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Marty Raybon A True Southern Gentleman

Louis Meyers Behind The Desk

Beyond The Song The Rally Foundation

The Indie Way Turning Your Fans Into Super Fans

Now Media Three Questions for Radio APD Global Radio Indicator Charts Featured Artists & Reviews Killer Tracks

May 2013


6 Cover Story – Marty Raybon

From his early days singing with his father and brothers to some of the biggest stages in country, gospel, and bluegrass music, Marty Raybon is a true musical treasure. Music pours out of him and he knows how to entertain his audience, whoever they may be. He makes them laugh, he makes them cry, he makes them remember and brings sheer enjoyment to every show. It was an honor to sit with him as he talked about his great career, in celebration of over 40 years of music.

12 Behind The Desk – Louis Meyers

Executive Director for the Folk Alliance International, Louis Meyers is a man who knows how to get things done. He’s a musician, producer, promoter extraordinaire, and he’s been at the head of many of the biggest musical events in North America. Originally from Austin, TX, Louis has had a long and illustrious career. In this interview he talks about his history and sheds light on the recent decision by the FAI to relocate to Kansas City, MO from their current headquarters in Memphis, TN.

24 Beyond The Song – The Rally Foundation

Founded in Atlanta, GA in 2005, The Rally Foundation has one mission: to raise money for childhood cancer research through grassroots initiatives. Elaine Kay is the head of their Nashville chapter and for good reason. Her son, James, was stricken with this horrible disease when he was 11. A foundation fighting for all of our children, tDB is proud to bring attention to this worthy non-profit organization.

21 The Indie Way:

Turning your fans into Super Fans!

4 The Writers Round: Interview with Gordon Lee Worden from The Gords Songwriter of “Old Dreams Die Hard” 22 Three Questions for Radio:

Interview with John Platt – Director of Communications & Special Projects for WFUV 90.7 at Fordham University, Bronx, NY.

10 Now Media:

How to Use AirPlay Direct More Effectively

17 Killer Tracks:

Stephen Stills, Ron Davies, Enter The Haggis

18 Featured Artists: Winners of tDB May “Buzz About You” Artist Contest 28 APD GLOBAL RADIO INDICATOR CHARTS™ ---------------------------------------------------------------Publisher & Founder: Robert Weingartz EDITOR IN CHIEF: Bronson Herrmuth ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Lynda Weingartz Contributing Writers: Bronson Herrmuth, Michael Harnett, Fred Boenig, Rick Moore, Abby Montgomery, Ryan Smith, Alexandra James, Rich Mahan ART DIRECTION: Aleven Creatives (aleven.com) MARTY RAYBON PHOTOS: Courtesy of Rural Rhythm Records

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© 2013 by AirPlay Direct, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

FROM THE PUBLISHER 2013 has started off with a bang for AirPlay Direct! The APD 8 Year Anniversary Party at the Hard Rock Café was a great time, and allowed for a lot of old friends, colleagues, and new business partners to get together in Nashville to hear some great music and brainstorm. I would like to extend a special thanks to all of the APD artists that were so kind to perform that night; Colin Linden, Janiva Magness, Marty Raybon, Darrell Webb, Boo Ray and Rich Mahan. It was a very special evening of entertainment. The APD event also served as the platform to re-launch the Direct Buzz. The Direct Buzz has been met with overwhelmingly positive response. We look forward with great anticipation to the ongoing success and evolution of the Direct Buzz. We have already received a lot of great ideas and support from the global music industry at large, thank you. We are proud and excited to present Mr. Marty Raybon as the “Cover Story & Featured Artist” for the May edition of the Direct Buzz. Marty is celebrating 40 years in the music business in 2013. He has had a remarkable career and still remains as excited and driven as the day he started. Congratulations to Marty, and all the members of his team! AirPlay Direct is pleased to announce the promotion of Alexandra James to the position of Manager of Operations and Scott James has now been promoted to Manager of Artist Relations. As always, I would like to thank the APD Executive team and all of our partners for their dedication, professionalism and on-going support. With fine regards and respect,

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


THE WRITERS ROUND by Bronson Herrmuth

Gordon Lee Worden

“Old Dreams Die Hard” From the CD, Pick. AirplayDirect.com/TheGords the Direct Buzz (tDB): In your song, “Old Dreams Die Hard,” you make reference to several individuals. Are those specific people you know, or imaginary characters? Gordon Lee Worden (GLW): Well the impetus of the song was my dad, who’s had Parkinson’s disease for 20 years. He’s really been a vital fellow, but it reached a point where we had to take his keys away. He shouldn’t have been driving anymore and it was quite an emotional time. That was sort of how I started the first verse, because he’s a 50s kind of guy and he’s got a bunch of close friends on Vancouver Island and they all were hot rodders and things like that. They still get together all the time and see themselves as these young men, but they’re all at this advanced age now. That was sort of the impetus, because his idea of perfect happiness was to be in a hot rod and go on a big long drive. So when that didn’t happen anymore, I started to think about what your dreams are. Your dreams when you’re 18 years old are quite often still your dreams when you’re 75 years old. That’s sort of what started the song. tDB: In another line in your song, you refer to a female. Who’s she? GLW: That was sort of an anagram of a lot of people. Just your basic jobbing musician, because that sort of tied in with not letting your dreams die as well. It’s becoming increasingly hard to be a musician these days, because people have so many entertainment options. I really wanted this song to be a

positive message, because the guitar riff in the song was so good I didn’t want to waste it. I wanted people to really like it. tDB: Did you come up with the words or the music first? GLW: I definitely came up with the music first. I play the bass a lot and that was sort of a bass lick that reminded me of Bootsy Collins with James Brown on those early recordings. I just used to unconsciously play it on the bass and then I thought, wait a second. This could be a really good twangy country guitar lick. I tried writing this song for probably two years of failed attempts, because I really wanted the chorus to be worthy of the lick. You could say that I was inspired to write this song because I didn’t want to waste a good guitar lick. tDB: So you took two years to write this song? GLW: Yeah, I came up with the first verse quite easily about my dad, and then the second verse I kind of wrote about myself, and then I turned it into a girl just sort of disguising the innocent. The third verse took the longest, because playing with Ian Tyson I meet so many cowboys. I was really trying to write sort of a “cowboyish” kind of thing and it was one of the other Gords that said, “You know, that’s just kind of predictable,” so I changed it to a hard partying biker. That third verse, it’s always the third verse that’s the torture, because you really want to tie things

up and everything’s going along great and then you have to manufacture your own enthusiasm by the time the third verse comes around. tDB: Lyrically, did you write the chorus first or did you write the verses first? GLW: The chorus came last actually. I tried a lot of choruses, and they ended up being too complicated. The guitar lick is so eighth “notey,” it’s so busy. I needed something to open up. I did it by just going for big long walks. When I finally cracked that chorus, that was just great and it’s really fun to sing live. Good harmonies and big long lines and people sing along. It’s quite nice and I’ve never really written a song that did that before. I was writing that thinking how much fun it would be to sing in front of people. Another thing I’d like to mention about this song. When I was about 25 or so, I remember talking to my dad and I said, “You know it’s funny. I’m 25 years old and I’ve got a job and all, but I still feel like I’m 18,” and my dad looked at me and said, “Me too.” That’s when I realized that every old person has a young person at their core, and I really tried to sum that up in this song. I don’t know if I successfully did that or not. I think that’s the kind of subject that you could really “mine” for the rest of your life as a songwriter.


