Calling Me Home:
Gram Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock

Bob Kealing

Hardcover: $27.50
Paper: $19.95
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Selected as one of the best books of the year by:
Uprooted Music Revue
Engine 145
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"Has a great narrative velocity. Even though we know how this story is going to end--tragically, of course--Kealing keeps us turning the page as we follow Gram Parsons through his short, rich life."--William McKeen, author of Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson

"I could almost hear the music coming from those now-dilapidated buildings where Gram Parsons received his musical education. Bob Kealing makes them come alive as he explores the faces and places that turned Parsons from a southern-bred trust fund child into a self-destructive yet visionary musical pioneer."--Jeffrey M. Lemlich, author of Savage Lost: Florida Garage Bands: The '60s and Beyond


On September 19, 1973, Gram Parsons became yet another rock-and-roll casualty in an era of excess, a time when young men wore their dangerous habits like badges of honor. Unfortunately, his many musical accomplishments have been overshadowed by a morbid fascination with his drug overdose in the Joshua Tree desert at the age of twenty-six.

Known as the father of country rock, Parsons played with the International Submarine Band, The Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers. In the late 1960s and early 70s, he was a key confidante of Keith Richards. In 1972, he gave Emmylou Harris her first big break. When Tom Petty re-formed his Florida garage band Mudcrutch, he invoked the name of Gram Parsons as an inspiration. Musicians as diverse as Elvis Costello, Dwight Yoakam, Ryan Adams, Patty Griffin, and Steve Earle have also paid homage to alt-country's patron saint.

In Calling Me Home, Kealing traces the entire arc of Parsons's career, emphasizing his Southern roots. Drawing on dozens of new interviews as well as rare letters and photographs provided by Parsons's family and legendary photojournalist Ted Polumbaum, Kealing has uncovered facts that even the most stalwart Parsons fans will find revealing.

Travelling from Parsons' boyhood home in Waycross, Georgia, to the southern folk mecca of Coconut Grove, Florida, from the birthplace of outlaw country in Austin, Texas, to the Ryman auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee Kealing celebrates Parsons's timeless and transformative musical legacy.

Bob Kealing, an Edward R. Murrow and three-time Emmy award-winning reporter for NBC's WESH-TV in Orlando, is the author of Kerouac in Florida and Tupperware Unsealed.
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Awards
Uncut Magazine's Best Music Books of 2013 - 2013

"Looks beyond the melodrama at the musical influences that Parsons absorbed and the ones that he passed along to pals such as Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones." Orlando Sentinel

"Kealing forgoes the familiar to dig deeper. … Parsons' musical journey offers a welcome new definition of a cult figure who is long overdue for one." Orlando Sentinel

"Shedding eye-opening light on GP's legendary life and career, Mr. Kealing has drawn on dozens of new interviews, uncovering information that even Gram Parsons' most rabid fans will find fresh and revealing." Underground Nashville (blog)

"A full-faceted examination that moves beyond the sensationalism of his drug addiction and death at age 26, and into the realities of his life and times." Midwest Book Review

"Read it for the tragic tale of a local boy who flew too close to the sun, and use it as a reference for, and introduction to, the thriving musical scene in our neck of the woods during the 1960s." Florida Times-Union

"Kealing's skilled reporting uncovers new twists in the Parsons narrative. It's a worthy addition even to a bookshelf already groaning with Gram bios, and it's best read with Parson's music playing in the background." The Tennessean

"Bob Kealing digs deeper than anyone before into Parsons' roots…. Calling Me Home illuinates new parts of the myth, deepens the story and further underscores that plaintive, high lonesome voice singing 'In My Hour of Darkness.'" Gary Carter

"A well-researched, engaging biography of Parsons. It's also a fascinating chronicle of the music business." Tampa Bay Times

“A compulsively readable and intimate portrait of a young man who introduced the pure strains of country stars such as the Louvin Brothers and Merle Haggard to musicians like Bernie Leadon of the Eagles and Chris Hillman.” Engine 145

“Draws on never-before-available writings and new interviews with Parson’s family and friends.” Publishers Weekly

“Refreshing… a sympathetic human portrait of the man that neither glosses over nor sensationalizes him.” Metrotimes: Detroit's Free Alternative Weekly

“Calling Me Home: is about just that: a land that always beckons, that underlies most of Gram’s songwriting… a land that informs not only him but all others with whom he associated and learned from him.” Gram InterNational

“The most well-rounded, most multi-dimensional picture we’ve ever had of the visionary yet maddeningly complex musician… if you read just one biography of Gram Parsons, make sure it’s this one.” Underground Nashville

“Follows Parsons through a succession of teenage bands and juvenile collaborations, visiting along the way many of the places- small clubs and youth centres, mainly – in Florida, where in the early ‘60s there was a flourishing music scene.” Uncut Magazine

“Kealing’s search for interviews and material will excite both biographers and Gram Parsons fans.” New Information (blog)

“A fascinating journey to the past and back again as Kealing revisits the people and places important to Parson’s career and life, and to Southern rock.” On a Clear Day I Can Read Forever

"Kealing’s detailed biography will appeal to rock fans looking to read more about a formative time in music history through the story of one of its most pivotal figures." Library Journal

“Presents the Parsons story through the eyes of those who surrounded him during good times and bad” Georgia Historical Quarterly

“[Adds] a layer of detail to the Parsons story missing even from supposedly definitive GP histories” Uncut Magazine's Best Books of 2013

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