Latest Articles


Gibson Legend Leslie West Returns with a Powerhouse New Album

“I like to joke that the older I get the better I used to be,” six-string legend Leslie West observes. “But after giving up drugs and smoking, my voice can hit notes that I never could reach before and my guitar playing is still like a brick house. I’m thankful for that.” The proof is all over West’s brand new album Still Climbing. At nearly 68-years-old he’s packed some of the most soulful and searing vocal perform...

Concert Review: Sarah Brightman in Anaheim, CA

While it might be plausible to hear material by alternative outfits Elbow ("One Day Like This"), Sigur Rós ("Glósóli") and Cocteau Twins ("Eperdu") covered by artists at Coachella or another renowned music festival, it’s less expected to hear such songs performed by operatic pop star Sarah Brightman. Yet she delivered all of them superbly during the first half of her tour-ending appearance in Anaheim, California on Nov. 2, 2013. Not only did the enduring English soprano revisit those art...

An Independent Musician Needs to Make CDs

You may not know this, but Disc Makers has been in the music business since 1946. For any of you with the math and history skills to figure it out, we weren’t making CDs back in the early days. Disc Makers actually started out as the Ballen Record Company, a recording studio and record label in Philadelphia, PA. Founder Ivin Ballen built his own pressing plant to make shellac 78s for his label because there were no plants to contract his releases. Ivin built his entire factory and studio from ...

New Artist Spotlight: Cassadee Pope

You’ve got to hand it to Blake Shelton: He knows how to pick winners. When he recruited Cassadee Pope for Team Blake on 2012’s “The Voice,” he found an artist with that rarest of assets: outstanding chops tempered by interpretive sensitivity. On her debut album for Republic Nashville, Frame By Frame, produced by Dann Huff and, on selected tracks, Nathan Chapman, Max Martin and Shellback, Pope does hit the occasional spectacular high note, but these only emphasize...
Sheryl Crow performs at LP Field in Downtown Nashville on Friday, June 7 during the 2013 CMA Music Festival.

Concert Review: Sheryl Crow at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh

With the Pittsburgh Steelers sitting at 2-5, their home venue was in need of some excitement. Heinz Field’s Great Hall finally got it when Sheryl Crow headlined the benefit “Girls With Guitars” show. While Danielle Bradberry, Sara Evans, Kellie Pickler and local favorite Sara Marince were billed as co-headliners, they proved to be a quartet of openers for the far more seasoned Crow. Indeed, Bradberry, Pickler and Marince are platinum blonde carbon copies with virtually interchangeable...

8 Road Safety Tips for Musicians on Tour

Forget stage diving. It’s safe to say that driving from gig to gig is one of the most dangerous things most artists are required to do throughout their career. Traveling at speeds in excess of 100Km/h in a sheet metal/fiberglass box on wheels is something we all have become fairly comfortable with. The harsh reality is that one bad split second decision can instantly result in a life changing or even life-ending crisis. This was one of my greatest fears when I used to tour constantly in bands.

Have You Turned Your Audience Into Zombies?

You’re on stage. You stare out into the darkness. Slowly, you see figures shambling toward you. A small ray of light reflects into the audience. You gasp and step back. You see nothing but dead eyes staring back at you. The faces are drooling and mindless. That’s when you realize your audience has turned into zombies. An audience of zombies. This may sound like a horror story, but it happens all the time. You are boring the shit out of your audience and turning them into zombies.

Use YouTube For More Than Music Videos

Like expressing yourself? Looking for a way to connect with your fans instantly? Let’s talk about YouTube. It’s the biggest video sharing site on the web, and since its launch in 2005, it has developed its own culture and has spawned a variety of communities within the deep oceans of the platform. Be it a music video or vlog, a television re-run or the viral video of the day, 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and over six billion hours of video are watched every month.

Professional Wrestler Jocephus Brody Enrolls in Audio Technology Program at SAE Institute Nashville

Joseph Hudson, better known to wrestling fans across the country as Jocephus Brody, has enrolled in the Audio Technology Program at the Nashville campus of SAE Institute, which was recently cited as being the best audio engineering school in America by Vibe Magazine. “One of my best friends graduated from SAE, so I didn’t even consider going anywhere else,” says Hudson, a Nashville native. “The instructors are very accessible, they have a lot of real world experience, and they’re ...

The Top 5 Website Mistakes Musicians Make

Don’t give your web visitors an excuse to hit the “back” button. Someone is checking out your website. You’ve done something right — announcing your URL from stage, optimizing your site for Google search, doing targeted advertising on Facebook, etc. — and here they are, checking out your online headquarters, waiting to be dazzled. But that’s only half the battle. You now need to KEEP them on your website for more than 5 seconds if you want that person to buy a CD, book you for a ...

Hey, I’m in Charge Here! 10 Famous Rock and Roll Managers

Rock managers typically operate behind the scenes, leaving the celebrity limelight to their gifted charges while handling more mundane matters of business and publicity. Occasionally, however, a manager’s flamboyant style or personal charisma elevates his or her visibility—for better or for worse—in the public eye. Below we profile 10 managers whose names will ring familiar to many devoted rock fans. Be sure to tell us who we missed, in the comments section.

10 Exercises that Turn Guitarists into Songwriters

Sure, y’all can play songs, but can you write one? Here in Nashville writing songs is like breathing — it’s a requirement for musical life. And those who can pen a tune with lyrics have an entire host of opportunities for income, performing and creative satisfaction that those who can’t do not. If you’re daunted by the notion of songwriting, don’t be. It’s like walking. Once you start, it becomes something you hardly think about. Here are 10 creative suggestions to help put you on the...
Robert Kinsler & TJR

Music Worth Buying: iTunes Festival Discoveries

Orange County Register (CA) music critic Robert Kinsler and his co-host, TJR review new CDs. This week, TJR undertook a mission to watch the performance of each and every artist who performed at theiTunes Festival staged in England this year. Watch the latest episode of Music Worth Buyingwhere he shares some of his favorite discoveries.

Mic Techniques for Guitar

Getting a great tone from your guitar an amp is just one part of your recording challenge. You also need to learn how to best capture that tone. As with all recording techniques, there is no 100% correct method – just a lot of differing opinions. But if you want to find out what’s best for you for recording an amp with a microphone, it’s good to know what experts think. Lessons from Jimmy Page. When I interviewed Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, I asked him: “what is your proudest guitar...

SoCal Rocks – Ten Best Rockers from Southern California

Ever since the Beach Boys started singing about surfing and California, the rest of the world has had a fascination with “the golden coast.” Many bands have followed in the wake of Brian Wilson and his bandmates. Here’s an eclectic top ten of some of the best rockers to emerge from the SoCal area over the years, from legends like The Doors, to newer bands like Switchfoot - enjoy and add your own in the comments! Guns N’ Roses. With the release of Appetite For Destruction...