JOHN BATDORF

JAMES LEE STANLEY

ALL WOOD AND STONES

James Lee Stanley and John Batdorf have both been part of the Southern California music scene since its early 1970s heyday and have recorded more than 45 classic albums between them. All Wood and Stones — acoustic guitar albums like no other — 21 classic Rolling Stones songs, rearranged, reconstructed, sung and played by John Batdorf and James Lee Stanley. Not covers, reinventions

“At a time when you are lucky to get one great song on a CD, All Wood and Stones II delivers ten great songs and some of the best damned acoustic guitar playing you have heard in a long, long time.”

Exquisite acoustic renditions of classic Rolling Stones songs

AirPlayDirect.com/AllWoodAndStonesIIJohnBatdorfAndJamesLeeStanley

Paint It Black • Ruby Tuesday • Satisfaction Under My Thumb • Let’s Spend the Night Together Mother’s Little Helper • Backstreet Girl Last Time • Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby 19th Nervous Breakdown • As Tears Go By

Honky Tonk Women • Miss You Get Off My Cloud • Jumpin’ Jack Flash Play With Fire • Before They Make Me Run Sympathy For The Devil • Tumblin’ Dice Wild Horses • Time Is On My Side

WWW.ALLWOODANDSTONES.COM

AirPlayDirect.com/JamesLeeStanley

AirPlayDirect.com/JohnBatdorf


ARTIST FEATURE

Marty Raybon by Bronson Herrmuth

AirPlayDirect.com/MartyRaybonFullCircle

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ward winning artist/singer/ songwriter, Marty Raybon, might well be the most passionate, creative individual I’ve ever come to know. For over 40 years he’s been singing and playing music while traveling worldwide sharing his wonderful talent to all who would listen. Whether it be from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, the pulpit of a church, or an outdoor stage at a bluegrass festival, Marty sings and performs with so much energy and conviction, it’s contagious. His voice is one of the best in the business and he signs every song he sings with his unique style of delivery, making it a treat for his listeners every time they listen to him sing. Meet Marty Raybon: The Direct Buzz (tDB): When you were 8 years old you sang in a variety show. Is that correct? MR: That’s right. I was in third grade at Brookville Elementary

School in Jacksonville, FL and I’ll never forget it. My mother had dressed me in a little ‘ol pair of Sunday pants of course, a white shirt, and she’d bought me a bow tie. I stood up that night and I sang “The Battle Of New Orleans,” and something happened. Look, I didn’t get visions and I didn’t hear voices. The only voice I did hear was mine, but a feeling came over me and I’ll never forget looking out over the people and something just told me. This was probably ’68 – ’69, and on the way home I told my momma, “I’m going to do this the rest of my life,” and to this day I don’t know whether my mother ever understood what I was saying at that time, or whether she was just trying to patronize me, but she said, “Well son, that’s good. You do good at it.” And then of course as years went on, the bluegrass days, when me and my 2 brothers and my dad had a bluegrass band and we traveled literally all over

the southeastern part of the United States. My brother Rick played the lead guitar, my brother Tim played the upright bass, and my dad was a fiddle player. We won the Florida State Bluegrass Band Championship five years in a row. tDB: So then you moved to Nashville in 1984. Is it safe to assume you moved here looking for a record deal? MR: Oh yeah. I had the same thing in mind as probably about 2,000 other people that were going to make it big in the music business did that week, only to find out that the town worked a whole lot different than that. My dad was a brick layer and he had taught me the trade of laying block and brick. I knew that I could labor if I had to and get a laying job on a crew up here somewhere, but I absolutely refused to go home. I’ll never forget one Christmas I ate a can of corn, and the reason why I ate a can of corn is because that’s all I had, but I had made


my mind up. I absolutely was not going back to Florida. I left Florida, a place that I loved and a family that I loved, with my momma and my daddy and my brothers. All my kinfolk lived down that way, except for the ones that lived in south Alabama and Mississippi. I absolutely was not going to go back until I proved myself. tDB: So what happened to change your luck and get you working? MR: Well, I was playing with a group called Heartbreak Mountain on Printers Alley at a place called the Western Room. An old boy, he was a songwriter, kept coming in and he said, “Hey, you sing demos?” And this is going to show you how ignorant I was, I said, “What are you talking about?” He said, “Well you know, songwriters write songs and we record them, but songwriters like me that can’t sing need somebody to sing them. You do that?” I said, “Oh yeah, you mean just sing somebody’s songs?” He said, “Yeah, that’s called a demo singer.” I said, “Well okay. Yeah, I guess I’m a demo singer.” Then he said, “Man, do you ever write?” And I said, “Well yeah. One of the things that I wanted was to move here to sing and write.” He said, “Well I’ll tell you what. I write for Larry Butler Music. Why don’t you come by the office and either bring a guitar to sing them to me or bring me a cassette and let me hear what you’ve got.” tDB: And who was this songwriter you’re referring too? MR: This was Bud McGuire and Bud helped me perfect my songwriting craft and we ended up sharing an apartment. His brother Mike McGuire, had been working with a club band down in Muscle Shoals, AL, and they had lost their lead singer, front man, and their bass player. Mike called me up and told me, “We’re losing these guys and I know it’s kind of been hit and miss for you, so why don’t you think about moving down here to Muscle Shoals and fronting

the band, taking the part of the lead singing. You know the money’s not great, but it’s steady.” I said, “Man, I’ll take it.” I didn’t even ask how much it was. tDB: And what was the name of that band? MR: The club was called the MGM and we were just always known as the MGM Band. We played all the Top 40 stuff, from country to pop, and then we could do some old Jones’ stuff, or some Haggard, or Hank Locklin. We could fit the occasion, not just do the popular stuff that was out. Thursday night was Ladies Night and Thursday through Saturday, you absolutely couldn’t get in the place. That’s how I got the job in Muscle Shoals and then before it was all over with I was singing demos for a multitude of writers there, and then Jim Seales was a session guitar player, Ralph Ezell was a session bass player, Stan Thorn was a session keyboard player. Before you

knew it the band was doing demos for other writers and then all the sudden A&R Departments in Nashville started getting wind of it. “Who’s this guy singing, who’s this guy playing guitar?” “It’s a band in Alabama. They play at a little club called the MGM.” The next thing you know, Rick Hall, Robert Byrne, Tommy Brasfield, and Walt Aldridge, had put together a production deal at Fame Recording Studio. It was with CBS, Columbia, and the next thing we knew, Columbia had rented a charter bus and everybody in the staff came to hear us one night. Literally that night, Rick Blackburn said, “Look, I’ll sign a deal with you and I’ll tell you right now the deal will go through. Do you want the deal?” And you know I left Florida for a deal and I said, “Man, I’ll take it.” A couple of the guys in the band said, “I don’t, that’s not what I want to do.” There actually were a couple of holdouts. Anyway, eventually they said,


