the Direct Buzz - February 2010

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ROY ORBISON A Long Time Comin’ Plus: Danny Nozell, Über Manager Songwriter Profile with Andy Fraser

February 2010

6 Cover

Roy Orbison was honored on January 29th by the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Direct Buzz was there to cover it. His star now resides in front of Capitol Records, between John Lennon and George Harrison. This is an exclusive report, with photos, from that day.

10 Behind the Desk

Danny Nozell is a remarkable individual with an extraordinary mind. He’s also Dolly Parton’s manager and GM of her label. In this wideranging interview, he reveals how he made it to the top by using a little imagination and business savvy.

29 The Indie Way

Finding a way to appeal to industry is a real challenge for most artists. We address this subject, in Part Two, with additional tips that will help you attract industry. This is a must read for any act who hopes to get a deal.

5 Now Media

Did you ever wonder how a social network can help your business? In this month’s column, you’ll find out. Our resident expert answers the most common questions posed by business owners, and gives solid advice regarding social media.

FROM THE PUBLISHER AirPlay Direct is pleased and excited to announce the launch of our new digital / interactive publication, the Direct Buzz. Our mission is to entertain, enlighten and inform. We see the Direct Buzz as a “Destination” for anyone interested in general entertainment. And, although it will be music oriented, we will be bold in our exploration of pop culture, life issues and commonly shared interests. Most of all, we want to help and encourage those creative individuals who are striving to succeed in a changing world. We already have plans to introduce columns that will provide advice for those who may need help with their writing, recording or producing. Other sections will address the various needs of artists, reps and industry professionals, with videos supplying a large part of our message.

33 On the Road

We will always be a “work in progress,” because that’s life and, most certainly, it’s life in the field of entertainment. It’s a tough gig, but not an impossible one. And we think you’ll enjoy watching us grow. As the Direct Buzz evolves, it will become more interactive with every issue. In fact, we’ll be encouraging our readers to contribute content.

4 The Broken Poem

For members of AirPlay Direct, the Direct Buzz will not only add value to their membership services, it will also give them the opportunity to let the world know about their art.

Record producers are not created equal. Sometimes, a producer may even mislead artists. To avoid that scenario, we contacted one of the most sought after producers today. Her advice will help you choose the right producer. And, oh yeah… she’s also a Pinball Champ.

14 Global Radio Charts 22 Worthy Works ---------------------------------------------------------------PUBLISHER & FOUNDER: Robert Weingartz CONTENT DIRECTOR: Bernard Baur DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL PROJECTS: Scott Welch CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Clif Doyal, Dr. T. Roberts, Hans Fink, Tom Laurie, Jeanie Cunningham, Mike Hagler, Paula Munoz, Raleigh Squires ART DIRECTION: Aleven Creatives ( VIDEOS: The Composers Corner


We look forward to your comments, suggestions and thoughts. So, feel free to contact us at any time.

Robert Weingartz Publisher and Founder, Direct Buzz CEO, AirPlay Direct

The Broken Poem oem

a songwriter profile by Dr. T. Roberts

Andy Fraser “This is the Big One”


ndy Fraser is best known around the world as the legendary bassist and founding member of the 70’s rock band FREE, and for writing Robert Palmer’s mega-hit “Every Kinda People.” For over four decades Fraser has been composing and songwriting with artists Rod Stewart, Chaka Khan, Paul Young, Joe Cocker, Paul Carrack, Wilson Pickett, Three Dog Night, Bob Seger, Randy Crawford, Etta James, Frankie Miller, Ted Nugent, and many more. His most recent smash hit anthem “This Is The Big One” was written, performed and recorded to coincide with the efforts of others concerned about global climate change. The Broken Poem - Where did the concept of the song, “This is the Big One” come from? Andy Fraser - I received a newsletter from, an organization I have contributed to on many causes, which laid out in the clearest terms I had come across, the catastrophic climate change issue. I was so captured by the content, I literally copied and

pasted phrases from the letter (no, they don’t get songwriting credits), onto a separate sheet, juggled, nipped and tucked for phrasing and rhyme, and had the lyrics complete in no time flat. Actually I had 7-8 verses, and then whittled it down to the 2 1/2 we now hear. The Broken Poem - What do you hope to achieve with this song? Andy Fraser - To spread awareness of the issue, inspire, cajole listeners into taking action, and at the time raising their voices about Copenhagen. Not surprisingly, the barest minimum was achieved at that meeting, so now we have to take the long view. The issue is still with us. The young more so that older generations are galvanized behind making a change, as it effects their future more, and I hope to create a spirit of support, even encourage the time tested ‘youth revolting in the streets’, to demand the needed changes. Only the young have that sort of unencumbered commitment. The Direct Buzz – What are the official plans to release the song? Andy Fraser - It will appear on the

upcoming full-length album “Andy Fraser...On Assignment,” scheduled for release around May on the new “Mctrax Music Delivery System,” but I have made it a worldwide free download, available since last year, as the issue cannot wait. The Broken Poem – Do the proceeds benefit a specific charity? Andy Fraser - I have freely donated it to every climate change campaign I could find, to use as they see fit to advance the message. There is a free e-card: bigone which has a ‘send to a friend’ feature allowing everyone in turn to stream / download at no charge. Also a fantastic video, put together by master film-maker Eric Donaldson, can be viewed here. More so than benefiting a particular charity, it is meant to benefit us all, or at least be my humble contribution, as I am better at making a change through musical expression, than waving placards in the streets, or other forms of expression. If everyone uses what they do best to focus on this issue, we can easily achieve our goals.


