The Richmond Register

April 17, 2013

Jason Howard to bring books and Kentucky music together

6:30 p.m. Thursday at Richmond Area Arts Center


Special to the Register

RICHMOND — Jason Howard’s newest book “A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music” (The University of Kentucky Press, 2012) may focus on the Bluegrass State, but the reach of the book is much wider than Bluegrass music. It contains perhaps the broadest look at music emanating from the Commonwealth’s sons and daughters to be found in print.

On Thursday at 6:30 p.m., Howard will share excerpts from “A Few Honest Words” alongside musical guest Sam Gleaves at the Richmond Area Arts Center, 399 W. Water St.

Admission to the reading and performance is free. Light refreshments will be provided. Donations to support the Richmond Area Arts Council’s programs will be accepted.

Howard’s sweep encompasses the likes of Dwight Yoakam and Naomi Judd, but he also finds room for Nappy Roots, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and other influential, inventive Kentucky artists who have expanded the spectrum of sounds we hear not only in the United States, but worldwide. An eclectic assortment of other homegrown artists and acts are within the scope of his pages.

In addition to “A Few Honest Words,” Howard coauthored “Something’s Rising: Appalachians Fighting Mountaintop Removal.” He also edited “We All Live Downstream,” a work that included material from Robert F. Kennedy, Wendell Berry, Ashley Judd, Ben Sollee, Lee Smith, Bobbie Ann Mason and many others.

Howard received the 2013 Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction from the Kentucky Arts Council and was named a 2010-2012 James Still Fellow at the University of Kentucky. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Paste, No Depression and he has been featured on National Public Radio.

Gleaves is a songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist. He is perhaps best known for his reinvigoration of traditional mountain music with his deft touch on the banjo, guitar, fiddle, autoharp and dulcimer.

In 2010, Gleaves released his debut, Shadow of a Song, and followed it up with the 2012 album, A Little While in the Wilderness.

Silas House has described Sam Gleaves as “an amazing new talent.” He summed up Gleaves’ performance on A Little While in the Wilderness by saying, “When Sam sings, we hear the generations before him: the joys, the sorrows, the strength and defeats. When Sam plays, we hear the land that has informed this music: the jagged, dark mountains, the meandering creeks, the even-rowed fields.”