Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing by Peter Guralnick (hardcover, 576 pages)... From Robert Johnson, Skip James and Lonnie Mack to Bill Monroe, Delbert McClinton and Tammy Wynette... and beyond!
By the bestselling author of Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll and Last Train the Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley, this dazzling new book of profiles is not so much a summation as a culmination of Peter Guralnick’s remarkable work, which from the start has encompassed the full sweep of blues, gospel, country, and rock 'n' roll.
It covers old ground from new perspectives, offering deeply felt, masterful, and strikingly personal portraits of creative artists, both musicians and writers, at the height of their powers.
“You put the book down feeling that its sweep is vast, that you have read of giants who walked among us,” rock critic Lester Bangs wrote of Guralnick’s earlier work in words that could just as easily be applied to this new one. And yet, for all of the encomiums that Guralnick’s books have earned for their remarkable insights and depth of feeling, Looking to Get Lost is his most personal book yet. For readers who have grown up on Guralnick’s unique vision of the vast sweep of the American musical landscape, who have imbibed his loving and lively portraits and biographies of such titanic figures as Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, and Sam Phillips, there are multiple surprises and delights here, carrying on and extending all the themes, fascinations, and passions of his groundbreaking earlier work.
"Peter Guralnick's Looking to Get Lost -- a literary masterpiece -- takes the reader on a fantastic journey through the very best of America's musical landscape. His jewel-like personal stories about Skip James, Bill Monroe, Doc Pomus, Solomon Burke, Joe Tex and others are priceless. Looking to Get Lost proves that nobody knows more about rhythm and blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, and soul music than Guralnick. This pulsing jukebox of a memoir and cultural history certifies that mighty claim."
―Douglas Brinkley, Author of Cronkite
"If there’s a leading figure among writers on American popular music -- one who both defines and transcends the field -- it has to be Peter Guralnick.”
―Preston Lauterbach, Wall Street Journal
“If this is what it means to get lost, it's a wonder anyone would ever care to be found.”
"Peter Guralnick is one of the 3 or 4 greatest writers in the country today. His searching intelligence, his unquenchable curiosity, his astonishing omnicompetence and his stunning scope of knowledge are all on display in this breathtaking volume dedicated to the odd duties of art and the taxing if transcendent assignments of genius. In Looking to Get Lost, Guralnick explores everything from the edifying enigma of blues icon Robert Johnson to the Appalachian absurdity of writer Lee Smith as he taps the veins of their, and other artists’, combustible originality -- all while fashioning his own inimitable aesthetic and sublime style as a formidable master of American letters."
―Michael Eric Dyson, author of Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America
"Peter Guralnick is a dedicated explorer, and like all explorers with true mastery of their quest, he is singular and tenacious. He goes deep into the difficult emotional undercurrents, and the contradictions of success, in the lives of artists, and by subtle extension, into his own life. He is a writer of great sensitivity and intuition, who lyrically untangles the network that exists between artist and art, persona and humanity, rhythm and melody, the mortal desires that underscore it all, and, crucially and seamlessly, his own relationship to everything and everyone he contemplates."