“THIS IS THE BIG ONE” Time is running out / there needs to be some action now / catastrophic climate change / getting hot in here / gas pollutes our atmosphere / catastrophic climate change it’s now or never / lets get together now / make this world a little better now THIS IS THE BIG ONE / Prepare to feel the heat / take it to the streets / enough to bring us to our knees / crying - somebody save us now a lust for energy / but number one priority / catastrophic climate change / we keep doing things / really brought us to the brink / catastrophic climate change It’s a wake-up call, for one and all baby / it’s now or never / we need to get together / make this world a little better now THIS IS THE BIG ONE / seeing oceans rise / challenge all mankind / don’t wanna live my life crying / who’s gonna save us now Listen baby / We can make a difference now, yeah / make a difference now / It’s up to you and I / make a difference now / commitment time / We can make a difference now / what you gonna do / make a difference now / contribute / you and me Polar ice-caps melt away the earth / global warming getting worse / catastrophic climate change THIS IS THE BIG ONE / come to rock your world / could be the bubble burst / or face down in the dirt THIS IS THE BIG ONE / All need to face it now / time is running out / baby let there be no doubt no crying / ain’t gonna save us now

By: Mike Hagler, Jr.



o many people, social networking seems easy. You sign up with a network and are connected with millions of people instantly. But what happens when no one seems to be connecting? What happens when you feel as if you simply can’t keep up with it all? And, how can you really use social networks to your utmost benefit? I’ve noticed a few things that many people miss. A personal profile is way different than a profile for a business, or even an artist. I have put together a question and answer column to shed some light on how to effectively manage and run your social network profiles. Why do I need a profile on a social network? You need a profile to connect with potential consumers. You may notice that your customer base doesn’t seem to check your network very often. If you have a presence on a site that they go to more often, they may just see what your business is doing on their “feed.” This is based on the old business practice of being where your customer is. If you can, try and identify the social network your customers prefer and start there. Why should I drive people away from my website? The idea is not to drive traffic away. Part of the implementation process should include a plan of how you can attract the customer from the social network to your website. I created a social network, but no one is “friending” me. What am I doing wrong? Did you let your customers know you are on a network? By adding social network icons and links to your website, physical flyers, business cards and even emails, you can show that you exist on a social network.

What sort of content should I put on my profile? What is my message? What is your message? The last thing we want to see is another ad. Try adding some personal thoughts about your industry on your page and, whenever possible, link back to content that is hosted on your own site. How many “friends” should be considered a success? This will vary. Take a look at your customer base, email list, web traffic and reach of your business to get a rough idea of what you might consider a success. If you have a 60,000 person email list and only 200 “friends,” then you may need to rethink your strategy. How many social networks should I be on? There are so many! I have worked with some people who feel their artists need to be on every platform out there. If you are on several networks and one is just not performing, perhaps that is not where your customers are. Trends on the web can change very rapidly. What is hot one day may not be the next. Do some research on the current major players and platforms; and don’t be afraid to switch networks if trends change. How can I track my social network’s activity? Many social networks have built in tools to see how many page views you received or if your traffic was up or down week to week. It may be best to speak with whomever runs your website. They should be able to set you up with analytics that can track your web traffic and help you see what links people are clicking to get there. You can then adjust your online efforts accordingly. In my case, there is one network in particular that is responsible for as much as 42% of daily traffic.

ROY ORBISON A Long Time Comin’ By: Bernard Baur Event Photos By: Bernard Baur


n a warm California day, Hollywood was abuzz. Celebrities, musicians, movie stars and filmmakers, along with hundreds of adoring fans, converged just above Hollywood and Vine. The iconic Capitol Records building was their destination. Music filled the air, prompting many to sing along, until a dozen bikers roared down the street and pulled to the curb. This was going to be a special day. You could feel it… the anticipation, the appreciation, the gravity of the moment. Roy Orbison was finally going to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Actually, it’s been a long time coming. In fact, many folks thought Roy had gotten his star years ago. In their hearts and minds, they believed he must have. But, they were wrong. It’s been 22 years since his death, an extraordinarily long time to wait for such an honor. Especially when you consider that he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Roy Orbison was one of the first

international rock stars. He was a household name by the time he was 21, and loved worldwide for his soaring 5 octave voice and skill as a songwriter. He pioneered an entirely different brand of country-influenced pop-rock in the early ‘60s. His songs established a new archetype in rock & roll, the hopeless romantic yearning for love. His arrangements were even innovative, incorporating symphonic productions, surging strings, ominous drums, and heavenly choruses. His music not only crossed genres, it

“Roy is the greatest singer in the world.” Elvis Presley

broke through them. He brought rock to Nashville and inspired the British invasion. In fact, he was one of the few American artists to rank alongside the Beatles and Rolling Stones. Between 1960 and 1965, he garnered 15 Top 40 hits with his melodramatic songs, “Running Scared,” “Crying,” “In Dreams,” and “It’s Over.” He also took on a tough swagger with “Dream Baby,” “Candy Man,” and “Mean Woman Blues.” His biggest hit was also his hardest-rocking, “Oh, Pretty Woman,” which soared to number one in 1964, at the peak of the British Invasion. Throughout his career Roy was extremely generous, encouraging artists to follow their dreams. He influenced a new generation of rockers, from Bruce Springsteen, and Chris Isaak to Dwight Yoakam; and, is one of the only artists to ever win multiple Grammy Awards in pop, rock and country. His last project was, perhaps, one of his most famous. In 1988, he joined George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan in The Traveling Wilburys. Their success set the stage for Roy’s biggest album in 20 years. Mystery Girl, which recalled the sounds of his earlier hits, reached the charts in 1989 --- less than a year after his death. Two years later, he won a Grammy for “Best Male Vocalist.” Through it all, Roy Orbison’s popularity hardly ever waned. In fact, it continues today. A consistent Chart Topper over the course of his career, Roy is still burning up the charts. Shortly after AirPlay Direct (APD) acquired the rights to digitally deliver his catalog to radio, he debuted at No. 6 on APD’s all-time download chart, with almost 10,000 total downloads from stations around the world. AirPlay Direct’s CEO Robert Weingartz relates, “We’re honored to be involved with such a prestigious catalog from one of the most gifted singer-songwriters of all time. And, we’re excited to be able to help commemorate the life and

