Larry Carlton Tak Matsumoto East Meets West
Plus: RGK Entertainment Group President Ron Kitchener College Troubadour Corey Smith
Christian Music Weekly Charts, Featured Artists & Reviews
6 Cover Story
East Meets West: On their new album, Take Your Pick, Grammy®-winning American jazz guitarist extraordinaire, Larry Carlton and Asian rock guitar wizard, Tak Matsumoto, create an exciting blend of modern Eastern and Western guitar styles. We caught up with these world-class talents to hear all about it.
14 Behind the Desk
Ron Kitchener represents a new breed of artist manager. Wearing many hats, his umbrella of companies preside over all facets of the artist’s career, including management, record label, touring, publishing, marketing, television and more, providing the artist the opportunities that they need to compete in today’s music market.
28 The Indie Way
Check out guest writer, Jody Gnant’s take on publicity in “It’s Easy to Get Press – But Getting Press Doesn’t Sell Records.”
27 Now Media
In today’s fast-moving Internet world, two years can make a huge difference in what is “hot” and what is “not.” With the continued growth of Facebook and the explosion of Twitter and YouTube, things are heating up on the web.
23 Christian Music Weekly 28 Featured Artists
This month we showcase our Opportunity winners, Stephanie Quayle, winner of the “AirPlay Direct Free Radio Marketing Campaign” and Veronica Ballestrini, who won the AirPlay Direct / Jeannie Deva Best Vocalist Contest. Other great music includes Jim Silvers, Si Kahn, Johnny Gimble, Human Brother, Cyril Neville -The Evolution, Doc Walker, No Justice, and Tim Carroll.
30 A Woman’s Way
Transformation of body and mind is explored in this lifestyle column.
4 The Writer’s Round 18 Global Radio Charts ---------------------------------------------------------------PUBLISHER & FOUNDER: Robert Weingartz DIRECTOR OF CONTENT: Clif Doyal DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL PROJECTS: Scott Welch CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Clif Doyal, Mike Hagler, Jr, Raleigh Squires, Paul Clifford, Susan Fischer, Jody Gnant, Andrea Gray ART DIRECTION: Aleven Creatives (aleven.com)
FROM THE PUBLISHER Welcome to the June edition of the Direct Buzz. Nashville is bouncing back from the thousand-year flood that overtook her in early May. Through the proud spirit and generosity of our artists and residents at-large, our fine city is returning to normal. Two extraordinary talents take over our cover feature this month: American Jazz and Pop guitar master Larry Carlton and Japanese Rock guitar wizard Tak Matsumoto talk about their new album – a wonderful collaboration of Eastern and Western guitar music. With Carlton’s history of playing with everyone from Joni Mitchell to Michael Jackson – and Matsumoto’s reign as Asia’s most-renowned guitarist, they have a great story to tell. Ron Kitchener holds court in the “Behind the Desk” feature as we profile this man of many talents who has proven successful – not only as an artist manager, but also as a record label head who controls the Canadian rights to Taylor Swift’s recorded music and a host of other Country and Americana artists. We are saddened with the recent losses of singer, dancer, and actress, Lena Horne and Heavy Metal vocal legend, Ronnie James Dio. The silencing of these great talents will leave a void and they will be missed. “The Writer’s Round” highlights college sensation Corey Smith and one of his latest songs that is destined to be another singalong anthem for his fans. We also introduce a great new Opportunity for our AirPlay Direct artist members to have their music available on the interactive video game, “Rock Band.” So whip out your hottest guitar tracks and submit them today. We hope you enjoy the Direct Buzz. We welcome your comments and feedback. Until next time, keep your eyes on the horizon.
Robert Weingartz Founder & CEO, AirPlay Direct Founder & Publisher, the Direct Buzz
THE WRITERS ROUND
A Songwriter Profile by Mike Hagler, Jr.
Corey SMITH “Dirtier By The Year” AirPlayDirect.com/CoreySmith
he last concert I attended was loud, and filled with college co-eds singing the words to every song. It had a great vibe, similar to a Dave Mathews show during his early years. The artist was Corey Smith, a teacher turned troubadour who broke out of the Athens, Georgia, scene. His songs are quickly becoming staples around the college scene and his shows are filled with an energy not often seen these days. His latest album, Keeping Up With The Joneses, is some of his finest work yet. One song that I believe will become another staple at his shows will be “Dirtier By The Year.” This song is just fun, and funny! It touches on a topic that just about every man can relate to. I can think about how often my friends and I would joke about growing up to be “dirty old men” and this brings back those (recent) memories of laughing and joking with my fraternity brothers about these topics. Writer’s Round (WR): Keep-
ing Up With The Joneses has a different feel to it than your previous albums. From listening to it, it sounds like it was a lot of fun to write and record. Which do you think you enjoy more, the writing or recording? Corey Smith (CS): I thoroughly enjoyed both writing and recording this album. However, they are very different processes. Writing is a part of who I am. It comes naturally. I’ve learned to accept it as something I must do in order to be happy and healthy. It is my therapy and I do it for its own sake - whether anyone is listening or not. Recording can be much more of a grind. It’s not as personal as writing. It draws on a lot of other resources (people, equipment, finances, etc) and comes with much more pressure. Of course, it can be very fun. It’s almost magical at times, especially when a song first begins to take on a life of its own. However, it’s often tedious as well and involves a steep learning curve. WR: “Dirtier By The Year”
makes me chuckle each time I hear it. I imagine it will be one of your concert staples that all will be singing to, in addition to the other songs they already sing along with. What prompted you to write a song about the start of turning into a “dirty old man?” CS: I got the idea for “Dirtier By The Year” when I was fishing down in Louisiana with a few buddies. When guys are hanging out on a boat, we start saying stuff we would never say in front of the wives and tend get more honest, and more vulgar, the longer we’re out there. Late in the day, one of my friends said something that struck me as a good theme for a country song. He said, “You know, Corey? The older I get, the dirtier I get.” We all laughed because we knew exactly what he meant. When I got home, that song just sort of wrote itself. WR: Your fans are known for singing along, very loudly, to many of your songs. Does it still surprise you each time you may visit a new place to hear the fans singing your lyrics right back at you? CS: Five years ago, I was teaching high school social studies and playing in small bars on the weekends. If someone would’ve told me back then that I would soon be traveling around the country in a tour bus, playing shows in front of thousands of fans singing the words to my songs, I would have told them they were freaking crazy. So “surprised” is a bit of an understatement. I use terms like “amazed” and “in awe”. Everyone should head over to www.airplaydirect.com/coreysmith and check this song out. And, if you happen to be in a city Corey plays in, grab a ticket and see what all the fuss is about. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Larry Carlton Tak Matsumoto East Meets West By: Clif Doyal
