the Direct Buzz - May 2005

Page 1

MARK WILLS Man on a Mission Plus: Music Row Radio Journalist Phyllis Stark New Feature Section: Christian Music Weekly How to Craft a Great Press Release Global Radio Charts, Featured Artists & CD Reviews May 2010

HIGHEST BILLBOARD ALBUM DEBUT IN OVER 25 YEARS! New AirPlay Direct record with over 2,500 radio downloads in 1 week. Features on NPR, CBS Sunday Morning, UK’s Uncut, Rolling Stone, Spin, No Depression, Country Weekly, and much more New album featuring “I’ve Seen It Go Away” & “Pretty When It’s New”

6 Cover Story

We catch up with Country singer Mark Wills in Las Vegas to talk about his career - from his days with Mercury Records, when he placed over a dozen hit songs on the charts, to the present as an independent artist. Wills opens up about his passion for family, music and his charitable works.

FROM THE PUBLISHER As this edition of the Direct Buzz is coming together, Nashville is being battered by record rainfall, resulting in several deaths and severe property damage. Our hearts go out to those who are suffering.

12 Behind the Desk

For our May cover feature, we interview Country singer and social activist, Mark Wills, who has successfully made the transition from major label to independent artist. With pro and con candor, Wills gives a good inside look at an artist who continues to grow in this ever-changing business.

27 The Indie Way

In our “Behind the Desk” feature we profile longtime radio and music journalist, Phyllis Stark, and get a rare look inside the world of the most-trusted scribe on Music Row.

In this edition, we turn the tables on longtime Music Row radio journalist Phyllis Stark for a rare and candid interview. From her childhood in Philadelphia, to her rise to the top of the industry, she has always maintained a great passion for her work – and the music business that she covers.

DIY tips to help you craft a great press release that will get attention – and results.

31 Now Media

With all the emphasis today on social networking in the digital realm, we also need to remember how important old fashioned personal networking with colleagues and friends can be, and how it can boost your connections - and your business.

21 Christian Music Weekly

Find out who and what is happening in the Christian music world on the radio charts, and in industry and artist news. Find out what is happening in the Christian music world - who is on the charts and in the news.

4 The Writer’s Round 16 Global Radio Charts 22 Worthy Works ---------------------------------------------------------------PUBLISHER & FOUNDER: Robert Weingartz DIRECTOR OF CONTENT: Clif Doyal DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL PROJECTS: Scott Welch CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Clif Doyal, Mike Hagler, Jr, and Raleigh Squires, Paul Clifford, Susan Fischer ART DIRECTION: Aleven Creatives (


We are pleased to debut a new column in this edition called “The Writer’s Round.” This month we highlight Americana singer and songwriter, Corb Lund. Congratulations to AirPlay Direct artist, Denise Vasquez, for being selected for coverage in our “Worthy Works” feature! Be sure and reach out to congratulate her on this wonderful accomplishment. And, check out our “Featured Artist” section – we have even more great talent to expose from some of our valued members. The positive response to our new partnership with Christian Music Weekly has been overwhelming. Thank you. We plan to incorporate more of these types of partnerships in a variety of music genres in the months ahead. We hope you enjoy the Direct Buzz as much as we enjoy putting it together. It is an exciting time for us as we expand our reach and set our course for the future of this global artist community.

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


A Songwriter Profile by Mike Hagler, Jr.

Corb LUND “Devil’s Best Dress”

Written By Corb Lund © Corb Lund Music Inc., SOCAN


f you have not heard of Corb Lund, you will. Having been a very popular artist in Canada for a good while now, he has been touring hard in the United States and even Australia in recent years. I have had the priveledge of being able to work first hand with Corb’s Manager, Ron Kitchener, and really have the opportunity to get into his unique style of music. “Devil’s Best Dress” is another song in Corb’s repertoire that is Western-themed. This song, however, has Spanish guitar influence to it that makes me think of the South Texas “Wild West.” You write a lot of songs that have themes of cowboys and the “Wild West.” What inspires you the most about this time period or lifestyle? “It’s my background. Both sides of my family have been ranching and cowboying in western Canada and in the American west since the 1840’s; First in Utah, til the turn of the century, then in southwestern Alberta after that. I feel really grounded in the history of the West and feel close to it. It’s more than just mythology for me because it’s my family his-

tory. My ancestors were right there for the golden age of the cowboy, up to their necks in it. So I feel very comfortable writing about it. In the end I might not be doing myself any favors career-wise since it’s not an especially hot topic for most people, but you write what you know and trust you’ll find an audience.” You are currently on tour in the US. Do you get a lot of writing done while on tour? Or is that when you come up with your ideas to write about later? “I try to. It’s difficult after you drive all day, try to find decent food, do your laundry, soundcheck. But yeah I do some work on the road. Sometimes I come up with a song, but more often it’s as you say. I come up with ideas and fragments when I’m travelling, then I have to check out for a while to lash them all together and make them come to life as songs. I’m starting to feel like I’m losing touch with my writing. I’m no longer sure if any of it is resonating with anyone else anymore, but that’s part of the creative process, they tell me.”

