Music Alchemist Robert Plant New Music!
Behind the Desk Jed Hilly: Go Americana!
Lifestyle Feature Stars on the Water
Americana Music Charts European HotDisc Charts Christian Music Weekly Global Radio Charts Featured Artists & Reviews
6 Cover Story
Rock guitar virtuoso Steve Vai gives the Direct Buzz a rare one-on-one interview where he covers his career from his early days with Frank Zappa to his film work and current treasure trove of VaiTunes releases. Take a peek inside his world to find out what obsession remains the guiding force behind his ongoing musical evolution and unique musical vision which remains virtually unclassifiable.
15 Behind the Desk Meet Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association. He has worked with some of the most well-known names in the history of music, from Michael Jackson to Pearl Jam to Roy Orbison. Hilly has seen the business from many sides and is a passionate advocate for the future of true artistry and great music.
48 LIFESTYLE FEATURE: Old Hickory Lake - Stars on the Water Rich in history and natural beauty, Old Hickory Lake, near Nashville, has long been home to the stars of country and pop music. From legends such as Johnny Cash and Tammy Wynette to contemporary stars Taylor Swift and Gary Allan, the area has held a magnetic attraction for creative talent drawn to this hidden jewel.
42 THE INDIE WAY: Why Promote to Internet Radio? With competition for airplay becoming greater, and playlists becoming smaller, Internet radio is more important than ever to independent artists. Learn the value of self-promotion, and why hiring a promoter to help you could be the right decision.
51 CONCERT REVIEW: Songwriters Sing for Nashville at The Woods at Fontanel
19 AMERICANA MUSIC ASSOCIATION CHARTS 23 EUROPEAN HOTDISC CHARTS 29 CHRISTIAN MUSIC WEEKLY 34 AIRPLAY DIRECT GLOBAL RADIO CHARTS ---------------------------------------------------------------PUBLISHER & FOUNDER: Robert Weingartz EDITOR: Clif Doyal DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL PROJECTS: Scott Welch CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Clif Doyal, Mike Hagler, Jr, Paul Clifford, Susan Fischer, Jeff Walter, Abby Montgomery ART DIRECTION: Aleven Creatives (aleven.com) COVER PHOTOGRAPHY CREDIT: Michael Mesker
---------------------------------------------------------------© 2010 by AirPlay Direct, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
FROM THE PUBLISHER Welcome to the August issue of the Direct Buzz! It’s hot outside, and so is the music showcased in this edition. New Americana offerings from Rock icons Robert Plant and John Mellencamp - exclusively available at AirPlay Direct - join a wide range of artists and musical genres in our “Featured Artists” and “Killer Tracks” reviews. Country newcomer Colt Ford talks about his funny new video for “Chicken and Biscuits” in “The Writers Round.” We are honored to have Rock guitar virtuoso Steve Vai in a rare one-on-one interview with the Direct Buzz as our cover story. Elusive and curious - Vai remains an enigma. In a culture obsessed with stardom, he remains focused on his own personal musical evolution and the desire to help others achieve their musical dreams. We get “Behind the Desk” with Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association. A passionate advocate for the future of true artistry, Hilly has seen the business from many sides and worked with some of the most well-known names in the history of music, from Michael Jackson to Pearl Jam to Roy Orbison. We unveil a new Lifestyle feature this month with “Old Hickory Lake - Stars on the Water,” where we discover some of the special qualities that have made this Middle Tennessee jewel home to musical artists for decades. “Songwriters Sing for Nashville at The Woods at Fontanel” presented the cream of the crop from the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in a recent benefit concert for flood victims, and we were there to bring you the highlights. The good news is: great music is alive and well. Accept no substitutes! See you next month.
Robert Weingartz Founder & CEO, AirPlay Direct Founder & Publisher, the Direct Buzz
THE WRITERS ROUND A Songwriter Profile by Mike Hagler, Jr.
Colt Ford “Chicken & Biscuits” AirPlayDirect.com/ColtFord
f you are an avid Billboard chart watcher, you may have seen Colt Ford many times on their “Regional Heatseekers” chart. Not your typical country singer, this Athens, Ga. native’s sophomore effort continues to gain him a loyal fan base started with his debut. And, earlier this year, he even took his music to the Grand Ole Opry. Colt’s latest single, “Chicken & Biscuits,” best showcases this songsmith’s vocal style and lyrical prowess. We caught up with Colt to ask him about his songwriting and the popular Twilight-themed video for “Chicken & Biscuits.” WR: Colt, I’ve been watching you go from consistently being in the Billboard “Regional Heatseekers” chart to now having a much talked-about music video for “Chicken & Biscuits.” How has this experience been for you? CF: It has been an incredible ride so far, and I hope I am only just beginning. I just write about stuff I know about, and I try to be honest with my music. I love people and getting to play music for a living and putting a smile on someone’s face is the greatest gift.
WR: Being from Athens, did you have any influences from that music scene that you admired (Widespread Panic, Drive By Truckers, B-52s, REM, etc.)? CF: I am sure that I was influenced by all the great music that has come out of Athens. I was mostly influenced by their originality, which is what I try to bring to my music. WR: What was it like co-writing the song with Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip? Is there any method or madness to your co-writing sessions? CF: It was a blast working with Rhett and Ben on “Chicken & Biscuits.” Those guys are good friends of mine and we always have fun writing. Our other good buddy, Dallas Davidson - who Ben and Rhett write with a lot - was not there that day, but we all work together and we’re all from Georgia. We all grew up the same and like the same things, so it is easy for us to write together. WR: How did the idea come about to do a Twilight-themed video? CF: My wife Jessica got me watching the Twilight Saga with her, and I really liked it. It is a great love story,
and that is what “Chicken & Biscuits” is about (to me). I just thought it would be funny for a fat guy to be a vampire and not want your blood, but your chicken and biscuits. Folks thought it was crazy when I told them, so I knew it was right for me. This is what I truly enjoy about the country music scene. Colt is a simple good ol’ boy that is getting to enjoy making a living from his craft and it truly is enjoyable to listen to. While not your typical country-fare from Nashville, that is what gives him the fresh appeal that has earned him his place and will continue to grow his popularity.