ast meets West – for some, the concept may conjure images of political intrigue from the halcyon days of the great James Bond films. For others, it envelops the senses with exotic images of the historical first encounters between the great empires of Europe and the Orient. But in the musical realm, when East meets West, it is a rare occurrence. And when two guitar wizards from opposite sides of the globe unite to collaborate on a project together, it is a rare treat indeed. On their new album, Take Your Pick, Grammy® -winning American jazz guitarist extraordinaire, Larry Carlton, and Asian rock guitar wizard, Tak Matsumoto, create an exciting blend of modern Eastern and Western guitar styles delivering a dynamic collection of music that will be enjoyed by fans from around the globe – regardless of where they live. Carlton has a long-established music career - both as a solo artist and ace first-call session musician. He has recorded with some of the top names in a multitude of genres, including Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Michael Jackson, Sammy Davis Jr., Herb Alpert, Quincy Jones, Bobby Bland, Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt
and dozens of others. Along the way, he has performed on over 100 albums which have been certified in the Gold, Platinum and multi-Platinum categories and has received 18 Grammy® nominations. Matsumoto is known as the most renowned guitarist in all of Asia. As the chief songwriter, guitarist and producer of the Japanese rock band, B’z, Matsumoto has presided over
“Something great would happen if we could get together in the studio.” their 12 albums which have sold over 80 million units in Japan alone, making them the country’s bestselling band in history. He has also released two critically heralded instrumental albums, Hana and Dragon From The West. He is the only guitarist from Asia to be given a Gibson Signature Model Les Paul. Interestingly enough, their summit meeting would come as no surprise to their followers. Carlton has long been adored by music fans in Japan, while
Matsumoto has been blending inspiration from American staples such as Aerosmith and Jimi Hendrix with modern classical and oriental sounds for most of his career. With the smooth jazz stylings of Carlton juxtaposed against the rock and classical tones of Matsumoto, Take Your Pick presents both guitarists in full creative bloom. Playing off of each others strengths as soloists, they easily slide into support roles to propel the other where needed, and the results are a wonder-
ful collaboration that showcases each man’s instrumental prowess to great effect. Take Your Pick was produced by Carlton and Matsumoto, and features Billy Kilson on drums, Michael Rhodes on bass guitar, Jeff Babko on keyboards, Mark Douthit on saxophone, Mike Haynes on trumpet, and Barry Green on trombone. We had the opportunity to visit with these two formidable talents recently to discuss the new project, their forthcoming tour, and learn about what drives these journeymen guitar stylists to continue to push the boundaries of their musical careers. the Direct Buzz (tDb): You have just released a new album together entitled Take Your Pick. Tell us how the collaboration came about. Larry Carlton (LC): My manager, Robert Williams, was having a meeting with Rick Gembar, one of the CEO’s of Gibson Guitars here in Nashville. Robert was telling Rick that I had been thinking about putting something very special together for the Japanese market. Rick suggested that maybe Tak Motsumoto and I should make music together. And that’s how this idea came about, as a suggestion from those two gentlemen. Once I heard Tak’s music, I was very impressed. His songwriting is remarkable, and his touch on the guitar is great. Gosh, when he plays a ballad it’s the real deal. It’s the stuff that’s going to hit you in the heart and make you glad that you’re listening to a great guitar player. Tak Matsumoto (TM): First of all, Larry approached me in 2007. It seems he was looking for someone to collaborate with, and asked Gibson if they could recommend any interesting guitarists and my name came up. So we planned to have lunch together when Larry came to Japan. At that time, I told him I would like to write some new material if we were going to collaborate and make an album together. Larry liked the idea but my
schedule was so tight for the coming year due to the 20th year anniversary of B’z. I just couldn’t commit to anything else at that time. However, we kept in touch via e-mail. Larry would be coming to Japan again later that year with his group Fourplay and we
this record? LC: Tak actually had four songs prepared prior to me even starting to write for this project. That really inspired me and gave me great insight to what the material and the approach of this album could be. Tak and I
“We both have the same vision for any music that we play, and that vision is to be honest.” talked about doing pre-production during that time. I knew something great would happen if we could get together in the studio. tDB: Tell us about your initial impressions of each other when you first met. LC: At my first meeting with Tak, we just got together for lunch. I noticed that he was very soft spoken, very respectful, and there was a quiet assuredness to him that I will talk about later, because in the studio he’s very sure of what he wants. My first impression was that he was just a really nice guy - very, very successful - and yet very, very humble. And I could see on his face that day that he truly wanted to make some music with me and I was very flattered by that. TM: To begin with, I really wanted to play guitar with Larry. From the moment I met him, I had been thinking of what kind of music he and I could create. And when we played together in pre-production, I felt we could certainly make something great. I was bringing what I wrote and knew it would be totally different once Larry worked on it and added his color to the song. I found it much easier and more productive once we got together in the studio. tDB: Give us a snapshot about how the two of you collaborated to make
worked on a couple of demos together. He had great ideas and he knew exactly where he wanted me to play harmony, where he wanted me to play just the melodies, so he could play harmony. I found Tak’s leadership to be of great value on this project. Tak composed six songs by himself and I wrote six songs. I would send mp3s to Tak and he did the same. We ended up keeping everything that we demoed for the album. TM: Larry was in Japan on tour with Fourplay in 2007, and we spent three days in the studio and worked up four songs. As we were both fired up, we wanted to keep the momentum going. Both of our schedules were open later that September so we decided to get together in LA and record an album. tDB: Tell us about the recording process for the album. Where and how was it done? LC: Tak owns a studio in Beverly Hills and we tracked the basics with drums, bass and keyboards. The players played along with the Pro Tools demos with the guitar parts that Tak and I had already laid down. So, we actually didn’t play together with the band in the studio. It was a very relaxed session and we had a chance to really sit back and focus on the groove and what the guys were playing. I normally play live with the
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players when the tracking happens – this was the first time that I have made an album this way. tDB: What do you think of the guitar performances by each other on this album? LC: Well, I was not surprised at the versatility that Tak has. He’s such a great musician. So it didn’t really matter what song I presented to Tak or what he presented to me - both of us felt very comfortable performing in that style - or our interpretation of that style for that particular song. I found that Tak played so appropriately for each particular song. He didn’t try to play hard rock sound on a beautiful ballad. I really admire his taste and his choice. His versatility is as high as any guitar player would want to have. TM: Well… Larry is the master, so what can you say about his guitar playing except that it is simply brilliant in all aspects. Every time he plays, something different comes out, including his chord progressions. If I find a phrase I like, I would use repeatedly, but not in Larry. Aside from the melody, he will just play improvisation as he feels. I was amazed at how deep his musicality goes. So, recording and touring with him is a great learning experience for me. As this whole thing has unfolded, I’ve just felt so grateful for the opportunity to create music with him. tDB: On all the songs, you both bounce guitar solos and harmony off of each other and that combination works beautifully together. How did you arrive at the final sounds together? LC: I actually think as a producer, Tak had more insight into how to do a two guitar record - meaning, a guitar record with two guitars. I learned a lot from him. He was so specific as to when he wanted certain lines to be played by me, and places where he wanted just harmony from him, and that leadership that he provided really
