Americana: The Kinks, the Riff, the Road: The Story
By Ray Davies (Sterling, $25)
This noteworthy memoir by the lead singer of The Kinks goes far beyond the usual rock ’n’ roll tell-all. Ray Davies’ tremendous talent as a songwriter turns the book into a lyrical and thoughtful reflection on his 50-year musical career, his creative process behind such hits as “Lola” and his complex, conflicted feelings about his experiences in America. Davies easily could have taken a maudlin turn in describing the near-fatal gunshot he suffered during a robbery in New Orleans in 2004. Instead, he places this transformative event in the context of his ongoing search for self and soul with writing as truthful and keenly observant as The Kinks’ greatest hits.