Our book circle are currently reading Bluebird Bluebird, the award-winning crime novel by Texan, Afro-American writer Attica Locke. She now lives in California but the book is set in the part of East Texas where she grew up. Despite relocation, Texas still has a powerful hold over her. Particularly Route 59, which runs up through the state from the Mexican border and continues to the Canadian border. Two of the focal points of the book are located on that highway: Geneva’s diner where the black folks eat and Jeff’s Juice House, the ice house (aka honky tonk) just down the road which is the hangout for the Texas Aryan Brotherhood.
The novel is named after Bluebird, a John Lee Hooker track mentioned in the book. It is actually a cover version of Bluebird Blues by John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson (1914-48) from 1937. Not to be confused with the other blues artist with a similar name Alex Ford, a.k.a. “Sonny Boy Williamson” (1912-65). Thanks DuCool for pointing that out.)
Blues music is a constant presence in the novel and Attica Locke has commented that she often listens to music when she is writing.
“I’ve had a playlist with every one of my books. It really helps. If you listen to it over and over, it becomes Pavlovian when it’s time to write. Your body and mind just kind of open up to the world. For this I listened to classic blues: Lightnin’ Hopkins, Freddie King and Bobby Blue Bland. And some current folks like the Tedeschi Trucks band and Fantastic Negrito. I listened to classic country: mostly Charley Pride. But I also listened to a lot of Sturgill Simpson and Chris Stapleton while writing the book.”
I was delighted to discover that there are a couple of Attica playlists on Spotify. Nowadays it is not uncommon that you can listen to the author’s soundtrack while reading their book.
Directors, like Tarantino or the Coens, can pack their films with tracks that they like.
Now authors have similar possibilities.
Have any of you a favourite writer, painter, sculptor, composer etc who uses Spotify, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Tinder etc in an imaginative way to enhance our enjoyment?