Bound for Shady Grove

Steven Harvey

Essays that echo the haunting melodies of mountain music


"Bound for Shady Grove is Steven Harvey's best book. It is both broadly lyrical and tight, in craft and thought. The descriptions of the music, building instruments, and playing instruments are wonderful. To my mind this is a remarkably distinguished book, unlike any collection of essays I have read."
—Samuel F. Pickering Jr., author of Living to Prowl

"This wonderful volume is a first, a sensitively written personal reflection on the poetics and passions of mountain music. There have been studies, collections, and histories of Appalachian music, but now Steven Harvey, in essays attuned to the seasons of life and musical modes, has turned our attention to the complex ways in which fiddle tunes, ballads, and especially banjo picking can move heart and spirit."
—Art Rosenbaum

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In Bound for Shady Grove, essayist Steven Harvey celebrates the spirit of the music of his adopted home in the southern Appalachian mountains. There, at the wellspring of mountain music, he took up his guitar and assumed the journey that culminated in this book.

Harvey's essays measure out in words the four seasons of a life in music. Springtime pieces describe playing music in the log house of friends born and raised in the mountains or entering a banjo contest and losing with style. There are essays about fiddles and the devil, homemade instruments and homemade weapons, and a trip to England to trace mountain songs back to their elusive sources. As the book progresses into winter, the mood darkens, with pieces exploring the connection between music and resentment, loss, and death.

Descriptions of music, hills, and people blend into a rich harmony as Harvey explores where music has taken him--where, in fact, music can take any of us.

Page count: 200 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 8

Read more about Georgia folklife at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.


List price: $28.95

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Steven Harvey is the author of three collections of personal essays: Lost in Translation<, Bound for Shady Grove, (both Georgia), and A Geometry of Lilies. He lives in North Georgia, where he teaches English at Young Harris College.