doc have come to me over the past two years and thanked me for writing this biography, and for really framing the reality surrounding his life.” Besides the plaudits from insiders, the biggest reward is bringing this journey back home. “In the new edition I finally got a chance to speak to Pete Seeger,” Gustavson says. “I called my parents and told them ‘Pete Seeger just spoke to me!’ What an honor.”

Biography Written By: Lorne Behrman

www.kentgustavson.com

Great review by Professor Puppet

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Frank Ruggiero with the Boone Mountain Times posted a second, longer and more in depth article detailing his recent interview with David Gans:

David Gans Playing in the Band

By Frank Ruggiero  in the Boone Mountain Times

The music never stopped for David Gans.

A celebrated radio host by day and singer-songwriter by night, Gans is a storyteller 24/7, a member of the old school who sees music beyond the notes.

“I think music can change the world,” he said. “I came up in that day, and I still believe that. I’m not a heavy-handed political commentator … but one of those people who uses music to inspire people to be healthy and kind.”

As host of radio’s nationally syndicated The Grateful Dead Hour, Gans has delivered inspiration for 25 years. Celebrated as a “singer-songwriter-guitarist-radio producer/host-author-journalist-record producer-photographer,” Gans’ many talents fit together seamlessly.

“I was a musician from the time I was a kid,” said Gans, 56, adding that writing was always a driving force behind the sound.

Though always a writer, time spent in the ’70s as a musician-of-all-trades in San Francisco’s Bay Area led to life-changing opportunities in the writing world, when Gans took jobs for magazines like BAM and Jann Wenner’s Record. “All of which were great ways to find out more about music and meet people in this business,” he said.

This spawned a 10-year tour in the music news industry, an experience that enriched his own perspective of music through myriad interviews with such stalwarts of rock as Tom Petty, Rod Stewart, Pat Benatar, Leo Fender and the Grateful Dead.

This latter encounter prompted an enduring (and career-defining) friendship with America’s preeminent jam band, its all-encompassing approach toward music a perfect fit for Gans’s musical philosophy.
As a fan of the Dead, Gans sought out those stories in particular and, in 1977, scored an interview with rhythm guitarist Bob Weir.

“They recognized that I knew what they were doing and understood, so I made friends with various band members and other members of their team and family,” Gans said. “Just by being a supportive journalist, I was welcomed into their world.”

Gans offered readers a vivid glimpse of this world in 1985, when he and co-author Peter Simon released the book, “Playing in the Band: An Oral and Visual Portrait of the Grateful Dead.”

That spring, Gans promoted his work on a San Francisco radio program, The Deadhead Hour, putting together a set of defining songs to musically illustrate his work, when he realized this was something he really enjoyed. Gans took the helm that year, and The Grateful Dead Hour was born.

“By then, I had sufficiently warm relations with various parts of the Grateful Dead world, that when the opportunity came up to syndicate the show, I took it,” Gans said.

But not without a blessing from the Dead.

“I started getting requests from other stations, asking if they could carry the show, too,” Gans said. “So, I went to my friends in the band and asked, ‘What do you guys think?’ They said, ‘It sounds like a good idea for everybody; just go for it.’

“None of this was by design, intention or even planned – it just happened. I had developed such relationships with these guys that I could get their support when I tried to do something. They trusted me, and (bassist) Phil Lesh made that explicit at one point: ‘You don’t have to call me to ask for permission to do this or that – if it’s worth putting on the air, we trust you.’ And that was a great feeling.”

Broadcasted on at least 82 stations, 75 radio and seven Internet-based, The Grateful Dead Hour features music from and inspired by the Dead, woven together with Gans’s firsthand stories from the Golden Road and interviews with musicians and other Grateful Dead luminaries.

And when it comes to the Dead, there’s never a shortage of music.

“I’ve been doing radio for the Grateful Dead for 25 years, and there’s never been a single moment in that whole time where I didn’t have a wealth of material to choose from … It’s a completely well-stocked pantry of great music – delicious and largely nutritious, too.”

And for Gans, music is a key ingredient and part of this complete breakfast.