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MARK WILLS Man on a Mission By: Clif Doyal


ark Wills represents a growing trend in the music industry – artists who first established themselves on major labels, but now are redefining themselves - and their careers - as independent artists. Wills was signed to Mercury Records in 1996, and released five studio albums which spawned sixteen charted singles and a “Greatest Hits” package. With heart-tugging ballads including “Wish You Were Here,” “Don’t Laugh At Me,” “I Do (Cherish You),” and “Back At One” (a cover of Brian McKnight’s pop hit), Wills was a staple at Country radio, placing hit after hit on the Billboard chart. But, the industry was starting to change, and bottom lines at record labels began taking precedence over chart success, so Wills left the label in 2003. He followed that with a stint on Clint Black’s, Equity Music Group, where he released three singles before moving to Tenacity Records, where he has released two albums, including his latest, Famil-

iar Stranger. During his career, Wills has stayed true to his roots, which were ingrained in him while growing up in a small rural community in northern Georgia. Family and music have always motivated him, while his giving spirit and high-visibility platform have allowed him to embrace a number of social causes, including his support for the U.S. military and charitable efforts on behalf of the Children’s Miracle Network. After selling millions of albums, one might expect to find Wills resting on his laurels, regaling tales about his “glory days.” That, however, is far from the case. Still full of excitement and self-confidence, Wills is a man on a mission. Not only does he

still have the fire to be a contender, he wants to be a “comeback kid.” Just prior to a recent Las Vegas engagement with David Nail and Billy Currington, we had the chance to sit down with Wills to catch up on his career and see what motivates him and keeps him excited about “being in the game.” the Direct Buzz (tDB): How are things going for you these days? Mark Wills (MW): It is really going great! Las Vegas has always been good to us. I am a little tired this morning, but I am slowly coming back to life. I guess I stayed up too late partying! I’m not talking about the kind of late-night partying that you might associate with Vegas. I am not a drinker, so I don’t have a

“I grew up in the country, where people love to ride four-wheelers and hang out in the woods for fun.”

hangover. I’m just a little tired from staying up and having a good time hanging out with friends. tDB: Tell us about your latest single and video, “Crazy White Boy.” MW: This song is a real departure for me. Throughout my career, I have had a lot of ballads, and I really wanted to break away from that a bit. “Crazy White Boy” is one of those

songs that shows a side of my personality that a lot of people don’t know about. As an artist, you can become defined by your radio singles. So, I felt it was time to showcase more of who I am. I am the ‘ballad guy’ – but I am also the ‘Crazy White Boy guy!’ I grew up in the country, where people love to ride four-wheelers and hang out in the woods for fun. I still live within a few miles from there and I wanted people to know about that side of me. tDB: You have a new album, Familiar Stranger. What was on your mind when you set out to make it? MW: I just stepped back and asked myself, ‘What have I not done yet in my career?’ That is where “Entertaining Angels” came from. I started out performing in the honky-tonks and that song reflects back to that time when I was 19, 20, 21 yearsold playing at the Buckboard. My goal was for this album to sound like a bunch of great musicians playing live. To be completely honest, I don’t think a lot of country artists capture that. I think we succeeded. I worked on this record for two years and I am

“I want to be the ‘major label guy’ that went away for a little while - and then came back and really made it happen.”

really proud of it. I wanted it to sound like everything from Harry Connick, Jr. to Aerosmith, and I think there’s something for all the fans - from the rockin’ stuff to the ballads. When they buy this album, I want them to know more about who I am, what I’m about, and where I come from. tDB: On that note, tell us a little about where you grew up. MW: My entire family – including my grandparents - are all from Blue Ridge, Georgia. That is where my home is. I have had apartments in Nashville, but my life is centered and based around my home. I am a daddy - I have two little girls. You can sell your soul to the devil to make it in this business, but for me, I have always tried to be true to myself. tDB: What do you look for in songs that you record? MW: I try to choose songs that I can relate to - like the song, “Back On Earth.” It told the story of me being gone chasing my dream, and how it affected my little girl, Mally. She wanted me to be home with her as much as I wanted to be out on the road. When my youngest daughter, Macey, came along, I knew that I had to strike a better balance. At Mercury, I had some great success with ballads, so for them, it just became easier to make me the ‘ballad guy.’ That theory for success is good, but the downside is that you are not painting a full picture of who that person is. You become pigeonholed as an artist. The business side says: ‘Well, it worked the last time - maybe it will again.’ tDB: Tell us about the differences between being on a major label versus an independent. MW: At the majors, you have a LOT more money to work with. At the indie level, you have to really spend money very wisely with staff, promotions, etc. The majors look at the bottom line, but I think that philosophy is sometimes off. I

DON’T SAY The follow-up to her hit single, “Out There Somewhere”

