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Gretchen Wilson Redneck Woman Redux

Grace Potter Concert Review

Bill Cody Still Crazy About Radio!

Bill Cakmis Media Guru PLUS Featured Artists & Reviews ADP Global Radio Indicator Charts™ Americana Music Charts European HotDisc Charts Christian Music Weekly

March 2011


4 Cover Story – Gretchen Wilson Gretchen Wilson burst onto the scene in 2004 with her chart-topping Country anthem “Redneck Woman.” Born to a teenaged mother and raised in poverty, Wilson was cooking and tending bar in an Illinois dive bar by age 14, eventually moving to Nashville, where she worked clubs as a singer and as a bartender to pay the bills. She talks to Peter Cooper about the ups and downs of fame and her newfound freedom in running her own label.

12 Behind the Desk Bill Cody’s voice is one of the most recognizable in Country radio and he has created one of the more enduring careers in the history of the format. Along the way, he’s also had great success with television. This spring will mark seventeen years that he has spent with the legendary WSM-AM in Nashville. As Cody celebrates his 40th year in the business, the Direct Buzz looks back with him on his long and illustrious career.

30 BEYOND THE SONG Music truly affects our world and its power can transform lives. The positive impact that the W.O. Smith/Nashville Community Music School has on the lives of children from low income families is immeasurable and its influence reverberates across the community at large. Learn how you can help.

18 THE WRITERS ROUND: Adam Craig Band – Tempered in the Fire

17 NOW MEDIA: How to Use AirPlay Direct More Effectively

35 APD GLOBAL RADIO INDICATOR CHARTS™ 48 AMERICANA MUSIC ASSOCIATION CHARTS 51 EUROPEAN HOTDISC CHARTS 57 CHRISTIAN MUSIC WEEKLY ---------------------------------------------------------------PUBLISHER & FOUNDER: Robert Weingartz EDITOR: Clif Doyal DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL PROJECTS: Scott Welch DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING: Shelly Korolewicz CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Clif Doyal, Mike Hagler, Jr, Spanky Brown, Stephanie Konarski, Peter Cooper, Bill Cakmis & Chuck Dauphin ART DIRECTION: Aleven Creatives (aleven.com) COVER PHOTO: Courtesy of Redneck Records

---------------------------------------------------------------© 2011 by AirPlay Direct, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

FROM THE PUBLISHER Welcome to the March edition of the Direct Buzz! Our cover feature this month is Gretchen Wilson. Wilson burst onto the scene in 2004 with her chart-topping Country anthem “Redneck Woman.” Writer Peter Cooper talks with her about the ups and downs of fame - and her newfound freedom in running her own label. After being raised in poverty, and years of working in clubs as a singer and as a bartender to pay the bills before signing to a major label, Wilson is happy to finally be more in control of her own career. We go “Behind the Desk” with Country radio stalwart, Bill Cody, who has created one of the more enduring careers in the history of radio. This spring will mark seventeen years that he has spent with the legendary WSM-AM in Nashville. As Cody celebrates his 40th year in the business, the Direct Buzz looks back with the radio titan on his long and illustrious career. Music truly affects our world and its power can transform lives. Through dedicated volunteers, the W.O. Smith/Nashville Community Music School provides low-cost music lessons to children from low income families. The positive impact is immeasurable and its influence reverberates across the community at large. Learn how you can help. Media coach to the stars, Bill Cakmis, shares an excerpt from his book, Mastering the Art of Powerful Communication, in “The Indie Way.” Rising artist Adam Craig tells us about his band’s new EP produced by Josh Leo in “the Writer’s Round” and Now Media gives tips to artists about how to use AirPlay Direct to deliver their music to radio. Spring has arrived. Relish in nature’s rebirth - and enjoy the music!

Robert Weingartz Chairman & CEO, AirPlay Direct Founder & Publisher, the Direct Buzz


Gretchen Wilson Redneck Woman Redux By: Peter Cooper

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n a gray and rainy February morning, Gretchen Wilson had time to talk. Well before most Music Row pros begin their workdays, she had already been up for hours. She considered the weather and declared it more assuring than annoying. “It’s okay with me,” she said. “I don’t mind the rain. I kind of like it.” Wilson has endured plenty in her life, and precipitation is the least of her concerns. Born to a teenaged mother and raised with poverty and uncertainty as constant companions, she was cooking and tending bar in an Illinois dive bar by age 14. Music was a means of creativity and of escape, and Wilson moved to Nashville in 1996, working clubs as a singer and as a bartender to pay the bills. She found friends in John Rich and Big Kenny Alphin, who helped form a group of singers and songwriters known as the Muzik Mafia, and she and Rich wrote “Redneck Woman” together. That song, which celebrated Wilson’s hardscrabble upbringing, became a major hit in 2004, and her Epic Records debut album Here For The Party sold more than 220,000 copies in its first week of issue, giving Wilson the biggest opening week in history for a new Country artist. Fairy tale stuff, then, and it was followed by more hits and much in the

way of accolades. But parent company Sony’s mid-decade merger with BMG meant Wilson had to compete with numerous established artists on a swollen roster, and Wilson struggled for attention at the label and at radio. Her hard-won “overnight success” gave way to several years of flailing. Radio programmers who had considered her an “automatic add” ignored her new releases, and she faced criticism both for staying the hard-driving, rural celebratory course (“She’s already released a song like that”) and for changing things up with distinctive ballads like the Grammy-nominated “I Don’t Feel Like Loving You Today.” (“That doesn’t sound like Gretchen Wilson.”). In 2009, Wilson announced her departure from Sony Music Nashville and set about launching her independent label, Redneck Records. That October, Redneck released “Work Hard, Play Harder,” a single that be-

came Wilson’s first Top 20 record in four years. In 2010, the album I Got Your Country Right Here was issued, and it helped Wilson to two Grammy nominations in the Country song and Country female vocal performance categories, each for ballad “I’d Love to Be Your Last.” We’re talking awfully early in the morning. Guess you’re not keeping honky-tonk hours? I just got done driving my daughter to school. When I’m home, it’s a totally different life, man. I get up about 5:45 in the morning, at least a half hour before my daughter gets up. I cherish the time with her. The mom in me has made me say “no” to a lot of stuff, and career-wise that hasn’t always been a


