For over forty years, Kentucky native, longtime Nashville resident John Cowan has been both a participant in and chronicler of country and bluegrass music history. Whether as the lead singer and bassist of the genre-bending group New Grass Revival, a beloved personality on Nashville’s WSM radio (“the most famed country music station in the world”), or the newest member of the Doobie Brothers, Cowan has had a front-row seat to seismic changes in American roots music and in the recording industry as a whole.

Hold to a Dream combines a rollicking account of Cowan’s life and career with interviews with some of the biggest names in country, bluegrass, and roots music including Kris Kristofferson, Bela Fleck, Loretta Lynn, Jim Messina, John Carter Cash, Sam Moore, and Bernie Leadon. It’s a fascinating look into a half-century of tradition, experimentation, and innovation in one of the most vital and enduring of American musical genres.

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About the Author

Hailed as “The Voice of Newgrass,” John Cowan has been singing his heart out for more than forty years in genres ranging from country, bluegrass, and gospel to soul, jazz, and rock-and-roll, often within the space of a single concert. As one of the original members of New Grass Revival, John—along with bandmates Sam Bush, Courtney Johnson, Curtis Burch, Bela Fleck, and Pat Flynn—introduced a new generation of music fans to an explosive and experimental brand of bluegrass, one that would help change the face of bluegrass and shape the sensibilities of country megastars including Garth Brooks and the Dixie Chicks and laid the groundwork for a new generation of bluegrass artists that includes Billy Strings & Molly Tuttle. John is currently the bassist for the Doobie Brothers, with whom he recently completed the group’s 50th anniversary tour. In addition, his new musical collaboration with fiddle player/singer Andrea Zonn – The HercuLeons – will release their debut album this fall, and John continues to perform with his New Grass All-Stars.”

Jimmy Schwartz is a contributing writer, editor, and longtime friend of John Cowan. He worked for more than three decades as an advertising writer and creative director in Chicago. He first met Mr. Cowan during the production of a radio commercial thirty-five years ago in Nashville. In 2018, a single comment from John over stuffed spinach pizza–“We should work on something together,”– kindled the spark of this memoir for which Jimmy, a lifelong Americana music fan, is unspeakably grateful. Mr. Schwartz is a devoted husband and awestruck father of two, currently living in the western suburbs of Chicago.