Brian T. Atkinson is currently working on Always Chasing the Sun: The Songwriting Legacy of Judee Sill. The Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter released only two studio albums during her lifetime (1971’s Judee Sill and 1973’s Heart Food) and one posthumous compilation (2005’s Dreams Come True), but her influence resonates. “I loved Jackson (Browne)’s and JD (Souther)’s songs,” iconic singer Linda Ronstadt says, “but everybody seemed to think that Judee had something special.” "Her first album Judee Sill was extraordinary," Souther says. "We all knew it was by far the best thing any of us had done."
Sill's songs covered by others – "Jesus Was a Crossmaker” (Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, The Hollies), “There’s a Rugged Road” (Shawn Colvin), “Lady-O” (The Turtles), "The Phoenix" (Marianne Faithfull) and “The Kiss” (Fleet Foxes, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy) – alone back the point. Atkinson’s eighth book for Texas A&M University is scheduled for release following Love at the Five and Dime: The Songwriting Legacy of Nanci Griffith (due fall 2024) and East Nashville Skyline: The Songwriting Legacy of Todd Snider (fall 2025).
Brian T. Atkinson has submitted the manuscript for Love at the Five and Dime: The Songwriting Legacy of Nanci Griffith to Texas A&M University Press (due fall 2024). Love at the Five and Dime includes forewords by the Indigo Girls, Lyle Lovett and Kathy Mattea and more than one hundred thirty interviews with songwriter friends (Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, Don McLean) and followers (Elizabeth Cook, Adam Duritz, Todd Snider) as well as players (steel guitar legend Lloyd Green, the London Symphony Orchestra's Tom Norris) and producers (Tony Brown, Peter Collins, Jim Rooney).
Meanwhile, the Austin, Texas-based author's forthcoming East Nashville Skyline: The Songwriting Legacy of Todd Snider is due out in fall 2025. Atkinson's previous books include True Love Cast Out All Evil: The Songwriting Legacy of Roky Erickson, Looks Like Rain: The Songwriting Legacy of Mickey Newbury, The Messenger: The Songwriting Legacy of Ray Wylie Hubbard, I'll Be Here in the Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt and Kent Finlay, Dreamer: The Musical Legacy behind Cheatham Street Warehouse (co-written with Jenni Finlay). Atkinson and Finlay own Eight 30 Records, Barefoot Recording and the bimonthly house concert series Catfish Concerts in Austin, Texas.
Brian T. Atkinson's East Nashville Skyline: The Songwriting Legacy of Todd Snider will be released in fall 2025! The book includes forewords by legendary country singer Loretta Lynn, Woody Guthrie disciple Ramblin' Jack Elliott and iconic comedian Richard Lewis and interviews with friends (Elizabeth Cook, Joe Ely, Jack Ingram) and followers (Hayes Carll, Jason Isbell, Bob Schneider) as well as jam band buddies (Black Crowes' Chris Robinson, Tedeschi Trucks Band's Susan Tedeschi, Yonder Mountain String Band's Ben Kaufmann). Characters from Snider's songs such as the late, great Kingsmen guitarist Mike Mitchell and Sleepy John Sandidge as well as Bob and Tom's Bob Kevoian and legendary groupie and writer Pamela Des Barres also appear in this revealing book about America's favorite traveling troubadour.
Brian T. Atkinson's latest book True Love Cast Out All Evil: The Songwriting Legacy of Roky Erickson spotlights the legendary horror rocker's vibrant and vital yet vastly overlooked solo career following his tenure fronting the psychedelic rock pioneers 13th Floor Elevators. The book features forewords from Credence Clearwater Revival's Stu Cook and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons as well as interviews with grunge greats (Screaming Trees' Mark Lanegan, Meat Puppets' Curt Kirkwood, Butthole Surfers' King Coffey) and today's alt-rock icons (Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite, Spaceman 3's Pete Kember, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard's Ambrose Kenny-Smith) focusing on the ways high watermarks such as The Evil One, Don't Slander Me and True Love Cast Out All Evil influenced their own singing, songwriting and careers. Order a signed copy directly from the author here: https://eight30records.bandcamp.com/merch/true-love-cast-out-all-evil-the-songwriting-legacy-of-roky-erickson
Brian T. Atkinson's Looks Like Rain: The Songwriting Legacy of Mickey Newbury spotlights the Houston-born singer's singular career as Nashville's most successful songwriter and his creative arc after leaving Music City behind for a quieter life in rural Oregon. Newbury was known as a true songwriter's songwriter, penning classics like "I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" for Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" for Waylon Jennings, "She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye" for Jerry Lee Lewis and "American Trilogy" for Elvis Presley.
