Nashville author, songwriter got his start locally


By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 11:31 am on Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Former Belding High School student and Daily News music critic Rick Moore recently published his first eBook, “Bringing in the Sheep.” Now living in Nashville, Moore hopes to see the book turned into a major Hollywood film. — Courtesy photo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — For Rick Moore, the journey from Belding High School student to Nashville songwriter and author of a recently released eBook has been a long one, filled with unexpected twists and turns. And though the road hasn’t always been an easy one, at least it hasn’t been boring.

Moore’s new eBook, “Bringing in the Sheep,” is the culmination of years of work and decades of writing.

Moore’s first professional writing gig was with The Daily News in Greenville, where he worked as the newspaper’s music critic from 1972 to 1975. He took the skills he picked up in Greenville with him when he left town for Los Angeles, Las Vegas and later, Nashville, Tenn.

On the west coast, Moore wrote for various newspapers and magazines, mostly on a freelance basis. While writing about music, Moore also learned to play himself (guitar, keyboard, bass, drums, harmonica) and has over the years become a prolific songwriter, occasionally collaborating on projects with “name” acts.

“Since I graduated from Belding High School 40 years ago, I’ve been a busy guy,” Moore said. “I wrote for The Daily News while learning to play music, then moved to Davenport, Iowa, in 1976.”

While there, Moore managed a band, wrote for the Quad-City Times and Prairie Sun, a Peoria, Ill., music magazine. In 1979, Moore moved to L.A., where he enrolled in broadcasting school while continuing to play in country and new-wave bands. In his “spare time,” he also wrote for various magazines as a music reviewer.

By the mid-1980s, Moore was living in Las Vegas, making his way playing the “lounge lizard” circuit and working in the occasional blues band. At the same time, he deejayed for a National Public Radio affiliate, hosting a Christian talk radio show.

It wasn’t until 2000 that he moved to his current home of Nashville, where he now makes his living writing for Gannett newspapers, American Songwriter magazine, the Nashville Music Guide and other publications.

Over the years, Moore has co-written several tunes which were later recorded by some of the music industry’s heaviest hitters, including Celine Dion, Lynyrd Skynyrd, .38 Special, the Beach Boys and various Christian acts.

Along the way, Moore recorded and released his own music.

“I had two commercial releases,” Moore said. “One was a single in L.A. in 1984 called ‘Our Town,’ which was sort of like the Police meet the Talking Heads and a rap novelty single called ‘Tired of Being White’ that I sang on the nationally syndicated Gong Show, where I was gonged by Casey Kasem’s wife.”

Neither song took off commercially, but that isn’t really an issue for Moore. He’s just happy to be making music, writing about music and enjoying life as it comes on a day-to-day basis.

Moore’s new novel, “Bringing in the Sheep,” is the story of a disabled farmer with various addictions and the devastating influence these have on his family, some of whom are Christians.

“It’s not a nice book, but very inspirational, especially for women trapped in bad relationships,” Moore said. “And it has a happy ending.”

The book is semi-autobiographical, he added.

“The young boy in the book is me and it’s basically the story of my upbringing,” Moore said. “The book isn’t based in Michigan, though many of the events in the book did indeed happen there. I was just trying to protect the innocent by moving it to the midwest.”

Currently available only as a Kindle download through Amazon.com, the reviews so far have been good. Moore hopes the book will eventually be picked up by a studio and made into a movie, an ambition that might seem little more than a pipe dream were it not for the relationships he has developed.

“I have made many connections in the entertainment industry over the years, including in Hollywood, so I’m actively pursuing that angle, because the book is very visual,” Moore said. “I went with the eBook format after years of being rejected by every publisher in the country.

“My book is hard to categorize; it’s not science fiction or romance or something that can be made into a video game,” he said. “It’s a character piece about real people dealing with real issues and everyone is scared to put any money behind something like that, until they see someone else do it and make a million. So I did it electronically, hoping that a publisher or a movie studio might show some interest while I’m selling copies the 21st century way.”

Although reviews have been positive, sales have been a bit sluggish, Moore admitted. He attributes this somewhat to the hectic pace of the holidays and hopes that once the season is over, people who received new eBook readers will consider purchasing his book.

While he’s happy with his new book, Moore said the work of which he is most proud is about 40 years old.

“I’m most proud of my very first newspaper article in The Daily News,” he said. “Without that, I’d have done nothing. I had a pretty thin skin as a kid and I came from a broken home. If John Stafford hadn’t given me a chance to write, I’d probably still be making fiberglass boxes in Belding, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but…”

Moore maintains a Facebook page and an online presence at American Songwriter magazine.

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