Witch Hairs Front Cover
A BOOK BY DIXIE GAMBLE

Witch Hairs

This is the true story of a remarkable life and a guide to how to live it. It’s the story of true love and how to get and give it.

Dixie Gamble went from a small North Carolina town as a divorced young mother of two boys to the first female president of Elektra Asylum Music, a publishing division of Warner Bros. Records in Nashville, guiding the careers of Pam Tillis, Lewis Storey, and many others. A second marriage to one of the most storied record producers in the country lead to another divorce and a deeper longing to find answers to her lifelong questions.

In Witch Hairs, she shows, and explains, every tug at her soul and the fulfillment she found, each pluck of what was and a map to what should be. Part memoir, part atlas of the soul of the Universe, Dixie Gamble hides nothing of her journey to find both herself …

And John.

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Without guile and, perhaps more importantly, unapologetically, Witch Hairs chronicles the soul journey of a childhood mystic, music business executive, extraterrestrial confidant, primitive culture documentarian, mental health and prison reform activist, adventurer, devoted mother, lover of one of the world’s finest musicians and published author.
Read and understand that wherever there’s a fossilized belief system in need of a good challenging—and/or transcending—Dixie Gamble has been there, done that.

Rodney Crowell, Recording Artist and Author of Chinaberry Sidewalks
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dixie Gamble

Dixie Gamble, former Nashville music executive, turned author, filmmaker and human rights activist is a 21st Century visionary who in recent years has focused her lens on the intersection of mental illness and criminal justice.

As President of Elektra Asylum Music, a publishing division of Warner Bros. Records in the early 1980s, Ms. Gamble spearheaded the careers of Pam Tillis, Lewis Storey, KT Oslin, Josh Leo, as well as numerous other songwriters of that era.

A contributor to Tennessee’s  New Abolitionists, The Fight to End the Death Penalty in the Volunteer State, Edited by Amy L. Sayward and Margaret Vandiver,  Vision’s  From The Afterlife by Lee Lawson, The Guardian, the National Allliance on Mental Illness and many other mental health publications, Ms. Gamble is a valued advocate for the mental health community.

Beyond Right and Wrong, a docu-drama depicting the last twenty minutes of the condemned life of a severely mentally ill inmate, won several film festivals including the Telluride Indie Fest.

SAFE:  Safe Aware First responder Education, is a successful, widely viewed law enforcement training film, created for NAMI TN in 2008, and thus far has trained many officers across Tennessee.

In 2009, Ms. Gamble produced and directed Utopian Art:  A Bridge Across Time, a documentary about the Aboriginal dot painters from the Utopia Region of the Northern Territory of Australia.  Gamble Productions is the only film crew ever allowed access to the tribal woman painters and their sacred Women’s Ceremony.

CODE:  Correction Officers De-escalation Education is Gamble Productions second film for NAMITN, created as a consciousness-raising /training tool for correctional institutions and jails all across the country.   This film is narrated by Steve Lopez, author of The Soloist, and esteemed editorial writer for the LA Times and is imbued with rock stars of the mental healthworld, including Pete Earley, former NY Times Editorial writer and author of Crazy and Dr. Javier Amador, of the LEAP Institute.

Before entering the field of filmmaking, Dixie Gamble had a private practice in Spiritual Psychology in West Hollywood.

“My inspiration, education, and impetus to center my work on the crossroads of mental illness and criminal justice is galvanized by my youngest son’s on going suffering with severe and persistent mental illness. My volunteered time as a meditation teacher/self awareness advocate in a maximum- security prison, as well as many years spent as Spiritual Advisor to Death Row agitated my determination to create CODE as a universal training tool for Correctional Institutions.”

Author Dixie Gamble

Dixie Gamble reinvents the notion of female power and the idea of the “strong Southern woman” in this memoir of personal and public triumph and trial. A woman who weathers physical and spiritual peril while connecting with a universe of characters as diverse as you can imagine, from the heights of the Nashville recording industry to tribal artists in the remotest reaches of the globe, Dixie challenges us all to draw deeply on our own humanity in order to see the world around us in new ways. This is the kind of book that saves lives. This is the kind of book that starts revolutions.

Dr. Nicole Sarrocco, Author of Lit by Lightning and others

Highlights from the book

From the prologue

Mother shaved hers.

At least until she could no longer hold a razor after she stroked out. They then sprouted into a light and dark pronouncement of loss of control and inability to protect herself from shame. She was dozing the first time I saw her after her stint in rehab, a futile attempt to put her flailing life back together. There was no rebooting Mama’s brain. I stood at the door gazing at her skeletal frame outlined by the setting sun, looking like an illumined corpse. All I could see was her chin beard. I shivered in shame, once for her, once for myself seeing my loving mother so vulnerable that she couldn’t fend off an encroaching lady beard. I touched her face, careful to avoid the obvious. She awoke and smiled a half smile, the stroke having robbed her of the other half. I cradled her bony frame, hoping beyond hope that my mama was still in there somewhere, then picked up the razor and went to work on her crop.

