Devil Sent the Rain

Devil Sent the Rain

Music and Writing in Desperate America

By Tom Piazza

Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780062008220, 304pp.

Publication Date: August 2011


Tom Piazzas sharp intelligence, insight, and passion fuel this new collection of writings on music, literature, New Orleans, and America itself in desperate times.

For his first book since his award-winning novel City of Refuge and his stunning and influential post-Katrina polemic Why New Orleans Matters, Piazza selects the best of his writings on American roots music and musicians, including his Grammy-winning album notes for Martin Scorsese Presents: The Blues; his classic profile of bluegrass legend Jimmy Martin; essays on Jimmie Rodgers, Charley Patton, and Bob Dylan; and much more.

In the books second section, Piazza turns his attention to literature, politics, and post-Katrina America in articles and essays on subjects ranging from Charlie Chan movies to the life and work of Norman Mailer, from the New Orleans housing crisis to the BP oil spill, from Jelly Roll Mortons Library of Congress recordings to the future of books. The third and final section delivers a startlingly original meditation on fiction, sentimentality, and cynicisma major new essay from this brilliant, unpredictable, and absolutely necessary writer.

About the Author
Tom Piazza's writing on American music has appeared in the Sunday New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, and The Village Voice. He is the author of The Guide to Classic Recorded Jazz (University of Iowa Press), which won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor award for music writing, and Blues and Trouble (St. Martin's Press), which won a James Michener award for fiction. He lives in New Orleans and is working on a novel.

Praise For Devil Sent the Rain

“Tom Piazza’s writing is filled with energy and tender, insightful words for the brilliant and irascible, from Jimmy Martin to Norman Mailer. He identifies the unlikely, precious connections between recent events, art, letters, and music; through his words, these byways of popular culture provide an unexpected measure of the times.”
-Elvis Costello

“Tom Piazza’s writing pulsates with nervous electrical tension—reveals the emotions that we can’t define.”
-Bob Dylan