MERICANA GAZETT E A February â€˘ March 2009
Feature Story: Dancing With Idiots Warren Hodges
Good n Loud
AMERICANA GAZETTE PUBLISHER Joyce Ziehli firstname.lastname@example.org SENIOR EDITOR Andy Ziehli email@example.com STAFF WRITERS/PHOTOS Rob Kosmeder Bobbyk321@hotmail.com Lynn Nimsomboon Something_witty_and_clever@hotmail.com Litt Dubay The above picture was taken at Flannery’s in New Glarus where the Americana Gazette staff enjoyed a delicious meal for our first Christmas party. In the photo, seated starting on the left, are Lynn Nimsomboon, Rob Kosmeder, Andy Ziehli, Joyce Ziehli and Rosemary Ziehli. From the left, standing are Erin Blumer, Jim Smith and Bob Hoffman. Missing from the photo is Ric Genthe and Andrew Pulver. Now when you read our stories or look at our photos, you will know who we are.
Now that the holidays are over and we are into the New Year, how many of us have already broken our New Year’s resolutions? Better yet, let’s not even go there! I think I made it until noon on the 1st of January, and then I had to have some chocolate. Let’s move on to another holiday. Andy and I went to Nashville at the end of January. Those adventures will be shared in the next issue. Stay tuned. . . . . Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day will soon be here. Don’t forget your sweetheart on February 14th and whether you are Irish or not, enjoy some corned beef and cabbage or some Irish stew!!! The Americana Gazette looks forward to another year of great stories to share with you. If you are interested in writing an article or have some ideas to share with us, please feel free to contact one of us. We are always looking for fresh ideas, and new writers!!!!!
Classified, b/w, 3.25”w x 2”h $5.00
FEATURE WRITERS Robert Hoffman
Small Band, b/w, 3.25”w x 4.25”h $35.00
Large Band, b/w, 3.25”w x 8.25”h $65.00
Small Schedule, b/w, 3.25”w x 4.25”h $30.00
Large Schedule, b/w, 3.25”w x 8.25”h $60.00
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ric Genthe firstname.lastname@example.org
1/6 Page vertical, b/w, 3.25”w x 6.5”h $100.00 1/3 Page vertical, b/w, 3.25”w x 12.75”h $150.00 1/3 Page horizontal, b/w, 10.25”w x 4”h $150.00 2/3 Page vertical, b/w, 6.75”w x 12.75”h $180.00 1/2 Page horizontal, b/w, 10.25”w x 6.5”h $220.00 Full Page, b/w, 10.75”w x 12.75”h $300.00
Until the next issue,
Inside Back Cover Page, b/w, 10.75”w x 12.75”h $350.00
Joyce Ziehli Publisher
Inside Front Cover Page, b/w, 10.75”w x 12.75”h $400.00
AMERICANA GAZETTE % ANDY & JOYCE ZIEHLI P.O. BOX 208 BELLEVILLE, WI. 53508 OFFICE: 608-424-6300 Andy Cell: 608-558-8131 Joyce Cell: 608-558-8132
Back Cover, Color, 10.75”w x 12.75”h $450.00
w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Americana Gazette TABLE OF CONTENTS FEATURE STORY 16 Dancing With Idiots WHERE TO LOOK: 3
Litt DuBay’s Slant
Favorites in Nashville
10 3 for 1 12 Pet Notes 13 Aaron’s Anecdotes 14 Women In The Round 15 Art of Listening 16 Dancing With Idiots 18 Radio 19 Remember 19 Two P’s 20 Randy Green 22 Cadillac Joe 23 Attracting Art 24 John Jennings 26 Good n Loud 28 Mama’s 30 CD Reviews w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
1/2 Notes The first Annual Tri-county Food Jam Sunday February 22, 2009 at Country Side Lanes Hollandale Noon until 7:00? An afternoon of Country Music provided by some of the areas finest bands and musicians. This event is being organized by Mark Gruenenfelder of Blanchardville. On his 50th birthday Mark hosted a Country Jam and had so much fun that he wanted to make it an annual event with a purpose. He made a few phone calls and sent a few emails and the Tri-County Food Jam was born. This is a great event for a great cause. Hats off to Mark for stepping up to the plate and organizing this event. For more information see the poster on page of this issue. NEW BLUES SERIES !!!, April 3, 2009 The Young Guns of Guitar a Beau Geste Production Beau Geste Productions has just lined up a Blues Series at the East Side Club! The first show will be April 3rd and start at 8:00 PM with Aaron Williams & the Hoodoo with Joel Pingitore & the Play Ground of Sound taking the stage at 10:00PM. $6.00 cover at the door. Our first annual juried group show of the work of Artsbuild participants to be presented in the Nohr Gallery, Ullsvik, and UW – Platteville from February 4th to 28th. For the PDF with all the information and forms go to the Artsbuild website http://www.uwplatt.edu/cont_ed/artsbuild/ and click on” opportunities”. Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions! email@example.com or 608-342-1314 WORKSHOP: “PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR ART WORK”:Tuesday, February 17th, 6 – 9 PM Did you know that exhibition jurors, gallery curators, and even busy web shoppers will simply blow by your images if they are poorly lit, out of focus, have distracting backgrounds, or otherwise look unprofessional? Even if the artwork is great, if the photos stink, you lose. You need all photographic representation of your artwork to be good as possible. If you’re not prepared to hire a professional photographer, and you need to take better photos of your artwork yourself, this class will help. All you need is a basic understanding of your camera. Instructor Steve Gassman encourages you to bring some of your artwork to this workshop so that you can get hands-on, practical advice that directly applies to your situation. You
may bring your camera too. Location: 143 Doudna, University of Wisconsin, Platteville,Wisconsin. Cost: $35, you must pre-register for this class. For more information, or to register, call 608-3421314 or 888 281-9472, or visit www.uwplatt /edu/cont_ed then go to community classes, community courses, list by topic, enrichment, photographing your art work. SURVEY: GET HELP SELLING ARTWORK: Deadline: February 27th UW-Madison Continuing Studies is planning a class to help artists sell their work. Please help them identify the topic areas most important to you by completing the survey at https://websurvey.wisc.edu/survey/ TakeSurvey.asp?AI=1&SurveyID=33I6n5KK5l 9MM25 If you would rather complete a paper survey, or have questions or comments, please contact Leslee Nelson, Director of visual arts, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-263-7814. You can also join their mailing list at http://www.dcs.wisc.edu/lsa/mailform.htm Check “Business of Art” in the interest area box. February 8, 2pm Richland Concert Series Presents Otis Murphy Solo recital by Otis Murphy, classical saxophone. Tickets: Fee not known. UW-Richland students admitted free by showing current student ID card at the door. Seventh Day Adventist Church, 26625 Crestview Drive, Richland Center February 12, Noon & 7pm “Frederick Douglass: Freedom’s Voice” Author of the Pulitzer Prize nominated book by the same title will speak about abolitionist orator Douglass, including his connections to Abraham Lincoln. Offered twice--at noon and at 7pm. UW-Richland campus, Pippin Conference Center, Richland Center FMI: email@example.com February 12, 7pm Unlock the Secret of Romance: The Key to Writing a Romance Novel in 10 Simple Steps with Kathy Steffen, author of “First,There is a River.”This is sponsored by the Friends of the Library. Spring Green Community Library, Community Room, 230 E. Monroe St., Spring Green FMI: 608-588-2276 or www.springgreenlibrary.org/adult.html February 13, 8pm Live Music at Aces Tonight: Lost Conversation. Aces Sports Pub, 960 Wachter Avenue, Plain FMI: www.acesofplain.com or 608-546-3771 February 14, 1-8pm Paul Bentzen Day A mid-winter bash celebrating local musician, actor, humorist & culinary artist Paul Bentzen’s 64th birthday with jambalaya, bluegrass jam and microbrews. Paul’s jambalaya served until sold out.All are welcome. Spring Green General Store, 137 S.Albany Street, Spring Green FMI:Todd Miller 608-588-7070 or todd@spring greengeneralstore.com; www.Spring GreenGeneral Store.com
continued on page 7
Rant! by Litt DuBay
Hello everyone!!! I’m really bummed out because my favorite time of year has just ended, Fudge Season. God I love fudge! My friend John Miller of the Fat Cat Coffee Works in New Glarus is sad for me too. He thinks as well as I do that Fudge Season should be open until at least Chocolate Bunny Season, or Hamm’s Beer Season which is always open at Sugar River Studios where Hamm’s Beer is the Official Beer of Sugar River Studios. It is also that time of year when love is in the air, and a young man’s thoughts wonder to what the hell am I going to get her for Valentines Day! I have some ideas that have worked for old Litt Dubay in the past and I’m sure will work for you. 1. Wrap yourself up naked with a big bow and lie on the bed so when she comes home you’ll be ready for a night of amore’. (Be sure not to attach the sticky backed bow to your favorite part of your anatomy.) 2. Buy her a case of Hamm’s beer. 3. Put together a mix CD of your favorite gettin it on music. 4. Don’t waste money on flowers they just die anyway. Buy her something that lives forever, like a Jim Beam Decanter of Elvis. 5. Give her a massage with benefits (make sure it benefits you). 6. Take her out for a meal with candle lights and wine somewhere private. Make sure it is some where where you can get the truck out of afterwards. 7. Write her a love song and play it on the new guitar you bought with the money you were suppose to use to take her out. 8. For all you unmarried guys give her that one thing she really wants on Valentines Day.A full size picture of you and your record sized Walleye you caught last summer in Canada. 9. Buy her that puppy you always wanted. 10.After an evening of passionate fooling around before you roll over and go to sleep kiss her on the forehead and say “if we’re still together next year I won’t yell out my name, I promise I’ll yell yours!” What’s with Fender Guitars raising their price up 30% beginning February 1, 2009? Does that mean that all our used Fender gear is worth 30% more on trade in? I don’t think so! Fender makes great guitars and amps, but a 30% raise in price just because they want to make more because of decreased sales. Yea that will work well for them!
Saw a guy in Monroe last week with buttons in his ears. Not to block out sound but to ordinate himself. I bet his mama’s proud of him. I also saw a guy with his whole upper torso tattooed when I was in Nashville a couple of weeks ago. You must really hate yourself to cover every inch of your flesh with a tattoo. Either that or you are so starved for attention you do it. If God wanted us to cover ourselves with pictures he would have made our skin out of canvas. Found a couple of neat musicians jokes for you. What do you call 10 guys in a drum circle? A dope ring. What do you call a beautiful woman on a drummer's arm? A tattoo. What do you call a drummer that breaks up with his girlfriend? Homeless. I once asked a drummer how to spell "Mississippi". He said, "The River or the state?" Why do bands have bass players? To translate for the drummer. Did you hear about the time the bass player locked his keys in the car? It took two hours to get the drummer out. What's the difference between a Bassist and a rhino that's just eaten a tin of baked beans? One's a huge useless thing that makes a deep farting noise and the other is a rhino. What's the difference between a bass player and a Duracell battery? The Duracell battery has a good life. What's the difference between a guitarist and a mutual fund? One matures. How does a guitar player change a light bulb? He lies on the bed so that the room is spinning around it. How does a guitar player show up for practice? Drunk and late as usual How do you make a guitarist's eyes light up? Shine a flashlight in his ear. What's black and blue and laying in a ditch? A guitarist who's told too many drummer jokes. Lastly I want to rant a bit about the state of Americana Music in Southern Wisconsin. What we need here is a radio station to convert to Americana Music 24 hours a day. It’s time that we had such a station, and I think that we should nominate 105.1 to be that station. Who the hell is this Charlie that they keep talking about? He can’t be a disc jockey, oh excuse me “radio personality” because he’s never on the air. He can’t be the owner because he doesn’t take or return calls. I think he is a figment of somebody’s imagination or bad trip and they are trying to put it off on to us. Here’s what I suggest we do. Everyone email this Charlie feller and tell him that we want a real Americana Radio Station in Madison and Southern Wisconsin. Tell him to hire Mckenize back because we miss her and want her back on Madison Radio. She would be perfect for the job. I think a show with Ole Litt Dubay and Mel would be a great drive time addition to Madison Radio! Hint Hint. We want to hear Americana Music! So everyone who reads this please email Charlie and tell him so. Have a great Valentine’s Day! Until next issue this is Litt Dubay signing off. (Just practicing up for my new Radio gig!)
Wanted: Fiddle Player for Americana Band. We are all members of other bands doing this as a side playing and recording project. We play original songs and cover songs by Son Volt, Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch, Jayhawks, Emmylou Harris, etc. We plan to record a CD and release it in the fall of 2009. We would like to play out at least once a month. There are 6 of us in this project. If this sounds interesting to you please get a hold of us through the Americana Gazette at Box 208, Belleville, WI 53508 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are located in Green County,WI.
We are a regional advocacy, technical assistance and networking program for all types of creative entrepreneurs – including visual artists, composers, musicians, writers, actors, dancers, and choreographers. We connect artists and arts leaders throughout southwest Wisconsin. :H DGYRFDWH IRU WKH DUWV :H GHOLYHU ZRUNVKRSV DQG HGXFDWLRQDO offerings on entrepreneurial skill topics :H IRVWHU FRPPXQLFDWLRQ DPRQJ artists and arts groups via email updates containing information about grants, workshops, and opportunities. 2XU RQOLQH GLUHFWRU\ RI DUWLVWV KHOSV creative entrepreneurs increase their visibility. $UWV%XLOG LV FRPSOHWHO\ IUHH WR MRLQ
Carol Spelic 608.342.1314 email@example.com
w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
FROM THE REVIEWER’S STAND It Shined The Saga of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils Michael Supe Granada Author House Publishing For you“youngsters”out there,The Ozark Mountain Daredevils is just a name on one of those Time Life types of rock compilation discs of 70’s music. To us people over 45 and under 60, the Daredevils were an ass kicking rock band that dominated the airwaves in the Midwest in the early 1970’s. Songs like If you wanna get to heaven, Country Girl, Chicken Train, Look Away, and of course Jackie Blue blared from our AM car radios from stations like WISM in Madison and WLS out of Chicago. The Daredevils were rock and roll to us with their driving harmonica and chunky guitars. Laying down the bass lines was a skinny long haired troubadour named Supe Granada. I remember buying the first three Daredevil’s albums and just staring at the band pictures. The homegrown backdrop of the Missouri countryside made for a 1970’s Norman Rockwell type of picture. This book“It Shined”is the story of Supe and the rest of the Daredevils rise to stardom, their slow retreat back to the Missouri countryside and Nashville Skyline. This is a well written book of 494 whopping pages of music, humor, grass, coke, and life. The six members are portrayed as good guys from a backwater city that almost get pushed into being rock stars. What started out as a group of songwriters getting together once a week to play each other’s songs at a small club grew into a fullfledged world touring band. The stories of the parties and live shows are well documented, as well as each album’s recording sessions. Granada painstakingly tells the ups and downs of this crew of country boys who just wanted to make music. They could care less about the business end, and were just as happy staying home and playing on the back porch as they were to play stadiums. They never left Springfield,MO. They drove or flew everywhere they needed to, always returning home to recharge, much to the anger of their record companies. Members came and left over the years, but they all seem to have remained friends reuniting numerous times in the original makeup of the band to play shows. If anything I could have done with less drug tales and a little more band member’s background, and the diversity of the band and how it caused them to implode. Granada does an excellent job of chronicling the band’s history and never slams anyone in the band in this book. If you are looking for a“Hollywood Extra”exposé, this book is not for w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
you. If you are looking for a good read on a great band that was both entertaining on and off the record, this book is for you. I finished it in about a week at a very leisurely pace. More pictures would have been cool. I recommend this book to anyone who remembers the early 70’s and the great music that was being made before Disco took over. So put on your bells, pop a beer or roll a fatty, and kick back and enjoy this wonderful trip to a simpler time when the music was real, hair was long, and conc e r t s were general seating. Review by: Andy Ziehli
AMERICANA GAZETTE SUBSCRIPTION The Americana Gazette is a free bimonthly publication and may be picked up at area locations. However if you would like a copy mailed to you, please fill out the following information and submit a check for $15.00 to:Americana Gazette, P.O. Box 208, Belleville,Wi. 53508
______________________________________________________________________ First Name Last Name ______________________________________________________________________ Address ______________________________________________________________________ City State Zip Code 1 Year Subscription - $15.00
The “New” Economy and Arts & Music or... ...how do I sell or get playing jobs now?
