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To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse by Howard Fishman 9781035408863

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"It takes a great journalist to find the stories behind the mysteries we carry. Howard Fishman has done that with his superb examination of Connie Converse." - Ken Burns

"Nothing short of remarkable." - Publishers Weekly

"A massive and fascinating feat." - MOJO Magazine

The true story of Connie Converse - a mid-century New York singer and songwriter, who mysteriously disappeared - and one writer's quest to understand her life.

When musician and New Yorker contributor Howard Fishman first heard a Connie Converse recording, he was convinced she could not be real. Her music was too out of place for the 1950s to make sense - a singer who bridged the gap between traditional Americana, pop standards, and the singer-songwriter movement that exploded a decade later with Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.

Fishman was determined to know more about this artist and how she slipped through the cracks of music history but there was one problem: in 1974, at the age of fifty, Converse simply drove off one day and was never heard from again.

After a dozen years of research, Fishman expertly weaves a narrative of her life and music, and of how it has come to speak to him as both an artist and a person.

It is by turns a hopeful, inspiring, melancholy, and chilling story of dark family secrets, taciturn New England traditions, a portrait of 1950s Greenwich Village, of a visionary intellect and talent, and a woman who fiercely strove for independence when the odds were against her. Who was this overlooked trailblazer, how did she come to make such complex and arresting music, and can Fishman discover what happened to the artist who disappeared?

About the Author
Howard Fishman is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, where he has published essays on music, film, theater, literature, and culture. His essays have also appeared in Vanity Fair, The Washington Post Magazine, Artforum, San Francisco Chronicle, Mojo, The Village Voice, Jazziz, and Salmagundi. Fishman's writing was awarded first prize for Arts & Entertainment Portfolio from the Society for Features Journalism, and he's been an invited guest speaker on BBC Radio and on various NPR affiliates. His play, A Star Has Burnt My Eye, was a New York Times Critic's Pick. As a performing songwriter and bandleader, Fishman has toured internationally as a headlining artist for more than two decades. He has released eleven albums to date. He is based in Brooklyn, New York.

It takes a great journalist to find the stories behind the mysteries we carry. Howard Fishman has done that with his superb examination of Connie Converse. -- Ken Burns
So powerful...A totemic accomplishment and indispensable guide. The exhaustive care with which Fishman approaches his subject is itself hypnotic, even devastating. * Los Angeles Review of Books *
Nothing short of remarkable. * Publishers Weekly *
[To Anyone Who Ever Asks] is the grandly researched portrait of a talent who didn't get her due, a kind of worst-case study of why this indignity remains a brutally common occurrence ... [it]is simultaneously the record of an obsession and its ultimate payoff. It's hard to think of any book that grants such loving attention to an artist who has otherwise been denied it. * Washington Post *
A massive and fascinating feat. * MOJO Magazine *
Uncovers a haunting picture of a troubled life. * UNCUT *
Gripping and searching... Mr. Fishman's thoughtful and deeply researched book provides a far bolder jolt than any cover version can provide. It may yet help find for Converse what the author proposes-a place at 'the table of great American artists and thinkers'. * Wall Street Journal *
[Fishman's] enthusiasm and diligence is infectious . . . Through the obsession of such dedicated fans as Fishman, Connie Converse will find a larger audience. * Kirkus *
Musician, culture writer, and playwright Fishman's extraordinary trek through the life and works of Connie Converse is a laudable endeavor... the author constructs an emotional narrative ... [To Anyone Who Ever Asks is] an interesting foray into Converse's glimmer of fame and sad subsequent neglect. * Library Journal *
The mystery of American composer Connie Converse's disappearance in 1974 is ongoing, and she may be lost forever. But her spectacular work has been rescued and elevated to a marvelous level by Howard Fishman. Her music belongs to an America that barely knows it exists. -- William Kennedy, Pulitzer prize-winning author of IRONWEED
Connie Converse's songs are a revelation, finely wrought, wry, as beautiful as they are weird. I'm so grateful this enigmatic writer and her catalogue are being explored and celebrated, in this book and beyond. -- Anais Mitchell, Tony and Grammy-winning creator of HADESTOWN, and author of WORKING ON A SONG
Packed with detective-level details about a Renaissance woman whose work passed through this world all but unnoticed. * Boston Globe *

Book Information
ISBN 9781035408863
Author Howard Fishman
Format Hardback
Page Count 608
Imprint Wildfire
Publisher Headline Publishing Group
Weight(grams) 900g
Dimensions(mm) 236mm * 158mm * 54mm


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