Small Town Talk
The idyllic hamlet of Woodstock, New York, has been coddled over ever since Bob Dylan moved there in the early 1960s. With its Edenesque downfall, propagated by a steady influx of free-love druggies and East Village artistes, Woodstock’s reputation as a bucolic commune for a rebellious generation is now subjective. Music historian Barney Hoskins has astutely described the ebbs and flows of Woodstock (the town, not so much the festival that borrowed the town’s name), its varied iconic citizenry (namely The Band, Van Morrison, and enigmatic Dylan manager/Bearsville Records magnate Albert Grossman), and how the ripples from its ’60s boon have left erosions in the town to this day. Grossman’s specter looms over the narrative, as his personal efforts of a pseudo-fiefdom mutated much of the real estate and the grassroots charm of the town. Through often heartbreaking historical accounts, Hoskins manages to craft a strong, acute account of the legacy of an enclave that almost lived up to all its Shangri-La promises.