great idea. But I don’t regret a moment of it. I’ve had (manager) Marc Oswald telling me, “You don’t understand, this kind of offer doesn’t come around more than once.” Well, the 2nd grade play definitely only comes around once. I remember being around you when “Redneck Woman” had just hit big, when your debut album was coming out and you were in the midst of whirlwind success. This came after years of scuffling and trying to get a foothold in the business. When it finally happened, did it feel surreal, or was it more like, “Well, it’s about damn time?” Both. It was nothing like I’d ever expected it to be. You don’t know what it’s like to step into that role until you get there. In my case, it all moved so fast. I have major trust issues anyway, and so I quickly felt like I was completely out of control in my career and my life. I mean, things were finally happening, and I could breathe easier because I knew there was a check coming in the mail and I could buy some land and extend job offers to my family and help them turn their lives around. But it was a crazy, out of control, spinning thing. There were so many people making decisions for me that I didn’t even know were being made. Now that I am the label and I’m involved in managing my own career, I understand it all a lot better. I mean, I wanted to understand it then. I was asking all those questions: “What are we doing this for? Tell me how this benefits me?” But I always felt like I was getting thrown under the bus all the time when I was working with a huge label. If a radio promoter walked into a radio station and said, “I’ve got this new Gretchen Wilson song” and the D.J. said, “What else have you got?” then the promoter had five more songs from other artists in their back pocket. I like knowing that the people representing me now are representing just me. It seems like you were a priority

for Sony before that label merged with BMG, a label group that already had a bunch of artists and a bunch of imprints. Right, the Sony label was obviously owned by a big corporation, but the actual Nashville record label was really a fairly small company on Music Row, with a small team of people working there. You’d drive up to the back parking lot and the guard knew you by name, and you’d go in and check out what was going on in A&R and in creative. After the merger, everything

was different. All of a sudden you had to have a badge on to walk around in the building. I’m a damned redneck, a simple, sit-on-my-front-porch kind of person. And now they were issuing me a card every time I walked in the building, and the card had to be swiped everywhere you walk. They were literally keeping tabs on you. Now, that’s nothing against the company: they’re a big business, and they ran a well-oiled machine. But it wasn’t the kind of thing I was used to or that I was comfortable with.


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“I feel like the possibilities are endless if I have the control of my own career.”

You had such tremendous initial success at Country radio, and that dissipated for awhile. I thought it was strange that you could have a Number One album with (2007’s) One of the Boys, and then not have a single even hit the Top 30, especially when programmers had played you so much just a couple of years before. It’s a crazy game of checkers that goes on with airplay. It’s unfortunate, not just for the artists but for the real radio guys, the D.J.s, because everyone is answering to someone else, to that voice in the sky that sends down the playlists. They only have a certain amount of songs that get played, and everybody’s trying to figure out how you get to be a part of that list. Sometimes it’s about being friendly and present: You’ve got to put yourself in a position to get lucky. Luck doesn’t just find you when you’re not trying. Sometimes it’s a, “You do something for us, we’ll do something for you” sit-

uation. Whatever it was, there came a time when I knew it wasn’t working for me. And I finally said, “Shit, I quit. I give up. I’ll just do shows and represent myself live, the best way I can.” I think I went two-and-a-half or three years in between getting airplay, but my touring never suffered. I felt the recession hit like everyone did, but I’ve been able to work and support myself touring, and that kept me going creatively, financially and spiritually. Then, when the opportunity arose for me to get out of that record deal, I jumped at it. Suddenly, I had a new fire. I feel like the possibilities are endless if I have the control of my own career. Was going independent an easy decision? It was scary, and expensive, but I put it all on the line. As soon as I heard there was a possibility I could be able to end my relationship with Sony and get out with some of my career intact, it was, “Oh my God, I’m not done.” At first, all I hoped for was to pay for the expense of the startup, to sell enough records to stay in business. And now the first project is double Grammynominated. How has being an independent artist impacted your relationship

with Country radio? I have a great relationship with radio now. But it took me awhile to mend it. How did you accomplish the mending? It was a year or so of me making calls. I reached out to every program director, personally, and asked how they felt about me starting my label, asked opinions about singles and talked about how things had gone in the past. I had a lot of really frank discussions with people, and I heard all kinds of things that I didn’t know had happened, even things like someone not being treated nice at a meet-and-greet from a show that was three tour managers ago. I wasn’t smart enough at first to be watching to make sure that all the people around me were treating everyone with respect. I didn’t have a great understanding of the business before, and now I get it. I’m a business partner now, not a puppet. But by calling people, I found out a lot. Like someone was upset that they thought the old label hemmed and hawed about me coming to some kind of songwriter’s event, and people remember things like that. It was a matter of me saying, “Hell, I didn’t know. Come out, hang out on the bus, I want to play you some new stuff.” What goes into choosing a single now? A lot of it is reaching out to radio stations and asking them to ask listeners what they think. We made the decision to release “Work Hard, Play Harder” (a Top 20 single in 2010) based on radio’s response. They helped us know that was a smart way to go, by playing it for their listeners and getting feedback. Choosing singles is hard for me, because I’m also the songwriter some-


do next, but I feel like this album is just getting its first kick of life. We’ve had a Top 20, and this ballad, “I’d Love to Be Your Last,” is doing really well. It’s different and unique for me, and I believe in it. There are two or three other tracks that I can hear getting a lot of good response. So I think there’s time to think about what to do next. You’re so well known for up-tempo songs, so “I’d Love To Be Your Last” offers something different for listeners. I did a song called “When I Think About Cheatin’ and people still ask for that when I play on the road. But I don’t like playing a single ballad in “I’ve developed as an entertainer. my show, so if we’ve got a Even though I spent my whole life ballad that’s a single, that’s the only one you’re going onstage, I was [always] just that to hear. That’s just the way chick singer with the tambourine.” I do it. You spent so many of times, and the producer. Sometimes your formative years the song that is your favorite isn’t alplaying in clubs. Did you arrive at ways the perfect song for the moment. your major label deal fully realized Sometimes that favorite song just has as a performer? to live on the album as an album cut. No, the live show has gotten better. Does being the record company I’ve developed as an entertainer. Even take time away from songwriting? though I spent my whole life onstage, I don’t write as much as I should. I was [always] just that chick singer That’s something I’ve got to build in. with the tambourine. It was, “Just It’s like work for me. It’s fun once stand up there and look pretty and you get into it, but I dread it until I get try not to get too drunk.” Right now there. A month ago, I wrote with John I’ve got Bekka Bramlett singing har(Rich) and Vicky (McGehee), and it monies, and she can sing in full voice was the first time I’d written in a year above me. She’s like having all three and a half. I wrote with a lot of new of the Lynyrd Skynyrd background people for this record and had a great singers. The band is great, and I have time, and now I need to start filling my fun now with the audience. I used to be schedule back up. too afraid, too stiff, and I followed the Are you heading back into the stuplan and the set list and the regimen. dio soon? Now, we change things up during the We’ve been talking about what we’ll show. Anything can happen, and we

