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Woman Walk The Line: How the Women of Country Changed Our Lives Getting Rave Reviews

With Woman Walk The Line arriving in stores this week, the deeply personal essay collection from 27 thought-provoking women writers is striking a chord with early reviewers. In addition, Gleason and contributor Ronni Lundy, who just received the top James Beard Foundation Award recognizing writing on food, will appear at the Southern Festival of Books Oct. 13.

“It’s been a blur starting with the Americana Music Conference,” Gleason marveled. “Doing a panel with historian Holly George Warren, who wrote about Wanda Jackson, and Fisk University’s Poet in Residence Caroline Randall Williams, who contributed an essay about Rhiannon Giddens, seemed like such a high watermark for Woman Walk The Line. But to see some of these reviews, and these incredible writers recognized for their appreciations of the female country star who really impacted their life thrills me – because other people see the power of what great artists do in terms of actual people’s lives.”

People proclaimed the anthology, “A rhapsodic, moving look at music’s transformative power,” while PASTE deemed it “quite stunning” and both and Publishers Weekly selected it as one of The Best Music Books of the Fall. Beyond that, Radio Hall of Fame inductee and Academy of Country Music Mae Boren Axton Award winner Bob Kingsley praised Woman Walk The Line on his weekly Country Top 40 nationally syndicated countdown, “From Maybelle Carter to Kacey Musgraves, these are stories of women discovering more about themselves in the lives and music of their favorite artist.”

Activists, journalists, New York Times bestsellers, rockers, poets, curators, superstars, award-winning tv producers, archivists, radio hosts, Woman Walk The Line offers myriad perspectives reflecting the multiples of country styles. As women continue vying for a meaningful place on country radio stations across the United States, these essays demonstrate both why and how the girl singers, as well as songwriters and musicians, define the genre’s most enduring recordings and empowering personas.

All ages, races, occupations and orientations are represented as the essays in Woman Walk The Line speak to courage, comfort, hope, pain and the will to make one’s like not just happen, but matter. Diverse enough to attract blurbs from Reba McEntire, Rodney Crowell and punk legend Exene Cervenka of X, No Depression’s Henry Carrigan wrote, “The writers bare their souls in much the way the artists that have touched them have torn open, touched, healed the writers’ own souls …in unexpected and enduring ways, the essays in this collection illustrate powerful truth.”

Amazon’s #1 Country Book, Woman Walk The Line actually rose to #15 on their ALL Music Genre List. Those chart numbers don’t lie. In its release week, the anthology managed to sell through Amazon’s initial order. Says Gleason, “I think people want to embrace humanity and inspiration… need to believe that the music they love matters. Reading these twenty-seven essays that touch on every phase and turning point, the music and women who make it absolutely define these moments – and  people responded.”

NPR’s Ann Powers concurs, offering “revealing how women in country music—world-famous and little-known, black and white, vintage and contemporary—helped shape the lives of many different kinds of women. It’s concrete evidence that country should and does belong just as much to women as to men,” the anthology brings together SiriusXM’s Meredith Ochs consideration of Bobbie Gentry, Garden & Gun’s Mary Dacey Orr reflecting through Kacey Musgraves, renegade roots artist Kandia Crazy Horse inspiration by Rita Coolidge as muse and artist, and longtime USA Today critic Elysa Gardner’s dual take on Taylor Swift as a journalist and a mother.