music

some good news lately

It's a messy business promoting music, but sometimes things start lining up a bit in your favor. This last week has brought me a lot of good news.

but that's not all. American Tracks Music Awards does seem to offer some good opportunities for exposure, but we also have 2 nominations in the older and more legit International Songwriting Competition (ISC).

And there are quite a few more submissions moving through the process with other organizations. Different songs seem to resonate with different folks, which is fine by me. So far:

  1. American Tracks Music Awards - December 2017 - Best Independent Artist (selection: Go My Way)
  2. American Tracks Music Awards - December 2017 - Best American Song (selection: Someday)
  3. International Songwriting Competition - 2017 Unpublished (selection: Follow the Light)
  4. International Songwriting Competition - 2017 Unsigned (selection: Seeing Stars)

This should turn out to be a great year for the music in and of my life. Thank you.

The Grants Pass Christmas Tree

And a plea to anyone who was at the show. I saw a few people taking video and one girl just right at the end of the show said how about one more for Grants Pass Live? - whereupon I played my new song Roll Easy, and it was pretty good. I'd love to see some of that video.

This is a shot I pulled from a GP travel website. This year it looked very similar, except I don't remember the tree being so big, and they had a little campfire squared off right under those lights, and I set up the music right behind where the tree is.

This is a shot I pulled from a GP travel website. This year it looked very similar, except I don't remember the tree being so big, and they had a little campfire squared off right under those lights, and I set up the music right behind where the tree is.

So anyway, the story is that I got called very last-minute to do a First Friday show in Grants Pass next to the Christmas tree which was just about two weeks ago now. And I thought it went quite well. I probably wouldn't have taken the show otherwise, but I had my show at Barnstormer's Theater coming up and I was trying to get more people in the seats. It was too last minute (and low-pay) to bring the whole band, but Jinnee was able to make it for about 2/3 of the show so I said why not. It turned out to be a really fun show. It went from 5:30p to 8:30pm and Jinnee had to leave at 7:30 if I remember correctly. And that last hour was pretty cool too.

My approach to this show was to use my looper pedal, which I bought earlier this year and tried to use once with the band at the Talent Evening Market to little success. The thing with using the pedal is that it forgives not at all, so all you can do is listen and follow. It will not move to you, you need to move to it, and as turns out in the band with the way we do monitors it's just not possible currently to have everyone hearing well enough to be locked to a loop. So it's a thing I can only do for a solo show, and honestly there is a lot there to explore. It's great because I can play new songs immediately, I can change stuff on the fly, and it is lot less work for set up. So I plan on incorporating more solo shows next season, hopefully to funnel new fans to the band shows that I do set up. Because the other lesson from last season is that band shows are expensive and seem to always introduce scheduling conflicts, often last-minute, which raises the stress level for my poor accommodating wife.

So we will just have to make the band shows count for more, less of the time. We still have a long way to go to establish any sort of solid reputation around the Rogue Valley. Perhaps ironically, we seem to be having more success in Grants Pass than Ashland so I'm hoping to land more shows up there because why not. I'm a big fan of Grants Pass.

Below is good example of what the new solo format will look like.

That's it for now. Our next show is in mid-March, so for the next few months I will be finishing up some new songs and getting ready for next season.

As always if any fans of the The River South have any contacts in the region for paid performances, especially daytime, please get in touch!

a Trip to Austin to perform at Austin City Limits and Willie Nelson's Ranch

I suppose I'm in the habit now of taking a lot of photos. Ever since I became a dad I am pretty shameless with my camera. Life is too short to not get good photos of the fun stuff. That being said, I was a little over-cautious taking photos of some the 'insider' stuff, like Tito's secret backstage area, that had a Prohibition vibe and massage chairs and free vodka drinks. I still got some photos but it was even bigger than it looks. I did get a bunch of shots at Willie's ranch, because they bussed in the visitors and then promptly bussed them out so we had the place to ourselves a bit more than at ACL which was totally insane with crowds of people. The whole photo album is on Google photos if you want to take a look. Below are the highlights.

A big shout-out to my buddy Shawn Pander, who called me up to sit in on his ACL gig because his main keyboard guy was in Italy.

Flying in to Austin.

Flying in to Austin.

setting up at Willie's Ranch - called simply 'Luck'.

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Food trucks! The lobster roll was delicious.

Food trucks! The lobster roll was delicious.

Most of the buildings were put up in the 80's for a movie that Willie did. The story goes that he loved them all so much that he had the  script  changed so that they wouldn't have to be burned down at the end of the movie.

Most of the buildings were put up in the 80's for a movie that Willie did. The story goes that he loved them all so much that he had the script changed so that they wouldn't have to be burned down at the end of the movie.

After 2 great sets at Luck Ranch we started getting ready for our show at Austin City Limits. We performed on the Tito stage, who I met briefly and seemed like a very cool guy. He certainly takes care of his employees and his performers and he is quite rightly a big deal in the Austin music and business community.

I got a kick out of this Henry Rollins quote posted right at the entrance to the stage.

I got a kick out of this Henry Rollins quote posted right at the entrance to the stage.

Tito of course has a killer backstage area set up for his artists and their friends, as well as his own entourage. It had a roaring 20's/prohibition vibe which was pretty cool.

Tito of course has a killer backstage area set up for his artists and their friends, as well as his own entourage. It had a roaring 20's/prohibition vibe which was pretty cool.

Shawn and his wife Beth.

Shawn and his wife Beth.

You know it's a big stage when you have to shoot a panoramic just to see the whole thing. Note the lack of crowd at the beginning.

People started showing up during the set and by the end we had quite a crowd.

People started showing up during the set and by the end we had quite a crowd.

Beth's sister got a few good shots of the stage before it got too crowded.

Beth's sister got a few good shots of the stage before it got too crowded.

after we were done we just kicked it back stage with Tito's people. :)

after we were done we just kicked it back stage with Tito's people. :)

yes they had a craps table. Tito does not mess around.

yes they had a craps table. Tito does not mess around.

Bloody Mary bar and finger food. Yes please.

Bloody Mary bar and finger food. Yes please.

my only surviving test from Composition school

I spent a year in composition school as a youth and it is a bit of a shame that I wan't in a place to get much out of it. I learned a lot of technical stuff but my teacher hated me and had every reason to. I was quite irreverent in my early years. Learning music theory was always very hard work, much like any of the sciences. You first learn about who came before you and it is always very humbling. My teacher had a thing for Copeland and Bartok. They were kind of a big deal.

Anyway, as I'm looking through stuff I came across this old test from my class in harmony. I probably kept it around because I did ok. Now it just feels like a relic from a very different time. It's funny, I still remember and use rules from species counterpoint, so I guess some of this stuff does stick.