Girlfriend gone. Job gone. Everything gone. Joe Baker had reached the lowest point of his life. He decided to put everything at stake by leaving San Diego, California and trying his luck as a professional songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee. However, becoming a successful songwriter was anything but easy. Thousands of people tried to make a living as musicians in Nashville. Yet very few were successful. Most of them worked as bartenders or waiters to make ends meet.
Joe Baker arrived in the «Music City USA» on a warm autumn day with just a guitar and some of his self-written songs. He was about to begin his new life in Nashville.
It was not just life as a musician that make his heart beat faster. Allison Monroe, an attractive female singer was the cause for his sleepless nights. And as if that weren’t enough, his ex-
girlfriend Sandy was another reason for making his heart pound strongly.
Every day brought new surprises: love, eroticism, deception, disappointment, new songs, intrigues, envy, jealousy, crime and hope. The question that arose: Would Joe Baker be able to make his dreams come true?
Targeted Age Group:: 15-40
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
At the age of 21, I traveled to Nashville, where I met musicians, songwriters and producers and recorded my first single «Remember The Time».
I returned to Nashville to record more songs for my first CD titled «Headin‘ West» at the Fireside Recording Studio. Since then I released a total of eight CDs.
Regular visits to Nashville inspired me to write this fictional novel. The vibrant music city still fascinates me today. I draw my inspiration from Nashville’s rhythm, people and diversity.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I imagined a guy with lots of trouble: Girlfriend gone. Job gone. Everything gone.
At the lowest point of his life, he decides to put everything at stake by leaving San Diego, California and trying his luck as a professional songwriter in Nashville, Tennessee.
I used some of my own experiences in Nashville as an inspiration / guideline for the story.
Joe typed Steve's address in the car’s navigation
device. He drove south on Interstate 24 until he
reached the exit «Antioch». The side street led
past pastures and meadows before industrial
buildings, supermarkets and residential buildings
appeared. The navigation device told him to turn
right into a side street after he had passed the
Shell gas station. The houses exuded a touch of
American small-town idyll.
The two-story house was located at the end of
a side street and at the foot of a hill. A garage
had been added laterally. On the property were
several large oaks that provided plenty of shade
on sunny days. Joe parked the Mustang in the
driveway right next to Steve's black Jeep. He
walked up the steps to the front entrance and
knocked on the door.
A few seconds later, the lawyer greeted him with
a strong handshake: «Welcome to my humble
home. I am very happy you made it from the city
to my place.»
«Easy thing! I had no problem finding your place
with my GPS».
Joe was quite impressed: The entrance area looked inviting and led directly to the living room
with a huge white leather sofa and a club table.
Next to it was a round dining table with six black
leather chairs. A bar separated the kitchen which
included a cooking island. A staircase led to the
upper floor. Big windows allowed for plenty of
sunlight. The modern furniture matched the oak
parquet flooring and the white walls perfectly. In
the back, a door led to the veranda, from where
the swimming pool was visible.
«Well, without exaggerating – this house fulfills
all my wishes. I can do without luxury. You must
be thirsty – and I really look forward to listening to your songs. Come on, let's go down to
the basement, have a beer and make ourselves
Joe couldn’t believe his eyes. The home recording studio practically occupied the entire basement. Two sofas, a club table, a fridge, a few
microphone stands, a guitar amp, electric and
acoustic guitars, a bass, a drum set as well as
a Mac with all the trimmings for recording were
Joe couldn’t help but show his admiration: «Wow,
you've really created a paradise for musicians!»
Steve went over to the fridge without any comment and grabbed two cans of Coors Light before they raised them for a toast. Then Steve
proceeded to show his equipment to his guest.
After some small talk he looked at Joe and said:
«Now I’d like to hear some samples of your original songs.»
Joe opened his guitar case and took out his
electro-acoustic guitar – a Takamine Santa Fe.
Although he had already played his songs for
countless people, his heart suddenly started
beating unpleasantly fast.
He chose «Start A Fire» as the first song to play
for Steve. The lawyer – now casually dressed in
jeans and a T-shirt – was sitting on the leather
sofa, munching popcorn and drinking beer. He
listened attentively. Once the song was over,
he rewarded Joe with a round of applause and
«Did you write this one?»
«Is there a demo CD?»