have a blast. Just being able to change things up is something different these days, when most major Country concerts come with videos synched to the music, which means pre-programmed tempos and a rigid adherence to the set list. I don’t play to a click track, don’t synch video and don’t even program the lights. I’ve got a lighting guy who actually pushes the buttons, manually. I had to steal him from Foreigner. There was always some reason why the lights had to be programmed. “We have hundreds of lights, and it’s too much for one person to do.” Well, then get rid of half of them. I want someone who stops the lights if the drummer stops, someone actually doing the show with us. And if I move off the set list, we do the song I start, not the song that’s on the set list. Running a record label means you’re working harder than you’ve ever worked. Yes, but I’m also having more fun than I’ve had. It’s more gratifying now. At the end of the day, I can feel it. I go, “Okay, I did a lot today.” And you open your email and start seeing the great news when people let you know things are going well. Before, someone else was getting all those emails. Being completely involved in it all is exactly what I needed. I needed to know what was going on. It’s hard to work your ass off, leave your kid and miss things, but it’s harder when you don’t know exactly what you’re doing it all for. Now, I feel like my daughter is going to have a respect for how hard-working and determined I was, rather than resent me for being off doing what someone else was directing me to do. Peter Cooper is a songwriter, touring musician, journalist, professor and Packers fan, based in East Nashville, Tn. For more information, visit www. petercoopermusic.com.


Grace Potter & the Nocturnals Cannery Ballroom, Nashville, TN - Feb. 24, 2011 By: Patti & Clif Doyal It was a hot balmy night for February in Nashville, and a severe thunder storm was looming. The humidity was extremely high, just like the energy inside the sold-out SRO room at the cavernous Cannery Ballroom. Shoulders rubbed, foreheads perspired, feet hurt, thirsts grew, and, close to the stage, it was flat steamy. But when Grace Potter & the Nocturnals hit the stage NONE of those things mattered. It actually got hotter…a lot hotter! The radiant and sparkling Potter prowled the stage with such passion and intensity that her presence blocked out every thunder-rumble, boom, lightening-flash, and storm siren for the remainder of the evening. To say that she is a Rock star is an understatement. In an era of flavor-of-the moment media-created “stars,” Potter is the real deal. Opening with “Ah, Mary” the band quickly got down to business before quickly shifting into a rocked out version of “Only Love,” where ace guitarist Scott Tournet shone. Throughout, Potter shifted between her trademark Flying V electric guitar and B-3 organ, interacting with the crowd while drummer Matt Burr, bassist Catherine Popper, and rhythm guitarist Benny Yurco laid down a serious rock ‘n’ roll foundation, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. Midway, thru the set, Potter shifted to acoustic for “Elvis Presley Blues” (a Gillian Welch cover) and “Golden” by the group, My Morning Jacket. Then it was back to full band with crowd favorite “Stop The Bus” before Potter’s organ set the stage for the stark and mournful “Big White Gate.” The

opening strains of feedback from Tournet’s guitar heralded the song “Sugar” where Potter – in full flying V glory sexy strut and swagger – held the crowd in the palm of her hand in a Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelininspired spell. Then came the moment that many in the audience had waited for; her career-defining “Paris (Ooh, La La).” Every voice in the place sang along as Potter and the gang proved why years of on-the-road training matter when it comes to great rock ‘n’ roll. After leaving the stage for only a brief moment, the band returned for an encore with the Heart song, “Crazy On You,” before closing the night with their wildly popular “Medicine,” a true tribal-sounding rock anthem. Afterward, a light, refreshing rain and cool

breeze were all that remained of the strong winds and storms that the rest of the city had endured while those of us under the spell of Grace Potter and her unique sound and style were completely oblivious. If I was in Paris, I would say, “It’s been raining! Ooh, La La!”


Bill Cody Still Crazy (About Radio) After All These Years!

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By Chuck Dauphin

is voice is one of the most recognizable in the Country Radio format. Since he

first walked into a radio studio four decades ago in rural Lebanon, Ky., Bill Cody has created one of the more legendary careers in the history of radio and television. Beginning his career at age 12 at hometown station WLBN, he spent the entirety of his teenage years spinning the sounds of Jones, Wynette, and Twitty. Upon graduating from high school, he set his sights on larger markets---such as Lexington (WVLK), Louisville (WHAS and WCII), Orlando (WHOO), before landing with San Antonio’s powerful KKYX. The time he spent there would help him to perfect his craft, and get him ready for the spotlight of Nashville. In 1994, an interview with Kyle Cantrell led to his being hired for mornings at WSM-AM. This spring will mark seventeen years with the company. Along the way, he has had success with syndicated radio (Country’s Most Wanted, GAC’s Classic Country Weekend), and television (GAC Classics, Tennessee’s Wild Side), and his voice can be heard emceeing such events as Alabama’s pay-per-view concert For The Record

in 1998, the Grand Ole Opry, and the recent inauguration ceremony for Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. In 2008, Cody was recognized for his accomplishments in the industry with his induction into the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame. As Cody celebrates his 40th year in the business, the DIRECT BUZZ looks back with the radio legend on his long and illustrious career. Bill Cody remembers getting the phone call in the fall of 2007. It

was from longtime Music Row exec Charlie Monk. He was calling to tell Cody that he would be a member of the 2008 class of the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame. The news took the voice of “America’s Country Music Station” by surprise. “Several years earlier, an attorney friend of mine said to me ‘Man, you ought to get an entry turned in to the Country Radio Broadcasters.’ I thought ‘Yeah, ok,’ and you know how those things are. It takes time to get them organized,


and you have to think about what to use and what not to use. So, I turned it in, and when the announcement came of that year’s class, I wasn’t in it. I said ‘Ok,’ and I had actually forgotten about it. Two or three years go by, and the phone rings. I hadn’t submitted anything for that years’ class, but they keep them on file for a period of time.” The phone call took Cody back in time. “When Charlie Monk called me with the news, I was so overwhelmed emotionally because of my parents. My mother was still alive then, and my father had been deceased for several years. But, my dad was my hero---not that my mother wasn’t, but in a different way. He drove me to work, and he was my biggest fan and supporter.” Cody recalls one of his first drives to a radio station—WLBN in Lebanon, Ky., in 1971. “The fellow who ran the radio station was J.T. Whitlock. He was a legendary Kentucky broadcaster and headed up the Kentucky Broadcasters Association for many years. He and my dad had become friends. My dad was the pastor at Woodlawn Baptist Church, and through their friendship, he saw an opportunity to have his Sunday morning sermons recorded and played back on Sunday afternoon. Back in those days, they had those 30 minute carts, so they would record that at the church and take the tapes to the studio and swap them out each week.” The youngster was somewhat curious about radio, but there was one particular time that stands out in his mind. “I went in with my dad, and there was a guy named Frank Kemp, who was my first mentor. I had listened to him on the station as a kid. Forty years ago,” he says with a dash of astonishment in his voice. “I walked up to this plate glass window, and saw Frank. I remember watching him run that board, and spinning those records. Standing outside, you could