“This album is the proof of our chemistry; there are no egos involved, just pure music created by two guitarists, one from the East and one from the West.” set the pattern for me to know how I could organize my songs and be consistent with his approach to an album of two guitar players. I think he just has more experience at producing certain kinds of records. So he was the leader, definitely, in setting the precedent on how two guitars could interact, and I followed his lead, and then I was able to do my songs that same way. TM: It felt very natural. For my songs, Larry plays more of the main melody part. I put both main melody and harmony parts on the demos. When recording, harmony parts can sometimes be a burden. But I do a lot of this in B’z music, so it wasn’t that
big of a deal for me. For the songs with twin leads, it’s a different story. Larry would not play the exact same thing twice, so I recorded my parts first for most part. After, he kindly played along with what I recorded at his studio in Nashville. tDB: What kind of guitars did you use on the album? LC: The ES 335 Larry Carlton model is the only guitar that I used on this album. I think as you listen to the album you’ll hear many, many different tones I could get out of just that one guitar, and as you know, that’s my favorite guitar. It’s the one I’m most comfortable with, and so I just kept playing the same guitar, but finding
different tones with each tune. Yes, I’m still “Mr. 335!” TM: I tried several guitars playing along with the tracks and chose the best fit. Basically, I narrowed it down to the Gibson double cutaway, but others were used for contrast and different colors. The black double cutaway #4 and the gold top #2 with P-90s seemed to be a nice match for this kind of music. tDB: Larry, you have a long and successful history of working with numerous great talents. What are some of the more creatively satisfying projects that you have been involved with? LC: In the 70’s, I was fortunate to be a session player for many great artists, I really enjoyed working with Joni Mitchell on Court and Spark, and Steely Dan on The Royal Scam and Asia. Working with Quincy Jones was a great experience – he really knows how to “cast” musicians for particular projects, much like he is casting for a film. My time with the Crusaders was a standout for me. I have been so fortunate to have a long career and have been able to do whatever “moves” me. I have not lost my passion. tDB: Tak, you have found enormous success working with a group – then as a solo artist, and now as a duo with Larry. Which do you prefer? TM: All of them are so important and vital for my life as a musician. The collaboration with Larry was such an amazing experience. I learned a lot from him. At the same time, B’z has been a very successful band in Japan. Together with singer Koshi Inaba, we have had the luxury of touring and making records since 1988 without any breaks. I feel so fortunate to be a part of the band and grateful to have the opportunity to appeal to, and meet so many wonderful people. tDB: You have a highly-anticipated concert tour of Japan that is scheduled to kick off on the 12th of June to promote the new album. Do you
have a message to your fans prior to the shows? LC: To my fans, to Tak’s fans, please, don’t miss these shows. The Japanese fans are among the best in the world. I have been going there to perform since 1974 and once they get to know you they are fans for life. I am personally looking so forward to being on stage with Tak and sharing this music. So please come and see it because it’s going to be very, very special. TM: I am really looking forward to the tour. The venues are much different than what I am used to with B’z and the show is all instrumental. I don’t know what to expect at this point, but I know I will enjoy it from the bottom of my heart. tDB: You are delivering this album to radio via AirPlay Direct. How has the digital delivery of your music helped streamline your business? LC: It gives radio easy access to your music. Radio can download it and make it available immediately. With AirPlay Direct it is very easy and economical – unlike the old school way that my music was serviced in the past. tDB: Talk about the chemistry between the two of you on this collaboration. LC: Tak and I have a mutual respect for each other, but we’re so unique in our personalities and our approach to music that the chemistry came about so naturally because I think we both have the same vision for any music that we play, and that vision is to be honest. We also had great melodies. Play honestly what you think should be played on that song and let the listener respond. Tak and I both have that same approach – I’m sure of that, the music is not pretentious but it’s very honest. TM: This album is the proof of our chemistry; there are no egos involved, just pure music created by two guitarists, one from the East and one from the West.
By: Clif Doyal
President, RGK Entertainment Group
on Kitchener represents a new breed of artist manager. In today’s ever-evolving music industry, the old rules no longer apply. In many cases, major labels lack adequate staff or funding to dedicate to the long-term development of an artist’s career. Unless an act produces significant revenues very quickly, they are dropped. To ensure a greater chance for their longevity, more and more artists look
to managers to handle many duties which in the past would have been taken care of by label A&R staffs and their various creative and legal affairs departments. Under Kitchener’s umbrella of companies he provides what the artist needs to compete in today’s market, presiding over all facets of the artist’s career, including management, record label, touring, publishing, marketing, television and more. “I was always multi-tasking and doing a whole lot of things and interested in getting into as many areas of the business as I could,” explains Kitchener. “I learned fairly early on that the music business has a whole lot of divisions and I realized that the person in the middle was the manager. I knew that is where I wanted to be.” With a global focus, Kitchener’s organization has become a highly regarded and innovative force in the competitive entertainment industry. The umbrella of RGK Entertainment Group includes RGK Entertainment, a full-service artist management com-
pany; Open Road Recordings, Canada’s “Record Company of the Year for 2009” and “Independent Label of the Year” for 2004, 2005, and 2006; Roots Three Music, a growing domestic and international publishing division; DART Events, a touring events planning company; Road Angel Entertainment, a marketing services division, and RGK One Shot Productions, a television production and development company. To understand Kitchener’s drive and competitive spirit, you have to know where he came from. He was born in Toronto and raised in Tottenham, a
small town north of the city. “I was really into sports, especially hockey. It was all about hockey – after all, it is our national pastime. My dad was an avid record collector, so I was exposed to all of the great rock ‘n’ roll music from the 50’s and 60’s. By the time I was a teenager, I was really into a lot of the pop and rock bands like Cheap Trick and KISS. I always wanted to be the one that discovered new music and passed it on to my friends. We loved Motley Crue, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. I was a huge Ronnie James Dio fan and I also really liked Tom Petty and U2.”
