Updated Sept. 30, 2014.
Great news, my last book, Mojo Hand, a co-authored biography of the bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins, fully anchored by the research of historian Tim O’Brien, just won a 2014 Certificate of Merit from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections for Best Research in Recorded Blues, Hip-Hop, and R&B!
Also, my photo of the Bellrays playing live in Houston, TX was published in the Aug/Sept 2014 issue of the veteran and venerated punk zine Trust out of Germany.
My newest collection of interviews, Mavericks of Sound, is now available from Rowman and Littlefield. The best price can be found on Amazon.
In Mavericks of Sound: Conversations with the Artists Who Shaped Indie and Roots Music, I offer a collection of vivid and compelling interviews with legendary roots rock and indie artists who bucked mainstream trends and have remained resilient in the face of enormous shifts in the music world. As the success of the concerts at Austin City Limits have revealed, the fan bases and crowds for indie and roots music often blur and overlap. In Mavericks of Sound, I bring to light the highways and byways trod by these music icons over the course of their careers and the ways in which their music-making has been affected by, and influenced, the burgeoning indie and roots music movements.
Ranging from seminal modern singer-songwriters to rockabilly renegades and indie rockers, Mavericks of Sound features a set of broad, penetrating, and insightful conversations imbued with a sense of musical history and heritage. Ensminger captures firsthand accounts from singer songwriters like Texas Country musician Tom Russell and first wave indie artist and folk rocker Peter Case; rockabilly artists Junior Brown and the Reverend Horton Heat; American indie rock icons such as 11th Dream Day’s Janet Bean, Pere Ubu’s Dave Thomas, Apples in Stereo’s Robert Schneider, and Swans members Michael Gira and Jarboe; English and New Zealand figures such as folk legend Richard Thompson, The Clean’s David Kilgour and The Waterboys’ Mike Scott; and folk, country and rock legends such as Merle Haggard, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Ralph Stanley, Neko Case, and Yo La Tengo.
Mavericks of Sound is the perfect work for contemporary indie, roots, Americana, country, and folk music fans who want to understand the unique artistry and unbound passion behind America’s musical innovators that readily broke and remolded rules.
Also, over the past few weeks I have been avidly at work on memoirs for both Gary Floyd of the Dicks and Dave Dictor of MDC. Dictor’s slim, highly personal book is still trying to find a publisher, but I will announce progress soon! Meanwhile, Floyd’s earthy, poetic book has gone to the printer, to be published by my own press Left of the Dial. It is due out mid-October!
I look forward to meeting some of this blog’s followers during the Lit Crawl in San Francisco on Oct. 18th., when I will be hosting a punk forum and discussion at Modern Times books, an old indie store, as the last event of the festival. An iconic series of punk veterans will join me, including Peter Case (Nerves, Plimsouls), Mia d’Brunzi (Frightwig), Gary Floyd (the Dicks, Sister Double Happiness), and Jack Grisham (TSOL)! Also, I hope Kathy Peck of the Contractions will be there too.
During late summer, I covered local gigs for the weekly paper, Houston Press, so be sure to check out these preview/review/interview links to pivotal performers like:
Austin’s garage rock raconteurs OBN IIIs here.
Italy’s hardcore pioneers Raw Power here.
Ribald bluesy Buddha of punk Gary Floyd here.
Lastly, my in-depth interview with contagiously talented Mia of Frightwig can be found in the Oct. issue of Maximum Rock’n’Roll!