NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After four years in the making, “NASHVILLE SONGWRITER II: The Inside Stories Behind Country Music’s Greatest Hits” (Baker & Taylor) hits store shelves and digital retail outlets this week. The highly-anticipated release marks award-winning, Nashville-based music biographer Jake Brown’s 45th published book and the second in the critically-acclaimed series. Country music fans are taken quite literally inside the writing room for the true stories behind the writing of 300 No. 1 hits by a collective roster of the biggest multi-platinum country superstars, including Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt, Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett, and Blake Shelton to Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town and every major country music artist and band in between. Order “NASHVILLE SONGWRITER II: The Inside Stories Behind Country Music’s Greatest Hits” HERE.
The first of its kind book series offers songwriters the opportunity to step into the spotlight and share their back stories, struggles, stumbles and successes in 35 exclusive, chapter-length interviews with country music’s top songwriters such as Shane McAnally, Hillary Lindsey, Rhett Akins, Lori McKenna, Josh Kear, Luke Laird, Liz Rose, Ashley Gorley, Rodney Clawson, Cole Swindell, Ross Copperman, Natalie Hemby, Josh Osborne, Nicolle Galyon, John Rich, Ben Hayslip, Zach Crowell and many more. The book also includes an additional chapter devoted exclusively to navigating the music publishing business, featuring interviews with the biggest publishers on Music Row such as Warner Chappell, Creative Nation, SMACK, Rezonant, Carnival, BMG, Tape Room, Play It Again among others.
Author Jake Brown commented: “Nashville songwriters are the unsung heroes of country music, and it was an honor to have so many of them open up about both their own stories and those behind hundreds of No. 1s from classic to current hits that so honestly reflect the real lives of the listeners! Whether you’re an aspiring songwriter looking for advice and inspiration or a casual country fan streaming along while you read about the writing of your favorite hits, this book has something for everyone!”
Exclusive Excerpts from Several of the Songwriters Profiled in the Book:
“This is How We Roll” – Florida Georgia Line
Cole Swindell: At that point, I just had a publishing deal and didn’t a record deal. I was just out writing with Luke and Florida Georgia Line here and there. I was on their Dirt Road Diary tour. It was the second night of that weekend run of shows, and I was sitting in the back of the bus with BK. It was just him and I at the time, and we were getting ready to write, waiting on Tyler. So it was just going to be us three, and BK said “Man, I heard something Luke was talking about last night at the show about being out in the country, out where nobody can bother you and you could shoot bullets at the moon if you wanted. I just thought that was such a cool thought,” and that’s how the whole song started…from something Luke said on stage the night before.
I remember Luke saying that it was part of the show, but that’s the funny thing about how songwriting works. So we started writing around that, and had a melody kind of, and BK threw out the title “This is How We Roll” and wanted to see what we could come up with. He was singing the “This is how we roll,” the first line of the chorus, but that’s about all we had melody-wise. Then Tyler came in, and he loved it, so we started writing the song, and we got into the first verse, and out of nowhere, Tyler said “Man, I wonder if Luke would like this?” So I happened to send a text from the bus and said, “Hey, the guys are asking, you want to come check out what we’re working on?” So sure enough, he came over and we had just started it, so he listened to what we had and was like “I’m in!” We were in that little back lounge, all four of us, with a computer and a couple guitars and went to work on it. A couple hours later, we were done, and I remember listening to the work tape we recorded just so you don’t forget how things went. Those aren’t the most glorious sounding things, but just the memories on there of Luke saying at the end of it, “This is going to be a hit!” We couldn’t get it out of our heads!
“American Honey” by Lady Antebellum
Hillary Lindsey: The song began as a complete blank canvas. In fact, it was such a blank canvas that it was blank for about five hours where we had nothing, and said “What in the world is going on? Let’s just call it, we’re not going to get anything tonight.” We were at Gatlinburg, and this was during a time when Cary Barlowe, Shane Stevens and I would go and rent a cabin for three or four days and write songs together. Our voices also sound really good together, so we enjoyed the writing process and singing together, all of that, and that night it was freezing, we were up on this mountain and getting nowhere, and Cary said “I’m going to run down to the store,” and when he came back, he’d bought a bottle of American Honey, and it was sitting on the table and hadn’t even been opened. Somebody – I’m not sure who it was – said “Hey, why don’t we write that title?,” and we were all just staring at this bottle when he said it and that’s where the song title came from, even though it had absolutely nothing to do with drinking.