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want to be me, not some idea of me from a guy sitting in an office somewhere who doesn’t even know who I am, making decisions but not knowing me, or my fans. When you get out from under the majors you have

the freedom to do more of your own thing. Plus, I know more of who I am now. I signed my first deal at 21. Hell, I didn’t even know who I was at 21. You need a little time to learn who you are. I am not jaded toward the whole major label system. Mercury spent a decade with me - but I did not get to build a big enough platform there. Being ‘the ballad guy,’ I only got to build a very small structure. I don’t want to tear down what I have built - I am just trying to build it bigger. I want to show a broader spectrum of me. I just want to be back in the game and be a viable artist. tDB: You are a national spokesperson for the Children’s Miracle Network. Please tell us about that. MW: I have two healthy little girls, and it breaks my heart to see other families with kids who have such huge medical needs. If you can give back, then you know you are doing some-

thing worthwhile to help. It makes you feel very grateful to have healthy kids. We have known several families who have lost children over the years. At that point, they are not just a statistic. You know them. That makes it personal. tDB: You have made about nine trips overseas to perform and show your support for our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Japan, Korea, and Hawaii. What motivates you to do this? MW: It’s very important to me. I just want them to know that they are not forgotten. I care about them. But there are troops here in America as well. I want people to know about them too. I just hosted a show called Three Gun Nation on the Versus Network. We shot it with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) at Fort Benning, Georgia. It was very cool to be able to do that right in my own back yard. tDB: How has the digital delivery of your music to radio helped you? MW: AirPlay Direct has made it a whole lot easier for radio to get my music. They can download it and have it immediately. It is also a great way for them to find new music. I can remember going into program director’s offices at radio visits and there would be like 120 singles stacked on their desk. You wonder, ‘How long will it take before they get to listen to my music?’ You do the math. Digital is a great way to send your music directly to the station. I am old-school. Back in the day, we mailed physical product to radio. It is much more cost effective now. When you cut your out-going expense, it allows the artists to make more money. tDB: What does the future hold for Mark Wills? MW: I want to kick everybody’s ass. I want to be the ‘major label guy’ that went away for a little while - and then came back and really made it happen. It’s not ego talking. I want to be the ‘comeback story’ of the century.

Phyllis Stark Executive Editor of Country Music By: Clif Doyal


eteran entertainment journalist Phyllis Stark is one of the most recognizable “brands” in Nashville. In addition to “Stark Country,” her radio-focused newsletter which is published twice-weekly, she has written for some of the most recognizable publications in the business, including Country Weekly, ABC Radio Networks, Music Row, Southwest Airlines’ Spirit magazine, CMA’s Close Up, Country Aircheck, Best In Texas, and many others. She is also a former Nashville Bureau Chief of Billboard magazine. We had the chance to catch up with Ms. Stark in a rare interview recently to talk with her about her life and amazing career. Upon meeting Stark, what strikes you right off the bat is her winning smile and positive “can do” attitude. You come away with the understanding that she loves her job. Her enthusiasm about writing, music, and the music business in general, is contagious. “I have always loved music!” Stark exclaims. “I feel like I have a dream job!” Stark’s pathway to becoming one of Music Row’s most sought-after journalists has been a sure and steady rise to the top. However, it wasn’t her first dream. “Very early on, I wanted to be a lawyer,” she recalls. “But eventually, I saw a much more exciting career in music.” Raised in Philadelphia, Stark had what she refers to as “an idyllic upbringing.” “My friends called us ‘the Fisher Price Family.’ There was Mom and Dad, two kids and a dog. And, a white fence – although it was

not a picket fence,” Stark says with a chuckle. At age 14, she landed her first job renting out beach chairs near her parents summer home in Ocean City, New Jersey. Later, she worked at an ice cream parlor on the boardwalk. “I had the distinction of being the first girl that was allowed to make the ice cream!” she says with a laugh. That would not be the last time that Stark would fill a job normally reserved for men. She continued to work restaurant jobs all the way through college, learning the importance of a strong work ethic which has served her well throughout her entire career. Stark attended Saint Joseph’s University in her hometown, majoring in Political Science. “I got interested in journalism when I was a freshman. Our school paper needed a copy editor and I took the job as a favor to a friend. I

loved it! It became my favorite thing!” Stark went on to become the entertainment editor for the paper in her junior and senior years. “I had a ball!” she explains. “I got tickets to concerts and other cool things. One day it occurred to me: People actually get paid to do this! It soon became obvious to me that this is what I would do for a living. I would even go hang out at the newspaper office just to straighten up. I just loved the whole vibe of it!” Stark and a friend also hosted a Friday night radio show at the school. “It was a blast! We had a captive audience with our college crowd and we played music that we loved. It was a really neat experience!” “Growing up in Philly, I was not exposed to a lot of Country music,” says Stark. “It’s a little embarrassing to admit now, but the Osmonds and the

