Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Can't You Hear Me Calling: The Life Of Bill Monroe, Father Of Bluegrass” as Want to Read:
Can't You Hear Me Calling: The Life Of Bill Monroe, Father Of Bluegrass
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  195 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Considering the range of stars that have claimed Bill Monroe as an influence—Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Jerry Garcia are just a few—it can be said that no single artist has had as broad an impact on American popular music as he did. For sixty years, Monroe was a star at the Grand Ole Opry, and when he died in 1996, he was universally hailed as "the Father of Bluegrass." ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 21st 2001 by Da Capo Press (first published 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Can't You Hear Me Calling, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Can't You Hear Me Calling

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Ken
Jan 26, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Robbie Whelan
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great read, but certainly an apologia for Monroe's shabby treatment of women, several generations of musicians he played and competed with, and pretty much everyone he came into contact with in the music industry. Got the sense that Smith learned a lot about Monroe's orneriness but did not want to tarnish the myth too closely. I did love all the palace intrigue in the Blue Grass Boys about who Bill's favorite fiddlers and singers etc. were at any given time. And the description of the country mu ...more
Anthony Glass
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the more engaging bios of another "all-in-or-not-at all" musicians, like Hank Williams, or Charlie Parker, who just could not stop exuding music 24/7. But unlike Parker, Williams, and others suchlike, , Monroe managed to avoid the self-destructive impulses common among such artists. Makes me wish I tried one of those Loar F-5s at Carters in Nashville last Summer! (One more thing to add to my bucket list.)
Gregory Lamb
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well researched work covering the life and times of one of my musical heroes. This work isn't for everyone, but for those interested in the bluegrass music genre or the Nashville scene, it is a must read!
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
Jun 01, 2007 rated it liked it
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
David Ward
Can't You Hear Me Calling: The Life Of Bill Monroe, Father Of Bluegrass by Richard D. Smith (Little, Brown & Co. 2000)(Biography). Bill Monroe was a start of the Grand Ole Opry for sixty years. When he died in 1996, he was universally lauded as "The Father of Bluegrass." A proud native of Kentucky, he was an enigmatic man. As a young adult, he was gruff, unapproachable, and downright unfriendly. Yet as he aged, he mellowed. He neither smoked, drank, or used drugs; his principal vice was that ...more
Jason Luellen
Jun 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Robert
Feb 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Ellen
Jun 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished
An unplanned end-child in a large family with no one to be a playmate and no one with time to nurture him.
All the people close to him who showed him some care and affection seemed to leave him.
Constantly insecure. Driven. Fiercely dedicated to his art.
Yet he rose to be a well respected, well know musician, vocalist and band leader, a legend in his time. Sometimes called the father of the old style county music.
Jennifer
May 15, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Felice Fox
Feb 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bluegrass
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.

Kevin Montavon
Sep 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mike
Jun 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book!
Matt
Jul 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
A detailed and warmly written look at Monroe's personal life, his bandmates, and his music. I really enjoyed it.
Chuck
May 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating book for any music lover. The story of how one man created a genuinely American form of music.
Katie
Jun 01, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
5 points - 3. Jerry Garcia (Musician) - Born August 1, 1942 – Read A Fiction or Non-Fiction Book about A Musician or Band.
Greg Kuchmek
rated it really liked it
Nov 21, 2017
Lindseyfish
rated it liked it
Oct 08, 2012
Dorothy
rated it really liked it
May 18, 2016
Brad Jaeger
rated it it was amazing
Jul 14, 2017
Chen Victor
rated it it was amazing
Dec 12, 2012
Joshua Brown
rated it really liked it
Dec 06, 2014
Andrea
rated it it was ok
Dec 03, 2007
Eric
rated it really liked it
Feb 08, 2018
Rebecca Minnick
rated it really liked it
Apr 06, 2017
Elizabeth
rated it it was amazing
Feb 05, 2018
John Pharis
rated it really liked it
Oct 29, 2012
Trent Hill
rated it really liked it
Oct 16, 2014
William Kenney
rated it it was amazing
May 06, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times
  • Hank Williams: The Biography
  • Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped to Shape Modern Life
  • Always Magic in the Air: The Bomp and Brilliance of the Brill Building Era
  • It Came From Memphis
  • In the Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music
  • Cowboys and Indies: The Epic History of the Record Industry
  • Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, the Band, and the Basement Tapes
  • The Land Where the Blues Began
  • Really the Blues
  • Lost Highway: Journeys and Arrivals of American Musicians
  • Satan is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers
  • To the Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles
  • The Life And Times Of Little Richard
  • Country Music, U.S.A.
  • Songwriters On Songwriting
  • Deconstructing Sammy: Music, Money, Madness, and the Mob
  • Howling at the Moon: The Odyssey of a Monstrous Music Mogul in an Age of Excess

Nonfiction Deals

  • Hope and Other Luxuries: A Mother's Life with a Daughter's Anorexia
    $19.99 $2.99
  • Manic: A Memoir
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Who Gets What — and Why: The New Economics of Matchmaking and Market Design
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures
    $19.99 $1.99
  • Without a Doubt
    $5.99 $2.49
  • The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Paris Letters
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm
    $13.74 $1.99
  • My Cross to Bear
    $11.24 $1.99
  • The Warrior Ethos
    $6.99 $1.99
  • A Chance in this world
    $5.99 $0.99
  • It's Easier Than You Think: The Buddhist Way to Happiness
    $13.99 $1.99
  • A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Everyday Zen
    $11.24 $1.99
  • In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Somebody Else's Kids
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Maude
    $2.99 $1.49
  • Here Is Where: Discovering America's Great Forgotten History
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food (Revised Edition)
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Rational Optimist (P.S.)
    $14.49 $2.99
  • Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive & Creative Self
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Of Wolves and Men (Scribner Classics)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • God: A Story of Revelation
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Ben & Jerry's Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book
    $10.95 $1.99
  • The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words, 1000 BC - 1492 AD
    $13.99 $2.99
  • I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen
    $11.74 $1.99
  • Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World That Loves to Be Noticed
    $9.99 $2.99
  • I'd Like to Apologize to Every Teacher I Ever Had: My Year as a Rookie Teacher at Northeast High
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Imaginary Girlfriend
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Things I've Been Silent About
    $4.99 $1.99
  • GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed the Atlantic for Love
    $8.49 $2.99
  • The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Dharma Punx: A Memoir
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories from History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings
    $10.99 $1.99
  • This Life I Live: One Man's Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever
    $9.99 $2.99
  • An Appeal to the World: The Way to Peace in a Time of Division
    $9.99 $1.99
  • How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Everything That Remains: A Memoir by The Minimalists
    $8.99 $2.49
  • The Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes: Harnessing Our Power to Change The World
    $7.74 $1.99
  • Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Catch Me If You Can
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Most Dangerous Animal of All
    $8.24 $1.99
  • The Pastor: A Memoir
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health
    $14.95 $2.99
  • Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy's Finest Hour
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Working with Emotional Intelligence
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped by the Nazis
    $13.99 $1.99