"Necessity and fatherhood help a longtime gambler strike music gold... Mayo writes with tremendous energy and Southern wit, painting a colorful portrait of his picaresque rise to success." —Kirkus Reviews

Caveman Cover.jpg

From the founder of The Caverns: A mythic musical odyssey through fatherhood, spirituality, and Americana

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Publication date: September 17, 2024

Formats: Paperback ($19.99) & Ebook ($9.99)

Publisher: Bird & Baby Press

Todd Mayo is the visionary behind The Caverns, a celebrated music haven nestled in Tennessee's heartland. Caveman Chronicles charts his remarkable odyssey from troubled youth to entrepreneur, all in a richly musical atmosphere.

With candor, humor, and self-revelation, Mayo reflects on his idyllic childhood summers, his burned out adolescent years, and his transformative passage into fatherhood. Along the way, he gathers spiritual breadcrumbs that would guide him along his "hero's journey." As a caretaker for loved ones with both physical and mental illnesses, Mayo would find grounding and humility. As a world traveler, music lover, and reader, he would find myths and magical realism, inspiring him into imaginative pursuits.

Despite heartbreak and setbacks—divorce, failure, scams, and scandal—Mayo returns always to grace and wonderment. Caveman Chronicles is Mayo's hand-drawn map through thickets and brambles of doubt. Through twists and turns, he emerges where he was always destined to be: in a magic cave of his own making.


Photo by Michael Weintrob

Todd Mayo is the founder of The Caverns, a global music destination. He is the creator and co-producer of the Emmy-winning, second longest music series on American television, The Caverns Sessions on PBS. Todd also created and produced the PBS television series Ear to The Common Ground. He was a co-founder of Music City Roots and has produced musical television specials in Ireland, Australia, and Nashville. Todd believes in the power of music to bring people together and he lives with his family in Sewanee, Tennessee.

"Music lovers will relish a host of cameos, character portraits, and surprise connections, but it's Mayo's own life and storytelling skills that power the book... This memoir pulses with music, passion, and lessons learned."

—BookLife Review

"A beautiful chaos of a story that leads to a wholesome, profound read."

—Manhattan Book Review

Caveman Chronicles is an engrossing memoir about growing up in Memphis and forging a career in the music industry.

—Clarion Review

"An exploration of the ways that storytelling and mythmaking define our spiritual and intellectual growth, from fear to courage, hope, and love. . . Caveman Chronicles marks an impressive debut from an unconventional voice."


"Caveman Chronicles offers up everything it means to be human—the adventures, the sorrows, the joy, and the gratitude that come alongside hardship. Taking in Mayo's story feels like being in the company of a true friend and a great storyteller. I laughed, I smiled, I got a few tears in my eyes, and I got buoyed up to a place of goodness and optimism. His desire to share music as a vehicle to change this world ultimately changes his own relationship with the world, himself, the people around him, and those he's never even met—and makes us reckon with our own. Oh man, this dude is a real one, a dreamer not afraid to get his hands in the dirt. Read this book and live better."

—Sarah Norris, journalist

"America is chock full of self-made men stories. The American Dream itself is fraught with Hero's Journey Tales, of all shapes and sizes. But some of these tales are extraordinary. And Caveman Chronicles is in this special category. This is hard-earned wisdom spun within a splendidly entertaining odyssey. Todd Mayo's story is an inspiration, and never has there been a truer expression of his archetype. Bold, courageous and vulnerable. This is a proper medicine tale. And when you are done reading it, you will understand why."

—Parker Johnson, musician