“He was and always will be one of the greats of rock & roll.” Paul McCartney

TRIVIA NOTES John Lennon claimed that the Beatles were tiring of opening for him, so Orbison agreed to switch. But the audience greeted Roy with such enthusiasm that the Beatles became concerned, and called out to him from backstage, “Yankee, go home.” Roy thought he might be swamped by the Beatles. But, it turned out the other way around. He was voted the Number One Vocalist in 1965. Roy said: Whether I’m in London, Sydney or Hong Kong, it makes no difference. There is always someone who knows me. I must be one of the most unloneliest people in the world!

ROY’S FRIENDS SPEAK OUT music of one of the world’s greatest musical treasures.” A “musical treasure”… that just about says it all. All those who attended the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony witnessed Roy’s special status in the music community and an outpouring of overwhelming love. He was honored not only by the Walk of Fame, but also by his family: his wife, Barbara Orbison and his sons, Wesley, Alex and Roy Jr., as well as his peers including T Bone Burnett, Joe Walsh, Jeff Lynne, Dwight Yoakam, Chris Issak, David Lynch, and Dan Aykroyd, who gave a touching, and funny, memorial speech. The Chamber of Commerce even declared January 29th as “Roy Orbison Day.” His wife, Barbara commented, “This is a beautiful day… Thank you very much. The only thing that would have made it more beautiful is if Roy was here with us.” Indeed. We may have lost a great artist, but his legacy remains strong. And, one of his most significant requests has been fulfilled. Reporters frequently asked Roy how he would like to be remembered, and he always answered the same way, “I would simply like to be remembered.”

Don Was (producer) “Roy Orbison defied the rules of modern composition.”

sensitivity and gentleness uncommon to his era. His songs created a private place to go -- a solace… a refuge.”

Bernie Taupin (Elton John’s lyricist) “He was far ahead of his time.”

Tom Petty “ I just feel lucky to have had the opportunity to know Roy and work with him. He was the greatest singer that I ever heard, ever. I even told him that, and he said, ‘...probably.’”

Elvis Presley “Roy is the greatest singer in the world.” Bono “He has the most distinctive voice I’ve ever heard.” (Bono wrote “She’s a Mystery to Me” especially for Roy.) Paul McCartney “He was and always will be one of the greats of rock & roll.” Bruce Springsteen “When I wrote “Born To Run” I wanted to make a record with words like Bob Dylan and a sound like Phil Spector. But, most of all, I wanted to sing like Roy Orbison.” (The Boss name checked Roy in the song, “Thunder Road.”) K.D. Lang “Roy broke the mold of the 50’s toughguy. He had a sense of humility and

Elvis Costello “He encompassed rock & roll.” Tom Waits “When you were trying to get a girl to fall in love with you, it took roses, a Ferris wheel and Roy Orbison.” Chris Isaak “I always loved Roy Orbison. If Martians came and said, ‘Show us how to write a rock song,’ ‘Pretty Woman’ is what I would give them. It’s what rock and roll is supposed to be.” Dan Aykroyd “Roy was a great balladeer and rock & roller who could be both gentle and vicious. He’s the reason I wear black.” Barry Gibb “He had the voice of God.”

Danny Nozell Über Manager By: Clif Doyal


s a youngster, Danny Nozell had no way of knowing that an encounter with a famous rock band would change the rest of his life. Or, because of that event, he would go on to pursue a career in the music industry, rising through the ranks to become one of the most successful and sought-after concert production and tour managers in the business. Along the way, he was a tour manager for the heavy metal band, Slipknot – and, ultimately, became the personal manager of international superstar and entrepreneur, Dolly Parton, as well as General Manager of her record label, touring and merchandising companies. In our candid conversation, Nozell recalls his serendipitous meeting with destiny as a child, and explains how his career has since unfolded. “My uncle Leo was a sergeant on the police force in St. Paul, Minnesota,” Nozell recounts. “One night when I was 11-years-old, he came to our house and threw me and my brother in the back of a paddy wagon and, to our surprise, took us to the St. Paul Civic Center for a Rolling Stones concert. Once there, he just cut us loose. I had never experienced anything like it! From that point on, I knew what I was going to do with my life.” After completing college, Nozell followed his dream and went to work for JAM Productions, a major promoter in the upper Midwest, where he literally started at the bottom. “I was a ‘runner’ for their shows. (Runners basically ‘run’ for whatever is need-

ed, from last-minute food requests, to laundry and dry cleaning services for the artists.) This gave me the opportunity to hang out backstage and watch what went into putting a show together.” Later on, he moved into production, learning the fine points of concert staging, lighting and sound reinforcement. “JAM had great production managers and I learned a lot from them. It really gave me a strong foundation, and I loved every minute of it,” Nozell relates. “I also learned that you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to make it in this business and that is how I have approached my entire career.” During his time with JAM, Nozell discovered that the company rent-

ed furniture for the artist’s dressing rooms, and green rooms, at a cost of several hundred dollars per show. That gave him an idea for a business. Nozell purchased three sets of furniture and started leasing them to the company. “Soon, I had 20 sets and covered hundreds of shows. The Stones, Janet Jackson, I did them all – and best of all, it was a cash job!” This young man was only 20 years old at the time, but that early demonstration of his ability to build a successful business from scratch was a portent of things to come. As he moved further into production, he worked hard to absorb every detail that goes into presenting a live concert. From 7:00 AM load-in to