hear the speaker in the ceiling over our heads while we were looking in. It was like a scene out of a movie. To this day, I can remember that feeling of ‘Oh, my goodness.’” Cody would become a frequent visitor at the radio station, working on his craft. Then one day, he got a phone call that changed his world forever. “One day, Frank was ill, and they knew I’d been hanging around. They called me, and I was in Miss Bryan’s Chorus class at Lebanon Junior High School, and I went to the office. They said ‘We need you to fill in for Frank when you get out of school this afternoon.’ Obviously, I was a long way from being able to drive as far as my age. My dad picked me up, and drove me to the radio station and he would do that for many years,” he recalls with a smile. Does he remember the first record he played at WLBN? “You bet,” he says. “The first record I ever played for my first solo opportunity on the air was Wanda Jackson’s version of the old Gale Garnett song ‘We’ll Sing In The Sunshine.’” It didn’t quite go like he had imagined it would. “I cued that baby up, and fired it like I knew exactly what I was doing,” he recalls. “I was feeling good. I was in control, and I started it on 45 instead of 33! When I was inducted into the Disc Jockey Hall of Fame, I recalled that story, and said ‘You too can overcome things like that as your start to this business to achieve some success along the way.’” Success did come Cody’s way. He moved on to Lexington’s WVLK, where he worked with legendary names like Jim Jordan and Ralph Hacker. “Ralph, of course, is a household name in Kentucky,” Cody remembers. “He was a color analyst for many years to the great Cawood Ledford, who was synonymous with University of Kentucky sports. When Cawood retired, Ralph took over the play-by-play duties for a number of years until he retired.” The next stop

was Louisville’s WHAS in 1979. Cody would stay there for six years before moving to cross-town rival WCII. The move gave him a chance to fulfill two career goals he had set for himself. “I really wanted to do country and I wanted to do mornings. At that time, I was doing afternoons and my wife and I had been married two short years, and we had started our family. I was getting home late. That opportunity came my way when Bill Bailey left, and I thought ‘Here’s my shot.’ I talked to all of my buddies at WHAS, whose opinions I valued. I’ll never forget a legendary broadcaster, Milton Metz, saying ‘Bill, you’re too young to screw up. If it’s the wrong decision, you’ve got plenty of time to get it right and get back on track.’ I was there for about six months, and my old WVLK buddy, Jim Jordan, had gone to a Bluegrass broadcasting station in Orlando. So I made that transition to Orlando from Louisville. I went down there and did that for a couple of years.” Cody got his first taste of how quickly the radio business can change in the Sunshine State. “They ended up selling the Orlando radio station, and they changed formats overnight. They called us all in, and gave us three weeks of severance pay, and thanked me for my service.” Needless to say, it was quite a jolt of reality. “For the first time in my life, I had bought a house, and we had two babies. I was learning fast about the radio business, and I had been so fortunate to never have had anything like that to happen.” He didn’t stay out of work long. He soon made the trek to San Antonio to KKYX. It proved to be a change of scenery that brought stability to Cody’s career, and helped him to develop his talent even more. “That’s where I started to come into my own, and I had some direction as to what I wanted to do and go.” The move was


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a great one for the Cody family. “We loved South Texas, and had made such a home there and it was such a great Traditional Country base. San Antonio was rare. You loved what you were doing it and where you were doing it at, and the life you create with your family time.” But, there were three letters that kept popping into Cody’s head from time to time---WSM. “I would sit there and watch TNN, and I thought ‘What if the opportunity ever came up to go to Nashville?’ There’s WSM, then you walk across the parking lot and there’s TNN. There’s syndication, because Lorianne and Charlie were doing their syndicated show here. They called me to come, so I came here and interviewed with Kyle Cantrell in February, and I started on April 25.” His new boss had a question for him concerning his first on-air shift at the station. “Kyle asked me who I wanted on my first day and I said Charlie Daniels.” Cody said it was a natural choice, as the two had developed a strong friendship over the years. “I was as close, if not more so, to him than any other artist. So, sure enough, he was my first guest on my first day at WSM.” He shares a humorous memory of that first morning on the air in Music City. “The coffee shop down the hall at the hotel would provide us muffins and coffee for our guests when we had people in. I’ll never forget on that particular morning they had these flavored coffees—right when gourmet coffees were becoming very popular. We had Chocolate Raspberry Truffle coffee there. It was a little red package, and I can still see it. So, I made coffee, and Charlie came in. At the first break, he takes a sip of coffee and looks at me and says ‘Cody, since you moved to Nashville, you started drinking hippie coffee.’ I said, ‘Sorry, they were already out of Cowboy Camp coffee.’ So, since then I’ve always referred to

any kind of flavored coffee as ‘Hippie Coffee,’” he says with a laugh. Cody says that he would not trade anything for the seventeen years he has been associated with WSM. He admits that the legend of the station is huge, and means different things to different people---even if some of the “legend” isn’t quite what people think. “What people remember and what is reality about the history of WSM and what has been on our air over 85 years, there is a revisionist’s history that sometimes kicks in with people. I just listen and let them remember it the way that they want to remember it, and try not to argue the fact that ‘No, we were not always a Country Music radio station.’ We were far from being a full-time Country station. That didn’t happen in the history of WSM until the late 70s. But people will talk about WSM with such a reverence for it because of so many firsts in Nashville with National Life---The first radio station; the first television station; Publishing with Acuff-Rose; The first recording studio; the first FM, and the incredible firstclass minds that developed all that--the Craig family. I think we probably, in recent years, have had a little more freedom from that. Musically, I think we have come into our own. WSM was always such a cutting edge station when you look back at it historically and musically. So, when our OM, Joe Limardi arrived, his decision to bring in Americana, for instance, into a regular hour’s rotation, or Bluegrass with a regular slot every hour on the station, has really set us apart.” The station continues to set itself apart with a variety of programming that not only celebrates the past…. but embraces the future. “People remember certain periods of time in the history of WSM when it was a certain way. They liked it, and didn’t want to see it change. Sometimes, when they start saying ‘WSM has been,’ and they start telling you the history, you just go ‘Well, I’m not going to argue the point,

