Looks Like Rain: The Songwriting Legacy of Mickey Newbury (John and Robin Dickson Series in Texas Music, sponsored by the Center for Texas Music History, Texas State University) (Hardcover)
Mickey Newbury (1940–2002) grew up in Houston and moved to Nashville in the early 1960s, following his muse. He wrote top hits for many well-known artists, including Don Gibson, Andy Williams, Kenny Rogers, Tom Jones, and others. He is probably best known, however, for being name-checked in the song “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” by Waylon Jennings. Newbury has been cited by Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Townes Van Zandt, and many other eminent singer-songwriters as a primary influence.
In his own independent fashion, Newbury helped to loosen the grip maintained for decades by the Nashville studio system, thus paving the way for later innovators like Willie Nelson, David Allan Coe, and others. He is still the only songwriter to produce hits on four different charts in the same year in 1968: “Just Dropped In (to See What Condition My Condition was In)” on the pop/rock charts, “Sweet Memories” on easy listening, “Time Is a Thief” on the R & B charts, and “Here Comes the Rain, Baby” in country.
Following the successful pattern established in his previous works on Townes Van Zandt and Ray Wylie Hubbard, veteran music journalist Brian T. Atkinson has interviewed artists such as Kris Kristofferson, Bobby Bare, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, and many others to learn how Newbury’s influence continues to shape the musical and artistic approach of both seasoned and newer performers. Forewords by Larry Gatlin and Don McLean set the stage for a fascinating look back at one of the most revered songwriters and musicians of recent decades.
About the Author
BRIAN T. ATKINSON is the author of I’ll Be Here in the Morning: The Songwriting Legacy of Townes Van Zandt and The Messenger: The Songwriting Legacy of Ray Wiley Hubbard, and coauthor of Kent Finlay, Dreamer: The Musical Legacy behind Cheatham Street Warehouse.
“Looks Like Rain: The Songwriting Legacy of Mickey Newbury is long overdue. Brian Atkinson’s diligence and dedication in capturing these stories gives both Mickey’s music and his artist's soul the respect and attention they deserve. He cast a long shadow among us songwriters, and yet he remains criminally obscure. It was as much a joy to read many of my peers' revelations about him as it was to sing his songs.”—Gretchen Peters, singer-songwriter, her most recent album is The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury
— Gretchen Peters
“Here we have Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Kris Kristofferson, and a grand collection of legendary voices speaking out about the importance of Mickey Newbury. This is a book that needed to be written. We all knew Mickey and his work from different angles, and his songs will haunt us forever. The shared stories here are wonderful reading. God bless Brian Atkinson for compiling this classic book about the most important songwriter and pioneer of the outlaw movement - Mickey Newbury.”—Tom Russell, Singer-songwriter, painter, author of Against the Blood
— Tom Russell