Tony Scherman is the author ofBackbeat: Earl Palmer's Story, which won a 2000 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music writing. He was an editor atMusicianandAudioand a contributing editor atLife; he has written about art, music, American history, and American culture for dozens of publications, including theNew York Times Magazine, theNew York TimesArts and Leisure section,Atlantic Monthly,Rolling Stone,Smithsonian,American Heritage,New York,Entertainment Weekly, andPeople. He was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 1997. A magazine article he wrote that year about the poet-activist-professor Melvin Tolson was the basis for the 2007 Denzel Washington filmThe Great Debaters. He has two daughters and lives in Rockland County, New York.