Bill Monroe – The Blue Grass Man in September

After well over 15 years of research, fact-checking, and writing, the publication date for the long-awaited Bill Monroe biography by Tom Ewing is now known – September 30, 2018. 

Ewing was a Blue Grass Boy, playing guitar and singing the lead part during the last 10 years of Monroe’s life; Monroe passed away in September 1996. 

For Bill Monroe: The Life and Music of the Blue Grass Man, Ewing has drawn “on hundreds of interviews, his personal relationship with Monroe, and an immense personal archive of materials to separate the truth from longstanding myth. Ewing tells the story of the Monroe family’s musical household and Bill’s early career in the Monroe Brothers duo. He brings to life Monroe’s 1940s heyday with the Classic Bluegrass Band, the renewed fervor for his music sparked by the folk revival of the 1960s, and his declining fortunes in the years that followed. Throughout, Ewing deftly captures Monroe’s relationships and the personalities of an ever-shifting roster of band members, while shedding light on his business dealings and his pioneering work with Bean Blossom and other music festivals.” 

The book is being published by the University of Illinois Press – formally established in 1918 – as part of their on-going, award-winning Music in American Life series, begun by the late Dr Judith McCulloh with the publication in 1972 of Archie Green’s Only a Miner: Studies in Recorded Coal-Mining Songs.

Currently, Ewing is “knee deep in creating an index for the book,” no mean feat given the book’s 656 pages. 

One reader, Neil V. Rosenberg said of Bill Monroe: The Life and Music of the Blue Grass Man ….

“No one knows the literature about and by Bill Monroe better than this author. He stitches what other readers have seen as fragments into the first deep and coherent narrative of Monroe’s early years. They are sewn into a fabric of intense research into the time, place, and people in Monroe’s life.”

As a student of Bill Monroe, I expect that Ewing will with this tome give me, for one, “a deeper understanding of Monroe’s towering achievements and timeless music.”

Publisher – The University of Illinois Press (Music in American Life)
Hardcover: 656 pages
Publisher: University of Illinois Press (30 Sept. 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0252041895
ISBN-13: 978-0252041891
Product Dimensions: 15.5 cm x 23.5 cm (6.10 inches x 9.25inches)

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.