Witch Hair #1

Siring in the South breeds existential bounty, palates whetted for savory foods like slow-cooked pinto beans, fresh turnip greens and iron pan cornbread—forget about flour or sugar— and lean-living folk accustomed to giving without expectation, especially anything edible. Ours were noses aroused by the scent of cotton plucked straight from the boll and soppy summer days infused with honeysuckle and humidity, all cosmically concocted to distract from the ruthless chiggers, ticks, and mosquitos gnawing at your skin.

Witch Hair #5

I had no solid male example of how to master success, yet I had leadership status in an industry cinched in a kicking and screaming transformation from a good ol’ boy network into what was to soon become a major moneymaking mecca. I carved my chops with the cowboy hat and shit-kicking boots at Tree Publishing Company, worn by the likes of Willie Nelson, Hank Cochran, Harlan Howard, Bobby Braddock and Roger Miller, all on paths to the legendary walls of the Country Music Hall of Fame. They were not incumbent country music messiahs in my mind, but friends to hang with, smoke weed, and witness the birth of their newborn poems set to music.

Witch Hair #5

In 1974, Buddy Killen, the owner of Tree with Jack Stapp, called me in his office to tell me that he had arranged for Paul and Linda McCartney and their kids to stay at Curly Putman’s farm in Lebanon for six weeks, and would I like to be their “Girl Friday”? Are you fucking kidding me? Hang with a Beatle?

Witch Hair #12

The first time I saw Billie—1958, standing in the middle of the China Grove skating rink, holding court like a well-seasoned jester—I was hopelessly hooked. Bright lights reflected off a skillfully oiled, impeccably coifed Elvis pomp. Head thrown back in a laugh being drowned out by strains of “Johnny, he’s a joker, he’s a bird, a very funny joker, he’s a dog … he’s a bird dog,” the Everly Brothers’ anthem to Billie, or it seemed that way in the moment.

A few days later, Billie and I were wrestling in our front yard, when Mother came tearing out of the house, flailing a dishrag in the air.

“Dixie Jane Cauble, it is not nice for little girls to be wrastlin’ with little boys!” The three-name thing meant serious shit.

“Mama, he ain’t a boy, he’s a girl!” I yelled from somewhere beneath Billie.

Witch Hair #7

Some months after I wrote this passage, I was in my morning meditation when again I was ousted out of my body, then settled on the floor beside the bed. In a flash, an all-encompassing presence lowered down on me, as if merging with me. The presence was distinctly masculine with a beguiling innocence and open benevolence.

Startled, “Who are you?!” I snapped.

A distinctive chuckle, then audibly, “well, I’m John.”

The implication in the tone of what he said was, I’m John, I’ve been waiting and waiting for you and I can’t believe you don’t know who I am.

My immediate response was: “It doesn’t matter who you are; this is EVERYTHING.”

Witch Hair #18

“Now,” Dale began matter-of-factly, as if addressing her board of directors. “I want you to help me die, if that becomes necessary. I mean, if I chicken out or anything, remind me that I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid of death, but who knows how I might react when dying becomes the only choice I have in the moment. I don’t want to carry over a carload of fear with me.”

I nodded in agreement, a weak smile wrenching through a torrent of tears.

“And Dixie,” Dale instructed, “we need to be able to know conclusively if indeed, I can consciously reach you and you can conclusively know it’s me. I mean, beyond any shadow of doubt. How can we do that?”

Witch Hair #20

We called him Garin figuring it would look good in lights someday. GARIN GAMBLE: simple, easy to remember, and pretty damn creative for a couple of twenty-one-year-old small town kids. From the start it was easy to see that he was destined for some kind of fame: he had the name, he had the edge, the sparkle, and the shine. By the time he was a year old, he managed to pull the right-tone pots and pans out of the lower cabinet, flip them over, strike the right spots with spoons in synchronized timing … the first of many drum sets.

With every step down the boulevard my emotions whiplashed, afraid I would find him then afraid I wouldn’t. We slowly scoured another half block stopping to gaze at the look-alike sun-scorched faces.

“Lona! That’s him, that’s Garin!” I screamed pointing across the busy street.

He was ambling through the picturesque park surrounding the famous pier. I darted across Ocean Boulevard threading bumper-to-bumper traffic sprinting to him before he was sucked into the miasma of homelessness.

A mother knows her child when she sees him.

Highlights from the book

From the prologue

Mother shaved hers.

