On this episode of Rock is Lit . . .

Michael Gaspeny and I talk about 

  • Our experiences launching debut novels and the advice we’d give new authors who are about to launch their first books
  • The backstory that inspired Michael to write the novel ‘A Postcard From the Delta’
  • Blues as the main character in the novel’s religion and what the Blues means to Michael 
  • When the Blues first grabbed Michael
  • How the British Blues Explosion of the 1960s helped white kids discover classic Blues musicians 
  • The appropriation issue
  • Michael’s experience visiting Clarksdale, Mississippi in the late 1990s
  • Why making pilgrimages to music-related sites is so important to music lovers
  • Racial issues present in the novel

Ray Koob and I talk about 

  • His podcast, Imbalanced History of Rock and Roll, and some of the episodes he’s done on Delta Blues (see the Imbalanced History of Rock and Roll website for more on those episodes)
  • Defining characteristics of Delta Blues and some of the most well-known players
  • Why Robert Johnson had the most unique style amongst all the Delta Blues musicians of his era, the legend about him selling is soul to the devil at the crossroads, his mysterious death
  • The earliest Delta Blues recordings—facilitated by John and Alan Lomax
  • Delta Blues as inspiration for the Skiffle movement in England in the 1960s
  • The few recorded female Delta Blues musicians, like Memphis Minnie
  • Bessie Smith’s tragic death/the effects of racism on the music and artists of the early to mid-20th century
  • The history, lore, and Blues-related sites in Clarksdale, MS
  • Contemporary artists playing and recording Delta Blues



  1. (Copyright Free) Acoustic Delta Blues--Instrumental
  2. “Modern Love” by David Bowie
  3. “Smokestack Lightnin’” by Howlin’ Wolf
  4. “You Can’t Love What You Ain’t Never Had” by Muddy Waters
  5. “Earth Angel” by The Penguins
  6. “Cross Road Blues” by Robert Johnson
  7. “I’m Ready” by Muddy Waters
  8. “Nothin’ But The Devil” by Rory Gallagher
  9. “You Got to Move” by Mississippi Fred McDowell
  10. “Milk Cow Blues” by Freddie Spruell
  11. “Me and the Devil Blues” by Robert Johnson
  12. “When the Levee Breaks” by Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe
  13. Clip from the movie ‘Crossroads’
  14. “Serves Me Right to Suffer” by John Lee Hooker



Digital Dying Blog post on Michael Gaspeny, https://www.funeralwise.com/digital-dying/the-deathbed-poet-how-one-man-makes-poems-of-lifes-last-hours/

North Carolina Writers’ Network, articles on Michael Gaspeny, https://www.ncwriters.org/news/blog/tag/michael-gaspeny/


Imbalanced History of Rock and Roll Podcast’s website, https://imbalancedhistory.com/

Imbalanced History of Rock and Roll Twitter, @ImbalancedHisto 

Imbalanced History of Rock and Roll Facebook


Christy Alexander Hallberg’s website: https://www.christyalexanderhallberg.com/

Christy Alexander Hallberg Twitter@ChristyHallberg

Christy Alexander Hallberg Instagram, @christyhallberg

Christy Alexander Hallberg YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfSnRmlL5moSQYi6EjSvqag

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