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Soul Mining: A Musical Life

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  146 ratings  ·  29 reviews

Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, U2, Peter Gabriel, and the Neville Brothers all have something in common: some of their best albums were produced by Daniel Lanois. A French-speaking kid from Canada, Lanois was driven by his innate curiosity and intense love of music to transcend his small-town origins and become one of the world’s most prolific and successful

ebook, 240 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by Faber & Faber (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 303)
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John Chabalko
If you're considering reading this book then I can help you out - you should.

It's almost a bunch of short stories and disjointed thoughts stuck together between 2 covers - maybe you'll see it that way and you'll still like it - but there's a steel thread that runs through the whole thing that speaks to a purity within Lanois that forms the basis of all of his work.

I'm not going to ramble, just read it. You'll probably be familiar with the artists he works with and you'll likely know a lot of the
"...there are moments of epiphany. It's laboratoy work, really, and any scientist will tell you that research is trial and error, and sometimes by products are more interesting than what you thought you were supposed to be going after. Doubt is just part of the recipe... So there I was... wondering what the hell it was all about, banging into brick walls, hoping to find a way to make it all work. I was not about to be a casualty of mediocrity. Innovation is costly - it eats away at your life, yo ...more
I have loved Daniel Lanois as a producer and songwriter for decades - he's taken me from my core listening in 1980s modern rock (legendary records by U2, Peter Gabriel) into spooky dirges by Bob Dylan and the space-age country of Emmylou Harris's WRECKING BALL. I have more records that he's played on, written, sung, produced or engineered than anyone else on the planet. Needless to say I loved this book but I didn't always like it. You have to accept Lanois' voice - musical, yearning, frustrated ...more
Tim Wiles
A very well written book by a great musical presence, both for his own work and his production of Dylan, Willie, Emmylou, Gabriel, U2, the Nevilles, and many more. Sort of a twin to Bob Dylan's Chronicle's volume 1.

contains this gem: "These early pioneers had invented a sound that would speak to the world and that held the four vital ingredients—sexuality, godliness, joy, and groove.” Daniel Lanois on early reggae, from his book Soul Mining, p159
Timothy Neesam
I read this memoir by Daniel Lanois while going through a bit of a Lanois binge (albums, concert, stage interview). Lanois' production elevates the music of some very talented artists (Peter Gabriel, the Neville Brothers, U2, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, et al), and his solo albums are filled with mood and atmosphere. So is his book. This isn't a tell-all autobiography. Some personal aspects of his life aren't discussed at all. It's a quilt of a memoir and the creation o ...more
J. David Gray
He's not as good a writer as he is a producer, but he "gets 'er done". Sometimes he drones on about equipment he uses that only an audiophile would care about, and yet it gives insight into how thorough and specific he is in his craft. His stories made me go back and revisit albums I had liked and I was able to then know why a little better. If I ever got to meet Lanois, I'd thank him for the gift. My kinda guy.
I love Dan Lanois. I admired and studied his work for decades, met him recently, and now I know that he's the real deal. A true artist's artist; he's easily my favourite Canadian. If his music (obviously including production) has ever moved you in any way, read this and listen to those tracks again. Truly inspirational for any intelligent and passionate musician.
Sean O'brien
A great read for anybody who's ever been in a recording studio for more than 12 hours and discovered the meaning of life through the trials and tribulations of working with musicians for a living. Lanois' stories of working with U2 and Dylan are especially heartfelt and inspiring. I couldn't wait to finish this book and plug in a microphone.
Lee Watford
While might not have been the best music autobiography I've read, but it's still a really interesting look into one of my musical heroes. Lots of fun stories and thoughts.
Jim Braly
"Soul Mining: A musical life" is a trip through Daniel Lanois' travels, friendships, dreams and inspirations. Hard to believe this Canadian was a candle maker in Gainsville, Florida, for a while, then not too long after that he was producing albums for U2. If you play and record music yourself, you'll love his stories from the studio, and most likely gain knowledge and insights. Some of them are simple, perhaps obvious, but to hear them coming from the source, they gain heft and height.

Lanois sp
Chris Witt
I've worshiped at the sonic altar of Danny Lanois for 15 years or so now, so I was overjoyed a few months ago when I found out that he was putting out a book.

This book is basically an auto-biography, but much like Bob Dylan's "Chronicles, Vol. 1" it sort of jumps around in time and space. It's not arranged chronologically at all. In both books, this kind of bugged me a little bit.