ne thing that is for sure in 2009 is we can’t conduct business the way we use to. Any artist or musician who thinks that they can sell their artwork or get playing jobs like they did in past years won’t be around to usher in 2010. You have to be smarter,offer superior customer service, and have a product that is both economical and has a value worth paying for. The days of selling your art or music haphazardly are through. Discretionary income is gone both in individuals and in business budgets. Your art or music has to bring a value to the table in order for it to be purchased. In art that task will be a bit harder than music, but music must bring people in the door or you won’t be playing much in 2009. Musicians beware the ugly head of Karaoke and the infamous DJ will devour much more of your territory than ever before. Let’s talk about “Value”. Value of a product in marketing means the relationship between the consumer's expectations of product quality to the actual amount paid for it. For an artist or musician to deliver value to their customers, they must consider what is known as the "total market offering." This includes the reputation of the artist/musician/band, product benefits, and technological characteristics as compared to competitors' market offerings and prices. Value can thus be defined as the relationship of the artist/musician/band market offerings to those of its competitors. Value in marketing can be defined by both qualitative and quantitative measures. On the qualitative side, value is the perceived gain composed of individual's emotional, mental and physical condi-
tion plus various social, economic, cultural and environmental factors. On the quantitative side,value is the actual gain measured in terms of financial numbers, percentages, and dollars. So in laymen’s terms what that means is that the customer/club owner is getting something that satisfies themselves or their customers and is able to receive the money they need to continue to do so. You may ask how that can be determined with music played in a club. That’s really quite easy to answer. If your band is packing the club and the club owner is making money your value is high, if it is the opposite you have no value to that club owner or any other club owner. Musicians need to have their @$&% together and be able to guaranty a club owner that they are well worth the price they are charging. Artists have to provide a product that gives the emotional side of their customers a boost,and that the art work is going to fill that need to justify the price paid for it. Now don’t panic and say the sky is falling just sit down and create a marketing plan to help you navigate these new uncharted waters of this new economy. Marketing refers to the promotion of products & services, advertising, pricing, distribution channels, and branding. A marketing plan is a written document that details the necessary actions to achieve one or more marketing objectives. It can be for a product or service,a brand,or a product line. Marketing plans cover between one and five years. You can create a marketing plan fairly easily using the web especially using the Entrepreneur Magazine website which is filled with great marketing ideas. You will just have to adjust them to your product which is music or art. Guerilla marketing is a term that describes marketing on a shoe string, using creative low cost ideas, tools, and materials to market your product. There is a great book called Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook: 201 Self-Promotion Ideas for Songwriters, Musicians & Bands by Bob Baker that can be very helpful to you. Local SBDC offices in Platteville and Stevens Point can also help you. Just remember that your plan should be based on the following criteria: • Clear - There should be an unambiguous statement of 'exactly' what is to be done. • Quantified - The predicted outcome of each activity should be, as far as possible, quantified; so that its performance can be monitored. • Focused - The temptation to proliferate activities beyond the numbers which can be realistically controlled should be avoided. • Realistic - They should be achievable. • Agreed - Those who are to implement them should be committed to them, and agree that they are achievable. The final piece is creating a brand. A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or other feature that distinguishes products and services from competitive offerings. A brand represents the consumers' experience with an artist/musicians, product, or service. A brand has also been defined as an identifiable entity that makes a specific promise of value. Branding means creating reference of certain products in consumers mind. You need to create a brand for your art or music. The ultimate goal is to be the number one artist or musician that comes to mind when someone is choosing your particular style,product,or sound. Creating a brand is hard work but the rewards are very great for doing so. Here are some simple ways to market you and create a brand in the new economy: Develop an overall marketing umbrella that es-
tablishes your brand and trumpets the value it provides. If you create this umbrella, be sure you understand it and find the angle in it that you want to base your sales approach on. Make sure that all of the marketing tools and initiatives are at your disposal or that you invest in are structured to capture customers. If you have a website, what do you do to drive traffic to it? Once you drive traffic to your online destination, offer a reason for visitors to leave their e-mail addresses or other contact information. Contact every lead that arrives at your website. Stop by the show. Provide a sign up list for fans and contacts at each show. Start a newsletter to let fans,customers,and club owners know what you are up to. Network, Network, Network! Start a Street team to help pass the word about a gallery showing or a playing job coming up. Create posters, bumper stickers, and brochures that are eye-catching and truly convey what you create, sell, or play. Don’t overcharge! The days of the big money jobs are through. If you are going to charge over $300.00 a night in this economy you had better make sure you can deliver at the door, because if you can’t you won’t get a second chance at most clubs. Be on time, in starting, taking breaks, and ending your shows. Be polite to the people who work at the clubs and to all the club’s customers. Play the music the people want to hear, not what you want to play. Take the time to learn a more diverse song list. Practice, Practice, Practice!!! Because the other guys are! Be professional on and off the stage. Don’t get drunk while or before you play. Don’t smoke on stage or have your amps covered in beer bottles. Dress appropriately for the job and club. Make an EP of your best material and hand it out at shows. If you can’t create quality posters, cards, or brochures hire it done by a professional. This includes creating a trademark for your band or act. Be willing to work with club owners in securing jobs. They can exist without you, you can’t exist without them. Lastly, don’t play at volumes that the patrons of the club cannot communicate with each other. Volume is a musician’s worst enemy. Acts that play to loud and drive customers out won’t be asked back again. This is the time you need to market yourselves and your bands! When everybody else is stopping advertising to save money you need to guerrilla market and advertise wisely to keep your name in the front of the pack. Artists and musicians who do this will come out ahead of their competition when the recession ends. This is the single most important thing you can do! Keeping your name in front of people will create sales and jobs. Your competitors are scaling back.You need to move forward! Give 110% in customer service. This will keep you in the minds of your customers. Don’t worry about price when selling your products; sell your service and reputation. Become the brand yourself. Lastly, keep positive. It will get better and you and your art/music can survive. Story by: Andy Ziehli (Some information for this article was gathered from Wikipedia) w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
1/2 notes... continued from page 3
February 21, 2-3:30pm/3:30-5pm Live Music at the General Store Featuring Bob Weinswig & Friends. Free and open to the public. Spring Green General Store, 137 S.Albany Street, Spring Green FMI:Todd Miller 608-588-7070 or firstname.lastname@example.org; www.SpringGreenGeneralStore.com February 26-March 7, 7:30 pm River Valley Players presents “Annie” The Musical Leapin’ Lizards! The popular comic strip heroine takes center stage in one of the world’s best-loved musicals.“Annie” is a spunky Depression-era orphan determined to find her parents, who abandoned her years ago on the doorstep of a New York City Orphanage run by the cruel, embittered Miss Hannigan. In adventure after fun-filled adventure,Annie foils Miss Hannigan’s evil machinations, befriends President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and finds a new family and home in billionaire Oliver Warbucks, his personal secretary Grace Farrell and a lovable mutt named Sandy. Cost: $10 adult, $8 student/senior. Gard Theater, 111 E. Jefferson Street, Spring Green FMI: 608-583-2748 or www.rivervalleyplayers .org February 28, 2-3:30pm/3:30-5pm Live Music at the General Store Featuring Don & Lynn Morris and The Pickin’ Bubs. Free and open to the public. Spring Green General Store, 137 S.Albany Street, Spring Green FMI:Todd Miller 608-588-7070 or email@example.com; www.SpringGreenGeneralStore.com RCH March 1, 2pm Richland Concert Series Presents Aaron Sinnett Concert An accomplished cellist returns to perform a varied repertoire.Tickets: Fee not known. Seventh Day Adventist Church, 26625 Crestview Drive, Richland Center FMI: 608-647-6477 3rd Annual Celebrity Squares, based on the popular Hollywood Squares television program, Celebrity Squares will again feature a variety of local luminaries from all walks of life. Contestants will have the opportunity to compete for thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes, all of which have been generously donated by area businesses and individuals.Tickets $12 and available at Nina’s, Spring Green General Store, and at the door. Sponsored by the Spring Green Area Arts Coalition. Gard Theater, 111 E. Jefferson Street, Spring Green.
w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Our Favorite Places in Nashville Joyce and I travel to Nashville an average of 6 times a year. We have gotten to know some great people over the last few years and have found some great places to visit and eat at during this time. Many people ask us where they should go and what they should see when they get to Nashville so we have put together a list of some of our favorite places to visit and hope that you find them just as enjoyable as we do. Nashville is a huge city spread out over many miles,so finding the right place to stay is important. We like to stay downtown right on East Broadway. It is the hub of Nashville and 90% of the historic true country sites are within walking distance from each other. If you are interested in seeing Opryland and the theme park scene you should find a hotel near there, or stay at the Opryland Hotel. Opryland is about 15 miles from downtown Nashville. So back to East Broadway. Parking is very expensive and very hard to find in this end of town. There are lots but an hour’s parking can cost you $5.00 so it’s best to leave your car at the hotel and walk. On Lower Broadway, as it is known, a great place to stay is the Holiday Inn Express. It has plenty of parking (for $14.00 a day), an excellent free breakfast which includes, eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy, cinnamon rolls, fruit, cereal, bagels, etc. The hotel is very clean, the staff very helpful and friendly, and very affordable with rooms averaging $150.00 a night. Now I know some of you will say that that is outrageously high. I’ve stayed in the under $100.00 a night rooms and trust me you don’t want to. The Holiday Inn Express does take an AARP discount if you have the card. In all the places I have stayed in Nashville this hotel is the best value there is. It is also only two blocks from the Ryman,Tootsie’s, and all the other honky tonks on Broadway. It is also only three blocks from the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Studio Musician’s Hall of Fame. The music on Lower Broadway is all traditional Country or Bluegrass. No Carrie Underwood or Toby Keith played here. Just Haggard, Jones, Paycheck, Cash, Owens, Cline, and Lynn. So if you like the Country Music from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s this is where you want to go. There are a couple of great restaurants on Broadway serving local barbecue and pizza. There is a nice restaurant at the Eastern end of Broadway along with a Hard Rock Café. Breakfast is out of the question on this side of town so you’ll have to travel or eat at the hotel. All the clubs on Broadway feature excellent music. All the employees and musicians in these
clubs work for tips so be prepared to divvy up at least twice an hour. Nashville is 90% smoke-free in the clubs so it makes it a whole lot more enjoyable to sit and listen to music. Most of the clubs are small and crowded. The music can be loud especially at night. There are many gift shops and CD stores to visit. You can spend a whole weekend and never leave Lower Broadway and the surrounding blocks, there’s that much to visit. There are some excellent restaurants on the West side of Broadway,but you’ll have to take a taxi or drive your car to get to them. Music Row is on that side of town a block off West Broadway. It is worth the drive over there to see it. You can’t go into the offices there but you’ll get to see where the music and business folks work. Take a trip down 12th Avenue South and you’ll see a different side of Nashville. You’ll travel through some of the nicer neighborhoods and there are a lot of Civil War plaques and sites to see. Also take I 65 South to Franklin and visit many shops and restaurants. Many Country Music Stars live in Franklin so you’ll never know who you might see. Below is a list with addresses of some of our favorite eating and entertainment spots to visit. Just remember that Nashville is a tourist town and there are always a lot of people there. Food prices are comparable to Madison, sometimes lower. You won’t find a huge Prime Rib special or Fish Fry there. If you want carry out beer you have to go to a grocery store or Beer Depot. Hard liquor is purchased at Liquor Stores. Gas is paid for at the pump or you have to go in and pay in advance. It is a very laid back community, and they move at their own pace. They really like people from Wisconsin in Nashville. They’ll let you know you have a funny accent. I hope this has given you a good overview of some places to check out in Nashville. It takes 10 hours to drive,so it is very doable in one day. I have found it the most enjoyable place I have ever visited. I hope you will too. (All of the below are in Nashville Proper unless labeled) Restaurants • Pancake Pantry (get there early or you will wait in line) • 1796 21st Ave South • Nashville Delicatessen (try the Coconut Cake) • 1918 West Broadway • The Frothy Monkey (Coffee House) 2509 12th Ave South • Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery (Salmon or Steak) • 1918 West End Ave continued on page31
WARNER E. HODGES - Tennessee’s Dynamic Guiter God - Legendary Member of Jason & the Scorchers - Overall Really Nice Guy to Talk With
ack in September when Andy and I went to Nashville, we were attending our friend, Peter Cooper’s concert at the Station Inn. I just happened to be sitting at the table next to Warner E. Hodges and his friends. (Warner and the rest of the band, Jason & The Scorchers, had just been recipients of a Lifetime Achievement Award during the Americana Music Conference.) Gathering my thoughts and getting up enough courage, I turned towards Warner’s table and introduced myself and congratulated him on this wonderful achievement. I figured he would either talk to me or give me the brush off. Warner said, “Thank you very much. Someone from up around Madison,Wisconsin just did an article on Jason Ringenberg and Jason & The Scorchers and I can’t seem to find a copy of it. Do you know who did this and what magazine?” I replied,“You found the writer of that article and I have an extra copy of that issue of the Americana Gazette in my vehicle.” Very excited I ran out of the Station Inn to retrieve a copy from the truck to give to him. We talked a little more, laughed, hugged and parted ways, but before we parted Warner graciously agreed to do an interview with me in the future. Warner E. Hodges would never brush you off, thus comes my phrase from above,
“an overall really nice guy to talk with.” Warner was busy doing a fifteen date United Kingdom Tour and he emailed me upon his return to the States and we chatted via telephone. But before we get into the meat of things,I want to give you a little background on Warner E.Hodges,Guitar God!!!!! Warner was born on June 4, 1959 in Wurtzburg, Germany. His father, a U.S.Army officer, and his mother were both musicians and played a lot of USO concerts. When the family returned to the States, they settled in Nashville in hopes of his mom pursuing her musical career, and this is where Warner grew up. Warner played drums in country bands when he was only twelve years old. At an AC/DC concert in 1973, (only 15 years of age) Warner was bit by the bug to play guitar. This is how the journey began for Warner E.Hodges and the beginning of his life as a Guitar God on a Telecaster. In the summer of 1981 he became the legendary lead guitar player for Jason & The Scorchers and now to the interview. . . . . . . . . AG: Warner, you were born in 1959 in Germany. Your parents were in the military and played in USO outfits on base. Is this how you got your musical start? WH: Oh yea, you had to be able to play a musical instrument to be in our family. AG: Do you have any siblings in the musical
field? WH: I had two brothers but they are both deceased. AG: You moved from Germany to Nashville,Tennessee? How old were you at this time? You played drums at age 12 and then guitar by age 15 in your parent’s bands? What was this time like for you? WH: I actually played in a band at the age of 12. My parents bought me a drum set at the age of 6. My parents were gluttons for punishment I guess. We spent one year in Virginia and moved to Nashville in 1973. My mom was a country singer and we went to Nashville so she could pursue her career. As far as what this was like for me, I thought it was cool and did not realize at the time that it was really a unique thing. I thought everybody was raised playing in their parents’ band. AG: How or who taught you how to play guitar? WH: My Dad showed me some chords and I just took off from there. I was always around a lot of great guitar players, so I picked up stuff from them. AG: You had a number of influences such as Kiss,AC/DC, Cheap Trick, Jimi Hendrix,The Rolling Stones, Credence Clearwater Revival, Elvis,The Sex Pistols, etc., just to name a few. This was some hard rock n roll. You were country, then onto hard rock, w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
then back to alt country with Jason and the Scorchers? Tell me how you met Jason Ringenberg and how you became involved with Jason and the Scorchers? WH: Country music was always crammed down my throat. The Jason & The Scorchers journey started in the summer of 1981 when a hog farmer from Illinois, Jason Ringenberg moved to Nashville to start a new band. Jeff Johnson was the first band member to join up with Jason after he witnessed a performance of his with REM. Johnson insisted that I come see his next gig which was with the legendary Carl Perkins. I thought to myself this guy is nuts, I have to play with him! I joined the band and several weeks later, Perry Baggs became the drummer and Jason & The Scorchers was formed. AG: You guys were pretty wild in your performances, how did the public accept this? WH: Yea we were kind of wild. I was either leaning over into the audience or spinning in circles and Jason was doing his own dancing. (As quoted in an article from Robert Oermann,country music historian,“They kicked butt. The Scorchers never sold more than a million records,but nobody who saw them will ever forget it.”) Those days were pretty wild; I’m still a wild guitar player. It gets a little harder every year. In my head I’m as wild as I used to be, but physically I’m not. (We both laughed.) AG: Tell me about Jason & The Scorchers and what you did after they fell apart in 1989? WH: The Scorchers EP debut, Reckless Country Soul, was cut in four hours in somebody’s living room and was in stores the second week of 1982. It was great while it lasted. But by decade’s end, Jason & The Scorchers were coming to an end. Johnson left the band, and I moved to New York where I started playing with Iggy Pop and Roscoe’s Gang. I then relocated to California and became involved in the video business. I moved back here to Nashville in 1992. Over that 3 year period I guess I had way too much fun and needed to get serious again. AG: Jason and the Scorchers reunited in the early‘90’s and started touring in 1993. Tell me a little about this time frame. WH: It was Jeff Johnson who decided to try to reunite the band, Jason & the Scorchers. The first tour was only to be around 20 shows, but we had such a good time, we continued on. We did a couple more studio records, but then as Perry became ill, we did less and less dates. The last 4 or 5 years we have just been doing sporadic dates as we are w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
available. We are heading back into the studio this Winter though to work on a new CD. AG: In 1998, Scorchers back in semi-retirement. You started a new band, The Disciples of Loud? You sang vocals in this band. What was this band like? WH: It was a big ass loud rock band. We did a couple of records. It was just a fun thing! I did some singing and this gave me a real respect for Jason’s talent. AG: What was winning the Lifetime Achievement Award like last September? WH: This really changed the visibility of the band. We did 10 shows in Europe this past May and it has really rekindled the fire in us. Jeff played at this and I hadn’t seen or spoken to him in 9 years, but we picked up right where we left off. Band members are like brothers, sometimes you just want to strangle each other, other times you are the best of friends. I have known Jeff Johnson since we were kids and have been playing with him for 15 years and have played with Jason Ringenberg for over 20 years. AG: What are you up to these days? WH: I’ve been co-writing some songs. Jason writes most of the songs, but I am really getting more into it. I’ve been touring with Stacie Collins Road Band. In September we did the U.K. tour, backed by the current Scorchers rhythm section of Kenny Ames and Fenner Castner. I released my debut solo CD,which I wrote 7 of the 10 songs. AG: What influences your writing? WH: I really don’t know, I sit down with a blank piece of paper and start noodling with a guitar. AG: Is music your sole means of livelihood, or do you have another job? WH: I have my own construction company in Nashville. I used to build recording studios,but not much call for that anymore. (I kiddingly asked if he was the “big boss of his company” and Warner responded no, his wife is, and that is a good thing as she is better at it than him.) AG: What do you do to relax? Hobbies? WH: Music is my hobby, as well as my passion. I am an avid reader, watch movies and hang out with my wife, Deb. I guess I am a college football fan too. I even tried to follow Brett Favre’s career this year. AG: What is your favorite food? WH: Southern cookin. My wife is the cook, but I could make you something that would be edible. My wife says my favorite food is fried chicken.
