posted 7/29/10 8:10 PM
Have you ever read the book Hickory Winds by Ben Fong-Torres? This entertaining biography examines the eventful life of singer/guitarist Gram Parsons, who collaborated with the Byrds on the album Sweetheart of the Rodeo , founded the Flying Burrito Brothers with Chris Hillman and worked with country singer Emmylou Harris. Although Parsons achieved only minimal stardom prior to his 1973 drug-related death at age 26, his fusion of country and rock influenced such bands as the Eagles and the Grateful Dead. Fong-Torres ( The Motown Album ) describes the free-spirited, flamboyant musician's privileged but troubled Southern background and interviews individuals including the Byrds' Roger McGuinn, the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards and loyal road manager Phil Kaufman, who, according to Parsons's wishes, attempted--unsuccessfully--to cremate Parsons's body in Joshua Tree National Monument, a park in California. Fong-Torres drops music-biz names and reports on the colorful 1960s and '70s fast lane with finesse; Parsons's profound, continuing impact is felt in admiring testimonies from friends and fans.