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To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse


Howard Fishman

Please join ENTANGLEMENT: STRANGE LIFE for a talk with author Howard Fishman who will discuss his new book To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse.

About the Book: When musician and New Yorker contributor Howard Fishman first heard Connie Converse's voice on a recording, he was convinced she could not be real. Her recordings were too good not to know, and too out of place for the 1950s to make sense-a singer who seemed to bridge the gap between traditional Americana (country, blues, folk, jazz, and gospel), the Great American Songbook, and the singer-songwriter movement that exploded a decade later with Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.

Supported by a dozen years of research, travel to everywhere she lived, and hundreds of extensive interviews, Fishman approaches Converse's story as both a fan and a journalist, and expertly weaves a narrative of her life and music, and of how it has come to speak to him as both an artist and a person. Ultimately, he places her in the canon as a significant outsider artist, a missing link between a now old-fashioned kind of American music and the reflective, complex, arresting music that transformed the 1960s and music forever.

Howard Fishman is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, where he has published essays on music, film, theater, literature, travel, and culture. His bylines have also appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Telegraph, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, Artforum, San Francisco Chronicle, Mojo, The Village Voice, and The Boston Globe. His play, A Star Has Burnt My Eye, was a New York Times "Critics Pick." As a performing songwriter and bandleader, Fishman has toured internationally for over two decades. He has released eleven albums to date, and is the producer of the album Connie's Piano Songs: The Art Songs of Elizabeth "Connie" Converse. He is based in Brooklyn, NY.

STRANGE LIFE is part of The Entanglement Project, a multi-stranded initiative at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute focused on race, health, and climate convened by Priscilla Wald (R. Florence Brinkley Distinguished Professor of English).


Book Signing, Concert/Music, Humanities, Lecture/Talk, Reading, United States Focus