Party Like a Rockstar: The Crazy, Coincidental, Hard-Luck, and Harmonious Life of a Songwriter

Twelve Bks.: Grand Central. Feb. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781538735404. $28. MUSIC
In this delightful and engrossing memoir of a life devoted to music, songwriter Harding, best known for penning Uncle Kracker’s “Smile” and Blake Shelton’s “Sangria,” takes readers on a wild ride, starting with his childhood in Grosse Pointe, MI. The adopted son of two progressive and patient parents, Harding offers a nostalgic take on his 1980s childhood (blowing up Big Wheels, eating Fruity Pebbles, discovering MTV, and winning a local Battle of the Bands) and poignant stories of family loss. Determined to write legendary songs, Harding skipped town at 17 and headed to L.A., where he became adept at getting his demo tapes into the hands of anyone remotely related to the music industry. After winning Rock & Roll Jeopardy, working as an assistant for an unnamed rock star, and touring with Linkin Park, Harding discovered his gift for writing country song lyrics and moved to Nashville to work with musicians such as Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban. Along the way he reconciled with his biological father, actor and disc jockey Jay Thomas.
VERDICT Aspiring songwriters will find a treasure trove of tips and inspiration. Heartwarming, funny, and entertaining.
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