Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ryan Oyer to join me at Twisted Mike's 7.27.13

I am very pleased to announce that Ryan Oyer, a phenomenal songwriter and singer, is going to be joining me at Twisted Mike's on Saturday July 27th. If you haven't made it out to a show yet, this is definitely going to be the one to come check out.

Monday, July 15, 2013

7.13.13 Twisted Mike's Show

Huge thanks to everyone who came out for the show Saturday night. We once again had a good time at Twisted Mike's. I will be playing there again in a couple of weeks, and I am hoping to have some friends along for the show this time around. There are some very cool singer/songwriters around, and I plan on getting one or two along for the show so that everyone gets a chance to hear some new music. Once I know who is going to be joining me I will update here, so check back in. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Musicians...Want More People at Your Shows?...Then Be Better

Disclaimer: This rant is directed as much at myself as anyone else who plays music live. I'm not saying anyone with the guts to write and perform their own stuff should give it up. I'm just saying you gotta care enough to get better at it.

Musicians, myself included, often gripe about how difficult it has become to get people out to see shows, but we've gotta look in the mirror and realize that a good portion of the blame rests on our shoulders as a community. We all need to be better. 

I know people don't go to shows like they used to. I know that live music isn't the thing to do that draws people in like it once was. I also know that it's not because people stopped enjoying live music. People don't want to go out and be subjected to crappy music, and I think we let that happen too often. Sure, we can blame it on the economy because people don't have as much money to go out. Sure, we can blame it on consumer culture and advertising that tells people that going to their local chain restaurant is a fun, cool thing to do on a free night. We can find any number of things to blame for the decline in concert attendance for local and regional shows, but we first have to be honest with ourselves. Too many of us have put on lousy shows. I know you can't stop other acts from being bad, but you have a responsibility to be as good as you can be when you get on a stage.

Sealab anyone?
Musicians need to play live, and they need to put on a great show. The kind of stage presence I see at great shows is a combination of being comfortable on stage but still engaged and serious about the music. A lot of great live performers have that ability, and a lot of less-than-stellar artists either never quite grasp it or lose it at some point. There's nothing worse than some tired old music vet half-assing their way through a set. Experiencing live music is a part of human culture that goes back for centuries. Recorded music, as great as it is, has only been around for about 150 years. Seeing music live is a real-life experience that listening to a recording just can't compete with. At least it should be.

Must've been a killer show

First and foremost, you've gotta write good songs, and you gotta be able to perform them well. You have to be good, and you have to practice to get that way. I have seen entirely too many bands or performers that don't have much, if any, talent, and that apparently can't be bothered to practice enough to either be tight or put on a good show. If you are part of a group, you have to understand that everyone has to be on the same exact page in order to make the most of the talent you have. If you perform solo, you have to play and sing well.  I'm not saying you have to be perfect at all.  You just can't be a sloppy mess.

After getting good at playing your songs, you have to get comfortable on stage.  People at shows want to have a good time, and if you are on stage it is your job to lead them to that point. Tim Barry has a great line about "should sound like escape, not rent." You need to be a facilitator for people having a good time if you want them to come to your shows. Also, there are a handful of artists who are terribly uncomfortable on stage, but so damned good that it doesn't matter. You probably aren't one of them. I know I am not.

It's easier for cover bands, they play songs people already know and like, but the soul of it all is missing if you aren't doing your own thing. I know this because I'm still playing bar shows where I do a lot of covers. It's fun, but it's not something that drives me and makes me feel alive. The covers and bar shows are a way to make a few fans and a little money in order to finance the new record.  Once I've taken care of those things, playing a bunch of covers won't be interesting anymore. Create something of your own, and you have the potential to add a small piece of yourself into the vast expanse of human culture and experience.

So, what do we, as musicians, do to get more people to shows. Sure, you have to advertise, which is easier than ever with the internet, and if you don't push your shows you're just lazy.  It all starts and ends, however, with actually being good enough and interesting enough that people want to come see you and have a good time. If you are playing for five people, make sure they are going to come back to see you again with some friends in tow.

Killer location, gotta make sure more folks come out next time

Monday, July 8, 2013

Added a Show For Saturday

Hey guys I'm gonna be playing at Twisted Mike's again this Saturday, the 13th, as well as the 27th.  Alicia is going to be singing with me again this weekend, so come hang out we'll all have a good time.

Exciting News and a Venue/Show Review

Exciting News

Huge congrats to my amazing sister Beth and her awesome husband Jason on the announcement that they are going to be parents! I can't wait to be an uncle, and they will be great parents.

Venue/Show Review

The Well

I was able to check out a show Saturday night at a great local venue called The Well. The place is really set up right to provide an awesome experience for both fans and performers. I'm looking forward to playing there soon, and I'll definitely be going to more shows there. Check out their site Here.

This place has a great setup

Matt Woods

I was fortunate to catch Matt Woods and Jocephus and the George Jonestown Massacre play on Saturday. Matt is a songwriter who I had heard a lot about, and I had been wanting to see him live since checking out some clips of him online. His show did not disappoint. He's got well written songs, a killer voice, and an engaging stage presence. He's found that point as a solo artist wherein he manages to balance relaxed banter with unquestionably heartfelt delivery of his songs. I spoke with him after his set, and I was impressed to discover that he handles his career completely independently. He writes, records, and puts out his own records, and he books his own lengthy tours. Very cool stuff. His site is Here.

The picture doesn't lie

Jocephus and the George Jonestown Massacre

Jocephus and the George Jonestown Massacre is one of the better band names I've ever heard, and it fits the band perfectly. Their music is an amalgam of stoner rock and classic country that, on paper, shouldn't work, but they pull it off incredibly well. I think the biggest reason they are able to do so is that they play their music without any sense of irony or pretension. Combining genres can often become a bad joke, but these guys clearly just rock out and play what they like. It works because it's honest, and it works because they play it well. Their site is Here.

I wasn't able to stick around to see Pick Up the Snake, who were also on the bill, but I plan on catching them live soon as they seemed like cool dudes.

Talent and sincerity are the two things that make live music work, and both were on display at this show. I told Matt during Jocephus and the GJM's set that it was like seeing Steve Earle open for Clutch. The reality is that a show like that does work. I have, in fact, seen William Elliott Whitmore open for Clutch, and it was awesome. The reasons that such seemingly different artists can successfully share a bill are simple...talent and sincerity.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Album Preview - New Song "Go On, Move On"

Took this video today while practicing a new song called "Go On, Move On."  It ain't perfect by any means, but you'll get the idea.  Hope you enjoy it, and please let me know what you think in the comments either here or on my YouTube channel.

I know what you're thinking...sweet ceiling fan.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Quick Show Recap from Twisted Mike's 6.29.13

Just wanted to jump on here and quickly give a shout out to everyone at Twisted Mike's on Saturday. There were a lot of folks out, and everyone seemed to have a really good time. I know Alicia and I had a ton of fun playing and singing for you guys. I cannot say enough about how friendly the staff, owners, and patrons at Twisted Mike's are. It's a very relaxed, fun atmosphere with a great bar. I was able to drink on Saw Works Brown, my favorite local brew, all night. I didn't get the chance to grab any food, but everything I saw looked really good too. Cheers to everyone for supporting local businesses from bars to brewers to musicians! I'll be playing there again on Saturday July 27th, so if you are in the Knoxville area you should definitely come out and chill.