NASHVILLE RADIO

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Beyond his work as a musician, Jon Langford has attracted attention as a visual artist in recent years. Nashville Radio is the first collection of his art. It reproduces 215 paintings, as well as song lyrics and autobiographical writings. The book includes a CD of Langford performing 18 of the printed songs. Langfords song-paintings fuse portraiture with imagery derived from folk art, Dutch still life, classic Western wear, and the cold, cold warall instilled with his trademark sardonic wit. He applies this distinctive style to the depiction of American musical icons like Bob Wills, Hank Williams, and Johnny Cash, but also to more ghostly, marginal figuresblindfolded cowboys, astronauts, and dancerswho are jerked around by success and exploitation, fame and neglect. Underlying his work is a deep love of musical lore, twinned with fierce opposition to the death-dealing tendencies in the culture of his adopted homeland, from the killing off of authentic popular music by mass-marketed drivel to the embrace of capital punishment as a response to social ills. Langfords work offers an alternative perspective, recalling a time when great visionaries and pioneers thrived at the heart of the mainstreamand the lid wasnt on so tight.