AG: Ever been to Wisconsin – any plans on playing in Wisconsin in the future? WH: Hell yes, Madison, Milwaukee. I am planning on coming to Monroe Wisconsin, I believe in June to do a show with Dan Baird and Homemade Sin. I will email you my schedule when it gets finalized. AG: What does the future hold for Warner Hodges? WH: Would like to go back to Europe in May or June, then off to Australia for some shows. Australia is a long haul though, but I don’t mind flying. AG: If you could meet anyone in the world, whom would you like to meet? WH: Dead or alive? AG: You can have a choice of both. WH: My dead person would be Winston Churchill. I don’t know who the live person would be; I don’t have an answer for that one. AG: I have to ask - Any pets? WH:Two little dogs; Full Blooded 100% North American Yard dogs. One is a dachshund/terrier mix and the other is a beagle/lab mix. They are great dogs. AG: I ask everyone this question. What do you want your fans to know about you? If I mentioned Warner Hodges name, what would you like them to say about you? WH: That I am a decent human being, first and foremost! And a decent human being he is indeed. When I get a finalized date, time and place for his show in Monroe,Wisconsin, I will be sure to put a blurb in our magazine. My thanks to Warner E. Hodges for his time and I’m hoping to run into him when I am in Nashville in January. Who knows maybe he will whip me up some good old fashioned fried chicken. . . . . . . . For more information or to see where he is playing, check out his website @ www.warnerhodges.com. Story by: Joyce Ziehli Photos supplied by Warner & Deb Hodges
3 for 1 Brent King
ing out that Ringo asked that the CD be played again made it even better. Mostly Brent said” playing locally and seeing people enjoying themselves is the best.”Having played numerous shows and on many CD recordings Brent has quite a resume. Brent’s advice to younger players is simple, “Practice as much and as often as you can, otherwise you will get behind. When that happens opportunity slips away from you”. Brent King is the kind of musician we all want to be, hardworking, honest, and most of all very very talented! Check out Brent and his band Soul Shaker on My Space. Written by: Andy Ziehli
Brent King is a superb drummer/percussionist for the local blues/rock band Soul Shaker. He is also the drum department manager at Good N Loud Music. Drummer since age eight when his brother bought him a set of drums, he has been pounding out Rock & Roll beats for 20 plus years in Madison. Brent sites his older brother who was a musician as a big influence in his becoming a musician himself. His current band Soul Shaker (watch for the April/May edition of the Americana Gazette for a full story on the band) plays Robin Trower, Jimi Hendrix, and power blues rock. The band is a four piece outfit. In the past Brent was the drummer in Trinity James’s band up until James left for Nashville. At that time the three remaining members decided that they wanted to continue and enlisted a new lead singer and changed their format. For ten years Brent was drum manager for Drums & Moore a local music store that catered to drummers and percussionists. Besides selling equipment he also gave lessons. Today he takes those same skills and heads the drum department at Good N Loud Music on University Avenue in Madison. Brent is very knowledgeable and has the kind of personality that you would want for working with the public. Always friendly, he is readily available to answer your percussion questions. When asked what shows were the best to play in, his 20 plus years of playing Brent sights Playing with Zakk Wilde “when we were both younger”, sharing the bills with John Eddie, and having Ringo Starr say he liked the music and recording that Brent and his band mates were putting out. Find-
There is no one in the world quite like Paul Gruenenfelder of Blanchardville. He has been performing throughout Southern Wisconsin for the last 45 years even though a car accident 30 years ago left him paralyzed from the chest down. Paul is a survivor! His love of country music started as a youth listening to his father Henry play the guitar and sing Country Western music in the Blanchardville country side. Paul’s brother,Al starting playing the guitar in his teens, where Paul was much more interested in chasing girls. When he turned 19 he decided that he also wanted to play and bought a bass guitar. Soon Paul and Al joined Hank Elmer’s Old Time band and were playing that style of music at taverns, weddings, and anniversary dances throughout Green, Iowa, and Lafayette Counties. A chance meeting with guitar player Gary Godfry got the brothers playing the Country music that they loved. In 1972 local Country legend Arnie Alme hooked up with the boys and they became Arnie Alme & The Country Kings. Shortly after this band started Paul was transferred to Kentucky for his job as a Cheese maker. Paul stayed until 1974 when he returned to Wisconsin and started playing with the Country Kings again. Paul and Al’s younger brother Mark soon joined in as a fill in for Paul when he could not make the jobs. In 1980 Paul was involved in a car accident that left him disabled but not out of action. After a long recovery Paul was soon back singing with his old band on special occasions. In 1989 a friend,Toby Moen asked Paul if he would put together a band to Play on a float for a parade. Paul called his brothers, Tim Francois, Dale Freidig, and Andy Ziehli to help out and out of this parade Toby’s Trailblazers was born. The Trailblazers played old and new country hits for many years in Southern Wisconsin before disbanding in the early 90’s. Paul took off a few years and then in 1999 formed The Greenfield Brothers with his brothers Al and Mark,Al Mell, and Danny Hintz. They continue to play today making music and keeping people dancing throughout Southern Wisconsin. Paul states that there are too many“Best Jobs”to even start listing them. He said that “the best jobs are always the ones where people dance from the first song until the last song”. As far as the worst playing jobs go he also said,“There’s been a few of them too”. Paul continues today to love and sing “good”country music. Any time you get the chance to see Paul and the Greenfield Brothers perform you should jump right on it! You won’t be disappointed. Paul has excelled in many other areas too. He
was Mayor of Blanchardville, owned and operated a very successful café “Freddie’s” with his late wife Gladys, designed and wrote a software program for dairy herd management,operated a record keeping business, and raised 4 children. A true inspiration to everyone Paul Gruenenfelder is and continues to be a driving force and talent in Country Music in Southern Wisconsin. Paul said that he has “truly enjoyed singing and playing music with everyone he ever had the opportunity to do so with.” Paul feels blessed that he has made so many friends throughout the State playing all these years. Take the time to take a drive to the Southwest part of Wisconsin and enjoy some great good old Country Music provided by Paul and the rest of the Greenfield Brothers! I owe my existence as a lead guitar player to Paul Gruenenfelder. He asked me to be his lead picker inToby’sTrailblazers even though at that time I was a novice. He taught me how to play Country intros, Luther Perkin’s runs, and Roy Nichol’s solos. I learned more about entertaining people, song structure, and not overplaying from Paul and his brother Al. I’m forever grateful for the years I was lucky enough to make music with Paul. He is and will always be the consummate Country entertainer and band leader in Southern Wisconsin. Written by: Andy Ziehli
Slim Miller Slim Miller is a technical/computer wizard when it comes to music software and hardware. He is the most knowledgeable person locally on this subject. Completely self-taught Slim learned from reading books,magazines,internet articles,and through the best teacher in the world, hands on trial and error. Vowing to“learn”from his mistakes he said“I never make the same mistake twice”. Slim is the Sales Manager for Good N Loud Music in Madison. Covering two stores he is always busy. He said that he is known as the “ask that guy” person at work. Everyone always sends customers to me when they don’t or can’t find the answer to the customer’s questions. He came to Madison 14 years ago from Shawno. w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Grown in the dirt of middle Tennessee
Big fat roots, big wide leaves,
Full of vitamin A, vitamin E,
all that good stuff. The first couple years in town he worked for a landscaping company. Then Slim became the Drum Manager at Ward Brodt in Madison. Slim had been doing sound since he was 16 years old. Computer came naturally to him so tying sound reproduction and computers together was a natural next step. He plays guitar, bass, and drums, though he said his best instrument is the mixing board. Slim’s expertise in music software and hardware is well known in Madison. His work as a producer and engineer is also very well known. He has produced and recorded five CD’s in which two of them have been nominated for MAMA’s. Slim says that his work on the Self Gene’s CD’s were “great” and “a blast to do.” Lately he has scaled his recording back and has been recording“spoken word”sessions that include books and achieving oral stories. Artists usually approach him about producing their work. He only takes projects that really interest him, though he is always ready to listen to demos for future projects. The best part of Slim’s career is being able to work with people he’d be friends with anyway. He states that” knowledge” is easy to pass on to others and he enjoys sharing his vast knowledge with customers and friends. The worst part of his career is the long hours required in retail. “I really enjoy all the customers I get to help.” It’s the time constraints of the position that make it hard to do a lot of outside recording or mixing work. Slim’s advice to students who want to get into becoming a soundman or engineer is to “buy a small P.A. system and go out and mix your friend’s bands at practice and at jobs. Learn everything you can through trial and error. That’s how you get better! Experience has no substitute.” Slim Miller is a good guy who has helped me out of a jam many times. He’s a great guy to work with. Stop by Good N Loud and talk to him about recording, live sound, and music. Slim is as close to a genius you will ever find in Madison or Southern Wisconsin in music technology.
But mostly, full of good music.
Written by: Andy Ziehli
EMAIL US AT firstname.lastname@example.org
w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
We’re a small label based in East Nashville, Tennessee We love zip code 37206.
There’s a ton of great music
here, and we’re bringing it to you!
RED BEET RECORDS P.O. BOX 68417 NASHVILLE,TN 37206
A PET NOTE
. . . SOMETIMES! SISTER’S ARE GREAT . . .
ow if you have read all the issues of the Americana Gazette, you will remember the first Pet Note story I wrote which featured Russell Cooper, the miniature dachshund of Peter and Charlotte Cooper of Nashville,Tennessee! Peter always said, “I have a miniature dachshund because a regular size dachshund is too much dog for me.” Well during a weak moment, Peter must have realized he needed more “dog”! Russell Cooper gets a sister, Loretta – and Russell says,“ yes, sisters are great – sometimes.” Peter Cooper, songwriter, musician, writer for the Nashville Tennessean, overall great guy was out on tour and traveling through Hannibal, Missouri and spotted this little darling miniature dachshund in a window. Of course, he had to check it out, and we all know what checking out a puppy means? Fifteen minutes later Loretta was sitting in the seat beside Peter on their way home to Nashville,Tennessee. Peter’s on the cell phone explaining to Charlotte what he has done and why. We know Charlotte didn’t care, in fact she was probably just
as excited as Peter. (Loretta was ecstatic as in her five months on this Earth, she had dreamed many nights of moving to Nashville, and this indeed was a dream come true. During our dog/human interview, Loretta informed me that her birthplace of Hannibal is also the home of Mark Twain. She is a very well rounded dachshund.) Russell and Loretta spend most of their afternoons chasing balls and wrestling. Russell really enjoys spending this quality time with his sibling, although Loretta is kind of a bruiser! If you recall, Russell always enjoyed the warm clothes from the dryer,Peter says Loretta also likes this – at least they have something good to fight about. Poor Charlotte must just keep busy doing laundry. Peter and Charlotte refer to this “afternoon time” as Greco-Dachshund wrestling. Loretta really is a better athlete than student. Peter commented that she has just recently completed her first round of puppy kindergarten, mastering the concepts of “stay” and “down”. Music is always a presence in the Cooper house-
hold, obviously Russell and Loretta’s favorite artist is Peter. (They aren’t dumb, they know the hand that feeds them.) As mentioned in the first issue in the article on Russell, he is a big Todd Snider fan, even has ridden inTodd’s bus,sitting in the driver’s seat! On the other hand, Loretta is more favorable towards a beautiful woman’s voice, that being of artist,songwriter Emmylou Harris. Loretta has even had the pleasure of meeting her favorite singer Emmylou recently. You have to admit those miniature dachshunds have good taste!! Russell and Loretta also enjoy a nice stroll around the block, enjoying the sounds and smells of East Nashville. Keep an eye out,you never know when Peter may have the urge to have “more dog” and go for a third miniature dachshund. As in my infamous words, you can never have enough dogs!!! Written by: Joyce Ziehli Photo by: Peter & Charlotte Cooper
w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
A s m ’ n o u r sin Aa
s e g Anecdot
aron Williams is the guitarist and lead singer of the band, Aaron Williams
and the Hoodoo. They are based in Madison, WI. They can be reached at: www.aaronwilliamsandthehoodoo.com or by email at email@example.com What is it like to be a musician trying to make it? Why do musicians always look tired? Why do musicians wear funny clothes and seem to have no fashion sense? Why won't that band just play Freebird like I've asked them to....three times now! These are all questions that people want to know...ok, perhaps not all of you but some of you may be a little curious and I’m the guy that's going to answer them. Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm Aaron Williams. I'm the leader of a band based out of Madison, WI - Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo. I must stress the point, I’m not a writer by any means, just a guitar player and singer that loves music and most of all loves to perform for other music lovers. I thought it would be a great idea to write a guest spot in the Americana Gazette giving a glimpse into the struggles and highs of trying to "make it" in this business. This is the first of my articles with hopefully many more to come. I'm going to tell stories about the road, my band mates, other musicians and anything else I can think of. A bit of an open book, if you will. I hope you'll enjoy my ramblings and if you ever have a question you've been dying to ask a musician, like why do bass players over the age of 40 always wear vests, or why do guitar players make those weird faces when they play, or why do bands always smell funny, just ask away! In thinking about this article it took me back…about a week. I had been thinking about all the shows I’ve done in the past and it just so happens I might have played the hardest show of my life a few weeks ago. It got me thinking about some of the worst/hardest gigs I’ve ever been a part of. Now all bands have gone through this,it's just a part of the business...we all like to compare war stories when we get together. I could tell you about the renegade sound man that kept turning my amp down after each set, he didn’t ask to,he just did it.That is until he eventually turned it down to 0.5 on a scale of 1-10.I think my grandma would have thought it was too soft.That was the first time I've ever got in a fight...ever. Or the time I had to drive through the corn fields of Iowa for an hour to try and find a paved road to get home. Now this wasn't driving in circles, this was driving through people’s backyards with a trailer and a huge Hammond B3 getting the crap beat out of it in back. I think we might have even found a drug cartel set up, that’s how deep we got into the corn fields of Iowa.Think "Children of the Corn." This brings me to this gig a few weeks ago. We had booked this show months ago, in fact I'm really good friends with one of the promoters of this show so he won't mind this little story....I hope.After driving for about 3 hours on a cold Wisconsin inw w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
terstate to get to the show, we were already feeling cold. I believe the high for the day was around 2F, now that’s cold! Our navigation system (all road bands should have one) had us snaking turn after turn on some very small country roads. We knew going into this show that it was going to be in a barn, now you're thinking..."why are they going to play in a barn in January, in Wisconsin, they deserve what they are about to get." No sweat, we were promised that the barn was nice and heated, complete with a stocked green room.Yea, green rooms are always nice (that will be another topic some day, what goes on in band green rooms). As our navigation system lead us to a sleepy town in northern Wisconsin, complete with no stop lights and a lot of bars, we were preparing ourselves for what was about to come.We all had a sense something interesting was going to take place.We were hoping that droves of people would head out in this cold weather to see an up and coming band in a barn. Hmmm....After making a few U turns we finally pulled into the "parking lot", I said to ZT (my bass player) "hmmm, this is going to be interesting." The first thing we noticed was that this venue was a farm, out in the middle of no where.There were no markings or signs to direct people into this place. I think that might have helped cutting down on our U turns as we drove by this farm at least three times.We drove through the parking lot and made our way to the barn, it was the only barn on the property so we were sure we had found the right place.As we walked in the back door of the bar, we were met by one of the promoters; he welcomed us in and said, "This is your green room!" continued on page 31
ran off to my class. I didn’t want to be late. AG: Where were you when you first met and/or who introduced you?
