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Hotter Than A Pepper Sprout: A Hillbilly Poet’s Journey from Appalachia to Yale to Writing Hits for Elvis, Johnny Cash & More by Billy Ed Wheeler

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The creative accomplishments of Billy Edd Wheeler in a wide variety of fields are astounding and virtually unprecedented. He is a painter, a poet, a musician, a creator of plays and outdoor dramas, and best known as one of the most distinguished song-writers of his generation. The title of this autobiography comes from a line in “Jackson,” a song that Billy Edd Wheeler wrote that became a big hit for Johnny Cash and June Carter. The highs of Billy Edd Wheeler’s success in this memoir are not as fun or fascinating as the lows of his beginnings and his struggles to allow his art to support his lifestyle. Wheeler was born in 1932 and grew up in coal towns in Boone County, West Virginia, the son of a single mother and later the underappreciated step-son of an abusive step-father. He was whisked away, thanks to a high school counselor, to Warren Wilson Junior College and from there to Berea College, then Yale, and then the studios of Leibeer & Stoller, a New York publishing and song-writing team at the top of their game. His success there allowed him to return to North Carolina and marry the daughter of the President of his alma mater, Warren Wilson College, and from there to travel back and forth to Nashville as an accomplished song-writer, playwright, musician, painter and author.

New York: BMG Publishing, 2018. 250 pages with a Foreword by Janis Ian, and Introduction by Doug Orr, a Discography, photos, and drawings by the author. Hardback in dust jacket