She lives near Austin now, but musician Bonnie Montgomery is a native of Arkansas. Raised in a musical family in Searcy that owned a music shop, she started playing classical piano at a young age. Later, she picked up a guitar. After graduating with a graduate degree in music, she taught in China, lived in Nashville, and traveled overseas with the popular (though now defunct) Arkansas group The Gossip.
She is known for her alt-country records, but it was an opera she co-wrote with a college friend that got her noticed. The subject: Bill Clinton, of course. With an opera to her credit, she soon turned to writing country songs.
Her self-titled, full album debut, Bonnie Montgomery, was released in 2014. Her work won her an Ameripolitan award in 2016 and got the attention of the Outlaw Country community. In 2018, she released Forever, her second album, which combines country and classical elements and features a duet with Dale Watson. These days, you can find her playing not only with Dale Watson but Ray Wiley Hubbard and Rosie Flores. Bonnie made her first appearance on the Outlaw Country Cruise this year and lived to tell the tale.
Music in this episode: "Joy" from Bonnie Montgomery; "Black County" from Bonnie Montgomery; "Goin' Out Tonight (with Dale Watson) from Forever; and "No More" from Forever. You can read more about Bonnie and buy her music at www.bonniemontgomerymusic.com.
Part two of Colin's talk with author and historian G. J. Meyer goes deeper into the writing life. It's an honest discussion of how the business works and how success is fleeting and difficult to predict amid the "sorry state of the American publishing industry."
Jerry is working on a novel, so he and Colin discuss the literary influences that have made Jerry want to write fiction. For him, those included The Paris Review, Cormac McCarthy, Flannery O'Connor, and Annie Poulx. They also find time to discuss Faulkner, Walker Percy, Robert Penn Warren, and how Otto Von Bismarck turned out to be a not-so-great subject to write about.
He lives in England now, but historian G. J. Meyer is a native of St. Louis, who developed his journalism chops at newspapers in the mid-west. Jerry rose in the ranks at the St. Louis Dispatch, and his writing won him a Neiman fellowship at Harvard. He published a book on a Memphis serial killer in 1974, but he eventually left journalism to work in corporate America, which became the basis for his second book, Executive Blues. He returned to writing full-time once he landed in New York and found a publisher for World Undone, a tour de force history of World War I.
In part one of his two part talk with Colin, Jerry discusses his winding path to becoming a full-time writer. He also talks about how World Undone was different from other books on the Great War, and how that tragic conflict changed the global landscape.