Nashville carries the label of Music City as it offers opportunity to see live music any day of the week and pretty much any time of the day or night. Some of the shows are held in arenas, some in clubs/honkytonks and other shows even happen on horse farms under a full moon. If one is fortunate, they might just stumble across a secret show where they get to experience an unexpected intimate performance by one of their favorite artists.
One of the most intriguing concepts for secret shows in Nashville was created by a young fellow named Larry Kloess. Larry founded Cause A Scene a few years back with a house show in his parents’ living room. His entrepreneurial drive grew Cause A Scene into a unique “secret show” concept that has been instrumental in launching careers of several artists. Nashville based Judah & The Lion performed their first show at one of Larry’s Cause A Scene events. Once a person signs up for Cause A Scene’s mailing list, they receive email notices for secret shows with a link to grab tickets. The Cause A Scene shows offer limited tickets and normally sell out quickly so being quick on the draw is a good idea.
This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a super special Cause A Scene event. Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors performed an acoustic set at Nous Art House in East Nashville for a limited group of 80 people. Drew and the band picked a handful of tunes to share including a few songs from their new album, Souvenir. The pop-up show could have easily been confused with an evening at The Bluebird Cafe as the audience was so attentive to every note. Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors were celebrating the release of their new album which released on Friday.
I’d say that mission was accomplished and history was made as Larry Kloess once again Caused A Scene in Nashville and this time it was for Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors!
The 2017 Grammy Awards ushered in the future last night. Another year of music, another year of trend setters and another year of an evolving industry.
There were a few performance highlights for me this year. The Weekend showed the world that he can seriously sing! While I miss his sculpted hair, I’m glad it proved not to be his source of stardom. Ed Sheeran showed us how to perform solo but sound like a band without it feeling like karaoke. Side musicians could be in trouble? I was super impressed with Lukas Graham and Kelsea Ballerini. Lukas immediately earned space on my Spotify playlist. Guy Clark Jr and William Bell owned the night with their performance of “Born Under A Bad Sign!” It was great seeing Morris Day and The Time as they reminded everyone where Bruno Mars draws much of his musical inspiration. And speaking of Bruno Mars, he absolutely slayed the Prince tribute performance of “Purple Rain.” The Lady Gaga Metallica pairing was brilliant and added serious rockdom to the evening. But the most memorable 2017 Grammy performance moment will be when Adele stopped mid-performance, let a few explicit words fly, and re-started her George Michael tribute in the correct key. While I’m glad she found the right key, it felt somewhat like the redo I grabbed during my first piano recital at six years old. Sans the explicit lyrics of course.
The one big take away for me from this year’s Grammy Awards is that independent artists can find their way to the top of the music industry food chain. Chance The Rapper walked away with three Grammys without the backing of a record label. To top it off, his winning album Coloring Book is a streaming-only release. And that my friends signals a seismic shift in the music industry. That future we have been hearing about for the last few years just arrived.
Mariah Carey gave all aspiring music artists an invaluable lesson during the Dick Clark 2017 New Year’s Eve celebration with Ryan Seacrest. Performing in front of an estimated one million person audience proved to be the perfect classroom.
It’s no secret that most pop artists now incorporate some kind of backing tracks in their show. The level of track dependance varies from artist to artist but most use them at the very least as a click track and voice-over guide to cue band members on stage. Track technology has proven to be a great tool for live performance but many have become too dependent on the tracks. What happens when the tracks or in-ear monitors fail to work? Apparently, Mariah Carey didn’t have a good solution for her dilemma on New Year’s Eve.
I remember a moment when an artist we worked with was given a huge opportunity with a prime time slot at a prominent music festival. Unfortunately, his track interface failed just as he was to begin his set. The artist used 35 min of his 40 min set trying to fix the interface. I surveyed the stage and saw a band of A level musicians who could have played anything on the fly and made it sound amazing without tracks. The artist could have turned disaster into a huge win with a Plan B.
If you strive to be a professional artist and you use tracks, you are crazy to perform without a Plan B. I will guarantee you will encounter a show where the tracks won’t work or your in-ears will fail. A true professional should always have a Plan B.
