David Rowell is a professional journalist and an impassioned amateur musician. He’s spent decades behind a drum kit, pondering the musical relationship between equipment and emotion. In Wherever the Sound Takes You, he explores the essence of music’s meaning with a wide spectrum of musicians, trying to understand their connection to their chosen instrument, what they’ve put themselves through for their music, and what they feel when they play.
Rowell visits clubs, concert halls, street corners, and open mics, traveling from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland to a death metal festival in Maryland, with stops along the way in the Alps and Appalachia. His keen reportorial eye treats us to in-depth portraits of everyone from platinum-selling legend Peter Frampton to a devout Christian who spends his days alone in a storage unit bashing away on one of the largest drum sets in the world. Rowell illuminates the feelings that both spur music’s creation and emerge from its performance, as well as the physical instruments that enable their expression. With an uncommon sensitivity and endless curiosity, he charts the pleasure and pain of musicians consumed with their craft—as all of us listen in.