but that’s not the way it happened.’ From the time when everything was performed live because recordings had not come along in 1925, so much of what we did was live bands in the studio. But, as the recording industry came into its own, things started to change. But, I can remember listening to WSM in my youth, listening to the Waking Crew. They weren’t playing traditional Country music necessarily. I remember listening to Charlie Chase in the afternoons, and he was playing [the pop group] 10cc on WSM. I didn’t realize that, because living far away, when I would listen, it was primarily at night, and they were playing Country Music. So, I didn’t realize they did something else during the day. Again, when people think back on the history of WSM, and they get emotional about something, I think it’s the fact they were nighttime listeners. They would listen to Ralph Emery or to the Opry. What they remember was one day part, which could have been different from another one because we did have block programming.” Cody also told the DIRECT BUZZ that another misconception about the past came up when the station was forced to broadcast from their historic transmitter site located south of Nashville for seven months last year, due to the floods that hit their home base of the Opryland Hotel. “I’ve had artists tell me ‘I remember when I used to come down here.’ How do you look at them and say ‘No, you didn’t?’ I don’t know if they have the old National Life studio building in their minds or what. There were never any studios there. It was strictly a transmitter site. We had done remote broadcasts from out there for anniversaries, but to my knowledge, from talking to engineers and talking to (evening personality) Eddie Stubbs, who has such a deep knowledge of that time period, there was never any regular broadcasts that took place out there.” The site needed a little bit of work


for broadcasting purposes. “It was certainly not ready for 2010 technology, but we had a place to go. It really became a neat part of our history for the seven months that we were out there. There were people who dropped by who had listened for years that would poke their head in. We’d ask ‘Can we help you?’ and they’d say ‘I just wanted to come see you guys.’ So, that part was neat. But, I can tell you to a person, we were all glad to make the transition back to the Opryland Hotel in December.” Cody has seen radio evolve from cart machines to the digital age with the station’s very successful WSMOnline.com web site, that allows people to listen all over the globe. “It has opened up a whole new world. If people don’t know anything else about Country Music from around the world---they know the Grand Ole Opry and they know WSM. So, we are the trademarks, the brands---the recognition factor is incredible. I get consistent e-mails from the other side of the world. We hear from a lot of the troops over in the Middle East. We hear from all parts of Europe, France, Russia or Belgium. You name it. It’s just a click away. Maybe that’s oversimplifying it to an extent when you think about the vast reach, but other than a few seconds delay, they are hearing it , and they’re starved for it in the countries that they’re in because it’s not programmed regularly if at all. It has made a huge impact to be able to correspond with people. It’s so special. I can’t even begin to tell you.” Though he has seen many a change in radio over the years, Cody is in many ways still that wide-eyed youngster who was mesmerized by the studio in his hometown of Lebanon, Ky. “As far as me behind that mic and the passion to do it, it’s just like it’s always been. If I hadn’t stumbled onto radio, I don’t know what I would be doing, because I don’t know what would have made me any happier.”

By: Mike Hagler, Jr.

Using AirPlay Direct

W

e are going to take a different direction with Now Media this month. We have a lot of readers that are members of AirPlay Direct and have asked questions about how best to use the system. By using simple marketing techniques and a few tips and tricks it can help you to get more radio downloads and keep better track of the airplay and reception of your music by stations and fans. AirPlay Direct is a toolset that helps you to deliver your music to worldwide radio, quickly and easily. You can think of it as a replacement for sending a CD in the mail to stations. While there are over 6,000 member stations from around the world, APD does not publish the list, nor do they actually send your music to radio themselves. Instead, Radio stations members of AirPlay Direct can access your music and download it, once you make it available in the secure AirPlay Direct system. Think of it as another powerful tool in the popular DIY model that musicians are using to market and sell music today. Just like Bandcamp is a way for you to sell music to fans, but they don’t provide you with fans, do they? A few simple techniques can help you get noticed easier. When creating your profile, make sure to be honest about your music in the “genre,” “influences” and “sounds like” sections. Labeling your music as “sounds like Katy Perry” won’t attract a pop/dance station if you are a screamo band. And, you’ll miss out on anyone looking for that particular

music. Do your homework; research radio stations that you may want to target. Often times, these stations will list a contact email that you can send your AirPlay Direct DPK to. If you play live, make sure that your flyers not only include your web address and social networks, but also the logo and address for your AirPlay Direct site. This will let anyone that sees your flyer that may be in radio know exactly where they can get your music for their station. If you have a website or social network it is also a good idea to add our logo there along with a link to your page. AirPlay Direct also offers many advertising options to help you drive awareness and discovery for your music. One of the most common ways to increase your awareness is to follow up with stations that have downloaded your music. You can message them within the system and their email reply goes straight to the email you used to set up the account! Ask them how they liked the music. Did they play it on air? What was the response, would they like an interview, customized liner, or an autographed CD or photo to give away. You may even be playing in their town on your tour; if you are, see if they can mention your show on-air or if you could drop by for an in person interview or acoustic set. If you get creative, you can get a lot of notice to rise above the noise. And, if you need a professional EPS version of our logo for your print or web needs, email the staff at AirPlay Direct and ask for one. They’ll be happy to provide it for you!


THE WRITERS ROUND A Songwriter Profile by Mike Hagler, Jr.

Adam Craig Band AirplayDirect.com/AdamCraigBand

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he Adam Craig Band is a four-man band whose brand of Country music is rooted in strong lead vocals, tight harmonies and great musicianship. Formed in 2006 under the name TelluRide, their debut album, Four Square Miles, produced the nationally-charted singles “Pencil Marks” and “Stay.” Lawsuits over the group’s name prompted them to adopt a new moniker, and strengthened their resolve to take their music to an even larger audience. Refocused, they have hooked up with noted producer, Josh Leo (Alabama), and have released their latest EP, entitled, Adam Craig Band, and are presently working on finishing the rest of the album. We visited with lead singer, Craig, recently to catch up on the latest. The Direct Buzz (tDB): Talk about your latest single, “Nothin’ Wrong.” Adam Craig (AC): Sometimes folks in Nashville get tired of the hearing songs about small towns, and bonfires, because they hear so many of them - but that is where I come from. And, that was the inspiration for this song. Still to this day, the town where I grew up from doesn’t have a stop light! “Nothin’ Wrong” is about the hidden treasures of living in a place like that. tDB: You kind of went thru some rough patches for awhile with other bands coming forward to claim your band’s name. How did you

manage it? AC: We have gone thru a lot of things together, but when you are close-knit, you make it thru it. We work hard, and I feel like we earned everything that we have and we’ve only improved with the adversity we’ve have been dealt. tDB: Connecting with a producer like Josh Leo has been a great shot in the arm. Tell us about it. AC: It was good luck that we connected with Josh. A song plugger connected me with him after hearing one of our songs. After an intimate performance Josh said he wanted to work with us. We went into the studio with him last summer and cut six songs that are on the new EP. We have been filming a “New Music Friday” video piece that we broadcast each week on our website so our fans can give

us input on the songs that we are working on for the rest of the album. It’s amazing how much you can learn from your fans! tDB: In addition to your songwriting for the group, you are becoming known for writing songs for other artists, including “Church Pew Or Bar Stool” included on Jason Aldean’s current CD, My Kinda Party and “Fast Lane,” which you co-wrote with emerging country artist, Josh Thompson. Obviously, you enjoy the process? AC: To write something that doesn’t fit us - but fits another artist, is just an amazing thing! Nashville has taught me that. I learned how to co-write, and from here on out, writing Country music is where it’s at for me! For more information go to www. adamcraigband.com


