"Workin' Man Blues is possibly the most brilliantly astute and thorough examination ever written about country music in California and the impact it has had in our lives and on our culture. I'm extremely flattered to be even mentioned in such august company."
Dwight Yoakam, singer/songwriter
Rock Lit: Talking Books With Chris Shiflett
What book would you recommend to fans of your music?
"I have a great recommendation that ties into my new Dead Peasants album. There's a really good book that I read last year that's a history of California country music. It's by this guy Gerald Haslam and it's called Workin' Man Blues. It's a super detailed, long book and it's fascinating. It's full of trivia. You slowly read through it and it's an education, musically and in terms of knowledge."
"Surprise is a constant. The first all-country radio station in the U.S. was in Pasadena. "The Big Rock Candy Mountain" is about homosexual predators in hobo camps. Country became country and western at the same time it became big business and through the agency of the same figure: Gene Autry, to whom an entire chapter is devoted. The Rhinestone Cowboy look was originated by a costumer named Nudie Cohen who had previously been a maker of G-strings for strippers....Haslam supplies enough background and supporting material to soften the edges of the stereotype, making it clear that there were Okies who had to put up with things that would have frightened John Steinbeck to death."
Turner Cassity, Modernism/modernity