Today’s guest reviewer is Annie K. Johnson – here she talks about A Far Cry From Sunset by Billy Franks due for release in 2012.
The question posed by the author, Billy Franks, is “Can four friends get ten superstars to appear on a tribute album to an unknown songwriter?” The question refers to author Billy Franks himself, who is a himself a performer and songwriter. He wrote a book about his journey with three of his colleagues as the group sought to connect with – Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Elvis Costello, Rod Stewart, Bon Jovi, and Bryan Adams. The author clearly aimed high and details his pursuit of these superstars that had occurred over the summer of 2005.
The book apparently goes into the eight-month trip across North America and Europe as the author and company spoke with managers, publicists, and security all in an attempt to persuade the superstar artists to perform for a tribute album. The actual album is available for free through the author’s website, billyfranks.com, and features seven of the ten pursued artists. It is sort of mind-boggling that a relatively unknown performer would be able to convince some of the biggest names in the music industry to do something like this, which adds to the interest of the book.
The story, as the author explains, goes into the actual process of tracking down and persuading these artists to appear on this album and will include the experiences of the group in sort of the task of traveling. Apparently, the group had shared with other people what they were intending to do and received a lot of warm encouragement from the regular people they had encountered along their travels. Franks explains that the process had been a tremendous experience, which one could imagine is likely very true, and that the group traveling with him had bonded a great deal. I can imagine that this may be on the heart-warming side and will likely give the reader a look into the offstage life of musicians as observed by someone in a unique position – not entirely on the outside, but not on the inside either.
On the site, the author ponders whether the superstar artists experience life in the thrilling sort of way that the author and his friends had over that summer. I’m not sure how the author handles that particular point, but the claim at least seems to be a bold one to make. In the book, he may back it up with some experience he had in speaking with the artists (according to Franks, he spoke with two of the ten artists). It may be a very profound point in his book that hits at the core of the cost of fame or it could be something that only attempts to earn sympathy for celebrities from readers. It’s hard to say which way things will go, but at the very least, the book does sound very unique and interesting. This will be one to keep an eye on, especially for those interested in the music industry.
The book is set to be released over the summer of this year, so if you would like to read more about the book, sign up for a notification when it is released, or to download the free album that Billy Franks put together featuring superstar musicians, visit his website: www.billyfranks.com
About the Author: Billy Franks was the lead singer and songwriter for “The Faith Brothers”, whose two albums and six singles all made the UK chart. Billy has since released six solo albums to critical acclaim. Last summer he released a charity single in partnership with his friend, Prince Harry, to raise money for the Prince’s African charity Sentebale.
In addition to his musical passions, Billy was recently the focus of a feature length documentary film, called Tribute This! The film chronicles the adventures of 4 friends as they travel the world to ask ome of its biggest stars, Springsteen, McCartney, etc., to appear on a tribute album to an unknown but worthy recipient of such an honour: Billy Franks.
Billy Franks lifetime dedication to his craft says it all. “Billy has devoted his entire life to song writing. He has given so much to others through his music. Dedicating ourselves to a project that would honor him was a no brainer on our part,” said Mick McCleery. (Director of Tribute This!)
This spring will see the publication of his book “A Far Cry from Sunset”, chronicling the adventures of making the movie as well as stories from a musical career that involved touring with the likes of U2 and REM. In conjunction with the release of the book, Billy will release a live album entitled “From the Court to the Empire”, recorded at London’s famous Shepherds Bush Empire theatre.