“Well, we’ll try it for a little bit. If this thing works out, all well and good.” And that was the group, Shenandoah. tDB: And that was 1985? MR: Yeah, September 18, 1985 was when I started there, and then by the time the label had got down there and we’d got some stuff cut, it was 1988. Then in the last part of ’88 and ’89, we were fairly established as a new act. Our first Top 10 record was “She Doesn’t Cry Anymore” which went to #9, and that opened the door in ’89 for us to come with “Mama Knows.” It went to #4, and then we followed with “The Church On Cumberland Road” which was two weeks at #1. Then “Sunday In The South” was a #1 record and “Two Dozen Roses,” another #1. From there we picked up into “Next To You, Next To Me” which led off the next album. Extra Mile was what it was called. After that one was “Ghost In This House” then “The Moon Over Georgia” and “I Got You.” It really seemed like we had found a niche of what we were trying to do, because the very first album that we did, we just threw stuff up against the wall and tried to see what stuck. What we really found out, what it really comes down to is a great song. Good songs will put you in a frame of mind and pull the emotion out of you enough to make it believable, when it’s a good strong lyric and it’s got something to say. tDB: You’ve been nominated for many awards. Do you remember the first? MR: It was in ’89, and Keith Whitley was just wearing it out with songs like “Don’t Close Your Eyes” and “No Stranger To The Rain.” Therefore when the Viewers Choice Awards came around, we’d pretty much given up. We just knew Keith was going to get it. He’d just had too strong of a year. When they called our name that night we were just kind of stunned and we got up there and fumbled around. None of us knew what we were go-

ing to say, because we never thought we were going to win. I don’t know whether we thanked people or told people we didn’t like them. Of course from there we were nominated several times for CMA Awards, and then the year we did the thing with Alison (Krauss) we won the Vocal Event Of The Year Award at the CMA, then the Grammys that we were fortunate enough to be a part of. There were just a lot of things that you just don’t take for granted. tDB: So you left Shenandoah in 1996? MR: Well in June of ’96 I told the guys in the band, “Look. At the end of this year I’m done. In December I’m going to quit.” They said, “No you’re not.” I said, “Yeah, actually I am.” To be honest with you, everybody had started going in different directions. Everybody lost focus of what we were doing and I think one of the biggest reasons, a lot of it had to do with burn

out. We were like mercenaries. One year we stayed away from home 311 days! So anyway, I stayed on and the last date I actually did with Shenandoah was December 19, 1997, at the Wild Horse Saloon here in Nashville. tDB: So then you made an album with your brother Tim, the Raybon Bros.? MR: Yes, we did get the opportunity to record together and that was actually a dream come true. In 1997 Tony Brown signed us to an album deal on MCA Records and the single “Butterfly Kisses” sold 536,000 units in the first 5 ½ weeks. Although we came out of the gate like gangbusters, it didn’t last long. As quick as it came in was as quick as it went out. Then literally for 2 years I took my guitar and a message in my heart that God had given me and I was doing a great deal of church work, performing at church after church. I went in the studio and cut a couple of gospel CDs


because people were familiar with my gospel music. In ‘96, the year I was leaving Shenandoah, I had done an album for Sparrow Records, one of the biggest gospel labels that there were. Then after that couple of year transition, my brother Tim asked me, “Why in the world don’t you do a bluegrass album?” So I did and the name of that album was Full Circle released in 2003. tDB: Well then in 2006 you released The Grass I Grew Up On and When The Sand Runs Out, followed by This, That, & The Other in 2009. As of 2013, you are signed as a recording artist with Rural Rhythm Records. How did that relationship start? MR: Well actually I had met Sammy (Passamano) and Rick Fowler from Rural Rhythm at Bean Blossom. Of course I had known Rick previously from other places that he had worked. He introduced me to Sammy and I said, “I’m hearing some good

things about what you all are doing over there. If I wanted to have a serious conversation with somebody at the label, who would it be?” Sammy said, “You’d need to talk to my dad, Sam, but actually he wants to talk to you anyway.” At the time they were making a move from California, so in the interim Sam and I talked several times on the phone, and we had pretty much talked about the way we wanted to do things. Sam said, “You know I’d like for you to be a part of the family here.” I said, “Sure.” Now at that time I was actually working on a contemporary gospel album, so the first recording we put out on Rural Rhythm was actually a gospel project. tDB: So the gospel album that you’re talking about was Hand To The Plow? MR: Hand To The Plow, that yielded “I’ve Seen What He Can Do” that did so well, and then of course “I’m Working On A Building” that’s done

really, really good. The video has done extremely well. I hear that all the time out on the road, folks always making comments about it. Trace Adkins was part of that video, along with Jimmy Fortune and T. Graham Brown. tDB: That album, Hand To The Plow, has been #1 on the Gospel charts of AirPlay Direct (APD) over and over since the day it came out. How do you feel about your music being on APD? MR: Well APD, it’s literally the vehicle for so many artists like myself. Now we’ve actually got a fighting chance. We’re able to reach out to countries and cities literally all over the globe because of this wonderful thing called the internet. On APD, radio stations are able to download our music, and it’s a great vehicle for anybody in my position that still wants to get their music out there. Now there is a little bit of recognition that you’ve got to have. It’s not an egotistical thing, there’s a bit of recognition that you’ve got to have so that you can get work. When chart numbers show up like #1, #5, #10, then all of a sudden people pay attention that apparently somebody still wants to hear you. The yield on that is work and you’ve got to work to stay alive. APD affords that luxury to be able to do that. It’s an avenue that supplies a great way that you can reach people. tDB: Your new bluegrass album, The Back Forty, just came out and it’s already #2 on the APD Bluegrass chart. Talk about your new album. MR: The new record actually represents a lot of different things. First off, the importing of what 40 years have represented in the music business. As I’d mentioned, growing up with my brothers and us loving it and playing together. That was a part of my musical life, but it was also a part of my life, period. Because my dad was in the band, my brothers were in the band. Therefore, that being the initial start of where this was coming


from, being 40 years later here at Rural Rhythm. Sam said, “Look Marty, what I’d really like for you to do, I’d really like to have a bluegrass album from you. Just straight up, straight ahead bluegrass.” So I tried to stay true to form even using an upright bass, because on a lot of the other projects we used an electric bass, and of course no drums. We were going more for the traditional side and more for the roots. I wanted to do songs that I loved, but I didn’t want to redo the songs that had been redone and redone. So I called 2 or 3 writing buddies of mine and I told them what I had on my mind, to write a song that would allow you to go back in time by the way it was structured and by the way the approach of trying to record it was. Just like “Only You” that we did. That was tailored after what The Osborne’s did. I didn’t want to do an album that was another Osborne Brothers remake. I wanted to make sure the tune was something that was original, so my brother Tim and I arranged it in a way of being able to present it, that if you didn’t know any better, you wouldn’t know the Osborne Brothers didn’t do it. It was something that was an effort to go in that direction. It wasn’t that we left out of there blind and not knowing what in the world we were going to do. I actually think that from the very beginning that “hatched” and from there we just literally saw it blossom. The more and more we got into it, the more songs we came up with. We went back and dug up some of the older stuff too, like “Slowly I’m Falling,” the old Web Pierce tune, and “The Late Night Cry Of The Whippoorwill.” We were just trying to make sure that when people listened to Back Forty, it wasn’t the same thing that they’d heard over and over again. That’s really what this album was and it brought forth the emphasis of 40 years, and what that 40 year process had came from, and where the evolution of it is today.

