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New Biography Chronicles the Band's Impact on Contemporary Music & Society


Chicopee, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/18/2014 -- The Band: Pioneers of Americana Music, by Craig Harris, is poised to resonate with readers around the world.


At a time when Acid Rock and Heavy Metal dominated popular music, The Band rebelled against the rebellion with tight ensemble arrangements, masterful musicianship, unforgettable lead vocals, harmonies as rich as the earth, highly literate lyrics, and a respect for the musical traditions of the American South. Comprised of Canadians Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, and Garth Hudson, and Arkansas-born Levon Helm, The Band sparked a new appreciation for America's musical roots, fusing R&B, jump blues, country, folk, boogie-woogie, swing, Cajun, New Orleans-style jazz, and rock, and setting the foundations for the Americana that would take hold 30 years later. The Band: Pioneers of Americana Music explores the diverse influences on the quintet's music, and the impact that their music had in turn on contemporary music and American society. Through previously unpublished interviews with Robbie Robertson, Eric Andersen, Pete Seeger, and the late Rick Danko, as well as numerous other sources, Craig Harris surveys The Band's musical journey from sidemen for, among others, Ronnie Hawkins and Bob Dylan to rock legendry in their own right. The Band: Pioneers of Americana Music touches on the evolution of rock and roll, the electrifying of folk music, unionism, the Civil Rights Movement, changes in radio formatting, shifting perceptions of the American south, and the commercializing of the counter-culture, as well as drug dependency, alcoholism, suicide, greed, and the struggle against cancer.

Harris takes readers from The Band’s ground-breaking albums, "Music from Big Pink" and "The Band,” through their final releases and solo recordings, as well as their historic appearances at Woodstock, the Isle of Wight Festival (with Dylan), Watkins Glen (with the Allman Brothers Band and the Grateful Dead), and the Last Waltz (with an all-star cast).

“This book sets the record straight about The Band,” said the author, “who they were and how they changed modern society.

Sixteen previously unpublished photographs, by Harris, are included in the book, with additional archival photos at: http://on.fb.me/1fkG3f7. "They’ve been stirring a lot of attention," he said. "My book hasn't been released yet, but its' Facebook page already has almost a thousand fans!"

The Band: Pioneers of Americana Music (Rowman & Littlefield) is due for release on April 16, 2014. http://amzn.to/1neCcUN.

Additional information at: http://on.fb.me/1fkG3f7

About Craig Harris
Author/photographer/educator/percussionist Craig Harris has documented an eclectic range of music for newspapers, magazines, and websites, for more than four decades. The author of The New Folk Music (White Cliffs Media) and The Heartbeat, Warble, and Electric Powwow: Native America’s Musical Tapestry (forthcoming), he was a major contributor to Music Hound Folk Music: Essential Album Guide and Music Hound World Music: Essential Album Guide. Playing percussion since his preteens, Harris has appeared in concert and/or recorded with Rod MacDonald, CJ Chenier & his Red Hot Louisiana Zydeco Band, the Fast Folk Music Revue, the Gaea Star Band, and the late Rick Danko, and he produced two albums for Western Massachusetts-based quintet, Miles Orgasmic. He currently plays with Americana band, Stillbridge.

The staff photographer of the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival since its inception, in 1988, his photographs have exhibited throughout New England. Possessing a master's degree in education, he taught music in public and charter schools for a quarter of a century before launching his award-winning Drum Away the Blues program in 2007.