With a little help from my amazing editor Amanda Spedding, the second free copy of RADIO to hit the little free library circuit is now up for grabs. For those in the Sydney, Australia area, head on over to the Street Library on Bardwell Road near the Charles Daly Reserve in Bardwell Park. This is great opportunity for Sydneysiders to have a go at RADIO and, if interested, help out with the #WheresRADIO campaign.

The steps are simple.

  • Give RADIO a read
  • Consider leaving an honest review on whatever bookish site you prefer
  • Take your copy of RADIO to any new free book location. If you can’t find one, then it can just go back where you found it.
  • Either way, take a picture of that location then post the location and picture on Twitter or Instagram. Be sure to tag me @jrushingwrites and use the hashtag #WheresRADIO and I’ll repost the books new location along with a big thank you.

Happy reading!

Lots of authors have book sales in December as the holiday gift season rages on. Physical books make great gifts after all. Ebooks on the other hand are a little bit trickier to give. That’s why I decided to wait and have a post-holiday Kindle sale for anyone interested in discovering the darker side of 1920’s Paris with RADIO.

For the entire month of January, RADIO will be discounted to $1.99 in the USA, Canada, and Australia and will have similar discounts across all Kindle marketplaces.

If mind control, the gods of old, opium and jazz, suit your fancy, why not break out that shiny new gift card and treat yourself to your own copy of RADIO. There’s never been a better time to buy.

Music and Mind Control Fill the Air

While the mind control that permeates the airwaves of RADIO’s Paris may be a fantasy, the music is just fantastic and very much real. This playlist is almost entirely filled with music that rang through the streets of 1928’s Paris. There are a few songs that while a bit anachronistic, still inspired the world I created. I recommend listening with shuffle turned on. Enjoy!

Jazz in Paris

The story of jazz in Paris is the story of racism and prohibition in the United States. Jazz first took hold in Paris during and after WWI as members of segregated US military forces including the legendary Haarlem Hellfighters, were heartily welcomed by the war-weary french, a reception they could never find back in the states. These servicemen brought more than freedom for the french, they brought jazz. The most important figure in the earliest days of Parisian jazz was American military jazz band leader, James Reese Europe, whose band played in the streets of Paris, introducing the music to everyone within earshot.

Paris brought a level of freedom to these servicemen as well. While any claim that Paris was free of racisim in the 1920’s or today is absurd, the particular brand of racism was very different from what African Americans faced back home. Many musicians decided to stay rather than return to the harsher realities of the United States and the roots they put down in Paris were also the roots of jazz in the city. This created a growing ecosystem for more American jazz musicians to join.

Prohibition also played a major role in driving musicians to Europe and Paris. Live music and drinking establishments go hand in hand. With the prohibition of alcohol, many musicians found themselves working either illegal bootlegging jobs to make ends meet or working in illegal speakeasies in order to continue working as musicians. In Paris, where drinks poured freely and affordably, and jazz was picking up steam as a major musical force, it only made sense to make the trip across the Atlantic.

Del, the Guitar, and the 1920s

Del Chambers, who finds himself sharing his opium-addicted body with a god in RADIO, had one passion in life, the guitar. His role as a guitar player in a 1920s jazz band was a fairly new occurrence. In early jazz, the banjo was the stringed king of the rhythm section. The 1920s saw an innovation in guitar design and popularity. Luthiers, most notably Lloyd Loar at Gibson, were creating arched topped guitars which were louder and more projecting than their smaller, flat-topped counterparts. Because of this, guitar spent the decade climbing to prominence in the jazz world. However, it was still strictly a rhythm instrument. In his quest to expand what the guitar can do, Del took inspiration from blues musicians such as Lonnie Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Then, in the mid 1920’s, one jazz guitarist’s style changed how the guitar could be used in a band setting. These innovations sent he and his instrument on a meteoric rise to popularity. This was Del’s idol, the first true jazz guitar solo artist, Eddy Lang.

Eddie Lang

Eddie Lang was born Salvatore Massaro in Philadelphia in 1902. He first brought the guitar to prominence in the jazz world as a rhythm instrument in the early 1920’s but solidified his claim as the father of jazz guitar through his virtuosic solo playing from the mid 20s to the early 30s.
When people think of the original jazz guitar greats, they think of Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt. While these two exceptional talents are easily the most popular early jazz guitarists, Christian was only a child and Reinhardt, an up and coming musician while Eddie Lang was in his prime.
To see his revolutionary skills on display, check out songs like Wild CatApril KissesEddie’s Twister, and more in the playlist above.
Sadly, Eddie Lang died during a routine tonsillectomy in 1933 at the age of thirty.