Quick Tips

By: Bill Cakmis

It’s Not What You Say: Mastering the Art of Powerful Communication Intention is a key element in success. Individuals who continuously make great strides in their personal and professional lives seem to do so by setting short term and long term goals. For them, creating these intentions to follow is the best recipe for consistent, long-lasting achievements. So what are your intentions? How do create them? Where is the cookbook that outlines the recipes for your achievements? And how long will take? Just like everyone else in this instant-gratification society, you want your wins now, RIGHT NOW! There is a good-news/bad-news scenario when it comes to creating intentions. The bad news? No cookbook or road map exists to dictate where your specific intentions should lead you. It may also be aggravating to realize it is going to take a bit of mental work and time to come up with these intentions. How much time? That ball is also in your court. Time is relative in this situation. It depends on your individual abilities and resolve.

Now the good news: creating intentions is free! No one can keep you from it and anyone can do it! (How many things in life can you say that about?!) Although I can’t tell you what you should consider as personal goals; I can offer a few ideas/instructions on how to create intentions. First understand that Intention is not just a desire to do something. Intention must direct creative energy toward something you understand. To have an intention, you must have knowledge of the desired goal. And the more knowledge you have concerning that goal, the stronger your intention will be. It almost sounds as if one must work backwards to create an intention. Actually, that is exactly what it sounds like. And ultimately, it is exactly what should be done... Many times the fear of failure keeps people from setting intentions. The justification for not establishing goals is that, if strived for and not achieved, the loss would be too devastating. This

line of thinking, in itself, is a great loss to the individual’s experience. In fact, it is contrary to our nature as human beings. Without the penchant of aiming for objectives, especially difficult or seemingly impossible objectives created out of the imagination, human history would have few grand achievements. There would be no wonderful architecture, no industrial revolution, no medical breakthroughs, no way of travel that would surpass riding horseback. In effect, the Stone Age would have actually been our Golden Age. Let’s forget grand achievements for a moment. There is another great benefit to setting and striving for goals. It is called “intention spin-off.” Intention spin-off is the by-product of striving for goals. For example, if you trained for a year to run in the Olympics, you might not win a gold medal, but your intention spin-offs would probably be more powerful leg muscles, a stronger heart and longer stamina. To illustrate on a larger scale, imagine for a moment


that NASA labored all those years and, at the last moment, failed to realize its goal. The whole intention was to visit the moon and, for whatever reason, the ship just couldn’t land and had to return home. Well, it has been said the actual landing, as momentous as it was, did not compare to the scientific and medical discoveries made during the overall process of getting there. Stronger and lighter alloys, better computer technologies, better nutritional supplements, were all discovered as spin-offs of NASA’s intention to land on the moon. Without the efforts to realize that intention, many other breakthroughs would not have taken place at that time in our history. *Excerpted from the book: It’s Not What You Say: Mastering the Art of Powerful Communication. © 2001 Bill Cakmis. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission. Bill Cakmis has worked in the entertainment and broadcast news industries for over thirty years as a professional actor, writer, director, teacher and mentor. Most notably, for the past two decades Bill has been a talent coach, show doctor, and media consultant for every high-profile profession in these United States as well as for anchors and show hosts around the world in such places as Luxembourg, Indonesia, Russia, and India. For more information, visit Bill Cakmis online at www.cakmis.com


Thistle Farms is a social enterprise for women who have survived lives of violence, prostitution and addiction. By hand the women of Thistle Farms make bath and body care products that are as good for the earth as they are for the body. All proceeds benefit the women of Thistle Farms, and Magdalene, the two-year residential program. We believe that love is the most powerful force for change in the world.

To find stores or to purchase online, visit THISTLEFARMS.ORG.


FEATURED ARTISTS ARE PAID ADVERTISERS FROM THE AIRPLAY DIRECT COMMUNITY

Jude Johnstone AAA / Americana / Folk-Rock Jude Johnstone was born and raised in Ellsworth, Maine. She began writing songs shortly after discovering the piano at around eight years of age and her songwriting proved to be more than just a passing interest of a precocious child. Her music grew into a passion fueled by the music of the Beatles, Lowell George, Jackson Browne and Tom Waits. --------------------------------------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/JudeJohnstone ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Phil Casagrande Smooth Jazz / Instru. Phil Casagrande is a writer, composer and producer. From original solo piano performances, to pop music, to an amazing smooth-jazz cover of “Walk On By,” he truly shows his range. By age 13 Casagrande could play the accordion, the guitar, bass and the organ. Now at the ripe age of 53 the sky is truly the limit for this multi-talented artist. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/PhilCasagrande --------------------------------------------

Sandy Newman Americana / Country

Out of Ether Alt. Country / Alt. Rock

Sandy Newman is the long serving singer/front man and lead guitarist of the internationally acclaimed Country Americana band Marmalade. While still touring the world with Marmalade, Sandy started working on a solo album project back in January 2009. The album, Golden Years, marries brand new self-penned songs alongside a few classic personal favorites. Golden Years was released in 2010.

The name Out of Ether literally means out of nowhere. Coming from the Midwest, this trio was formed with the intention of creating music and finding ways to help others. Their soulful and emotive Alternative Country/ Alternative Rock/ Americana songs have something everyone can relate to. Currently their hit songs, “Drinking Her Beautiful” and “Island Time” are taking the Country Radio Airwaves by storm.

-------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/SandyNewman --------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/OutOfEther --------------------------------------------


MARCH 2011 FEATURED ARTISTS

Adam Craig Band Country / Country Rock

Katey Laurel A.C. / Pop-Folk

Troy Lindsey Folk / Indie / Americana

Since forming in 2006, The Adam Craig Band has represented hard work, excitement and passion. The four-man band’s brand of music is rooted in harmonies, musicianship and high-energy stage shows. The band gained critical and fan acclaim with their debut album, Four Square Miles, which is a collection of 12 songs including the nationally charted singles “Pencil Marks” and “Stay.”

Troy Lindsey is the quintessential rolling stone. As a helicopter mechanic he has seen a lot of the world, and the bent shape that it’s in.