- require a couple wedge monitors in your rider as a back up
- pre-pare an unplugged type set and be ready to transition at any moment.
- when issues arise, act quickly and explain to the audience that you are experiencing technical issues but will do something special for them instead of the normal show
If the artist has an ounce of talent, they should be able to pull off an unplugged set on the fly. Imagine what could have happened if Mariah Carey would have quickly transitioned to an unplugged or even an A cappella set?
Live In The Vineyard 2016 is in the history books. This past weekend marked the 18th Live In The Vineyard event produced by its founders and music industry veterans Claire Parr and Bobbii Hach-Jacobs. As always, the Napa, CA event delivered some pretty incredible music moments paired with amazing wine and food.
The opening reception kicked the week off with a memorable single song performance by The Head and The Heart. The lead singer made an abrupt exit from stage in protest that the crowd wasn’t being attentive. Apparently, the crowd was paying attention as their one song performance and abrupt exit created quite the initial buzz for the weekend. Attendees’ went on to show huge appreciation for the other artists who delivered an abundance of love for the audience and event.
The magic of Live In The Vineyard are the special moments created by intimate acoustic performances from the artists at the various wineries and evening concerts. Highlights included an acoustic performance by Colbie Caillat and Justin Young at St Helen’s Brasswood where they shared stories and songs in a intimate living room style atmosphere. I then had an opportunity to see Universal Republic’s new artist, Stanaj, perform a a few tunes including a jaw dropping performance of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” where he ended the song stepping away from the piano for a surprising a cappella ending. The evening concert at the Uptown Theater showcased newcomer Taylor Dukes, stellar vocalist Callum Scott, JohnnySwim, Wrabel, Phillip Phillips and O.A.R. I must say I was quite impressed with Callum Scott’s vocal performance! Phillip Phillips performed his hits and new single as an acoustic trio which included the most rock and roll cello player I have ever seen.
On Saturday, I was wow’d watching Spencer Ludwig work a small group of 50 people into a dance frenzy at Eleven Eleven winery. Ryan Corn closed out the Live In The Vineyard event with his full band set rocking the attendees into the wee hours of the morning.
I’ve had the privilege of attending three Live In The Vineyard events and this year proved to be one of the best loaded with memorable moments!
A night at The Local Show turned out to be a real treat this month as show host, Andrew Peterson, welcomed guests Drew Holcomb, The Gray Havens and Christopher Williams to the stage at The Well Coffeehouse in Brentwood, TN. Ellie Holcomb was originally scheduled to join the line-up but opted to send her husband Drew Holcomb after loosing her voice earlier in day recording vocals for her new album.
This was my first time to experience The Local Show which was birthed by Andrew Peterson in 2014. The show features artists in Nashville’s “writer’s in the round” fashion as they share stories and song. Highlights last night include Drew Holcomb’s touching story behind his song “Live Forever” and his song “American Beauty” made famous with the Dick’s Sporting Goods commercial. The Gray Havens shared new songs from their upcoming album showcasing their powerful blend of harmonies and storytelling. Andrew Peterson shared a few of his gems while weaving in personal stories of family and friends. Last night was my first exposure to Christopher Williams and boy does he have a soulful voice. The evening ended with Peterson’s daughter joining the stage to help lead a group hymn sing.
Be sure and connect with The Local Show’s Facebook page HERE for updates on the monthly shows.
Mary Did You Know that Christmas is Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene’s favorite time of the year? December is a BIG royalty check generating month for the two songwriter’s of “Mary, Did You Know” as the song continues to build in worldwide popularity. This year Pentatonix is singing the song to the top of the charts. Over the years, the song has been recorded by Wynonna Judd & Kenny Rogers, Rascal Flats, Cee Lo Green, Scotty McCreery, Mary J Blige, India Arie, Reba McEntire, Clay Aiken, Jeremy Camp, Kutless and The Braxtons just to name a few.