Cassidys were early favorites of mine. Later on, I discovered ‘cooler’ music by Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne. When my brother went off to college and listened to one of the first modern-rock stations, he turned me on to Depeche Mode, The Alarm and some others that made me realize there is a whole world of music out there! Right after college I heard Randy Travis for the first time on the GRAMMY’s and I was just enthralled. I was just blown away by him. I started absorbing Country music with a passion and it very quickly became my #1 format. Later on, when I started writing about it, I worked my way backward to learn the whole history of the genre. I figured if I was going to cover it, I needed to learn it inside and out.” A year out of college, Stark started working for a radio research company called Bolton Research where she served as managing editor for their monthly newsletter, Radio Trends. “One day, I saw an opening for a radio reporter at Billboard, and I applied.” Shortly, Stark was on her way to New York to interview. At the meeting, they asked her what kind of music she liked and she timidly replied, “Country.” “That was a good answer. They loved Country and they hired me!” Stark moved to the Big Apple and stayed for six years, climbing the ladder to eventually become senior radio editor. She was also responsible for overseeing the Billboard Radio Seminar held annually in different cities across the country. “Around 1993, Billboard launched Airplay Monitor in several different formats. The editor kept pursuing me to edit one of these publications and one day he offered me the position of Country editor, and although my only impression of Nashville was from attending Country Radio Seminars at the Opryland Hotel, I jumped at the chance. Once I relocated to Nashville and got settled in, I just loved it! After Chet Flippo left Billboard, they asked me if I wanted the job as Nashville

Bureau Chief and I said, ‘Yes!’ ” She was only the second woman to hold the post. While in the position, Stark wrote for the daily Billboard Bulletin, two weekly print publications, Billboard and Billboard Radio Monitor and three websites,,, and “It was a lot of work, but that was just how the industry was shifting. Everyone was trying to do more for less. But, I wouldn’t trade that part of my life for anything. My entire 17 years at Billboard was a highlight of my career!” Stark exclaims proudly. After leaving Billboard in 2006, she began a flurry of freelance jobs for several publications. “I love freelancing. It gives me a lot of freedom to do many different things.” In 2007, Stark took what she refers to as “my two-year career detour” to become the VP of A&R for Robbins Nashville, handling the day-to-day running of the New York-based company’s Nashville operations. “This came completely out of the blue,” Stark recalls. “I had known the owner, Cory Robbins, for quite awhile. He called me one night, telling me about his plans to expand his successful record label into Nashville. I was giving him all of this advice and he finally interrupted and said, ‘No, you don’t understand. I want to HIRE YOU!’ It turned out to be a great experience! I loved working with the artists and trying to help make their dreams come true. I learned so much that helps me with what I do today.” Today, Stark is Executive Editor of Country Music at the industry website, and author of the company’s “Stark Country” newsletter. With Google reporting nearly 600,000 visits a month, Radio-Info. com is the most visited radio news site in the country. “I knew when we started, the newsletter needed to be different. We did not want it to be just news - that was

already available in five other places. I wanted something fresh, with features, trend pieces and interviews that bring a different perspective. I get more feedback from my stories here than I have ever had in my entire career – including the employment layoff issue in radio that I covered recently. It was real special to me because I have been there [being laid off], and a lot of people really related to it. It is very gratifying to have been around so long that the people I interviewed really trusted me and they were very candid with me.” As for the state of radio today, Stark says, “Radio has its detractors and its problems, but I am still optimistic that it will continue to do fine. I am not a huge fan of ‘voice tracking.’ I know it is an economical move but something of that personal aspect is missing when we lose those ‘live and local jocks.’ ” “Nashville has changed so much since I came. There used to be 23 or 24 labels, but it dried up fairly quickly after I moved to town in 1995. I tried not to take too much responsibility about that happening,” she says with a grin. “Times are tough now. It breaks my heart when these labels fold, but every time a new label launches, it is very exciting!” When asked how much she feels that the digital delivery of music to radio has impacted the business, she states, “I remember doing a cover story for Billboard around 2005 when digital delivery was just starting to make some major in-roads. It was a real issue for the industry! Now, digital delivery has become the norm and people appreciate the ease of it - and all of the benefits. Radio has come full-circle on the whole digital delivery subject - from kicking and screaming about it, to fully embracing it. It’s a good thing.” Clif Doyal is a Nashville-based artist manager, publicist, and independent record label manager.





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.





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.

Christian Music Weekly

May 2010

No. 1


All Of Creation [INO]


Born Again


Awake And Alive [INO]


All Of Creation [INO]

Supplement for Direct Buzz

UMCG Partners With Siegel For New Label Launch 18

Coming June 2 + Lots of Surprises + New Features + New Layout + More Information



Universal Music Christian Group (UMCG) has partnered up with former Sony BMG/ Zomba executive and Dale Earnhardt Inc. President Max Siegel to start up new label Imago Dei Music Group. The new label will be a division of Max Siegel Inc. Imago Dei is already aggressively looking for new artist signees with the start-ups first two releases expected out in June and July. The labels first signees include Darwin Hobbs and winner Y'anna Crawley.

Year awards respectively for the very first time. First time Group of the Year Award winner NeedToBreathe also carried away multiple Dove trophies as several other artists took home awards that they had never won previously.