2:00 AM. load-out, Nozell learned the business from top-to-bottom. With his knowledge of the industry growing, he started managing local acts, including Coup de Gras, who had landed a deal on a Sony imprint. Through that association, he met the heavy metal band Slipknot, who he would later guide to multi-platinum status and international acclaim. “One day, Chris Fein from Slipknot called and said they needed an accountant and tour manager,” Nozell recalls. “They had just signed with Roadrunner Records. He told me they were booked on OZZFEST and were going on tour, but didn’t have a manager. I told them I was going to be working production on a Black Sabbath show and invited Chris, the Clown and Joey to the concert in Minneapolis. After that show we sealed the deal,” Nozell declares, “and they hired me.” “I was with Slipknot when they were totally unknown. We had virtually no airplay, toured in a very grass roots way, and gave away over eighty thousand 2-song cassette samplers to help build a fan base.” The approach worked well for them. Slipknot toured non-stop for the next 24 months, going from earning two hundred dollars a night to over seventy-five thousand dollars a night in the U.S., and two hundred thousand dollars per night overseas. During that time, Nozell managed a staff that had grown to 60 people within a period of 12 months. The band’s debut album went gold, and eventually double platinum, a first for Roadrunner. From 1997-2002, under Nozell’s guidance, Slipknot would earn a Grammy and over 40 gold and platinum awards worldwide. “The education was priceless. After that I said, ‘Bring it on!’ - if I could deal with that, nothing could faze me!” he exclaims. After Slipknot, Nozell worked as tour manager and accountant for Motorhead, Mudvayne, Bone Thugs-nHarmony, Lil John & the East Side Boyz, Sevendust, and others. “Then, I started getting calls to come into tours that were having difficulties, acting as

a trouble-shooter. One of the companies had just bought a Dolly Parton tour and I went out as her tour manager and accountant in 2005. It was less structured than most rock tours. But, I came in and was able to do several different jobs, filling in wherever I was needed. Dolly noticed that I was doing many different things, and realized that I was a lot smarter than I appeared,” he laughs. Nevertheless, after the tour, Nozell left Dolly’s camp. Four months later, however, she personally called him, saying that she wanted him to put a small staff together and plan other things. He gladly accepted. Soon, he began getting offers for Dolly to play overseas, but learned that she had never been a fan of flying and wasn’t very interested. “Finally, I had so many offers from other countries that I was intrigued as to what the real possibilities were.” After researching the area, Nozell learned that with the exception of a handful of theater dates in the U.K in 2002, Dolly had not been on an overseas tour in 37 years – and never as a headliner. She had always been on “package tours” with other country acts. He also learned that Dolly could command top-dollar in those markets. Armed with this information, he called up his old friend, Neil Warnock of The Agency Group, who he had worked with in the Slipknot days. (Warnock, who was voted “International Booking Agency of the Year” by Pollstar, is CEO of an international firm that represents over 1,000 artists and boasts five offices in four countries). “When I called and told him what I thought was possible, he about fell out of his chair!” A meeting was quickly arranged, and the resulting 2007 tour of the U.K., Norway, Sweden and Holland, included 21 shows with Dolly as the lone artist on the bill. It sold out in 60 minutes. Playing in arenas ranging from 6000 to 13,000 seats, it was the largest headlining tour that Dolly had ever undertaken. Sony UK also dovetailed a Very Best of Dolly album

release into the mix, which sold platinum in Europe. The tour was so successful, that Nozell took Dolly back to Europe in 2008, this time in 10,000 to 25,000 seat venues, which all sold-out. “We grossed tens of millions out of the U.K.,” he says. “Shania Twain was the only other country artist that could draw numbers like that in Europe.” During this period, Dolly wrote and recorded the album Backwoods Barbie, and wanted to explore what labels could offer her. Nozell recalls, “I ended up with twenty-one distribution deals on the table, and we didn’t see anything that came close to what we could do on our own.” True to his “failure is not an option” business motto, Nozell put together a comprehensive proposal for a label. Dolly liked the idea and agreed to establish Dolly Records, which released Backwoods Barbie in 2008. “We recouped the cost of the label in 25 weeks and the rest is history,” he states. Backwoods Barbie would go on to reach #2 on both the Billboard Top Country Album and Billboard Top Independent Album charts and scored #15 on the Billboard 200 album chart the highest of Dolly’s career. In 2009, the album was re-packaged as a deluxe edition with three additional songs and reissued on the Cracker Barrel label, which after shrewd negotiating by Nozell, would see Dolly become the first artist in the imprint’s history to be tracked on Soundscan. This caused Backwoods Barbie to re-enter the Billboard Country Album chart at #9, the Billboard Album Chart at #40, and the Billboard Independent Album chart at #3. Nozell further capitalized on Dolly’s brand by cutting deals for her to appear on American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. “She is a role model and mentor to young artists and performers everywhere,” he claims. “People are inspired by her story of rising from poverty to becoming a world-renowned music icon - all on her own merits.”