This week I ran across a Youtube performance that puts a totally new spin on “Mary, Did You Know.” Below is a video with Ryan Corn giving the song a hipster busking vibe. Merry Christmas!
Have you ever heard a Christmas song begin with the story of the serpent in the Garden of Eden? Well, You’re about to! While many artists are busy releasing cover Christmas songs, The Gray Havens decided to take a new and fresh approach at writing and recording their new original Christmas song, At Last, The King. The new song, produced by Ryan Corn, is now available on iTunes. This song serves as a preview of what’s to come as The Gray Havens are busy working on their new Spring 2016 release. Below is a video of a live performance from The Gray Havens singing At Last, The King.
If you have ever played a festival or multi-artist event where you weren’t the headliner, then you have most likely experienced plug & play. As an artist manager, I prepare our artists for most scenarios they will encounter ahead of time. Even so, its interesting to see the stressed look on their face when they realize they aren’t getting a soundcheck.
Here is a little advise that should go a long ways in any artist career. When you are booked for a festival or multi-artist event, plan for that very scenario. Most of those scenarios only allow for shorter sets. If you can pull off your set without a stage full of musicians, then do so. Without a sound check, do you really think a five piece band will sound great? If you have some unusual piece of gear you normally play with, can you play without it? Don’t throw anything at the production crew that is out of the norm. If you do take the stage with a full band and something is whacked with the sound, are you prepared to instantly transition to an acoustic set? You should be. Making that quick transition could turn a potentially disastrous show into a great set.
Kevin McNeese and his team at NewReleaseToday.com have once again showed innovative marketing as they continue to build one of Christian music’s leading brands. The NewReleaseToday.com team partnered with the Creation Festivals through hosting a coffee house stage this year at Creation Northwest, Creation Northeast, Sonshine Festival and Ichthus.
While most festivals include side stages, never in the past have I seen a sponsor with such a huge marketing influence connect all the dots in the way NewReleaseToday.com did this summer.
In addition to hosting the stages, they supported the stages weekly on their website and partnered with Noisetrade to offer a sampler with participating artists. The NewReleaseToday.com sampler titled Recreation, debuted at #1 this on Noisetrade this week and featured tracks from Disciple, Ginny Owens, Remedy Drive, Shonlock, Ryan Corn, Jonathan Thulin and others.
Utilizing their 150K subscriber list, NRT has managed to turn the normal low impact festival side stage into a viable marketing vehicle for newer artists. Its encouraging to see Kevin and his team lead the industry through new creative marketing initiatives that give new and independent artists opportunities to be discovered.
Every musician’s dream is to play on the big stage for thousands of people. A few fortunate ones get the opportunity to play the big stage on a regular basis. Some get their shot only to blow it. Seasoned musicians know the importance of being prepared for any circumstance on the big stage. When its show time anything can and probably will go wrong. Those who are prepared will not be shaken. Those who aren’t prepared will be shaken!
Vocal Warm-Up should be done 1 hour prior to show. It puzzles me to see vocalist eschew the warm up. I would compare that to driving an automobile with no oil in it. Cars engines die with no oil. So do voices. If you have confidence that your voice is strong and sounding great, issues with monitor mixes can be easily overcome.
Always have a back-up guitar on hand. When your guitar stops working or you break a string whats your plan? With only seconds to save a show or blow a show, having a back-up enables the quick save.
Bring that extra guitar cable. Ever notice that guitar cables never go bad when they aren’t plugged in? They seem to pick the most inopportune time to cause problems which is usually during a show. Check your cables in advance and always have a back-up for a quick change.
Install Fresh Batteries. Anyone using guitar pick-ups, wireless mics, wireless instrument packs and tuners should install fresh batteries before hitting the stage. Save the old ones for rehearsals. And always have back-ups on hand.
Tracks Plan B – Anyone using tracks should have a Plan B. Either have a backup computer booted up and ready to go or be prepared to make an immediate transition into a show without tracks.
When a 911 presents itself those who are prepared are able to think a clearer and act faster. Those who aren’t prepared experience a meltdown that could potential ruin a show.
Have you experienced 911 on the stage?