New novel Boomer1 has a Philly-centric soundtrack featuring Dr. Dog, Gillian Grassie, Lester and more - WXPN
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Gillian Grassie | photo courtesy of the artist

It’s unusual that a book has its own soundtrack. But Boomer1, a new novel by Daniel Torday, is a book about musicians, albeit fictional ones — it follows the story of a bluegrass musician and his punk bassist girlfriend — so it makes sense that the author would want a listenable component to accompany the story.

To make that happen, Torday, a professor of creative writing at Bryn Mawr College, asked several musicians to record reimagined covers of the traditional folk ballad “Pretty Polly,” a song that is featured heavily throughout the book. There happen to be a fair amount of artists with Philadelphia ties in the mix, including local favorites Dr. Dog, Peter Matthew Bauer of The Walkmen, Red Heart the Ticker, and DIY band Lester. One of Torday’s former creative writing students, LA-via-Philly harpist and singer Gillian Grassie, is featured in the soundtrack, and Torday himself contributed a cover.

Boomer1 is on shelves now, and its soundtrack is available to stream on Spotify. Listen below.

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