I have been hinting here for months about a secret project. That secret project—Hillbilly Highways—quietly went live on June 4. Hillbilly Highways is a new blog devoted to “Country Noir, Hillbilly Studies, and Texas Country.”
Hillbilly Highways focuses on the cultural folkway of the people who immigrated to the Appalachian backcountry from the border regions of England and Scotland and Ulster Ireland and from there (on hillbilly highways) to Oklahoma and inner California, Detroit and Houston. My people. Steve Earle epitomized that diaspora in his song Hillbilly Highway.
What is all that stuff in the blog subtitle? “Country Noir” stories occupy a particular corner of the crime fiction genre. A corner set in the hills and hollers instead of the big city, full of messy violence and desperate men and women, comfortably straddling the divide between pulp and literary. A better introduction will take me only 7 minutes—Chris Knight’s Down the River is one hell of a country noir story in song form. I have two other posts on country noir already up: one on my favorite book by my favorite country noir writer—One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash—and one on a collection of short stories by the quintessential country noir writer—The Outlaw Album by Daniel Woodrell.
“Hillbilly Studies” encompasses reviews of nonfiction. Think Hillbilly Elegy or Albion’s Seed. Or, better yet, check out the review of Harry Caudill’s Night Comes to the Cumberlands that I have scheduled to run tomorrow. I will cover both nonfiction that is directly about the hillbilly cultural folkway and nonfiction that is more indirectly related to particular issues within the culture (e.g., Dopesick).
“Texas Country” is an indie country music movement centered in Texas. Hillbilly Highways will be a more personal blog than Every Day Should Be Tuesday. In addition to my posts on Steve Earle’s Hillbilly Highway and Chris Knight’s Down the River, in yesterday’s post I talked about my dad and what Chris Ledoux’s This Cowboy’s Hat means to me.
You can read more about all of this at the Hillbilly Highways About page.
I will be posting at Hillbilly Highways on Mondays and Wednesdays. Monday posts will be devoted to music. Wednesday posts will be mostly reviews, split roughly half country noir, quarter nonfiction, quarter movies/TV.
Posts will continue here at Every Day Should Be Tuesday mostly on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the reading experience here should change very little. For the next few weeks I will also be reblogging posts at Hillbilly Highways here. Books that fall into the overlap between the two blogs will be covered both places—think Alex Bledsoe’s Tufa novels or Manly Wade Wellman’s Silver John stories.
The best way to follow Hillbilly Highways is through WordPress or, better yet, an RSS feed. I use the G2Reader, which can be a bit wonky, but is a fair approximation of the now sadly departed Google Reader. (At the G2Reader, at least, paste https://hillbillyhighways.wordpress.com/feed to add Hillbilly Highways to your feeds.)
You can also follow Hillbilly Highways on social media. I have set up distinct pages for Hillbilly Highways on Facebook and Bloglovin’. I will continue to promote both blogs on Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and, most recently, Listy (screenname: TuesdayReviews). I expect I will be putting a lot more time—including exclusive content—into the Hillbilly Highways Facebook page than I have for Every Day Should Be Tuesday’s.
If you are a writer who has written a work that sounds like it would be a good fit at Hillbilly Highways please feel free to reach out to me at everydayshouldbetuesday at gmail.com about submitting a review copy. I will also be interested in running guest posts and interviews in the future.
I hope you will join me at the new blog!