Steve Vai Music Alchemist By: Clif Doyal Photo credit: Michael Mesker
ome musicians fit into a single category or genre. That is not the case with Steve Vai; his unique musical vision remains virtually unclassifiable. A guitar virtuoso of the first order, Vai continues to explore new musical territory more than three decades after he first came to the attention of the music industry and his fans. Vai creates a sound all his own by striking a balance between technical ability and poetic phrasing. “I make music to push my own buttons,” explains Vai. “I’ve always been driven by an addiction to create sounds that are unique, not better than what other people do, just different.” That obsession remains the guiding force behind Vai’s ongoing musical evolution and what he loves most about being a musician. Vai grew up in Carle Place, New York. As he matured, so did his love for music and the guitar. After high school he was accepted at the Berklee College of Music, where, in 2000, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the esteemed college. Vai first stepped into
the spotlight in 1980 as a guitarist in Frank Zappa’s band. But Vai’s indelible contribution to music came during his solo career, which includes combined sales of nearly six million albums. His debut, Flex-Able, from 1984, set the stage for his most influential and best-selling album, Passion and Warfare, released in 1990. The album expanded the lexicon of rock guitar and ushered in an era of
huge influence on contemporary hard rock, so did his guitars. In 1987, he began collaborating with guitarmaker Ibanez, and his work with the company continues today. Vai has also branched out into the business of music by launching his own record label, Favored Nations, founded to help other guitarists release their projects to the marketplace. Throughout his career, Vai’s cre-
“I don’t think there was a time that I was ever NOT interested in guitar.” guitar virtuosos in the early ‘90s. Despite the album’s unqualified commercial and artistic success, it set Vai up for an inevitable backlash in the mid-90’s. Although his music was replaced on the charts by the Seattle sound, Vai became a major influence on the post-grunge era. Guitarists such as James “Munky” Shaffer of Korn, Mike Eizinger of Incubus, and Tom Morello of Audioslave all cite Vai as a major inspiration. Not only did Vai’s music have a
ative impulses have been inspired by a deeply-held spiritual commitment to improving the world through his music and actions. One of his earliest philanthropic endeavors was the Make a Noise Foundation, which he founded in 1988. The organization provides musical instruments and music education to young musicians who cannot afford them. Vai has also turned his beekeeping hobby into a way to raise money for Make a Noise, by harvesting the honey and
auctioning it to benefit the charity. However, it is Vai’s work with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) – the Grammy organization – that excites him the most. He served on the board of governors with NARAS for almost three years and has since been promoted to trustee. This position gives Vai an opportunity to expand his charity work and help more people. We visited with Vai recently and had the opportunity to talk about his past, his future plans, and his tireless drive to continue to create - and inspire. the Direct Buzz (tDB): Who were your earliest musical influences? Steve Vai (SV): Just like most kids who are exposed to what their parents listen to, it was the same for me. West Side Story got me really excited about music; it had incredible melody, and structure. I also listened to the radio a lot. I loved Top 40 and I spent my lunch money to buy all the latest singles. I was a teenager in the 70’s, when my older sister turned me on to Led Zeppelin and that was all I listened to for awhile. Later on, when I heard Frank Zappa for the first time, it changed my life. tDB: When did you first become interested in the guitar? SV: I don’t think there was a time that I was ever NOT interested in guitar. In 3rd grade, I remember a guy at my school that played guitar and I was just amazed with his talent. I was really intimidated. When I was 13, I bought my first guitar - and I felt like that was the day I was born. tDB: You first took guitar lessons from another amazing guitarist, Joe Satriani. How did that relationship come about, and what was that experience like? SV: I had a friend who lived a couple of houses away from me. He turned me on to all of this great music by Jethro Tull, Yes, and Queen. He was an awesome guitarist and he
Photo credit: Larry DiMarzio
“I am still learning in my career every step of the way.” could play “Aqualung!” I thought that he was the greatest guitar player that I had ever heard. One day, he said: ‘You think I am great? You should check out my guitar teacher, Joe.’ And that is how I met Joe. He was 16 at the time - and very cool. You know, with the mentality of a 13 year old, an older guy is like ‘God’ and a super hero. So, it wasn’t long before the lessons ended up with us jamming for hours on end. Everything he played had an emotional investment into each song. I am so grateful for that relationship and how we have been joined at the hip since we were teenagers. As a matter of fact, today is Joe’s birthday! (7/15) tDB: When you were 18, you sent
Frank Zappa a transcription of the “The Black Page,” an instrumental for drums and melodic percussion from the live album, Zappa in New York. This is a very difficult piece of music to play. How, as a guitarist, did you know enough about percussion to undertake charting it? SV: I started studying composition at around age 11. Then, I was with my high school orchestra for 4 years. I wrote my first orchestra piece before I graduated. Later on, at Berklee, I studied percussion. I did the transcription and sent it to Frank, and it was close enough, so then he sent me the actual music to “The Black Page” and asked me to play it on guitar and needless to say, my hair about
fell out! tDB: After you sent Zappa that sample of your guitar work, he was so impressed that he hired you to transcribe other works of his that were later published in The Frank Zappa Guitar Book. Tell us more about this. SV: I transcribed music for him for several years. The book was only a very small segment of what I had transcribed for him. tDB: After doing some overdubs on his album, You Are What You Is, Zappa hired you as a full-fledged band member. What was he like to work for? SV: When I moved to LA at around 20, I started recording and touring with Frank. He was an extraordinary man. He expected your best from you. He got you to do things that you didn’t know you could do – he inspired you to push yourself. tDB: Much like Zappa, you have pursued broad and varied musical expression throughout your career. Was he a major influence on your musical direction and output? SV: He was a mentor and he had a tremendous impact on me. His work output and business acumen really inspired me. He made his music regardless of what was in vogue or popular at the time. tDB: You have worked as a solo artist and also in several high-profile rock outfits, including Alcatrazz, David Lee Roth and Whitesnake, among others. Do you find both creative outlets equally rewarding? SV: Absolutely, they all offer different experiences and I learned a lot from them. I was very naïve. I didn’t know the business, protocol, how to interact with other musicians. But I learned from these experiences - and I am still learning in my career every step of the way. tDB: Your music is very popular in video games. How much do you feel that adds to your career longev-
Photo credit: Ross Pelton
“True artists have no choice but to be creative and pursue it with all they have.” ity by introducing you to younger audiences? SV: I have no way of knowing really. Lucky for me, my works are embraced and work in some video games. tDB: Favored Nations, your recording company has been instrumental in bringing other great guitar talents to market their solo music,
including Neal Schon, Eric Johnson, Steve Lukather, Tak Matsumoto, Greg Koch and others. What motivates you to want to help other guitarists? SV: I look for nice ‘fits.’ I understand the business and I know that market. It is not a huge market, but to some fans, it is a vital part of the music they love. They want to hear
music from these great guitarists. I built the label for independents who know what they want to create. It has become a niche market and I have become a ‘go-to’ for the best guitarists in the world. I do have ulterior motives (chuckling). I love working with these great artists and I feel great when I can assist them. They are not making a ton of money, but we set it up with 50% profit shares – hence the name Favored Nations. I also have future plans for new business model under the Favored Nations umbrella that I hope to have ready in about a year. The whole infrastructure of the old label system is crumbling - and I have come up with an idea that I humbly think is revolutionary - where artists join the label as opposed to being signed, and we give them the tools to cultivate their own independent career. tDB: Tell us about your charity work with the “Make a Noise Foundation.” SV: Thru the years, I have received a lot of free equipment - prototypes, etc. I knew I could not feel good about just selling these products and keeping the proceeds, so, I auction off the gear to fund the purchase of musical instruments and music education for young musicians who cannot afford it. I set out to cultivate a rich musical awareness among young people because of the experience I had at Berklee. The best music education I got was at the school’s listening library where they had every kind of music available. Being exposed to different kinds of music was a big contributor to my musical awakening. I started Make A Noise, in part, to help others have the same experience I had. tDB: You have a substantial body of work. Can you pick a favorite album? SV: It’s hard to say, because each one has its own place. If I had to pick one, I would have to say it would be Real Illusions. That record seems to
be my purest personal expression. I really didn’t feel like there was anything on that album that was insincere. I did that project about 4 years ago, and at that time, I felt I had reached a personal plateau. I wasn’t thinking about what people would expect from me. There was no agenda. I had really achieved everything that was important to me. As you mature and change, your work changes and I was in a very good place when I made that album. tDB: Do you have a favorite composition? SV: I have different favorite songs for different reasons. “Love Secrets” from Passion and Warfare is probably the ‘one.’ That piece came from a very different place than any that I have ever written. It is based on a dream that I had where there was really strange and different music going on. When I awoke in tears, I realized there was a musical freedom there - a balance of order and chaos. So, when I wrote it, I put myself back into the mindset from the dream and tried to re-create that space that I had experienced there. It is unique. It is a piece of music that doesn’t sound like anything that I, or anyone else, have ever done. tDB: You have designed and developed many new signature guitars (and guitar gear) for several companies over the years. What drives you to continue to create new tools to make your music? SV: It’s fun! I am very fortunate to have several companies that want to build what I need. I am inundated with requests, but I don’t just want to sit around developing new gear all the time. I get what I need and then move on. I use the tools to help me to create new sounds. tDB: You firmly embrace digital technology for the delivery of your music to radio and to fans. How has it benefited your career? SV: If you look at history, we are
always continuing to change. As an independent artist you have to be on the curve and on the lookout for new technology. Approaching it from that mindset has served me well. On one hand, the whole digital revolution has changed the record sales landscape, but at the same time, it has brought tremendous opportunities for artists by exposing their music to more fans and a larger radio base. tDB: How has music changed, and do you feel like there is still room for great artistry? SV: People have always been receptive to pop music and that will likely not change. True artists have no choice but to be creative and pursue it with all they have. I have to shave this face in the mirror every morning and I have to be honest with myself about who I am as an artist. When I come up with an idea, I become obsessed by it. That is both the blessing and the curse of being an artist. tDB: What are some current projects would you like to tell us about? SV: My new VaiTunes project there are enough lonely, unreleased notes in my world to fill an infinity shelf. In between composing new scores for my performance with the North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, I transformed these snippets into full, lush songs and these rarities are being released as a series of single digital downloads. Also, Favored Nations has just released the DVD of a film entitled Crazy, a docu-drama about guitar legend, Hank Garland, one of the most influential session men who emerged from the Nashville music scene during the 1950’s. I am one of the executive producers of the project. It was quite an experience putting the picture together. I think people who love the guitar will really enjoy it. To learn more about Steve Vai, visit his online sites at: www.vai.com and www.facebook.com/stevevai
Jed Hilly Executive Director - Americana Music Assn.
