John Beland's Best Seat In The House
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.
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
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.
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
"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.