Kosser, Mike 1941- (Mike Roarke)

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Kosser, Mike 1941- (Mike Roarke)


Born December 19, 1941, in Mount Vernon, NY; son of Kenneth (a building contractor) and Shirley (a homemaker) Kosser; married Gina Levine, July 20, 1986; children: Alan, Rebecca. Education: Alfred University, B.A.; attended New York University. Politics: Independent. Religion: Jewish.


Songwriter, 1979—; writer. Military service: Served in U.S. Army; became lieutenant.


American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).


Winner of several BMI and ASCAP awards.


Those Bold and Beautiful Country Girls, Windward (Leicester, England), 1979.

The Conway Twitty Story, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1986.

Country Music '88, Paperjacks, 1988.

Hot Country, Avon (New York, NY), 1993.

Hot Country Women, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1994.

How Nashville Became Music City, U.S.A.: Fifty Years of Music Row, Hal Leonard (Milwaukee, WI), 2006.

Also author, under pseudonym Mike Roarke, of novels Thunder in the East, Silent Drums, and Shadows on the Longhouse, all published by St. Martin's. Contributor of articles to periodicals.


Mike Kosser told CA: "I enjoy writing in two distinct genres. For about a dozen years I worked in the music business, primarily as a songwriter, with some success. I enjoy writing nonfiction about the Nashville music industry, from a perspective that most journalists miss.

"On the fiction side, my specialty is historical fiction, particularly American history from 1750 to 1850. I am in a constant development process, both learning the facts and the feel of the times, and learning the limits of fictionalizing history. It's no good being a stickler for detail if detail makes the book boring, and it's no good to stray so far from historical accuracy that the time and place loses its significance. This is an interesting tightrope to walk, but if you can create characters you love (and you'd better!) sooner or later they will take over the story. At least, that's what I like to think."

Since 1979 Kosser's songs have been recorded by George Jones, Barbara Mandrell, Conway Twitty, Tammy Wynette, Charlie Rich, and others; many of his songs have appeared on the national country music charts. Kosser offers an in-depth, insider's view of Nashville during its ascendancy in his book How Nashville Became Music City, U.S.A.: Fifty Years of Music Row. The book underlines the importance of the producers and businesspeople who were as essential to Nashville's rise as were the top singers of the day. "Music Row" is the section of Nashville that is the heart of the country music business, and Kosser offers the reflections and recollections of a wide selection of music publishers, producers, engineers, and artists. While the material is not new, Kosser's book offers a "deeper, detailed background" to the stories readers might already know, according to Les Kerr in a review for Paste. It is "an excellent history of the country-music business, told by those who know," stated a Kirkus Reviews contributor.

As he compares contemporary Nashville with the city in earlier days, Kosser expresses "a palpable sadness for the passing of an incredibly fertile time and place in American cultural history," noted Steven Gaydos in Daily Variety. Gaydos quoted Kosser as saying: "The studio musicians today are great, and the songwriters are great. The level of craftsmanship is as high as it's ever been, but the level of inspiration is not. There's a tendency to write too much just for the market, and it tramples on the creativity."



California Bookwatch, August, 2006, review of How Nashville Became Music City, U.S.A.: 50 Years of Music Row.

Daily Variety, May 23, 2006, Steven Gaydos, review of How Nashville Became Music City, U.S.A., p. A2.

Entertainment Weekly, July 21, 2006, review of How Nashville Became Music City, U.S.A., p. 69.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2006, review of How Nashville Became Music City, U.S.A., p. 335.


Bookpage,http://www.bookpage.com/ (January 3, 2007), Edward Morris, review of How Nashville Became Music City, U.S.A.

Paste,http://pastemagazine.com/ (January 3, 2007), Les Kerr, review of How Nashville Became Music City, U.S.A.