Newbury's famous songwriter friends (Larry Gatlin, Mickey Gilley, Dallas Frazier) testify along with the next generation (Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, Jennifer Warnes), younger songwriting heroes (Bonnie Prince Billy's Will Oldham, Bill Callahan, Charlie Worsham) and family (Susan Newbury Oakley, Chris Newbury). Click here to order: https://eight30records.bandcamp.com/merch/looks-like-rain-the-songwriting-legacy-of-mickey-newbury
Brian T. Atkinson's The Messenger: The Songwriting Legacy of Ray Wylie Hubbard chronicles the legendary singer-songwriter's rise from Outlaw Country clown to modern day spiritual sage through interviews with contemporaries (Bobby Bare, Kinky Friedman, Michael Martin Murphey) and the shooting stars he has influenced (Eric Church, Brooks & Dunn's Ronnie Dunn, Black Crowes' Chris Robinson) as well as rapidly rising songwriters (Aaron Lee Tasjan, Scott H. Biram, Jonathan Tyler). Order a signed copy of the book– featuring forewords from the late, great Jerry Jeff Walker and current Americana all-star Hayes Carll – directly from the author here: https://eight30records.bandcamp.com/merch/the-messenger-the-songwriting-legacy-of-ray-wylie-hubbard
Additionally, acclaimed music veteran Jenni Finlay and Brian T. Atkinson produced an accompanying Hubbard tribute album that features performances by Bobby Bare, Rodney Crowell, Charlie Musselwhite, James McMurtry, Tom Russell, Terri Hendrix, Ray Benson, Shinyribs and several more.
Brian T. Atkinson's first book I'll Be Here the Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt contains interviews with Outlaw Country peers (Guy Clark, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Billy Joe Shaver) and younger songwriter fans (My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Avett Brothers' Scott Avett, Josh Ritter) celebrating the ultimate songwriter's songwriter. Order a copy here: https://eight30records.bandcamp.com/merch/ill-be-here-in-the-morning-the-songwriting-legacy-of-townes-van-zandt.
Atkinson is currently working on an expanded edition of I'll Be Here in the Morning featuring new forewords by legendary Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty and iconic country star Don Williams as well as more than thirty new interviews spanning Van Zandt's worldwide influence (Norah Jones, Mark Lanegan, Shakey Graves, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Tindersticks singer Stuart Staples).
Brian T. Atkinson and Jenni Finlay's Kent Finlay, Dreamer: The Musical Legacy behind Cheatham Street Warehouse focuses on the late, great singer-songwriter, venue owner and mentor to future songwriting legends. The book includes Jenni Finlay's interviews with her father talking about growing up in Texas, stories behind his classic country songs and nurturing hundreds of aspiring songwriters at Cheatham Street Warehouse as well as Brian T. Atkinson's interviews with singer-songwriters who regularly played the venue during its Seventies heyday (Marcia Ball, George Strait, the Skunks' Jon Dee Graham), the legendary Class of '87 (Todd Snider, James McMurtry, Terri Hendrix, Bruce Robison) and those who have passed through more recently (Hayes Carll, Cody Canada, Sunny Sweeney). George Strait's foreword sets the tone for this reverential appreciation of one of Texas' greatest lyrical editors and mentors. Order a signed copy from the authors here: https://eight30records.bandcamp.com/merch/kent-finlay-dreamer-the-musical-legacy-behind-cheatham-street-warehouse
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