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Kentucky music women to be featured in new book

Woman Walk the Line – How the Women in Country Music Changed Our Lives

At a time when women’s lives have never been more public, more debated, more celebrated and in many ways, more scrutinized, Woman Walk The Line: How the Women of Country Changed Our Lives arrives. A collection of 27 women writers of varying age, race, sexual orientation and occupation, these deeply personal essays reflect how one country artist served as the life pivot that shifted everything in each writer’s life.


Including activists, academics, artists, historians, critics, mothers, daughters, songwriters, curators, T.V. producers and poets, Woman Walk The Line represents a vast sampling of who women in America are today. From James Beard Foundation top prize winner Ronni Lundy (Victuals) on Hazel Dickens and what freedom meant to an Appalachian woman in the ‘70s, to Entertainment Weekly reporter Madison Vain on Loretta Lynn and reproductive freedom today, to Rosanne Cash’s eulogy for June Carter Cash, to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Director Shelby Morrison on Barbara Mandrell and the lessons that helped get her out of Lubbock, Texas, to New York Times best-selling author, top songwriter and leading black intellectual Alice Randall on Lil Hardin’s overlooked contribution to Jimmie Rodgers’ “Blue Yodel No. 9,” to The Bluegrass Situation’s Kelly McCartney on k.d. lang’s empowering of McCartney’s own “Queer” identification, real life pulses through these moments of recognition, reckoning, recalibration, loss and finding one’s way.

Edited by cultural commentator, lauded music critic and artist development consultant Holly Gleason, Woman watches an award-winning Miami Herald reporter follow Patty Loveless’ music and example to a whole other kind of life as a food activist and mother who finds access to impenetrable grief through Emmylou Harris’ Red Dirt Girl; a transgendered woman identifies the passage from expectation to authenticity in Rosanne Cash’s journey; a top T.V. producer at the beginning of her career finds permission to write her own stories – and maintain her high heels – in Dolly Parton’s being; and Aubrie Sellers acquires the license for “garage country” in Alison Krauss’ musical excavations.

Already hailed by NPR’s Ann Powers for “revealing how women in country music—world-famous and little-known, black and white, vintage and contemporary—helped shape the lives of many different kinds of women. It’s concrete evidence that country should and does belong just as much to women as to men,” punk icon Exene Cervenka raved, “Whether we are country girls or city girls, we can all be inspired by its pure generous emotion, transforming pain into empowerment. But it’s not just for girls. This book is for everyone,” and best-selling memoirist and Grammy-winner Rodney Crowell’s assessment, “tender, tough, raw, informative, and emotionally intelligent, carefully framing twenty-seven of country music’s most evocative and enduring artists…It delivers truth and beauty on every page. I bow in earnest,” Woman Walk The Line brings writers, musicians and readers together across this series of personal essays.

“We all move so fast, it often feels like the meaning – and the marrow – of what music can give us gets lost,” says Gleason of the impetus for Woman Walk The Line. “I’ve been fortunate to know so many dynamic women whose voices you may not know but how they came to be the women they are is often more tied up in the artist they identified with than you’d imagine. So this anthology was built around the notion of reminding people how much music informs life, and offering readers access to some amazing female writers who generously share their own lives, wisdom, and love of music.”

Named for an Emmylou Harris’ song honoring holding one’s own confidence, Woman Walk The Line is part of the University of Texas Press’ American Music Series. Beyond the NPR and Rolling Stone Best Music Books of 2015: Don’t Suck, Don’t Die, Kristen Hersh’s remembrance of Vic Chesnutt, the series includes books on Ryan Adams, Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam, The Flatlanders, Chrissie Hynde and Madonna, among many. Pre-order by clicking here.