ROMANCE IS IN THE AIR – OR IS IT???
DKS: Kathy’s sister, Maureen, and her boyfriend at the time,Steve,(who was also a coworker of Dewey’s), thought the two of us should know each other. They arranged to pick up each of us (Kathy was in town for the weekend), and go mini-golfing and then for pizza.By the end of that first meeting, plans were made to go to Six Flags /Great America in the Chicago area) the following week. AZ & JZ: Joyce’s roommate introduced us – thought we would make a nice couple.
Let’s ask some couples . . . February is here and LOVE is in the air,or maybe not. I wanted to meet with several couples to discuss this topic, but ended up having to do it via email. I threw out several questions to some couples and the following are the responses I received. (I even made my husband complete the questions; I wanted to see how romantic he really is!!) Please give your name and anything you want people to know about you as an introduction: DKS:We are Dewey and Kathy Sies and we live in Freeport,Illinois. We have a bit of a mixed marriage – Dewey is a musician and Kathy cannot sing. Kathy is a long time Chicago Bears fan, while Dewey is a Wisconsin native and supports the Packers. Imagine the fun we have during football season especially when we are at the Wisconsin relatives for the holidays!!! AZ: My name is Andy Ziehli and I live in Belleville. I am a musician, editor of this magazine, operate a recording studio, school bus driver and all around nice guy. JZ: My name is Joyce Ziehli and I also live in Belleville. I am the publisher of this magazine, work full time as an executive secretary of the New Glarus Nursing Home and am a First Degree Black Belt and teach at the Belleville Tae Kwon Do School. GMF: Gary and Mary Francois from Belleville responded –“We just wanted to let you know our answers for the questions can be said in one sentence; We have been happily married for 26 years and look forward to many more… AG: How did you meet your spouse? DKS: We met on a blind date. (The only reason Kathy finally agreed to go out with Dewey was because she was told he drove a "vette". Imagine her surprise when he showed up in a little red Chevette.)
AG: How did your spouse ask you out on your first date? DKS: Maureen and Steve had really wanted our 1st meeting and date to be the Six Flags/Great America trip. Kathy though, thought it might be better to meet first-thus the reason for the mini golf and pizza outing.Our next real date was attending a Sies family anniversary celebration and then spending the afternoon at the Madison Zoo, and picnicking and walking around the Lake Mendota area. We went to Great America/Six Flags, near Chicago. We rode all the rides, ate all the great food. Kathy’s favorite memory is of the 2 of us sitting at the top of the Ferris wheel, talking about the kinds of houses we’d each like to have someday, and where we were each going in our lives. The next day, Dewey left the morning’s newspaper and a note under Kathy’s' windshield wiper. Kathy still has the note. AZ: I asked Joyce to go to a movie. We went to see MAGIC, then to the Basement Bar in Verona to watch a band. JZ: Andy asked me one day after class if I needed a ride to work. Then he asked if I would like to go to a movie sometime. I said – yes!!!!! On our first date Andy brought me to Belleville to show me where he lived and to meet his parents. He pulled up in front of an old decrepit house, no paint, no lights on, etc. I inquired as to why there were no lights on and Andy said Dad was trying to save money. I started to get out of the car and walk down the sidewalk. Andy laughed and said he really didn’t live here. Then he drove away and parked in front of this huge raised ranch house. He said he lived here. I said no way and wouldn’t get out of the car until he finally convinced me. Can you believe there were more dates and we finally did get married. . . . . . . . . AG: Does your spouse remember anniversaries or special dates/places? DKS: YES!! AZ: Always!!!
AZ: In the hall at Madison Business College.
JZ: I have to say ALWAYS.
JZ: Yes, my roommate introduced me to Andy and being shy (at least I was back then), I said hello and
AG: On a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the most) please rate your spouse as to how romantic they are? And why?
DKS: What a loaded question!!! Kathy says: If romantic means remembering those little things that can make me smile, or still reaching for my hand as we sit and talk or walk…calling or emailing me at school if he knows I'm going to have a particularly challenging day, just to see how it all turned out; being a wonderful listener; still telling me how lucky he feels that he married me (after 25 years); and when we go out dancing to a "live band", he asks the band to play My Girl (cause he knows I never got to dance to it when I was in high school)…then I have to give him a 10 plus. AZ: 10 Very romantic because she’s hot!!! JZ: How can I answer after his remark? Yes,Andy is very romantic. He remembers little details, he calls just to see how I am doing or emails me. He holds my hand in public, he tells me he loves me every day and that I am the best thing that ever happened to him. He gets a 10+++++. AG: What are your top 5 most romantic “LOVE” songs? DKS: Kathy’s: I Got You, Babe; Two So in Love; Where Have You Been (Kathy Mattea);At Last My love has come along by Etta James; Once Upon a Dream (soundtrack from Sleeping Beauty). Dewey’s:Two So in Love; My Girl; I Will (Beatles); Have I Told You Lately That I Love You-Van Morrison; Just You n Me--Chicago AZ: Lady; It’s Only Make Believe; I Just Want to Be Your Teddy Bear;Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. JZ: I Honestly Love You; Love Me Tender; Passionate Kisses;The Wedding Song; and I have to say I Just Want to Be Your Teddy Bear. AG: Where is the most romantic place your spouse ever took you? DKS: He honestly can make any place romantic. One of the stand out memories though, is when he surprised me with dinner at Portabellos in Madison. AZ: I took Joyce to a romantic Bed & Breakfast in Door County and we spent most of the weekend in the hot tub. We were really clean!!!! JZ: Andy takes me on picnics on Liberty Hill sometimes. We just sit and talk,eat fried chicken and day dream. It is great and a very special time for me. AG: Does your spouse sing love songs to you? If so, what song(s) do they sing? DKS: No,he doesn't sing love songs to me,but back in the day, he made a tape for me, of him singing some of my favorite singers and songs.I still have it. AZ: No! JZ: Sometimes, he just makes up silly words. He did write a song for me before we were married entitled, You Make Me Smile. He won a songwriting contest and then we played it at our wedding and the and played it for the grand march. What a romantic – I think I’ll keep him!!!! I want to say thanks to the Sies’s for completing these questions and being such good sports by filling them out. Also thanks to Gary and Mary Francois and to my sweet husband. Written by: Joyce Ziehli
w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
The Art of Listening I
s Mom home yet? I would yell out from my bedroom anxiously awaiting her arrival home from a trip to the grocery store. If I heard “yea” from somewhere in the house, I would tear out of my room and as gently as I could paw through the bags till I found it, the towering box of Honey Comb cereal. Saying a little prayer I would turn the box over to see just what song was on the back of the box. Yes I said“song”on the back of the“box”. For a short time the cereal companies had 45’s on the back of their boxes that you could cut out and put on your record player and play. My favorite at the time were songs by the comic book-come-TV cartoon series-come top 40 band “The Archies”. The songs on the back of the box were as sugary as the contents in the box, and I loved them both. “Sugar Sugar” (how appropriate) “Jingle Jangle” and the Theme from the Archies, “Everything’s Archie” were songs I remember cutting out and playing them over and over. I knew every word and every drum beat by the time I finished the cereal within the box. That simple and thrilling exercise began for me a life long pleasure of listening to music. When I became old enough to begin appreciating “real” records, I would save or more than likely beg my folks for the 50 cents needed to head to the record department in the local Shopko store near our home. The radio would give me an idea of what I should be looking for, and I relied on“American Top 40” with Casey Kasem to hear the songs I loved. I would stand for an hour or so in front of the rack that would display the top 40 hits of that week and be filled with the agony of the decision of what to buy. Torture! I enjoyed the entire record buying experience. I knew the song(s) that I liked and would eventually purchase, but I was just as enthralled with the sleeve that the 45 came in. Picture sleeves were my favorite as it would often be my introduction to what the group of musicians that sang my favorite song looked like. All of this made the song come alive for me. When I got the record home it always felt like magic. I can still see me putting the 45 on the plastic adaptor (that would slide on the post that held the 33 rpm’s in place) watching it drop and the record arm moving over and the sound of the needle making contact with the vinyl. Then the music would start, and I could not be moved. Over and over the song would play as I sat and paid attention to what I was hearing and how I was feeling. I was focused and open and learning and enjoying the magic of recorded music. I was listening. w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
In my teens collecting LP’s became my hobby. I was a pop music junkie enjoying the melodies and harmonies of that style of music. The Beach Boys were my favorite, but there were many others, too. But, I always did the same thing when it came time to listening to a record. I would look through my stack of LP’s in my orange crate and pick the one that spoke to me in the moment. Without really realizing it at the time, my LP choice would be one that was reflecting my feelings at the time, or if I had a new record and had not read all the liner notes yet, that would get top billing. Once the record was chosen, I would line up my rocking chair (Grandpa’s old one that was just right for record listening) to be a perfect distance away from and smack dab in the middle of the stereo speakers that were on the small tables in my room. As much as I loved the notes being played, I also was very aware of the production of and the placement of all the instruments in the spectrum of the stereo 2 channel reproduction. I would put the needle down on the first cut of the LP, get in my chair, and not move until side one was complete. I would either have the record jacket in my hands looking at it as I listened, or I would turn off the lights and allow myself to experience the music with my ears only. It did not take long before I could sing every song entirely. I was paying attention to what the artist was giving me and forming my opinion about what it meant to me. I was listening. Now in my mid 40’s my music listening habits have changed. I find myself putting CD’s on in my car (always wanted a dashboard mounted record player!) or in the CD player in the house and then doing something else like driving, cleaning, exercising or drumming, but not really listening. I would hear the music, but it just was not the same. The CD’s that are new to my collection have a song or two that I know from the radio, but the rest of the songs are a mystery to me. My attention is now divided and because of that choice, so is my pleasure. My music listening experience has changed just like the format of the music itself. I believe they go hand-in-hand. As music became more portable and convenient, I found myself enjoying it in a different way often in a less satisfying way. For me,the removal of the commitment to sit down and listen to the record on the player has also reduced my connection to the music and the emotion of the artist. I no longer “feel” the music, I simply hear it. This summer I decided to make a conscious effort to revisit the music listening habits of my youth. Rather than turn on the TV, I would pick a CD and put it in my home stereo CD player. With the CD cover in hand I headed for the couch (which is perfectly centered, smack dab in the middle of the speakers!) hit play just to see what I would feel. I was amazed. It still worked! Before I knew it I was captivated by the music and the production of the selected CD and was swept away. I was listening again! I realized something else as well. As I began the exercise of once again sitting down and focusing on what I was listening to in the CD player,I also realized and reflected on how I listen to the people in my life. I can remember after the completion of listening to a Sheryl Crow CD I just sat there in the silence and thought that I don’t do this enough with the people I love. I don’t listen to them; I just hear them. I reflected on recent conversations with others and realized I was so busy thinking of what I was going to say next that I never really heard what they were telling me. I thought of the irreplaceable experience of looking someone in
the eye, hearing their words, and allowing myself to be moved by the experience. My computer and cell phone create a gap between me and the other person. I still had the experience of communicating with the other person, but I found myself less involved and less committed to really listening to them. I sat there in the silence amazed at how this lesson came to me. I rediscovered the passion I have for making the object of my attention my only experience. In the very fast paced world we all live in we all seem to be trying to do so much. It’s as if I am afraid that if I stop to pay attention, there will be things passing me by that I think I do not want to miss. I am beginning to understand that I will never be able to experience all of the possible things that come my way, so I must begin to choose a few things that I select as important and make them the focus of my attention. I believe that my deep joy comes from committing to what is in front of me from start to finish, just like side one of a record. It might be to pause and enjoy a flower and not just look at it. It may be closing my eyes and hearing the wind in the pines and not just watching the branches move but just taking time to listen. Did the mail come yet? I would yell from the lower level of the house. If I hear“yea”I tear up the stairs and out the door to paw through the junk mail to see what LP Ernie the mail guy has delivered, freshly purchased from E-bay. Time to dust off the needle! Written by: Jim Smith
On your first recording project!
313 East Church Street • Belleville, WI 53508
DWI, Rock With Some Attitude
Dancing With Idiots
hat’s it like to be young and truly talented with your whole music future ahead of you? I don’t know, but I’m sure it is what it is like to be in DWI (Dancing with idiots) from New Glarus, WI. New Glarus you say isn’t that the home of Polka Fest, Wilhelm Tell, and of course Spotted Cow? Yes it is but it is also home to the three very talented Anderson brothers Greg, Brian, and Eric, along with their surrogate sister and one hell of a lead guitar player Chelsey Blanke (who resides in Waunakee). The Andersons and Blanke make up DWI, a hard rocking combo that plays everything from ACDC to the Bare Naked Ladies. These kids rock! I had the opportunity to see them live twice and they blew me and everyone else at their shows away. With dual lead guitars of Eric and Chelsey they whirl their way through hard rockin bone breaking rock and roll. Brothers Brian on bass and Greg on drums round out the band with one of the tightest rhythm sections you’ll ever hear. The killer part of this musical equation is that not one of these rockers is 20 years old. Eric is the youngest at age 15, Brian is 16, Chelsea is 18, and Greg 19. Eric, Brian, and Chelsey handle the vocal chores and have excellent range and harmonies. They all play way beyond their years. Chelsey is not your average “girl” guitar player. She shreds, bends, and taps out some unbelievable lead guitar riffs. All are participates in the great lessons program that Good N Loud Music of Madison puts on. In fact that is where they met. Currently the group is in Sugar River Studios in Belleville recording a demo to use to acquire more playing jobs. I spent some time with them and got the lowdown on DWI and what makes them want to be musicians. AG: When did you guys start playing? DWI: In 2004 Greg and Chelsey and two other guys started the band. We had met at the Good N Loud master session. Chelsey was playing with some other guys and they did not have a drummer so Greg jumped up on stage and started playing with them. Afterwards they decided to start a band. At first we did not have a bass player, then one of the other guitar players left so they were down to a three piece band. We soon asked Eric to join. Shortly after that a bass player joined up
w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
fluenced to play drums because of earlier experiences in school music classes playing percussion. The Anderson’s had also all received instruments at Christmas and had started taking lessons at Good N Loud. Chelsey was influenced by Led Zeppelin CD’s, but now is into 9 inch Nails.
and they practiced for about a year and a half. A disagreement on band direction happened and then Brian came aboard to play bass. We have been together for two years in this formation. AG: Why this style of music instead of POP? DWI: Classic Rock and 12 Bar Blues is where we started. That soon evolved into more modern Rock like The Raconteurs. We just really play what feels natural to us.
AG: How many shows to you play a year? DWI: We play as many as time allows with school and Greg being away at College.
AG: What are your musical goals?
AG: Do you write any of your own material?
DWI: We hope to get into Summer Fest this year and play on one of the smaller stages. We are always looking to play more jobs. High School Dances, Private Parties, All age’s clubs and parties, anything we can get to help us move forward and get more stage time.
DWI: We started doing some writing and plan to work harder on that in 2009. Greg and Brian have some jams worked out that are pretty interesting. We are using them and trying to put lyrics to them. Chelsey also has written some that we are planning to work out.
AG: What is it like to be in band while you’re still basically in High School (Greg is a sophomore in College) and starting out?
AG: Chelsey not to sound like a sexist but what’s it like being a female lead guitar player?
DWI: It’s a lot of fun. It’s exciting to be able to get up on stage and make music. Every gig is really appreciated. Making some money is a great benefit. Being able to play out is what it is all about!
Chelsea: Just like it must feel to be a guy lead guitar player! I’m just one of the brothers here.
AG: What do your families think of you being in a band?
AG: How do you decide who sings lead when you have three great singers?