2009 saw the release of her critically-acclaimed CD/DVD package, Dolly Live in London, which Nozell produced from her sold-out show at London’s O2 Arena. Dolly Records also released the Broadway cast album of 9 to 5-The Musical, which showcases Dolly’s formidable songwriting skills. Nozel notes, “With the record label, merchandise, new media and touring companies, we have taken Dolly’s fan base from 0 to around 700,000 people in two years, with a half million signed up to Twitter alone. And, we’ve created global revenue streams for her products which we have licensed around the world.” March of 2010 will also see the grand opening of her latest retail venture, “Dolly Parton’s Trinkets and Treasures” in downtown Nashville. “With everything going digital, we have worked really hard to harness the power of New Media. And, we have embraced the digital delivery of Dolly’s music to radio. I feel that AirPlay Direct is on the forefront of where the future of the music industry is going. And, I want to continue our relationship with them to make Dolly’s music available globally. Since she is an International star - it is a great fit.” Nozell sums up,” We have not reinvented Dolly, but have re-kindled her career by introducing her to a new generation of artists and fans. Dolly has the final say on everything around here, and failure is not an option, so we work round-the-clock to make something successful. After all, Dolly is a superstar - an icon, and she was that before I was even born. I may have helped her hit the ball out of the park, but I don’t do anything that I don’t love. I am passionate about the business and feel very blessed. I’m indebted to Dolly. In fact, I pinch myself every day, knowing how lucky I am to work with her.” Clif Doyal is a Nashville-based artist manager, publicist, independent record label manager and contributing writer to “the Direct Buzz.”

A video-window into gadgets, gear and the world of music creation.

STRING PLANET: Unusually Mesmerizing (Pt. 1) The Composers Corner presents a Two-Part “Melody Lane” profiling String Planet. This duo performs the most mesmerizing music ever heard. Larry Tuttle, with his “Chapman Stick,” has played with the Seattle Symphony, while his partner Novi Novog has handled viola and piano for the likes of Prince and Frank Zappa.

Click here to view the video.

THE PLANET’S ORBIT: Zappa, Prince & Madonna (Pt. 2) In Part Two you’ll encounter String Planet’s quirky orbit and see why Zappa, Prince, Michael Jackson, Cher, James Taylor, Spinal Tap, Madonna, and The Doobie Brothers have all called upon these stellar players to grace their recordings. You’ll also hear creepy sounds Novi used for the film Friday the 13th.

Click here to view the video.

WIN $2000 FOR A FREAKY FLYING VIDEO The Trapeze School of New York is offering cash and prizes for a cool video. With its motto, “Forget fear… Worry about the addiction,” TSNY has taught peeps, including recording artist Pink, how to fly through the air with the greatest of ease. The contest is open to anyone who can produce a video touting the thrill and excitement of aerial flying via the school. It can be inspiring, educational, or silly. The winner will receive $2000 and bragging rights. Even viewers can win great prizes. The deadline is March 31, 2010. For additional information, go to or email





VIEW MORE CHARTS AT: The AirPlay Direct Global Radio Charts display the top tracks downloaded for airplay by radio programmers internationally. The charts are accurate as of the date published. You can view “real-time” charts at We take pride in having built a transparent charting system that accurately reports the hot artists and tracks available within the AirPlay Direct community.




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VIEW MORE CHARTS AT: The AirPlay Direct Global Radio Charts display the top tracks downloaded for airplay by radio programmers internationally. The charts are accurate as of the date published. You can view “real-time” charts at We take pride in having built a transparent charting system that accurately reports the hot artists and tracks available within the AirPlay Direct community.

By: S.M. Sanders

Mark Wills

Brought to you by:

Welcome to Worthy Works – a new feature in the Direct Buzz! As the Direct Buzz enters its sixth month of publication, we, Worthy Connections, are excited to partner with this magazine and introduce our monthly profile, Worthy Works. Each month, we will be highlighting the work of an artist, not with their music, but with their special cause or charity. Our inaugural Worthy Works profiles Mark Wills. Before I wrote this article, I only knew Mark Wills as a country music star. However, from the first moment

I spoke to him, it became clear that he is just a good ol’ boy who happened to make it, doing what he loves. We talked about our dogs, the kids’ activities and all the normal bustle of day-to-day life. He has a passion for life and a spirit of giving. In addition to being a husband, father and singing great songs, he devotes his time to community service and several social causes. Mark swells with compassion and pride when he talks about his years working with the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN). His first project with CMN was in 2005. Then, he simply applauded them and their mission of raising funds and aware-

ness for hospitals and foundations who serve children. Now, he has met (and stays in touch with) many of the children who are helped by Children’s Miracle Network; he is a proud father, and helping these children and their families is more meaningful than ever. Mark has certainly made a difference for CMN. When fans purchase a copy of his latest CD, Familiar Stranger, a percentage of the profits are automatically donated to the Children’s Miracle Network. The proceeds benefit over 170 hospitals around our nation that help sick and injured children. Mark’s passion for giving is also very evident in his work with the United States Armed Forces. Being the granddaughter of a World War II bomber pilot and the daughter of a Vietnam veteran, I was humbled when I learned of Mark’s dedication to helping the military. He has

taken several trips with the USO to Iraq and Afghanistan; and he has performed for our men and women of the Armed Forces here in the U.S. Mark is also the child of a Vietnam veteran and feels it is his duty to do what he can for those who put their life on the line for our freedom. What does he do for the troops? In Mark’s own modest words, “I just provide some music and entertainment for these brave people.” Then ask one of the many troops who have met Mark. In the words of Mike, an Army soldier who served in Iraq, “Mark is one in a million. He is real. One of the most patriotic men I know.” Mark’s commitment to the military also includes helping the families of our troops through his work

