ROOTS MUSIC IN AMERICA - Collected Writings of Joe Wilson, Edited by Fred Bartenstein BOOK: WILSON
University of Tennessee Press, 2017, 290 pages softbound Joe Wilson was a fascinating and important character who combined the ability to devote much of his work to the academic, but also to love and appreciate rural music on a ground roots level. It would take several paragraphs to list all of the ÒoccupationsÓ that he had, but we will mention some of the most important: fund raising, his work with the NCTA (National Council for the Traditional Arts); and his work in setting up the Blue Ridge Music Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. His legacy included sending American roots music groups overseas to various countries, and writing notes and articles on various musicians from Grayson & Whitter to Grandpa Jones and the Chestnut Grove Quartet. Yet this is the same person who worked for Don Pierce and Starday Records ! Rather than trying to describe Joe and his work any further, we will just list some of the chapters and sub-titles of this excellent book that was edited by Fred Bartenstein: Clarence ÒTomÓ Ashley, The Hill Billies, Blues & Bluegrass; BristolÕs WCYB; The Seldom Scene; Farewell to Kenny Baker; Carroll Best; Memories of Janette Carter; and Doc Watson. Joe Wilson loved music of all sorts, especially old time and Bluegrass, but it had to be authentic and realÑhe had no patience with anything ÒphonyÓ or pretentious. This book certainly describes Joe and the work he did, giving the reader insight into the life of one who, in a q uiet way had much to do with popularizing the music .