-------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/AdamCraigBand --------------------------------------------

Katey Laurel is a heartfelt singer/ songwriter who is straddling the line between Triple A and Adult Contemporary. Laurel’s classical mastery of the French horn earned her a scholarship to the exclusive Huntington University in Indiana, but her passion for expressing herself through songwriting with acoustic guitar and piano ultimately led her home to Colorado. She has since performed multiple venues and won numerous accolades in high profile songwriting competitions. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/KateyLaurel --------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/TroyLindsey --------------------------------------------

Ringside Rock / Alt-Rock

Tyson Bowman Country / Country Rock

Picnic In The Meadow Country / Cont. Gospel

Since Ringside’s debut album was released in 2005 singer and songwriter Scott Thomas has strayed into dark corners of the world, lost his muse and feared he had lost his voice as well. As if on cue, his muse and voice returned. Earlier this year he wrote and recorded the final 2 songs for the album. Thomas played most of the instruments and produced the album, which features appearances from an impressive list of musicians and collaborators. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/Ringside --------------------------------------------

His soulful response is the driving force behind his music. Lindsey’s style in his second album reflects the highs and lows of a traveling man who thinks deeply, feels fully, grows with the punches, and tells it like it is.

Reared in Erie, Pennsylvania, Bowman’s humble approach is cutting through the crowd of hopefuls with his latest album.

Picnic in the Meadow is a country/Christian band that is headed by Bryan Jones. Jones was born in 1962 in Casper, WY.

Country music was a big part of his life. His musical influences include Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks and James Taylor. Bowman’s songs reflect on lost love, living life without regret and enjoying the journey, not just the destination.

He has written songs as long as he can remember. “Livin’ In Me” is the first professional album for him. Proceeds from the album are going to Hope’s Promise, which is a ministry that helps orphans in Kenya, Vietnam and Nepal.

-------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/TysonBowman --------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/PicnicInThe... --------------------------------------------


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By: Spanky Brown

It’s my birthday month so by the time you see this I hopefully will be a year older and hopefully wiser ... but then after this month’s article, one of these celebs may shoot a brotha, we’ll see ... Well, for this piece we’ll start with the Grammys and a couple of names I didn’t know but apparently a lot of people did or at least the “Right” people did. Arcade Fire for one, winners of Album of the Year and whom I’m sure are fine musicians but probably are just off the bubble to get into my iPod and that’s OK, they probably never heard of me either, but I seriously doubt it. Then there’s one who didn’t win one, not a singer but she works with em’ ... Maria Harper. That’s the designer who designed Cee-Lo Green’s Grammy outfit. That’s who did that?!? I thought he’d purchased NBC and decided to be the mascot. Come to find out he’s a huge Elton John fan, as am I, and it was inspired by Sir Elton’s appearance on Sesame Street. Hence, the Muppets. I’m still a huge fan of that cat, even back to the Goodie Mob days, but I asked somebody “did he get an equalizer with that suit?” #loud. But as always, he did his thang with Gwyneth Paltrow who is doing a bunch of singing nowadays. Anybody here remember when she and Huey Lewis covered Smokey Robinson’s “Cruisin?” I do, like I said, birthday next week, and I actually like Metamucil, so send me some. Lady Antebellum won the Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Country Album, the Nobel Peace Prize, Publisher’s Clearing House, Super Bowl MVP and the Power Ball among other awards that night! I thought they’d won every possible award, there’s none left!!! Congrats. I didn’t buy the album cause you can hear the song

every 3.2 minutes on radio. Bruno Mars won Best Male Pop Performance, NOT Best New Artist ... that went to Esperanza Spalding, yeah. Best Pop Vocal went to Lady Gaga who by the way showed up in an egg and later a hard plastic body armor suit with built in Butt plate and protruding nipples that made her look like a space alien on welfare, but she’s rich!!! Best Rock Album went to Muse and Best R&B Album to Usher and Best Hip Hop Album to Eminem. Did I tell y’all about my idea for Em’ if he should do an album of duets ? Eminem & Nem, clever huh? Question for you guys, why do I get nervous when I hear a Mumford & Sons song? Probably cause I’m black , then I found out they’re British .... now I’m really scared. Courtney Love settled a lawsuit with a fashion designer who claimed that Love lied about her on Twitter and MySpace. Dawn Simorangkir sued Love, alleging the singer / actress said she had a criminal background in a bunch of Twitter postings in ‘09. Simorangkir’s lawyer, Bryan J. Freedman told the AP his client settled for $430,000. DAAAAAAANNNNNNNGGGGGGG that’s a lot of Chinese food!!! Love’s lawyers had hoped to keep the details confidential, but Freedman was like “hell to the nawwwwww.” OK , really he just said “In order to show the world the comments were derogatory and completely illegal, it was imperative to my client to have the settlement be public.” Love confirmed the settlement and apologized, saying in a statement: “I am glad to have this behind us. I have always considered Dawn to be a talented designer. I am sorry for what happened. I sincerely wish her best.” Of course you do... pass the pipe .... of peace.

In “Charlie Watch” Entertainment Weekly reported that Charlie Sheen set the Guinness World Record for “Fastest Time to Reach 1 Million Followers” on Twitter. It only took him 25 hours and 17 minutes to do that, but I’m on his A** with over 1,110 (www.twitter.com/spankybrown)! Sheen said he hears Kim Kardashian gets a reported $10,000 per posting from advertisers. I think he was more like “I’m doing every other kinda drug, what’s Twitter?” Bless his heart ... did I say that last month? Probably, I’m Jus’ Sayin’… www.spankybrown.net www.twitter.com/spankybrown


T

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.

Gregg Allman

The Roys

Black Market Research

Low Country Blues

Lonesome Whistle

Self-titled

AirPlayDirect.com/GreggAllman...

AirPlayDirect.com/TheRoysLonesome...

AirPlayDirect.com/BlackMarketRes...

