People are always telling country rocker Marshall Chapman: "You talk in song titles." And she does. The thirty-year Nashville veteran, a tough, six-foot blonde of genteel Southern extraction who's been a cohort over the years of everyone from Waylon Jennings to Jimmy Buffet, is a walking card catalogue of quotes, an entire bank vault of song couplets and turns of phrase she must wish she'd thought of herself. Sooner or later, a person with that much material is bound to write a book. Chapman may be a six-footer, but she's six miles of woman, and she's got the stories to match. She'll share some of them tonight when she reads from Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller, her personal song-cycle in text, at 7:30 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 East First Avenue.
Chapman, who's known for having a wild side, first realized her destiny at age seven, when the family maid, Cora Jeter, took her to see Elvis from the colored-only balcony of a local theater; later, after flying the coop to attend Vanderbilt University and landing head-first in the Nashville music melting pot with a guitar slung over her shoulder, she was advised by Jerry Lee Lewis, the Killer himself, to slow down a little. She extracts one of those quotes to try to explain it: "Someone once said the Devil writes better songs." Eventually, she says wisely -- wearily, gracefully, as if vitriol just isn't worth it anymore -- it happens to everyone in the music business.
"My last recording company pulled the plug on me," Chapman muses. "And I just felt like I couldn't do it anymore. So I crawled into my closet where the computer was and started writing." The result was Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller, named for her own poignant song: a lovely, plain-as-milk memoir sparked by twelve carefully chosen songs written over the duration of her music career. Chapman also offers a companion CD, available at www.tallgirl.com, of the songs in her book.
And for now, she's sticking to her new calling, although she considers it a much lonelier trade than music-making. Chapman, who counts among her best friends novelists Lee Smith and Jill McCorkle, is working on a collection of short stories.
"A friend recently asked me, 'Do you love to write?' Chapman explains. "And I answered, 'Hell, no, but I do love to have written!'" Hello, little best-sellin' author! -- Susan Froyd
Ready, Amy, Fire!
Goodman shoots into Colorado
Amy Goodman is not known for beating around the Bush -- or the Cheney or the Rumsfeld. Beating them up, yes. And that could be on the agenda when the award-winning journalist, who hosts Pacifica Network's Democracy Now!, comes here to promote her first book, The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers and the Media That Love Them (Hyperion, $21.95). She's traveling with her co-author and brother, David, on a tour that lands at Boulder's Flatirons Theatre, 1089 13th Street, tonight, and Denver's Central Presbyterian Church, 1660 Sherman Street, tomorrow. Goodman is heartened by the response to her cause so far. "There is an explosion of interest in independent voices," she says. "Going around the country with a book reaches out to new audiences and lets them know there are other channels of information available."
The junket is dedicated to supporting independent media outlets; the Colorado stops will benefit Boulder's KGNU radio. "We want to make sure that independent media can not only survive, but thrive," says Goodman. "It is absolutely essential, when you have a corporate media that beats the drum and acts as a megaphone for war, that we have an independent voice -- one that is not servile, but that actually challenges the government. It is our basic responsibility as journalists."
Call KGNU at 303-499-4885 for tickets to either show ($15 to $20 for the Boulder event, $10 to $15 in Denver); for more on independent media, log on to www.kgnu.org or www.democracynow.org. -- Kity Ironton
Delve into the female psyche today at "Women on Men: View From the Other Side," a literary exchange sponsored by Boulder Media Women, a group made up of several hundred "media professionals" from Boulder and the surrounding area. "The purpose is to give a voice to Boulder women writers," says moderator Evelyn Kaye of the event. "We thought we would try to have a lighthearted, reasonably humane discussion about what women writers say about men."
The exchange will feature readings by five published Boulder writers: Joan Johnston, author of more than 45 romance novels; journalist Barbara Darling; Kathryn Black, author of Mothering Without a Map; Carol Grever Gray, author of My Husband Is Gay: A Woman's Guide to Surviving the Crisis; and Sue Hartman, author of Woven on the Windand Crazy Woman Creek. A question-and-answer session and a panel discussion will follow.
"It's an informal, free-flowing gathering," says Kaye. "We always try to bring in a diverse set of views." In addition to the readings, an exhibit of black-and-white images by author/photographer Jerrie Hurd will be on display.