DWI: Our Parents (The Anderson’s) are very supportive and have always provided transportation and practice space for us. They like the fact that we are making music and having fun. Chelsey’s parents have been very supportive too. They like having a Rocker Daughter! AG: Have you always lived in New Glarus and Waunakee? DWI: The Anderson’s are originally from Barrington IL. They have also lived in Middleton before moving to New Glarus eight years ago. New Glarus feels the most like home. Chelsey has always lived around Waunakee. AG: What influenced all of you to play? DWI: Music has always been part of our lives; We all have always had music around our homes. To be able to bring our own individuality to the table and create music as a group is very important to us. Greg was inw w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
we wrap this up? DWI: Yes, we would like to thank John and Anne Miller at the Fat Cat Coffee House in New Glarus for letting us be part of the “Party on the Patio” concert series this last summer. We would also like to thank the Americana Gazette and Sugar River Productions for their help and support. We would also really like to thank our parents for letting us play music and making it easy for us to have fun at it. AG: Good luck DWI!!! DWI: Thanks and hopefully we’ll see all your readers at our shows. DWI is on MySpace so check them out. Story and Photos by: Andy Ziehli
DWI: Who ever wants to try the song first gets to. If it does not work for them or does not fit their vocal style someone else will take a shot at it. It really depends on the band we are trying to cover and who it fits in DWI. AG: Any comments you’d like to make as
You Can’t Have My Radio!
es, that is right; my radio would be the last possession in the world that I could/would give up. I am a radio guy. I listen to a radio some time or other every day of my life. I grew up with the radio, and I still depend upon the radio for my daily news, weather reports, sports, music, and talk shows. So if you are going to take away my possessions, I will fight the hardest and longest to keep my radio. I have two similar models available for daily use in the house. One is in the kitchen, and what is a kitchen without a radio? The second is in the bathroom closet. I open the closet door to listen to it while doing the bathroom things! I have a regular routine of when I listen, and I have been known to adjust my schedule so I can be in the kitchen or in the bathroom so I can listen to “my program”. The car radio is usually on, too. It is my favorite accompaniment when I am doing Mealson-wheels. My parents had the radio on in their kitchen, too. We got the early morning news and weather at breakfast. At noon it was more news and the obituaries. Yes,WIBA once made noon time death notices. Monroe radio still does that. The barn radio was on to polka music or dance music of some kind with an occasional country and western song. My dad sat up listening to Badger basketball games and professional boxing matches. My mother listened to an Oak Park, Illinois family broadcast from their home. It was the Cliff Johnson Family show. Sometimes she would listen to Arthur Godfrey’s
radio show. Saturday night meant the WLS BARN DANCE show. The radio was placed in the living room, a central location to reach the downstairs and upstairs bedrooms, and it was turned up quite loud. We would go to bed with the show on. I think it ran until 11 or midnight. We had our favorites like Rex Allen and Lulu Belle and Scotty. My dad did not care for a singer named Grace Wilson. Sometimes her songs got to him so much that he would get up and shut the program off for a time. The show often faded in and out, and on some nights the quality was so bad that the radio would be shut off early. I do not know which parent shut the radio off each week. I just know I could wake up in the night after midnight, and the radio would be shut off. But I had a lot of favorite radio shows: week nights it was Jack Armstrong, the All American kid and the Lone Ranger. When those two shows were over,I would run to the barn to do my chores. Each night there would be a favorite show of mine, such as, Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Doctor I.Q., Horace Height, Charles McCarthy and Edgar Bergen, People are Funny,Truth and Consequences, Our Miss Brooks, and many others that would make this list too long to read. Saturday mornings featured hour long plays or dramas with famous stars from the movies and Broadway. A very special favorite was the Lux Radio Theater hosted by Cecil B. DeMille. Each week the show would be a re-creation of a newly released Hollywood movie. And sports! The radio was my way of enjoying sports! I still prefer to listen to Badger football on
the radio. And baseball is meant to be on the radio! Sunday night chores were much more enjoyable when there was a baseball game on during chore time. Doubleheader Sundays usually meant I could find one somewhere on the dial to enjoy. I even remember sitting up to listen to the University of Wisconsin boxing team bouts often out West in Idaho or Washington State. Okay, a confession: a few times when my team lost a close game or things were not going well for “my team”, the radio was almost a victim of a heave across the room, but I had to remind myself that if the radio broke, I was out of my favorite possession. As a kid I used to try and find a broadcast from some station many states away: like Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia, or Colorado. I would write down their call letters, and then I would send them a card telling that I had listened to their station. Most would reply with a special postcard featuring their building and call letters. I had a small collection. Once the transistor radio came into being, I had one of those with me all the time. I remember hot lazy summer days listening to pop songs as I was supposed to be doing some farm chore. Some songs remain favorites to this day because of the happy warm memory of when I first listened to them. On Saturday morning there would always be a countdown of the top songs of the week. It was always special when one of your favorite songs got to the top of the list and stayed there for a few weeks. And Christmas was not Christmas without listening to Santa and Billy the Brownie on WTMJ, Milwaukee. I was listening in when Monroe radio station WEKZ began its first broadcast. I think the first song I heard that day was “Sweet Violets”. Our Swiss family always tuned in to the Swiss program each day at 1 PM. Today we listen to old band music on Sunday mornings followed by theold time music show that Roger Bright hosted for many years. I had two d.j.s that entertained me so wonderfully: Jim Mader and Wally Phillips. Mader could spin great tales during his programs, and Phillips used sound effects and blended songs and weird voices as his special gimmick. As the years went on rock radio became a staple in my listening agenda. The Braves were replaced by the Brewers as my favorite baseball games to enjoy via the radio. My very first radio memory is simple. My mother was sick with the mumps. A neighbor girl came to look after my sister and me. She played our radio constantly switching stations so she could hear her then favorite song“Mairzy Doats”. I could soon sing every word of that song as she found it over and over again on various stations. It was song by the Merry Macs. Sorry but I need to end this. I wonder what Kathy and Judy of WGN radio are talking about this morning. I need to find out. And keep your hands off my radio, please. Written by: Bob Hoffman w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
I Remember When D
o you like reminiscing? When old friends get together and you say “Remember that time,” and the list goes on and you laugh and talk of the good times long ago. Well I am going to do just that. For all you older readers out there who lived in the olden days BTR (before the remote) I am going back in time to my youth as a teenager during the“Nifty Fifties.” I remember it as a great time. One of the great things was the music. You could understand what the singers were saying.There was Rosemary Clooney,The Singing Rage,Miss Patti Page,” Frankie Laine, singing Mule Train, and who could forget Vaughn Monroe and Racing with the Moon. If you liked Country there was Rex Allen, Eddy Arnold, Kitty Wells to name a few, and yes we had Elvis. It was the beginning of Rock and Roll along with American Bandstand.The number one song on the hit parade in 1950 was Goodnight Irene. TV was making its mark in the average American’s home, throwing us altogether to enjoy a brand new culture. Big boxy sets were the norm, all showing a black and white picture. At first we sat in the dark viewing the screen like in the movie theatre.Then someone came up with the idea of a TV light to sit on top of the set and throw a warm glow throughout the room.These lamps came in all size, shapes, and colors. They became a decorative item. Levis made a fashion statement as the jeans you wanted to wear. Crinoline under your skirts, the Sack dress was in, Peter Pan collar on your blouses, and anything pink was the color to wear. Duck tail haircuts on guys and poodle cuts for gals.Let us not forget hairspray. What a treat to comb your hair, spray it, and then not have to comb it again to keep the look you wanted. We went green back then too. There was chlorophyll in our toothpaste, mouthwash, and cough syrup. The prom was the big event of the year.That’s when we had a real orchestra for music. For other
events we all brought our favorite records to the gym where someone was in charge of the phonograph player. We danced until it was time to go home. We had our own Disc Jockey’s before there was such a field. For entertainment there were soc-hops, roller skating parties, and movies to attend. I remember when the sexiest scene I ever saw in a movie was the beach scene with Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster in“From Here to Eternity.” Comedians were funny back then without using four letter words to get their point across.We all laughed at Red Buttons, Milton Berle, and Desi and Lucy on TV. We had our war too.It was called a police action and took place in a country called Korea.It was one of the bloodiest wars in history. The purpose, if there is ever a purpose in war, was to stop the threat of communism from spreading. We were the first generation to enjoy M&M peanut candy, the Frisbee,Tony the Tiger and Pop-it beads. There were football games to attend in the fall. At the school that I attended we had six man football. Back then you knew all the players and even the players from the competing teams.There was a big bonfire at homecoming and a parade with floats.A queen was crowned at the big game and a dance was held afterwards. If this sounds like a scene from “Happy Days” it could have been, though I don’t remember a Fonzie in our crowd. By the end of the decade things were starting to change. The war in Vietnam was on the horizon, feminists were burning their bras,Civil rights issues were becoming something to be reckoned with, and an American president would be assassinated. To me the fifties were good times. I take a lot of pleasure in remembering.Thoreau once said,“That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.”, and I feel very rich. Written by: Rosemary Ziehli
The Two P’s and You When I was a kid in grade school the teacher’s would call my parents or send notes home with me saying “Andy does and is not working up to his potential in class”. They had the perception that I was capable of doing much better and working much harder than I was exhibiting in the classroom. I always wondered how they, the teachers knew what my potential was, and how they came to perceive that I was not achieving the heights or standards they had envisioned for me. As I got older the two P’s as I came to call them followed me through Junior High and High School. I came to hate report card time, not for my grades but for the little notes that would be attached. Maybe I was working to my potential and the teacher’s perceptions were wrong. Heck I ought to know what I was capable of. It took me till I turned 40 to realize that I had not been working up to my potential all these years. Then on a cold December day in 1997 I realized what they had been talking about all those years ago, and I have been on a one way street to achieve, create, rethink, rebuild, and master my full potential. I realize that my potential only has the limits that I set, and not the ones life throws at me. What does this have to do with art,music,or you the reader? A lot really. First,no one can determine you or your potential. That’s something you can only do. Secondly, just because you have a slow or late start does not mean that you cannot achieve your dreams and goals. Thirdly, perception is only important if how you perceive you or your talents and skills to be,not how your friends and family see you or your muse. Lastly, don’t let others change, block,or end your life’s path because they perceive you or your muse as not being up to the task at hand. Many people I have met over the years gave up a dream to be something at an early age because someone or something discouraged it. Ninety-nine percent of these people were extremely talented and could have easily “made it” as an artist, performer, or songwriter if they would have only taken the chance to do so. They might not have made the “big” time but they would have certainly accomplished their basic desire or dream in some fashion. Dreams are what keep us trudging through life’s roadblocks. They are the things that cement bonds between people working towards continued on page 23
w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Randy Green Capturing Music in Real Time
t was an cold Monday morning when I ventured to Randy’s Recording in Cottage Grove to interview Randy Green, studio owner, musician, producer, engineer, and entrepreneur. He had emailed me on the previous Friday to see if I would like donuts with my coffee and of course being the gracious guest that I am readily acted. When I got to the studio I was greeted with a tour, cup of coffee, and a large cinnamon roll. It was a great way to start two wonderful information/wisdom filled hours talking with Randy. Randy Green was born in Washington D.C right after WWII. His Father was in the Navy and grew up in LaFarge,WI.while his mother came from Pittsburgh where her parents had emigrated from Italy. When Randy was two his family moved back to LaFarge where he grew up and went to school. In 1966 he moved to Madison to attend and graduated from the U.W.and played in Pop bands. This started his love for recording and making music. His first recorder was a Sony Reel to Reel two track machine. He made his first tape hanging two microphones over the stage to record his band, The Police Department at a show. When he got home and listened to it he was appalled and mystified. The recording was awful. It was all distorted and uneven. After learning from that first experience he developed his skills at mic placement and started making better recordings, which he stated that “it takes years to learn the correct way to record.” He soon graduated to a four track reel to reel machine, then to a sixteen track, and then finally to a twenty-four track reel to reel which he still uses today. Randy’s Recording is a multi-room studio with three different live rooms, control room, lounge, and office, all designed by Randy. It is filled with many different mics and amps. It has Dr. Bop’s old piano, a Hammond M-3 organ and Leslie, analog outboard gear, and a digital recording setup. These rooms are all very comfortable and have a great vibe so the creative juices can really flow here. Large panes of thick glass separate the rooms so that eye contact can be maintained at all times. Each room can be isolated from the other by double doors. This facility is quite impressive to say the least. Hundreds of albums, cassette tapes, and CD’s have been recorded here since the studio officially opened in 1989. The walls of Randy’s office hold
testament to the people and artists who have walked through the front door of this studio. As we talked about everything from the state of Country Music to live music in Madison, Randy’s wit and wisdom shown through. I came away from this interview with a different point of view on creating music and playing music. The first thing I did was go home and through away my notebook of studio how-to articles. Randy’s approach and style is very different than the “new” breed of studio owners. They all should take some time to spend with Randy and the few “old” timers as he says to learn about the alchemy and study of the most important element of recording, the song. AG: When you first started recording you said that your first attempt was terrible. What have you changed or has changed since then? Green: Well when I look at a console now I still see the knobs and sliders so that hasn’t changed. I think what has is my ability to record better. In your first recordings your brains aren’t really in it as much as your ears are. You have to learn to use them in tandem. It’s not so much skills as my will to make better recordings. I learn from each session even after all these years and every session I try to do better than the one before. AG: You said that you did four track and eight track recording before moving to a more professional format with a sixteen track recording. What was that like? Green: I went to a one inch sixteen track recorder which is a wonderful format, probably the best sounding recording format ever. I used that for
about eight years and then went to a twenty-four track which I still use today. I upgraded to this format because people started building houses in this neighborhood. My neighbors were talking about how they heard thunder a lot and I realized that they were hearing the drums from my studio. I decided to add on the studio then and soundproof it better. When that happened, I needed to upgrade to a twenty-four track (in 1994) because of the logistics of inputs being needed into three rooms instead of one. I miss that machine. It was incredible to record with and the sound was perfect. AG: Do you record digitally? Green: I do. I have a full digital, fully integrated annlog/ditigial system here. I guess I’m an analog w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
guy. A 24 bit digital recording is a more accurate recording than analog. Digital when it first came out did suck, but it has gotten better. Analog does nothing but pickup what you are recording,exactly what is there. What people forget and why they say analog recording is “better’ or warmer” is because they had this entire analog front end. A board, effects, and the machine itself. That entire front end was helping to make that analog recording sound the way that it did. It just wasn’t the tape machine. I find that if I just simply run through the analog board and then through the tape machine and don’t commit the recording to tape but to digital, I get the same sound only more accurate. So what you need is an analog front end without all the mic pre-amps you use to enhance a digital recording. The bottom line is you don’t need to spend $50,000.00 on all this software and pre-amps to get that sound. All you need to do is use a good analog board to record into. AG: With the Recording schools putting put all these graduates in an over crowded job market with nothing but Pro Tools experience, how is that going to affect the recoding industry, and what is the effect on the learning curve in the field? Green: I don’t think it’s as much a learning curve as a learning regression. It’s hard to learn to do stuff wrong. I have played with people who were terrible but yet people liked them. You had to play below your level to play with them. So what you end up doing is learn to play wrong to fit in and do the job. The whole digital system and world in recording is actually teaching you how to run an analog system on a screen. That is a total regression. For me to have to learn that is a waste of time. I know how to turn a knob by hand. It’s easier than learning to do it with a mouse. All the great music written in the world in the last 40 years was recorded analogy and nobody had a problem with it. Nobody went "Ah man we should have recorded it digitally”. It’s not that. It’s the fact that digital recording does not even need to be. I would not waste my time on something that is not up to speed yet. We are just the Ginny pigs for the next generation of computer operators. We are working the bugs out. The next generation will be able to say to the machine record this song and it will happen. That’s why regressing to learn how to record digitally on a screen using analog pictures does not make sense to me. We have been up to speed for 25-30 years.The thing that computers and digital recording does bring to the table is editing. You could never never edit analog tape like you can edit digitally. Pro Tools is a bubble in the industry. All these kids getting trained on it so that all recording is the same is wrong. Just take the name Pro Tools (Pro Tools is a registered trademark of the Digidesign Corporation) has a condescending notation for music. You fix things with tools. I don’t want to “fix” music I want to create and record music. Musicians seem to be split on this topic. Some enjoy the program and embrace it and others see it as a necessary evil in today’s music world. The fixer versus the player. So the bottom line is do you want to be a musical mechanic or do you want to be a musician. As I said I have no problem with it as an editing device, but as an end all recording medium I’m not really sold on it. The parts that it brings that work well I’m also good with. The part where it is training people to manufacture music is maybe not w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
such a good thing. I’ve been recording for 40 years and I think I’ve seen pretty much everything that has come along. Teaching someone to “fix” music instead of having someone who can play or sing just is not right. I don’t subscribe to the notion that if you don’t record with a computer or don’t use software to fix the recordings you are wrong, and that’s the only way to do it now. AG: When someone who has never recorded comes to the studio, what do you do that is different than someone who has studio experience? Green: Before anything happens I ask them who the producer is. Usually they don’t know what a producer does so I explain it to them. Then usually they say oh I’ll take care of that or my dad or buddy will. I then explain to them how it is better to find a “real” producer. Someone who knows their way around the studio and understands the music and record business. After we get that settled I let them get the feel of the studio for about an hour. Then we get down to work and try different things. It usually takes a couple of hours to get the groove going. After everyone is comfortable we start recording. With seasoned performers and writers they understand the production process and usually have everything figured out before we start. They are used to the process and have an end result in sight beyond just making a CD or record. AG: Are there any “newbie” traits in the studio? Green: Yes there usually is a couple. First they tell me that they’ll need headphones. Secondly they’ll tell me what mic to put on an amp or guitar because they read it in a magazine or book. Then they’ll say that they don’t understand why they don’t sound just like their idols, or it goes the other way and they tell me that there is something wrong with the mic or recorder because “they” don’t sound like that. AG: So is it frustrating to work with beginners? Green: Frustrating is not the word I’d use. Educational and trying are probably better in most cases. AG: Any advice for people thinking about going to a study and recording? Green: Sure, a couple of things. First, talk to the studio owner and engineer about your project before you get to the studio. Listen to the engineer and producer. They are the ones who know this equipment and the process better than anyone in the studio you are in. Not every studio is a good fit for every session,project,or artist. Check out a couple to find one you are most comfortable in and can accomplish what you had in mine. Be open to suggestions from the producer and or engineer. Lastly, have fun and don’t be stressed out. This concludes the first part of this interview with Randy Green of Randy’s Recording in Cottage Grove. The second part of this interview will be on Randy Green the musician and it will be in the April/May edition of the Americana Gazette. You can check out Randy’s Recording at randysrecording.com. Story by:Andy Ziehli Photos furnished from Randy Greene
• Business Plan Creation • Feasiability Studies • Grant Writing • Marketing Plans • Research (business, funding, historical) AMRS, Inc. specializes in working with small businesses, non-profit agencies, entrepreneurs, artists, and musicians. No business or project is too small for us to help.