“All the Pretty Girls” by Kenny Chesney
Nicolle Galyon: I don’t even know what it was exactly that I saw at the library, but I was at the downtown library with my 3-year-old daughter for a puppet show, and saw this book that made me think “All the pretty girls said…,” and I don’t know what that was, but when I threw that title out to Josh Osborne. We all thought it sounded like a poem title, but we liked it because it was a little different. It wasn’t the standard country music title. That was one of those, walk in, talk through some ideas, “Okay, this is how we can write it,” write it and leave. Josh and Tommy Lee James demoed that song really soon after that. Josh sent it to Kenny, and it was kind of that perfect storm of how timing is everything, right there at the end of the record when he was finishing up and needed one or two more songs, and we got lucky. So we wrote it, and then they came back later and changed it to “All the Pretty Girls.”
“Life Changes” by Thomas Rhett
Rhett Akins: That’s another one that, sort of like “Huntin’ Fishin’ ” is so personal because that one was so about Luke and his lifestyle, and this song was obviously 100 percent about Thomas Rhett and his lifestyle. Those are a little easier to write because you’re not having to make up anything because it follows the same story as his life. We wrote that out at the farm and were kind of snowed in, and wrote three songs in a couple days and they’ve all been cut. Thomas Rhett cut two, and Rascal Flatts just cut one that we wrote out there, and this song was just something Thomas Rhett wanted to do. Again, probably thinking it wouldn’t be a single; just a nice song on the record for people to kind of get to know him a little better. We never really thought it was going to come out.
So we just wrote it as true as we could. My favorite part is “I remember the day I told my Daddy and Mama you’re gonna have a grandkid, yep, from Uganda, that’s right, we’re adopting.” I think we all brought out our old rap shows on that one (laughs) because me and Ashley and Jesse are a lot older than Thomas Rhett, but as much as we all grew up on country music, I grew up on Run DMC and LL Cool J and Snoop and all that, so it was a great little mixture of country, hip hop and pop. That’s my favorite part of the song.
Exclusive videos of songwriters featured in the book continue to debut on several media outlets with the book’s roll-out. Parade premiered Josh Kear’s story behind the Tim McGraw/Taylor Swift collaboration “Highway Don’t Care” and Luke Bryan’s recent hit “Most People Are Good.” AXS and American Songwriter released footage of Lori McKenna sharing the story behind writing her Grammy award-winning songs “Humble and Kind” for Tim McGraw and “Girl Crush” for Little Big Town, while Roughstock debuted Luke Laird’s story behind Kenny Chesney’s No. 1 hit “American Kids.” The Boot and The Christian Post shared videos of Chris DeStefano’s performance and story behind Luke Bryan’s 10th No. 1 hit “Kick the Dust Up” and Carrie Underwood’s Christian-crossover success “Something in the Water.”
Country Fancast premiered Chris Tompkins’ story behind and performance of Underwood’s Grammy award-winning hit “Before He Cheats” as well as Jason Aldean’s No. 1 hit “Burnin’ It Down.” Wide Open Country shared three videos of Ross Copperman talking about his Dierks Bentley cuts “Black,” “Woman, Amen” and “Here on Earth.” Cowboys & Indians revealed videos of Copperman’s advice for aspiring songwriters and story behind the production of Dierks Bentley’s latest album The Mountain. Sounds Like Nashville released an interview with Brown along with footage of Josh Osborne describing writing Kenny Chesney’s hit with P!nk, “Setting the World On Fire.” Guitar Girl Magazine premiered a conversation between Osborne and Shane McAnally describing writing Kacey Musgraves’ Grammy award-winning hit “Merry Go ‘Round” with the songstress, and The Country Note also premiered a video of the two songwriters discussing writing Midland’s debut No. 1 hit “Drinkin’ Problem.”
ABOUT JAKE BROWN:
Award-winning music biographer Jake Brown has collaborated on authorized books with artists and bands across the stylistic spectrum, including Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees HEART (Ann & Nancy Wilson), late, great country music legends Merle Haggard and Freddy Powers, living guitar legend Joe Satriani, late metal pioneers Lemmy Kilmister/Motorhead, and late Hip Hop legend Tupac Shakur (with Afeni Shakur/the estate) and country rap pioneer BIG SMO on his upcoming memoir among many others since 2001.
New @NashSngwritrBk “NASHVILLE SONGWRITER II: The Inside Stories Behind Country Music’s Greatest Hits” book available now! Order here: amzn.to/2zmMEXw
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