Ronald Kidd ~ June 2018

New in September!

Years ago, when I moved to Nashville, I didn’t care for country music. But as time passed, the music seeped into me, and I came to appreciate its rich history, culture, and storytelling tradition. In particular, I became fascinated with the people who brought their songs with them from the old country, settled in the Appalachian mountains, and molded the music to fit a new world.

I also became fascinated with the role of religion in their lives, and the way music and church so often went together. Could the two ever be separated? Was it even possible?

Out of these musings came my new middle grade novel Lord of the Mountain, a coming-of-age story set in 1927 during the Bristol Sessions, the so-called “big bang” of country music. The narrator is Nate Owens, who loves music and deeply resents church, or at least the version of church preached passionately and interminably by his evangelist father. Finally Nate, haunted by a melody he heard in the night, sets out across the mountains to uncover his family’s darkest secret, which is contained in a song.

More about Lord of the Mountain

An Early Review

“With the birth of country music as his backdrop, a boy searches for music’s place in his troubled family. Thirteen-year-old Nate Owens’s father, pastor of the Church of Consecrated Heaven and Satan’s on the Run (located in a tent on the empty lot next door), preaches relentlessly that music is a sin. Nate can’t understand why.… That summer a man from Victor Records comes to record mountain music for the very first time. Nate, captivated, can’t keep away. Gradually, and believably, he becomes friends with and then an employee of the soon-to-be-famous Carter family, musicians from nearby Scott County…. The real history melds seamlessly with Nate’s family story, and the emotions ring true through the hopeful but bittersweet end. A solid, worthwhile read.”

-Kirkus Reviews (June 11 online; July 1 print)

Music of Social Justice

On April 28, Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey, premiered the wind ensemble edition of Magdalene: A Cantata, with music by Anthony Plog and text that I selected and edited. The cantata, scored for wind ensemble, choir, soloists, and narrator, was part of a special concert titled “Music of Social Justice.”

In creating the text, I chose and edited words spoken by the women of Magdalene, the residential community of Thistle Farms in Nashville. Thistle Farms helps women survivors of human trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. The premiere was narrated by Donna Dozier, a Magdalene graduate. The Concert Choir was conducted by Dr. Christopher Thomas, and the Wind Ensemble was conducted by Dr. Joseph Higgins

More about Thistle Farms and Magdalene
More about the cantata
More about Anthony Plog

New and Upcoming

  • Lord of the Mountain (Fall 2018)
    The “big bang” of country music in 1927 at Bristol, Tennessee. Read more.
  • On Beale Street (Summer 2018)
    Paperback Edition
    Race meets rock ’n’ roll in 1954 Memphis. Read more.
  • Room of Shadows (Now available)
    Edgar Allan Poe returns and gets the glorious death he deserved. Read more.
Learn about my books, plays, and music at
Download a sampler of chapters from three of my latest books.

Copyright © 2018 Ronald Kidd, All rights reserved.

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