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Behind the Boards: Nashville

Music & Musicians | August 2020


Behind the Boards: Nashville is a treasure trove for aspiring engineers and producers. Anyone who loves Country music and the craft that has gone into making some of the greatest songs the world has ever known will find this book an undeniable must-have for their collection.

Practical, as well as entertaining, award-winning music biographer Jake Brown begins with a foreword by hit producer Buddy Cannon (Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire, Willie Nelson), who generously offers five tips on the art of record producing. He shares his secrets for “capturing the emotion of the song … to give it wings.”

A brilliant example is his reference to tracking Trigger, Willie Nelson’s honored and beloved vintage Martin guitar. He simply offers the producer’s maxim of getting out of the way: “When it comes to Willie’s guitar, I am not looking for a way to improve the way it sounds. I’m looking for the way to make his guitar sound the way it always has sounded, which is what the world loves.”

In a nutshell, he packs a powerful punch by prescribing the old-school advice: “listen more and talk less and be persistent”—highlighting the importance of being indispensable in the studio, with generous portions of humility.

For anyone who knows the thrill, and sometimes terror, of sitting behind or in front of a mixing board, the interviews, examples, wisdom and advice found here are priceless.

Brown invites the reader into the recording studio and uncovers the magic behind making over 300 #1 hits by Nashville’s biggest stars, including Keith Urban, Dolly Parton, Blake Shelton, Faith Hill, Merle Haggard, Kacey Musgraves, Jimmy Buffett, The Band Perry, Miranda Lambert, Eagles, Luke Bryan, Martina McBride and a near endless list of Country legends.

Fans will feel like they are sitting in the recording studio with 30 of Nashville’s most legendary record producers, including Songland star Shane McAnally, A Star is Born soundtrack/Chris Stapleton producer Dave Cobb, country music superstar Clint Black, Tim McGraw’s longtime producer Byron Gallimore, Taylor Swift producer Nathan Chapman, George Strait producer Tony Brown, James Stroud, Jim Ed Norman, Norbert Putnam, Bobby Braddock and the legendary Dann Huff, among others.

Behind the Boards: Nashville delivers a feast for the mind that is hungry for practical knowledge, satisfying the curious heart with the stories, thoughts and emotions behind the songs that made Country music the phenomenon it is today—one tasty morsel at a time. Not unlike being on an all-you-can-eat cruise ship (from days gone by, of course), the reader delights in delicious details of the gear, techniques and stories told by and about some of music’s greatest legends.

Perhaps the best part is that in the end you are left with the feeling that you’ve made friends for a lifetime.


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