“Music is my life, man,” he said, citing a talent that flourished from age 6 with the clarinet to guitar at 15 and beyond. “I guess I have some natural affinity for music, a good ear for learning melodies, picking up chords … I’ve always been driven to express myself that way.”

Gans came of age in the time of singer-songwriters, visiting music halls in San Jose, Calif., to sing the likes of John Denver, Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne and John Prine.

Growing up with songbooks from The Beatles’ “White Album” and Crosby, Stills and Nash’s self-titled album, Gans aimed to master the singer-songwriter dynamic. But in college, his roommate and songwriting partner introduced him to the Grateful Dead, “and that completely blew my world wide open,” Gans said. “But the thing that grabbed me (about the Dead) was the songwriting, a great catalogue of American music those guys put out.”

He calls it a musical university, one in which a student could spend the rest of his life exploring.
“But also bear in mind, I’ve been writing songs since I was 16,” he said. “So, I’ve never completely surrendered myself to being a fan of something else. Even though I’d been earning my living putting Grateful Dead music on the radio for 25 years, it was never more important than pursuing my own songwriting.”

In 1997, he released Home by Morning, a duet album featuring Gans and singer-songwriter Eric Rawlins, which was followed the next year by the well-timed single, “Monica Lewinsky,” by David Gans and the Broken Angels.

Five solo albums would follow, but Gans relishes his live performances the most, particularly the degree of spontaneity involved. At a Bears Picnic Festival in Pennsylvania, Gans wound up sitting in with just about every band there. “It was fun, and it’s nice being that kind of musician who people welcome into their sets as guests, which means I can pick up guests to play with, as well.”

One such guest was Phil Lesh, and Gans is considered responsible for rousing the world-renowned bassist from retirement.

“He had not played much … since Jerry (Garcia) had passed (in 1995),” Gans said. “I was working on a benefit … in the Bay Area, putting together a Grateful Dead jam for this event, and asked if he’d come and sit in.”

Lesh agreed, and the September 1997 show promptly sold out. David Gans and Broken Angels with Special Guest Phil Lesh played a couple more benefits, this time for Lesh’s Unbroken Chain Foundation, featuring a group of musicians unique to each performance.

“He liked the idea of a rotating cast of musicians, so he started doing the same thing under Phil Lesh and Friends,” Gans said. “He saw something he liked, then went and did it himself with some world-class collaborators.”

“World-class” is a fitting term for Gans’ own collaborators, including the New Riders of the Purple Sage, the late Vassar Clements, The String Cheese Incident and Peter Rowan. Gans recently joined Rowan’s younger brothers, Chris and Lorin, in Rubber Souldiers, a jam tribute to The Beatles.

“It’s a labor of love,” he said. “We call it a Beatles jam band, taking their songs and kind of stretching them out, because here’s the thing – The Beatles wrote some amazing songs with amazing melodies, chord changes and kick-ass grooves, and then they quit after three minutes. Come on, man, take that song and stretch it out and let people dance a while.”

But Gans’s solo shows promise dancing aplenty. Using a looping device, he’s able to accompany himself, as it were, by building simultaneous layers of guitar work. “It’s a way of allowing myself to improvise with myself,” he said.

Having originally intended the loop to serve as a rhythm guitarist, allowing him to experiment and improvise on lead, Gans realized its full potential.

“Take ‘Cassidy’s Cat,’ a whole bunch of themes from Grateful Dead songs I intertwine, put together in a fresh way,” he said.

His repertoire includes beaucoups of looping figures of his own device, though Gans also performs what he calls “the straightforward stuff,” having generated 40 years’ of songwriting material.

“I play a fresh set list every time, working from my own repertoire of original material and covers from others,” he said. “It’s a real-time performance, interacting with the audience, what feels right, what seems to get their attention. In other words, I’m doing it live like the Grateful Dead taught me, and telling stories, too.”

Gans’ own story continues, naturally, through song. He’s releasing a new single, “Life is a Jam,” this spring, soon to be available for download at www.dgans.com. His last full album was 2008’s The Ones That Look the Weirdest Taste the Best, but for now, he plans to make music single-mindedly.

“It’ll be interesting to try doing things one song at a time for a while,” he said. “We’re at a moment in the history of music when all the old institutions are falling apart, so we have to find new ways to do things.