by Rich Mahan All of you know AirPlay Direct is a cost effective way to get your music into the hands of radio programmers, but how do you maximize your music’s exposure to them and help them take notice? AirPlay Direct has a DPK (Digital Press Kit) feature, which lets you send a high-quality email with an embedded player that links through to your AirPlay Direct Profile. Sending this DPK to radio programmers is a proactive way to let them know your music is available for airplay. Here’s how you do it: Log into your account, and then from your profile click the “Digital Press Kit” button from the left-hand menu, and select “Send DPK” from the drop-down. Now that the DPK page is open, you can begin to build your email blast. The top section is for entering email addresses of the radio folks you’d like to send your music to. You can copy and paste addresses into this field from excel or another spreadsheet program, but it should be formatted with only one email address on each line, without any commas or other punctuation between addresses. Many radio charts such as the Americana Chart and the Roots 66 Chart offer the contact information to their radio stations. The next box down allows you to enter text to customize your message to radio programmers. You’ll want this greeting/message to be generalized when sending your DPK to a large list of folks, but when sending a DPK to an individual radio programmer, you can personalize your message for greater effect. Pick an email subject line that is brief and to the point, and avoid all caps and exclamation points, as this can trigger spam filters. It also might be helpful to include your music genre in the title, e.g. “New Jazz release

from the ShapeShifters.” The next field allows you to choose whether the recipient can see one song, or up to five songs in the player in your emailed DPK. You can rearrange the order of your tracks in your Profile’s player to have key focus tracks show in the DPK. Those at the top of your player will show up in the same order in your DPK. The last field allows you to choose whether or not the recipient can download your songs, or just stream them. Personally, I want radio to do as much with my music as possible, so I always give them the option of downloading the songs. You will want to send a test to yourself first to make sure everything looks good, and when you’ve got it just the way you want it, enter the email addresses of the radio people you want to reach and let ‘er fly! A word of caution, make sure you are only sending your DPK to radio programmers interested in the type of music you make. Nobody likes spam, and Classical programmers won’t play Cowpunk, so choose wisely Grasshopper, and build good relationships! Next time we’ll talk about dressing up your DPK to stand out from the masses.


Louis Meyers by Bronson Herrmuth

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ounded in 1989, the Folk Alliance International (FAI) has grown by leaps and bounds. Their annual conference is one of the top five largest music conferences in North America. Louis Meyers has been their Executive Director since 2008, and under his guidance their membership has grown to close to 3,500 members. The following is taken from my phone interview with Louis in March 2013. The Direct Buzz (tDB): Louis, you obviously have a great love for music. Who inspired you to start playing music and how old were you when you picked up your first instrument? Louis Meyers (LM): My older brother actually was the main inspiration. He’s about seven years older than me I guess, somewhere in there, seven or eight years. When I was growing up in Austin, he was the top dog in town. He did all the sessions and he played in the first live music venues, the first live disco. He could play anything from Chuck Berry to Barney Kessel and Johnny Smith, and he had a real love for traditional music at that point. So he handed me the Burl Ives songbook when I was like six years old and said, “Here’s where you have to start,” and that was kind of the beginning. tDB: You’re a multi instrumentalist and you play guitar, banjo and pedal steel. Do you have a favorite? LM: You know I don’t. It depends on the gig. I don’t get to do too many guitar gigs because there are so many guitar players, but that’s always a treat when that happens. I love playing

pedal steel gigs and I’m going to New York tomorrow to play the Mercury Lounge with Gangstagrass, filling in for them on banjo Saturday night, so I still get to have some fun out there. I get all the bizarre sessions. I played banjo on the Jello Biafra / Mojo Nixon records. I played pedal steel on the Fastball records. I tend to get the calls that regular people don’t get. tDB: You’ve got a long list of people that you’ve played with, besides the ones you mentioned. Jim Lauderdale, The Texas Bluegrass Massacre. LM: Doing a year with Bob Snyder (The Texas Bluegrass Massacre) was a blast. You know he was kind of learning what bluegrass was all about. We had a really good band and his crowds just loved it. It was really fun. Probably nobody in the crowd had been to a bluegrass show in their life before they saw Bob do it, so it was inter-

esting to watch. I worked for a year with Bruce Robison, who wrote “Angry All The Time” for Faith Hill and her husband, Tim McGraw. He wrote “Traveling Soldier” which was the big Dixie Chicks hit and “Desperately” for George Strait. I’ve worked with some really, really, great songwriters. Bruce’s material, that’s why he writes hits. It’s just a little bit better than the average. tDB: So in the early 80s you started


promoting concerts. I know you continued to perform but what got you into promoting? LM: Trying to find a way to actually make a living. I was launching a booking agency and trying to make as many connections and relationships and control my destiny, to be honest. If I was going to be a manager and a booking agent, having a large venue at my disposal was a major asset, and it created the relationship with other agents and managers and artists. The whole world, everything kind of came together. tDB: So you were just trying to get work? LM: Yeah, absolutely. Trying to figure out how to make a living doing what I wanted to do. I’m not an A songwriter and I’m not an A singer, so the chances of me making a true living in the music business from just the music, the odds are stacked against me. You know, if I was a brilliant songwriter, a great singer, it’d be a whole different story, but I have never had those gifts. tDB: You spent a long time booking the Liberty Lunch concert venue in Austin. There had to have been so many great artists coming through there? LM: It was phenomenal when I go back and look at it. I’ve got a box of posters and ads and articles. Yeah, we were able to do basically anything because we did Sun Ra and the Count Basie Orchestra, and Sandra Bernhard. We did the Dead Kennedys and D.O.A. and Megadeath, and Henry Rollins. We also did King Sunny Ade and Burning Spear, and every reggae and African act on the planet. It was really fun to have a venue that could do anything. We did Bill Monroe and we did the first shows in Austin for Dwight Yoakam and K.D. Lang. It was really fun to be in that position to have basically the top tier venue in town for a club. tDB: In 1986, you were a co-founder of one of the biggest music festivals in the world, South By Southwest


