What makes this story so compelling?
I am often asked this question and spent considerable time thinking about it over the last several years, while researching and writing this book.
The first thing that riveted me was the deep ties and links between these three men: their family relationship, their closeness in age, and the fact they grew up in the same small Southern town. How likely is it, after all, that three cousins from a small community would become significant figures in entertainment and culture, each following a separate path?
Each of them is fascinating in their own unique ways. The book explores Jerry’s unparalleled status in rock ‘n’ roll, Jimmy’s significance as a television evangelist, and Mickey’s role as part-owner of the world-famous Gilley’s and singer producing seventeen number one country hits. If the book began and ended with those accomplishments, it would be an interesting read.
But this book is about so much more.
It is a story about. . .
- the American South, particularly the Depression and post-Depression South, where struggle and hardship were the norm
- rural life, where the concepts of tight-knit family and a sense of community were constant forces in the upbringing of children
- religion, especially the ways in which conservative, fundamentalist Christianity impacts adults and children alike
- the relationship between Southern mothers and sons, and the powerful bonds that can be created when sons look to their mothers for their survival and mothers place their own hopes and ambitions in their sons
- music, including rock ‘n’ roll, country, blues, and gospel, and how these different styles inspired the cousins and contributed to their innate musical genius
- perseverance, as demonstrated by men who experienced dramatic highs and lows yet kept on moving forward and never gave up
My hope is that you will enjoy the finished product as much as I enjoy bringing it to you.
More to come. . .