By: Clif Doyal
s Executive Director of the Americana Music Association, whose mission is to foster growth of the musical genre, Jed Hilly sits in a unique position at a crossroads of music history. While some formats are struggling, Americana is blossoming. Fueled by the success of well-established artists such as Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett and Lucinda Williams, and younger artists including Ryan Bingham and The Avett Brothers, Americana is also growing their audience with musical icons from Country and Rock, including Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Robert Plant and John Fogerty, whose new music is being welcomed with
open arms. In a world of shrinking radio playlists tightly controlled by corporate conglomerates, Americana provides a bastion for artistic expression, and a smorgasbord of music for radio and fans. Since his appointment in 2007, Hilly has been instrumental in the Recording Academy’s decision to add the Americana Category to its list of Grammy Awards in the most wide-sweeping restructuring of the awards fields in decades. He has steered the association to increased attendance totals at their annual Americana Music Festival and Conference, and significantly raised the profile of the genre with Rolling Stone magazine printing the Ameri-
cana Music Airplay Chart, the creation of the Americana Landing Page at amazon.com and major feature stories about the genre - and the organization - in Billboard, the New York Times, LA Times, the Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other periodicals worldwide. Very passionate about the music, Hilly says, “I believe that this community of artists is the best chance that we have to turn things around and reverse the downward spiral of the music business.” And, if you spent a few minutes with him and listen to his vision, you believe it, too. “People ask me sometimes, ‘What is Americana?’ My response is Americana is contemporary music that derives from American
roots music. That is the most accurate description of the genre. I hate to say this to people in radio, but I don’t know that I believe in formats. When FM radio began it was not bound by formats. ‘Jane Doe’ in Maine loves Patti Griffin because she makes good music, not because she is played on a certain station. I hope it goes to a place where we can really appreciate great music and art. Tift Merritt does it because she HAS to. It’s in her soul. I believe that is the criteria for this format.” Raised in Scarsdale, New York, Hilly was exposed to music and show business at an early age. “My father was an entertainment attorney who worked with the Today Show and the
Tonight Show. He also represented Joan Rivers, Soupy Sales and other talents,” Hilly states. “My mom was born and raised in Vermont, and every weekend and summer we spent time there on the family farm. It took me a long time to realize what a gift that was. It gave me a good balance between the city and the country.” Hilly’s musical tastes were drawn to an eclectic group of artists, including Flatt & Scruggs, Hot Tuna, Bonnie Raitt, Grateful Dead, Neil Young, the Green Mountain Boys and Muddy Waters. “Outdoor music was very big where I came from. One of my earliest memories was attending the Craftsbury Common Fiddle Contest, in Vermont. I have many fond memories of those days. I also remember when everyone packed up and went to Woodstock. I didn’t get to go but my sister did. Outdoor music events were part of the culture and part of the life. In the 60’s, it seemed like there were a lot of cool smart hippies who moved there. And the old school conservatives and the hippies had one thing in common and that is respect for the land. It was a very environmentally friendly place to live.” Even today, Vermont is the only state in the Union that doesn’t have billboards along the highways. Hilly began his career in music almost by accident. “I was working in a little Mexican restaurant in New York City in the mid-80’s and the Mariachi band cancelled for their New Years event. The manager called me and said ‘You need to come down and play bass for this band.’ I had taken drum and banjo lessons when I was young, but I was far from a musician. So, me and some of the workers from the place and some musician friends of mine literally fell in and formed a band overnight,” Hilly recalls. Much to his surprise, the lark turned into a real working band, and before long they were playing some of the Big Apple’s most influential rooms, such as CBGB’s and the Lone Star Café. “I
“Americana is contemporary music that derives from American roots music. That is the most accurate description of the genre.” became the manager of the band, and in that role I started meeting a lot of people. ‘Yang Blitzen’ was my band alter-ego, and the manager’s name was ‘Jed Hilly.’ I assembled the mailing list and did the booking and everything. I got to know lots of people.” After awhile, the band broke up, and a friend of Hilly’s suggested that he take a look at the other side of the music business. He set Hilly up a meeting with Ron Piccolo at Sony. “Ron said to me ‘I only have this mail room position that I would normally give to a kid. Why should I hire you? You are 30 years old.’ And so I told him, ‘I know how to be humble.’ And he hired me on the spot!” From that low-level mail room position, Hilly would go on to grow in the company by leaps and bounds. In short order, he was working in inventory, travelling to all of the record stores to physically count product and service them. “I had an advantage by being older, because they respected me and I took good care of them. I had worked as a bartender, so I understood good customer service.” That experience would prepare Hilly as he became more entrenched in physical distribution for Sony and began to work with many of their newer artists, including Pearl Jam. “I was involved with Pearl Jam on a very grass-roots level. I set up in-stores and helped get the word out. Early on, I set up an in store in Yonkers and only about 50 people came and they did an acoustic set. It was unbelievable. I was sitting there crosslegged on the floor watching history. I could feel it in my heart.” Within a few
weeks, Pearl Jam exploded on the music scene. “I can’t take credit for that,” Hilly explains. “Mark Ryder was their product manager and I was one of the worker bees. But, it was really fun to watch it unfold.” During this time Hilly had many exciting highlights with Sony, but a standout for him was when he was brought in to work on the latest project that superstar Michael Jackson was preparing for the label. “Dan Beck pulled me into the project and we flew out to California to have a major strategy session between Michael and the label. I was the youngest member of the team. There were all these label heavyweights with ‘stripes’ - and then me. It was a very nerve-wracking experience.” To ensure that everything went smoothly with the sometimes unpredictable star, the label staged a dress rehearsal where everyone on the team would have the opportunity to address Jackson directly about their part of the plan. So, the young Hilly waited while everyone on the team read from their prepared notes until it finally came to his turn. “I nervously stood to read from my notes, when suddenly, Dave Glew (Chairman of Epic Records), slammed his hand on the desk and yelled at me ‘You gotta stand up and talk to him artist to artist, you can’t be reading from a script! You have to animate and paint a picture about what is gonna be happening at every record store in America so he can understand this!’” Understandably shaken, Hilly wondered if he was going to be on the next plane out. He went back to his hotel, ordered some
beer to calm his nerves, and a box of index cards to prepare for the face-toface meeting with Jackson the next morning. “I was up all night preparing, and I barely slept at all before I showed up for the 10 a.m. meeting. When it came my turn, I stood up and began my presentation. I had to move around or Dave would have killed me, so I got pretty animated, and at one point I went over to Michael and put my arm around his shoulder like ‘buds’ to get closer and show him some of the artwork I thought we should use. He was quiet but seemed to like what I was saying and showing him. When I was finished, the room got real quiet. Then Michael clapped his hands together one time. Then a few seconds later, he clapped again - and then again - and finally he stood up and everyone started clapping in time with him. It was pretty crazy. So, I am proud to say that I got a standing ovation from Michael Jackson! That meeting changed my life and my career.” In 1994, Hilly oversaw the implementation of the music industry’s first B2B website for Sony, changing the distribution methods by which artwork and other assets critical to marketing CDs were disseminated. Hilly recalls: “Jeremy Klotz worked in Creative Services at Sony. We had just gotten computers and we were still mailing letters to people and following up by phone. Jeremy sent me a Lotus Notes e-mail with a Pearl Jam album cover, and he came around and asked, ‘Did you get my e-mail?’ I said ‘No, why would I want to open an e-mail?’ Nobody used it.” However, after looking
at the e-mail, Hilly knew that it was a turning point. At that time, all album artwork was sent at great expense via couriers to the outlets to create posters and point-of-sale items. “Tower Records was a great client of mine, and when I sent the e-mail to them they were so excited! Sony rolled out the new system that year at NARM (National Association of Record Merchandisers), and they saved $695,000 in the first year. It was the first electronic distribution of assets that Sony implemented. All the majors followed suit, but ours was the best!” By 1997, Hilly was Sony’s key executive responsible for superstar band Creed’s international marketing campaign, aiding their worldwide explosion, which resulted in the sale of over 36 million records. Hilly went on to become a member of the corporate executive team and was asked to develop new business strategies for Sony’s Digital Asset Management Initiative. Serving as Corporate Vice President and Global Manager of Business-to-Business Applications, Jed conceived of and directed the development and deployment of Sony Music’s Media and Music Exchange (MMX) and worldwide Multilanguage B2B websites. Following the 911 disaster, Hilly relocated his family to Nashville, where he met Barbara Orbison, wife of the late Roy Orbison. As Vice President for Orbison Records, he steered numerous initiatives to remind the public of the legendary artist. He coordinated museum exhibits and helped to produce the “American Music Master Series” at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; oversaw the
“I believe that this community of artists is the best chance that we have to turn things around and reverse the downward spiral of the music business.”