“Rejoice, rejoice; we have no choice, but to carry on.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www2.mountaintimes.com/entertainment_focus/David_Gans_Playing_in_the_Band_id_001237

By: Frank Ruggiero
Published: 8:38 AM, 04/29/2010 Last updated: 9:45 AM, 04/29/2010

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David Gans is starting off this weekend with a his run of Shows in North Carolina. He starts off at the Shakori Hills Festival in Silk Hope. Then he heads over to Asheville, Greensboro, Boone, and one secret surprise show that has not yet been announced. Check out this article from a recent interview with Ryan Snyder from Yes! Weekly in Greensboro:

‘Dead Hour’ DJ and guitarist gets a little help from friends for NC shows

By Ryan Snyder

Yes! Weekly

Songwriter, DJ and Deadhead David Gans trips out east for a run of fullband shows (photo by Bob Minkin).

It’s been a long, strange trip for David Gans. The quirky, inventive guitarist and songwriter has affixed innumerable other designations to his name over his 40-year career, all in the course of just trying to write a few songs and play a few shows. Among them are writer and author — Gans was a music journalist who wrote for several San Francisco publications in the ’70s and has published books on the Grateful Dead and the Talking Heads. But Deadheads who like their doses — the musical kind mind you — straight from the heart know Gans as the founder and still-host of the long-running and widely syndicated “Grateful Dead Radio Hour.” Gans has been in the booth for over 1000 broadcasts and as of a recent YES! Weekly interview, was working on episode no. 1127, but his journey into the booth doesn’t quite play out like one might expect.

Gans saw his first Dead show in 1972 at the behest of his then roommate and songwriting partner and it was only a few months later, he said, that he started to get a handle on what the band was doing.

“I grew up on the Beatles and was a big fan of early ’70s singer/ songwriters, the acoustic pop/folk/rock back then. The Dead expanded my horizons, so I began to get more into playing guitar and improvising,” Gans said. “It also just made me realize that songwriting could be literature. You could write stuff with depth to that that took a little more work to engage it than the pop stuff that just kind of tells you everything it knows in the first couple of listens.”

A few years later, while promoting his book Playing In the Band in 1985, Gans went onto a local radio show to produce a series of documentaries for the station and eventually began contributing regularly. They eventually asked him to take over the show and after other stations expressed interest in carrying it, it led to the “Grateful Dead Hour”’s eventual syndication.

“Without ever making a plan to do so, I sort of wandered into this thing of being the producer and host and still am 25 years later,” Gans said. “I never lost interest making my own music or all the other music out there in the world, but it became a pretty fun way to make a living.”

Though he insists that he never became a full-blown Deadhead, the band’s influence is felt all throughout Gans’ own music, from his ragged, witty Americana lyrical repertoire to his brazenly adventurous solo stage act to the Dead covers he weaves into it with regularity. Gans has become both known and celebrated for his live looping techniques, playing the role of his own rhythmic accompaniment, but for an upcoming trek to the Southeast for a string of shows, Gans will be meeting up with a few friends from North Carolina for a somewhat rare run of full-band shows on the East Coast.

Among them are Donna the Buffalo keyboardist and Greensboro resident Dave McCracken, Donna the Buffalo and Acoustic Syndicate bassist Jay Sanders, Virginia Daredevils mandolin player Bobby Miller, Biscuit Burners steel player Bill Cardine and Blue Rags drummer Mike Rhodes, who Gans has never performed alongside. With such a talented cast behind him, Gans will be setting his loop station aside for this occasion for obvious reasons, though he will be teaching a looping clinic this Saturday afternoon at the Shakori Hills Festival. [Gans and Friends performs on Wednesday, April 28th at the Blind Tiger]

“When you’re playing with a looping device, it’s like playing with a musician who’s a real dick. It can’t hear you and it can’t adjust,” Gans emphasized.” When you’re playing with a human, nothing’s perfect of course, but everybody listens to each other and the feel for what you’re doing sort of adjusts. It’s also just much more fun when you’re playing live to have others with you.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.yesweekly.com/article-9235-dead-hour-dj-and-guitarist-gets-a-little-help-from-friends-for-nc-shows.html

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