I’m proud to announce that my essay on early country singer Linda Parker is included in the new edition of RUST BELT CHICAGO: AN ANTHOLOGY, the latest edition from the people at Belt Publishing who have been documenting stories from across the rust belt states. As its name suggests, the book focuses on untold stories from Chicago and the surrounding area and features work by Chloe Taft, Sonya Huber, Britt Julious, Kari Lydersen, Kevin Coval, Rob Miller, among others, and a cover by artist Tony Fitzpatrick.
My essay, “Beneath the Willow Tree: The Early Death and Immortal Life of Linda Parker,” looks at the short but fast life of Linda Parker who left behind few recordings but, as “The Little Sunbonnet Girl,” captured a mass audience due to her short stint on The National Barn Dance out of Chicago. Even though she died at age 23, she was the first female country singer to launch a successful solo career out of a male-dominated group. Here is her voice, two years before her death.
There will be several RUST BELT-related events throughout Chicago this fall. In the meantime, read The Chicago Tribune’s profile of anthology editor Martha Bayne, who commissioned the piece, and a review by Third Coast Review.