press reactions to:
. .

"With evident relish, [Chusid] profiles dozens of people whose songs and compositions -- naive, amateur, deranged, at the outer limits of the avant-garde, or just stupefyingly bad -- can be seen as the musical equivalent of outsider art."
--The New Yorker

"Chusid documents nearly two dozen cases of 'outsider music' in the articulate, expressive, and intriguing book that he describes as 'a pan-galactic map of crackpot and visionary music,' with all trails leading to one place: 'over the edge.' ... He avoids hyperbole in favor of documenting the artists' histories with interviews, eyewitnesses, and enthusiasts to better articulate and communicate the artists' appeal. It is this approach that makes the book completely indispensable to anyone with so much as a fleeting interest in music. ... This book and its surprisingly charming companion CD (sold separately) could very well trigger a cataclysmic revelation."
--San Francisco Bay Guardian

"[Songs in the Key of Z] surveys the outer reaches of the music kingdom, where the Shaggs and Tiny Tim are superstars. ... The effect is an unsettling assault on the very notion of 'good' and 'bad' music."
--Entertainment Weekly

"This material is an acquired taste, to be sure, but we find the wonderful eccentrics who populate Songs in the Key of Z to be a savory antidote to the manufactured boy bands, teen squeezes, and assembly-line thugs clogging the charts these days."

"If you think you were ever on the fringe check out Songs In The Key Of Z, where some of the world's greatest misfits are gathered together on one disc for the geek party of all time. ... Heartbreaking, morbidly fascinating (kind of like watching a train wreck) and strangely entertaining, Chusid's sonic universe can stand proudly next to Dr. Demento's latest collection as a prime document of the weird."
--New City (Chicago)

"It's impossible to read this book and not be intrigued."
--Sunday Star-Ledger (NJ)


"[A] primer to musicians who come 'packaged with a special set of instructions.' ... By recasting his subject as 'outsider music,' meaning folk art, Chusid clings to the fine line that separates pathetically laughable from jawdroppingly weird."

"Chusid narrates each musician's vital statistics and career with rhythm and respectful wit."
--Publisher's Weekly

"So-called 'outsider' music exists on a unique and awkward plane of appreciation. The artists who make it are often extremely eccentric, or even deranged in the clinical sense, so the music itself teeters on the brink of lunacy, genius, exploitation, and novelty. Nevertheless, Songs In The Key Of Z ... does a fine job displaying the genre's many different facets. ... Since the stories often mean as much, if not more, than the music itself, it's nice to have the companion book on hand, as well: It's even more thorough and diverse than the disc it accompanies."
--The Onion

"Chusid has written a valentine to 'outsider' artists, musicians who -- unlike frayed pop icons Phil Spector and Brian Wilson -- lack total self-awareness but overflow with earnestness. Among others, Chicago-based schizophrenic troubadour Wesley Willis, former Pink Floyd songwriter Syd Barrett, and street musician Larry 'Wild Man' Fischer -- a man even weirdo Frank Zappa found captivating -- are profiled in a voice many rock writers dream about mastering. The 'outsider' genre was in desperate need of a biographer, and luckily Chusid was there to tell each musicians's tale as if he were writing about the next 'big thing.' He possesses a knowledge of music culture that most contemporary rock critics think they have. Guaranteed: this book will take readers to record stores searching for Chusid's list of musical miscreants. Good luck finding all of them."
--Library Journal

"Chusid ... [has] become the dean of all musics demented, deconstructed and, often, damn brilliant. ...Songs in the Key of Z ... could very well be the first proper and somewhat encompassing documentation of what Chusid likes to call 'outsider music.' By telling the stories of freaks both famous and obscure ... Chusid finally gives a face to those progenitors of out-there pop."
--Philadelphia Weekly


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