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Crossroads: Blues, Rock Forever Intertwined

In his new book, music journalist John Milward traces the evolution of blues music across American history, connecting the often long lost songs of sharecroppers to the rock and roll of bands like the Rolling Stones celebrated by white teenagers.

Milward, a Woodstock native, has been the pop music critic for the Chicago Daily News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and USA Today, and his writing has also appeared in the New York Times and Rolling Stone. But in Crossroads: How The Blues Shaped Rock ‘N’ Roll (And Rock Saved The Blues), which is published by Northeast University Press, the idea of blues becoming pop music is often beside the point: many of the musicians and producers Milward features — especially in the early years — were has-beens and never-will-bes recording their music for posterity.

But in music, timing is everything. So when some of the record fetishists who helped give bluesmen eternity found fellow fanatics across the ocean in the form of Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, the blues was given a second life it enjoys to this day.

A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian joined WAMC in late 2008 and became news director in 2013. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard as the host of the WAMC News Podcast and on The Roundtable and various newscasts. Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany, where he has taught journalism since 2013.
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