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New Artist Spotlight - The Henningsens

These are halcyon times for Country vocal groups. So how does a new group stand out? The Henningsens have at least two ways of making an impression in this crowded field. One involves songwriting: On American Beautiful, their Arista Nashville debut, Brian Henningsen, son Aaron and daughter Clara, as a trio or in various combinations, join with various co-writers on all 10 tracks, with consistently pleasing results. Match that with singing that exceeds today’s standards for technique...

Let’s Get This Straight – DIY Means Decide It Yourself Not Do It Yourself

Across the Internet and in the zines of yesterdecade, there have constantly been cries of “sellout.” According to a recent study, the kids of today don’t care who sold out, who’s punk or what’s the score any longer. But what every music fan does care about are the artists they love being tainted by the influences of A&R douches looking to shape our favorite acts and turn them into something they are not...

Leverage What You Know About Music Creation to Create Content and Build Audience Online

As a singer, songwriter, or music artist, you have a distinct advantage when it comes to creating content for the web. After all your music is a piece of content so you're familiar with the creative process of creating tangible content. Often times when I talk to people in the industry there is this idea that creating content for the web is somehow a different process from creating your music. In this post, I want to encourage...

1991: Nirvana and Metallica Change Rock Forever

It's generally held that 1967 was a landmark year for rock music. Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced, Cream's Disraeli Gears, The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band – all of those albums were released that year and they all had an instant and jarring effect on music history, with particular impact on guitarists. A similar impact was felt around the world in 1991 with the release of several extremely influential albums – U2’s Achtung Baby, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Pearl Jam’s Ten, My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, Primal Scream’s Screamadelica). Among this elite crop were a pair of very different but equally epoch-changing records: Nirvana's Nevermind and Metallica's self-titled album (often referred to...
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Capturing the Spirit of Spirit Animal

Originating from the east coast, Spirit Animal can definitely make an impact by unleashing their animal within. The up and coming band, formed in 2010, can now say that they have captured the spirit of their band. “That’s the real Spirit Animal line-up,” said front man Steve Cooper about their latest EP album, This Is A Test. Their earlier album, Cost of Living, Steve commented, “that was more of a one man driven and house production, now, that’s why you hear (This is a Test) with more momentum...

Little Amps, Big Sounds: Recording with Low-Watt Amps

Jimmy Page, Steve Cropper, Jeff Beck, Joe Walsh, Neil Young and a horde of other guitarists with monster tone understand that it’s not always amp size that counts. And the proof is in an array of classic recordings that include Beck’s “’Cause We Ended As Lovers,” Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way,” Neil Young’s “Over and Over” and Led Zeppelin’s epic “Heartbreaker.” Recording with small, low-wattage amps is an art form that requires a little knowledge and imagination, and of course, some good sounding...

10 Vocal Tips for Performing Guitarists

For many performing guitarists, vocals are a sore spot — if not an Achilles Heel, at least a necessary evil or a source of insecurity on stage. Gaining experience as a performer helps, and so does singing lessons, but there are simple things you can do at every gig to make singing as easy and melodious as possible. Here’s a checklist of 10 suggestions. Position amps carefully: Being able to hear your voice on stage is critical to do your best singing — the kind of vocalizing where you can bring...

51 Female Music Entrepreneurs Share Their Best Advice

Today is my birthday and, each year, I love to take a moment to reflect on the year behind, the state of the music business, and my love for music. A few months ago, while everyone in the world I know went to SXSW, I took myself to a quiet beach for a few days to think, to write, and to and recharge. While I was boarding the plane, my friend Marcus Taylor emailed, asking me to contribute a quote for his article “30 Pieces Of Advice From Music Industry Entrepreneurs” I fired it off and thought nothing...

Stars of the Les Paul “Black Beauty”

Gibson debuted the Les Paul Custom in 1954 and dubbed it the “Fretless Wonder.” Originally, black-finish Les Paul Customs came with one P-90 (bridge position) and one Alnico V pickup (neck position). It morphed, and soon had Seth Lover’s PAF humbuckers, and was also known as the “Black Beauty.” Now, you can buy a 20th Anniversary 1957 Les Paul Custom Black Beauty which is true to its ’57 vintage spec. Epiphone has its own glorious Black Beauty for players on a budget. Sunburst ...

New Artist Spotlight - The Sins Country

Listening to Muscadine on Go Time Records, you might bet Joe and Kristen Sins grew up together in some crossroads town deep in the Texas countryside. Not so: Both are Californians, though neither is city folk; Kristen grew up in Sonora, on the edge of Yosemite National Park, while Joe’s roots are in Twentynine Palms, close to another wonder of Western nature, the Mojave Desert. Yet here they are, joined in marriage and music on one of the strongest duo debuts of recent years...

Inspiring Song: “Even if it Breaks Your Heart” Will Hoge and Eli Young Band

Every once-in-awhile an inspiring song comes along, grabs you by the heart and takes you on a trip down memory lane. For me, the latest entry into that category is “Even if it Breaks Your Heart” By Will Hoge and Eli Young Band. I must have listened to this song over a dozen times the first day I heard it. I just loved it. See if you can relate. Way back on the radio dial, The fire got lit inside a bright-eyed ...

So You Got a Bad Review — Welcome to the Club!

How bands should deal with negative press. Without naming names, I’d like to tell you a story about something that unfolded yesterday on Facebook. A certain band got a somewhat unfavorable review from a local publication. The band members’ feelings, understandably, were hurt; they’d worked hard writing, rehearsing, recording, and mixing an album they were proud of — and they expected the whole world to love it too. One music critic, however, didn’t love it. And it was his job to say so in print.

Bruno Mars At Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh

Although he is technically a pop star, Bruno Mars is a throwback artist in every way. He starts on time, he wears a suit and his guitar is actually plugged in. The Filipino/Puerto Rican’s Pittsburgh debut was held at Consol Energy Center. Devoid of hockey since the Penguin’s early round exit, the arena was packed as if were a Cup finals game. When the gold laced palm tree curtain dropped on the “Moonshine Jungle”, Mars got the crowd instantly on their feet and singing along to an assault of the...

The Songwriters Behind George Strait's 60th Number 1 Hit

George Strait one of country music’s greatest and most celebrated artists have recently celebrated his 60th number 1 hit single “Give It All We Got Tonight”. No other artist in any genre has reached that level in music history. George has three prolific, talented yet humble songwriters to thank for that and I was simply honored to speak with them. Mark Bright has worked with Superstars like: Rascal Flatts, Sara Evans, Jo Dee Messina, Lonestar, Reba McEntire, Sting...

The Tools of Music Fan Engagement [Part 3]: Facebook Basics

So far the “The Tools of Music Fan Engagement” series has covered blogging and email newsletters. Now it’s time to talk about social media, starting with the biggest social media site out there: Facebook. We love to hate it, but the reality is that Facebook is still an essential tool for musicians to use in their arsenal when it comes to marketing music and engaging fans. Why Facebook is Great for Fan Engagement. Simply put, Facebook is great for fan engagement because most of your fans...
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