“The year is 1969, and the Bayleen Island Folk Fest is abuzz with one name: Jesse Reid. Tall and soft-spoken, with eyes blue as stone-washed denim, Jesse Reid’s intricate guitar riffs and supple baritone are poised to tip from fame to legend with this one headlining performance. That is, until his motorcycle crashes on the way to the show…
…Jesse stays on the island to recover from his near-fatal accident and he strikes up a friendship with Jane, coaching her through the production of her first record. As Jane contends with the music industry’s sexism, Jesse becomes her advocate, and what starts as a shared calling soon becomes a passionate love affair. On tour with Jesse, Jane is so captivated by the giant stadiums, the late nights, the wild parties, and the media attention, that she is blind-sided when she stumbles on the dark secret beneath Jesse’s music. With nowhere to turn, Jane must reckon with the shadows of her own past; what follows is the birth of one of most iconic albums of all time…”
My quirky review that I hope Emma Brodie reads:
Reading, in the dark with the crickets chirping, the moon blinking, and Ursa Major shining off into the distance. Songs in Ursa Major reads like a Rolling Stone Article featuring the band The Breakers, and musician Jesse Reid.
It’s the Summer of ’69 — Jane Quinn lives on Bayleen Island where she and her band The Breakers make it past obscurity when they play at the Bayleen Island Folk Fest. If it wasn’t for beloved folk musician Jesse Reid who doesn’t show up for the festival The Breakers wouldn’t have stepped on the stage in his place. Jane with her blonde hair and bare feet catches the eye of Rolling Stones reporter, Curtis Wilkes. Willy Lambert P&R man for Pegasus Records and manager for Jesse Reid seeks Jane out while she is working at her part-time job bartending at the local bar, The Carousel. Jane can’t believe he wants her to be a solo artist for Pegasus Records! However, her band The Breakers are her best friends, bandmates since Jr. High and she just can’t leave them, nor does she want to go solo, too many obstacles to hurdle mentally with that kind of move.
Throughout the book, you read the lyrics of the music that Jane and fellow bandmate Rich write. The Lyrics are so good that I starting searching for Janie and The Breakers music 🎼 Online and suddenly remembered it was a fictional band. Touché Emma Brodie you got me and I bet a lot of other readers too! I seriously would love to hear Janie’s, and Jesse Reid’s music! Do you have a song list you were listening to while writing? I’m dying to know.
In the middle of this whole saga of Jane and The Breakers evolving into a hot ticket to nothing once again, there is the backstory of Jane’s mother Charlotte, herself a songbird of a singer that disappears when Jane is small. The mystery of Charlotte’s disappearance is quite the story on its own and the damage that her disappearance it causes to Janie’s psyche helps you understand the lyrics to most of Janie’s music.
The “Mighty Quinn(s)” Family is filled with strong, independent women from Janie’s grandmother to her cousin, Maggie — these women step out of their comfort zone, do everything they need to to provide for each other monetarily and mentally, and sometimes shatter when no one is looking except for the reader.
Emma Brodie writes a compelling, true-as-life music fictional biography that will fill you with the desire to go out to your own festival and gaze at the stage wondering what each performer’s story is and loving the music every second of your attendance.
Thank you, NetGalley, Edelweiss+, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, and Emma Brodie for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.