“We're thrilled to be in business with an executive of Max's caliber,” states UMCG Distribution President Jim Urie. “He is a true renaissance man whose track record of accomplishments speaks for itself. We are delighted to welcome him to the Universal family.”

SONG OF THE YEAR - Tenth Avenue North ”By Your Side”

New Artists Grab Dove Awards Spotlight The 41st Annual GMA Dove Awards that took place this past week in Nashville heralded a new crop of artists that have experienced success across multiple platforms and radio formats over the past 12 months. While previous winner Casting Crowns took home the Artist of the Year Award, Brandon Heath and Francesca Battistelli now hold the Male and Female Artist of the




, , producer/songwriter , and all took home awards from the annual BMI Christian Music Awards in Nashville, all sharing the title of Songwriter of the Year for the most performed songs of 2009 at radio … also launches his first clothing line, a series of statement t-shirts geared toward mothers. You can locate the line on the web at … receives his fourth Gold certification from the RIAA for his project . During a special ceremony he was also presented with a


The list of many of this year's winners is listed below and continues inside of . Congrats to all of the winners! ARTIST OF THE YEAR - Casting Crowns NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR - Sidewalk Prophets


special plaque from BEC GM Tyson Paoletti honoring his three million albums sold during his career … The inaugural year of the Cool Tour featuring , , , and several other acts will kick off in Orlando on July 12 for a three week run … just released their video for the song “Forgiven” that can be viewed here … 's newest release will also be made available on vinyl. The plastic frisbee will be for sale at all band tour stops this Spring.


CMW Adds This Week

BLUEGRASS ALBUM - The Isaacs [continued]

COUNTRY ALBUM - Diamond Rio Lay It All Down [Mission House]

Open Hands [Come & Live]

You Are For Me [Integrity]

Broken People [BEC/Tooth & Nail]

People Need The Lord [LifeStage]

Believe [Tooth & Nail]


The Only One [Curb]

Run To You [Come & Live]

PRAISE & WORSHIP ALBUM - David Crowder* Band

Great Are You Lord [INO]

Swan Song [Come & Live]

TRADITIONAL GOSPEL ALBUM - Mike Farris & The Roseland Rhythm Revue

You can find the full Dove Award winners list here.

Come As You Are [Myrrh/Word] Lay It All Down [Mission House] Awakening [Come & Live]

You Are For Me [Integrity]

Broken People [BEC/Tooth & Nail]

People Need The Lord [LifeStage]

Come As You Are [Myrrh/Word]

Great Are You Lord [INO]

Here Waiting [ForeFront/EMI]

Broken People [BEC/Tooth & Nail]

Sing [Come & Live]

Die If I Have To [Invada]

FUNL Music Opens Its Doors Industry vets Pam Browne and Tamara Alan have launched a fullservice marketing, distribution, and artist development company called FUNL Music. The company will focus on service to independent artists with resources to compete in the new music economy. FUNL also has signed on with international distribution partner The Orchard, allowing them to release music globally. Also joining the company are attorney Nancy Eckert and marketing guru Ronn Tabb who was previously VP/ Marketing at Warner Bros./Word. Their first project will be out to retail on June 8 from multi-platinum country artist Ty Herndon.

Industry Shorts

Fear [Independent] None this week [from page 1]


Smokie Norful “Justified” CONTEMPORARY GOSPEL RECORDED SONG - Israel Houghton “The Power of One”

SOUTHERN GOSPEL RECORDED SONG - Jeff & Sheri Easter “Born To Climb”


BLUEGRASS RECORDED SONG - Little Roy Lewis & Lizzy Long “When We Fly”


COUNTRY RECORDED SONG - Jason Crabb “Somebody Like Me”


URBAN RECORDED SONG (tie) - BeBe & CeCe Winans “Close To You” Israel Houghton “Just Wanna Say” TRADITIONAL GOSPEL RECORDED SONG -


INSPIRATIONAL ALBUM - Phillips, Craig & Dean

KSBJ/Houston promotes Tammy Johnson from Special Events Dir. to Exec. Dir./Special Events … Huffines Media takes over WMET-AM/ Gaithersburg, MD from CTM Holdings and will flip it to Catholic Talk on May 5 via the Guadalupe Radio Network … Edgewater Broadcasting sells the construction permits for two FM translators in Honolulu and Waiipahu, HI to Kona Coast Radio. The pair of towers will broadcast EMF's Air 1 Network … Horizon Christian Fellowship buys to construction permit for a brand new FM signal in Lunenburg, MA from Living Proof.

