Mark Kemp

Location: R.A. Fountain

Mark Kemp, an Ashboro native and former editor at Rolling Stone, will appear at Fountain General Store to sign copies of his new memoir, Dixie Lullaby, on Friday evening, December 1.

Kemp, a Distinguished Alumnus of ECU, where he majored in English with a concentration in writing, is currently a freelance writer based out of Charlotte. His creative nonfiction memoir follows him as he travels throughout the South, recalling on one hand childhood vacations with his family while, on the other hand, he tries to make sense of how race and music have for so long been intertwined, especially in the South. Along the way, he interviews many of the best known proponents of Southern rock.

“If rock and roll saved my life,” he writes, “Southern rock made it worth living.” 

He claims as a seminal point in the development of Southern rock and roll the assassination of Martin Luther King, one result of which was the freezing out of white session musicians from working with blacks. 

Kemp also asserts that the importance of the Allman Brothers went far beyond their music, because of their inclusion of an African-American drummer. 

Dixie Lullaby, subtitled A Story of Music, Race, and New Beginnings in a New South, was originally published by Simon and Schuster. It was released in paperback this fall by the University of Georgia Press.

After graduating from ECU, Kemp became editor of Discovery magazine and then Option, the Seattle-based independent music magazine. He was senior editor at Rolling Stone in the mid-1990s and then became vice-president for music programming at MTV and VH1. 

Kemp received a Grammy nomination in 1997 for his liner notes to the CD Farewells & Fantasies, a retrospective of music by ’60s protest singer Phil Ochs.

Kemp will sign copies of his book from 6-7 p.m., prior to Friday night’s performances by SWASH Improv and the old-time band Big Medicine.

His reading at ECU on Wednesday night attracted about 60 people, who were treated to an engaging history lesson about late 20th century American popular.

Tags: autographing, literary