Ryan Walsh, Astral Weeks

author photo Ryan WalshA mind-expanding dive into a lost chapter of 1968, featuring the famous and forgotten: Van Morrison, folkie-turned-cult-leader Mel Lyman, Timothy Leary, James Brown, and many more.

Van Morrison's Astral Weeks is an iconic rock album shrouded in legend, a masterpiece that has touched generations of listeners and influenced everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Martin Scorsese. In his first book, acclaimed musician and journalist Ryan H. Walsh unearths the album's fascinating backstory--along with the untold secrets of the time and place that birthed it: Boston 1968.

Walsh's book follows a criss-crossing cast of musicians and visionaries, artists and hippie entrepreneurs, from a young Tufts English professor who walks into a job as a host for TV's wildest show (one episode required two sets, each tuned to a different channel) to the mystically inclined owner of radio station WBCN, who believed he was the reincarnation of a scientist from Atlantis. Most penetratingly powerful of all is Mel Lyman, the folk-music star who decided he was God, then controlled the lives of his many followers via acid, astrology, and an underground newspaper called Avatar.

From life-changing concerts and chilling crimes, to acid experiments and film shoots, Astral Weeks is the secret, wild history of a unique time and place.

Ryan H. Walsh is a musician and journalist. His culture writing has appeared in the Boston Globe, Vice, and Boston Magazine. He was a finalist for the Missouri School of Journalism's City and Regional Magazine Award for his feature on Van Morrison's year in Boston, from which this book developed. His rock band Hallelujah the Hills has won praise from Spin magazine and Pitchfork; collaborated on a song with author Jonathan Lethem; and toured the U.S. extensively over their 10-year existence. The band won a Boston Music Award for Best Rock Artist, and Walsh has twice won the award for Best Video Direction. He lives in Boston with his wife, the acclaimed singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler.

Event date: 
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Porter Square Books
25 White St.
Cambridge, MA 02140
Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780735221369
Availability: On Order at the Warehouse
Published: Penguin Books - March 5th, 2019

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