with USA Cares, an organization that helps post 9/11 military families bear the burdens of service with financial and advocacy support. Its mission is to help military families with basic needs during a financial crisis; and, to assist combat injured Veterans and their families in preventing home foreclosures and evictions. Mark is very proud to be a friend of USA Cares and he boasts of the achievements of this organization. In five years, USA Cares has received more than 17,000 requests and distributed more than $5.5 million in grants. Last year, Mark donated a portion of every sale of his album, 2nd Time Around, to USA Cares. As with his other social causes, Mark is too humble regarding his efforts to assist USA Cares but they are truly proud to boast of Mark. USA Cares Founder Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) Roger Stradley states, “The fact that a nationally recognized talent like Mark would lend his name and image to our organization honors and humbles us… He is the real deal and there is a genuine passion for our troops and families that can not be faked… He has all the attributes of a great man that lives it and does not just say it.” Mark is a star in the world of country music. More importantly, he uses this stardom to help those in need - he is caring, humble and defines

the meaning of worthy. He gives his time, he gives his resources, and he is honored to serve others. Through these Worthy Works profiles, our goal is to encourage awareness and involvement with good causes. It doesn’t matter what you do or what you give, it just matters that we all do something. Mark summed it up when he said, “Give what you can.” Take Mark’s lead and please serve others somehow. If we all do a little bit, the effect is a lot.

BE WORTHY USA Cares offers several ways you can make a difference.

Liberty Lemonade Set up a lemonade stand to raise funds for USA Cares

Jeans Day Employees who contribute $1 wear blue jeans on Fridays For more information or to make a donation to any of Mark’s special causes, please visit:


Ray Stephenson The winner of the AirPlay Direct “All Things Digital” Country/ Alt. Country artist contest, Ray Stephenson may be the next key singer/ songwriter of our time. He has already crafted songs for Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, John Anderson, Guy Clark (GRAMMY nominated album of the year), Jeff Bates, Steve Holy, The Wilkinsons, Sonya Issacs and more. He is also an established painter. He resides in Nashville, TN. and tours over 120+ shows a year (mostly across the southeast). Ray’s songs are surprisingly soulful and thoughtful for a writer his age. There is a strong thread of honesty woven into his lyric and his songs are generally filled with stories about life, love, and loss. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Listen here: -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Rounder Anniversary

Planetary Nights

As brilliant as she is unusual, as talented as she is beautiful, and as interesting as she is unique, EvaEva and her music certainly take you down a road-less-traveled. Most all original songs and self produced, and oftentimes recorded solely by herself, from the songwriting, to the arranging, and the performing, EvaEva (Eva Coppola) uncannily blends together so many elements of World Music: American Jazz/ Funk & Brazilian Samba, Indian Bhangra & Bollywood. Classically trained in piano at age 7, violin at 9, and then flute all the way through Julliard. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

2010 marks a milestone for indie label, Rounder Records - 40 years in the music industry. To celebrate, Rounder held an anniversary concert on October 12th, 2009 at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House which was filmed for a PBS television special that will begin airing on the network in March, 2010. Performances feature Alison Krauss & Union Station with Jerry Douglas, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Bela Fleck and Irma Thomas, musical host, Minnie Driver, special guests Nathan & Henry Butler, and select performances from Steve Martin. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

At age 57, Planetary Nights’ singer-songwriter R.J. McSweeney brings decades of musical influences and life experiences to his brand of Americana rock ‘n’ roll. Through diverse career paths and life travels, music has always been a constant companion. R.J.’s songwriting style has been influenced by the song craft of Willie Dixon, John Lennon, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne. Released in June 2009, Elliptical Motion was selected by Radio Indy as one of the best rock album of 2009. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------


Madison Violet

Brokedown Cadillac

Harlem Parlour Music Club

If Lucinda Williams was shagging Gillian Welch and had a love-child with Steve Earle, their offspring might sound a little bit like Madison Violet’s new album No Fool For Trying. Both hailing from Scottish small towns in Canada, Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac have chosen another musical path; one that channels their parent’s vintage record collection. The pair have come into a sound of their own, which has been described as both city-folk and Americana. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

Country Weekly describes Brokedown Cadillac as “energetic, instantly likeable,” while says the band is “just right for any country fan who likes the feisty side of Miranda Lambert and the blazing-guitars side of Keith Urban.” BrokeDown Cadillac is a 5-piece modern country band fronted by Atlanta native, Corri English, and her counterpart, Randy Dunham. Their sound is an upbeat country-rock blend highlighted by Corri’s forthright lead vocals with Randy accompanying her in harmony and counter melody. -------------------------------------------Listen here: BrokedownCadillac --------------------------------------------

The Harlem Parlour Music Club— “a superb blend of singers, musicians, and song,” says respected artist/disc jockey Caroline Doctorow—is off to a fast start. Comprised of some of New York’s top talent, this collective has just released its initial recording, Salt of the Earth, which WUMB’s Barnes Newberry calls “an incredibly charming and delightful album brimming full of camaraderie and hope.” As WFUV’s John Platt notes, “It’s like the McGarrrigles sitting down to jam with Ollabelle.” -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------


Brad Lee Schroeder

Grant Peeples

You can hear in one listen that Patrick Jason Matthews was born to write songs. “If Faulkner needed a soundtrack, he’d ask Jason Matthews to write it,” says Max Hutchinson of Valhalla Music Group. He mixes the traditional sounds of rock, gospel and country with his own melodic muse to create a sound all his own. Born in Harrells Store, NC, Matthews started writing songs at age fifteen, and the craft became his obsession. Many now tout him as a future Hall Of Famer, due to the chart success of his ten singles in the past two years. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