«Yes, there is. Several years ago, I recorded a
CD with my former band. The song I just played
for you – ‹Start A Fire› – happens to be the title
song of that CD.»
Joe felt a bit more relaxed and pulled out a CD
from his guitar case. He placed it on the salon
table. Steve took a closer look at the cover and suggested playing the CD later. Right now, he
wanted to listen to more live versions. He asked
Joe to play «Easy Choices», «No More Hard
Times» and «Stay Gone or Stay Here» – songs
mentioned on the CD cover. Joe played the
songs – now in a more relaxed demeanor – and
reaped appreciative glances and more applause.
He explained how he had come up with the ideas
for his songs. Steve listened intently and added,
«Cool stuff. These songs have potential.»
They cracked open a second can of beer and
drank to Joe's songs. Then Steve picked up one
of his guitars: a black Taylor cutaway electro
They started jamming: Country, Bluegrass and
Rockabilly. Songs from different periods. «Love
Me Tender» by Elvis, «Blue Suede Shoes» by
Carl Perkins, «Friends in Low Places» by Garth
Brooks, «The Cowboy Rides Away» by George
Strait, «Workin’ Man Blues» by Merle Haggard
and so on.
Following their jam session, Steve asked: «Am I
the only person you know in Nashville?»
«Not quite,» replied Joe with a smile and told him
of his encounters with Allison, whom he soon
wanted to surprise by paying a visit. Steve listened closely and said with a hearty laugh: «Well, if you ask me, I’d say you’ve been shot by Cupid’s arrow all right! I wish you the best of luck in
trying to win her heart.»
«Do you know Allison Monroe?» Joe asked.
«Not personally, but I've heard her name and
seen photos of her. She is one of those up-andcoming young singers and looks extremely hot,
I say. Anybody would kill for a flirt with her! I can
understand why you can hardly wait to see her.
But tell me, what else do you like about her apart
from her good looks?»
«Well, no need for me to think for long to come
up with an answer. I admire her for being a modern-day woman with a positive attitude and a
healthy dose of self-confidence. I also like her
sense of humor and the way she manages her
life. She’s got style. We immediately hit it off with
each other and share common interests. In addition to our shared passion, music, we are interested in dozens of other topics that we can talk
about. Unfortunately, time passed by too quickly
every time we saw each other.»
«Well, that sounds quite promising» said Steve
with a wink.
Joe took one more sip of beer and asked out of
curiosity: «Are you familiar with her songs?»
«Sorry, but I don’t remember them. There are tons of songs in Nashville as there are thousands
of talented singers. It’s practically impossible to
keep track. And it’s even more difficult to make
the breakthrough. Talent alone usually doesn’t
suffice to make it to the top. It also takes a good
portion of luck, perseverance and the right connections! Sometimes, you’ve just got to be in the
right place at the right time! I've met many female
singers who are dangerously good-looking and
could sing significantly better than Taylor Swift
or Carrie Underwood. And yet, they were never
spotted. They’re probably still dreaming of a big
career. Pity for them, but their dreams will never
Between singing songs and the next round of
cool beer Joe learned about the details of the
Steve had been single for years. He loved women
– but he didn’t care much about commitments.
Steve liked change. Depending on his mood, he
would meet with one of his acquaintances.
His law firm was doing great. Steve worked practically day and night – just like a workaholic.
In his spare time, he liked to jam with friends in
his own studio, which he had built for a lot of
As both were getting quite hungry, they decided to light the outdoor gas grill. The steaks, corncobs and baked potatoes were delicious. The
steaks were served with Jack Daniel's original
steak sauce with its incomparable taste of Hickory-Brown-Sugar.
While enjoying their meal, they listened to Joe's
CD from his former days in San Diego.
Steve proposed to re-record Joe's songs. «Your
tunes are convincing. They’ve got that certain <je
ne sais quoi>. But you won’t achieve anything
in Nashville with the recordings on your old CD.
What you need is a completely new demo CD
that was produced from scratch and tailored to
the needs of the music industry. This is the only
way you’ll have any success at all with the music
publishers. And with a little luck you might even
get a contract as a songwriter and live off the
royalties in the future. But don’t get your hopes
up too high. The path to success is not an easy
one and could take much longer than you imagine.»
Then, with a wink he added: «Thanks to my contacts, I can give you the name of a producer who
will make first-class demos of your songs. And at
the best possible conditions.»
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