From Garth Brooks to Willie Nelson, Country Stars Featured in Tom Alesia’s New Book | Entertainment

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GENA KITTNER For the State Journal

Madison author and former Wisconsin State Journal entertainment writer Tom Alesia knows that not everyone loves country music.

But, “if people can get beyond what’s the most popular hit, if they dig a little deeper … I think they’re going to be amazed and thrilled,” said Alesia, who offers just that to readers in his book “So Garth Became Elvis: A Country Music Writer’s Journey With The Stars, 1985-2010. Over 125 acts are featured in his collection, which was released this fall, including Everyone from Willie Nelson to Wynonna Judd.

Alesia said that the bond between the singer and the fans is greater in country music, more than in rock or any other genre. “They have to be from the people, that makes them more accessible … and more willing to do interviews.”

Q: You have a long history with journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal. How long have you been writing about music? What are you doing now?

A: I went to Indiana University and grew up a few miles from Chicago’s O’Hare airport. It was very urban. Country music was absolutely the furthest thing (for me) … until I was 18. Suddenly I opened up to a radio station that broadcasts Lyle Lovett, kd lang. Wow, did I like it. After that I worked briefly in Wausau, then worked 3 and a half years with Copley News Service in Springfield, Illinois. Then I came to Madison and worked at the Capital Times and the State Journal for about 17 years. I worked in associations for a while and for six years now I have been a teaching assistant in English classes at a suburban college.


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