campaign to encourage the U.S. Postal Service to issue a commemorative stamp to honor Orbison; and initiated numerous other projects and re-releases of the Orbison catalog that resulted in tripling sales over previous years. In the spring of 2007, Jed accepted the position as Executive Director of the Americana Music Association. Hilly also produces the annual Americana Honors & Awards show at the historic Ryman Auditorium which is broadcast around the world on BBC2 Radio, XM/Sirius Satellite Radio, WSM, and Voice of America. In recent years, the organization has been bolstered with ever-growing support and attendance of artists like John Fogerty, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Steve Earle and Levon Helm (with whom Hilly produced the PBS special Levon Helm: Ramble at the Ryman). Hilly summed up how he feels about the current state of the music business – in particular the digital delivery of music to radio and declining record sales. “I don’t know where the digital to radio thing is going yet. But I think the nature of the business has dictated its necessity. Everything is happening so fast. I would like for things to slow down a little, but it is not going to. From a business prospective, as a service, this is critical stuff - it is exploding. No one has put radio to the wall yet and said, ‘This is the only way you can get it!’ But as Americana music moves into other formats - where digital delivery is the norm - it is important to give them the music wrapped up in a neat little bow and we better be ready to give it to them. I don’t know where the decline in sales turns around. It wasn’t the greed of the artist that let the cat out of the bag in the first place. It is our job to learn from our mistakes. You work hard, you are passionate and you sell product out of the trunk of your car if that is what it takes. You can’t be in it for the quick hit. You have to be in it for real.”
AMA TOP 40 ALBUMS - REPORTED AUG. 9, 2010
AMERICANA AIRPLAY CHART
AMA TOP 40 ALBUMS - REPORTED AUG. 9, 2010
AMA TOP 40 ALBUMS - REPORTED AUG 9, 2010
EUROPEAN TOP 40 - REPORTED AUG. 5, 2010
EUROPEAN TOP 40 SINGLES - REPORTED AUG. 5, 2010
EUROPEAN TOP 40 SINGLES - REPORTED AUG. 5, 2010
INDEPENDENT BRITISH IRISH TOP 10 - REPORTED AUG. 5, 2010
Supplement For the Direct Buzz
CMW CHRIS TOMLIN Our God [Sixsteps/EMI] CHASEN Castaway [INO] HOUSE OF HEROES Elevator [Gotee] CASTING CROWNS If We’ve Ever Needed You [Beach Street/PLG]
CMW & AirPlay Direct Offer Exclusive Superchick Download Ready For Radio To Download Today Superchick releases their new Inpop Records single, “Still Here,” to radio exclusively through July 30, via AirPlay Direct and in conjunction with Christian Music Weekly. The song is from Superchick’s latest album, Reinvention, which was released in April. “Superchick is redefining the standard for today’s artists,” states Robert Weingartz, CEO of AirPlay Direct. “Their music and visual presentation continues to propel them forward in the Christian format, and we are thrilled to be able to introduce their latest single to radio. We wish to thank the great staff at Inpop Records, and Rick Welke of Christian Music Weekly, for helping us to make this happen.” Superchick is currently supporting “Still Here” and Reinvention with their upcoming national “Reinvention Tour” featuring guests Manafest, Me In Motion and Bread of Stone. For a complete list of tour dates, visit: www.superchickonline.com. Radio programmers may download a broadcast quality version of “Still Here” at AirPlay Direct here.
Dove Awards Moving To Atlanta in 2011 The Gospel Music Association (GMA) in announcing a renewal of their partnership with GMC (formerly Gospel Music Channel) to cover the annual GMA Dove Awards has decided to move the awards show to Atlanta in 2011. This will be the first time in its 42-year existence that the awards program will be held outside of Nashville.
CMW RIGHT HERE
The 2010 Dove Awards program grew its audience on GMC by a whopping 54 percent over 2009, helping to prompt the move closer to GMC headquarters in Atlanta. The awards presentation will take place at the Fox Theatre on April 20, 2011. The GMA is said to be working with the city of Atlanta to maximize exposure for the event.
With the move nothing has been shared on the status of the annual Dove Awards Week in Nashville, which took a heavy hit this year due to the GMA canceling all contained conference-related activities and educational opportunities, mainly due to financial reasons.
Nielsen Spring Ratings Show Listener Stability Listener consumption of radio is showing stable year-to-year numbers by way of analysis of Neilsen's spring 2010 metric ratings within 51 U.S. cities. The survey, which measured listening habits in March and April 2010 among over 115,000 media consumers, is the most
Relient K Member Tired Of Faith Questions
Inside CMW CMW Adds This Week > page 2 Artist Shorts > Page 2 Radio Charts Begin > Page 3 & 5
Anyone reading this knows how tough it is to be a Christian artist. Balancing life, recording, the road, family, and faith; it can be a daunting task. And then there are the fans, most of which are extremely supportive and engaging. But then there is the remnant many have come to tag as extremists. They want their artists clean and white, not mingling on the other side of the musical boundary known as mainstream music and all that it has come to represent.
One of the members of Relient K, who has been doing mainstream dates and playing clubs for several years, posted a blog recently of his mounting frustration with fans that have questioned the band's motives. Many have even expressed concerns about the band's individual faith and how they could play with specific mainstream bands and still call themselves Christian. Band member Ethan Luck responds on his blog honestly and boldly by saying, “I am constantly blown away by the comments and thoughts of people who claim to believe in the
News & Tunes Newsboys' project Born Again bowed at No. 4 on the Soundscan chart this past week, selling over 45,000 units. The disc also debuted at No. 1 on the overall Christian Sales chart and shot to No. 4 on the iTunes Overall Chart ... Third Day's next album will be called Move and will hit retail on Oct. 19. It features their first radio single ”Lift Up Your Face” that includes some vocals from the Blind Boys of Alabama ... Steven Curtis Chapman has been busy getting ready for his upcoming family-oriented tour - literally with his whole family being on stage at some point each night - but made time to sing the National Anthem on July 25 for the opening of NASCAR's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway ... Anberlin's upcoming project Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place has been bumped up two weeks as the release date moves to Sept. 7 ... Norma Jean's Meridional jumps on to the Soundscan national chart at No. 44 with sales approaching 10,000 for the week, landing them at No. 2 on the Christian Sales chart right behind Newsboys ... Starflyer 59 is still around, releasing their latest disc The Changing Of The Guard on Aug. 10. The project promises a blend of old and new while giving fans what they’ve come to expect from SF59 ... Aaron Gillespie's first worship album that he's presently writing and recording for is slated for an early 2011 release via BEC Recordings ... Entertainment One Music (formerly E1 Entertainment) inks Echoing Angels to a recording contract. The band is recording with producer Calvin Turner for a self-titled sophomore release in Feb. 2011 ... According to a tweet by label head Brandon Ebel, Tooth & Nail has signed the rock band Hyland to a new contract ... Esterlyn's newest disc Call Out hit retail on July 27 on VSR. The album was produced by label president Ken Mary, Paramore's Jon Howard, and Esterlyn vocalist Luke Caldwell ... Peace 586 offers up his second beat tape release in aBle. The boom-bap driven project hails appearances by Jurny Big, Griffin, Propaganda, Sev Statik, Shames Worthy, and Sojourn.
