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Please join us for an evening of conversation with accomplished musician, New Yorker contributor, and debut author, Howard Fishman. His new book, To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse, is the previously untold true story of a vital yet unknown American artist, a missing link between a now old-fashioned kind of American music and the complex, arresting music that transformed the 1960s and music forever. To listen to Connie Converse’s music, click here. Your ticket to the event includes wine and light dessert.
About To Anyone Who Ever Asks:
When musician and New Yorker contributor Howard Fishman first heard Connie Converse’s amateur recordings from the early 1950s by chance at a party, he was convinced she could not be real. Her songs were too good not to know, and too anachronistic to make sense. Converse seemed to bridge the gap between tradtitional Americana (country, blues, folk, jazz, and gospel), the Great American Songbook, classical art song, and the singer-songwriter movement spurred on by Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell – but she was doing it a decade before those figures arrived.
Mesmerized by her genius, the connection was instant: Fishman needed to know everything there was to know about this enigmatic artist. But there was hardly any public information available. The bizarre legend about Connie Converse that had become the prevailing narrative among those who had also discovered her music was that in 1974, at the age of fifty, she simply drove off one day and was never heard from again. Could this have been true? Who was Connie Converse, really?
Determined to put together the missing pieces of her life and art, Fishman, an accomplished musician in his own right, gives readers the compelling result of his research in his first book ever: To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse (Dutton; on sale May 2, 2023). Approaching Converse’s story as both a fan and a journalist, Fishman expertly weaves together a narrative of her life and music, recounting what can be known about Converse’s life while offering readers insight into her work and why it was so far ahead of her time.
He is not alone in his fascination: Converse has inspired similar reactions in many who come across her work and her fans are growing in numbers. There are now over 10 million streams of her songs on spotify and artists ranging from Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) and Big Thief to opera’s rising star Julia Bullock have also covered her work.
About the Author:
Howard Fishman is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker, where he has published essays on music, film, theater, literature, and culture; a playwright (his 2016 play about Connie Converse, A Star Has Burnt My Eye, was a New York Times “Critics Pick”); an accomplished musician; and author. As a performing songwriter and bandleader, Fishman has toured internationally as a headline artist for over two decades and has released eleven albums to date. He is based in Brooklyn, New York. You can listen to Howard’s music here.