The story is presented as a true account, first-person narrative in which Smith accompanied Bluegrass great Bill Monroe on a trip to the White House. Monroe performed and received an honor from former President Bill Clinton. Smith maintains she was not present for the event, and that the only person who was with Monroe on the trip was his agent, Tony Conway.Either way, it has the makings of a fine tale.
Conway argues the story itself is incorrect. The trip Monroe took as described in "He Always Knew Who He Was" actually took place in the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan was President. In today’s Tennessean.com story, Conway said, "I think this guy (Hicks) had heard the story at some point in his life and just kind of embellished it from there. He might have heard it four or five times from different sources, but he got the story wrong."
Hicks and his publisher, Center Street, will make corrections to future printings of the book and current electronic copies. Said Hicks, "I regret it and I take full responsibility for it. It turns out that the story's point of view isn't correct. It's a story I have told personally for many years, and I was wrong."
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
"A Guitar and a Pen" - Controversy
I reviewed A Guitar and a Pen back on April 28 and I well remember the short story that is causing author Robert Hicks a few problems this week. It was one called "He Always Knew Who He Was" and featured a real life visit that Bluegrass music originator Bill Monroe made to the White House. The story was attributed to country music journalist Hazel Smith who has now come forward to say that she did not write the piece. Robert Hicks admits to having ghost written the story and is apologizing for some apparent inaccuracies contained in it according to the Country Hound website.