Advisory Management & Research Services, Inc 608-424-6300 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Tri-County Food ‘Jam’ Sunday, Feb 22 Countryside Lanes Hollandale Live Music!! Noon til 8pm Help Donate to a Great Cause! Bring a Canned/Boxed Food Item Second Harvest Food Pantry Questions: call Mark Gruenenfelder 235-8917 21
The Benefit for Cadillac Joe A
low chatter filled the High Noon Saloon on a foggy Friday night. It was time to escape the holiday togetherness and people were out for a night on the town. Tonight the High Noon was holding the “Benefit for Cadillac Joe”. Then out of the bar’s darkness and onto the stage came Clear Blue Betty, a kind of folksy, kind of rocky band whose roots run deep into the Madison Music scene. With the stunning and talented Beth Kille at the helm, Clear Blue Betty sailed high above the stage. This well tuned ship made f light with Rob Koth’s catchy guitar play, Doug Sies, Tony Kille, and Jim Smith providing a precise and rumbling percussion section, and Beth Kille’s captivating stage presence brought the crowd to full attention. The music smoothly and easily transferred from a powerful, straightforward sound to a light and bouncy one. As the band finished up their set, more and more people filled the main floor and balcony. Light sounds of a harmonica drifted over the crowd. Bluesy and rich, the sound made people turn from their holiday chat to the stage. Everyone watched in anticipation as the musicians summoned their instruments, but one was missing. Drummer, Kenny Smith, was stuck somewhere else because of the lovely winter weather, so the sound that came from that stage was something different, something cool and mellow. The mix of Joes Nosek’s smooth harmonica, Chris Boeger’s thick and rich bass, and Billy Flynn’s superb guitar playing swirled around the bar, and all that was missing was the hiss and crackle of vinyl on a turntable. People began to move around the dance f loor weaving to the slow easy pace of the music. The best word to describe the
band was “smooth” Chicago Blues music. After a few bars of this hypnotic music South Chicago blues singer Oscar Wilson took the stage. Wilson swayed as he sang with a classic but far from stale voice. Most people aren’t born to sing the blues, but Wilson may have been one of those lucky few. He brought us back to the 1930’s and down to the Delta. The crowd now covered the f loor as The Cash Box Kings left the stage, and Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo took their place. Within seconds of taking the stage they completely reversed the mood in the room from mellowness to heart pounding blood rushing groove. Powerful blues pounded from the stage unto the crowd below. Then up came Cadillac Joe, and made sure everyone knew he was there. His voice, rough and low, his keys light and quick. His fingers danced across the keys and never showed any sign of hesitation. But the same could be said about Aaron Williams and his mastery of the guitar. The Hoodoo and Cadillac made it hard to look away from the stage. Williams, whom oozed cool and talent, made it impossible to not focus 100% of your whole being stage front. The crowd really started moving when bass player, Zac Auner, took the mic and did a hard, upbeat version of “Folsom Prison Blues”.The band was tight, never missing a beat or a note. Song after song the band conquered the crowd. Although cliché and corny, I would definitely say that the High Noon Saloon was “hopping” that foggy Friday night. The crowd had thinned a bit by the time the last band walked up the stairs, and took the stage. All the party poopers were definitely going to miss out. Joel Pingitore and the Playground of Sound exploded off of the stage. The first couple songs were powerful
instrumentals. Pingitore wasn’t still for a moment. With each progression he shook and swayed in a different way. The notes that came from that guitar were fueled by something, something intense, something that comes from the soul. Then new lead vocalist Brad Reichert took the stage with his classic, rumbling blues vocals. Reichert grooved along with Pingitore as he cranked out another solo. The Playground of Sound was having a great time. After a few songs Reichert left the stage, and Joel Pingitore and the Playground of Sound dove into a beautiful, slow and light instrumental, really showing the depth of the band. Bassist Frank Queram and drummer Joel “B” Brantmeier are a suburb rhythm section meshing like the gears in a finely tuned Chevy 396 engine! The talent of Pingitore could not be overshadowed that foggy Friday evening. Most in the bar were entranced by the sounds that poured from his instrument. He is a natural and master of the guitar. Soon after The Playground of Sound stepped down from the stage, the crowd began to clear. On this cold foggy night a feeling of love and support heated the damp air to a high enough temperature to rain good times and great music onto the many who ventured out to help support Cadillac Joe. Thanks to everyone who showed up and participated in the drawings and silent auction, and thank you to Aaron Williams for organizing this great event. Story by: Rob Kosmeder Photos by: Lynn Nimsomboon
w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Creating a “scene” to attract the arts to a community Creating a “scene” in a positive way takes planning, work, and money. The scene is nothing more than a place where artists congregate and people flock to be a part of. Historically many“scenes”have been created including Haitt Asbury in San Francisco,Austin Texas the live music capital of the world, Greenwich Village in New York, Athens Georgia, Nashville Tennessee, Seattle Washington,and Soho in London. All these places attracted talented artists, writers, and musicians. The community of people that followed them helped define the “scene”. Many will argue that some of the above“scenes” happened and were not planned. I will agree that they were not planned in the conventional way. They did happen because someone decided that those places were a great place to be creative and others agreed with them and moved there. Though the plans were not written out, a muse was created and planned because of like thoughts and actions of many individuals. Over the last 3 years I have spent an awful lot of time interviewing and talking to many different types of creative people on this subject and just how does one go about creating an arts scene in one’s community. The answers and ideas have all been very interesting and thought provoking. Some people said that a scene can’t be created,and that they just happen. Some said that an event sparks the creative muse and people feed off of it. Yet others had genuine insight and ideas on how to create a vibrant arts and music scene that was both stimulating and economically possible. The following ideas came from these interviews. I hope that you can find one or two to use to help create an arts & music scene in your community. 1. The first thing you need is a good base of local artesian, musicians, writers, artist's, and performers to draw from. 2. Second you need to have the support of the community at large. If your community does not believe in this type of economic base it cannot succeed. The Arts and their place in local economies has been proven to be a stickling point for many communities. Setting up town meetings to explain and show the economic and cultural advantages to having an w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
arts district or scene is one way to get the community on board and support the creation of such districts and scenes. 3. The next thing that you need is a business owner or entrepreneur to have a business that artists and musicians can congregate at to exchange ideas, and to showcase their work. A coffeehouse, gallery, and or club/bar. Without having a central place or two for these folks to meet, exhibit, and or perform at all the talent in the world won’t help your community grow as an arts center or scene. 4. Your local banking community needs to understand the arts marketplace. It needs to create loan programs that work with artists and the business cycles they operate in. 5. Emphasis needs to be put on the positive aspects of creating an arts community and the economic benefits it can bring to a community. The arts need to be looked at as a viable business. By creating the infrastructure that is needed to attract both artists and tourists you are creating the same infrastructure that you need to attract other businesses. 6. Landlords of commercial property need to work with artisan tenets to have affordable leases. Setting up rent payments in a graduated form to coincide with tourist seasons and the increase in revenue at those times can help artists lease buildings and space in an affordable manner. 7. Bar and Club owners need to be focused on the long-term effects of promoting original music, and not panicking when the crowds are not as large as cover bands can bring. This is not to say that the owner of these establishments should not make money, but rather they should understand that original music takes longer to catch on, but also increases crowds over time. Original music crowds tend to be better behaved and cause less problems than rowdy cover band crowds. 8. The local artist need to understand that they are part of the community and therefore need to give back to it. Volunteering services and products that benefit the community is essential. Benefits and fundraising events can bring goodwill and needed funding to communities. 9. Tourists and the cash that they bring to a community are essential. Residents of the community need to learn to embrace the tourists and work to keep them coming back. Complaining about them or openly being hostile to tourists can only cause hard feelings and a reduction in tourist dollars in the community. 10. Marketing and advertising your local arts scene is very important. If you don’t market your selves beyond word of mouth marketing, you greatly reduce the money that could be flowing through your community. A marketing plan is essential. This plan should include an advertising budget, media selection, testimonials, a 5 year plan of action, a review process, and requirements plan to increase the artisan base.
Two P’s... continued from page 19
the same goals. They are the essence of life itself. Without dreams or goals we as humans have no need to repopulate this planet. If things never change and we soldier on without a better future, why continue at all. So here are some steps to rekindle that dream if you have set it aside or help you take the steps forward to achieve it now. Remember that your potential and the perception that you have of yourself is what is important, not how others perceive you to be. • Dare to dream in the first place. • Write down your dream so it becomes a goal. • Make sure your goal is obtainable with the talents and skills you have or can acquire. • Network and find a mentor to help you achieve what you desire. • Quit hanging around negative people who won’t and don’t support you in your quest. • Learn a new skill that will help you achieve your goal quicker. • Join a group of like minded people and or artists so that you can help each other. • Showcase your work. • Take and understand criticism. Use it to move forward, not backward. • Take baby steps at first. • If you don’t succeed, try again. • Study the past and people who have succeeded in what you are attempting. • Do not let age stop you from attaining your goals and dreams. • Always find a way to go around, under, over, or through any road block that you face. • Lastly, understand that being able to achieve a smaller version of your dream or goal is better than not being able to do it at all. Once you have accomplished a small part of it you will be able to reexamine your dreams and goals and find out if this is enough or if you need to venture on further. I hope that in 2009 all of you are able to take steps to reach your dreams and goals. I also hope that your perception of yourself is positive and stays that way. It’s going to be a crappy year economically anyway,so instead of spending your time worrying about the economy spend the time positively working on you. Make 2009 the year “you” chose to be creative and happy. Written by:Andy Ziehli
AMERICANA GAZETTE SUBSCRIPTION The Americana Gazette is a free bimonthly publication and may be picked up at area locations. However if you would like a copy mailed to you, please fill out the following information and submit a check for $15.00 to: Americana Gazette, P.O. Box 208, Belleville,Wi. 53508
John Jennings Making a Living Making Music
w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
ohn Jennings is one of the finest examples of a good guy making it in the music business: a multiinstrumentalist, award winning producer, engineer, and artist, besides being the best sideman anyone could ever want in their band. Jennings, who has been Mary Chapin Carpenter’s bandmate, frequent co-producer and friend for the last 25 years or so, has also produced and played on cd’s for John Gorka, BeauSoleil, indigo girls, Janis Ian, Jen Cass and Bill Morrisey,just to name a few. He is an astute player who knows when and when not to play, something many young musicians could learn from. John’s journey began when he was born in Luray, Virginia, about 90 miles from DC, back when it was still the Deep South. Jennings states you couldn’t misbehave or everyone knew about it. John lived with his mom, grandmother, aunt and brother. There was always music around the household. His mother played piano, his older brother played saxophone, John himself had piano lessons, and the radio was always on, playing everything from Big Band to classical music. From the age of 12 Jennings knew he wanted to make a living making music. John also used to play trumpet, (he laughs, and says he doesn't play this anymore) and upright bass. John played in neighborhood bands growing up, and in 6th grade his band, (consisting of two guitar players and two percussionists) played a school concert,enlightening the crowd with Secret Agent Man and Sounds of Silence. In 7th grade John turned to the electric bass, and by age 15 had switched to electric guitar, his first being a Gibson SG Special. (Which he says he no longer owns.) There is a difference and a formula to reaching the achievements of John Jennings. Learning as he went, he became familiar with both sides of the board, and became a sought after player and producer from the late seventies on in Washington DC. On October 13, 1982 at a chance meeting where songwriters got together at a restaurant called the Class Reunion lead by Bill Danoff, he was introduced to Mary Chapin Carpenter (MCC). The rest, as they say, it is history. This article is really a two part story, the first talking about John Jennings the person, artist, and songwriter, and the second part talking with John Jennings, the producer and record maker. We have known Jennings for about eight years and have always found him to be very helpful and honest about music. He is especially straightforward on the most important aspect of music: the song. To Jennings, everything starts and ends with the song. It’s not the fancy fills or technical shenanigans that makes people want to listen to a song. It’s the heart and soul of the writer and the ability to get your point across in a relatively short time. Unlike literature or prose, songwriters most often make their point with a few hundred words, and within three or four minutes. The compactness of this medium makes it important that the writer be focused and clear about their intent. It is the artist’s ability to capture a point in time that makes listeners participants, not just observers. Jennings had a 16-track home recording studio in the early eighties (before home recording became the norm, and where Mary Chapin Carpenter’s first album began), and he played and sang on jingles and demos. This helped to shape his skills w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
and his ear for musical lines and lyrical content. He also learned to produce at this time. Singer/songwriter Bill Holland and producer/orchestrator Paul Christianson taught and mentored him on stage and in the studio. Jennings credits these two with being the most important individuals for teaching him that “real adults could use popular music as a tool of serious expression.” Jennings says that, when he saw 12, his brother asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up. He then remembered the old joke,“you can either grow up or be a musician. You can’t do both.” His main interest in the last twenty years has been making records. He also says that “when I work, I really work hard, and when I don’t work, I don’t work really hard.” When Jennings was in his early 40’s he decided that it was about time that he record a cd. His manager found him a record deal with Vanguard Records. He cut two CD’s with them, and treasures the experience. At that time, he was doing a lot of touring and production work with MCC, which occupied most of his time. His lack of touring on his own eventually became something of a problem for the folks at Vanguard. They parted on very good terms and Jennings has since recorded and distributed his records on his own label. Jennings starts his compositions in his head. He does not usually sit down with a guitar and say I’m going to write a song. He stated that he“usually has something in my head or heart, and the song develops from there.” Usually a rhythm is the first thing that happens in his songs. The pulse is always at the forefront of his creative process. As a writer he confesses that“I’m a little haphazard in creating a song.” As a producer and engineer,“I am much more focused on the process”. As far as his own material goes, Jennings says that“I have so little discipline in writing that it isn’t even funny!” John shared that he has done a bit of co-writing, more with Mary Chapin than anyone else. He rarely listens to his own records when he is done recording them. “When they’re done, they’re done”he stated. The basic thrill for Jennings is getting to the point where everyone is happy with what’s been recorded, and “you feel you have done the best job you can.” We talked in length about guitars, venues, food, and finding a place or two for John to play up here in Wisconsin. We asked John where and what venue was the coolest place to play and he had a little trouble answering this as he stated,“all places are good and all gigs are important.” However he did tell us that he has played the White House a couple of times,and that was great,as well as a USO Holiday Season Tour in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and on the USS Enterprise. John doesn’t really have a favorite song that he has written: he still likes about ½ of them and these are generally the ones he plays live. When asked what he does to relax or if he has any hobbies, Jennings replied that he“putters around” and does handy man projects, which he is reasonably good at, because growing up he had many jobs including working for the Department of Interior, record shop salesman, security guard,bartender,landscaping,moving furniture and even cleaning up buildings after a fire. John said he isn’t much of a cook, but he can “julienne the hell out of a carrot.” On the other hand, he said his partner Tamara is a great cook, and he himself does a decent job baking. (John did share a delicious grilled asparagus recipe with us, which we will have to give a try.) On the subject of food, we asked John what his favorite food was, besides the Wisconsin Cheese we send him. “Cheese is good,” Jennings replied,“but my favorite is dark chocolate.
