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They Came to Nashville Hardcover – September 10, 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Vanderbilt Univ Press - Country Music Foundation Press (September 10, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826517358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826517357
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #906,913 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Chapman is a great storyteller and has a knack for turning these sometimes rambling narratives into compelling portraits of musicians' lives as well as a tribute to Nashville."
--The Library Journal

"It's sometimes too easy to assume our musical heroes are somehow superhuman, but every one of these interviews, and the chapter on Willie Nelson, reveal just how human and normal they really are. Sure, talent is something special, but Chapman realizes that great insights can be generated after remembering details about the car driven for the first time to the city where music dreams were accomplished."

"Only Marshall Chapman has the talent and fabulous reputation in the music business to author this book. They Came to Nashville is the book to own about the music business. Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Don Henry, Willie Newlson and Beth Nielsen Chapman are just a few of the stars who share with Chapan the ups and downs of why they came and stayed or not in Nashville."

"Hearing bold-letter names narrate their humble first days in town can be charming and disarming, and the book is in a lot of ways about chasing dreams, told by a lineup of people who actually caught them (it's less hokey than it sounds)."

"the chronicle that dreamers with guitars on their backs and music in their hearts will want to keep close as they reach for the bright lights of stardom."

"Reading these wide-ranging interviews is like sitting in on intimate conversations between old friends reminiscing about good times and bad in a city where the promise of a music career inspires musicians to persevere doggedly in pursuit of their dreams."

"What is impressive about Marshall Chapman is that she is a champion listener."

"The result is a fascinating if episodic, picture of the Nashville music scene, especially along the creasees whre country and rock once overlapped and, to an extent, still do."

"I didn't read this book as much as I inhaled it ... great insights into the ways of 15 great American creators."
--William McKeen, author of Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson

"Chapman brings us memorable Nashvillians and nails that 'coming to town' experience in funny, charming, honest ways."
--Barry Mazor, author of Meeting Jimmie Rodgers

"Who but Marshall could have brought back these living, breathing tales from the other side of Nashville?"
--Chet Flippo, Editorial Director, CMT/

From the Inside Flap

Musician-turned-author/journalist Marshall Chapman (Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller) asks Nashville stars what brought them to Music City USA.

More About the Author

Marshall Chapman was born and raised in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She is the founder and owner of Tallgirl Records.
To date she has released twelve critically acclaimed albums, and her songs have been recorded by everyone from Emmylou Harris and John Hiatt to Irma Thomas and Jimmy Buffett.
Of her three rockin' albums for Epic, the Al Kooper-produced Jaded Virgin was voted Record of the Year (1978) by Stereo Review.
Her album, It's About Time... (Island, 1995), recorded live at the Tennessee State Prison for Women, drew rave reviews from Time, USA Today and the Village Voice.
Marshall's first book, Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller (St. Martin's Press) was a SIBA bestseller, 2004 SIBA Book Award finalist, and one of three finalists for the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. A softcover edition was released in 2004.
2010 was a banner year for Chapman. In January, she landed her first major movie role, playing Gwyneth Paltrow's road manager in the recently Country Strong. In February, her musical Good Ol' Girls (adapted from the fiction of Lee Smith and Jill McCorkle, featuring songs by Matraca Berg and Marshall) opened off-Broadway. She remains an active member of SAG, NARAS, and AFTRA.
On October 30, Chapman simultaneously released a new book (They Came to Nashville [Vanderbilt University Press/Country Music Foundation Press, 2010], a 2011 SIBA Book Award nominee, January 2011 Pulpwood Queens Book Club selection, and 2010 SIBA Okra Pick) and a new CD, Big Lonesome.

The Philadelphia Inquirer recently named Big Lonesome "Best Country/Roots Album of 2010." Paste Magazine calls it "her masterpiece." It was a preliminary nominee for the 2012 Grammy Americana Album of the Year.
Marshall is currently a contributing editor to Garden & Gun and Nashville Arts Magazine and a contributing author to W Magazine, Southern Living, Oxford America, and Town (Greenville, SC).
In March, 2012 she released the second edition of her first book "Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller" through, the multimedia arm of Tallgirl Records; she has hosted Music City Roots, been a guest DJ on WSM and WLAC, and presented the Entertainer of the Year Award to Buddy Miller at the 2011 Americana Music Awards.

Customer Reviews

I purchased this book as a gift for my partner, after we met Marshall Chapman in person.
Susan English
I thought that made it not as interesting as just letting them ramble on; however, I get what she was trying to create.
Sweet Lin
If your interest lies in getting some inside scoop on Country Music Folks this is the book for you.
Bill Barker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Omnivorous Reader on October 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Yes, it's very readable and interesting, probably worth for the story of a young and unknown Rodney Crowell meeting a another budding country singer, as the latter wandered down the street with his first record.

However, this book is about Chapman, who apparently knew everybody who was anybody in the music business in Nashville. Those of us who are not fans wish she would get out of the way. She prints her interviews in the question and answer format, which makes it very clear where she has interrupted her interviewee in the middle of an interesting story with her own stuff.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Chris Fletcher on September 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
They Came to Nashville

The 15 interviewees in this book range from icons like Kris and Willie, to the hottest newcomer in country music Miranda Lambert. Hearing in their own words why they gave up everything they knew to come to Nashville and live the dream makes for a great read, and as one reviewer said on the jacket "I didn't read this book, I inhaled it!"
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By Phillip Houston on December 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A look into Nashville ties from some of the greatest musicians in America. Marshall has a way of drawing out honesty and emotion from her interviewees that us rare!
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Earl James on May 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
After reading this book, skimming, I couldn't believe the great reviews here on Amazon. This is a set of interviews with Nashville music scene people about 'coming to Nashville'. It appears she did the oral interviews and then just typed up the transcript - very lazy production. She actually has comments like "tape runs out, had to flip it over". She has a set of questions that didn't work, such as "when did you first hear the word Nashville" and "what car were you driving"? I agree with another reviewer that Marshall Chapman spends too much time talking about herself, and since there was no editing apparently - all those comments are included. She also tells you little about the folks, as if everyone knows who Mary Gauthier is.
Get it at the library, you'll be glad you didn't spend money on this.
Amazingly, it's put out by Vanderbilt press. I'd have thought they would have higher standards.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful By kp on November 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Nashville's adopted daughter, Marshal Chapman, singer, sonwriter, has written a fantastic , first person account,of the music scene, filled with tales and tidbits of the musicians life in Nashville via real interviews, conducted by Miz Marshall herself

Written in a unique interview style, explaining reasons for pauses and interuptions, (and adding her own spellbinding excerpts along the way)the book is a real first person account through the lips of many who came to Nashville -how and why....

And who can make a booksigning and reading of excerpte from their book as truely an entertaining experiance as a live concert....? Marshall Chapmen

I first saw Miz Mahshall at the Bitter End in Greenwich Village NYC... sometime in 78? 1979? sorry.. cant remember..exactly.. when.. ? doesn't matter... she struck a chord in me and left a note that's still resounding after all these years...In between recording her own albums, cds, promoting her own causes ,searching all the while for her own dreams..and along the way... writing down her own memoirs...and finally obtaining critical acclaim for her first book, Goodbye Lil Rock and Roller.. in 2004
Flash forward... Columbus -Ohio, Oct 2010... here to promote her new book...They Came to Nashville....
I knew I had to see her once again, and hear her stories. Recounting her adventures, meetings, and mishaps...with an assortment of talent who have made their way through Nashville one way or another and have befriended Marshall along the way.....Some household names and some that not many attuned to the Nashville music scene or country music may never have heard of....
Read more ›
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