A few years ago, I wrote one of those ubiquitous “list” sidebars for an airline inflight magazine (Southwest Spirit). The list was titled 12 Great Slide Guitar Players or something like that and was essentially meant to divert bored passengers flying between Phoenix and Las Vegas with a fascinating, well-researched overview of noteworthy slide guitarists, both historic and contemporary. Son House, Bob Brozman, Bonnie Raitt, people like that. Like all such lists, it was meant to start conversations, not end them. As these things go, it was a pretty unassuming, innocuous little 200-word piece.
Or so I imagined.
Turns out, there’s a large and fanatical subculture out there who tracks every word or opinion ever written, spoken, broadcast, or silently contemplated about slide-guitar players. My list almost immediately appeared verbatim on someone’s blog, unleashing a torrent of comments. Many of these questioned the competency and dubious lineage of the list’s author (lots of “Who the hell is Chuck Thompson?” postings), others cheerfully spread the gospel of slide guitar by adding their own favorites to the list, and a few, from anonymous ramparts, actually rose to defend my honor against the angry mob fueling the discussion. The furor eventually dissipated and the posts trickled away, but while it lasted it had been a fun process. In addition to learning from several sources that I was in no way qualified to comment on the religion of slide guitar, I learned a few things about slide players and the people who love them.
All of this by way of announcing my intentions for this site. I’ll start with the assumption that, unless you’ve landed here by accident, you have some interest in Smile When You’re Lying. This gives us something in common, inasmuch as I have an interest in it as well. If you have a question, comment, or anything else you care to make known about the book, I invite you to post it here. I travel often and have made a solemn promise to my eyeballs to take regular breaks away from computers, but for as long as possible I’ll keep up with activity on this page and try to respond here and there to questions and comments. Like most people, I prefer smiles to insults, but I have fairly thick skin and always appreciate honesty and thoughtful commentary.
Just don’t ever try telling me that Son House doesn’t belong on a list of 12 all-time great slide guitarists.
Thanks for your interest,