Release Date: 2011
Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
Hardcover, 134 pages
Much like Hornsby’s life, Dirtdobber Blues consists of short, fast-paced segments. These vignettes juxtapose musical accomplishments and personal misadventures to paint the portrait of a truly complex individual. His all-too-familiar vices — sex, alcohol, and rock and roll — and his capricious temperament affected his ability to find success in the music business. Vetter celebrates all that is Hornsby including his off-beat humor, frustrating narcissism, and profound creativity.
In addition to Vetter’s lively and captivating account of Butch’s life, the book includes Hornsby’s sheet music and a CD with fourteen of his songs. Photos of Butch and images of his found-object artwork by photographer Philip Gould are also included.
Through the music, images, and text, Hornsby moves from the strawberry fields of Amite, Louisiana, to the bars of Baton Rouge and into the unforgiving arena of the recording industry. Along the way, Vetter provides glimpses into the musician’s inspiration — a tumultuous young love, a stint in Hollywood, his family’s return to Louisiana — and pieces together the arc of Hornsby’s life, littered with poor decisions, crowned by artistic success, and concluding with the redemptive power of love.