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Always a Song: Singers, Songwriters, Sinners & Saints

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Learn why the internationally bestselling author of "Remember Me Like This" writes: "Ellen Harper's extraordinary story is revelatory, inspiring, and compulsively readable."

A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, publisher, BeInkandescent Health & Wellness magazine — What an honor it is to feature this new book by Ellen Harper and Sam Barry, entitles: Always a Song.

This collection of stories from Ellen, a singer, and songwriter, is the folk matriarch and mother to the Grammy-winning musician Ben Harper. Ellen shares vivid memories of growing up in Los Angeles through the 1960s among famous and small-town musicians raising Ben (pictured below) and the historic Folk Music Center.

Jackson Browne calls it: “An eloquent searching account of a life lived for truth love and music.”

This beautifully written memoir includes stories of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, The New Lost City Ramblers, Doc Watson, and many more.

  • Harper takes readers on an intimate journey through the folk music revival.
  • The book spans a transformational time in music history and American culture.
  • Covers historical events from the love-ins women’s rights protests and the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the popularization of the sitar and the ukulele.
  • Includes full-color photo insert.

Ellen shares: “Growing up, an endless stream of musicians and artists came from across the country to my family’s music store. Bess Lomax Hawes, Joan Baez, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGee—all the singers, organizers, guitar and banjo pickers and players, songwriters, painters, dancers, their husbands, wives, and children—we were all in it together. And we believed singing could change the world.”

Music lovers and history buffs will enjoy this rare invitation into a world of stories and songs that inspired folk music today.

  • A must-read for lovers of music history and those nostalgic for the acoustic echo of the original folk music that influenced a generation.
  • Harper’s parents opened the legendary Folk Music Center in Claremont, California, as well as the revered folk music venue The Golden Ring.
  • A perfect gift for people who are obsessed with folk music, all things the 1960s, learning about musical movements, or California history.

Great for those who loved Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band Van Morrison Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock by Barney Hoskyns and Girls Like Us: Carole King Joni Mitchell Carly Simon—and the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller.

Be sure to check out our video and podcast interview on Facebook Live: Tuesday, March 16 at 1pm PST —

About Book Doctor Sam Barry: Sam is an author, musician, and publishing professional. He is the author of How to Play the Harmonica: and Other Life Lessons. He coauthored Write That Book Already! The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now with his late wife Kathi Kamen Goldmark and Always a Song: Singers Songwriters Sinners and Saints—My Story of the Folk Music Revival with Ellen Harper.

As a member of the literary rock band, the Rock Bottom Remainders, Sam edited and coauthored Hard Listening: The Greatest Rock Band Ever (of Authors) Tells All with his bandmates Stephen King Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, Dave Barry Roy Blount Jr. Matt Groening, Greg Iles James McBride Roger McGuinn Ridley Pearson and Scott Turow.

Sam is currently a freelance editor, book doctor, and publishing consultant. Previously he was an ordained Presbyterian minister who worked for HarperCollins and later created and directed Book Passage’s Path to Publishing program and wrote the popular Author Enabler column in BookPage. Sam lives, writes, and plays music in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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