The official blurb:
Nashville is filled with stars and lovers and writers and dreamers. Nashville is also teeming with lunatics and grifters and dip wads and moochers. Gerry House fits easily into at least half of those categories. Someone would probably have to be brain-damaged or really damn talented to try to entertain professional entertainers over a decades-long radio show in Music City, USA.
Fortunately, House is little of both.
Host of the nationally syndicated, top-rated morning show, “Gerry House & The Foundation” for 25 years, he has won virtually every broadcasting award there is including a place in the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Gerry also spent that time deep inside the songwriting and recording world in Nashville.
In Country Music Broke My Brain, Gerry tells his stories from the other side of the microphone. He reveals never-aired, never-before published conversations with country music’s biggest names—Johnny Cash, Brad Paisley, and Reba McEntire to name a few—and leaves you with his own crazy antics that will either have you laughing or shaking your head in disbelief.
With exclusive celebrity stories, humorous trivia and anecdotes, and broadcasting wisdom, this book is a treat for country music fans or for anyone who wants a good laugh.
Gerry House may be a success but he doesn’t come off as a very likable guy in this memoir-esque piece. I’m sure he’s a nice guy but that’s lost in the pages. It’s a lot of “I know (name drop here)” and “here’s an anecdote about (country star here) that has no real meaning other than to prove that I know him/her.” It fell flat. I’m sure he has great stories that he didn’t include to respect the privacy of those stars. I fully understand why he would want to do that and I’m glad that did. The world does not need more celebrity gossip tossed out like chum to waiting sharks.
The issue is that he only holds those stories back for people he seems to like or those that haven’t wronged him in some way. Miss a song writing session with him? Looks like you’ll NEVER EVER make it in the biz, or so he claims about Jamey Johnson. You may know Jamey Johnson as the award-winning writer and performer of “In Color” (in my top ten songs of all time and that’s saying a lot) or his many appearances at the Opry or his other songwriting hits or his sold out tour dates or…well, you get the idea. Johnson didn’t make a scheduled song writing session (uncool, for sure) so Gerry House trashes his look – say he looks like he needs a flea dip – his personality, and his career. No worries, Gerry. That doesn’t make you look small and petty at all. Nope. You’re fine.
House was in the country radio game for a long time and seems to have aged out. This isn’t an ageism thing here, I simply mean that he seems to really love country music and its world from when he started in the business. Like many aging folks, he dislikes the “noise” and persona of many of today’s hitmakers. New Nashville: Get Off His Lawn. I’ll be the first to say that “BroCountry” has gotten out of hand in the past couple of years. House, however, trashes huge portions of today’s artists because they wear baseball caps or sunglasses. He doesn’t talk about their music, songwriting, or careers. He writes them off as useless because of backwards hats and screaming female fans.
He tells a nice story about Taylor Swift being this sweet kid who deserves all her success, who sent him a nice painting as a thank you, routinely called into his show, and all these other things she didn’t have to do but did anyway. He then goes on to tell the story of the one time, years later that she didn’t greet him with great fanfare. What’s the point in telling the second part? To try to knock her down a peg? He sat down at her table at an awards show in a chair between her and her father. She said “hey” and returned to the conversation she was already having. Why try to paint in her a bad light because of that? Was anything lost if this tidbit wasn’t thrown in? I don’t get it. He did this several times throughout the book then thanks the artists he’s tattled on for recording his songs. Really, guy?
If you want to hear stories that he thinks are funny but are actually just sad (George Jones doing coke, Tanya Tucker partying too hard) then this may be a book you’ll really enjoy. I don’t think private stories about people at the height of their addiction issues are entertaining.
Maybe spending less time trying to prove he’s somebody would make House feel more real or personable. Unfortunately, he opted for the path of “look at all my celebrity friends” while trying way too hard to be witty.
2 out of 5 for me. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for review.