DETROIT COUNTRY MUSIC: MOUNTAINEERS, COWBOYS, AND ROCKABILLIES—BY CRAIG MAKI WITH KEITH CADY—University of Michigan Press 9780472052011. Also available in eBook, 327 pp., $25. (Univ. Of Mich. Press, 839 Greene St., Ann Arbor, MI 48104, press.umich.edu.)
Detroit is, of course, Motown, Kid Rock, and Eminem. So, at first, the title of this work seems almost satirical. But, in fact, Detroit does have a strong claim to be at least of minor importance in the history of country and traditional music.
To be honest, a lot of the artists and bands profiled here: Eddie Jackson, Fran Mitchell, Chief Redbird, Lonny Baron, may be of secondary interest to readers of this magazine to the names of Jimmy Martin and the Osborne Brothers, who make brief appearances, as does Bill and Charlie Monroe. The focus is not on bluegrass, but it’s still a comprehensive and interesting look at the music that people who moved to Detroit from the South during the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s were making. The authors have done extensive interviews with people who were actually making the music, so it’s a valuable contribution and gives some context into the northern push of bluegrass from Kentucky and Ohio into Michigan.
Recommended for those interested in the wider history of country, rockabilly, and the early days of commercial radio.CVS