In addition to loving music of all genres, Kitchener wanted to know about what went on behind the scenes with the artists. “I loved to research about them. I studied their credits. I wanted to know the producer, the engineers, how they made records. I just wanted to learn all I could about them,” Kitchener explains. So, as a natural progression, he gravitated toward a group of friends who were putting together a band. “We had four guitarists and a drummer,” Kitchener recalls. “I wasn’t good enough to play guitar, so I tried bass, but I wasn’t good at that either. Subconsciously I knew that I would have to find other ways to work within the business if I was going to stay involved with music.” “A lot of people that I grew up around in the industrial area of Ontario wanted to go to work at the local Honda plant. But I wanted more - I learned early on that I wanted to love what I do and I wanted it to be in music.” After high school, Kitchener attended Humber College in Toronto where he studied marketing. “I was interested in marketing but I was determined to pursue things in the music business.” Soon fate intervened when he was elected to the student council as a business representative for the school. In that role, he took over as the entertainment coordinator, booking and promoting all of the musical acts that came to the college. “I booked the acts on Thursday nights, so we could get them routed with their weekend gigs, and we were able to secure some really great music that way,” Kitchener recalls. He learned the ropes of the touring band business by dealing with the managers and road managers of the performers and even worked parttime in a record store to have greater access to new music. Kitchener finally got his first break into show business when a new interactive rock ‘n’ roll game show television concept, Test Pattern, sponsored by Much Music, was being offered
to colleges. “I learned that they were looking for a tour coordinator for a run of dates at colleges and universities to test-market the concept before they began shooting. So, I took the semester off and went for it. I learned more about marketing on that tour than I would have learned at school, and they paid really well.” Plus, with local brewer Labatt Beer as the sponsor of a game show targeted at college kids cut loose to party, it proved to be a very
“Seeing your artist learn to be able to connect to the back of the room when they perform, you know at that point that they have a shot.” heady experience for the 19-year-old Kitchener who ended up doing several tours with the group. “After a while, I thought that I could do this kind of promo on my own - and that is how I got started in my promotions company. I was just all about doing everything that I could do to stay in the music business.” While still in college, Kitchener’s school paid for him to attend a NACA (National Association of Campus Activities) convention in Nashville. “That is likely the reason that things really took off for me,” he states enthusiastically. “Growing up where I did, I was never exposed to a lot of country music, but in Nashville there was some really cool kinda left-
of-center country happening, acts like Steve Earle and John Hiatt. That really excited me.” When Kitchener was 20, he founded RGK Entertainment, a concert promotion and event marketing company that booked and promoted shows all across his region. “I was really interested in all of the different areas of the artistic process. The position gave me a good excuse to meet with record labels and publishers and learn as much about the business as I could. It was a good door-opener and helped develop the relationships that would allow me to expand. About this time, he met Jason McCoy, a fledgling artist who had been to Nashville and had made some good progress on his own. Kitchener initially became McCoy’s booking agent and ultimately his manager. “That really was my start in Nashville and my career in country music. We landed him a deal with MCA Canada and worked really hard and struggled. We learned a lot the hard way,” Kitchener states. Soon, McCoy was opening tours for John Berry and Martina McBride across Canada, and Kitchener started getting calls to work with other artists. Doc Walker was one of the next acts that he attracted, and with Kitchener’s help, they landed a distribution deal with Universal and Kitchener founded his record label. The move proved to be a good one. “You have to wear a lot of hats in the music business in Canada and most of the Canadian managers who I really looked up to were label guys as well. Rush’s manager, Michelle Wright’s manager, they all ran labels, so I followed in their footsteps. Universal had approached me about doing a label - and I thought ‘I have two artists coming out of major label deals, so the timing is good.’ After some discussion, I partnered with MapleCore Limited because they had everything label-wise that I needed as far as funding and staff and Universal covered the distribution. We had good
luck with Jason, Doc Walker and the Wilkinsons. And then Jason started the Road Hammers, so within three years we had a great domestic roster.” Open Road Recordings, of which Kitchener is President has been Canada’s premiere country and roots label since opening its doors in 2003. The company has worked with JUNO nominated, multi-platinum artist, Johnny Reid, whose three albums with Open Road went gold, platinum and double platinum, respectively. With three platinum selling releases and three gold selling releases, the label is home to domestic acts The Road Hammers, Prairie Oyster, Ridley Bent, Jason McCoy, Doc Walker, Emerson Drive, The Higgins, Dean Brody, High Valley and Tara Oram. In early 2009, the label scored seven of the top ten selling albums on the Canadian country charts and surpassed the 1,000,000 mark in sales. In addition, the company is the Canadian label home to Big Machine and Valory music artists Taylor Swift, Reba, Jack Ingram, Trisha Yearwood and Jewel. Kitchener tells how the deal went down: “I had read about Scott Borchetta and Toby Keith starting the label in 2005, so I took a meeting with Scott. He and I really hit it off and he agreed to let me license his material in Canada. I liked the new act that he had signed, Jack Ingram, and he had played me some of Taylor’s stuff early on - and it was just real special. She had great songs and a fresh sound. I knew if it worked, she could bring a whole new audience to the format.” In 2006, Kitchener founded Roots Three Music, RGK’s publishing arm, and co-ventured with ole music to develop song writing talent both domestically and internationally. “I worked out a deal with songwriter, Denny Carr, and agreed that if I could land cuts then I would get a piece of the publishing. Doc Walker had a big single with “She Hasn’t Always Been This Way,” a song co-
written by Denny, and it made money. So, we cut a co-venture deal with Ole and Denny became the Nashville creative manager of the company.” Roots Three has a diverse catalogue with cuts by Craig Morgan, Jessica Harp, The Road Hammers, Doc Walker, UK pop group Westlife, Swedish superstar Jill Johnson, and 2007 Canadian Idol runner-up Jaydee Bixby. RGK One Shot Productions is the television production and development division of the company. Meet The Wilsons, the company’s first official production, debuted in September 2009 on CMT. The show is currently airing new episodes and is shooting a 2010 Christmas special. Kitchener’s other company, DART Events, recently produced and toured the inaugural 2009 CMT on Tour featuring Canada’s brightest new stars performing seventeen shows across Canada. In addition, Road Angel Entertainment offers marketing services. With the transitions into other areas of the business, Kitchener and RGK remains strongly focused on artist management. Having won “Management Company of the Year” for 2009 and “Manager of the Year” nine times at the Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMA), Kitchener’s management style and business acumen has built his roster to include 2009 JUNO “Country Recording of the Year” winners Doc Walker and upand-comers Dean Brody, Tara Oram, and Steven Lee Olsen. In addition, RGK manages gold selling, JUNO Award winning roots artist Corb Lund (New West) and recording artist Emily West (Capitol Nashville). Previously, RGK has managed multi-Platinum selling artist Johnny Reid and JUNO nominated and CCMA winning group The Road Hammers. “We diversified with these companies to provide synergy and to give the artist every opportunity they can to be successful,” Kitchener states proudly.
“Developing them and watching them grow - there is nothing better. Seeing your artist learn to be able to connect to the back of the room when they perform, you know at that point that they have a shot.” An entrepreneur and an innovator, Kitchener embraces the future of today’s business. He combines professional business strategies with a grass-roots philosophy, creating the best all-around opportunities and atmosphere for his artists. In both 2008 and 2009, Kitchener was named CCMA “Record Company Person of the Year.” With all of his professional successes, it is no surprise that Kitchener was nominated and elected to sit on the board of the Country Music Association (CMA) as International Director in November 2009. In addition, he sits on the MMF (Music Manager Forum) Canada Board, the CCMA board and the CCMC (Contemporary Coalition of Country Music) board based in Sydney, Australia. He is a class of 2008 (Nashville) Leadership Music alumni and served as co-chair for “Leadership Touring Day.” Kitchener is married with two children, and splits his time between his offices in Nashville and Toronto. “We have always been looking for creative partnerships to develop. We have always operated very lean and mean and continue to do so. For example, our association with AirPlay Direct, it is a wonderful idea and a great platform to try out new music with programmers and give them easy access to the music. It gives us an opportunity to test music without spending a ton of money. It is a costsavings way to work radio. I believe that digital delivery is something that everyone can benefit from. The easier it is to have access to the gate-keepers - the better it is for everyone.” Clif Doyal is a Nashville-based artist manager, publicist, and independent record label manager.
