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30.04.2018
Chris for Oot'n'Pik
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John Beland's Best Seat In The House Of course John Beland was not always seated but even in a fully vertical position as lead guitarist for some of the biggest names in country music he had an amazing view of what was happening – on and off the stage. His book “Best Seat In The House” is a very readable collection of observations from that privileged position woven into the story of his own life and career. A collection of tawdry gossip, name dropping, and salacious suggestions about stars it is not; rather it is a chronicle of a life punctuated with relevant memories from an eventually successful career in that most fickle of environments – the music industry. Fans will perhaps know John from his time with The Flying Burrito Brothers, or his gig as lead guitarist for Linda Ronstadt, or perhaps his long associations with Rick Nelson or Kris Kristofferson; those fans may know some detail of the route, the hustle, the good and bad luck it took to get there, but I suspect this account will hold surprises for even the most devoted follower of any section of the man’s career. Getting to play Lucille, BB King’s guitar, his friendship with Dolly Parton, the solo deal Ringo Starr signed him to with Apple Records and the revelation that success on the road does not necessarily guarantee a large entourage and a Silver Eagle all make this 340+ page book an engaging page turner. That the structure of the ‘business’ back then meant talented players crossed paths frequently, in bands together, on the same package tour bills, and in the studio where producers needed a quality job done quickly was an aspect I found particularly interesting but there are opportunities to go “Wow, I never knew that” all the way through this book. John Beland is currently entertaining audiences in the United States with a combination of anecdotes and songs relevant to “Best Seat In The House”, and I understand he has started work on an album comprising songs which are important to the story – a story which inspired the following plaudits and more: "Here's to the good old days when only YOU would play my tunes. Love ya, buddy." Garth Brooks. "The only guy with enough balls to play country music with me at The Troubadour back before I got discovered." Kris Kristofferson. “In addition to his likeable personality and talented song writing, JB is one of the finest guitarists I have ever worked with," Dolly Parton. "John's one of the best in the business." Linda Ronstadt. “His talent never fails to amaze us." The Bellamy Brothers A few of those “evening with” events will be staged in the UK later this year which will no doubt delight followers of an era of country music which defined the best in the genre for many years to come. If, however you can’t wait to get your hands on a copy of the book it is available now from Amazon.

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