Fascinatin’ Rhythm host Michael Lasser sat down with us to speak about his inspiration for his new book City Songs and American Life, 1900-1950, which has earned some wonderful praise from readers so far, including Professor Kim Kowalke of the Eastman School of Music.
Professor Kim Kowalke had this to say about City Songs: “[This] is the most engaging, comprehensive, and provocative examination of the Great American Songbook that I’ve encountered. No surprise to anyone familiar with his award-winning weekly radio series Fascinatin’ Rhythm, Lasser writes with the “dazzling economy” of the best lyrics and lyricists that he elucidates. His book convinced me that the songs of the first half of the twentieth century were indeed “urban creatures” that “sang the city electric” by merging sentiment and wit into a unique amalgam, mingling the “jingle of jazz and the jangle of slang” with “the clang and clamor” of the American metropolis, as Lasser so unforgettably characterizes it!”
Michael Lasser, a former teacher and theater critic, is host of the syndicated public-radio show Fascinatin’ Rhythm (winner of the Peabody Award) and the author of two previous books.