HONKY TONK DEBUTANTE
In Honky Tonk Debutante Christine Warren presents a history of honky-tonk music that is artfully woven together with her own personal narrative. A lifelong fan, Warren’s passion for the music is contagious, while her memoir-style anecdotes provide bold comedy, aching emotion, and good old-fashioned entertainment.
Bolstered by detailed research, each chapter offers a peek-behind-the-curtain at the evolution of this music genre. Warren explores the stories behind iconic songs and the stars who made them famous, stars like Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Willie Nelson. She describes the barriers that many country artists encountered including poverty, censorship, chauvinism, and often, their own personal demons. Warren concludes each chapter with a carefully selected five-song soundtrack—and the suggested playlist is worth the price of admission alone.
On a deeper level, this book illustrates that music doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Warren examines the related geography, untimely tragedies, natural disaster, popular opinion, and eccentric Southern characters that influenced honky-tonk music.
Honky Tonk Debutante is both educational and uproarious. At one point Warren is flexing her literary chops and the next throwing herself under the bus in hilarious fashion. Channeling the spirit of an overtly honest country song, there are moments of raw pathos, counter-punched by rollicking humor. The result is a fascinating take on the roots of honky-tonk. And while Christine Warren sets out to pay reverence to this music and its magic, she can’t help but show us the power of a well-told story along the way.