Rock Reads: Nashville Songwriter Vol. II by Jake Brown

Reviewed by Kevin Wierzbicki

Brown is a Nashville-based music biographer (and former antiMusic writer) who has written more than 40 books and as such he has unprecedented access to the city's songwriting community, and here he relates the stories behind 300 #1 hit records by acts like Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Georgia Florida Line, Luke Bryan, Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood and many others. Presented over 35 chapters, Brown got the scoop on the hits by interviewing Music Row's hottest songwriters, folks like Shane McAnally, Zach Crowell, Cole Swindell, Rhett Atkins, Lori McKenna and others. Readers will enjoy anecdotes about Chris Tompkins worrying about whether the lyrics to "Burnin' it Down," a hit for Jason Aldean, were too racy, and Rodney Clawson revealing how John Corbett beat Jason Aldean to the punch with his version of the Clawson co-write "Good to Go," and so on and so forth for the 300 songs. Part of what makes the book such an interesting read is how Brown's interviews pair with the songs to reveal snippets of the songwriter's and performer's personalities. At over 500 pages "Nashville Songwriter Vol. II" is not a book to hurry through, and like the memorable songs it chronicles, each chapter here is a delight to savor.

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