American Jukebox: A Photographic Journey



American Jukebox profiles the spirit and heartbeat of our American musical heritage. Christopher Felver has collected over 240 photographs from tours and encounters with musicians over the past 25 years. From Doc Watson to John Cage and Mavis Staples to Sonny Rollins, this collection celebrates the tapestry and diversity of musical styles that make up the American sonic landscape. Caught in action on the stage or posed, Felver captures these musicians and composers in their musical element, revealing the face behind the rhythms, beats, and melodies that have punctuated American musical culture. Scattered throughout are playlists, autographed lyrics, record sleeves, and contributions by musicians sharing their memorable experiences of the era.

Product Details

$50.00  $46.00
Indiana University Press
Publish Date
May 23, 2014
8.75 X 0.85 X 11.2 inches | 2.72 pounds

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About the Author

Christopher Felver, filmmaker and photographer, has published seven books of photography, most recently Beat. Contributing to the visual archives of American culture, he has been a part of the American photography and videography scene for over 20 years. Felver's work has been featured in numerous international exhibits, including the New York Public Library, the Fahey/Klein Gallery of LA, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. He recently directed and produced the documentary Ferlinghetti: A Rebirth of Wonder.

Lee Ranaldo, founder of Sonic Youth, is a celebrated singer-songwriter, guitarist, and visual artist.

David Amram is an American composer, conductor, and performer.


"Felver possesses a unique skill, presenting the artists in moments that suggest a personal connection and unveiling of celebrity, while maintaining a firm grounding in the act of musical creation. Occasional recollections and ephemera from the featured artists further bolster the collection. Sure to please music aficionados and casual fans alike, the range and intimacy of this collection work together, drawing out nostalgia for the recent past. The artists feel present, whether it's Sonny Rollins with cheeks puffed as he glances over his shoulder, or Hazel Dickens's genuine smile. Felver's sincere appreciation of that presence is enough to make you turn on a record player."

--Publishers Weekly

"American Jukebox is a fine addition to any music-lover's library."

--San Jose Mercury News

"American Jukebox is Felver's own personal photographic playlist, with more than 200 black-and-white shots of an eclectic range of musical icons. Like a friendly paparazzo, he roamed the classic festivals (Farm Aid, Monterey Jazz Festival, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass) to catch the stars at their candid best....American Jukebox is a warm tribute to those who created this nation's modern musical legacy....A cornucopia of musical legends of the late 20th century, captured in moments of natural ease."

--Shelf Awareness

"Not every book opens with a page featuring a scrawled handwritten blurb from Lawrence Ferlinghetti. A collection of 240 photographs taken by Felver over the past 25 years, the black and white images catch musicians and composers both on the stage and posed in their musical element, revealing the faces behind the rhythms, beats, and melodies of American musical history."

--Publishers Weekly BEA Show Daily

"[Felver's] latest book brings together over 240 photographic portraits capturing many of the key figures he met in the new American music over the past quarter-century. Both candid and posed, the best photographs here and from brief encounters backstage and elsewhere with the likes of Emmylou Harris, Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Randy Newman, Harry Dean Stanton and Thurston Moore. There are also extensive collections of great names from country, blues and jazz that, taken as a whole, reveal the musical landscape he experienced."


"... A new picture book as efficient as a three-minute single."

--Sam Whiting "San Francisco Chronicle "

"In addition to photos, American Jukebox contains a fascinating sprinkling of writings by musicians.... But it is the photos that command our attention. They are united, above all, by their simplicity: Felver doesn't go in for elaborate lighting or sets. His subjects look directly into the camera or are captured in performance. However anarchic or tormented their music, the artists radiate a confident serenity. Most of the musicians are smiling, reflecting the evident pleasure they took in the photo session and the pleasure Felver had in capturing these images--a pleasure readers will share, too."

--Bloom Magazine

"This reviewer can think of no other book in which one can find such vivid photos of such a wide range of subjects, including Cyndi Lauper, Philip Glass, John Cage, Keb' Mo', Marian McPartland, Aaron Neville, Odetta, Lou Harrison, Laurie Anderson, Willie Nelson, Doc Watson, and Ozzy Osbourne...Visually stimulating, eclectic, and illuminating, this is an essential coffee-table book for music fans."

--Library Journal (Starred Review)