Birthday Giveaway, Part II: David Cantwell’s Merle Haggard: The Running Kind

Juli Thanki | July 9th, 2014

haggardcoverToday we’ve got a copy of David Cantwell’s 2013 book Merle Haggard: The Running Kind to give away to one lucky E145 reader.

Here’s what Barry Mazor had to say about The Running Kind in one of last year’s Root Watches:

Cantwell finds a key to understanding Merle’s ever-evolving stances, attitudes and musical fixations, and more than a little of his grand original song catalogue, in the refrigerator car-raised Californian’s charged, obsessive reflexes and swinging door reflections on being entrapped and trying, often failing, to break free (of cells, lovers, attitudes), on standing firm, being hounded and bolting like crazy, on being judged and judging. This is a portrait of creative genius—in the hands of a man who long seemed to take an internal prison named “Merle Haggard” along with him no matter how fast and far he’d run, who, in fact revealed to an interviewer a few years back that he loved sleeping on his endlessly traveling tour bus because the bedroom was the size of a cell.

To enter our contest, leave a comment below – before 9 a.m. EDT, Friday, July 11 — that mentions your favorite music book and why you love it. Hey, even if you don’t win, you’ll at least get some suggestions to add to your summer reading list. A winner will be chosen via random number generator and notified by email, so be sure to use a valid address.

  1. paul w dennis
    July 9, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Johm Morthland’s BEST OF COUNTRY MUSIC was a great guide to available albums – I used it to fill holes in my collection. It was printed in 1984, so it is dated (and I wish he would update it) but it was succinct, witty and incedibly useful

  2. David Cantwell
    July 9, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Morthland’s book was, and is, I’d say, on the short list of great country music books, Paul, a book recommended to me back around 1990 by the rock critic Dave Marsh. Indeed, when Bill Friskics-Warren and I did our Heartaches by the Number: Country Music’s 500 Greatest Singles, we conceived of it as a kind of country music version of Marsh’s The Heart of Rock ‘n’ Soul: The 1,001 Greatest Singles Ever Made combined with a singles version of Morthland’s The Best of Country Music: A Critical and Historical Guide to the 750 Greatest Albums. I’ve long dreamed John would update it.

  3. Jonathan Pappalardo
    July 9, 2014 at 11:19 am

    I read two biographies by Jo Sgammato in the late 90s that I loved – American Thunder: The Garth Brooks Story & Keepin It Country: The George Strait Story. Both were excellent overviews of the respected artists careers.

  4. Rick Hellman
    July 9, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    “The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Road to Rock ‘n’ Roll,” by Preston Lauterbach (Norton, 2011), was very informative and brings to light a heretofore seriously overlooked chapter of history.

  5. Jeff Miller
    July 10, 2014 at 8:35 am

    I’m in, as I have let the Cantwell book linger too long on the ‘to read’ list. Now I see I need to look at the Morthland book as well… Oh well…

  6. Jeff Miller
    July 10, 2014 at 10:15 am

    …and I failed to include a favorite music book- so, here are a couple: Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone by Zwonitzer & Hirschberg is a favorite as much for the landscape and description of the subculture as for the stories of the Carters themselves. I also enjoyed Tim Stafford’s Still Inside: The Tony Rice Story. It gave a rare glimpse into the life of a very private, very gifted, very beautiful person.

  7. Daniel Mullins
    July 10, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Easily Barry Mazor’s ‘Meeting Jimmie Rodgers.’ Not only changed my perspective on The Singing Brakeman but on American music in general. A must-read for anyone!

  8. Ben Foster
    July 10, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    I’m sure to end up changing my mind sooner or later, but for now I’ll go with Rosanne Cash’s Composed.

  9. Leeann
    July 11, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    The Encyclopedia of Country Music was a book that I enjoyed, since I like trivia about my favorite artists.

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Current Discussion

  • Ken Morton, Jr.: The inferiority complex of the CMA never ceases to amaze me.
  • Barry Mazor: Thanks for explaining that to me, Luckyol.
  • luckyoldsun: Barry, I think you're taking it a bit too seriously. CMT has to keep coming up with new lists to make. …
  • Barry Mazor: Thi is a world in which the "top 40 most influential country artists of all time" do not include, for …
  • luckyoldsun: I just noticed that Garth and King George are still to come. So unless I'm missing something else, the remaining seven …
  • Leeann Ward: I hate it when people pronounce the days of the week with a "dy" ending instead of "day." It's like …
  • luckyoldsun: Looking at that bizarre CMT Artists' list with Johnny Cash coming in at #8, it raises the question--Who are the …
  • Leeann Ward: I'd have to agree with LOS here. The song was fair game to be released. It's no surprised that it …
  • luckyoldsun: "'Brotherly Love,' IS a Keith Whitley song. Trying to take advantage of the impact sales, and the tragedy of Keith’s …
  • Leeann Ward: Yes, we know that it's technically a Keith Whitley song, as Juli noted above.

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