Gregg Allman, one of the founding members of The Allman Brother’s Band, has released his first solo album in more than 13 years. Low Country Blues is an album full of soulful grooves and Allman puts his own spin on 11 covers of vintage blues songs from legendary artists including Muddy Waters, Otis Rush, B.B. King, Bobby Bland and Sleepy John Estes. He does a fantastic job of interpreting these blues classics from the 1930’s-1950’s, but at the same time he manages to maintain the integrity of each song. Allman’s gritty but passionate voice scrapes over soulful and bluesy instrumentals with some songs hitting borderline jazz and R&B. “Blind Man,” is the first appearance on the album of trumpets and horns appear on 5 other songs, including “Just Another Rider,” which is the only original song on the album, co-written with guitarist Warren Haynes, Allman’s partner in the Allman Brothers. This lone original song is a funky almost jazzy tune with piano keys clinking and horns sounding over a churning beat and bluesy guitar solos mixed in. Stephanie Konarski

One long-standing Country Music tradition is family harmony, and brother / sister duo Lee & Elaine Roy are one of the latest examples of talent running into the genetic pool. Over the past few years, the two have enjoyed such hits as “Beautiful” and “Grandpa’s Barn,” but go in somewhat of a different musical direction with their debut for Bluegrass power house Rural Rhythm. Though the musical style here might be just a little bit different, that sibling harmony is as apparent as usual---starting on the opener “Coal Minin’ Man,” which is a tribute to one of Bluegrass music’s most-talked about subjects. Ricky Skaggs and The Whites put their stamp of approval on the project by lending a hand to the poetic “That’s What Makes It Love.” Both brother and sister get their chances to shine on the disc, with Lee’s power moment being the free-wheeling “My, Oh My, How Time Flies,” and Elaine taking command on “Everything I Ever Wanted,” a tribute to their mother. She also shines on the stirring album cut, which features some fancy fiddle licks from Andy Leftwich. Though a departure, Lonesome Whistle finds The Roys sounding better than ever! Chuck Dauphin

Black Market Research is an alternative rock band from Nashville whose sound is reminiscent of 90’s and early 2000’s bands like Better Than Ezra and Dashboard Confessional, but with the addition of a modern flare. Nick Britt is the lead singer who began his music career in New Mexico, but relocated to Nashville in order to enhance his musical sound. In Nashville, he met with the members who would complete Black Market Research. Their latest EP is subtle and understated. It is integrated with hooky choruses, acoustic guitar finger plucking and rolling drums while being accented by electric guitar and dotted with keyboard notes. Britt’s vocals are passionate, prominent and laden with lovelorn lyrics. Their single, “Insult to Injury,” is a fabulous example of their sound. The song starts out slow with light plucking on an acoustic guitar then progresses into instrumentals that roll like the ups and downs of a relationship as Britt belts out vocals straight from the heart, singing “she’s the girl of my dreams.” The tune has an uplifting beat. Just as the song appears to slow to a stop, it only builds back up into a climactic finish. Black Market Research is a band that will tug on your heartstrings. Stephanie Konarski


W.O. Smith/Nashville Community Music School Empowering Youth through Music By: Clif Doyal Every once in awhile, we are reminded at the very basic level, how music truly affects our world and how its power can transform lives. Such is the case with the W.O. Smith/ Nashville Community Music School. The positive impact that the institution has on the lives of children from low income families is immeasurable; not only from how it benefits the youngsters, but also how its influence reverberates across the community at large. The W.O. Smith/Nashville Community Music School, founded in 1984, is a nonprofit educational institution created for the purpose of making quality music instruction available to talented, interested, deserving children from low income families for the nominal fee of 50 cents a lesson. The school also seeks to encourage student participation in the cultural life of the community through concert attendance and performance. Over five hundred students, age 6 to 18, representing academic schools from across Metro Davidson County and the middle Tennessee area, participate in over 600 different courses. Students must qualify for the reduced or free lunch program in the Metro schools to take lessons. More than 200 instruments are loaned each year to students, along with instructional materials and

music, at no additional cost. The school has 18 teaching studios, computer theory laboratory, atrium lobby, library, administrative offices, and a 200 seat recital hall. Instruction is provided by an over 165 member volunteer faculty of area musicians from many elements of the Nashville music scene: studio musicians, symphony players, college professors, public school teachers, church musicians, pri-

“Music brings us pure enjoyment, it is communal. It is a shared experience.�


vate teachers and university students. These individuals each donate one to four hours a week to teach their students. “The volunteers are the most important asset that we have because they are doing something to impact the child,” states Jonah Rabinowitz, Executive Director of the school. “These people come here every week to teach these children. It transforms lives and it is so powerful.” The school offers introductory classes for pre-instrumentalist, individual and group lessons in all band and orchestra instruments, piano, guitar and voice. The school also provides computer assisted instruction

in music fundamentals and theory, classes in composition, music technology and recording. Three choirs, string ensemble, wind band, and other performing groups are available for ensemble experience. A week long resident summer music camp is also available. A major highlight for the students happened in 2009 when forty students participated in a Country Music educational music program at the White House, at the invitation of First Lady Michelle Obama, and featuring country artists Alison Krauss and Brad Paisley “We are very rigid in our standards, Rabinowitz continues. “The youth

have to perform twice a year. They have to meet their practice schedule. Structure is important. We all love music but a good song has good structure. In structure there is freedom, and that not only applies in music, but in life. Music is not easy. It is not easy to write a 2 ½ minute song that is interesting and compelling to listen to. Music is a craft, it is not just art. How our musicians relate to other students is where the craft comes in. It is ok to sit in your room and become the greatest guitar player in the world, but until people hear you, it is not the same. Music is best when it is shared, and that is why live performance is so important. Music brings us pure enjoyment, it is communal. It is a shared experience. The same goes for songwriting. Collaboration is good, one head is never better than two.” The W.O. Smith School’s leading benefactor is the Nashville music industry who is generous with time, talent, and monetary support and the school is supported by gifts and grants from foundations, arts councils, individuals, and corporations. Funding is always a major consideration for Rabinowitz and his dedicated staff. “March is our largest fundraising month and we rely on people’s generosity,” he states. However, he is quick to add: “What matters most


to us is when people come together from the music industry to work with children. It is a powerful force. These people come here every week to teach these children. Not just professionals from Music Row, but from every facet of the music business, regardless of where the volunteer comes from. The money is very important, but it is our musician volunteers and who are making a huge difference.” That passion from the volunteers has influenced and inspired many successful graduates from the school. They can be found at the Defense Department in Washington, DC; getting a doctorate in music education in Edinburgh,

Scotland; working as a pharmacist in Nashville; studying music business and voice at Middle Tennessee State University; working in a biology lab at Vanderbilt University; and serving in the U.S. military to name a few. “When you are passionate about music it transforms lives and that is what we do here. Not many things can do this like music can, it is incredibly powerful. There is a connection to the world and to the community, and you can see that in the eyes of the child. Knowing that someone is going to come and give you their time is very exciting and motivating. It transforms lives and it is so powerful.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP: In spite of its low-overhead and volunteer faculty, the W.O. Smith Music School must still raise funds to cover its annual administrative and operational expenses. It relies on fund raising events, foundation and corporate grants, and contributions from individual supporters. Your donation makes a difference! Please consider a taxdeductible contribution to the W.O. Smith Music School by sending your gift to: The W.O. Smith/Nashville Community Music School 1125 8th Avenue P.O. Box 121348 Nashville, TN 37212-1348 Or submit a credit card donation on their secure server HERE. For more information: (615) 255-8355 info@wosmith.org www.wosmith.org


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