Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
It Still Moves

It Still Moves

Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the Next American Music

Amanda Petrusich

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



"Where lies the boundary between meaning and sentiment? Between memory and nostalgia? America and Americana? What is and what was? Does it move?"
--Donovon Hohn, A Romance of Rust

Part travelogue, part cultural criticism, part music appreciation, It Still Moves does for today's avant folk scene what Greil Marcus did for Dylan and The Basement Tapes. Amanda Petrusich outlines the sounds of the new, weird America—honoring the rich tradition of gospel, bluegrass, country, folk, and rock that feeds it, while simultaneously exploring the American character as personified in all of these genres historically. Through interviews, road stories, geographical and sociological interpretations, and detailed music criticism, Petrusich traces the rise of Americana music from its gospel origins through its new and compelling incarnations (as evidenced in bands and artists from Elvis to Iron and Wine, the Carter Family to Animal Collective, Johnny Cash to Will Oldham) and explores how the genre is adapting to the twenty-first century. Ultimately the book is an examination of all things American: guitars, cars, kids, motion, passion, enterprise, and change, in a fervent attempt to reconcile the American past with the American present, using only dusty records and highway maps as guides.


Praise for It Still Moves

“Like a smart, genial Persephone, Amanda Petrusich wanders the underworld of American roots music and reports back her insights with an open mind and an open heart. She has a respect for history and an even greater respect for the passion that keeps history alive and meaningful.” —Anthony DeCurtis, Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone

“Obsessed with roots but founded on uprooting, America has always been characterized by restless internal migration: people are always leaving home to find a better, truer home. In It Still Moves: Lost Songs, Lost Highways, and the Search for the American Music, Amanda Petrusich hits the road too, looking to crack the conundrum of the culture that produced Robert Johnson, Lead Belly and Hank Williams but also Cracker Barrel, Graceland, and Clear Channel. Talking and listening and eating her way across an American landscape as earthy as grits 'n' gravy yet as ethereal as the wraith-like plaint of pedal steel, she finds that the mystery doesn't so much resolve as grow more vivid. In this sharply observed, intensely felt audio-travelogue, "Americana" emerges as not so much a sound or musical genre as an imaginary country, a dream land superimposed over the real U.S.A. Above all it's a fantasy of the South spun by people mostly not from there, a salve for that feeling of hollowness that haunts modern urban existence, a remedy for our aching sense that real life is elsewhere.” —Simon Reynolds, author of Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-84.

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Amanda Petrusich

A staff writer at and a senior contributing editor at Paste, Amanda Petrusich is the author of Pink Moon, a short book about Nick Drake's 1972 album for Continuum's 33 1/3 series.

Amanda Petrusich

(c) Bret Stetka

From the Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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