(SXSW). How did you become a part of that huge moment in music history? LM: A lot of it was just the right place at the right time, because of the relationships that I’d built as an agent and as a promoter and as a manager. I was dealing with a really nice cross section of the industry along with the city of Austin, and eventually my partners Roland Lewis and Nick Barbaro. We were representing Austin at New Music Seminar and CMJ and things like that before there was a SXSW. There was actually a gentleman that ran the Austin Chamber of Commerce named David Lord who went to Tulsa and has since retired. He’s the one that started promoting Austin as a music city and he created the infrastructure that got all the music business people in town on the same page. The city would support our efforts in New York for the seminar. We took anywhere from six to ten acts every year under the Austin banner. We had a double booth space and anybody from Austin that was registered for New Music Seminar could work from that booth. The city picked up the extra costs which really allowed us to look important long before we were, and then because New Music Seminar in particular became more and more about urban and pop and whatever was on the pop charts and the dance charts and that kind of world. Every year it seemed to have less and less relation to the southern part of the country, to our part of the world. And that’s really what SXSW was on day one. It was designed to represent the music of south of the Mason Dixon line. Not the artists, but the music. It didn’t matter. If you were a zydeco band in New York City, that was fine. It wasn’t about where you were. It was about spreading the gospel of southern music and roots music. The whole goal from day one was not to be New Music Seminar. We cherry picked what we thought really worked there from our perspective and just kind of built on top of that. Obviously

we stole the showcase model, and an awful lot of the basic model was lifted straight from the New Music Seminar and we gave them credit for it at the time. Mark Josephson and Joe Webber were listed as advisors, or consultants, for several years in all of our materials, and they were two of the three owners of the seminar. tDB: Well it must be something when you go back down there now. You guys probably couldn’t even imagine what it’s grown to? LM: No, no. You know I’m still a proud papa every March. It wore me out this year. Did we think on day one that Justin Timberlake and Prince and John Fogerty and Dave Grohl and that level of artists were gonna come and just hang out and want to play? No, of course not. It also wasn’t the goal. tDB: In 2005, you became the Executive Director for the Folk Alliance International and Conference and that’s a position you still hold today. In

February 2013, the Folk Alliance held its 25th Annual Conference in Toronto Canada. How’d that go? LM: Fantastic! Our largest conference ever and I thought the conference went very well. I mean it’s incredibly difficult to produce a one off conference in another country, talk about the odds against you. Our team did really well, the hotel worked well. We had about 2,200 plus guests, so when you put that many people inside of a very small hotel it was a lot of constant work, but our team did really well and the hotel worked well. It’s critical that people get there and see what we do because it’s an impossible event to explain. It’s unique and absolutely there’s nothing else quite like it on the planet. The quality of the music was tremendous. tDB: You released your 17th Folk Alliance Showcase Compilation CD on AirPlay Direct and it quickly went to #4 on our Bluegrass / Folk chart with over 700 downloads. How do you


choose those artists featured on this CD? LM: You know we make it available to any of the 200 acts that are selected for official showcases. It’s kind of first come first serve, because I always figure if they’ve made it that far I’ve already done the jury process on them. We’re always pleased and everything on the CD is a great track. I was really happy to be able to feature the Stray Birds. They had a sensational year this past year. tDB: Your conference is a lot like a folk music family reunion isn’t it? LM: It is. I actually tell people coming for the first time it’s a little like going to someone else’s family reunion your first year, because there are so many existing relationships and that’s what makes it work. A lot of these people see each other at the regional conferences throughout the year, at the Americana Conference or IBMA or SXSW or OCFF or wherever. It’s just that place where they can come together because we’re not a “club crawl” type event. Everybody sees each other a lot more hours of the day. tDB: Don’t you feel there’s a lot more young people playing folk music again? LM: No question about it. The number of fiddles and banjos and mandolins and acoustic instruments being sold is sky high, and the number of camps. We’re launching a music camp next February because of that, because we want them all to be better players. Part of that is to give the amateurs a bit of the Folk Alliance world without kind of diluting what we do. Yeah, acoustic music in general is huge right now. Folk music, roots, blues, everything is strong right now. There are a million jug bands out there. tDB: Now that you’ve been Executive Director for eight years, are you pleased with the growth of your organization? LM: We’re much larger than we were eight years ago. We’re approach-

ing 3,500 members, which makes us one of the largest music organizations in the country. With that, it makes it more difficult to provide the one on one services that we’ve always provided, but we do our best with what we have to work with on that. We’re always trying to make our member’s world better. That’s the core of our mission, to make our member’s world better. tDB: You mentioned that your 2014 Conference is going to be in Kansas City, MO. How do you feel about making the move to Kansas City? LM: It’s the new Austin and I say that being from Austin. It feels very much like Austin did, 20-25 years ago. It has the infrastructure, it has the creative juices, it has the low cost of living, it has the quality of life that is pretty spectacular and the majority of the world isn’t aware that it’s even there. The same was true for Austin 25 years ago. Everything’s there, the art, the music, the culture, the philanthropic mentality, the caring for the arts community. They’ve never devalued music and art and culture, and that’s really rare in this day and age, that it’s not just given away. Music in general now, music and art, it’s hard to monetize unless there’s a mentality there to allow it to be monetized. That’s part of what we liked about Kansas City, well the whole thing just worked for us. We felt like it was obviously the middle of the country, the same distance from Austin driving as it is from Winnipeg and that’s pretty special. That makes it about as favored nations a location as humanly possible. The entire country that we liked is within three hours of Kansas City. tDB: What are some of your future plans for the Folk Alliance that you have in store? LM: Well like I said, we will be launching a full-blown winter music camp teaching all styles of roots music, from steel guitar, banjo and fiddle to band and church playing. All the things that go along with music camps

except this one’s in a four star hotel with room service and internet connections. That’s pretty exciting to us and we’re working with a lot of nonprofits on co-ventures. We’re working with Billy Bragg and Wayne Kramer from MC5 on their project called Jail Guitar Doors. They provide instruments into prisons. What we’re doing now is we’re going to start providing the instruction materials to go along with it so that we can kind of just follow up whenever they send instruments in. We can send CDs and printed materials right on top of it. We sent a porch board bass to Folsom Prison last month and we got a really nice letter from them yesterday, thanking us for it and how much it meant to them. You know it’s pretty cool. We see these projects and we know we’re at least helping the people that want to improve their quality of life in the prison system. At least hopefully with these types of projects they’re given the opportunity. We’re also working with a company called Music In Memory that provides mp3 players to Alzheimer’s patients with music from their generation, because it’s already been proven that music stimulates the process in Alzheimer’s patients. Then we’ve got another called Senior Playlists that we’re starting to work with that is basically a directory in meeting space for retirement communities or Senior Centers that want to have entertainment. A database of entertainers that are going through Buffalo, they’ve got a list of people they can call and pick up an extra date for an afternoon show, things like that. We’re trying to make sure that we again enhance the lives of the community. That’s really what it’s about. Our people want to make a living in the music business. We’re realists and know that’s not possible for everybody, so the more opportunities we can create for people to be part of the music business the better, even if they’re not going to be the next Springsteen or the next whomever.


The 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 awhile. As such, your patience is appreciated.