GLOBAL RADIO CHARTS FOR MAY 2010
TOP 20 RELEASES/ALBUMS
TOP 20 RELEASES/ALBUMS FOR MAY 2010
VIEW MORE CHARTS AT: www.AirPlayDirect.com/charts 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 AirPlayDirect.com/charts. We take pride in having built a transparent charting system that accurately reports the hot artists and tracks available within the AirPlay Direct community.
GLOBAL RADIO CHARTS FOR MAY 2010
TOP 20 TRACKS
TOP 20 TRACKS FOR MAY 2010
VIEW MORE CHARTS AT: www.AirPlayDirect.com/charts 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 AirPlayDirect.com/charts. 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
AC CHR ROCK
All Of Creation [INO] Born Again
Awake And Alive [INO] All Of Creation [INO]
Supplement for Direct Buzz
Court Temporarily Reduces Radio ASCAP Fees U.S. District Court Judge Denice Cote has ruled to temporarily reduce the fees paid by radio companies to ASCAP until the final rate schedule is set by the Radio Music Licensing Committee (RMLC) in the near future. The ruling reduces the payment from those paid in 2009, resulting in a $40 million savings for radio stations across the country during 2010. The temporary fee schedule supersedes a former fee reduction that was voluntarily agrees upon by the RMLC and ASCAP. The reduction in fees are retroactive to Jan. 1, 2010. BMI is also involved in discussions on lowering their fees for this year but have not come to an agreement with the RMLC as of yet.
New Label Luna Chica Bows
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In This Issue CMW Adds This Week > page 2 Artist Shorts > Page 2 Weekly Charts > Page 3
Independent label Luna Chica Records opens its doors in Nashville that includes a diverse
group of four artists. The roster includes Christian singer-songwriter Tommy Job, along with two mainstream rock artists and a country act. The label was formed by Colorado businessman Paige Cofrin and is being led by GM/A&R Dir. Brenda Cline. Their phone is 615-3830103 while setting up shop on the web here. LunaChicaRecords.com
Industry Shorts KPEZ (The River)/Austin will flip frequencies with Clear Channel sister station Top 40 KFMK/Austin on May 31. The move will afford the hip-hop leaning Top 40 station a bigger signal that will reach more people, moving from 105.9 to 102.3 FM … Mike Couchman is named the new PD for KXWA/Denver-Boulder as of June 21 after serving as APD/MD at the SOS Network in Las Vegas over the past year. He will take over the duties vacated by Jeff Connell who is now Network PD at Way-FM's Nashville headquarters … WPFR-AM/Terre
Heath & Ingram Love On Nashville Flood Victims Brandon Heath and Jason Ingram hosted their third annual “Love Your Neighbor” fundraising concert recently to raise funds for Nashville-area flood victims. Joining them in the special night were TobyMac, Britt Nicole, Mike Donehey of Tenth Avenue North, and unannounced guest Amy Grant. The standing room only crowd and online viewership helped raise over $61,000 that will directly benefit El Shaddai Christian Church, which was devastated by several feet of flood water. Brandon Heath shares, “More than a benefit, it felt like a big family piled into the living room to share songs, stories, and all that we have. I’m immensely grateful for the generosity of Nashville, and those watching online. Above all, God was glorified and our neighbors were loved.”
The “Love Your Neighbor” benefit is an annual concert event created by Heath and Ingram, in partnership with Fellowship Bible Church in Brentwood, TN. In 2008, the event raised $20,000 for Nashville area tornado victims. Then in 2009, the event slogan to “Save David’s Eyes” did just that, with money collected covering the total cost of a critical eye surgery to prevent blindness of a local high school student.
DeGarmo & Key To Headline Flood Event The Love of Christ Church in Cordova, TN will host one of the many fundraisers that the music industry has introduced to help flood victims in central and western Tennessee. The event will include a car show, a cookout, and a reunion show by classic rockers DeGarmo & Key. The date for the event is June 13 and more info can be found at tlcmemphis.com.
ARTIST CMW Adds This Week
Superchick sisters Melissa Brock (left) and Tricia Baumhardt (right) work the crowds at an "Alive Tour" show in McAlisterville, Pa. on May 16. The girls set up Superchick's song "So Beautiful" with a brief introduction to "Operation Beautiful," an international campaign that encourages women to post anonymous notes with positive messages about self-image in public places for others to find, in hopes of ending "fat talk" and helping women to love themselves just the way they are. Find out more about "Operation Beautiful" at www.OperationBeautiful.com.
U2 frontman Bono took a spill at a practice run for their upcoming 360 degree North American Tour, resulting in a hospital visit and emergency back surgery that will require him to recuperate for a minimum of two months. All 16 dates for the tour have been postponed until 2011. Bono is doing well and is back home on the mend ... Group 1 Crew's next project will be a digitalonly offering called Spacebound EP on June 8. Their first song to radio will be “Walking On The Stars” while the tune “Breakdown” will be the featured track for the upcoming series Khloe & Kourtney Take Miami, featuring the Kardashian sisters relocating to south Florida ... Stryper has announced a unique Holy Land tour with them on Feb. 12-21, 2011 that will last for 10 days, including portions of the trip being filmed for a DVD release in mid-2011 ... Bits and pieces of intel are surfacing in regard to what former Underoath drummer Aaron Gillespie will be doing with his time, outside of his commitments with The Almost. CMW has learned that he is in the process of working on a solo worship project, see TVU report here, while also joining another worship driven band called Unveiled Worship out of Florida ... Jordin Sparks will be launching her summer headlining tour on July 18, hitting over 35 cities across the U.S. and is being presented by Mike And Ike candy ... The winner of the Classic Crime “Solar Powered Life” video contest has been announced. Congrats go out to AlyAndCate ... Heavenfest in Colorado will feature three reunited bands all on the same day, including The O.C. Supertones, Classic Petra, and new addition of The Kry ... Joy Williams released a new song entitled “We Are (Nashville)” via NoiseTrade that listeners can give money for and “leave a tip” that 100% of will go toward The Community Foundation. It is one of many organizations working toward the cleanup process in and around Nashville after the flood that hit there a few weeks ago. You can check out the tune and give here.
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Haute, IN hires Ronn Mott for mornings … KJJK-AM (Family 1020)/Fergus Falls, MN is officially on the air, flipping from Oldies to Christian AC … WMVW (91.7 Newlife FM)/ Peachtree City, GA turned on their signal last week as a Christian Inspo/Talk hybrid targeting a mature demographic … Way-FM Media Group takes KWYA/Astoria, OR silent while translators in Portland, OR, Beaverton, OR, and Vancouver, WA are off the air due to the recent sale of KWYQ/Longview, WA which Way-FM used as a rebroadcast site to all four tower sites.
Jobs R Us The SOS Radio Network in Las Vegas is looking for a MD/air personality. Candidates should have experience with music programming and can send resumes and airchecks to VP/Programming Chris Staley at jobopening@SOSRadio.net. KDUV/Visalia, CA is seeking an on-air personality that has at least five years of radio experience. An application can be downloaded at www.kduvfm.com/jobs, then sent to email@example.com.
