Bob Wills: Hubbin' It
by Ruth Sheldon
Few figures in country music's history have left as distinctive and lasting an impression as Bob Wills (1905-75). An expert fiddler and a magnetic showman, Wills popularized a style of Southwestern dance music known as western swing, a rhythmic hybrid of Texas fiddle music, blues, and big band swing that set dance halls alight across the Southwest in the thirties and forties. Despite his passing, his legacy has been carried forward in the music of such modern stars as Merle Haggard and George Strait. In 1938, when Wills was thirty-three and nearing the height of his fame, journalist Ruth Sheldon chronicled the rags-to-riches rise of this talented musician, showing remarkable foresight in her choice of subject. Working with the complete cooperation of Wills, Sheldon produced a biography that fully captures the ebullient personality of Wills and reflects the bandleader's vision of himself. Now restored to print for the first time since its initial 1938 publication, Hubbin' It provides a fascinating window into the daily life of a working musican during the Depression and a rich source of historical detail on the life of one of America's great musical innovators.