Zilphia-related events and Bob Dylan, of course

It’s been slightly over a month since A Singing Army hit stores and I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude to everyone who’s purchased a copy and shown up for events. In this weird year of Everything On Zoom, it’s hard for me to always know who’s in the “room” or how many people I’m talking to. I just see the person I’m in conversation with, and maybe a moderator. Nonetheless, I’ve heard a lot of nice things on emails, texts, and socials — so thank you!

The release kicked off at this year’s Appalachian Studies conference, where I got to talk shop with Susan Williams from Highlander. Then there was my launch event via my local indie bookstore, Malaprop’s, with No Depression managing editor Hillary Saunders. A visit with my friend Denise Kiernan on her show CRAFT. (Normally, it’s a thing that happens at a bar, but in these unprecedented times, and with Denise’s charming charisma, it really should be a show.) And an education and inspiring event at Middle Tennessee State University’s Center for Popular Song, with Highlander Center co-Executive Directors Ash-Lee Henderson and Allyn Maxfield Steele.

I caught up with books columnist Henry Carrigan at No Depression, who shared our interview and his discerning opinion about the book. Sat with Accordion Noir podcast to talk about Zilphia’s life and work. (Podcast host Bruce Triggs published a book last year called Accordion Revolution, that includes a chapter about Zilphia, her friend Sis Cunningham, and numerous other accordion stars, such as they were.)

In the weeks ahead, you’ll be able to hear me on Knoxville’s WUOT, Western North Carolina’s WNCW, and (virtually) in store at Union Avenue Books in Knoxville and Tombolo Books in St. Petersburg, FL. For the former, I’ll be in conversation with University of Tennessee history professor Bob Hutton. For the latter, I get to catch up with Amy Ray, whom I last got to talk to during the 2020 30A Songwriter Festival in Florida, just before we all disappeared into quarantine. It’ll be fun to catch up, talk Zilphia with her, and learn what she’s been up to via Honor the Earth and other ways she works to make the world a better place.

And, in the middle of all of this, a project I’ve been involved with over the past year or two via the Bob Dylan Archive, a book titled The World of Bob Dylan, is about to release April 30, on Cambridge University Press, just in time for Dylan’s 80th birthday.

In fact, on May 24 — his actual birthday — I’ll join a panel of other contributors for a Dylan@80 Virtual Conference panel, to discuss the book and Dylan’s influence on … well, the world. (My chapter focuses specifically on his influence on American roots music, via The Basement Tapes, his collaboration with The Band, his time in Nashville, and various other factors.) Something fun to dig into, if you’re a Dylan fan. You can register for the Dylan@80 conference via the Archive’s website.

Those are all my updates for now. Thanks again for your support! If you’ve read A Singing Army and enjoyed it, please help spread the word by sharing your thoughts on Goodreads, Amazon, or wherever else you tell the world about what you love.

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