Episode 14 Tony Brown: Iconic Country Music Producer
June 12, 2020 | Courtesy of The Music Makers Podcast
The history of country music is long and storied and there are few alive today that can speak to it in the same way as iconic country music producer Tony Brown. From his beginnings in Southern Gospel music, through his time performing with Elvis, into producing hit records for huge country music stars, Tony has a lot to share. Tony grew up with an evangelist for a father. He and his family traveled around playing at different kinds of churches and his love for music blossomed. He was only allowed to listen to Christian music as a young child but credits the variety and soul for his long-standing love of music.
When he left home, he started working as a pianist and was found by Elvis. Tony knew of Elvis and knew he was a big celebrity, but wasn’t aware of his background in the church. Elvis specifically picked him to join the band because of Tony’s history of performing in the gospel music scene. From there, he spent a number of years performing with Elvis, Emmylou Harris, and a variety of other huge names. He later made his way into producing music and became the President of MCA, Nashville. He has worked with numerous superstars and had his hand in producing some of the biggest country music albums in the history of the genre. Listen as he shares stories about the creation of specific songs and why he chose to write his book. Tony’s trek through his memory and all the amazing people he’s met and tales he’s been a part of are truly a delight to listen to. You’ll find no better recount of country music from the 60’s and 70’s to today. Show Highlights: [00:01:27] Welcome Tony Brown to the show to chat about his role in country music. [00:02:20] When did Tony know that he was meant to be in music. [00:04:40] How much did Tony know about Elvis when he started working with him? [00:07:10] What was Elvis like as a band leader? [00:09:44] How old was Tony when he started working with Elvis and Emmylou Harris? [00:12:13] Learn more about how Tony signed Alabama. [00:15:10] What milestones did he learn from Jimmy Bowen about being a producer? [00:17:48] Why producing music starts with the song. [00:20:41] Tony shares more about the people he admired and what he learned from them about the industry. [00:24:15] Did Tony ever work with the writers to alter the songs? [00:28:51] Tony tells the story of Wynonna cutting a Dave Loggins’ song for her album. [00:32:29] How did Vince Gil’s “Go Rest High on that Mountain” come about? [00:36:22] What’s the story behind Trisha Yearwood’s version of “How do I Live?” [00:43:21] Tony recounts the records he most enjoyed producing. [00:44:56] How does Tony feel about his career so far? [00:47:56] His work has positively impacted people and that is so fulfilling. [00:52:42] The Americana chart is a breeding ground for the next round of country radio. [00:55:16] Success is gauged by the artist’s desires. [00:56:16] What is Tony doing these days to stay relevant? [01:00:30] How is Covid going to affect the music industry? [01:03:38] Listen as Tony shares his experience with writing a photo book. [01:07:20] Tony gives a little more background on the book and how the title came about. LINKS & RESOURCES The Music Makers podcast theme song was written and produced by Andy Kushner with help from the rhythm section and horn players of the band, SoundConnection: Elliot Jefferson, Lamonte Silver, Keith Hammond, Roy Lambert, Joe Herrera, and Craig Alston. Follow The Music Makers: The Music Makers on Instagram Sponsor: Kushner Entertainment Check out Andy's Other Podcast: The Wedding Biz Tony Brown: Tony’s Book - Elvis, Strait, to Jesus by Tony Brown Tony Brown Enterprises Tony on Facebook and YouTube