Book Review: Bob Kealing’s “Calling Me Home: Gram Parsons and the Roots of Country Rock”

By Dave Carew

The phrase “literary documentary” is most commonly used to describe a documentary film about a famous writer. Yet as I was (very happily) wending my way through this outstanding new biography of Gram Parsons, the phrase kept coming to mind. That’s because Bob Kealing’s singular accomplishment here is to have created a biography that FEELS like the freshest, most engaging documentary.

Refusing to simply rehash the details of Gram Parsons’ meteoric, 26-year-long life, Kealing goes deeper and wider, offering—in his “literary documentary” style—dozens of fresh new interviews with people whose lives touched and/or were affected by GP. Their feelings, observations, and memories add up to the most well-rounded, most multi-dimensional picture we’ve ever had of the visionary yet maddeningly complex musician.

It’s a cliché, but I’ll go with it anyway:  If you read just one biography of Gram Parsons, make sure it’s this one. Quite simply, it takes you on the fastest, best ride to the heart of an endlessly interesting life.

For more information, visit the University Press of Florida’s web site at or visit

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter,” both now available at Dave also is a freelance book editor, publicist, seminar and workshop leader, journalist, and advertising / marketing / public relations writer.

Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville by Dave Carew—which was praised by The Tennessean as “beautiful, haunting, powerful”—is now available in an all-new paperback edition. For more information, please visit and “like” the page on Facebook:

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Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective, offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew



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