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Jim Lauderdale hosts the Americana Music Association Honors and Awards show, photo: Erika Goldring

The Americana Honors & Awards Also Known as "The Good Stuff"

The Americana Music Festival and Conference wrapped up over the weekend, with the spotlight of the week being The 11th Annual Americana Honors & Awards at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium the night of September 12. Hosted by Jim Lauderdale, he gladly gave his take on the famous question that many Americana artists have heard ever so often: what is Americana music? Jim joked with the crowd, "We are often asked to define Americana. Usually, we just say it's the good stuff, and walk on." The show, honoring some of the finest in...

How To Make Your Music Career Highly Profitable And Sustainable

If you hold the belief that it is ‘wrong’ to try to make money with your musical talents, do not read any further…simply close this page now. For those of you who have decided to continue reading….welcome. Fact is, the majority of musicians want to have a career in music. However, these musicians also doubt their abilities to make good money in music, and fear that they will not be able to support themselves. Unfortunately, these people end up pursuing non-music jobs where they work full time and despise every time they go to clock in. This is all done out...

Fan-Funding: Smart or 'Shameful'?

Record labels have been a necessary evil in the world of music for nearly 100 years. Artists feel like they put their hearts and soul into a project and the label rips them off for their art. They aren’t wrong in that, the labels do keep a lot of the money from albums and from touring, especially in the early stages of a musician’s career. That really isn’t disputable, it’s factual. Labels aren’t all evil, they’re trying to build a musician up so that they can go out and make millions for themselves and the label. However, in the internet age it has become possible...

Why You Don’t Need a Press Kit: How to Book Your Band in the Age of Email

What is a press kit—and why don’t I need one? A press kit is a collection of materials that you used to have to send to journalists, bookers, and other industry professionals when you wanted to get a gig, press coverage, management deal, etc. Once upon a time, bands would spend hundreds to thousands of dollars putting together their press kits. To do it right, there’d be expensive photo shoots, printing ...
Photo by Michael Rampa

Concert Review: Steve Vai In Greensburg, PA

Steve Vai helped Ibanez design a seven string guitar. As if the wizardry he performs with only six isn’t mind blowing enough! The consummate shredder rolled into Greensburg, PA’s historic Palace Theater last Thursday and put on a 2 ½ hour pyrotechnic clinic showcasing his blazing speed, delicate textures and ear splitting decibel levels. Vai’s shows are unburdened by traditional elements such as vocals and lyrics. Like his albums, they are almost completely instrumental in scope. There are few demarcation lines between songs, just an ...
Philip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook at the “Pontoon” video shoot.
Photo credit: Becky Fluke.

Little Big Town Explores New Horizons in Harmony and Production

One great singer is a producer’s delight. When George Jones, Tony Bennett or Andrea Bocelli is behind the microphone, the possibilities for one-of-a-kind bursts of inspiration are what spark the studio maven’s imagination. Does this mean that when you gather four terrific singers, the opportunities for such moments quadruple? Not exactly, but it does tweak the dynamic in an intriguing way. Group vocals reach out differently, in blends made smoother by toning down individual idiosyncrasies. Even where one member takes the...
Click above to view Gene Simmons photos

VIDEO: Gene Simmons and Doc McGhee Session at the SOLID Breakfast in Nashville

Kiss frontman Gene Simmons, along with legendary manager Doc McGhee, spent a morning in Nashville at an invite-only breakfast sponsored by SOLID (Society of Leaders in Development), a group of music industry professionals dedicated to making the music industry better through networking and program development. Simmons and McGhee talked about the background of KISS, along with many ...

How To Win A Vocal Contest

Watching the “Hunger Games” movie recently, my mind drifted to today’s culture of vocal gladiator-like contests. The losers, especially in the major TV contests, are made to feel that they should at least figuratively die. I really have a problem with the talent contest mentality because in my opinion, there’s no competition with originality anyway. Talent contests are usually at best artificial constructs of talent assessment and at worst, fixed. I find it hard to picture Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, Carly Simon, Taylor Swift or even BB King winning the “Music Games” crown...
Dave Matthews roars into the night air at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater at the start of DMB’s three-hour set. Photo: Kevin Sullivan

Live review: Dave Matthews Band Is Potent In Irvine

With Dave Matthews Band set to release its eighth studio album (the dazzling Away from the World) on Sept. 11, the group appeared more than pumped throughout its three-hour concert Saturday night at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Joined by several guests (notably guitar great Stanley Jordan) and reportedly offering up the live debut of not one but two songs off that soon-to-drop disc, Matthews and his terrific players would have blown the roof off the place if there was one. When I last caught DMB here in Irvine, September ...

Pinterest: Newest and Hottest Social Network and Why it Matters to You

You’ve probably already heard that Pinterest is the latest and hottest social network. Pinterest is like an online scrapboard but you aren’t restricted to posting just pictures. You can share your videos, your music, and your blogs on Pinterest. Any kind of digital content that you can connect to a visual, can be shared on Pinterest. Now I can see you rolling your eyes especially if you haven't already started using Pinterest and saying to yourself, …”great yet another social network that I am supposed to sign up for and use…when does it stop?”
Click above to view photos from the concert

Craig Morgan Sings for Survivors

For all the ongoing efforts to care for troops coming home from abroad, the families of those who survived — and those who didn’t — are somewhat overlooked. That’s why Major Dan Rooney founded Folds of Honor, a charity dedicated to assisting these families by providing educational scholarships to dependents of troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bushnell Outdoor Products has partnered with Folds of Honor for several years. The company is also a sponsor of the Outdoor Channel’s “Craig Morgan All Access...
Rhett Miller, left, and Murry Hammond of Old 97′s at the Observatory. Photo: David Hall

Live review: Old 97′s Delight With Full-Album Run Through ‘Too Far to Care’ At The Observatory

Old 97’s might be a mere week into an extended tour celebrating the 15th anniversary of their beloved 1997 album Too Far to Care, but the Dallas-spawned alt-country outfit is clearly firing on all cylinders. In a hard-rocking performance Thursday at the Observatory in Santa Ana, the quartet capably tackled their 13-track major-label debut from start to finish before unleashing another set of original gems pulled from their ever-growing collection of notable releases.

Rodney Atkins Joins Pittsburgh Premiere of CMA Songwriters Series

Millions have come to know and appreciate Rodney Atkins as an entertainer. He connects with his audiences personally and directly; they are, to paraphrase one of his hit songs, his people, cut from the same cloth and guided by the values he celebrates in song. But before embracing the role of performer, the East Tennessee native was drawn to a less public side of Country Music. “My dream was always to be a songwriter,” he said. “When I was about 5 years old, I heard Charlie Daniels come over the radio, and I actually...

Back To Basics: Vocabulary

One of the most important things we need to be aware of as we set out to improve on our instrument is to be clear on what we do know. I often find that students will tell me before our first lesson “well, I'm really a beginner, I don't know anything” and then display a significant vocabulary when we start the exploratory process of figuring out what they do and don't know. Maybe people just sell themselves short sometimes....but I suspect that it's more a question of not really understanding how much they do know, or how to use it.

Promote Your Music with YouTube Playlists

A YouTube playlist is a group of videos that play in succession. If you have a YouTube account, you can create a playlist and add any video on YouTube to that playlist, not just your own video content. This comes in handy when multiple people have uploaded content that relates to your band (concert footage, interviews, mini-documentaries, etc.) and you want to herd it all together for fans. When the viewer plays a video from within a playlist, the rest of the videos are displayed in a queue below the video player. Playlists are easy to create and edit in...
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