Click here to read reviewer Steven Rosen's take on Down the Rhodes.
The Fender Rhodes electric piano is a unique creation with an interesting history in popular music. What started as a rehabilitation tool for soldiers injured during World War II became a new outlet for generations of musicians.
Gerald McCauley and Benjamin Bove pull together dozens of notable artists to tell the story of how an electric piano helped shape popular music since the 1960s.
Each chapter features a musician telling their personal story about the Fender Rhodes. It is an excellent format for readers who want to flip pages to their favorite artists, as this is a heavy-duty coffee table book. The format also demonstrates how differently every artist approached the instrument.
This is certainly a niche book for musicians and serious music fans—that kind who really enjoy the minutiae of what they hear in songs. But it nails down what that niche wants out of a tribute to an instrument. It is just a machine, but what the musicians do with that machine is where the magic happens.
The book also features a documentary film featuring the interview footage with the artists. Bottom line: this is a terrific package for music nerds. An artist talking with passion makes for excellent reading. McCauley and Bove get out of the way and let the artists do the talking.