Stephen Stills Carry On

AirPlayDirect.com/StephenStills

Stephen Stills’ place as one of the great American singer/songwriters of the last century becomes crystalclear with the release of Carry On, an 82-track retrospective of Stills’ 50year career. Since 1966, Stills has released over 250 songs as a solo artist and with groups like Buffalo Springfield and (most famously) Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. While this career-spanning collection contains classics you would expect to be represented like “Love The One You’re With” and “For What It’s Worth,” it is also loaded with 25 previously unreleased gems that even a moderate fan of Stills can appreciate. One of these highlights is “No Name Jam,” an improvisational session of Jimi Hendrix and Stephen trading guitar licks recorded in 1969; it’s a rewarding excursion, and Stills holds his own quite well against one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time. The tracks on Carry On still sound strikingly relevant, and the influence of Stephen Stills’ legacy echoes today in the sounds of groups like Fleet Foxes, Megafaun, and Wilco. Carry On is an excellent compilation for old and new fans of Stills alike to appreciate these highlights of his catalog. Ryan Smith

A Tribute to the Music of Ron Davies Unsung Hero

AirPlayDirect.com/almosspromotion...

Ron Davies was a songwriter’s songwriter who, like so many talented artists, labored in relative obscurity and died too soon in 2003. Best known for cuts like “It Ain’t Easy” by Three Dog Night and “Long Hard Climb” by Helen Reddy, he worked in L.A. before following singer/producer sister Gail Davies to Nashville, where he became a staff songwriter but never quite broke into the political Music Row machine. Now, after nearly a decade of stops and starts, Gail has produced Unsung Hero, an album of 22 of her brother’s songs performed by the likes of Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, John Prine and others who appreciated Ron Davies’ talent. Tracks like “Dark Eyed Gal” by the Dirt Band’s Jeff Hanna and songwriter wife Matraca Berg, “Let It Slide” by former Wet Willie frontman Jimmy Hall, and “True Lovers and Friends” by Crystal Gayle, with a sax solo by jazz legend Benny Golson, make this album worth checking out. And in a fitting tribute to a great writer, sales proceeds are being used to provide instruments and music lessons to underprivileged children at the non-profit W.O. Smith Music School in Nashville. Rick Moore

Enter The Haggis

The Modest Revolution AirPlayDirect.com/EnterTheHaggis

It’s no secret that Canada has been producing some of the finest and most original music from Arcade Fire to Broken Social Scene over the past decade. It therefore comes without surprise that the latest album from Toronto-based folk/ rock group Enter The Haggis is a remarkably unique concept album based entirely on the events of one day in one newspaper, The Globe and Mail. This album was funded via Kickstarter by enthusiastic fans who more than tripled the band’s original goal of $20,000 for a total of $66,035. ETH subsequently used these funds to hit the studio for one month with producer Zach McNees, and the result is a successful musical snapshot of one day in Canadian life in which they poetically cover the obituaries, sports events, and newsworthy stories. The music on The Modest Revolution is largely rooted in traditional Americana and Celtic, although this album is more electrified than their 2011 effort Whitelake. What separates ETH from the droves of current bands in the vein of Mumford and Sons and Of Monsters And Men is their innovation and drive to do something left of center. Ryan Smith


THESE ARE THE 10 WINNERS OF tDB MAY ISSUE “BUZZ ABOUT YOU” ARTIST CONTEST.

Lisa Matassa Country / Country Rock With the release of her latest CD, Somebody’s Baby, Long Island-based Lisa Matassa takes yet another huge step forward in her career as a successful independent artist. The album reflects her musical journey through a collection of songs that are both personal and dynamic. Three of the tunes on the EP were cowritten by Lisa herself coupled with three covers made famous by other artists. --------------------------------------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/LisaMatassa ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jim Pipkin

Trysette

Americana / Country / Roots Cntry.

Pop / Americana / Country

Jim Pipkin has performed his original songs on hundreds of stages over the years, from Nashville’s Bluebird Café to the now defunct Union Grove Fiddler’s Convention in North Carolina. At the same time he has worked on farms and loading docks, in orchards, gold mines, and textile mills, even serving as a Gunner’s Mate in the United States Navy. All songs wrote or co-wrote by Jim Pipkin.

Number four of nine children, Trysette is a classically trained pianist turned singer songwriter. After completing a B.A. in Contemporary Music at Southern Cross University, NSW, Trysette signed her debut EP to Warner Chappell Music and has followed it up with three independent albums, French Kiss, Here On In, and her latest release, Le Cafe Ancien. Trysette will tour the United States in September 2013.

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

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

John Batdorf & James Lee Stanley Folk-Rock / Acoustic Rock John Batdorf knew at a very early age that music would be the driving force in his life. Right on cue, in 1970 at age 18, John signed his first major record deal with Atlantic Records as one half of the folkrock duo Batdorf and Rodney. Now in 2013, the journey continues. John has teamed up with James Lee Stanley and has recorded and released All Wood And Stones II. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/AllWoodAnd... --------------------------------------------


MAY 2013 FEATURED ARTISTS

Karla Bauer

Brownsville Station

Netha

Blues / Pop / Holiday

Rock & Roll / Rock / Hard Rock

Contemporary Christian / Gospel

Radiating a real warmth from her unique, low-toned vocals, Karla Bauer is the perfect vibe between Adele, Norah Jones, and Eric Clapton. The music will just keep getting deeper under your skin with every song you play. Karla’s music is a lot like her personality – not shy. The passion she expresses as a vocalist and songwriter are equal to her desire to bring her music and her message to the world.

Rambunctious showmanship and riotous party anthems–propelled by a string of hits, including their signature “Smokin’ in the Boy’s Room”, Brownsville Station blazed a relentless road from the Midwest to Madison Square Garden, earning this much loved band a notable niche in the pantheon of rock music. From the downbeat, Still Smokin’ possesses all of the punch and personality that crowned the band as undisputed kings of party rock. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/BrownsvilleSt... --------------------------------------------

Netha has performed on the Grand Ole Opry and she won The Nashville Network’s talent show, You Can Be A Star. She’s sang on countless master recordings and national radio jingles and appeared on national and worldwide television shows. Netha has opened concerts for Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, John Conlee, Vern Gosdin and sang background vocals for Phil Stacey, Point of Grace, T. Graham Brown, Colin Ray, and Lee Greenwood.

Pretty Solitude

Mark Robinson

Indie / Alt. Rock / Pop

Blues / Americana / Roots Rock

Pretty Solitude is a new, fresh four-piece indie/ alternative pop rock band from Stockholm, Sweden who formed in 2010. The music glimmers of melancholy but never looses faith. Listening to Pretty Solitude, not only does it feel as one is addressed by people that have been through some ups and downs, the band has successfully translated those experiences to music of such bitter sweet delight.