HUNDREDS OF READERS EVERY WEEK THAT’S CMW ARE READERS VIEWING YOUR MESSAGE? or maybe that other label? CONTACT US AT:
FEATURED ARTISTS ARE PAID ADVERTISERS FROM THE AIRPLAY DIRECT COMMUNITY
Stephanie Quayle Winner of the AirPlay Direct Free Radio Marketing Campaign With the release of the new single, “Sophia”, from her Ain’t No Housewife CD, Los Angeles based country recording artist, Stephanie Quayle tells a bit of an autobiographical story about her own quest for living her dreams. The songs tell the tale of Stephanie’s journey, of her triumphs, heartaches, tears, and laughter, with irresistible melodies, tell-it-like-it-is lyrics and down-home rhythms. Stephanie Quayle will seduce you with her voice and her story, and maybe inspire you to kick up some dust and chase your own dream as well. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/StephanieQuayle -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Winner of the AirPlay Direct / Jeannie Deva Best Vocalist Contest Veronica Ballestrini might not be the household name that our modern American Idol-era industry is capable of producing overnight - - yet. But there’s no doubt that Veronica is well on her way to mastering the art of our new media age and bringing a legion of fans with her in the process. With one modest dream and an Internet connection, the enthusiastic yet mature-beyond-her-years teenager from Waterford, Connecticut has raised more than a few eyebrows with her selfmade success story. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/VeronicaBallestrini --------------------------------------------
Influenced by country artists like Hank Snow and Hank Williams, Colonel Jim Silvers is a character of wild extremes. The country-music misfit and self-described “loud, pushy Jew from Chicago,” grew up within the Windy City’s “hotbed of country music.” They had the WLS National Barn Dance — which was broadcasting before the Grand Ole Opry — music by acts like Ralph Stanley, Reno & Smiley, and the Delmore Brothers was what he absorbed and the results are what you hear in this alternative-country and bluegrass tinted collection of original tunes. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/JimSilvers --------------------------------------------
Legendary folk writer and reviewer Scott Alarik says about Si Kahn: “By the unique, timeless, grass-rootsy measures with which great folk songs have always been judged, it can be argued that he is the most successful folk songwriter of his generation.” The impact his songs have had is impossible to estimate, because they have had such vibrant lives beyond his or the music industry’s view. His best songs have been sung in Dutch and Welsh and Swedish, converted to suit local circumstances to such an extent that they are now believed to be part of local traditional repertoires. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/SiKahnCourage --------------------------------------------
JUNE 2010 FEATURED ARTISTS
When it comes to the fiddle, Johnny Gimble is the goto talent when music needs a warm breeze of Texas authenticity. His credits read like the roster of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Now many of those friends have returned to the studio to record with him again, but this time the sideman is in the spotlight. Anchored by producer Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, this all-new record is a celebration of a man who is woven into the fabric of country music history. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/JohnnyGimble --------------------------------------------
From a studio nestled in the hills behind the Hollywood Bowl, comes a fantasmagorical electro rock sound sprinkled with futuristic soul. A mindful melodic sound palette has been laid down by multi instrumentalist/producer/songwriter and vocalist JD Shultz, is a rhythmic canvas of expertly crafted ear candy that leaves nothing to chance. Each blip, beat, bang, rhythm, ping, echo, harmony, melody, and lyric, has been sculpted from scratch into a new genre Hu-Manilectro, which is a melting pot of classic, electro, and midi instruments. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/HumanBrother --------------------------------------------
The Essential Cyril Neville 1994-2007 features such amazing guests as Allen Toussaint, Taj Mahal and the late Marva Wright. The songs come from Cyril’s five self-released recordings and one unissued song featuring Taj Mahal, “The Blues Is Here To Stay.” The release has all elements of great New Orleans music, Blues, funk and R&B. Great originals and amazing covers including Hendrix’s “Foxey Lady” and Dylan’s “The Times They Are A Changing.” One of the four Neville Brothers, Cyril Neville maybe the last great voice of New Orleans music. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/TheEssential... --------------------------------------------
Over their decadeplus time together, Doc Walker have earned the title of “the hardest working country band in Canada” the old fashioned way, through relentless perseverance and constantly honing their chops as songwriters and performers. “It’s three guys that have known each other a long time and when you put us in the same room together, it’s what comes out. It’s not trying to be something. It’s really just what happens when the three of us get together, with all of our different influences,” explains Doc Walker’s Murray Pulver. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/DocWalker --------------------------------------------
No Justice hails from a rather small place on the map, Stillwater, OK, known for spawning large talents like Jimmy LaFave, Garth Brooks, and The Great Divide. Country-rock tones weave in and out of the band’s solid self-titled release, thanks in part to Cody Patton on vocals/guitar, Joey Trevino on vocals/bass and Jerry Payne on guitar, drummer/percussionist, Armando Lopez, vocalist/guitarist Steve Rice. The album is produced by Dexter Green (Collective Soul) and is in stores on July 6th.” -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/NoJustice --------------------------------------------
On this, his eighth album, singer/ songwriter/guitarist Tim Carroll continues his blend of punk ethos and roots-rock melodicism, while exploring different sounds and instruments, playing most of them himself. From the title track, “All Kinds of Pain,” where he blends bluesy acoustic guitar with a wailing harmonica and sings a laundry list of the many types of pain with a detached point of view, to the swampy version of “If I Could” (once recorded by John Prine), Carroll shows his versatility as a great songwriter/musician. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/TimCarroll --------------------------------------------
Your Unique Voice Awesome Vocal Range Captivating Performance “The Deva Method is the closest thing to getting cosmetic surgery for your voice.” – Performer Magazine
Study with Jeannie Deva in-person or Online by web cam. Find Free tips and a Deva Method® teacher at:
By: Mike Hagler, Jr.
