Mavericks of Sound: Conversations with the Artists Who Shaped Indie and Roots Music (to give it its full title), is a compendium of interviews done by music scholar David Ensminger with indie artists who inadvertently and thankfully spearheaded the “roots rock” resurgence we’ve seen in the last 10 – 15 years. These are musicians and songwriters who never really broke into the mainstream (save for maybe one or two with fleeting hits) but have remained true to what they were doing even as the music world changed and plunged into its still-continuing freefall. As the success of the concerts at Austin City Limits have revealed, the fan bases and crowds for indie and roots music often blur and overlap.
In Mavericks of Sound, the author allows these now-icons the chance to talk about how they’d come upon the “pure” and “Americana” style of music they were pursuing in a time when it was highly unfashionable. The book features a number of conversations from luminaries such as ex-new wave-to-indie artist Peter Case; rockabilly mainstays Junior Brown and Deke Dickerson; indie rock legend David Thomas of Pere Ubu and X’s John Doe to name just a few.
This is another of those smart, cerebral and thoughtful music books. And what makes it work for me is with the exception of a few of the musicians interviewed, I wasn’t a fan or that knowledgeable about the others. I know a great deal more now and it’s sparked my interest. That, in and of itself, tells me that Ensminger has done his job well.
Mavericks Of Sound is available now