Over the years, Marcus has only gotten better at answering his own question—how must the musician have felt at that moment?—and more assured at describing the experience of listening. His prose, steeped in the disparate languages of academia, prophecy, and record reviews, has always been the fun part, and a few of the essays here mark some of his most vivid, brilliant work in years.
The best compliment I ever get is people coming up to me after shows and saying they hate country music, but they love what we’re doing. Because, I think, if it’s going to survive and progress and maintain any type of relevance in the future, you have to reach people that don’t even know what country music really is.
Nashville and Memphis lay legitimate claim as Tennessee’s music cities, but we have forgotten that at one time Chattanooga was a destination for some of the best music in the South. And Ninth Street, or the Big Nine, was where you went to find it.
Son presses the marbles into the clay sockets, two startled-looking cat’s eyes. “I’m workin’ slow today,” he notes. “What takes time is when you have to keep gettin’ up and down to find things you need.”