CMW Page 2
INDUSTRY NEWS [from page 1] comprehensive sample available in the radio measurement marketplace according to Neilsen. Listeners age 25 to 54 continue to thrive as the core base for radio, while consumers in cell phone only (CPO) households continues to listen to radio at a higher rate beyond those without cell phones in the house. Listening among persons 18 to 24 remains consistent over the same survey taken in 2009.
CMW Adds This Week JIMMY NEEDHAM f/ TRIP LEE In My Love [INO] AC/Inspo
“Nielsen's spring 2010 survey indicates that there's no bounce from last year's results,” shares Lorraine Hadfield, Nielsen's Dir./Global Radio Measurement. “Nielsen's address-based sampling method - which captures all listeners regardless of whether they have a landline phone, cell phone only, or no phone at all ensures that our ratings are based on the most reliable representation of the population in the 51 local radio metros.”
Faith Is Living [Beach Street/Reunion/PLG] AC/CHR
While the amount of listening in the 51 markets showed a slight uptick over the last year, the places where people listen to the radio have remained virtually unchanged. An estimated 40% of radio listening among persons 12+ takes place in the car, while 34% takes place at home and 23% at work. CPO listeners skew even higher at work, with 28.5% tuning in on the job. The company also found that while the reach for Black and Hispanic populations is in line with the total population age 12+, ratings and TSL are noticeably higher. Black listeners age 12+ spent 21% more time listening to the radio each week than all persons 12+, while Hispanic listeners 12+ spent 13% more time on the radio each week.
My Own Little World [Sparrow/EMI] AC/CHR
CMB Announce Radio Finalists Christian Music Broadcasters has announced the station finalists for their annual Radio Station Of The Year Awards that will take place during the organization's yearly event in Orlando in September. Stations are judged on presentation, community involvement, ratings, and industry leadership. They include: Major Market KLTY/Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX KSBJ/Houston-Galveston, TX KTIS/Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN Large Market WAWZ/Middlesex-Somerset-Union, NJ WCSG/Grand Rapids, MI WDJC/Birmingham, AL Small Market KVNE/Tyler, TX WCIC/Peoria, IL WMIT/Ashville, NC
KATHRYN SCOTT You’re Good [Integrity] AC/Inspo
SKILLET Forgiven [INO] CHR/Rock
[from page 1]
same God I do ... It’s funny that all the stories of Jesus spending time with the tax collectors, prostitutes and low life’s is so often overlooked. I guess Jesus must have set a bad example by associating with those people, right? What was he thinking?! Christianity, today, has become so sheltered.” It's an ongoing battle for those artists that are presented with the opportunity to play in front of crowds that are not entirely made up of the church-going public. But it's also an opportunity to surround these artists with love, prayer, understanding, and a belief that God has a bigger purpose for some of them to reach what many deem as unreachable. Quick to react, sometimes even to attack, without the slightest attempt to understand, research, or ask questions is not the way to encourage artists who truly have the mission to impact culture. Prayerfully we can all understand that every show doesn't take place in a church, and doesn't always include all Christian artists with an entirely saved audience. That timeline has been reserved for another time and place. For the entire blog, including dozens of comments to his post, please go here.
GLOBAL RADIO CHARTS FOR JULY 2010
TOP 20 ALBUMS
TOP 20 ALBUMS FOR JULY 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 JULY 2010
TOP 20 SINGLES
TOP 20 SINGLES FOR JULY 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.
FEATURED ARTISTS ARE PAID ADVERTISERS FROM THE AIRPLAY DIRECT COMMUNITY
Robert Plant Why is it that we’re still hanging on every word Robert Plant sings? Two reasons stand out. First: his voice. Plant’s vocals are compelling in spades: the tone, capable of everything from heartbreaking tenderness -to a trademark edginess - the phrasing that lends a distinct urgency, and, perhaps most importantly, the sense of poetry, of mystery. The second reason for Plant’s enduring ability to draw us in is that through all of these years, he’s remained curious – really curious. “Central Two-O-Nine” is a tasty morsel from his forthcoming album Band of Joy. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/RobertPlantBandofJoy -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Love and family have always been sources of inspiration for singer, songwriter, and musician Carrie Rodriguez. Her latest release, Love & Circumstance, is a covers album that includes songs written by her father, and once performed by her great aunt. Love & Circumstance includes compositions from her extended musical family and friends, including John Hiatt, Nick Lowe, Ry Cooder, Jim Keltner, Buddy & Julie Miller, Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Richard Thompson, Townes Van Zandt, M. Ward, Merle Haggard, Bonnie Owens, Hank Williams, and Lucinda Williams. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/CarrieRodriguez... --------------------------------------------
Grammy-nominated Superchick reinvents its favorite songs from the band’s 10-year illustrious career on Reinvention. The album is being supported with a new single “Still Here” and an upcoming headlining tour. In addition to touching on significant lyrical themes that have resonated with Superchick’s fans, Reinvention draws inspiration from the more than 100 TV shows, video games and movies that have featured the group’s music. It is a soundtrack album filled with fast car chases, giant fighting robots, teen romance and bad guys walking in slow motion. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/SuperchickStillHere --------------------------------------------
ABSINTHE is an all-female rock band, formed in 2007 by guitarist Briana Alexis. The girls have been making a name for themselves. Their signature rock sound encompasses heavy guitars with powerful vocals to create heavy catchy songs. They regularly play at venues such as Long Beach Sports Arena, The House of Blues, Key Club, Cat Club, Whisky Go Go, Roxy, Viper Room, Knitting Factory, Club Derby and The Mint. They have also played main stages at Calendar Girls Music, L.A. Marathon, LA Femme Film Festival, and Mamapalooza Festivals. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/ABSINTHE --------------------------------------------
AUGUST 2010 FEATURED ARTISTS
Curtis is currently the front cover of the August edition of Maverick, one the UK’s leading music magazines. Recently voted the #1 male vocalist in the UK, he is nominated in the “Horizon” category of the upcoming British Country Music Awards (BCMA). Cut Me Loose was recorded in Nashville and features Brent Mason on guitar, Gordon Mote on piano, and a host of other great musicians and backing singers. With three Top 10 hits in the UK, Curtis debuts his latest single, “Billboard Picture Show,” featuring the legendary Billy Swan. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/GaryCurtis --------------------------------------------
Formed in 2006 by Brett Moore and John Button, the Nashville band has set out on a musical offensive to give the local rock scene a much-needed facelift. A far cry from your typical blueprint band that sticks to the same tedious songwriting formula, ShotgunDiary incorporates many influences from Rock, Metal, Grunge, and Punk to deliver songs of power and seduction while not falling victim to any cliché, gimmick, or flavor of the day. They write from the heart, soul, and life experiences. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/Shotgundiary --------------------------------------------
Mitch Cason & Red River Junction
Lonesome River Band
Longtime band member and driving banjo picker, Sammy Shelor has put together a wealth of talent – that maintains the distinctive LRB sound. With two lead vocalists, Andy Ball (mandolin) and Brandon Rickman (rhythm guitar), along with Mike Anglin (bass) and Mike Hartgrove (fiddle), the group continues their reputation of one of most respected names in bluegrass. Rural Rhythm records recently released the first single, “Record Time Machine,” from their new album, Still Learning. The band is still receiving huge success from No Turning Back, their first on Rural Rhythm. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/lrbStillLearning --------------------------------------------
Legendary FolkBlues Performer/ Songwriter David Olney and his live performances are converting new audiences while continuing to give the fans what they want. The prolific Olney infuses his live performances with an intensity that creates die-hard fans. His intelligent compositions radiate that same intensity, and have been recorded by Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Del McCoury, Tim O’Brien, Lonnie Brooks, James King, Slaid Cleaves, Dale Ann Bradley, Tom Rozum, Ann Rabson, Kevin Welch, and others. His latest album is Dutchman’s Curve. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/DavidOlney... --------------------------------------------
