Can't You Hear Me Calling: The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass
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Can't You Hear Me Calling: The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  113 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Now in paperback: The definitive biography of the father of bluegrass, who "did what no other individual has done: invented an entire genre of music."-Chicago Tribune.
ebook, 400 pages
Published April 27th 2009 by Da Capo Press (first published 2000)
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Garrett Cash
Since last year, I've been trying to go through a loosely chronological study of country music starting with The Carter Family. This study mostly consists of reading biographies of the biggest names in the music, with general books thrown in (A Good-Natured Riot: The Birth of the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music, U.S.A., etc.).
Since then, I've read books on the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, and the Grand Ole Opry. Now I've jumped my timeline a little bit, because I just bought a mandolin and I wo...more
Mark
One thing I'm learning while going through a series of biographies on old country music stars is that they're all assholes.

This is the rule with bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe in his biography "Can't You Hear Me Callin': The Life of Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass" by Richard D. Smith. Monroe had a long 60-year career in bluegrass and country music being relatively important for at least more than half of those years and appropriately revered for the last 10 years. He was the progenitor for a g...more
Jason Luellen
I had the pleasure of meeting the author at a reading and book signing a number of years ago but never got around to reading it until recently. I'm glad I finally did.

I have been a casual bluegrass fan for a while and enjoyed learning more about the "Father of Bluegrass" and arguably the grandfather of rock 'n roll. His womanizing, famous feud with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, and stories about musicians he influenced either directly as members of his Blue Grass Boys or indirectly as fans are...more
Ken
This is one of those biographies that, despite the actual prose, still gets at least one extra star just for cataloging information from the life of a famous person. Bill Monroe was one tortured dude, but you really have to read between the lines in order to catch that. It's obvious that this book was written with the stern eye of the Nashville Mafia staring over Richard Smith's shoulder -- this bio pulls more punches than Glass Joe on Super Knock Out; Smith bends so far over backwards with glos...more
Robert
This was a terrific book. It moved right along and gave detail where it was appropriate and left out detail where it would have been merely salacious and not relevant to the music. There was actually some musical information, e.g., keys played in and harmony notes chosen, without becoming too technical for the non musician. There was a discography and bibliography and a great deal of information about many of the other players in bluegrass music. Anybody out there with an interest in truly Ameri...more
Jennifer
Such a fascinating life story, not the best writing style. I got annoyed by the chronological-but-not-quite flow of the book, the constant "little did he know this man would change his life..." revelations, and how EVERY TIME a new person was introduced, we were told all the details of their birth and upbringing. I know that's sometimes important to the story, but please spare me if it's not. Great amount of research, though.
Kevin Montavon
The life of the Father of Bluegrass told in page-turning detail. From his early life in the hills of Kentucky to his early career with his brothers and finally to the creation of Bluegrass, stories of the original Blue Grass Boys, and his long storied career, this is a book no music fan, and certainly no fan of country music or bluegrass should miss out on reading.
Felice Fox
This is a fun biography that puts you right in the middle of the action. His writing style has the flavor, pace and old-timey grace of the early years of bluegrass. If you're a fan of the genre, this is a must-read.

I've heard that there was some minor backlash over the author's frank discussion of Bill's personal life, but I was glad for the dose of reality.

Misty
Lots of interesting history and anecdotes, even if quite biased and written in an overly simple style. I had a hard time getting into the book, but enjoyed it more after the first few chapters.
Katie
5 points - 3. Jerry Garcia (Musician) - Born August 1, 1942 – Read A Fiction or Non-Fiction Book about A Musician or Band.
Chuck
This is a fascinating book for any music lover. The story of how one man created a genuinely American form of music.
Matt
A detailed and warmly written look at Monroe's personal life, his bandmates, and his music. I really enjoyed it.
Matthew Dishman
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Jul 12, 2014
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