First off let me
say that it's great to be back! It's been a long time since
one of my
reviews appeared in Songwriters Connection. Truth be told, it's
been WAY too long, through no fault of Susan's I must add. I've
working on other projects along with making a major move in my life.
offered me the opportunity to contribute to the very first issue of
Connection by writing a review of her outstanding book "The Soul of a
Writer", and after that I was blessed to add several more reviews over
next couple of years ranging from book, concert and CD reviews to
commentary on the music industry.
After my last review Susan let me know that the door was always open if
wanted to share a few more words. Since that time I continued to
reviews for a number of artists in the San Francisco Bay Area where I'm
originally from and, more recently, along with maintaining my own
I've been doing some freelance writing on behalf of artists in the
area which I moved to in the spring of 2007.
So after all this time what brings me back to Songwriters
The book sitting next to me on my desk which I've just devoured over
few days ... "The Garth Factor" by Patsi Bale Cox.
There are many
rumors that have circulated about Garth Brooks over the last two
this incredible and very credible book answers and dispels all of them.
“The Garth Factor”
is rich in detail, just like so many of Garth’s story songs. It
covers his first experiences and
impressions of Nashville in the mid-80’s, follows his return to
recover and regroup, and then kicks into high gear to fill the reader’s
curiosity about how Garth finally broke into the Nashville music scene
persistence), kept building his base of connections (through genuine
friendships that have continued to grow to this day), and finally hit
TIME in the early 90’s and never looked back!
“The Garth Factor”
details each album he created with mastermind / master producer Allen
how they chose the songs, and how he lead his team of studio musicians
band, along with a myriad of other important people with three words
from his heart – “Keep it real”.
But more than a
book about his one-of-a-kind incredible success with his music, “The
Factor” also covers the high and lows of his personal life, the
celebrations as well as the hard times and heartaches.
I've always been a
huge fan of Garth’s and couldn't believe my luck back in February 2008
with only an hour to go before a special concert was to begin, I was
two tickets to see Garth in a very private concert with less a 1,000
people at the Grand Ole Opry.
My wife and I
jumped into our car and literally flew to the concert in Nashville - a
that would normally take us about 40 minutes door to door took us less
minutes from the phone call to sitting in our seats!
While that intimate
evening with a master entertainer, who made you feel so welcome as if
just sitting around his living room, might pale in comparison to the
energy generated at his arena size concerts, or even that special night
Central Park, the real Garth Brooks still shone through from the moment
the stage through over two hours of music and story telling, then three
with his band, and finally wrapping everything up with an additional 45
acoustic solo encore, playing the songs of artists who had inspired him
throughout his life from Don McLean to Dan Fogelberg, from James Taylor
Croce to Billy Joel.
So why do I include
details about our “private” concert here in the midst of this book
review? To make the point that whether you read
about him in “The Garth Factor” or get a chance to see him up close and
personal, the intensity is ALWAYS there, giving 100% of himself and
exemplifying his motto to “Keep it real”.
Patsi Bale Cox has
written a masterpiece that every artist-in-the-making should read and
careful notes. And every artist and
songwriter would also do well to glean valuable insight into the music
business, because Garth is not only a master at creating great songs,
albums, great videos and great concerts, but he's also a master on how
care of business.
songwriters and musicians have lost fortunes because they only focused
creative side of their careers and neglected the more boring, but still
critical business side. From the very
beginning Garth paid very careful attention to the business side of his
career in order to protect his work and his fortune from being
even stolen from right under his nose.
His is a perfect example of how important it is to know and actively
participate in both sides of this crazy business we love to be a part
With Garth, what
you see is what you get – honesty, integrity, humility, talent and a
for business all wrapped up together.
And to this very day he continues to live by his personal motto – “Keep
Copyright © 2009, Jace
a Nashville based
songwriter, music publisher, artist manager, and freelance
As a songwriter and collaborator
much in demand in the
Country market, he also enjoys writing for A/C, Pop, R&B, Smooth
Contemporary Christian, and Cabaret. As a Freelance Writer he has
contributed reviews on new CD's to online newsletters and artist
websites, and occasionally ontributes book and concert reviews
with personal commentary on
music industry to Nashville's Songwriter's
by being selected to be a part of Nashville's Shine
On Foundation, assisting
talented songwriters, artists and musicians.