Mitch Cason & Red River Junction, formerly known as the Red River Mudcats, performs a blend of Americana and Red Dirt Country. Red River Junction members have been integral participants in the infamous Texas and Oklahoma music scenes for years. Singer / songwriter Mitch Cason was born in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. Guitarist Jeff Parker is one of the top guitarists from Oklahoma and has produced acts including Cross Canadian Ragweed and the late Bob Childers, among others. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/RedRiverJunction --------------------------------------------
Heartbreaker: Pickin’ On Tom Petty His guitar chimes like the Byrds, his lyrics cut like Dylan and the Heartbreakers strut like the Stones. The Byrds’ influence comes full circle on Heartbreaker: Pickin’ On Tom Petty. Former Byrd Chris Hillman picks his mandolin with a group of equally talented bluegrass musicians. Fiddle two-steps with banjo while guitar calls out the quick rhythm. “I Need to Know” gallops like a bandit’s horse. “American Girl” sounds like daybreak across an infinite field of wheat. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/PickinonTomPetty --------------------------------------------
By: Abby Montgomery
Why Promote to Internet Radio? An independent artist can’t afford not to! No matter what happens with terrestrial radio and television, the Internet is here to stay. As the business of music morphs and changes, opportunities for new and indie artists to establish themselves increase with each new Internet subscriber. Internet radio has become the 21st century vehicle for the artist, reaching a global community of music lovers who are passionate about finding new music. This symbiotic relationship of artists looking for an audience, and an audience looking for the art, is what quantifies the value of Internet radio promotion. An artist can build a career at Internet radio by utilizing its cost effectiveness in generating global name branding as well as record sales and on-going tour support. Most important to an artist is the economic potential in a $.99 download environment. Of the 6.6 billion people that inhabit the Earth, it takes less than one percent of one percent of that population to provide an artist with a livable (and viable) income. Statistics demonstrate that Internet radio listeners are more
likely to seek out an artist’s website while listening to a song online…and buy their full CD…as well as single song downloads, than do terrestrial radio listeners (re: Arbitron Studies). Terrestrial radio has a loyal audience, comprised of people from specific geographic and socio-economic areas, and their commercial value is measured by the popularity of programming and reach of tower signal. A national advertiser can monetize on the similarities of the listeners’ demographic. By limiting the playlist, a station can attract a specific national advertiser by offering a “targeted” potential customer. However, most of the time, this type of programming leaves the un-established/independent artist out in the cold. The fact that opportunities for independent artists are more abundant
on Internet radio does not guarantee every artist will be given bandwidth time. Equally important to Internet broadcasters are the values that have always been important to traditional broadcasters: the combination of talent and commitment. As an artist, you need a passion for the process, and self-promotion is an essential part of that process. Hiring a professional radio promotion company to shepherd your music to the appropriate Internet stations and to utilize their relationship with those programmers can, and does, expedite the process. Creating a buzz at radio is difficult to do on your own but, when you are pro-active and contribute to your own promotion process, you can double the success of the effort and work that a professional radio promoter is doing on your behalf.
For the 21st century recording artist, it’s about their ability to time-manage all aspects of their career including; website(s), sales, product, marketing, touring, blogging, and…radio promotion. A professional Internet radio promotion company has the contacts and the relationships with radio to substantially increase the likelihood your music will be played domestically and internationally. When an artist is pro-active about following up on the reports provided by the professional promoter, as well as AirPlay Direct’s download stats, that artist can start to build their own relationships with the programmers thereby seriously improving the chances of having their next release aired/spun, and all the while building a consistent and loyal fan base for themselves. In summary, a professional Internet radio promoter’s job is to manage the day-to-day, week-to-week, exposure of your music to hundreds of radio stations. Still, for ultimate success (and the best bang for your radio buck) your participation and self-promotion is essential to the process. Internet radio promotion is not a magic bullet to fame, but with the guidance of a professional promoter and with a commitment to your career, including the willingness to do the work, you have the opportunity to reach a global audience and acquire a potential fan base that can support you for the rest of your artistic career. www.RadioMavens.com email@example.com Professional Internet radio promotion for artists of all genres. 615-491-0918
By: Mike Hagler, Jr.
Google, Apple and HP
t has been an interesting month for music and tech. Apple recently (almost) admitted fault with the design of their iPhone 4 antenna. Rumors swirled around Google launching a new music service, and HP seems to have more in store for Palm’s WebOS than previously thought. All in all, this will make for an interesting Q4 of 2010. Apple is a media giant right now. They are the largest music retailer in the United States and earlier this year they moved into the digital book and magazine market. The iPad has sold over 3 million devices and was thought of by many publishers to be a savior for their dying industry. Although, they should have asked the music industry how things were going there first. In fact, Time has been having trouble getting an app approved that would allow them to sell digital subscriptions to their magazine rather than $4.99 an issue. However, even with all the revenue coming from their 70/30 split with content providers, it is still just a small percentage of Apple’s overall revenue. But, it just increases their stronghold on the mobile device market where consumers are also looking for a way to have all their music on the go with them. Rumors have been strong on a cloud-based system since Apple bought LaLa, but no luck so far. Google, once Apple’s close friend, is quickly becoming their new enemy. Google’s Android platform is open and a new favorite among device makers. Rumors that have been circulating about Google launching a new music service seem to be coming to fruition; Elizabeth Moody has joined them to help with licensing and negotiations
with labels for their as-yet-named service. Google, which already owns the most popular video destination on the web, YouTube, and the new Vevo service, may not see much resistance from labels who are still figuring out how to capitalize on all those YouTube views of their artist’s music and videos. It is still unsure whether it would be a cloudbased streaming service, a way to buy tracks, or both. It would certainly take advantage of the Android platform and devices. It may even tie into their upcoming operating system as well. Palm, the company credited with inventing the first innovative smart phones is now owned by HP. There was quite a bidding way that included Apple as well. Palm has many patents related to smartphones and related technologies, but HP wanted something different. HP is very interested in Palm’s WebOS operating system. It is rumored that the HP Slate device that Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, gave us a peek of at CES will be powered by WebOS for the consumer market. HP wants to be more like Apple. They are the largest computer manufacturer in the world. It seems that the intention with WebOS is to use it to create their own closed platform similar to Apple’s closed iTunes/iPod/ iPad/iPhone system. WebOS is certainly capable. It certainly would not hurt HP to add a higher quality build case to their computer systems in addition to continuing their meticulous R&D. These new services from Google, devices from HP and Apple’s next plans will have an effect on our daily lives, our consumption of media, and as content providers: our bottom lines. Whether it will be a positive or negative effect is yet to be seen.
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.