At least until she could no longer hold a razor after she stroked out. They then sprouted into a light and dark pronouncement of loss of control and inability to protect herself from shame. She was dozing the first time I saw her after her stint in rehab, a futile attempt to put her flailing life back together. There was no rebooting Mama’s brain. I stood at the door gazing at her skeletal frame outlined by the setting sun, looking like an illumined corpse. All I could see was her chin beard. I shivered in shame, once for her, once for myself seeing my loving mother so vulnerable that she couldn’t fend off an encroaching lady beard. I touched her face, careful to avoid the obvious. She awoke and smiled a half smile, the stroke having robbed her of the other half. I cradled her bony frame, hoping beyond hope that my mama was still in there somewhere, then picked up the razor and went to work on her crop.

Witch Hair #1

Siring in the South breeds existential bounty, palates whetted for savory foods like slow-cooked pinto beans, fresh turnip greens and iron pan cornbread—forget about flour or sugar— and lean-living folk accustomed to giving without expectation, especially anything edible. Ours were noses aroused by the scent of cotton plucked straight from the boll and soppy summer days infused with honeysuckle and humidity, all cosmically concocted to distract from the ruthless chiggers, ticks, and mosquitos gnawing at your skin.

Witch Hair #5

I had no solid male example of how to master success, yet I had leadership status in an industry cinched in a kicking and screaming transformation from a good ol’ boy network into what was to soon become a major moneymaking mecca. I carved my chops with the cowboy hat and shit-kicking boots at Tree Publishing Company, worn by the likes of Willie Nelson, Hank Cochran, Harlan Howard, Bobby Braddock and Roger Miller, all on paths to the legendary walls of the Country Music Hall of Fame. They were not incumbent country music messiahs in my mind, but friends to hang with, smoke weed, and witness the birth of their newborn poems set to music.

Witch Hair #5

In 1974, Buddy Killen, the owner of Tree with Jack Stapp, called me in his office to tell me that he had arranged for Paul and Linda McCartney and their kids to stay at Curly Putman’s farm in Lebanon for six weeks, and would I like to be their “Girl Friday”? Are you fucking kidding me? Hang with a Beatle?

Witch Hair #12

The first time I saw Billie—1958, standing in the middle of the China Grove skating rink, holding court like a well-seasoned jester—I was hopelessly hooked. Bright lights reflected off a skillfully oiled, impeccably coifed Elvis pomp. Head thrown back in a laugh being drowned out by strains of “Johnny, he’s a joker, he’s a bird, a very funny joker, he’s a dog … he’s a bird dog,” the Everly Brothers’ anthem to Billie, or it seemed that way in the moment.

A few days later, Billie and I were wrestling in our front yard, when Mother came tearing out of the house, flailing a dishrag in the air.

“Dixie Jane Cauble, it is not nice for little girls to be wrastlin’ with little boys!” The three-name thing meant serious shit.

“Mama, he ain’t a boy, he’s a girl!” I yelled from somewhere beneath Billie.

Witch Hair #7

Some months after I wrote this passage, I was in my morning meditation when again I was ousted out of my body, then settled on the floor beside the bed. In a flash, an all-encompassing presence lowered down on me, as if merging with me. The presence was distinctly masculine with a beguiling innocence and open benevolence.

Startled, “Who are you?!” I snapped.

A distinctive chuckle, then audibly, “well, I’m John.”

The implication in the tone of what he said was, I’m John, I’ve been waiting and waiting for you and I can’t believe you don’t know who I am.

My immediate response was: “It doesn’t matter who you are; this is EVERYTHING.”

Witch Hair #16

“Now,” Dale began matter-of-factly, as if addressing her board of directors. “I want you to help me die, if that becomes necessary. I mean, if I chicken out or anything, remind me that I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid of death, but who knows how I might react when dying becomes the only choice I have in the moment. I don’t want to carry over a carload of fear with me.”

I nodded in agreement, a weak smile wrenching through a torrent of tears.

“And Dixie,” Dale instructed, “we need to be able to know conclusively if indeed, I can consciously reach you and you can conclusively know it’s me. I mean, beyond any shadow of doubt. How can we do that?”

Witch Hair #20

We called him Garin figuring it would look good in lights someday. GARIN GAMBLE: simple, easy to remember, and pretty damn creative for a couple of twenty-one-year-old small town kids. From the start it was easy to see that he was destined for some kind of fame: he had the name, he had the edge, the sparkle, and the shine. By the time he was a year old, he managed to pull the right-tone pots and pans out of the lower cabinet, flip them over, strike the right spots with spoons in synchronized timing … the first of many drum sets.

With every step down the boulevard my emotions whiplashed, afraid I would find him then afraid I wouldn’t. We slowly scoured another half block stopping to gaze at the look-alike sun-scorched faces.

“Lona! That’s him, that’s Garin!” I screamed pointing across the busy street.