Guitar slingersongwriter Mark Robinson’s debut album, Quit Your Job - Play Guitar, ignited like the first blast of a fireworks display. Blues Underground Network and BluesVan branded it one of 2010’s best. It was an attention-grabbing harbinger of even more exciting, incendiary things to come. Now Robinson’s follow-up, Have Axe – Will Groove, provides an even more colorful and explosive display of the Nashville-based guitarist and songwriter’s estimable skills. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/MarkRobinson... --------------------------------------------

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

The Infamous Stringdusters Bluegrass / Acoustic Country A collective of five musicians who each left successful slots in various touring bands, The Infamous Stringdusters are essentially a supergroup. The band exploded onto the world in 2007 with critical acclaim, multiple IBMA awards and a record deal with venerable bluegrass label Sugar Hill. Hundreds of shows later, the band is on a trajectory as one of the fastest growing acoustic bands in the country. -------------------------------------------Listen here: AirPlayDirect.com/SilverSky --------------------------------------------

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

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


By Abby Montgomery

TURNING YOUR FANS INTO SUPER-FANS The Importance of a Mobile Community If you are just starting out, or have been around for years as an artist, now more than ever, controlling the way you communicate and engage with fans has changed but is still vitally important. In the old paradigm of the music industry, if you were lucky enough to get signed on talent alone, your label would take control of your marketing and branding for you. In the NEW music industry, major labels rarely even consider an artist who doesn’t already have 50,000+ fans on social media and a solid email list of “Super-Fans.” So how do you build fans on your network pages, and how do you convert those “likes” into Super-Fans? I’m going to first assume that you already have a strong website where fans can go to read a bio, see photos, listen to your music, find out where you’re gigging and watch videos. Your website should be a “hub” of all things “music”. It must be easy to navigate and have easy to see tabs that fans can click on to get right to the information they are looking for. Once your website is structured and formatted for mobile access you are now ready to engage your fans to action. The first thing to remember is fans don’t want to be “sold”, they want to engage with you as a friend would, so be personal but cautiously so. The three most important network sites on which to grow fans are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube,

hands down. Use Facebook for a quick story, Twitter for sharing pictures, brief thoughts for the day, or a quick link to a newly posted video, and YouTube for organizing music videos and personal interaction videos for fans. What you share on the “branded band accounts” should be managed and not be a free-for-all. The value in this cannot be overstated. If a fellow band-member posts an entertaining personal moment, you may want to consider reposting it on the band page as well, but posts should be entertaining or informative about the band, something a fan can ultimately relate to on a personal level. By engaging the fans in this way, you will be encouraging them to feel the emotional responsibility of helping you succeed in your career. Make an effort to include your fans whenever you can, but don’t bore them with every little moment of the day. Choose the important, funny, beautiful or exciting moments, and share those. Just remember, share what you yourself would want to know. Many potential fans now live by their Smartphones and are no longer sitting at their computers in order to stay informed. So keep it brief but engaging. A video message is opened 75% of the time and viewed 85% to completion depending on the content so use video whenever possible. I encourage artists to upload a

short video at least once a week, be it a one minute backstage video, a two minute “meet my dog” video or a three minute acoustic or an acapella performance. By regularly posting on YouTube your fans will grow to trust your friendship with them and start checking in on your website/ app and YouTube page more regularly. A loyal fan is a profitable fan. So now you have social network “likes,” how do you convert those “likes” to loyal, Super-Fans? Get their personal contact info! Give them something for free, and fans are more inclined to give you their email address or cell phone number. The importance of personal contact info can’t be stressed enough! The statistics state that out of 50,000 “likes” on social media, 4.5% conversion rate is the average, which means 2,250 potential ticket, CD and swag purchasers. It only takes 1,000 true fans to make a good living. If you target those fans, and encourage them to purchase CDs, Tshirts, gig tickets or even contribute to your Fan Funding page on Kickstarter, and engage them to spend just $100 a year on your offers, you will be earning $100,000 a year simply off their loyalty alone. Not bad for an artist that may be sleeping on friends’ couches and eating Top Ramen. MailChimp reports that 30% of subscribed newsletters are opened on average. That means that 70%


of your Super-Fans may never read your email but the 30% that do, want the info! With Mobile it’s an even stronger story. Connecting with fans in the same way that they connect with their world is not only strategic, but also highly effective. Statistics show that 97% of people receiving a text message will read it within the first 4 minutes! In addition, 33% of Facebook members use a phone as their primary way to access Social Networks. If a fan gives you their mobile number in exchange for a free download or the like, they are willingly “opting in” to receive texts from you as a way to stay connected. Remember, woven into their desire to stay connected is a sense of responsibility to help you succeed and they want to be called to action. So a Mobile Fan Club is a major asset. By announcing your Mobile Fan Club at a gig, and giving something away for joining (i.e. a free download or Meet & Greet after the show), you have an opportunity to make joining your mobile community an event! Give your mobile fans the feeling of being a part of a very elite group and you’ll have the ability to engage them as such, by offering specific giveaways or discounts just for them. While planning your strategies, remember research firms are expecting 300 million NEW Smartphone users to be online, with mobile interaction, in the next couple of years! If you want to be ahead of the curve and connect with fans in the same way that they connect with their world, mobile interaction is where you need to be, and having a strategic Mobile Fan Club will give you a major edge. Abby Montgomery is the owner of RadioMavens, a multi genre radio promotion company located in Nashville. She can be reached at: radiomavens@gmail.com

THREE QUESTIONS FOR RADIO by Bronson Herrmuth This issue on “Three Questions For Radio” we interviewed John Platt – Director of Communications & Special Projects for WFUV 90.7 FM at Fordham University, Bronx, NY.

John Platt has worked in radio since his college days as program director at Princeton University in the late 60s. He’s been a disc jockey, producer, promotion director, and worked in station management and marketing. Radio stations he’s worked at include WMMR in Philadelphia, PA, WXRT in Chicago, IL, WRVR, WNEW, WYNY, and WNYC in New York City, NY. Since 1997, John has been at WFUV and in addition to his roles with station management, he is the on air host of the popular program Sunday Breakfast. When he’s not working at the station, John has a passion for hosting live concerts, and is the curator of “On Your Radar”, a monthly showcase for emerging independent artists. The Direct Buzz (tDB): How did you become aware of AirPlay Direct (APD) and what are a couple things you like most about using APD? John Platt (JP): APD sort of came to me via some artists that would send me links to their pages there. It’s hard to remember all the artists, but Ben Reel and Nancy Austin (of the Mosstons) come to mind. I think that the way it is set up with the chance to download the music of the artists, to learn about them through the bios that are posted there, to have press quotes that are there as well as tour dates, it makes it sort of a one

stop shop for radio programmers. It’s a great way to sort of wrap your ears around what an artist is doing by just going to one site, APD. tDB: We’d like your insight to assist our artists in how they can best present themselves to radio stations on their page on APD. What would be one tip for artists not to do on their release pages and songs? JP: I don’t think you want to clutter your page with too much extraneous information. I think if you can keep it concise in terms of the influences or the artists that you sound like, it’s probably a good thing to not overwhelm people with too much information. tDB: What would be your tip for what you think artists should do on their release pages and songs? JP: I think to be able to put really relative press quotes is a good insight into the kind of buzz they might have been creating in the media. I think tour dates are also really good if they happen to have some. I know as a folk DJ, I often will try and play a song by an artist that I like who’s going to be performing in the area. Sometimes that’s a catalyst for me to get somebody’s music on the air that I might forget about otherwise. Videos are a good tool too, but they influence me less than the music itself.