No Better Than This
Mellencamp’s new Rounder Records release is a stark, stripped-down affair, one that the artist approached from a very heartfelt place of respect and reverence. What could have ended up as a very plain and staid album surprises in its vitality. The T Bone Burnette-produced project was recorded on vintage equipment – a 55 year-old Ampex tape recorder with just one microphone -- at a variety of historically significant locations around the South. Sessions were held at the First African Baptist Church in Savannah (first black church in North America), Sun Studios in Memphis (early home to Elvis, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash) and in room 414 of the Gunter Hotel in San Antonio (where Robert Johnson first recorded for Brunswick Records in 1936). The title track, “No Better Than This,” re-kindles the bouncy Rockabilly ambience birthed at Sun, while the mournful fiddle intro of “Right Behind Me” makes you feel like you are in the presence of Johnson at the Crossroads – only this time the devil doesn’t get his due. A church is the perfect setting for “Clumsy Ol’ World,” where the man reaffirms his love-hate for the apple of his eye. The album is sure to resonate with Mellencamp’s loyal fans. Paul Clifford
Janita returns with her highly anticipated new album, Haunted. The latest in an acclaimed discography, Haunted exposes an artist with the courage and determination to evolve--not only out of artistic desire, but personal necessity. Rock and Soul merge gracefully on this collection of songs, which upon repeated listening will burn themselves into your brain. The opener “Do We Learn” begins with a minor chord progression that is the perfect setup for her vocals – which range from soft and plaintive, to explosive. The title track describes the transformation that Janita (pronounced YAA-nee-tuh) has taken from major label darling to indie firebrand: “Coming from my hidden world / Through doors that I’ve closed / Across bridges I’ve burned”. In “Last Chance To Run and Hide,” she professes her love to her lover, giving fair warning that it’s not too late to turn back. Delicate acoustic guitar and timeless string arrangements in “Hopelessly Hopeful” and “Believe Me I Know” provide the palette for Janita to paint her soulful vocals onto, while cutting-edge electronic elements in “Martian” powers her passion. Haunted embodies the journey of an artist focused not on the ghosts of her past, but on the possibilities of her future. Paul Clifford
After 14 years as a centerpiece of Bill Gaither’s celebrated “Vocal Band,” Guy Penrod sets out on his own with his Country album, Breathe Deep. The results sparkle with creativity as his talents shine through. Penrod is a first-rate storyteller and the high production value of the album is sure to win new fans for him, and bring old fans along for the ride. As would be expected, the songs are positive in their message, but don’t let that fool you; they are as powerful as anything on the Country radio dial. “Even When We Do” is the tale of a couple who were each others first love, now happy to be growing old together. “Pray About Everything” a driving up-tempo that should be a single, reminds us to not let worry dominate our lives, while “Are You The One” asks the question of parents if they will guide their children, or leave it to someone else. Penrod sums it up best: “From a philosophical perspective this is a record I wanted to make to address a kind of ‘nuts and bolts’ approach to living real life from a Christian worldview— one that in my opinion has been proven to work.” Susan Fischer
OLD HICKORY LAKE - Stars on the Water By: Jeff Walter We can make a little love We can make a little wake Paddlin’ around in the moonlight On Old Hickory Lake - from the song “Old Hickory Lake,” written by Bekka Bramlett, Annie Roboff and Beth Nielsen Chapman; performed by Bekka & Billy
“I think there’s something about bodies of water in general that speaks to the creative spirit,” says “Whispering” Bill Anderson, discussing what drew him to the tranquil shores of Old Hickory Lake near Nashville. The Grand Ole Opry stalwart resided lakeside from 1968 to 1979, left for a while, then came back to stay in 1999. He isn’t alone. The list of past and present Old Hickory Lake dwellers is studded with luminaries of country and pop music. From legends such as Johnny Cash and Tammy Wynette to contemporary stars like Taylor Swift and Gary Allan, the area has held a magnetic attraction for waterloving musicians. The natural beauty, recreational opportunities and amenities afforded by the man-made reservoir make it a great place to live or visit. While the lake is no secret to Middle Tennessee residents, tourists should also be aware of its abundant offerings. It may be overshadowed by Music City’s neon and rhinestones, but it’s worth the quick jaunt just north of Nashville. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, millions of people visit Old Hickory Lake each year, enjoying recreational opportunities galore: swimming, boating, water-skiing, fishing, hunting, hiking, camping and more. Anglers will find largemouth and several other varieties
Photo credit: Miles Hawkins
of bass, as well as catfish, crappie, walleye and lake trout. The lake is also home to many species of wildlife and waterfowl, making it a popular haven for nature lovers and photographers. An arboretum/ environmental study area near the Lock 3 Recreation Area features hiking trails, a shelter, a butterfly garden and a chance to learn about native trees. And, of course, there are the stars. Burkett Nelson, operator of Captain Nelson RiverShip Cruises, will take you on a private, three-hour “home sites of the stars” lake cruise aboard the 65-foot Vagabum mini-ship. For a total of $540, up to 12 people can tour the lake any day of the week, any hour, and see the Hendersonville properties (or former properties) of Cash, Wynette, Roy Orbison, Conway Twitty, Lorrie Morgan and countless others. Guests are encouraged to bring their own food and drink, or the good captain can help coordinate catering. Shorter cruises are also available. Hendersonville, a city of around 47,000 people an easy 18-mile commute north of Nashville, proudly bills itself as “The City
by the Lake.” Family Circle magazine in 2009 named it one of America’s 10 best cities for families, touting its school system, recreational opportunities and general small-town neighborliness. It’s not just for the rich and famous; the median income is around $62,000. While lakeside living comes at a premium price, there are plenty of affordable neighborhood options, and nearly a third of the households have children. Hendersonville resident Anderson loves his location. “For me, the lake has a calming, reassuring effect,” the Opry star says. “When I pull the drapes and look out my window each morning and see the lake is still there, it somehow says that man and nature have both somehow managed to cooperate and survive to see another day.” The name itself hints at its rugged beauty and durability: Old Hickory Lake, like the Nashville “satellite city” of Old Hickory, takes its moniker from the nickname bestowed upon Andrew Jackson, war hero and seventh U.S. president, who made his home nearby at The Hermitage and was acclaimed for his toughness. Though the
lake, an impoundment of the Cumberland River, has been around for only a little more than half a century, a lot can happen in 50-odd years—and it has, as we will see. THE STORIES THE LAKE COULD TELL It’s hard to think about Old Hickory Lake and Hendersonville without conjuring up images of Johnny Cash, as iconic a figure in his own way as Andrew Jackson. In the heyday of the “Man in Black,” tourists from around the world flocked not only to view his home on the lake but also to visit the now-closed House of Cash museum on Main Street. Both were featured in Cash’s stunning video for the song “Hurt,” one of his final releases during his life. The Caudill Drive house where he and wife June Carter Cash lived was built by architect Braxton Dixon, whose naturalistic work has been compared to that of Frank Lloyd Wright. Although Dixon has built only a few dozen homes in his distinguished career, they’ve been peopled with the likes of Cash, Orbison, Wynette, Marty Stuart and Connie Smith, and record producer/executive Fred Foster. Nothing, however, compared to the sprawling “nature house” he was almost finished building on Old Hickory Lake when Johnny Cash entered his life in 1968. It was huge: 200 feet long, almost 14,000 square feet, a multilevel beauty hewn from sturdy beams of wood and resting on solid rock. There were seven bedrooms, five full baths, two big round rooms that offered a gorgeous lake view, and an outdoor swimming pool. Dixon and his wife and son had put their hearts into it, and they fully intended to live there. Cash was strung out and seeking sanctuary when he saw the unusual house. Upon meeting the builder and touring the property, he told Braxton Dixon: “I know I was meant to live in this house.” There is no question he lived there. For 35 years, he coexisted there with his passions and his demons, his family and
friends, and of course his music. It was there that June helped him kick the pills. She called the place “Camelot” and furnished it appropriately. “Camelot” saw visits from a range of royalty, including Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Mickey Newbury, Jimmy Carter, the Rev. Billy Graham, Sheriff Buford “Walking Tall” Pusser and George “Goober” Lindsey, to name just a few. Kris Kristofferson landed a military helicopter on the lawn, a legendarily extreme gamble that eventually paid off with Cash’s recording of “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” Guitars were everywhere, ready to be grabbed when the muse struck. After June’s death in May 2003, few doubted Johnny would be close behind, and just four months later he rejoined his beloved wife. In January 2006, the Cash estate sold the lake home for a reported $2.3 million to a corporation owned by Bee Gees singer Barry Gibb and his wife, Linda. Gibb planned to restore it and use it for a second home, a recording studio or perhaps both. In April 2007, however, the house went up in flames, apparently after a spark ignited a wood preservative being used in the restoration. Barbara Orbison, widow of Roy and a longtime neighbor of the Cashes, told The Tennessean newspaper after the fire that “it never really felt right for me that anybody else should ever