By: S.M. Sanders

Brought to you by:

Denise Vasquez Rarely do we find a true Renaissance man in our world. A person who finds the time and has the talent to excel in a myriad of areas. However, there is always exceptions and Denise Vasquez is just that - a modern day Renaissance woman. She is a singer, songwriter, guitarist, photographer, writer, illustrator and actress. She loves art – she loves music – she loves to create and she conceives her work from her soul. In speaking with Denise, only one other aspect of her life trumped her desire to create – she has an intense desire to give back. Her list of causes that she

banners is lengthy – the American Red Cross, I’m 2 Young For This, Cancerpalooza, Peace Thru Music, and Make A Wish Foundation in con-

junction with the 501st Legion. In 1999, Denise discovered a way of coupling her two passions – she started Wo+Men 4 A Cause. Wo+Men 4 A Cause is a movement to assist women in the art community and provide them support and awareness. The first Wo+Men 4 A Cause event was held in 1999 in the U.S. Virgin Islands and featured ten artists. Denise grew this movement and in 2006, Wo+Men 4 A Cause held an event in Los Angeles. The half day long celebration of women and arts featured ten female comedians and twenty-six women led

bands/musical acts. Not only did the event bring much needed awareness for the female artists but also Denise used the event as a vehicle to host a blood drive for the American Red Cross. Through Wo+Men 4 A Cause, Denise has found a way to create and give. She applies her creativity to the benefit of others and helps so many. Denise is truly dedicated to her Wo+Men 4 A Cause and hopes to make it a not-for-profit entity someday. Her dream is to always provide women support, awareness and a plethora of opportunities in the art community. In addition to

the advancement of women in arts, she hopes to develop events that can also give back to the community in some way. As she says about herself, “an artist who creates because it is part of her being.” And, I believe she gives back because it is part of her soul. Through these Worthy Works profiles, we at Worthy Connections strive 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.

BE WORTHY We encourage you to get involved -- do whatever you can. Be willing to be worthy and make a difference. Here are some opportunities to consider: • Learn more about Wo+Men 4 A Cause • Promote and support your local musicians and artists • Host a Wo+Men 4 A Cause event in your area. (For more information on this, please email Denise at


Wendy Colonna Winner of the AirPlay Direct Free Radio Marketing Campaign Award-winning songwriter and performer, Wendy Colonna’s music is a savory gumbo of southern soul and poetic lyricism borne of her rich Gulf Coast heritage. Colonna was voted “Best Singer Songwriter” in Austin (Austin American Statesman), and received Grand Prize in the Famecast International Talent Competition. Acclaimed producer, Papa Mali joined Colonna to produce her latest, We Are One. Together they drew inspiration from the landscape and musical heritage of the American South, producing songs of love, loss and transcendence stewed in swampy, soulful textures and rhythms. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Listen here: -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bap Kennedy


Elizabeth Cook

Winner of the AirPlay Direct Americana Radio Promotion contest sponsored by Songlines Music Ltd. Bap Kennedy’s initial flush of fame began in 1990 with the release of Energy Orchard. Energy Orchard was a legendary live band, all from Belfast and highly regarded on the tough London gig scene. They were discovered by Steve Earle playing at the Marquee club in London and on his recommendation were signed to MCA Records. Baps fourth solo album, Howl On, has received 4-star reviews from Mojo, Maverick, Hot Press, and other publications. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

Winner of the Alternate Root magazine contest. Brooklyn might seem an odd place of origin for a Country band. But to Blake Christiana, front man and songwriter for Americana/Alt-Country band Yarn, it’s the place to meet other skilled musicians, but offers a certain anonymity perfect for a songwriter who crafts best in loneliness. On the band’s upcoming release, Come On In, the loneliness is almost palpable. With themes like lovers and towns left behind, Come On In is a record of longing, of loss and of picking up and moving on. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

The daughter of a prison convict welder and an aspiring country singer, Elizabeth Cook has a story to tell and does so brilliantly in her new album, Welder. Cook says: “For my fifth all grown up studio album, I’m enjoying the journey more and I see how welding continues to shape my life. It was a cool breeze and a real high to work with Don Was. Like Rodney Crowell before him, he helps me continue to break out of jail.” -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------


David Allan Coe

Corey Smith

Shawna Russell

Heavy Metal guitar legend “Dimebag” Darrell Abbot meets Heavy Country Outlaw David Allan Coe, and the collaboration is awesome. Dime met Coe when he went to see the country outlaw at Billy Bob’s Texas. Dime loved the show and afterward he gave Coe some Pantera CDs. The two hit it off immediately. Later that night, Coe popped in the Pantera CD and it floored him. The next day, he called Dime, and the two decided to write some songs together and Rebel Meets Rebel was born! -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

Keeping Up with the Joneses is the sixth release on Corey Smith’s own Undertone Records label and has a more radio-ready sound than his earlier discs, most of which center on his foundation as a solo acoustic performer. “Some fans might find [the bigger production] challenging at first,” says Smith. “But I wanted to explore new possibilities on this album, to build out my vision of the songs and give them a larger life. I am very happy with the results.” -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

Oklahoma Country-Rock singersongwriter Shawna Russell burst on the music scene with her debut CD, Goddess, in 2008. The critically-acclaimed project produced three single, and won praise for her from Country Weekly, CMA Close Up, Maverick and Music Row, and others. This cemented her status as a contender, and her songs landed on the Billboard, Music Row and Texas Music Charts. She recently went back in the studio to begin work on her followup and has given listeners a glimpse with the powerful song, “Rumor.” -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

Jeff Black

David Olney

Kacey Jones

“I have no doubt that Jeff Black is a music genius,” says Steven Stone, of Vintage Guitar Magazine. Built on simple truths, Black’s songs are ambitious epics performed with brawny passion. They ring out with unadorned truth. He knows the world is painted in more subtle shades than black and white, so he writes songs with a painter’s eye for nuance and detail. His songs delve into complex emotional territory with a simplicity that often belies the craft that goes into their making.

