Old friend Jim Rooney will be coming in this Saturday, 13Sep, to talk about his new autobiography. He’s bringing a CD full of songs he performed, recorded, produced, published, or which influenced him over his long (continuing) career. We’ll listen to them together, between 10 AM and noon.
From the University of Illinois Press blurb:
In It for the Long Run: A Musical Odyssey
The memoir of the songwriter and Grammy-winning record producer
Inspired by the Hank Williams and Leadbelly recordings he heard as a teenager growing up outside of Boston, Jim Rooney began a musical journey that intersected with some of the biggest names in American music including Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Bill Monroe, Muddy Waters, and Alison Krauss. In It for the Long Run: A Musical Odyssey is Rooney’s kaleidoscopic first-hand account of more than five decades of success as a performer, concert promoter, songwriter, music publisher, engineer, and record producer.
As witness to and participant in over a half century of music history, Rooney provides a sophisticated window into American vernacular music. Following his stint as a “Hayloft Jamboree” hillbilly singer in the mid-1950s, Rooney managed Cambridge’s Club 47, a catalyst of the ‘60’s folk music boom. He soon moved to the Newport Folk Festival as talent coordinator and director where he had a front row seat to Dylan “going electric.”
In the 1970s Rooney’s odyssey continued in Nashville where he began engineering and producing records. His work helped alternative country music gain a foothold in Music City and culminated in Grammy nominations for singer-songwriters John Prine, Iris Dement, and Nanci Griffith. Later in his career he was a key link connecting Nashville to Ireland’s folk music scene.
Writing songs or writing his memoir, Jim Rooney is the consummate storyteller. In It for the Long Run: A Musical Odyssey is his singular chronicle from the heart of Americana.
“Rooney is best known for producing records by people like John Prine, Townes Van Zandt and Nanci Griffith. . . . Fortunately for readers, he’s also a gifted storyteller, with a humorous sense of perspective and wry self-awareness. Could you really ask for anything more from a musician’s memoir?”–Nashville Scene
“A love letter to friendship and music.”–The Tennessean
“Wonderful fellow with an interesting life equals great story.”–John Prine
“Without Jim Rooney’s early encouragement, I would not have a career.”–Nanci Griffith
To purchase a copy of In It for the Long Run and Jim’s other books, go to Jim’s website.
UPDATE: Rooney got in a little early, but still stayed until noon. He was his usual affable self, and told many stories from In It for the Long Run. Rooney may be the easiest interview I’ve had, with the possible exception of Jim Hurst: wind him up, and it’s hard to get a word in edgewise. Which is fine, as we heard lots about performing and recording with dozens of artists most of us know only from their music. Only one caller complained about too much talk (not enough music); the rest of the calls were enthusiastic: “The best show I’ve ever heard!” said one. It was a lot of fun, and a great opportunity to experience, vicariously, some of the highlights of that “Long Run.” And long may it continue! /CL