Still, Lanois' writing is poetic, atmospheric, personal. No surprise to those familiar with his production techniques
M Tremmel
Were it not for Daniel Lanois being such a great influence, I might have only given this a 3 star rating. From a literary perspective, it could have used a little nip/tuck from an editor. However, as it is stream of conscience, it also revealing.

His phrasing and storytelling abilities are on display as he weaves together tales of the creation of many seminal records he's left his fingerprints on. He refers to his studio as a laboratory and his life's work as 'in search of sounds.'

I particularly
Daniel Lanois writes in a confusing, overly poetic style that often leaves you adrift mid-paragraph or even mid-sentence. You are hurtling through time and space, first in California then in Canada then in New Orleans. What year is it? Who knows? He uses odd metaphors as the building blocks for his stories about originality and the artist as martyr upon the altar of commerce, although being one of the more successful producers in modern history, one has reason to doubt his bona fides as a suffer ...more
Jerry Oliver
This was a wonderful read, especially for a recording geek like me who has also been recording since I was a teenager bouncing mixes between two reel to reel tape recorders in my mom's basement.
Not only is Lanois a world class producer who has recorded many of the best albums by many of my favorite artists, he is also a great storyteller and musical philosopher on the written page.
His book reveals an intensely organized, focused and imaginative mind at work. His life and work experiences have
James Holloway
I am a big fan of Daniel Lanois' production work. This gave some excellent detail into his background and his introduction to music.
Amazing. One of my favorite musicians/producers discusses the hows and he recorded Willie Nelson's "Teatro", why he chose to decorate an abandoned porn theater with Cuban styles couches and lights to set a mood...then record live with Willie and Co for 5 days. Riding motorcycles with Bob Dylan in New Orleans....his childhood....his crazy philosophies....his idea of composition....its just great. You might need to be a fan to really love it...but any artist would enjoy the way he disc ...more

With a resume like Lanois', how could this book not be captivating? The behind-the-scenes tales of producing U2, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Peter Gabriel, and the Neville Brothers (among many others) reveal a man who not only is at the top of his craft technically speaking, but also is an unflinching seeker of musical innovation, enthralling atmosphere and soulful moments from the artists he produces. Much more than a mere knob-twirler, Lanois is a skilled soul miner -- and repeatedly strikes go
Richard MacManus
Tells the stories behind the albums Lanois has worked on and the inspirations. Nuggets of soul in the book (I tweeted a bunch of great quotes) and you sense the individuality of each artist he worked with and the discoveries they made. A reinvigorated Dylan making Oh Mercy in New Orleans with Lanois, The Edge coming up with a new guitar sound on No Line on the Horizon, Willie Nelson's unique vocal phrasings and quick way of working, ... He ends the book talking about invention, passion, being un ...more
Bruce Sheridan
Close to four stars but feeling tough today. Very good read! Lanois takes a similar meandering approach to Dylan in Chronicles (Lanois produced the okay OH MERCY and the transcendent TIME OUT OF MIND with Dylan). Insightful and a must read for musicians and anybody interested in the place where composition, performance and recording intersect.
This book starts off with a grand momentum, lofty ideas, and a Canadian kid who follows his passions. Somewhere near the middle, the autobiography loses some steam. The last handful of pages seemed like sketches of what Danny Lanois had in mind for the last part of the book, but never fleshed out.
Mar 16, 2012 Calvin added it
Shelves: music
It was fascinating to get inside the head of the very underrated artist and find out why he made the decisions he has about his work. Sometimes his long passages about equipment is something only a hardcore studio guy could appreciate-but as a whole it was some great insight.
This book just oozes warmth.
A born storyteller, excellent imagery.
Be warned: no structure whatsoever...Which is quite typical for a genius.
Great this is how we make the music behind the scene details...makes me want to redo my third floor studio -- and play around w/ GarageBand again. Not linear, but with some poetry.

Interesting subject matter but very scattered, which detracted from the reading experience. My initial enthusiasm turned into a slog to finish the book.
John Gilbert
The guy is an inspiration to me, so just nice to get inside his head for a couple hundred pages. Great Dylan & Neil Young stories, as well as Brian Eno.
Check out my book review of Soul Mining on the TTQ blog.

Pompous and turgid at times but informative nonetheless.
Kyambo Joshua
I love this book. It change my mind on a lot of things.
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