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Monday, August 3, 2015

A description of a legend's music that captures it for me

"...there was just something different in Mr. Williams's music, the way some paintings are more vivid, more real than others..."

This was from Rick Bragg's book Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story writing not about Jerry Lee but about Hank Williams.  For years I've tried to express what stands apart about Hank Williams's music, and I admire how Bragg puts it. His words about Williams's music also describe the way I feel about Hemingway's writing about fishing and the outdoors as compared with the thousands of words I've read from other writers, many of them quite skilled.

Lately Pam has brought back from the local library a number of memoirs and biographies of musicians- Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Gil Scott-Heron, and all contained some worthwhile reading, but Rick Bragg's book about Jerry Lee has been the most fun.  He has an incredibly colorful subject, the expression "larger than life" actually seems too tame to describe someone as outlandish as Jerry Lee Lewis. Bragg is a skillful writer and, also from the deep south, he has a feel for its land and people.  He made me wonder if another place or time could have produced a Jerry Lee.

Bragg has a southerner's gift for story-telling, and his subject's antics over the years produces many great stories.  Since reading this book, I can't help passing on some of these stories to my friends and family at any opportunity.

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