What a Difference Two Years Makes
he web is very fast paced. We are currently in a world where we rely on the Internet for much of our communicating and consuming. You can buy land and objects in worlds that do not exist and receive information from around the globe, mere moments after an event. These days, shifts in technology literally can happen overnight. But what causes these changes? YouTube is seeing such a shift. In a recent article on Digital Music News, we learn that people are going to YouTube to stream a song rather than visiting an artist’s MySpace. One example given was that of Rihanna’s “Rude Boy,” which received 732,014 streams on MySpace and almost 4.3 million on YouTube in a single week. This is just another nail in the coffin of MySpace, who have had two CEOs in one year and now are helmed by Co-Presidents. Even YouTube’s newer Vevo service has done amazingly well, serving up premium content while making the record labels a little happier via ad-revenue. If only Apple would update my AppleTV to see that content as well. This turned around in a short period of only two years! Two years ago, a day of streams on MySpace would have equaled a week of views on YouTube. Two years on the web and technology makes a huge difference. I believe the spread of 3G networks and mobile devices that can stream YouTube anywhere and at anytime have helped greatly with this. After all, why just be audibly entertained when you can
also receive visual stimuli? And it is this wide adoption that keeps YouTube alive. When was the last time you saw a set top box advertising that it streams Vimeo? It is a huge part of my job to know and keep up with these trends. There was a time when labels and managers placed a lot of importance on how many “friends” a band had on MySpace. Soon, many realized that not only can those numbers be inflated by simply “friending” other bands, but in Tila Tequila’s case - it did not correlate at all to album sales. Upon joining a new management company, I was lucky enough to have a boss that listened when I told him that MySpace friends for our artists no longer matter. He understands that he pays me for this advice and our need to look elsewhere to expand our reach. Imagine if I had to focus on increasing “friends” rather than the tremendous 600,000+ growth on Twitter in less than a year! And I did not even start us on Twitter until I figured out the absolute best way to use it. Now, I have an artist who does not use computers, but in an instant, she inspires many across the globe every day with her bits of wisdom. I would not have added her to Twitter just for marketing, no one would have followed. But I gave her fans a reason: to be inspired. Facebook is the number one social network in the world, people spread news across the globe via Twitter and YouTube streams more music than MySpace. What a difference two years makes.
By: Jody Gnant
It’s Easy to Get Press But Getting Press Doesn’t Sell Records There’s an urban legend somewhere out there in the music business that headlines = album sales. We can all hear it now, “If I could just get someone in the press to recognize my music, all of my troubles would be over.” It’s time to dispel a few myths:
1. It’s difficult to get press (it’s not). 2. Getting press sells records (it doesn’t). This is especially true as we move toward the “freemium” model of modern day music consumption. How can I possibly know this? I’ve had more press than I could ever dream of as a completely independent artist – ranging from 20/20, World News Tonight, NPR, MTV, CCTV, The India Times and The Sunday Times, just to name a few. I even made the National Examiner! (Look Ma! I’m in the tabloids!) My results were not part of some shiny PR plan implemented by an expensive agency. During the three
years I was actively promoting my career, I sent out exactly one press release; everything else was gravy. The fact of the matter is: Do something interesting with your music, and the press will find you. However, the day I was on the front page of the LA Times, guess how many records I sold? None. Zero. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Even though the first two words of the article were my first and last name, I still did not sell a single album that day. After swallowing this humbling fact, I asked myself, “How can this be possible?” Well, it is possible - and here’s the answer... Getting press is not an overnight magic bullet for selling records. But there is a bright side. Getting press does get you the attention of the only people in the music business that still have a significant amount of money and resources to invest in an artist’s career; and it’s not the labels – it’s big brands. There are brands with money, and budgets, clout and muscle to put behind your project, and they are starving for artists that have a critical mass of eyeballs. So, the LA Times story might not sell any records, but it could
land you a deal with a media savvy company like Ford, or PepsiCo. Even better, these large CPG groups have their own presences on social networks like Twitter, and Facebook. Forget weeks of cold calling, and trying to get a meeting with the head of marketing for XYZ company so they’ll sponsor your next tour; the corporate heads you are seeking are busy Tweeting away, and making connections in this frontier we call, “The Interwebz”. (These very real potential contacts are another good reason not to use ghostwriters to write for an artist’s social networking account, but I digress.) Consider, the next time you’re about to drop a pile of money to a slick publicist who is guaranteeing that, “you just need a good press release, and someone to work the story,” stop and take pause. You might be better off asking one of your geeky fans to create an Excel sheet with the combined reach of your press imprints and current number of social network friend connections. You are the story. Let the numbers speak for themselves – and brands will pay.
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.
Mary Chapin Carpenter
I Only Know One Way
The Age of Miracles
Roaring on to the scene in 1990 with the uncompromising “You’ve Got to Stand for Something,” Aaron Tippin has crusaded for the working men and women of the USA. He follows that tradition with In Overdrive, a new album that salutes America’s truck drivers. Tippin’s take on trucker classics was sparked by his concern that Country music had turned its back on its highway heroes. “Somewhere along the line, trucking music got shoved off the country music plate,” he observes. “The trucks are still out there and busier than ever keeping America rolling. I know the folks who work and live in the trucking world still love this music. This album launches my crusade to bring the music back.” “East Bound And Down,” originally cut by Jerry Reed, opens the set and stays fairly close to the original. A high-octane take on the classic, “Truck Drivin’ Man” scorches with fast burning guitar and steel riffs as does the Dave Dudley classic, “Six Days on the Road.” The haunting “Prisoner of the Highway” highlights the passion that Tippin pours into this project, while “Movin’ On” typifies the album; trucker classics re-branded by Tippin, true to the originals, but updated for a new audience. Paul Clifford
More well-known as a world-class golfer and for his colorful lifestyle, John Daly returns with his second album. Like his last record, My Life, I Only Know One Way is largely an autobiographical outing. True to his Arkansas roots, Daly’s Southern-fried anthem “Hit It Hard” announces that he means business and plans to win, regardless of the game. This track should really get some good radio play if programmers will give it a chance. “Blue Collar Golfer” tells his own personal story, while “All I Know” and “Lonely As A Man Can Be” rips his bravado back to expose the pain lurking underneath – all the while holding out the hope that things will get better. “Big John” rocks and swaggers with growling guitar and honky tonk piano which really fits Daly well. Dylan’s “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” gets a work out – but this time with a quiet resolve from a man who has lived like he is 10-feet tall and bullet proof. With musical supporters including Kid Rock, Willie Nelson, Darius Rucker and Johnny Lee, maybe Daly will find the kind of support for his music that he has for his golf game, and that would be a good thing. Paul Clifford
“I have always made albums with the idea that each one is a snapshot of where you are in your life,” states Mary Chapin Carpenter. Recorded after a near-death experience, The Age Of Miracles rings with sincerity, melancholy and gratitude. The title track is a personal exploration of regret and resilience - but also a larger, more universal expression of wonder at the times that we are living in. “Zepher” is a metaphor for storms breaking and of finding the courage to fly untethered from the earthly bounds of love. “I Put My Ring Back On,” a hooky mid-tempo, exposes the forgiving nature of a marriage and how turning inward to reunite - as opposed to leaving - is sometimes the better option to deal with painful past hurts. “I Was A Bird” taps into the inner child in all of us – one who dreams of flying high on wings and of drifting like a cloud without a care. “Mrs. Hemingway,” written about the first wife of Ernest Hemingway, uses her voice to look back at the Lost Generation, just before her husband fell in love with her best friend and changed her life forever. The Age Of Miracles feels like the return of a long lost friend. Welcome back, Mary. Susan Fischer
By: Andrea Gray
LADIES TRANSFORMATION OF BODY AND MIND
ou are Beautiful! Welcome Lovely Ladies into my version of Transformation of Body and Mind. I seek to convey my feelings, experience, and view in order to help you to open up your eyes and be grateful for the all that you are - all the likes and dislikes alike. And, even gracefully accept those things that you cannot change as a part of your unique being – and find the power to enhance and strengthen things that can be made stronger, inside and out. I think it’s essential to begin with a healthy balance of the Mind for peace and clarity. This comes from several different body and mind exercises on a daily basis. Take a look at only the moment that lives before you - the moment of “Now,” for that’s all that you have. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow may never come, and therefore in order to truly be alive and “living” is only about the moment. Cherish it and all situations that unfold moment by moment; lay it out before you as if it’s a fine piece of art. Look for the beauty in it, the color, the texture, and the message. Every moment in life is to be cherished as a gift. If we look at life in this way, it gives us depth and meaning. It’s truly about the journey within our own lives, moment by moment, mile by mile. It’s not the destination that we should focus on. Sure, keep it in mind, however if you only focus on that place of destination, then you surely will have missed so much along the stretch of miles you have traveled on this journey in life.
