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If Trouble Don't Kill Me: A Family's Story of Brotherhood, War, and Bluegrass

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  47 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Making moonshine, working blue-collar jobs, picking fights in bars, chasing women, and living hardscrabble lives . . .

Clayton and Saford Hall were born in the backwoods of Virginia in 1919, in a place known as The Hollow. Incredibly, they became legends in their day, rising from mountain-bred poverty to pickin’ and yodelin’ all over the airwaves of the South in the 1930s a
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Published August 10th 2010 by Crown (first published January 1st 2010)
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Peggy Bushey
Feb 15, 2011 Peggy Bushey rated it it was amazing
My husband and I both read this book and absolutely loved it! My husband was thoroughly disapointed that it had to end.

I found the story to be very interesting, and I thought Ralph Berrier shared it beautifully.
Julia Nixon
Jun 06, 2012 Julia Nixon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you love country music, if you have relatives who play country music, if you have a relative who served in WWII, you must read this book.
Chris
Dec 12, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it
Originally reviewed for the LA Times - October 10, 2010

We're all familiar with the standard musician biography: down-and-out upbringing, often involving the death of — or at least fierce competition with — a sibling, followed by a lucky break, unprecedented fame, substance abuse, a tragic flaw, a fall from grace and, eventually, redemption. In "If Trouble Don't Kill Me: A Family's Story of Brotherhood, War, and Bluegrass," Ralph Berrier Jr., a reporter for the Roanoke Times in Virginia, hits mos
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Lindsey
Feb 08, 2014 Lindsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not the kind of person who enjoys forcing myself to read a book that does not interest me. I was made to do that myself plenty of times when I was in school, so now if a book starts dragging me down and I do not look forward to reading it each night, I set it aside.
Berrier's book does not fit into that category. I found myself invested in the characters of Clayton and Saford Hall. The level of detail in the book allowed me to picture every scene, and often I found myself chuckling over their
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Fred
Jun 20, 2011 Fred rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: Ralph Berrier is a friend of mine. I’ve been swapping music trivia with him since he was a student at Radford. All that really means is that I had a more vivid perception of Ralph’s voice as I read his book. The rest of it, from the story of Saford and Clayton to the subtle commentary on war and art he weaves in, transcends any acquaintance I might have with Ralph.

There’s been a lot said recently about the need for preserving this dying mountain culture of which the Hall twins w
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Kimberly
Oct 09, 2010 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book that I have read in a very long time!!! Ralph Berrier has a manner of writing that makes you feel like you really do KNOW the folks in the book and you get the feeling that you are actually there experiencing what the characters are experiencing. I grew up in the area where his family is from and I currently live in Roanoke, so I recognize many of the references to people, places and things that he mentions in the book. Read this book!!!!
Indy Teller
Aug 18, 2010 Indy Teller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for a good read
If I were doing the promotions for this book, I would compare with “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett. The respect and appreciation for the twins, the Hallow, and the hardships of mountain life combined with Berrier's story telling skills make this a truly great read!

If you like country music, mountain life, and just a great story, do not miss this book!
Crown Publishing Group
"The story of Clayton and Saford Hall is perhaps the ultimate country-music brother saga of all." -- The Wall Street Journal

WSJ Review: http://online.wsj.com/article/NA_WSJ_...
Renee Manning
Dec 14, 2010 Renee Manning rated it it was amazing
An open and honest look at Ralph's grandfather's life. Each chapter stands alone as an awesome story.
Greg Jones
Jul 26, 2013 Greg Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like bluegrass music, or the history of American folk music, or are a World War II buff, or you just like etymology, then Ralph Berrier's book, "If Trouble Don't Kill Me: A Family's Story of Brotherhood, War, and Bluegrass" is a book that you are going to highly enjoy. I know that I did.
Eric
Aug 30, 2015 Eric rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, music
This is a nicely written and entertaining biography of Clayton and Saford Hall, twin brothers who really should be more well known than they are. Their musical journey and their wartime experiences make for an excellent read.
Madelyn
Jun 01, 2012 Madelyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ralph Berrier Jr. is the most natural storyteller I've ever encountered. The perfect mix of reverence and irreverence.
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Ralph Berrier, Jr. is the author of "If Trouble Don't Kill Me: A Family's Story of Brotherhood, War, and Bluegrass" and is a features reporter for The Roanoke Times. He has written extensively about the music of Southwest Virginia and his work has earned more than 20 state and national awards, including those from the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Newspaper Association of America, the American As ...more
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