About David Starr & beauty and ruin
Americana artist David Starr is embarking on a new musical and literary adventure with a collection of songs inspired by Of What Was, Nothing Is Left, a novel written by his grandfather in 1972, which Starr plans to re-publish. Beauty And Ruin, recorded in Nashville, is produced and arranged by John Oates and co-produced by David Starr and David Kalmusky.
The final book Fred Starr published before his death, Of What Was, Nothing Is Left is a story of tragedy, family dysfunction, and denial set in rural southwest Arkansas. After working with John Oates (Hall & Oates) on his 2017 The Head And Heart EP, David approached him with the idea: what if we gave several of our favorite songwriters a copy of the book and asked them to write for a concept album based on the story?
The concept was not so much for them to retell the story, but to write songs inspired by the places, characters and situations found in the book. After working with John Oates (Hall & Oates) on his 2017 The Head And Heart EP, David approached him with the idea: what if we gave several of our favorite songwriters a copy of the book and asked them to write for a concept album based on the story? Contributors to Beauty And Ruin include John Oates, Jim Lauderdale, Wood Newton, Dana Cooper, Doug and Telisha Williams (Wild Ponies), Irene Kelley, and Shelley Rae Korntved.
“It is like watching a movie,” says Oates. "The cinematic aural landscape visually evokes a classic tale of tragedy, love gone wrong and an exploration of human nature and all its flaws."
Set in late nineteenth-century Arkansas, the original novel inspired these artists to mine their own history and life experience. This album hammers home the importance of storytelling through our country’s oral traditions, reimagined through the spirit of Fred Starr’s original book and now musically brought to life by his grandson's unmistakable and emotional vocal performance.
The re-publishing of the book along with the compilation of 11 songs has an anticipated release of February 2020. The book will contain a forward with creative input from the songwriters involved, including interviews with each songwriter featuring insights into process and inspiration from the book.