Get Your Free Audiobook

Non-member price: $39.66

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Always a Song is a collection of stories from singer and songwriter Ellen Harper - folk matriarch and mother to the Grammy-winning musician Ben Harper.

Harper shares vivid memories of growing up in Los Angeles through the 1960s among famous and small-town musicians, raising Ben, and the historic Folk Music Center.

This beautifully written memoir includes stories of Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Baez, The New Lost City Ramblers, Doc Watson, and many more.

  • Harper takes listeners on an intimate journey through the folk music revival.
  • The book spans a transformational time in music, history, and American culture.
  • Covers historical events from the love-ins, women's rights protests, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy to the popularization of the sitar and the ukulele.

"Growing up, an endless stream of musicians and artists came from across the country to my family's music store. Bess Lomax Hawes, Joan Baez, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGee - all the singers, organizers, guitar and banjo pickers and players, songwriters, painters, dancers, their husbands, wives, and children - we were all in it together. And we believed singing could change the world." (Ellen Harper)

Music lovers and history buffs will enjoy this rare invitation into a world of stories and song that inspired folk music today.

  • A must-hear for lovers of music, history, and those nostalgic for the acoustic echo of the original folk music that influenced a generation.
  • Harper's parents opened the legendary Folk Music Center in Claremont, California, as well as the revered folk music venue The Golden Ring.
  • A perfect gift for people who are obsessed with folk music, all things 1960s, learning about musical movements, or California history.
  • Great for those who loved Small Town Talk: Bob Dylan, The Band, Van Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Friends in the Wild Years of Woodstock by Barney Hoskyns; and Girls like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon - and the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller. 
©2021 Ellen Harper (P)2021 Chronicle Prism

Critic Reviews

"Ellen Harper's unique vantage as red-diaper baby, folk connector, counterculture witness, and maven of family and community is matched by her memory, wit, and compassion." (Jonathan Lethem, New York Times best-selling author of Chronic City and Motherless Brooklyn)

"A bridge back to the world I remember as a child of folkies, beatniks, free lovers, poets, and intellectuals - all fighting for a new way of life - Harper's memoir is of a wonderful complicated family, the story of a woman, the story of America." (Bob Forrest, lead vocalist for Thelonious Monster and The Bicycle Thief)

"This book is a love song and at times a blues song; but always a folk song of community, compassion and justice. Full of love of family and love of music, a most fertile ground for sowing seeds of human harmony. Each chapter unfolds like another Child Ballad to the heartbeat of this remarkable woman, Ellen Harper. Indeed, there is always hope as long as we keep on singing." (John York, former bassist for The Byrds)

"I read this book in a weekend, riveted by the intimacy and the honesty of Ellen's narrative. Always a Song is an eloquent, searching account of a life lived for truth, love, and music." (Jackson Browne)

"Ellen Harper is folk music royalty, growing up with Pete Seeger and Joan Baez around the dinner table. Her story is both heartrending and a pleasure to read." (Roger McGuinn, leader of the Byrds)

What listeners say about Always a Song

Average Customer Ratings

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for 匿名
  • 匿名
  • 31-01-2021

ABSOLUTELY wonderful

What a a wonderful read!!!! It was like having a hug from a hometown soul. I feel so incredibly grateful to know this history but more so this family!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amzoomer
  • Amzoomer
  • 28-02-2021

A great listen

I really loved this book: a terrific story of a super musical family and its positive impact on so many lives. I can't wait til the pandemic is over so I can visit the Folk Music Center in Claremont, CA, where much of the book takes place.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.