With traditional good looks, power vocals and a charming smile, Brad Lee Schroeder may seem like another pretty boy rock star, but don’t let those looks fool you. One listen to his music and it quickly becomes evident why Brad is one of the most popular country artists to emerge from the Mile High city of Denver. His talent has not gone unnoticed, as he recently finished third in the AirPlay Direct “All Things Digital” Country/ Alt. Country artist contest out of 340 submissions. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

Grant Peeples, whose tunes range from country swing to troubadour ballads, Latin rhythms to bluegrass stomp, has a unique style he dubs “leftneck.” His songs include environmental, socio-political themes, as well as poignant love songs and humor, too. Nashville songwriting legend Bobby Braddock once dubbed him, “like John Prine, but with a Southern bent.” PawnShop debuted on the EuroAmericana chart in November 2009 at #17 and is making some noise and turning heads among Americana/Roots scribes and listeners. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

Quick Tips M

any artists and labels have asked for a “Step by Step Guide” to success. Unfortunately, there is no map that suits everyone. What works for one artist or label may not work for another. But, there are some things that generally translate to positive results — for everyone. THE INDIE WAY - QUICK TIPS will explore those tricks of the trade and give our readers “easy to follow” tips regarding a variety of areas in the music business.

APPEALING TO THE MUSIC INDUSTRY The music business has gone through significant changes, and those in the industry (including A&R, managers, agents and producers) have changed along with it. Today, they are less likely to take risks. As a result, artists who want to work with them have to bring much more to the table than they did before. So our readers could get an idea of what they need to do to get industry attention – and help – we talked with a variety of insiders to find out what it would take to get them to work with an act. Their response to our query was so overwhelming we are presenting our findings in two parts. This is Part Two. As an extra bonus, you’ll also find the most common complaints we’ve collected from our industry insiders those things that will definitely turn them off.

1. WEBSITES CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE Today, artist websites are critical in the decision-making process. If industry want to find out about you,

they WILL visit your website(s); and analyze your MySpace site. If your numbers (views & plays) and comments are not impressive or current, they will move on.

2. USE THE NET WISELY With the internet, artists have an important tool that gives them more avenues for their music, and industry expect artists to use it. In fact, the Net should be thought of as an extension of your promo kit.

3. MAKE SURE YOUR PROMO PHOTOS HAVE IMPACT Promo shots are just as critical as your music. Today, “image” can make or break you. If your photo’s bad, some won’t even listen to the music. They believe a bad image won’t sell music. The best shots should be clear and sharp and reflect your style of music.

4. USE A VIDEO AS YOUR SHOWCASE A live performance video is an effec-

tive marketing tool. Give industry a video that they can watch at their leisure, and you’ve accomplished two purposes: they’ll see you play live and, best of all, you control what they see. In fact, if they want to see you after viewing one, you’re a step closer to a decision.

5. ALWAYS BE PROFESSIONAL A label president caught a band at a club and approached the lead singer to discuss a possible deal. But, the singer was so arrogant and rude, he blew it (he didn’t know that person was the president of a label). You should always act professionally and treat people with respect – especially if they’re at your show.

6. KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT DEALS Artists should have a general knowledge about deals. Why? Because, times have changed and so have deals. Remember, information and knowledge is power.

7. KNOW IF YOU’RE DEALING WITH AN INDIE OR A MAJOR It’s important to determine “whom” you’re dealing with. Artists may think they’re dealing with an indie, but the indie may actually be part of a major. If that’s the case, terms – like the advance – could be significantly different.

8. CONSIDER ALL YOUR OPTIONS There’s more to life than a major record deal. Indies are stronger than ever, and new business models are emerging. Consider all you options before committing to one. And, always, ask yourself: “Can this person or company do more for me than I can do for myself?”

9. JUST DO IT Since most industry want it all, you have to do a few things yourself. They are attracted to successful acts. Indeed, the more you do, the more they will be interested.

10. KEEP YOUR RECORDINGS CURRENT Many acts record full albums and that’s not a bad idea. Indie labels often like to have a complete album to deal with, and you can always sell it at your shows. But, it’s important to keep recordings current. If it’s over two years old, it could make industry think you’re not very prolific.


Put contact information (phone and email) on everything. It should be on every piece in a package (including the CD) and easy to access on a website. That means having a CONTACT page on your site, not just a fan signup.

12. DON’T TAKE A PASS PERSONALLY There are many reasons why industry may pass on your music, and it doesn’t always mean that you’re not worthy. Everyone gets passed on – even the Beatles were rejected. Artists should understand that most industry do NOT take on new acts every year. So, don’t take a pass personally.

If They Pass – Ask For A Lead Even if you’re passed on, ask if they know someone who might be interested. If your music meets their standards, they may lead you to someone else.

