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Mount Professor John Kruth Wins Award for Best Musical Biography of the Year
11/4/2008 - John Kruth, Professor of music at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, recently published To Live’s to Fly: The Ballad of the Late, Great Townes Van Zandt.  The book was selected as the “Best Musical Biography of the Year” by the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers Awards (ASCAP). He will be honored on Tuesday, December 9, at Lincoln Center in New York City where he will receive the Deems Taylor Award which recognizes books, articles, liner notes, broadcasts and websites on the subject of music selected for their excellence.

Van Zandt was an American songwriter who could not find fame in his own country but was successful overseas in Germany and Holland. “At a time when it's challenging to be proud of what is going on in America,” said Kruth, “I felt that telling the story and singing the praises of a great unknown American songwriter was a patriotic thing to do.”

The book is a testament to Van Zandt’s life. It took Kruth four years to conduct interviews and piece together the story of the singer’s life. “It was an effort of love and devotion to a man's music,” said Kruth. “I believe, and many others in the book will testify to this, that he was as important and inspired as other great songwriters of his day.”

Kruth himself is a songwriter who has nine albums under his belt. He has spent many years traveling across the nation and performing. In addition, Kruth has published poems, lyrics, and other biographies for nearly 25 years.  He credits DaCapo Books for publishing To Live’s to Fly: The Ballad of the Late, Great Townes Van Zandt saying it was difficult to find a publisher interested in this work. Kruth dedicated the book to his wife Marilyn Cvitanic who was also a Mount professor.

John Kruth is a singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist best known for his highly energetic “Banshee Mandolin” style of playing. He is proficient on guitar, banjo, harmonica and various flutes. Kruth is a music journalist and author. His first biography, Bright Moments – The Life and Legacy of Rahsaan Roland Kirk was first published in the U.S. and England in 2000 by Welcome Rain Books.  John currently has eight albums to his credit. The Star Ledger has called Kruth “a major talent, with an understanding of how to craft a first-class lyric.”  Kruth has  performed with playwright Sam Shepard, poet Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith, performance artist Laurie Anderson, producer Hal Willner, folksinger John Prine, as well as Violent Femmes, the Meat Puppets, and a host of other groups.  Kruth’s writing has appeared in the New York Times and Rolling Stone. 

He is currently a regular contributor to Rave (India), Sing Out!, Wax Poetics and Fretboard Journal. He lives in New York City.  For more information about John Kruth please visit