Legendary FolkBlues performer and songwriter David Olney and his live performances are converting new audiences while continuing to give the fans what they want. MTV’s witnessed a show and testified, “Olney is part Baptist preacher, part caustic comedian, and part existential bluesman. Olney shouted, moaned and howled his sharply observed hard-luck tales and quirky character studies.” Continuing to give the fans what they want, he released Live At Norm’s River Road House, Vol. 1 on Deadbeet Records. It is his quintessential live album. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

Audiences have been laughing with Kacey Jones for decades…and laughing right along with them are Peope, USA Today, Country Weekly, GAC and CMT television, Garrison Keillor and “A Prairie Home Companion,” “The Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour,” and the nationally syndicated Bob and Tom Show. Her latest album, Donald Trump’s Hair, on IGO Records is the follow-up to her previous comedy album, Every Man I Love is Either Married, Gay or Dead…LIVE! Jones goes for the laughs on Donald Trump’s Hair, and scores. -------------------------------------------Listen here: --------------------------------------------

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Quick Tips Many 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.

HOW TO CRAFT DIY PRESS RELEASES THAT WILL GET ATTENTION How can you cut through all of the clutter and get your news story the attention that it deserves? First of all, you have to have a story to tell. The competition for available “ink” on any given day is fierce. So, before you send your information out to vie for attention, make sure that it warrants it. CD releases, new singles, tour announcements, your latest charitable works, are all good candidates for coverage. How great you are, how many “friends” you have today on ‘,’ not so much. Once you have your story, distill it to its basic elements. What is the essence of your story? Find it. Once you have done that, then you are ready to go. “Tell us about your novel in one sentence,” the instructor called out to me at a creative writing seminar that I once attended. Petrified, I thought to myself, “You must be kidding. How can I possibly tell the world about my 85,000 word masterpiece in just one sentence?” But before the week was

over, I had learned to do just that. I learned how to sift through and find the pure distillate of my book. It was a Eureka Moment! And you can apply that same technique to your press release. Since you only have room for about eight words in the subject line of your email – those eight words must tell your story, be interesting… AND grab attention!

Tips to Create a Great Press Release 1. For Immediate Release: Place these words at the top of your release. That lets your reader know that your story has immediate significance. No old news here. This is “hot off the press.” 2. Subject line: This is your press release in one sentence 3. Summary line: If you need this extra line to tell your story, use it as a short synopsis to tell the highlights of your story.

4. City, State and Date Line: NASHVILLE, TN (May 1, 2010) – This tells your reader (hopefully, some hot-shot that you really need to impress) where the press release is coming from, and when it was sent. Old news is old news. If you want good coverage, get it out soon. Don’t let it get stale. Nobody wants old news. 5. Body of press release: This is where you lay your press release out to the reader in one concise paragraph that tells the whole story. If that is all they read, they still get the story. Don’t ramble on. Keep it short and sweet. 6. Additional paragraph(s): Tell your story in more detail with each successive section, beginning with the most important information, continuing to the least important. Make each paragraph short and punchy. 7. Add URL links: Add links to your videos, websites, and other online resources to give your reader as much information as you can, to help them to

tee a “delete.” Your finished release should look like this:

For Immediate Release:

“You Know Who” Mounts World Tour Artist Plans to Accommodate Fan Club Entourage with Fleet of Two Bicycles!

cover your story. Make sure your website has downloadable up-to-date bio or fact sheet information, and hi-resolution promotional photos. Give the editor the tools and they will use them! 8. ABOUT section: This addition to the press release has grown in popularity in recent years. Think of it like a mini-bio section to tell the editor a little about you and your best accomplishments. This needs to be a short paragraph. 9. Contact information: This final piece of your release is critical. It should contain your name, email, and phone number. That way, the editor can get ahold of you should he or she need anything else from you (like an interview?!).

NASHVILLE, TN (May 1, 2010) – World famous artist, You Know Who will mount their first world tour, blah, blah, blah, on blah, blah, blah…. (You Know Who’s latest glamour shot here) You Know Who has very dedicated fans…2 of them! Blah, blah, blah… To watch You Know Who’s latest video, go to: About You Know Who: Blah, blah, blah (you get the idea) For more information about You Know Who, go to: ###

10. Embedded photo and/or graphics: If you are sending a photo, embed it in the body of your release, DO NOT ATTACH IT. Unless the receiver knows you, an attachment may guaran-

Contact: You Know Who PR Cell: 555.555.5555


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.

