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View From Nashville
By Ralph Emery with Patsi Bale Cox
William Morrow & Company
1999
321 Pages
ISBN:  0-68817-221-0

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Ralph Emery has always had the best seat in the house for watching country-music grow from its rural American roots into a multinational billion dollar business. As country music's foremost radio and television host. Ralph has the inside track on a world many have written about but few actually understand.

Now, in The View from Nashville, Ralph introduces us to his friends, the people who turned Nashville into "Music City U.S.A." There are Intimate conversations with Barbara Mandrell, Faron Young, Dolly Parton, Brooks & Dunn, and Alan Jackson, among others. In a rare interview, Colonel Tom Parker talks about his early years managing Elvis Presley, and for the first time ever Conway Twitty's widow, Dee Henry Jenkins, opens up about the furor over her late husband's estate. Dee also details the day Conway died, her thoughts about suicide, her depression, and the legal battles that ensued. Travis Tritt opens up about the vices that almost claimed his life during his early days on the road. Brenda Lee, who proved that Nashville produced recordings could successfully compete in the rock 'n' roll market, tells about the days when she was one of the biggest moneymakers in the business yet still living frugally in a trailer and at one time even dependent on Patsy Cline for living expenses on the road.

Owen Bradley talks about the expansion of Nashville's studio. system and about the careers of Brenda Lee, Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells, and Loretta Lynn. And the former head of one of Nashville's most successful labels, Chet Atkins, talks candidly about the times he failed as well as the times he succeeded. Maverick executive Fred Foster founded Monument Records, the label that launched the careers of Dolly Parton and Kris Kristofferson and made Roy Orbison a legend. Among the fascinating tales Fred tells is one about Orbison's feud with the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger.

Ralph also goes behind the scenes with Dolly Parton and her friends at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge. He was there when Buck Owens confessed a lifelong crush on Loretta Lynn. And he explains why so many country stars consider Ray Charles a hero who helped save Nashville from rock's onslaught. Interspersed among the in-depth chapters are colorful vignettes about Lorrie Morgan, Roger Miller, Hank Williams, Eddy Arnold, Tex Ritter, Porter Wagoner, Mel Tillis, Johnny Paycheck, Minnie Pearl, Naomi Judd, and many, many other stars.

The story of country music is a saga of songs, songwriters, and stars. Ralph Emery shares it all, offering insights and information from his own unique perspective.

RALPH EMERY began interviewing country stars as an all-night DJ and went on to become a top country TV host on Nashville Now and The Ralph Emery Show. Author of two bestsellers, Memories and More Memories, Emery now hosts On the Record for the Nashville Network. He lives in Nashville.

PATS1 BALE COX is a music journalist and former magazine editor who cowrote Tanya Tucker's Nickel Dreams, Jenny Jones's My Life and A Country Music Christmas with Cathie Pelletier and Jim Glaser.