July 04, 2001 11:00 pm

By Ray Linker

Observer Staff Writer

Tanja Crouch grew up in La Grande, but the only people I knew in the music business were my high school band and choir teachers.

Now she is a veteran of the music business, according to the publishers of a book Crouch has written.

The book, 100 Careers in the Music Business, is a large paperback book published in April by Barrons Educational Series Inc. of Hauppauge, N.Y., and retails for $14.95.

Crouch, who graduated from La Grande High School in 1976, said much of her family, including her mother Luana Peck, still lives in La Grande. Her father, Charles, died three years ago. He owned the La Grande Garbage Service for several years. Her brother, Jim, and his wife, Linda, and children Dustin and Stacy live in La Grande.

Her husband is writer Kevin Crouch. They live in Franklin, Tenn., about 10 miles south of Nashville. They have no children, but she teaches Sunday school to 16- to 18-year-olds.

I consider them my adopted kids, she said.

The Crouches try to come to La Grande each year.

Last time we were there, we looked into buying some land around Wallowa. Maybe next time. Were hoping to make it (home) again before Thanksgiving, but with the release of my next book, we may have to delay until spring, she said.

In the forward to the book she writes about growing up in La Grande.

I had a love for music, but I had no idea of the depth of career possibilities for non-performers to work in the industry, she said.

And never did I dream I would one day work with superstars such as Roy Orbison, Vince Gill, Randy Travis and others, that I would create, write and co-produce a television special, or that I would travel around the world representing publishing and master catalogs.

Crouch has worked in the music industry for 15 years, starting at age 26 in Los Angeles, and she has worked in Nashville and New York as well as in England and Europe. She had stints as agents for Gill, Travis and others and spent five years as vice president of Barbara Orbison Production.

Last year, she created, wrote and produced This Joint is Jumpin a documentary about swing and jazz for the Bravo TV channel and wrote a companion book by the same title scheduled to appear later this year.

In connection with that, I have been invited to put on a swing seminar, panel and presentation at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C, this fall, she said.

Crouch, who attended Brigham Young University, is a contributing writer to Nashville Woman magazine. She is working on a book about careers in the film and television industry.

Crouch said the book about the music industry is meant to be an inspiration and a catalyst for people in a situation similar to her own background who are interested in the music business but have no connections to guide or mentor them.

The book gives practical advice about how to break into and become successful in the business, she said.

Barrons publicity department describes the book as one that takes the mystery out of the maze of job titles and presents easy-to-understand explanations of what qualifications are needed for various positions.

The book also details a typical day by people in many positions.

Most importantly, it gives an overview of the industry as it currently operates, describing the roles of music publishers, recording companies, record distribution groups, producers, management and marketing, promotion operations and the musicians themselves, stated a news release about the book.

Theres a glossary of terms, an appendix list of major music organizations and a variety of resources for starting, nurturing and propelling music careers.

The book is todays most complete picture of todays music industry available anywhere, according to Barrons.

Crouch said, Maybe some day, Ill get to do a presentation at La Grande High School about writing or music or living out your dreams.

On the Internet: