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A Heartbeat and a Guitar; Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears (Book)

A Heartbeat and a Guitar; Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears (Book)

“A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears” (available now at Amazon http://amzn.to/cmNRM7) deals with an Indian folk protest record Johnny Cash recorded in 1964 called Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian that was censored. It includes 5 songs by little known folksinger Peter La Farge, who wrote the “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” about the Pima Indian Ira Hayes who joins the Marines becomes a war hero at Iwo Jima immortalized in the flag raising photo only to die an ignoble death due to intolerance and alcohol. When the record was censored and he decided to fight back.

My book tells this story by weaving multiple stores-the Native movement, folk revival, civil rights, Cash’s story, La Farge story, etc— together to capture the cultural context that shaped Cash during that time. The book is not a musical biography but rather a dynamic snapshot of an unknown cultural history as Cash did this record 4 years before the American Indian Movement was formed, 4 years before he performed at Folsom, and 6 years before he recorded “Man in Black.” The book is currently in feature film development with a concert planned for the Fall 2011. The book includes never before seen photos from legendary photographer Jim Marshall. Below you will find quotes about it from Jim Jarmusch, Chuck D, Howard Zinn among others about the book.

Shepard Fairey contributed original artwork for the book cover. You can see it hear:
http://obeygiant.com

For additional information on the book, visit http://www.aheartbeatandaguitar.com

OUTSTANDING PRAISE FOR A HEARTBEAT AND A GUITAR
Chosen as one of the best of the year by The Progressive, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Boston Globe

“D’Ambrosio digs deep.”

-The Philadelphia Inquirer Books of Note

“Consise and illuminating.”

-The Washington Post

“This is cultural history at its finest!”

-The Progressive

“This book is a truly fascinating journey, charting the historical and social context of a courageous musical statement by one of our greatest rebel voices. Long since locked away in the “denial drawer” (aren’t First Nations people just an extinct species, systematically exterminated by European “progress”?), D’Ambrosio admirably shines his investigative lantern into every darkened corner, finally offering some greatly appreciated illumination. ”

-Jim Jarmusch

“Antonino D’Ambrosio is the voice of a new generation—passionate, intelligent, and fierce—whose work educates and inspires. He now brings his unique voice to tell a unique story of Johnny Cash’s recording of the protest record Bitter Tears. It’s the album no one knows about but is perhaps Cash’s greatest record—and Antonino proves it.”

—Chuck D of Public Enemy

“Antonino D’Ambrosio’s book on the making of Johnny Cash’s album “Bitter Tears” is much more than the story behind those extraordinary songs. It is a rich history, not only of Johnny Cash’s life, but of the Indian struggle for justice, which inspired Peter La Farge to write the song “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” and Cash to sing it. The book is full of fascinating character sketches of the great folk singers of the Sixties, and their part in the social movements of that exiting era. I believe D’Ambrosio has made an important contribution to the cultural history of our time.”

-Howard Zinn

“D’Ambrosio’s fascinating A Heartbeat and a Guitar brings to mind the extraordinary storytelling of Simon Winchester and the imaginative intellectual curiosity of Malcolm Gladwell but with a innovative twist as D’Ambrosio’s wholly unique voice and searing spirit comes shining through bringing us a new Johnny Cash, one who was a defiant citizen-artist who believed in the power of music to help changes things.”

-John L. Smith, Johnny Cash’s Official Discographer

“I enjoyed Antonino D’Amrbosio’s A Heartbeat and a Guitar immensely. D’Ambrosio really did his homework and he is an exceptional storyteller. D’Ambrosio successfully tied vast events and peoples real-life experiences into a fast moving, dramatic arc that reads like an epic novel. Tragic, infuriating, darkly funny and profoundly inspiring. D’Ambrosio captures an important slice of our cultural and political history.”

-Wayne Kramer, legendary musician from the MC5

“If you saw the Oscar winning film Walk the Line, tapped your foot to a Johnny Cash bass line, or didn’t know the Man in Black before his late-career revival, you don’t know the full story and you have an obligation to read A Heartbeat and a Guitar. This remarkable book is the missing link: it explains the gut-level political passions of Cash like nothing that exists in print. History is trying to give Cash a political root canal. D’Ambrosio sets the record straight shines the light on his fangs…. and a remarkable and forgotten album. I utterly lost myself in this book.”

-Dave Zirin, author a People’s History of Sports in the United States

“With his latest, “A Heartbeat and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears’’ (Nation Books), D’Ambrosio offers a fascinating account of how that album embodied the true grit of Cash’s courage and conviction.”

-The Boston Globe

“A Heartbeat and a Guitar is a beautifully written epic story breaking new ground in revealing an ignored and hidden cultural history of America that rings powerfully true in the present and beyond. With dazzling storytelling, Antonino D’Ambrosio has potently penned an instant classic that is as timeless and original as Johnny Cash and the great musicians, historical figures, and social movements he skillfully brings to life. Filled with passion and provocative insights, D’Ambrosio lays everything on the line rewarding and honoring us with one of the best books I’ve ever read.

-Jim Marshall, legendary photographer “Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison.”

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