He was ambling through the picturesque park surrounding the famous pier. I darted across Ocean Boulevard threading bumper-to-bumper traffic sprinting to him before he was sucked into the miasma of homelessness.

A mother knows her child when she sees him.

Events

A few photos from the launch event at Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN on September 9th.

All photos by Dan Heller.

Upcoming Events

Dixie Gamble – a former Nashville music executive, turned filmmaker, human rights activist, healer and now author – is due to visit Page 158 in Wake Forest, NC to introduce her first book, Witch Hairs: Mirth, Miracles, Mayhem & Music (Working Title Farm). Gamble will read excerpts from her book Thursday, Nov. 14 at Page 158 (415 Brooks Street, Wake Forest, NC 27587 ) from 6.30 p.m, and will be available for book signings. Dixie is looking forward to meeting you all in Wake Forest, NC.

Events

A few photos from the launch event at Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN on September 9th.

All photos by Dan Heller.

Upcoming Events

Dixie Gamble – a former Nashville music executive, turned filmmaker, human rights activist, healer and now author – is due to visit Page 158 in Wake Forest, NC to introduce her first book, Witch Hairs: Mirth, Miracles, Mayhem & Music (Working Title Farm). Gamble will read excerpts from her book Thursday, Nov. 14 at Page 158 (415 Brooks Street, Wake Forest, NC 27587 ) from 6.30 p.m, and will be available for book signings. Dixie is looking forward to meeting you all in Wake Forest, NC.

Media

A SELECTION OF PHOTOS FROM DIXIE’S PRIVATE COLLECTION THAT HIGHLIGHT SOME OF THE CHARACTERS AND STORIES THAT MAKE UP THE BOOK

Hover over a image to see the description or click on an image to see the photos as a lightbox or slideshow.

Companion CD Available now

Chiaroscuro

Songs from the pages of Witch Hairs

Musical artists from Dixie Gamble’s past, present and future have collaborated to create this unique collection of songs, some inspired by and some giving inspiration to Witch Hairs. Rodney Crowell, Lewis Storey, Bee Taylor, Harry Stinson, Beth Hooker, Mary Ann Kennedy, Pierpaolo Adda, Lauren Braddock, Hannah Sutherland,  and John Jorgenson bring their immense and eclectic talents to illustrate musically many of the amazing and heartbreaking experiences shared within the chapters.

You can hear previews of the songs below.

Purchase, download and streaming links will be available soon.

Preview The Songs

Witch Hairs, Don’t Care

Written and performed by Lauren Braddock for the title of the book!

Edge of Everything

Written by Beth Hooker / John Jorgenson – performed by Beth Hooker references the spiritual consciousness of the entire book!

Someone Else Like You

Written and performed by Lewis Storey – references Witch Hair #9

Billie!

Written by Harry Stinson / John Jorgenson  performed by Harry Stinson for Witch Hair #12 about my best friend from China Grove, NC, who would have been considered transgender. We were 12.

Slip Away

Written and performed by John Jorgenson inspired by Witch Hairs #18 about my friend Dale Franklin. We had a plan to meet again if we could.

Goodbye Breeze

Written by Rodney Crowell / John Jorgenson – performed by John Jorgenson referencing Witch Hair #20 when my son Garin was missing for two years.

Crow

Crow – written and performed by Mary Ann Kennedy for Witch Hair#20 (Garin’s chapter).
This beautiful song comforted me during Garin’s missing years.  I listened to it over and over when all else failed.

Tale of Two Brothers

Written by John Jorgenson / Dixie Gamble performed by Hannah Sutherland for Witch Hairs #23

Take Peace

Written and performed by Bee Taylor – referencing Witch Hair #24 about a mentally broken man condemned to death for killing his four children. I was his spiritual advisor.

Black and Blue

Written and performed by John Jorgenson. Witch Hair #29. This was my wedding march song.

Old Dancing Couple

Written by Rodney Crowell on my birthday nine years before he and I met, recorded by John Jorgenson three years before we met. Performed by Rodney Crowell. Rodney sang it at our wedding.   Witch Hair #29

Chiaroscuro

Chiaroscuro written and performed by Pierpaolo Adda with translation by John Jorgenson.

We are…We are the light…
Shining bright as any sun

And yet…We are the dark…
Black as night void of the moon

We as humans fall in the middle
Joy and tragedy fill each day
A conundrum within a riddle 
Life exists a shade of grey

Contact

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Press & Media Enquiries

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Jim Havey
646-554-5519
jhavey@jimhaveypr.com

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Publisher

Publisher Enquiries

Working Title Farm
Shari Smith
shari@workingtitlefarm.com

Sales Enquiries: sales@workingtitlefarm.com

Bookstore and book club appearances: info@workingtitlefarm.com

Dixie

Contact Dixie

Dixie Gamble
dixie@witchhairs.com

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