To Anyone Who Ever Asks

The Life, Music, and Mystery of Connie Converse

Howard Fishman author


Publisher:Headline Publishing Group

Published:2nd May '23


Available for immediate dispatch.

The incredible true story of a 1950s singer who made a unique contribution to music history and
then mysteriously disappeared and was never seen again.

The mysterious true story of Connie Converse - a mid-century New York singer and songwriter whose haunting music never gained widespread recognition - and one writer's quest to understand her life.

When musician and New Yorker contributor Howard Fishman first heard a Connie Converse recording, he was convinced she could not be real. Her music was too out of place for the 1950s to make sense - a singer who bridged the gap between traditional Americana, pop standards, and the singer-songwriter movement that exploded a decade later with Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell.

Fishman was determined to know more about this artist and how she slipped through the cracks of music history but there was one problem: in 1974, at the age of fifty, Converse simply drove off one day and was never heard from again.

After a dozen years of research, Fishman expertly weaves a narrative of her life and music, and of how it has come to speak to him as both an artist and a person.

It is by turns a hopeful, inspiring, melancholy, and chilling story of dark family secrets, taciturn New England traditions, a portrait of 1950s Greenwich Village, of a visionary intellect and talent, and a woman who fiercely strove for independence when the odds were against her. Ultimately, Fishman places Converse in the canon as a vital, overlooked trailblazer, a missing link pre-empting the reflective, complex, arresting music that transformed the 1960s and music forever.

A massive and fascinating feat. * MOJO Magazine *
Uncovers a haunting picture of a troubled life. * UNCUT *
Gripping and searching... Mr. Fishman's thoughtful and deeply researched book provides a far bolder jolt than any cover version can provide. It may yet help find for Converse what the author proposes-a place at 'the table of great American artists and thinkers'. * Wall Street Journal *
[To Anyone Who Ever Asks] is the grandly researched portrait of a talent who didn't get her due, a kind of worst-case study of why this indignity remains a brutally common occurrence ... [it]is simultaneously the record of an obsession and its ultimate payoff. It's hard to think of any book that grants such loving attention to an artist who has otherwise been denied it. * Washington Post *
[Fishman's] enthusiasm and diligence is infectious . . . Through the obsession of such dedicated fans as Fishman, Connie Converse will find a larger audience. * Kirkus *
Musician, culture writer, and playwright Fishman's extraordinary trek through the life and works of Connie Converse is a laudable endeavor... the author constructs an emotional narrative ... [To Anyone Who Ever Asks is] an interesting foray into Converse's glimmer of fame and sad subsequent neglect. * Library Journal *
The mystery of American composer Connie Converse's disappearance in 1974 is ongoing, and she may be lost forever. But her spectacular work has been rescued and elevated to a marvelous level by Howard Fishman. Her music belongs to an America that barely knows it exists. -- William Kennedy, Pulitzer prize-winning author of IRONWEED
Connie Converse's songs are a revelation, finely wrought, wry, as beautiful as they are weird. I'm so grateful this enigmatic writer and her catalogue are being explored and celebrated, in this book and beyond. -- Anaïs Mitchell, Tony and Grammy-winning creator of HADESTOWN, and author of WORKING ON A SONG
Packed with detective-level details about a Renaissance woman whose work passed through this world all but unnoticed. * Boston Globe *

ISBN: 9781035408863

Dimensions: 236mm x 158mm x 54mm

Weight: 900g

608 pages