Merle Haggard

Lena Horne

Jeff Healey

I Am What I Am

Multiple Tracks

Last Call

He has been a cornerstone of the Country music scene for over 40 years, and on his Vanguard Records’ debut, I Am What I Am, Merle Haggard reminds us once again why his music still matters. Never one to pander to the weak-kneed or the politically correct, the album title says it all, and we are better off because of it. The 12 songs on I Am What I Am find the legendary singer/songwriter at the top of his craft. Recorded in his northern California studio with his longtime band, “The Strangers,” the songs are as relevant as anything he has written. The blunt, pull-no-punches opener, “I’ve Seen It Go Away,” bounces along with a happy groove and spicy Dobro interplay which belies his stark, pessimistic take on the cultural decay of America – taking on everything from politics to pop music. And then there is the reflective and sentimental “Oil Tanker Train,” a nod to his childhood in Oildale, a hardscrabble suburb of Bakersfield. Haggard calls it “My favorite song on the album--that’s a true deal.” That’s the fact of the matter with I Am What I Am; you get the “true deal” of Haggard – honest, unfiltered and real. Paul Clifford

Captivating and sultry, Lena Horne weaves a web of seduction in the slow-as-molasses “I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good,” and then ups the ante and sweet-talking fantasy in the trumpet and vibraphone-infused classic “Honeysuckle Rose,” before vamping up the heat with the samba groove of “Old Devil Moon.” By the time she demands for her suitor to “Take Me,” you are in all the way. Timeless and tender, urgent and insistent, Lena Horne is the quintessential triple-threat bombshell: singer, dancer, and actress. From the infamous Cotton Club, to television, to Hollywood and beyond, Ms. Horne placed her indelible stamp across the American pop culture landscape, and that essence is captured to perfection on this superb collection. From vocal jazz, to traditional Pop, to Broadway, there is something in Horne’s bag of magic for everyone. “Lady Is A Tramp” receives her special treatment here, while “Papa Don’t Preach to Me” and “Meditating” demonstrates Horne’s ability to not just sing a song, but to truly inhabit it, making you want to come with her wherever she may lead. “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” she coos apologetically, but at that point she could sell you swampland in Florida. Paul Clifford

The late Jeff Healey first rose to fame with the blues rock anthem, “Angel Eyes” and plied his trade heavily in that genre. However, there is a softer side to Healey that many fans don’t know: The beloved musician’s true passion in life was the classic jazz, swing and pop sounds of the ‘20s thru the ‘40s. Last Call is the final jazz studio album he recorded and it showcases a deeper look into the genius that Healey was. Released with the participation of his widow, Cristie, Last Call is a 14-track collection on which Healey plays multi-tracked guitar parts, trumpet and sings. His fleet-fingered guitar playing bolsters the campy “Holding My Honey’s Hand,” then he steps out of the spotlight taking a supporting role to violinist, Drew Jurecka, on the adrenalin-fueled instrumental, “The Wildcat.” The wide-ranging material here includes such standards as “Deep Purple,” “Pennies from Heaven” and “Autumn in New York,” to more obscure songs from the past, including “You Can’t Pull the Wool Over My Eyes.” If you are like me and had no idea about this side of Healey’s talent, then by all means check it out and fall in love with him all over again. Susan Fischer

By: Mike Hagler, Jr.

Better Social Networking, the Old-Fashioned Way


never claim to know everything. It is merely impossible for one to absolutely know everything in their field. In my opinion, being wise enough to know that you don’t know everything can really make you a good leader, as long as you surround yourself with other bright individuals. But Mike, what does this have to do with social networking,” you ask? I’ve been frustrated with Facebook lately. Though, I really should be frustrated with Twitter. Facebook for a while had no way of letting you update a “Page” wall with a Twitter feed. Sure, I could link my account, but not the page of an artist I manage on Facebook. Twitter wrote a facebook app that would finally allow me to accomplish this! However, it still doesn’t want to link the accounts correctly (they are aware of the problem and trying to fix it). Luckily, I have a friend who is madly in love with Twitter and always checking out easier ways to link that and his Facebook page. He got me started on HootSuite. I had heard of HootSuite for a while, but had not used it and really was hoping Twitter’s own solution would work. After hearing my frustrations, he told me I had to switch from Su.Pr to HootSuite and I don’t think I’ll be switching any time soon. Even though I manage social

networks completely in-house for our artists, I am constantly meeting with old friends and new friends who own companies that focus on social networking and new media. They like that I send business their way when someone asks me about social network management. I like that I get to pick their brains about campaigns they’ve done that have had results and see their new tools that they always like to show off. Some buddies even have great widgets they’ve designed themselves that I may pay them to build for me for my future campaigns! This old-fashioned networking can still be very important, even for those of us that work in a fully digital medium. While some folks may not do much research on companies that provide services you may already do in-house, I encourage you to do otherwise. Even though you may not use all of their resources, you never know when they may have the perfect tool you need! They are also great for calling and bouncing ideas off of - after all, that’s what friends often do. And, should my boss come to me unexpectedly wanting something I don’t readily have, or is beyond my expertise, I know that finding it - or a great recommendation to someone who can provide it, is only a quick phone call and perhaps a round of beer or two away.