The Rally Foundation:

By Rick Moore

Changing the Lives of Children with Cancer The American Cancer Society estimates that about 11,630 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2013. More than 10% probably won’t survive. After accidents, cancer is the second leading cause of death in children younger than 15 years old. One organization whose leaders have dedicated their lives to helping find a cure for this insidious disease, and to improving the quality of life for those children who have been afflicted with it, is the Rally Foundation. The Rally Foundation, founded in Atlanta in 2005, is a fast-growing non-profit organization dedicated to helping eradicate childhood cancer. The organization helps empower volunteers across the country and around the world to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer research to find better treatments with fewer long-term side effects, and ultimately cures for the various types of this disease. One city with an up-and-coming Rally Foundation chapter is Nashville, which has embraced the organization’s mission in a way that no city but Nashville could. The Nashville chapter is headed up by Elaine Kay, who has deep, personal reasons for having become involved with the organization that go far beyond her simply believing in the cause. The need for Rally’s work hit home with her when her own young son was stricken with the dreaded disease. “Our son, James, was diagnosed with cancer in 2005 when he was

11,” Kay explains. “James was having problems and I thought maybe he had a kidney stone, even though he was so young. The next day we went to the doctor and had an ultrasound and were told right away that he had cancer. James was number 27 in medical history to be diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma originating in the kidney, and there had been no survivors. We were in shock. We thought we wouldn’t see him graduate from elementary school.” Kay chokes up haltingly and understandably. “We were told that St. Jude had had four kids with it who had passed away within a year. James became involved in a clinical research trial that, instead of having chemo every three weeks, he had it every two weeks, and that ended up being what was necessary. It was an aggressive cancer and it had to be attacked as much as possible. We went through surgery, radiation, all that stuff for a year. It was tough, but he made it. He survived. For a year and a half after that I didn’t do much of anything, just spent time with him. Today he’s been able to play baseball and football, and now he’s in college at Auburn, a pretty

happy 19 year old.” Kay says it was no coincidence that Rally came into the picture during this time. “I kept hearing about Rally from different people, especially in Atlanta, and I spent some time looking into it. They were giving people hope, saving kids’ lives.


What impressed me was that the people behind Rally put their money where their mouth is, that there was no big CEO who was making a fortune. It was something I couldn’t say no to, and that’s how I got involved in heading up the Nashville chapter.” She goes on to relate how Rally was started in Atlanta before she became involved in Nashville. “A woman by the name of Dean Crowe founded Rally eight years ago, and the organization has raised over $4,000,000 in that time. Last year alone we raised over $1,000,000, or more accurately, gave away $1,000,000 in different research grants. From March to March everyone in the nation who’s involved with Rally does what they can to raise money, and then in April, Dean calls doctors doing research across the nation to tell them if we are donating money to help fund their grants. We have a non-biased medical board that decides on the best re-

search in the country, the best projects and doctors to fund. Children are definitely being saved because of the grants we help fund, and I hear stories about the research that is changing the outcomes for kids in a positive way.” “We also partner with an organization called Bare Necessities in finding the best research,” she continues. “We also like to support the local hospitals where we have a strong chapter, so some of the money we raise benefits Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville. We’re giving money to three different grants to Vanderbilt this year.” Much of the organization’s financial support is raised through fundraising events, and, as one might imagine, the Nashville chapter’s events often involve music. The initial Nashville fundraiser in 2010 was a “Rally Mania” concert, featuring such performers as Eddie Money, Mike Reno, Kix Brooks, Jars of Clay and more. “Our first event was at the

Factory in Franklin with some great artists,” Kay says. “Some live in this area, and Mike Reno from Loverboy flew down from Canada for it. Everyone was great.” The organization also has raised funds through songwriter nights’ events with such Nashville multi-platinum greats as Gordon Kennedy (Ricky Skaggs), Rivers Rutherford (Lady Antebellum), Tim Nichols (Tim McGraw), Tom Douglas (Miranda Lambert) and others. “Gordon is such a dear, and Rivers has the same heart for children,” Kay says. “We also have the support of a great young singer named Kelsey K. She’s crazy good. They’re such great people, giving 100% for good causes like ours. There’s no other city where so many talented people would offer this kind of support.” “In the fall we have a dinner auction,” Kay continues, “and we’ll be doing that this year on November 21st at the Loveless Cafe. Our other signature event is in the spring called


the Rally Rumble, a teenage music festival. The kids raised $30,000 the first year we did it and $24,000 last year. The teenage bands that play at the Rally Rumble each choose a Rally Kid to support; a Rally Kid is a child with cancer. We just held our latest one on March 9th where Kelsey K did such a fabulous job.” The honorary chairs for this year’s Rally Rumble were Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry of country duo Montgomery Gentry. Kay says that event planning is a year round-thing, and fundraising never stops any more than cancer does. “We kind of lay low during the summer, gearing up for the auction, but there are other events as well. We hold events in Franklin, Nashville, and I’m actually on my way to Sewanee (in southern Tennessee) for an event. Wherever people want to raise money for childhood cancer research it’s a good thing!” In other cities, fundraising events for the foundation have included Atlanta’s annual Brian McCann Rally Celebrity Softball Game with Atlanta Braves McCann and Chipper Jones, former Cincinnati Bengals coach Sam Wyche and other athletes, and the Rally Bike Ride, with riders cycling more than 2,800 miles

from Atlanta to New York City. “We have a strong following in Seattle and a great chapter near New York City, and we have events in all 50 states and other countries in fact,” Kay says. “We do what we can to get the word out, but sometimes people just hear about us and some people just jump on board and help us when they see the need we’re addressing. For every dollar that is raised, 93 cents goes to support the cause.” In the end, even though she and her family had to go through imaginable grief and pain on the way to her son’s recovery, Kay believes that such experiences are a part of why we’re on earth. “I do believe that, if you let Him, God will work things out for the best,” she says. “The fact that I was made a part of something that led to helping save kids in the future...I don’t know, it had to be for a reason. Some people go through this type of thing and don’t have the time and energy to be able to take something like Rally on, and that’s okay too. But for me, I just didn’t have a choice. After James got better I had to do something to try to help other kids. I don’t know how I could have gone through something like that and not want to change things for the better for other kids.”

What you can do to help: Your donation makes a difference! Please consider a tax-deductible contribution to Rally Foundation For Childhood Cancer Research by sending your gift to: Rally Foundation 5775 Glenridge Drive Building B, Suite 370 Sandy Springs, GA 30328 Or submit a credit card donation on their secure server HERE: https://www.givedirect.org/ give/givefrm.asp?CID=11324 For more information: 404-847-1270 info@rallyfoundation.org www.rallyfoundation.org


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the Direct Buzz May 2013