My 3 favorite food groups are Middle Eastern, Italian and French.” A true gentleman and a professional. When asked about what advice he would give a young musician or producer Jennings said“Get a graduate degree! Seriously, if you are in this strictly to make music,just make music,and don’t worry about it. If you are in it to make a living, then I think you have to be careful about which avenues you choose to go down. No one ever said it would be easy to make a living as a musician. And the avalanche of freely accessible music, while admirably democratic, rather warps the attitudes of listeners about the real value of what they’re hearing. It’s hard to make a living on stuff that you give away.” Ending up with a good record (or not) depends entirely on the songs and how they are portrayed, and “every important factor is a human factor. I hear very clever records all the time that have no interest beyond the production. That’s just not terribly appealing to me” Jennings states. Jennings continues,“I love finished songs that are sung well, with conviction and clarity. That’s pretty much what I’m interested in. The easiest thing in the world is to throw a bunch of clever crap on a track and say you have made a record. People often put a bunch of noise down that sounds cool and contemporary and figure they have a great record and that’s just not enough. There is nothing wrong with cool sounding records, but if there is no substance to it, it doesn’t hold anyone’s attention.We are now dealing with a new generation of artists, engineers and producers who have never seen a tape machine and have never had a limited number of tracks to work with. While there are benefits to working in the digital realm (John uses Nuendo), there are some drawbacks,especially as regards not having to make timely decisions that could help the art.” When he mixes he does not automate anything, and always keeps a hand on the lead vocal fader. It is just a different process than what is considered the industry standard today. Listening is critically important as an engineer, player, and producer for Jennings. As an accompanist, he tries to familiarize himself with the songs as quickly as possible. He asks the artist and producer(s) what they are looking for. He makes suggestions when called upon. When producing a session, he always lets the artist know that “you have ideas on how you want this to go, and I have ideas on how I want this to go, and they are probably really good ideas.But we have to be careful not to let our good ideas get in the way of better ones.” Jennings knows how to make “good” records. His past accomplishments speak for themselves. The numerous WAMMIE’s he has won and the Grammy Nominations prove that he is a force to record with and an expert in his fields. Before we ended our conversation we asked John what he wanted his fans to think about him. John laughed and said,“I want them to know I’m tall. Also, that I am basically a good guy, and I am there to help out.” John Jennings has been an inspiration and mentor to us over the past few years, always available to help Andy out with his studio questions, taking the time to look us up when we attended one of his and Mary Chapin Carpenter’s concerts, and keeping in touch with us via email. We look forward to our continued friendship and John’s successful future in the music industry. We will keep you posted on any future John Jennings sightings!! Check him out – he really is tall! Written by: Andy & Joyce Ziehli Photos supplied by John Jennings.
Good n Loud Taking on the Future
n 1976 two local sound engineers were offered the franchise of Peavey to start a fledgling music store on the corner of Johnson and Broom Streets in Madison WI. They had occupied the basement building sound enclosures and mixers for their sound company. After signing the paper work they purchased $10,000 worth of amps, speakers and mixers, in which they paid for in 1 month. Thatâ€™s when the decision was made to become music retailers full-time. Steve Liethen and his business partner started then what today has become a two store location where they sell musical instruments and all parts and accessories, from drums and cables to amplifiers and guitars. Steve and his wife Chris bought out Pete in the early 90â€™s. They have expanded the focus and direction of the original Good N Loud from a strictly Rock & Roll music store to a multi-fascist music and sound operation. They outfit the beginner to professional, and their products have a wide price range. They also rent,
w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
sell and repair band and orchestra equipment. Good N Loud has over 600 students enrolled in a variety of instruments from the basic guitar and keyboard to the more obscure mandolin and banjo. They employ 35 teachers who are all musicians themselves. I had the enjoyable opportunity to sit down with Steve & Chris over coffee and discuss Good N Loud Music, and the future of music retailing. The Liethen’s are a very cordial couple who made me feel right at home. I have known Steve since the store’s opening in 1976, and Chris since the early 90’s. Both Steve and Chris have served on the original MAMA’s board of directors, and currently sit on many community oriented boards and committees that serve both musicians and youth. The following is our conversation where nothing was off limits to discuss, laughs were plentiful, and pictures were optional. AG: So let’s get started talking about the store (as I lay my camera on the table). Steve: No pictures today! My makeup person called in sick! AG: What are your thoughts of the music industry today and retailing in it? Explain what a “real” music retailer does to operate their store compared to a big box music store like Guitar Center (GC) or now Best Buy (BB), and the on-line stores like Musician’s Friend (MF),American Music Supply (AMS) etc.? Chris: That’s interesting because we were talking about that this morning. Steve: We don’t know either! Chris: Now that most cities around the country are losing their independent mom and pop music stores the perception is that“oh they couldn’t compete with GC or MF because the big guys can buy for less”, which is not true at all. What the real reason is that the distribution channels have changed so drastically and the amount of product has increased so much. What people don’t understand is when you go to GC or BB you see a lot of guitars and amps sitting and hanging on the walls. That is just a very small amount of the available models on the market today. It looks like they have a real big selection but in reality they only handle 5 models from a company. They have a little bit of everything. Fender guitars are a great example. They only carry 30 different models, and that’s all they’ll carry out of the over 600 different models available from Fender. They also only carry the models that they do in limited colors and pickup configurations. They will have ten or less of each one of those all hung up. It’s like an office supply store where when you walk in it looks like they have a huge amount of items but in reality they only have and can get a small amount of each item, but they are spread out to look like they have a lot in stock. As far as the pricing goes it is the same for most items for us and the big box stores. What happens in a lot of cases is that the manufacturer will discontinue a model and call up these big retailers and offer them say 100 of this model at a blow out price. So when they offer them in their stores they can discount the item because they bought them at a huge volume, where your local mom and pop type store cannot buy 100 Strats at once. The price then is lower because of the volume purchased. By dropping the price on this special purchase it looks like they sell items for less, when in truth they are buying 90% of their product for the same price we do. It is unfortunate that the manufacturers don’t offer smaller lots to the smaller dealers so that independent stores could take advantage of those w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
deals. The manufacturers really don’t play fair in this arena. The true disservice in the industry is that the choices you receive are smaller and narrower than in the past. When GC came to town Good N Loud was one of the top 20 Fender dealers in the United States and had been for many years. We sold every product that Fender made. If we did not have it on hand we could have it to you very quickly. After GC’s arrival that distinction and service went away. AG: What about the used musical instrument market? I remember in the 70’s and 80’s you had a huge amount of used gear for sale, as did all the other music stores in Madison. Chris: What you have to figure is that the average person might only have a single piece of gear every five years or so that they want to get rid of or upgrade. The perception today is that they can get more by putting it on EBay or Craig’s list than they can by trading it off. So if everybody only has one piece and instead of taking it to their local music store they sell it on line, it does not take long for that market to go away. So the question becomes can you get more for selling it on EBay or Craig’s list? I suppose sometimes you can, but after you factor in all the costs and time for shipping and such I don’t really think you come out ahead. The trouble is that there is no real way to track that. The disadvantage to the consumer when buying on-line is that you don’t know what you are truly getting until you get it home and plug it in. In a lot of cases if it is junk or does not work you are stuck with it. Where as if you would go to a local music store and purchase it you can see, touch, and hear it first. Then make your decision to buy it. Good N Loud continues to warranty all the gear sold here, both new and used. Our intention is not to take advantage of anyone. If you buy something and get it home and the next day it fails we will make it right with you. Most people don’t have a ton of gear anymore. We still get used gear in and we resell it. Steve: It is like any other distribution system. It is going to find its optimum point. In the past when you wanted new gear you traded it in at a music store. The trouble began when consumers came up with the idea it was wrong for music store owners to make money. For some reason people got the idea that they were getting ripped off by the stores because they were given a price for their used equipment and then the store would offer it for sale at a higher price than they were given for it. What a lot of people don’t understand is that the markup applied is there to cover the overhead of the store, shelf space taken up, and a very small profit which is what capitalism is all about. The other thing is that the stores took a piece of gear that you as the customer found not to be worth your hanging onto. AG: You as store owners and business people have a right to make a profit and a living buying and selling gear. Just like consumers have the same right to make money at their jobs. Steve: That is a lost concept to many people. If somebody makes a profit operating their business someone feels that they have been abused somehow. It is the same in the car industry. There are many channels to sell used gear. An advantage over the car industry is that musical instruments do not wear out like cars. An example would be that a 1956 car today would need major repair and work to be used everyday. A 1956 Strat would still be in the same condition as it was when it was purchased barring abnormal use, and would still have
another 53 years of use in it along with value. The profit margins are still the same in used gear, but what has changed again is the way that it is distributed. In the past all we had was trading it to a music store or putting it in the want ads. Then we had to deal with all those people coming to our houses so it was easier just trading it in. Now with the internet we have taken the home visit out of the equation. Chris: I think there are still great deals to be had today in the used market. You just need to know what you are buying and understanding how this new economy works. The biggest disservice the internet has been is to the uniformed consumer/first time buyers group. They see an instrument on line for $49.00 and then come into a music store and see that same item for $98.00 and wonder why there is such a price difference. Their first thought is always that the store is trying to rip them off. People today don’t compare apples to apples, it is usually apples to gum ball machines that are not even related. Steve: There are different buying groups. There are musicians who can make those judgments and than there are beginners who do not understand the difference in products or the values of products. They make their decision by pictures; a lot of the entry level product being sold today is very marginal in quality and value. The trouble is today that learning to play a musical instrument is still hard to do, but the gear to play it on in a lot of cases adds to the difficulty because it is substandard and this turns off a lot of folks very early in the learning process. They make up their minds then that all guitars or trumpets are this hard to play and give up on music. This is really very sad. Again that’s why going to a local store where you can try out the instrument is such an advantage to buying on line. Chris: The issue is not with a musician who knows their way around an instrument and knows the parts,it’s the beginners who don’t take the time to research their choice before they buy or make the effort afterwards to be more informed. This goes for parents too. Lots of times we get asked why do we need a truss rod in a guitar neck, or people say why do we have to change strings, or why do strings break? Some will even say“well if I would have known that this required changing strings I would not have ever bought a guitar”. It’s sad but a lot of customers are very ill informed or even uninformed. Another example is a young much excited player who breaks a string and thinks he has done something wrong because he is ill-informed. Again not to beat it to death, that’s why buying from a local store can be such an advantage. You can get the help you need from someone who cares about your purchase, and wants you to be happy with it verses a salesman in a big box store just trying to meet his quota for the week to keep his job. AG: So what does all this mean to owners like you? Chris: Change is inevitable and there is nothing we or anyone can do about it. The trouble is that change is happening so quickly in our industry that by the time you make adjustments to meet consumer’s needs and desires they have already changed again. The main reason that there are so many independent stores closing is that they cannot handle the rapid change. It is affecting the chain store too. Until the water finds its own level it will continue to force people to close down. The biggest misconception is still that GC or MF continued on page 29
MAMA,Inc.is a non-profit organization.MAMA is an acronym for Madison Area Music Awards. Each spring we hold an award show that honors the efforts of local musicians. This award show, along with the many other initiatives of MAMA, Inc. throughout the year,raises money to foster the next generation of musicians by helping fund youth music programs and by putting instruments in the hands of kids who might not otherwise have them. Our focus is on the public school system but our charter is not limited to specifically that. Our objective is to keep the fundamentals of music available for our youth and to promote that cause. MAMA Urban Fundraiser February 21, 2009 - High Noon Saloon $5 cover; Rob Dz, DLO, KALO, and Felicia Alima (with the band); More details TBA MAMAs Make $7,000 in New Donations
The MAMAs have given three substantial equipment grants over the summer and fall. We have been working closely with the East Madison Community Center and are establishing a music education program there.The first step is getting them some instruments. Earlier this summer, we were able to secure a piano donation from Geri Ager,wife of the late Joel Gersmann who had a long, outstanding career in theater, namely with the Broom Street Theatre. Gersmann left behind a turn-of-thecentury upright piano, admittedly in need of refinishing, but which plays beautifully and sounds even better. In August the MAMAs donated the piano to the East Madison Community Center. You’ve probably heard of the new Goodman Atwood Community Center. We have been working with them for several months as well, and have a couple of program ideas we hope to implement. Through our association with Electrovoice, we were able to get over $3,000 in P.A. equipment for the New Loft performance area.Additionally,we obtained two more power amps and a power conditioner that we granted to them, making the total donated well over $4,000.We’re working on finding other items to get the New Loft operational. Ken Keeley,bassist with Bob Manor and the Getaway Drivers, donated a bass rig in addition to P.A. equipment.The P.A. stuff ended up at the Atwood Community Center and the bass rig found a home with the O’Keeffe Middle School Jazz Band.Thanks to Ken for helping us put giant smiles on the faces of these kids. The MAMAs gladly accept used instruments and
gear. It must be in working or near-working order. Contact us if interested.All donations to MAMA,Inc. qualify for tax deductibility. MAMAs Take New Approach in Establishing Programs This has been a year of significant change for the MAMAs organization.Traditionally, we have sought funding primarily through corporate sponsors. These businesses receive advertising time as part of their donation to the MAMAs.As you can imagine, these corporate sponsorships, at the level we need them, have been getting harder and harder to secure.We will still look for at least one corporate sponsor to partner with us each year.The MAMAs continues to gain recognition and status in the community, making us more of a viable organization with which to partner. Earlier this year, however, we decided to take on an entirely different approach, one that we’ve discussed for some time. The MAMAs will now actively pursue grant money.That may sound like a no-brainer but grant applications are time-consuming and can be quite complicated.There is also a bit of a catch-22 in that we need to produce a track record of program work in order to attract the kind of grant money we need. A sticking point for us has always been finding the right grant writer, one with the experience and the time.This year we have succeeded in that and have also started working with several community groups and the schools to foster ongoing working relationships. The MAMAs have always had a grand vision of establishing several programs. Now we are starting to realize some of those dreams, dreams that may also have an impact on local professionals as well as benefiting kids.Take the East Madison Community Center, where we are currently building an arsenal of instruments that will enable us to create a music education program. A similar type of project is in the making at the Goodman Atwood Community Center, where they have a recording room and wish to offer recording technology courses.We are currently working on equipment needs for that facility and a plan that will fund the educators annually.The educators will be locally based players and teachers and they will be paid to instruct. Additionally, we have helped to provide equipment for the New Loft at the Atwood location (the New Loft is an all-ages club located in the new Atwood Community Center). (You can see our complete history of giving by clicking here.) There are other programs that we are working on with other community groups and the schools. If you are willing to donate any instruments or gear,
contact us. It must be in working or near-working condition and donations qualify for tax deductibility. You can help us get these programs off the ground and make a real difference in your community. Of course, in addition to seeking grants and sponsorships, the MAMAs rely on ticket sales, fundraisers, and membership and registration monies.We also accept cash donations,however,so if you know someone who may be willing to help us out in that regard, please have them contact us. MAMA’s voting and awards show Smart Studios is sponsoring the Artist of theYear Award, including a day of recording and other prizes,worth $1,000.Visitors to the site may choose whether they are an artist submitting materials or a fan casting a vote. . The first round of voting runs from February 5 through March 20, followed by the Nominee Announcement Party Saturday, March 28 at the Brink Lounge. The final round of voting runs from March 28 through April 28. The 2009 Madison Area Music Awards show is Saturday, May 9 at the Barrymore Theater. Performers for the awards show and other fundraising events will be announced soon. Categories are as follows: Michael St. John Lifetime Achievement Award Entertainer of the Year Songs Albums Artist Blues Classical Country/Bluegrass Electronic Folk/Americana Jazz Pop Rock Unique Urban/R&B World Blues Classical Country/Bluegrass Electronic Folk/Americana Jazz Pop Rock Unique Urban/R&B World Compilation Blues Classical Country/Bluegrass Electronic Folk/Americana Jazz Pop Rock Unique Urban/R&B World DJ Youth Ensemble New Artist Cover Band Instrumentalist Awards Vocal Awards Guitarist Bassist Keyboardist w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Drummer/Percussionist Strings Brass Woodwinds Specialty Instrument Youth Instrumentalist Male Vocalist Female Vocalist Ensemble Vocals Youth Vocalist Student of the Year Teacher of the Year Launchpad Awards Live Music Venue Recording Studio Live Sound Engineer Local Recorded Music Store Local Radio Station Local Radio Personality MISSION STATEMENT MAMAs, Inc. is organized and operates exclusively for charitable or educational purposes, as defined in Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The mission of the MAMAs is to support the preservation and expansion of all forms of music education in the Madison area, and to encourage and promote the artistic advancement of our emerging musical youth. Vision Statement In furtherance of our charitable purpose,MAMA, Inc. has created and presents the annual Madison Area Music Awards ceremony, with the purpose of (1) raising public awareness of the need to preserve and support the existence of music education in our public schools and other community institutions, (2) encourage and promote the advancement of musicians and others in the Madison area by recognizing their musical achievements as well as the achievements of outstanding music students and music educators, and (3) provide promotional support for the Madison music economy as a whole. MAMA, Inc. seeks to establish three other annual events to further carry out its charitable mission and to keep the awareness of the need for music education in the public eye yearround. MAMA, Inc. also seeks to carry out the following: • Provide opportunities for professional, semi-professional and student musicians who are interested in pursuing careers in music to learn about the music industry • Provide forums for young musicians and others in the Madison area to participate in live performances • Become advocates for music education by working cooperatively through the Madison School Board and with others • Establish a school instrument repair program • Create, support and fund music education events presented in the schools in the form of assemblies • Create an endowment fund to provide music education scholarships
