Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley

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University of North Texas Press, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 262 pages
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Living in the Woods in a Tree is an intimate glimpse into the turbulent life of Texas music legend Blaze Foley (1949–1989), seen through the eyes of Sybil Rosen, the woman for whom he wrote his most widely known song, “If I Could Only Fly.” It captures the exuberance of their fleeting idyll in a tree house in the Georgia woods during the countercultural 1970s. Rosen offers a firsthand witnessing of Foley’s transformation from a reticent hippie musician to the enigmatic singer/songwriter who would live and die outside society's rules. While Foley's own performances are only recently being released, his songs have been covered by Merle Haggard, Lyle Lovett, and John Prine. When he first encountered “If I Could Only Fly,” Merle Haggard called it “the best country song I've heard in fifteen years.”

In a work that is part-memoir, part-biography, Rosen struggles to finally come to terms with Foley's myth and her role in its creation. Her tracing of his impact on her life navigates a lovers' roadmap along the permeable boundary between life and death. A must-read for all Blaze Foley and Texas music fans, as well as romantics of all ages, Living in the Woods in a Tree is an honest and compassionate portrait of the troubled artist and his reluctant muse.

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I am new to Blaze Foley but an old soul from the little back wood you wrote of in Georgia. This is a very well written account of the mid 1970's in the area which I grew up and of a time that will never be again. I gobbled each passage with an eagerness for more. This is definitely a story of lost but not unrequited love. I believe that Blaze is living in the heart of Ms. Rosen and will till Judgement Day. Good read! 


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About the author (2008)

Sybil Rosen was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, and holds a BFA from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. A screenwriter and playwright, she has won many awards. A short documentary for which she wrote the narration was nominated for an Academy Award in that category, and while she wrote for the TV show Guiding Light, it won an Emmy for best writing. She currently lives in Whitesburg, Georgia.

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