The music industry's walking encyclopedia, Jake Brown, has penned his 50th book where he features legendary country producers Tony Brown, Shane McAnally, Dann Huff, Buddy Cannon, Clint Black and many more in the extensive documentary.
Brown knows more about the music industry than any human I have ever met. Being that he just completed his 50th book, “Behind the Boards: Nashville,” he writes memoirs and provides a plethora of behind the scenes' antidotes for all music genres.
Brown said he got interested in what goes behind the scenes when he was a child. His mother took him and his brother to see the Bon Jovi –Slippery When Wet concert. They had terrible seats. He couldn’t see the stage much, but he could see behind the stage.
“[What they were doing] was so cool to me. I had a Beatles moment,” he said.
His goal with the Behind the Boards books is to “take the reader into the recording studio, sit them down behind the monitor and let them feel as if they there at the producer’s console.”
His first two Behind the Boards books were based on rock music. It was eight and 10 years ago when those two books were released. In 2018, when his dog died, he was so depressed he decided that it was time to pull the trigger on his next project – “Behind the Boards: Nashville.”
The new book explores the in-depth relationships between artists and producers while revealing the compelling stories behind some of the biggest hits to come out of Music City.
“Behind the Boards: Nashville” invites readers inside for front-row, first-hand conversations with 30 of country music’s most successful and legendary record producers of the past 50 years, including Tony Brown, Dann Huff, Buddy Cannon, Dave Cobb, James Stroud, Nathan Chapman, Jeff and Jody Stevens, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, Clint Black, Paul Worley, Jim Ed Norman, Joey Moi, Byron Gallimore, Michael Knox, Frank Rogers, Don Cook, Chris DeStefano, Frank Liddell, Jesse Frasure, Josh Leo, Zach Crowell, Bobby Braddock, Ray Baker, Norbert Putnam, Ross Copperman, Justin Neibank, Ray ‘Orig the DJ’ Riddle and Luke Laird, among others.
If you are a country music fan, you can learn about the music you are streaming in the extensive 600-page documentary. Just like an encyclopedia of who’s who in 21st-century country music, you can easily find out about your favorite artists, songwriters and producers in the online version of the book. Many producers came to fame by taking the chance and working with unknown artists such as Dierks Bentley, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert and many more.
“The book gives you an appreciation for how much work these producers put in behind the scenes laboring on certain songs to make sure they are perfect,” Brown said.
Not only that, you get a close-up look at the iconic studios still used on Music Row in Nashville.
Collectively, the book features more than 300 No. 1 hits by country’s biggest stars, including Taylor Swift, Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Chris Stapleton, Carrie Underwood, George Strait, Aldean, Lambert, Black, Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville,” Florida Georgia Line, Reba McEntire, Lionel Richie’s “Tuskegee” album, A Star is Born soundtrack starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, Brad Paisley, Sam Hunt, Blake Shelton, Trisha Yearwood, Kacey Musgraves, Brooks and Dunn, Urban, Alabama, Jason Isbell, George Jones, Jewel, Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Willie Nelson, Lori McKenna, Midland, Faith Hill, Steve Earle, Hank Williams Jr., Lyle Lovett, Thomas Rhett, Bentley, Vince Gill, Brett Eldredge, Martina McBride, the Dixie Chicks, the Band Perry, Shooter Jennings, Jake Owen, Big and Rich, Jon Pardi, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Scotty McCreery, Darius Rucker, Moe Bandy, the Eagles and the great Merle Haggard, among others.
Since he knows about all genres of music, I asked him if the camaraderie that is found in country music is the same as other music types.
“In Nashville, they don’t tolerate not being a team player,” he said. “There are 85 million people who want to be in your shoes, and 25 people are waiting to replace you. It creates an environment where everyone who is in the room is there because they want to be there. They are excited to be there, and you hear it in the music.”
Brown admitted country music has fused with pop and dance and is sometimes is indistinguishable.
“As long as country music’s fundamental pillars stay what they are even in the production side, it shows how Nashville is ‘opening its mind’ a little bit,” he said.
“There’s a power that Nashville has to capture the life of the listener in three minutes. Hip hop can help get more ears interested in these real-life lessons from country music and I think that is fantastic.”
“Behind the Boards: Nashville” is the 50th book by award-winning, Nashville-based music biographer Jake Brown and hit store shelves June 23. “Behind the Boards: Nashville” is available for order on audible.com and amazon.com.
Bethany Bowman is a freelance entertainment writer. Follow her blog, Bethany Writes, and on Instagram and Twitter.