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10 Classic Albums to Expand Your Musical Horizons

Serious artists don’t work in a vacuum. Inspiration for musical creativity can be found in movies, poetry, painting, a conversation, a great dinner, and, of course, especially in recorded masterpieces from the past. Here’s a list of 10 great albums that can fan the flames of your own creativity, each chosen for a specific approach that takes it outside the box and into the stratosphere. Jimi Hendrix’s Axis: Bold As Love (1967): The art of mixing is dead in the world of modern recordings...

The Musician’s Guide To Affordable Effective Websites

A common complaint among independent musicians is that building a customized website is very expensive; a few artists showed me quotes of $5,000 for a website. It’s not 1997 anymore, and those quotes are not OK. An effective website can be created for $20 or less a month with no upfront costs. So for those of you who need a template for how to create an effective and affordable website, this is the article for you. Many artists drive themselves crazy building...

Why Hire A Producer? — A Guide For Indie Musicians

For most indie musicians the idea of hiring a producer might seem high-falutin’, or at least expensive. But the truth is hiring someone to produce your demo or album might be smarter, more practical and cheaper than your think. A good producer makes songs, sounds and arrangements better, and can identify an artist’s or band’s strengths and weakness, then develop a strategy for embracing the former and triumphing over the latter. Smart producers also understand how to make an ...

It Takes Two: Great Metal Guitar Duos

Much of the early music that helped to either shape the dawn of or define the birth of heavy metal was driven by single-guitar bands. Led Zeppelin. Deep Purple. Cream. Jimi Hendrix. Each of these acts pushed the prologue of the heavy metal story forwards until it burst into its true first chapter in the form of Black Sabbath. Tony Iommi was — and remains — a one-man metal machine, dishing out punishing riffs and cutting solos with the same ferocity to this day. But eventually...

Social Media & Musicians: The Danger in Being Everywhere

Since the dawn of social media and time (ie Myspace),musicians have always been the unchallenged and unquestionable early-adopters of tech. With so many new platforms sprouting up all over the web every day, it’s no surprise that so many feel the need to be everywhere. Some of us are driven by the mentality that more profiles equals more chance of being discovered. Others cling to the fear of missing out on a chunk of potential fans by not being there.

Top Ten Kings of Leon Riffs

Kings of Leon are getting ready to release their sixth album on September 24. Judging from the two songs that have already been released from Mechanical Bull, “Supersoaker,” and “Wait For Me,” it sounds like the Followill’s won’t disappoint this time around either. Both songs continue down the same path as their last three albums, with big choruses and big guitars. Gibson guitars figure prominently on stage at Kings of Leon shows. Guitarist Matthew Followill often plays a Gibson ES-137...

What Do You Want?

I teach an elective music appreciation class at one of the local colleges. Since it's an elective,none of the students are music majors, and most of them don't even play an instrument but have an interest in music. It's a good representation of what we might call the average ear - aware of music but not educated about it. One of the exercises I assign frequently is to listen to a piece of music and have the class write about it. The goal is for them to learn to listen in an attentive,critical...

8 Ways to Make Your Next YouTube Video Better Than The Last

So you’ve made a video… Now what? Take into consideration these 8 tips to optimizing your video’s potential on YouTube. 1. Your TITLE is important! Believe it or not, your title can make or break your video– when people are searching for things to watch, you want your video to come up for them to view! Keep it focused! Try this format (as applicable): [Song Title] [Short Description] [Original Artist Name] [Your Band Name]. For example, if you have done...

Developing Your Artist Brand

When you hear slogans like “Finger lickin’ good,” “Just do it,” and “Eat fresh,” can you immediately picture the logo, the company, and the associated products? This is branding in action, and big businesses invest untold millions on it because they know it can mean success and longevity for their products. Developing your artist brand is an important step in your music marketing plan and in the ongoing development of your music career.
The Jesus and Mary Chain concert at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, Georgia

Why Musicians Should Care More About The Live Experience They Provide

In the 1970s, futurologist Alvin Toffler predicted that in the future, people would be chasing experiences more than they would purchase products. Marketing music events is tricky, because there is a paradox. You can't be successful if your product (the actual music) is bad, but it has been proven many times that people attend events primarily because of the experience it offers, more than the actual...

Making the Most of Your Press / Testimonials Page

Let other people do your bragging FOR you. “Testimonials” makes it sound like you’re hawking some ridiculous new “As Seen on TV” product and you need some paid actors to feign like they love it. And, actually, that would be a pretty funny idea for your website if you could pull it off, so don’t count that one out. But, right now we’re here to talk about a more straightforward approach to a page you may or may not have on your own site, but I guarantee...

Pop’s Music? 20 Father / Son Guitarists

Here are 20 father/son guitarists that suggest music could be in your bones. Paul McCartney + James McCartney. Your dad being a Beatle must be weird enough. The upside for James McCartney? He’ll never need money. The downside? He’ll always be compared to his legendary father, Paul. Yet James McCartney is a talented singer/songwriter/guitarist in his own right. James McCartney released his first full-length album in 2013. Establishing his own identity, his album is aptly...

10 Great Overlooked Guitar Albums

Ask any rock fan to name the greatest-ever rock guitar albums, and you had better be prepared to sit for a while.Led Zeppelin IV, Appetite for Destruction, Paranoid, Van Halen’s self-titled debut: the list of such albums could fill an encyclopedia. Still, some albums filled with stellar guitar work have flown under the radar. Confining our picks to full-band efforts—as opposed to solo LPs—we present 10 such albums below. After giving way to Steve Howe, original Yes guitarist Peter Banks went...

Bass Tips: Syncing Bass And Drums

As a bass player, there are several ways you can approach a song. One way is to write a dedicated bass part which does its own thing. There are plenty of great examples of this: Paul McCartney's wandering lines in The Beatles; many of Geddy Lee's great Rush basslines; even Michael Anthony's steady eighth or sixteenth-note pedalling in Van Halen would qualify. Another option is to follow the guitar part, doubling it an octave below. This is pretty common in metal and it's one of the reasons ...

Joe Satriani Makes A Music City Return

There's a reason that Joe Satriani is a world-renowned guitarist. If you've ever heard him play, you don't have to wonder why. The multi-platinum guitarist brought his "Unstoppable Momentum Tour 2013" to Nashville's War Memorial Auditorium on Tuesday night. A force in the music world for 30 years now, having garnered 15 Grammy nominations for both solo projects as well as collaborations with other artists, Satriani's tour is in support of his 14th solo...
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