w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Good n Loud... continued from page 29
or any of those other outlets have more selection and better pricing than your local music store which in most cases is just not true. Sometimes the big guys have better pricing because they choose to sell at cost or below to get the sale, but you can’t do that forever and survive as a business. AG: So what makes you two stay in such a volatile business? Steve: I don’t know how to do anything else! This is what I have always done (laughs). I’ve done it for 30 years and I still like doing it. I like the people. It is not very profitable but we’ve been lucky. Chris: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks! The retail end of it is no fun. Steve: The retail end used to be a lot of fun. You got new product in, customers were informed, and there was integrity and respect in the manufacturers. It was just a different world. Now except for the small one man shops and there are a lot of them working with large manufacturers like Fender are like buying a Coke. Gibson,Ampeg all have their products made in a factory in China. There all the same. In some factories it’s one company’s run in the morning and another’s in the afternoon. The same factory for different companies. The quality is going out of a lot of the big manufacturer’s gear. The small one to ten person customer boutique shops make better stuff. Chris: What gets me out of bed everyday is the teaching. Seeing those smiles on the kids when they learn something new, and when they get a chance to get on stage with their instructor at our shows.They start out a little nervous but by the end of the song they are rocking the stage. Steve: It’s the kids for me too. When you see young people come into the store and they are inspired to play, that’s what it’s all about. AG: Back in the day when we were all younger and Madison had a bunch of music stores each one had their own personality from the owners and the characters that hung out there. That’s what I miss the most today. Steve: If you would have told me three years ago that we would be the last independent mom and pop music store in Madison I would have told you that you were nuts! But we are the last full service multi-instrument store left, and that’s sad. Back in the early 80’s people would come from 300 miles away on a Saturday and hit every music store in town looking for deals and used gear. Now they go online. The folks that ran the other stores were all great people. Everyone had their own little niche and core group of supporters and we all survived. It was cool to see all the different musicians come in and try out gear and they even helped sell it by telling other customers how much they loved owning a particular piece of gear. That networking and comradery is kind of gone now. AG: You and Pete were the hippy owners, Regenbergs were the young guys, Ray Kentner was Ray, but the cool thing was that all of you knew gear and did your best to help the customer make the right choice. All those people were and are great folks and I truly miss them and their stores. Steve: You know the personalities helped to make the business fun. Back then that was half of the buying experience dealing with the owners. AG: Your lesson program here is exceptional. You have over 600 students. What do you attribute to that? Chris: We have excellent instructors who are great players themselves. These folks are all work-
ing musicians so they know how the students feel and what their dreams are. They want to make learning fun. That’s what’s important. Steve: It’s hard to learn to play an instrument like a guitar. Kids see these guys on TV and they think that they just picked up the guitar and could play like that when the truth is that those pros have practiced thousands of hours to get there. Our instructors can relay that message to these kids, and get them to want to put in the time to get better through practice. AG: Do you have a lot of adult students? Chris: Yes we do. They take lessons for many different reasons. Some always wanted to play but were not allowed the chance when they were younger. Others put down their instruments and now that their kids are playing want to pick it up again. Some just want to strengthen their skills,others to learn a new instrument. All really just want to create music. (Note; I took lessons at Good N Loud three years ago to learn a new style of playing. I had lessons once a week for 12 weeks and enjoyed every one of them. My instructor Shane Keck was great. I learned what I wanted to learn. Nothing was forced onto me that I did not desire to undertake. The experience was excellent and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a new skill set or just learn to play) AG: Any closing thoughts? Steve: I can honesty say that I have never sold anyone a guitar that was not what they wanted to buy, or was substandard. I still hold to the fact that I won’t sell a substandard instrument. I look forward to continuing in this business and make adjustments as we go. We have a great staff, loyal customers, and a very good reputation in the music community. Being fair to our employees and customers is very important to us. It’s been a great ride so far and I’m sure it will continue to be one. Chris: We try to be a family friendly store. A place where you would want to shop. We have the experience in our staff to solve just about anything that comes along musically. If we can’t help you out we’ll do our best to direct you to someone we trust who can. It is fun to own a music store. It’s just different than it used to be. Hopefully the future will bring new technologies and innovations to get more people interested in making music. All in all I agree with Steve “it’s been a great ride and hopefully the future will be too”. Thanks to Steve and Chris for their time and the excellent insight on their industry and their operation. Buying from your local music store is so important. Without them you will sentence yourself to dealing with a computer screen or a very impersonal sales person who knows nothing more than to turn the amp up loud and play every Van Halen song they know to try to get you to buy that new guitar. I can honestly say that I buy 95% of all my musical instruments and supplies from independent mom and pop music stores and will continue to do so. There is so much more involved in buying a musical instrument than price. Don’t let these great stores go the way of vinyl. Buy local!!!! Story & Photos by: Andy Ziehli
the simple arrangement stands out. Brace is a master of this. His ability to structure songs so that the lyrics standout and are not buried with a wall of sound is a blessing in this day and age of over production. The final cut on this CD is a Todd Snider song sung by Cooper that is very pleasant and soothing. A simple song that carries the weight of the world on its shoulders. It speaks of simpler times in a relationship,a place we all wish we could get back to from our busy lives. Brace and Cooper really make this CD standout because of their ability to let the other shine. No ego’s here. Their voices blend wonderfully. Produced by both Brace and Cooper, the feel and vibe of this CD reflects their personalities and friendship. The band is made up of the best of the best. Paul Griffith on drums, Dave Roe on bass, Lloyd Green on Steel, and Jen Gunderman on keys and accordion along with Brace and Cooper on guitars. This CD is a must for every person who loves Americana Music. These guys deserve to be “big” stars. Don’t let this one get away from you! You can purchase it at Red Beet Records.com, CD Baby,Amazon.com,and locally in East Nashville. This CD is the real McCoy - 5 stars all the way!
Artist- Todd Lorenz ♪♪♪ Album- Twenty Aught Eight Volumes 1 & 2 Style: Folk/Rock/Blues
Review by:Andy Ziehli This is a two disc set of folk, blues, and ballads, but nothing that really catches the ear. Lots and lots of potential, but the delivery is always just out of reach. Something was just missing. Each song has so much potential, but it’s very hard to see it through the haze. The albums are filled with great guitar work,and straightforward songs. No fluff between you and the message that is coming across, but without catchy,ear-grabbing songs,the message just becomes lost. And what good is a lost message? Lorenz should work on creating “hooks” either vocally, musically, or lyrically. That would have made these CD’s much better.
Eric Brace and Peter Cooper ♪♪♪♪♪ You Don’t Have to Like Them Both Red Beet Records Style:Americana, Folk-Rock, Country This CD could have been a lot of things. It could have been a CD full of Eric Brace songs or Peter Cooper songs,or it could have been everyone else’s songs. What it is, is a collection of great songs written by the best songwriters in Americana music today including Brace and Cooper, Jim Lauderdale, Todd Snider, Kris Kristofferson, Paul Kennerly, Karl Straub, David Olney, and a new favorite of mine Kevin Gordon. All have great contributions here. Starting out the CD is a Brace tune called “I know a Bird” a No-depression feeling song. Its simple instrumentation brings the lyrics to the front. If you close your eyes you can see despair as the melody and lyrics take you to that plain of pain we all have felt in the loss of a loved one. The third song on this CD is an incredible song written by East Nashville songwriter Kevin Gordon named “Down to the Well”. This is a moving song. The lyrics are colorful and explicit. Sung as a duet, this song transcends our simple listening to reaching into your soul and making you listen. I understand Gordon is releasing a solo CD in 2009. I hope he does because the world needs to hear more of him. Cut number five is a Cooper song “The man who loves to hate”. This song is a departure from the formula that Cooper has written in the past. This song could be on any of Rodney Crowell’s last 4 CD’s. This change in style brings out a side of Cooper that is exciting and interesting. I liked it a lot. It shows that even established songwriters learn new tricks and are not afraid to break the mold once in a while. My favorite cut on the CD is track seven “Denali, Not McKinley”, the story of Cooper’s first trip to Alaska. It is a good time hand clapping song that will surely bring a smile to your face. If you don’t tap your toes to this song you’re already dead! Track ten is a Sea Chantey that Brace reworked for this CD. It is superbly done! Again
Reviewed by: Rob Kosmeder
Artist- Clovis Mann ♪♪♪ Album- Dues Americana/World Style: Americana/World All in all, this was a good album, but as I listened to the CD I realized something was missing. I could never put my finger on what it was. I have heard from many people that they are a great live band,so one shouldn’t pass the final judgment until they see the band live. The CD definitely showed that this band from Madison definitely has talent. I guess what I’m saying is that the talent wasn’t properly displayed. Hot guitar licks and funky rhythms catch the ear, and definitely make you take a second listen. Song structure and hooks just did not come through like you would expect. Maybe Clovis Man should put the energy they put into their live shows into a CD. I do look forward to seeing this band grow and develop, and on their next recording show the maturity and energy their fans deserve.
Toni Catlin ♪♪♪♪ Uncovered Catlines Music Style: Country/Americana
Reviewed by: Rob Kosmeder w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
Toni Catlin is a superb songwriter who for a while lived in Nashville but has since relocated back to Vermont. I heard about her through our mutual friend Randy Blevins of Blevins Audio in Nashville. Catlin is probably too cool and too real for mainstream Music Row which is a good reason you should check her out. A very entertaining singer/songwriter that is a cross between Deana Carter and Lucinda Williams. This is not to say that she is not original in her styling or voicing, just that she reminds me of them and fans of those two will enjoy this CD. The recordings are flawless. All the songs were written or co-written by Catlin. The CD starts out with a great song called“Not Goin Down”. Kind of folksy yet with an urban flavor. The third song on this CD “Undertow” is the most up tempo song on the CD. It is a straight ahead great Top 40 Country radio friendly song. It would have been nicer to have a few more of these types of songs on the CD because Catlin sings them well. The rest of the CD is made up of ballads and mid-tempo Americana singer songwriter tunes. This is not a bad thing. Catlin has a very pleasant voice and is an incredible songwriter. I just like a few more up tempo tunes.
This CD really reminds me a lot of Deana Carter’s platinum “Did I shave my legs for this” CD, a CD I still listen to on a regular basis. It’s too bad Catlin did not get the breaks she should have had in Nashville, because she has star written all over her. Maybe this review will find its way to a Record Exec on Music Row and she’ll get another listen. If not I’m sure as an Independent she will sell a lot of CD’s. Toni Catlin deserves a listen and this would be a great addition to any CD collection. I wish her all the luck in the world. Talent like this deserves to be heard! You can purchase a CD from Catlin by contacting her at www.tonicatlin.com or at her MySpace page tonicatlinmusic. Review by:Andy Ziehli Nashville’s best... continued from page 7
• Rosa Pepper’s Cantina & Mexican Grille 1907 Eastland Ave (East Nashville) • Alleycat Lounge • 1008 Woodland St #B (East Nashville) • Big River Grille & Brewery Works
111 East Broadway • Rippy’s (Pulled Pork Sandwich) 429 East Broadway • Waffle House • 790 Old Hickory Blvd. (Brentwood) Most likely to see someone famous here of all the Waffle Houses • Bongo Java (Coffee House) 107 South 11th Street (East Nashville) • Portland Brew 1921 Eastland Ave (East Nashville) Clubs • Tootsies, Roberts Western World, The Stage, Legends, and Rippy’s • Red Door Saloon • 1010 Forest Ave (East Nashville) I have not been here yet but have heard great reviews and plan to visit this spring • Family Wash • 2038 Greenwood Ave (East Nashville) I have not been here yet but have heard great reviews and plan to visit this spring • The Basement • 1604 8th Ave South #330 By:Andy Ziehli
Aaron Willieams... continued from page 13
"YES,” only one problem, when I said "YES" a big puff of steam rose from my mouth.The green room must have been around 15 degrees. One of the promoters said, "Sorry, the heater broke in the green room.But don't worry,the main room is heated and working." Whoa,that would have been horrible had the main room been this cold. Nothing will work, most of all my fingers! They had a great spread set up for us, snacks, beer, water (the best part, they didn't need a fridge).We stuck with the beer since it wasn't yet frozen. As we loaded our equipment through the green room we made our way to the stage area, we walked in and started setting up. I could still see my breath. I thought to myself "this isn't going to work." Thoughts started going through my head,should we just pack up and leave, it wasTHAT cold.Since the promoters were friends of mine we decided we'll see what happens. The barn was your typical barn, a nice little setup. It could probably hold around 200 people and be full. We had an opening acoustic act and they were quite good. Great vocals and some cool songs.As we waited for the band to finish up I noticed my toes starting to hurt and my fingers were not moving very well.Not to mention all of us looking like Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer. I was just hoping our equipment would turn on at this point. We got set up around 6pm,which means the sun had gone down by now....not good! Moving parts, guitar amp tubes and most of all fingers don't like to work when it's this cold.After letting our equipment warm up from being turned on we got sound. Yes! We were ready to go. I rubbed my hands together to get as much heat as possible to loosen them up then took the stage with a rousing version of a Freddie King tune...we were cooking and heating it up! After the song was done we looked out into the crowd and got a nice little applause of muffled hand claps. Everyone in this little barn was in full winter garb,ski masks,gloves,scarves,big fluffy jackets, mittens ...anything to keep warm. As the night came and went people would stick around for 10 minutes and then take off, it was just too cold. Little kids would try and get parents to dance w w w. a m e r i c a n a g a z e t t e . n e t
but everyone was huddled around the free hot cider and the heater.Granted the heater in the barn was blaring full blast but when a car would drive by the barn outside, it looked as though a strobe light was going off, that is how big the gaps in the wall boards were.We were doomed.We just needed to make it through the night and we eventually did. At about 10pm and after a few long warming breaks we were done.We had made it! It was surreal to look over and see us playing in winter jackets and Shack (my drummer) wearing gloves.WOW, what a night.Needless to say in our contract where it says "performance space must be heated" we'll be sure to highlight that section next time! This is where the story takes a turn the more I thought about it.There were a few moments before, after and during the show that will always be remembered. Moments the audience would never hear about or even care to ask, but it's what makes playing good music with friends so fulfilling.For instance, right before we went on stage the three of us were all huddled around a little space heater in the green room with our full winter attire on eating peanut butter brittle and drinking whiskey to warm up. Nothing was being said and all we could hear was the blowing of the heater and the cold wind outside. I looked up and took a peek at ZT and Shack;we all made eye contact for an instant and all just started laughing hysterically. In the end that's what it's all about...making music and living stories. It's the backstage connection of the band that makes it grow into something bigger and better,beyond the eyes of the audience, beyond the eyes of the stage lights. A connection on stage can't be faked; it's back stage where bands are born and in some cases….a bands dies. Ahh, the life of a working musician! Until next time, be safe AND warm. Written by: Aaron Williams
Looking for Songwriters in Southern Wisconsin! Sugar River Productions and the Americana Gazette are looking for Songwriters for two CD compilation projects to release this year. If you write in the Americana, Bluegrass, Folk, Indie Rock, Country, or Rock a billy styles please send a CD with no more than 3 songs and lyric sheets to be considered for these projects. The songs do not have to be professionally recorded. Simple demos are fine. All songs will be re-recorded in Sugar River Studios by the writers/artists. Our staff will choose the best 30 songs to be included on the CD’s which will be sold to raise money for local charities in Southern Wisconsin. The dead line for submission is May 1, 2009. No CD’s will be returned. All songs selected in the final 30 will be copy written by the authors before they will be re-recorded. Our staff will help you with that if you need it. Pass the word onto your songwriting friends! Send lyric sheets and CD’s to Americana Gazette Songwriters CD PO Box 208 Belleville,WI 53508
FOR SOME GREAT BEVERAGES, FOOD AND A PEACEFUL ATMOSPHERE, STOP IN AT THE FAT CAT COFFEE WORKS IN NEW GLARUS.
Fat Cat Coffee Works LLC (608) 527-3346 606 Railroad St, • New Glarus,WI 53574
TODD SNIDER IN CONCERT SAT., APRIL 11TH, 2009 BARRYMORE THEATRE MADISON, WI.
Americana Gazette is a print and on-line publication that features Ameicana music and arts stories. We cover blues, blue grass, country, alt...
Published on Feb 5, 2009
Americana Gazette is a print and on-line publication that features Ameicana music and arts stories. We cover blues, blue grass, country, alt...