While working on True to the Roots: Americana Music Revealed, back in the early 2000s, the experience  of interviewing musicians and attending their concerts inspired me to learn how to play guitar and write songs.

I didn’t take lessons. I didn’t even read any books, watch instructional DVDs or listen to CDs. I just figured out that those grids in music books represented a guitar neck and the dots showed where the fingers went. Miraculously, this turned out to be true. After laboring in futility for quite a while, I finally got it, and some musicians friends helped me get it better.

2010_0123Pawlessfest0038Now I’ve written about 40 songs and actually perform them in front of people from time to time. No telling how many snippets and choruses and verses are dilly-dallying around in my laptop, waiting to be completed.

The experience was instrumental in the writing and publication of my first novel, The Audacity of Dope. The most notable similarity between me and the protagonist, Riley Mansfield, is I wrote his songs. When I play music, I talk about the novel, and when I sign books, I play a few of Riley’s songs.

If you’re interested in having me perform my songs and/or sell my books, contact me at


3 Responses to Music

  1. Sue Rarick says:

    Is that ‘True To The Roots’ book still available (hopefully on Kindle)?

    I was called an Americana musician back in the 90’s and didn’t have a clue what the heck they were talking about. Sort of like the cliché “Yesterday I didn’t know how to spell it…Now I are one”. Today they are including people like Springsteen. Seems to me they are just trying to find a way not to use the word ‘Oldies’.

  2. Monte says:

    I so apologize for either missing this or forgetting about it earlier. True to the Roots is available at bookseller sites like and

  3. Monte says:

    One songwriter in the book referred to Americana as great music that not many people listen to. What he meant was that, if these songs become big hits, they stop being called Americana. At the time, he cited the Dixie Chicks. They were too big to be Americana. Now they’re Americana again, or at least in their component parts.

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