ACOUSTIC STORIES: PICKING FOR THE PREZ (AND OTHER UNAMPLIFIED TALES)—BY BILL AMATNEEK—Vineyards Press, No Number. Second edition, enlarged & revised, $27. (Vineyards Press, P.O. Box 716, Sebastopol, CA 95473, www.vineyardspress.com.)
Bassist Bill Amatneek has had an incredible career playing behind artists in a variety of genres, from blues to bluegrass, folk to country rock, and is currently in a Rakkasah (belly dance) band. This book is about those experiences and adventures.
Beginning in the early 1960s with Peter, Paul, and Mary, Amatneek’s career includes backing many of the artists familiar to bluegrass: Bill Monroe, Frank Wakefield, Tony Rice, Bill Keith, Laurie Lewis, Jim Hurst, Peter Rowan, and perhaps best known for his time with David Grisman. Other artists include Pete Seeger, Jerry Garcia, New Riders of The Purple Sage, and Kate Wolf. He also includes backstage and other encounters with Bob Dylan, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Stephane Grappelli, bluesman Eric Bibb, and others. He tells of playing banjo with Frank Wakefield and updates his years with PP&M, and tells of his cocktail bluegrass gig at The White House for then President George W. Bush.
In all, there are 33 such tales with interesting insights into the workings of a journeyman musician and the relationships with the artists he worked for and worked with. Told in an easygoing narrative, his stories can be both sad and humorous with a few little tall tales tossed in. Folks interested in a look inside the long career of a great bassist will enjoy this collection.BF