WFPL’s Erin Keane speaks with Kentucky author Jason Howard about his new book, “A Few Honest Words: the Kentucky Roots of Popular Music.”
In the book’s introduction, Howard quotes songwriter Harlan Howard when he writes, “if there is a creed that defines roots music, it is that it consists of ‘three chords and a truth.’”
Howard explores how deep that truth runs in his new survey of popular music with Kentucky roots. The book covers a wide range of artists, from country stars Naomi Judd and Dwight Yoakam to monster riff rockers My Morning Jacket and indie rock darlings The Watson Twins, from Joan Osborne to the Nappy Roots.
Howard, who lives in Berea, traveled all around Kentucky and Tennessee, but also to Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Boston, to interview artists whose roots keep them close to home and those he fondly dubs “Kentucky expatriates.”
“At the end of the day, what it comes back to—the one defining element—is that in Kentucky, we’re all rooted to our stories,” says Howard.
Howard will read from and sign copies of “A Few Honest Words” (the title is a nod to a Sollee song) at Carmichael’s Bookstore (2720 Frankfort Ave.) Thursday at 7 p.m.
Watch the trailer for “A Few Honest Words”: