An intimate account of country music, social change, and a vanishing way of life as a Shenandoah town collides with the twenty-first century
Winchester, Virginia is an emblematic American town. When John Lingan first traveled there, it was to seek out Jim McCoy: local honky-tonk owner and the DJ who first gave airtime to a brassy-voiced singer known as Patsy Cline, setting her on a course for fame that outlasted her tragically short life. What Lingan found was a town in the midst of an identity crisis.
As the U.S. economy and American culture have transformed in recent decades, the ground under centuries-old social codes has shifted, throwing old folkways into chaos. Homeplace teases apart the tangle of class, race, and family origin that still defines the town, and illuminates questions that now dominate our national conversation—about how we move into the future without pretending our past doesn't exist, about what we salvage and what we leave behind.
Making his literary debut, journalist Lingan creates a tender, elegiac portrait of Winchester, Virginia, the Shenandoah town where Patsy Cline made her debut and where honky-tonk—a rueful brand of country music—rang out in working-class dance halls, bars, and clubs. An empathetic look at a community forging its future as it keeps a tenuous hold on its past.
“Lingan is an astute observer of the social problems and cultural changes he encounters, and he writes about them without bias or preachiness. Fans of country music will enjoy Lingan’s portrait of a place and insights into a rapidly disappearing culture.”
“Engrossing and fast-paced... Tells a mesmerizing tale of the characters that put Winchester, Va., on the map.”