CHESTER ARTS & LITERARY WEEKEND
On Saturday, February 10, at 4 p.m. Chester resident Howard Fishman will be speaking about his book "To Anyone Who Ever Asks: The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse" at the Spring Street Studio & Gallery (1 Spring Street, Chester, CT).
Moderating the event will be Dr. Michele K. Troy, professor of English/director of the President's College for the University of Hartford.
Per a press release from Fishman's publisher (Dutton, see attached), "When musician and New Yorker contributor Howard Fishman first heard Connie Converse’s amateur recordings from the early 1950s by chance at a party, he was convinced she could not be real. Her songs were too good not to know, and too anachronistic to make sense. Converse seemed to bridge the gap between traditional Americana (country, blues, folk, jazz, and gospel), the Great American Songbook, classical art song, and the singer-songwriter movement spurred by Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell--but she was doing it a decade before they'd arrive.
Mesmerized by her genius, the connection was instant: Fishman needed to know everything there was to know about this enigmatic artist. But there was hardly any public information available. The bizarre legend about Connie Converse that had become the
prevailing narrative among those who had also discovered her music was that in 1974, at the age of 50, she simply drove off one day and was never heard from again. Could this have been true? Who was Connie Converse, really?
Determined to put together the missing pieces of her life and art, Fishman set out to write the Connie Converse story. A dozen years of research, travel to the places she lived, immersion into the voluminous effects she left behind, and hundreds of interviews
later (including many with her friends and family members), he gives readers the compelling result of his first-ever book.