be in that house.” Roy Orbison’s life on Old Hickory Lake was touched with tragedy seemingly befitting his operatic tenor and emotionally vulnerable songs. Orbison and his first wife, Claudette—whom he had immortalized in song—also lived in a home built by Braxton Dixon. In June 1966, as the couple were returning home from East Tennessee on their motorcycles, Claudette was hit and killed by a semi truck. Two years later, while Orbison was on tour in England, the family home on Old Hickory Lake burned to the ground. Sons Anthony and Roy Jr. died in the fire; the youngest, Wesley, who was 3, was saved by his grandparents. Johnny Cash later bought the land on which the house stood and planted an orchard on it in his friend’s honor. The following May, Orbison married Barbara Wilhonnen Jacobs, a young German woman he had met in England just days before his sons’ death. They built another house just a block away from the one that had burned. Another prominent resident was Conway Twitty, the one-time rock ’n’ roller who as a country artist became known as “the best friend a song ever had.” He was also the first country star to open his home to his fans. The man born Harold Jenkins, who until 2008 had more No. 1 hits than
Photo credit: Miles Hawkins
any other artist in popular music history (George Strait broke the record with his 56th chart-topper), opened Twitty City in Hendersonville in 1982. Thanks to such smashes as “Tight Fittin’ Jeans,” he had been able to invest more than $3 million in the exquisitely landscaped complex, which included not only the mansion he shared with wife Mickey, but also the homes of his mother and four adult kids, gardens, a pavilion, waterfalls, a theatrical presentation of the singer’s life, and a gift shop. Twitty, who at one time lived lakeside, relocated just minutes away when he created his new digs. For more than a decade, Twitty City—at 1 Country Music Blvd.— was a major tourist attraction, drawing hundreds of thousands of fans a year. People came from all over to see the annual festival of Christmas lights, and the TV show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous even paid a visit. Conway was three months shy of his 60th birthday when he died suddenly of an abdominal aneurysm in June 1993, after a show in Branson, Missouri. Twitty City, his home until the end, remained open for a yearlong tribute show and then closed in 1994. Trinity Broadcasting Network bought the complex at auction, rechristened it Trinity Music City, U.S.A., and began using it for Sunday church services and Christian music concerts, which it continues to do. A high-tech theater shows virtual-reality films shot in the Holy Land, and visitors can take free tours of the Twitty mansion and grounds, as well as walk along a re-creation of the Via Dolorosa, an ancient street in Jerusalem. And the tradition of the Christmas lights continues. Dan Seals, a member of hit 1970s pop duo England Dan & John Ford Coley and later a successful country artist, uncovered a fascinating piece of Hendersonville history while living near Old Hickory Lake. Not long after acquiring their property in the late ’80s, Seals and his wife, Andi, discovered an overgrown cemetery on land near their own. They soon discovered that the nearly 40 graves, marked only with stones and overgrown with weeds, were
of slaves who had toiled at Rock Castle, the plantation home of one of Hendersonville’s founders. Daniel Smith, a surveyor, Revolutionary War veteran and later U.S. senator, settled there around 1784. He built Rock Castle with slave labor in the 1790s. The plantation now lies on the Indian Lake peninsula on Old Hickory Lake (parts of the original plantation were submerged in the 1950s when the land was flooded to create the lake). The cemetery is a couple of miles from the historic home, which today is a state historic site. The Sealses told their Baha’i Faith congregation about the “sacred ground” they had found, a site worthy of preservation. With help from friends and congregation members, they began researching its history, looking for descendants of the slaves and seeking donations. In June 1990, a multifaith group gathered to erect small tombstones and a monument to the onceforgotten workers. Seals, whose brother is Jim Seals of Seals & Crofts fame, died in March 2009 of mantle cell lymphoma. In June of this year, however, two decades after the initial cleanup, a group that included many who had participated in the earlier effort converged to once again spruce up the cemetery. The allure of Old Hickory Lake has made it a popular site for music videos. In addition to Cash’s “Hurt,” Miranda Lambert’s recent “White Liar” video was filmed outside the mansion at Rock Castle and contains a shot of the lake, and much of Kid Rock’s video for his hit “All Summer Long” takes place on the water itself. It also has also inspired songs, such as the feisty “Old Hickory Lake” recorded by Bekka & Billy (Bekka Bramlett happened to be living in Bill Anderson’s former home on Harbour Island at the time). Tom T. Hall, in “Nashville Is A Groovy Little Town,” wryly sang: “I’ve got myself a little shack out on Ol’ Hickory Lake / And now and then I get a gig and buy myself a steak.” And Rosanne Cash, daughter of Johnny, after his death expressed her feelings about the loss of the home where she spent her teen years in “House On The
Lake”: “There’s nothing left to take / But love and years are not for sale / In our old house on the lake.” With such a rich history, it will be interesting to see what stories and songs emerge from the shores of Old Hickory in the next 50 years. In the meantime, listen as “Whispering” Bill relates what he considers “the best story” from his years on the lake: “I stood outside my house and watched a man steal my boat. I thought he was from the marina and was taking the boat from my dock to store it for the winter. I waved as he backed out of my dock and roared across the water. When I came back after a two-week road trip, the marina called and wanted to come get my boat. I told them they got it two weeks ago. They said no, they hadn’t. “Guess the crook thought I was really friendly, standing there waving. I remember thinking to myself, ‘He doesn’t need to be gunning the engine quite so hard.’ He was obviously in a hurry, but he did wave back.”
MAKING PLANS Trinity Music City, USA 1 Music Village Blvd. Hendersonville, Tennessee 37075 615-822-8333 Rock Castle 139 Rock Castle Lane Hendersonville, TN 37075-4522 (615) 824-0502 Old Hickory Lake Information lrn.usace.army.mil/op/old/rec (Army Corps) 615-822-4846 Rockland Recreation Area 5 Power Plant Road Hendersonville, TN 37075 615-822-4846 Captain Nelson RiverShip Cruises captainnelsoncruises.com (615) 804-1480
Songwriters Sing for Nashville at The Woods at Fontanel A Benefit for Flood Relief –July 17, 2010 Recently, members of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame joined together for the inaugural concert at Nashville’s newest entertainment jewel, the Woods at Fontanel, in White’s Creek, Tennessee. The Woods at Fontanel is a natural amphitheater nested in a green glen surrounded by hills and trees and features excellent state-of-theart sound and lights. It was the perfect setting for the grouping of some of Nashville’s most influential songwriters. More like a casual get together than a formal show, it had the vibe of an intimate gathering of old friends. For many in the audience, it was an opportunity to hear the soundtrack of their life - played by the individuals who wrote the songs. From Country, to Pop, to R&B hits - all were presented for everyone’s enjoyment. Proceeds from the concert will benefit families who are continuing to recover from the recent floods in and around Nashville. The show kicked off with an announcement from Marc Oswald, talent manager of Gretchen Wilson and John Rich, who coowns the property with Dale Morris, an artist manager who has guided the careers of Alabama and Kenny Chesney. Oswald welcomed the crowd, and pointed to a tree in the middle of the glade, explaining that the over 100 year-old tree represents the music industry and likened its roots that feed the tree to the great songwriters who feed the music business “tree” with the lifeblood of their songs. And “without them, there is no music.” Over the course of the day, Roger Murrah, the host and master of ceremonies, introduced Mark D. Sanders, Jim Weatherly, Hugh Prestwood, Kye Fleming, Mike Reid, Dennis Morgan, Don Wayne, Dickey Lee, Dallas Frasier, Freddy Weller and Matraca Berg, who took turns singing and telling stories behind their songs. Highlights included Prestwood’s “The Song Remembers
By: Clif Doyal
Seated (l. to r.): Fontanel co-owners Marc Oswald and Dale Morris; Standing (l. to r.): Hugh Prestwood, Roger Murrah, Mike Reid, Dickey Lee, Mark D. Sanders, Don Wayne, Jim Weatherly, Dallas Frazier, Dennis Morgan, Kye Fleming. Photo: Anthony Scarlati
When” by Trisha Yearwood and Weatherly performing “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “You’re The Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me,” both Pop/R&B hits by Gladys Knight and The Pips. Former Cincinnati Bengals’ football player turned recording artist and songwriter, Mike Reid, captivated the crowd with the Bonnie Raitt classic, “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” which produced the first standing-ovation of the day. Morgan drew cheers when he announced that his song “Smoky Mountain Rain,” co-written with Kye Fleming, had recently been named the official state song of Tennessee. Murrah delighted with “We’re In This Love Together” recorded by Al Jarreau, while Frasier had the audience singing along on his Oak Ridge Boys’ mega-hit, “Elvira.” The lovely Matraca Berg closed the show with ”Strawberry Wine,” which she dedicated to Fred Carter, Jr., the legendary session guitarist and father of Deana Carter, who had passed away that day. It was a fitting cap to a stellar lineup of talent presented to benefit the victims of Middle Tennessee’s recent devastating
Freddy Weller Photo: Clif Doyal
Matraca Berg Photo: Clif Doyal
thousand-year flood. You can be sure that this is only the beginning of many future events to be held at the Woods at Fontanel, arguably Nashville’s best outdoor concert and entertainment event center. fontanelmansion.com
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