Monday, September 12, 2011

Dreaming Out Loud - Feiler

I happen to be a big country music fan. Though I prefer the "newer face" of music, I also enjoy some of the classics.  But I am a huge fan of Garth Brooks, whose country music heyday was really throughout the 90's and into the 00's (though I keep hoping for a comeback). So Bruce Feiler's Dreaming Out Loud: Garth Brooks, Wynonna Judd, Wade Hayes, And The Changing Face Of Nashville caught my eye for obvious reasons.

Now, Bruce Feiler is a good writer. I also ready his The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me, which was a great book.  He is a born and bred southerner, which I did not know, and had some experience with country music...though he admits his interests are more rock based.  So, I was very interested in what he had to say about Garth Brooks.  Turns out, quite a bit...

In Dreaming Out Loud Feiler offers a great review, without getting bogged down or boring, of the birth and growth of country music interspersed with hands on experiences with Garth, as well as Wynonna (Judd) and Wade Hayes (a lesser known name).  He talks about all facets of the music industry, from being discovered to recording to huge grand arena performances.  He discusses the Grand Ole Opry and its place in country music today, as well as the recent explosion and changing face of country music (think Minnie Pearl vs. Willie Nelson vs. Garth Brooks/Tim McGraw).  I learned a lot from this book, even as a fan, while feeling that I was right there discovering the intracasies of the business with him.

Even if you are not a fan of country music, this book is a great read and gives you a look at a true piece of Americana!

Interestingly, Feiler does not seem to be a Garth fan.  Though he considers Brooks a fantastic business man, which he admittedly is, Feiler seems to consider him pushy and overconfident... conceited perhaps, though he doesn't use that term. I find it interesting that another artist, who is non-country based but is just as pushy, wouldn't be considered conceited just intelligent and business savy.  Its like people expect country artists to be "good ole boys" who drive tractors and can't add, being a good business person and expecting the most from your career seems almost wrong.

And that, I think, is the changing face of country music! As new artists come along and country music continues to evolve, so will the business of country music...and pioneers like Garth Brooks are responsible for that! 

4/5- Great. Push it on your friends and family.