Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 40-45,000 words
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Ty Hager is a songwriter, recording artist, radio broadcaster, and author. He has one other book, the novel Diary of a Deadguy:A Country Ghost Story. Hager lives in Oklahoma.
For more, visit his website.
“Songwriter, signed recording artist and veteran radio broadcaster Ty Hager interviewed sixteen hit country songwriters for his radio show Behind the Hits, which aired on radio stations in the U.S. and world-wide on the American Forces Radio Network in 2011. Now he's compiled the complete transcripts of those interviews for Nashville Songsmiths - In-Depth Interviews with #1 Country Songwriters. You'll read the stories behind such phenomenal hits as The Dance, I Swear, Independence Day, and many, many more. You'll also get insights into the music business and country songwriting - the harsh realities of rejection and the rewards of perseverance, the highly competitive world of Music Row, where success is fleeting and quickly forgotten, where you're only as good as your next hit.”
If you're interested in the life of a songwriter, you're likely to find this book a pleasant and informative read. In the forward the author/interviewer says:
Many of the myths about the life of a songwriter will be shattered (hint: one big hit don’t necessarily make you a millionaire, and it doesn’t guarantee that anybody will cut your next song).
From my own conversations with songwriters, I already knew that. And just like reading about any subject that you've read a lot about previously, some of the information wasn't new to me. However, it served to reinforce and refresh what I already knew.
That doesn't mean I didn't learn new things, and if you haven't read a book like this or talked to songwriters yourself, it will all be new. Regardless of prior generic knowledge, the specifics of the songwriters themselves, their personalities, and the stories behind the writing of the songs was all fun to read about. I also found that comparing the stories of these wordsmiths to the experiences I observe of authors whose struggles and experiences are much the same, was enlightening. If you're a music fan (even if you're not much of a country music person) or a wannabe songwriter, you should give this a try.
A small number of errors with one exception. This is the use of “all of a sudden” which is consistently written as “all of the sudden.” There are arguments that the second is just plain wrong (the camp I'm in) or that the second usage is “non-standard.” Whichever side you're on, I'm fairly certain that all of the interview subjects didn't say what the author transcribed.
Rating: **** Four Stars