13. JUST DO WHAT YOU LOVE Many artists, and industry, complain about the state of music today. But, many insiders believe musicians and industry need to get their priorities straight. Let’s just do what we all love, they say. After all, isn’t that why we’re in this business? New acts are making their mark every day; and, according to our experts, yours could be next.


he Direct Buzz offers reviews by a team of professional music critics. Any AirPlay Direct artist or label interested in being considered for a review, should contact us. Choose three songs from your DPK, and we’ll give you our opinion of them. We can’t guarantee a rave review, but we can assure you that it will be honest and constructive. We will try to honor all requests, but it might take a while. As such, your patience is appreciated.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Tomas Doncker

Craig Johnston

Speed of Life

Inside Out, Small World

(Indie Artist)

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has lasted longer than just about any other act from their era (the hippie-dippie ‘60’s). In fact, forty-four years later, Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter and John McEuen are still going strong, albeit in a slightly different direction. Instead of a crazy young jug band, they’re now a seasoned country act. Their new album, Speed of Life is a freewheeling affair with energy to spare. Its old-timey country sound discards the polished productions of their earlier years and, instead, hunkers down with the basics of solid songwriting. “Tulsa Sounds Like Trouble” and “Brand New Heartache” jump with country pickin’ that’s hoedown worthy, while “Resurrection” contains such a beautiful melody it sticks with you long after the last note. The title track is a folksy number, mellow yet memorable. Throughout this exceptional collection, the band’s chops are impeccable, the vocals are outstanding, and the production makes it seem as if you’re standing in an Appalachian hollow. These guys have obviously improved over the years. It’s easy to understand why they’re critically acclaimed award winners. In fact, if this is what aging can do for you, we all have something to look forward to.

Although Tomas Doncker is more of an R&B artist than anything else, his songwriting covers a wider approach than one might expect. He has a wonderfully sensual vocal style reminiscent of Marvin Gaye. It makes you want to sip a glass of Chardonnay and sit by the fireplace with someone you love. In “Children of Darfur,” however, the fiery bass lines and pulse of the congas are almost misleading. Tomas conveys his feelings subtly, using simple lyrics and smokin’ tracks that grow in urgency. Halfway through the song, the real impact becomes clear. A female narrator speaks: “we were sleeping when the soldiers came, and my mother said ‘run, hide, quick, hide, run’... “ Meanwhile, a female voice is wailing with a slapback delay going from side to side. Visualizing the horror, you may feel compelled to switch from Chardonnay by the fire to Whisky by the checkbook. Tomas lightens the mood with “Don’t Throw Our Love Away” and “License For Love,” sweet tunes with excellent textures. “License For Love” has so many interesting elements it leaves you wondering: How do you label this music? “Extremely Artistic Soul” would be a good start. To say the least, this artist is extremely gifted. Jeanie Cunningham

Craig Johnston is an unsigned artist, yet he is pulling in deals such as a commercial with “Mastercard” and recording for the London Film School and Film Academy. So how does an indie artist pull off such an impressive feat? First, you have to have talent and know how to utilize it. Second, you have to establish a connection with your audience, making them feel like the music was written for them. Johnston nails it all with his own style of acoustic pop fused with an earthy folk sound. His voice is solid but doesn’t stand out from his competitors. Instead, he sounds like many mainstream pop artists today.

Bernard Baur

The best of the lot is “Disembody,” Its light electronic feel catches your ear right from the beginning. “Before I Fall” is a close second with a sweet touch of piano and meaningful lyrics. Johnston’s music is catching fire and is starting to attract some major attention with prospective film and TV licensing opportunities. Indeed, he is an inspiration to other indie artists wishing to make their mark. If he can establish a vocal trademark that is uniquely his own, he has a good chance of having a lengthy and successful career. Tom Laurie

A tour of music, lifestyles and pop culture

By: Bernard Baur

The Pinball Producer: MANDI MARTIN


55 hours, 55 minutes, and 55 seconds… That’s how long Mandi Martin played pinball. Seriously… she’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for that 23-day marathon. Waylon Jennings taught her how to play, when she used to hang with him and (DJ) Captain Midnight in Nashville. However, as amazing as that feat may be, Martin’s success and longevity in the music business is just as impressive. Pinball may be her game, but music is her passion. A former Columbia, RCA and Epic recording artist, Martin produced and sold her first record when she was still in high school. She eventually graduated to singing background for musical greats like Sam Cooke, Ricky Nelson, Jan & Dean, Brian Wilson and Jimmy Buffett, to name a few. “I was a sponge,” she laughs. “I was a real studio rat. I went to every recording session I could and just absorbed it all.” She watched all the big names work (including Phil Spector), and studied what they did to get their sounds. “It was an education you couldn’t buy,” she says. Her obsession with the recording process came from an insatiable desire. Though she was an accomplished songwriter, who enjoyed several publishing deals, and an in-demand singer, Martin’s dream was to produce other artists. “I always wanted to produce,” she

sighs. And, in 1973, she got to do just that, producing country, folk and R&B artists, including Columbia folkie Len Chandler and Tears for Fears singer, Oleta Adams. Since then, she has produced a slew of noteworthy acts, and became active in the music community, as president of Women in Music, co-producer of the Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase, and a member of the Board of Governors at the Recording Academy (host of the Grammy Awards). Obviously, Martin is a rare bird, a giver. In fact, anyone lucky enough to work with her has discovered that. But, she has her own approach to producing that is unique. Actually, they’re rules every artist should know if they hope to work with a producer. “You should spend as much time in pre-production as possible,” Martin explains. “You have to make the songs as strong as they can be.” Martin has noticed that for many young artists that’s a problem because they’re not familiar with the concept of re-writing.

“I call them early settlers,” she says. “They settle way too early --- well before their songs are finished.” According to Martin, the most important characteristic artists should develop is patience. “You don’t want to rush into the studio before you’re ready. Studio time is precious.” And, lastly, Martin believes that the experience should be pleasurable. “We should be having fun,” she declares. “As a producer, my job is to paint an accurate portrait of the artist, not to make them something they’re not. If a producer tries to change an artist too much, the music can lose its authenticity.” Martin emphasizes that last part, mostly because she works so closely with her acts. “I love artists and music,” she says. “In fact, many of the acts I’ve worked with become close friends.” If you’d like to learn more about Martin, go to and/or



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