Late last year, Claire and I spent six weeks or so tripping through the American Deep South. It was, initially, all about music, food and whiskey, and while all three of those elements featured heavily, the trip ultimately became an observation of American life - it was our first time to a place we felt we knew intimately, having grown up with the music in particular, but it turned out to be a place about which we knew almost nothing.
As such, it became about trying to discover how it all worked, how it all came together, how the seamy underbelly meshed with the glitz and glam, how the dust and grit and grime melded with the shiny and new to create a place that marches to the beat of its own drum.
And so I wrote about it as we went. I always do this when we travel, but this was different - over the course of a month and a half, I wrote around 30,000 words, which has come together to form my first book. It's not that long obviously, kind of a non-fiction novella, but it essentially recounts the trip, and my thoughts on a place as alien as it was familiar.
I've self-published it, with a killer cover design by Verity Bee, basically so's I have something to look back on in 50 years. It's rough, raw, essentially un-edited, a savage journey to the heart of the American south (to steal from a famous line).
For American and European readers, the title will be available on Amazon. For Australian readers, copies will be available for order from this page, from September 9. The title will also be available in selected stores throughout the Byron Shire.
Official press release below.
For Immediate Release
RELEASE DATE ANNOUNCED FOR DEBUT BOOK FROM JOURNALIST
SAMUEL J. FELL
A non-fiction novella, Stars & Hype: First Time Notes On The American Deep South, the first book from Australian journalist Samuel J. Fell, is set for release on FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 9.
A rough, raw and largely uncut account of his maiden trip through the US Deep South late last year, Stars & Hype… was written “on the run, across five states and as many time zones, drunk, sober and somewhere in between.”
Finding time to write and record his thoughts on a place “as alien as it was familiar” during the six week trip he undertook in October / November 2015, Fell recounts the experience in vivid fashion, the dust and grit, the glitz and glam coming to life on the page – the book is truly a wide-eyed account of a time and place that both lived up to expectation, and fell well short.
Best known as one of Australia’s most prolific freelance music journalists, Samuel J. Fell is a Senior Contributor to Australian roots music bible Rhythms, and has contributed to a range of publications from The Sydney Morning Herald and Rolling Stone, to The Saturday Paper, The Guardian and Australian Guitar. Concurrently, he is writing a history of the Australian rock press, which this year celebrates 50 years.
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