For example, this day I had planned on taking my kayak out to a river to get away and enjoy the beauty, relax, exercise, and discover something new. In the past, I may have been not only disappointed, but perhaps mad and most likely; I may have let the rainy conditions totally ruin my day. It wasn’t what had happened. It was the mindset, the choice of reaction, the mind’s perception that I chose to look at the situation in a different way. Do I have to remind you how precious and short life is? How do you know, this may just be your last day on this earth, therefore make it what you can. I myself chose to catch up on some things around the house stopping occasionally to look out my window at the amazing lush green foliage which surrounds the perimeter of my property, taking time to listen to the beautiful sounds of the birds singing. I’m even thinking of taking a nice walk on a nearby trail along the lake shoreline if there is even a small break in the weather on this rainy day. If not, I might just do some yoga here in my own home or take a little trip to the yoga center. Not long after my thoughts of “what’s next,” the weather broke and I took the walk along the lake shoreline near my home. As I walked, I reviewed my knowledge about resistance. Resistance is so important in so many ways. We utilize natural resistance in order to strengthen our body, mind and spirit. It’s a natural tool to help to balance and align ourselves. Not only does it strengthen the body, as a result strengthening the mind, and then often
the spirit is in harmony with the two. Our trials and tribulations “the resistance” in our lives naturally strengthens the spirit. You’re pushed and pulled, often times we have to stay in place-holding tight, holding and pushing, day in and day out, through sweat and tears of our hardships in life. You may even feel as if you’ll collapse, but then before we know it we have made it beyond that weight upon us, and we are stronger in spirit, stronger in mind. Like the old saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” When you are strong in spirit and mind, then we have the power to strengthen the body. Our “being” is not separate; we are a multi-faceted creation. Unity and balance is key. Exercise with your natural resistance in nature. As I was walking in the forest and was exercising in a playful manner, it was like being as a child being in the moment, being alone. That’s easy to do as a child, but as we grow older we feel as if we have to have someone with us. As for myself, I love company, but I love being alone too. When I am in nature and walking alone I am alone with my thoughts and creation, helping to enlighten me and enhance my own creativity within. Often we consume ourselves with situations going on in our personal lives and worry simply cannot help the
situation, so don’t let certain situations thieve your moment. If you find yourself drifting away in your mind from the moment into particular concern or troubles in your life, simply view them only for a moment, yet letting it drift on by like a cloud in the sky, brining yourself back to where you truly are in the moment. I jumped upon the top of a giant log that had washed lengthwise along the side of the shoreline. I practice strengthening my balance and posture helping me to become more flexible, in a playful, manner. I started by walking back and forth on it with the awareness of being graceful - like a trapeze artist balancing along the wire. I moved gracefully with my arm stretched out to the sides helping to keep my balance. Then I would walk backwards. I continued this for quite some time. I then stepped off the log, planted my feet firmly on the ground, leaned over toward the log, facing the lake, placed my hands upon the log and proceeded to do several sets of pushups with my own natural resentence to strengthen my upper body and arms. I then got back onto the log standing with my legs spread out three feet apart. Then I bent over and hung my head downward in a relaxed state, letting my head hang loose between my legs. I did this for a while, then I moved to the right and touched the log near my right foot, I stood in place for a few moments then I did the same on the left side then came upright. Breathing is important. It helps get the blood flowing and oxygen to all the major organs. The more oxygen we have in our bodies the more energized and healthier we become. Next, I walked down the trail on my tippy toes and then I walked backwards mixing in some lunges and I skipped too – singing a song. I did many playful things - even cartwheels along the way. I marched right on through a fresh water puddle on the road, enjoying it every step of the way, funny how your shoes and
clothes can dry out. There were no rules or workout program; it was a natural flow, as a child at play. I am always consciously aware of my surroundings, the view, and my breath. I open up my eyes to the beauty before me. If you witness a child in play in their surroundings, you begin to hear as they hear, and feel as they feel - like the sun on their face, or the touch and smell of a flower. We forget the simple pleasures of digging in the dirt to make a mud pie. I’m not saying make a mud pie, I’m just saying find some pleasures in the natural things of this world. Some might say that the “simple” things bring the greatest pleasure. Many times in this state of mind they will hear sing or hum, in the purity of joy. That is what I seek to find: the child within. I always keep myself in proper alignment, keeping my posture nice, tall and strong. As we grow older our postures decay, and in many instances we do this to ourselves, by not sitting upright, and slumping over, the pressures in life weigh us down, eroding our self-esteem. Our shoulders move inward, our heads hang low. But imagine this: a golden cord attached to the crown of your head, and it’s gently, yet firmly pulling you upward toward the heavens above, with your feet grounded to the core of the earth. Keep your shoulders relaxed and the posture of your back will align into its proper and natural alignment. This is a conscious state we need to be in at all times of the day. Often, I sit on the floor or in a chair without a back in order to keep it strong, with age we become lazy or use to the support of a back rest. At first this may be difficult to retrain yourself, but with awareness, in time it will fall into place without even having to think about it. Our shoulders get tight from a lack of movement, so as I’m walking I often make a fist and punch up toward the sky, and outward directly in front
of me and swing them around like a helicopter. I make things up as I go. As I walked down the trail I spotted some unique leaves hanging on the trees, I stretch tall upon my tippy toes, engaging my calf muscles to take a better look at the intricate details of nature, or I bend low several times to pluck a bright little wild flower growing along the ground, always bending all the way at the knees in order to strengthen my lower back and engage my leg muscles and the gluteus maximums to better strengthen them. I don’t limit my mind or body with boundaries of structured physical activities like classes all the time, sometimes I color outside the lines of the traditional ways of physical training, and just go with the natural flow without boundaries, no rhyme or reason. I ended up on the boat dock. After jumping in for a quick swim, I sat on the edge of the dock in total appreciation of the view of all the big beautiful rain clouds afloat in the sky just as far as my eyes could see, with a gentle breeze blowing through my hair. I was with peace in the moment and hoped for more to come. I sat in gratitude of the alignment and sweet harmony within. I highly encourage you to do the same too. Take a few days each week in this month and implement something similar to what I have just written about and just see how much better you feel at your level of physical capabilities in a safe manner. Just see the harmony and balance you can start to feel within your being. Until next time, I wish you well and great peace every step of the way.
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