It's All About The Music 

Editors Corner


The Historic Chehalis Washington Theater

The Worlds Greatest Band?

by Bruce J Maier

For nearly ten years I have been traveling back and forth to my other home, Las Vegas Nevada where music is King, the King once reigned 
and LIVE music is still alive and well. Just about a week ago I had a little time in the city and made sure to make Monday night priorities very clear to include my twelfth concert with Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns. They have played all over Vegas but their new residency is the Copa Room at the famous Bootlegger Italian Restaurant just on the south side of McCarran International Airport on the Las Vegas strip.

Good friends and my son invited me out years ago to hear this band play and from that moment on I have become a big fan of their work. This is a band that is so good that when members of other famo
us recording acts come to town they can be seen sitting right there in the front row wide-eyed and jaws dropped at the proficiency of each of the fourteen or so players and singers that comprise SF&FCH.

Leader of the band is Jerry Lopez who is one of the most respected singer-songwriter, guitarist and orchestra leaders to have ever lived in Las Vegas. He sings and plays his guitars so skillfully yet never has a hint of ego on or off stage. When I met him in person last October I told him that I was of course a huge fan but I said he appears so humble, always willing to toss the ball for solos to the other members including the six horn players, and that I would love to hear more of his playing and singing.  He smiled as I walked away thinking maybe I shouldn't have said that. He loves his band and loves to be immersed in the universe of the music that they all create together and has respect for the musicianship of his team mates and I, who he didn't know from anywhere started telling him what he should do and for that I would gladly tell him I apologize over a beer or two!

Before I go any furt
her I'd like to point out that this group has a drum and rhythm section who work off each other and create a foundation that must be incredible for the other musicians to stand on. They blow me away every time I hear and watch them with all the interesting poly-rhythms and funky Bass lines played by Rochon Westmoreland , a star in his own right. The vocals are also the best in the business in anyone's book. Both keyboard players, Jerry Lopez and three to four additional male vocalists sing the tightest and most melodic harmonies together , each one shining throughout the show - any one capable to headline on their own!

No great act would ever be recognized without for the efforts of all of the crew members who run lights, sound and set up - tear down the equipment and get the band where they need to be.  I was fortunate last week to have made a friend with one of those important key members  Mr Sonny Maupin who has been their sound engineer for over thirteen years. I noticed he was running a MIDAS board and while looking over his shoulder for a minute he asked if I was a sound engineer.  I said no, and we just started having a great conversation. Sonny has a dedication for his family members in Santa Fe and FCH and is responsible for how they hear themselves and how the audience will or will not fully enjoy the shows. There are never any feedback hums or growls and the audience recognizes his work at the end of each show and gives him and the light technician a round of applause. Leader Jerry Lopez knew e
xactly what he was doing when he hired everyone in this group including Mr Muapin . No band, no artist can make it out there on the stages of the world without great sound and presentation and Sonny helps make this band what it truly is, the best band in the world! 

If you want to know more about Santa Fe and the Fat City Horns please visit their official website :

Please call :  702-736-4939 at the Bootlegger for ticket and reservation information

RESERVATION: (702) 736-493


Rodney Crowell's performance recently at the Capitol Theater in Olympia Washington was stellar in every way. With just two other musicians at his side who played violin, mandolin and guitars and contributed to Crosby Stills and Nash type of tight harmonies the three men wowed and appreciative audience for over ninety minutes. Rodney Crowell is the only Country music artist to ever have 5 # 1 Hit songs off one album! He has won two Grammy's and is an award winning producer and songwriter for many other artists since his early days in Emmy Lou Harris' band years ago. I've been watching his latest video this past week called " It Ain't Over Yet " which was inspired by the loss of his friend and legendary songwriter Guy Clarke who passed just months ago. My heart probably skips a beat every time they get to the chorus. Another grammy-bound record which contains this aforementioned song , the album " Close Ties " will keep Rodney Crowell on the forefront of great American songwriters for years to follow. My first time seeing him in concert I've been a fan for over twenty years because he is so " un-country " although he is well respected in Nashville circles. Crowell is more like a Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor or Dan Fogelberg than a ( sorry ) Blake Shelton or Luke whats-his name. Crowell has been making music for over five decades since his humble days spent growing up in Texas .Don't let him fool you though, the sixty-six year old was sporting a body of lean muscle and strong arms as he presented his music clad in but only a black T, black jeans and sneakers. Crowell never even drank water and he was tireless, dynamic and powerful. Preceding his show was Ericka Corban who competed last season on the voice. The audience loved her songs and revealing honesty . Rodney Crowell is a unique American song stylist with a tremendous voice and I recommend that you take in his next show. We can ride together! bjm


(photo of Rodney Crowell courtesy of Getty Images)



photo credit: Karen Mason-Blair

Review by Bruce J Maier

AYRON JONES; Guitar and Vocals

This is one of the best records I have heard in a very long time as this artist stands out like someone who is here to stay. I haven't been able to stop listening to the songs because every one is well written, produced and performed. Ayron Jones' lyrics will make you think hard about life and then pick you up and make you want to dance. One of the best guitar players to come out of the acclaimed musical Pacific Northwest in years Ayron Jones' multiple talents as a singer and songwriter are a welcomed  emergence ! Read my complete review  below.


photo credit : Karen Mason-Blair

Last month my dear friends at XO Publicity in Oregon sent me a CD in one of their unmistakable foil envelopes which usually contain a new album, some confetti or maybe even a fake spider so I won’t forget the uniqueness of this fabulous company with whom DGT has had the pleasure to do business with for nearly the full ten years we have been at it. I remember telling Kaytea the owner of XO long ago that I just couldn’t possibly review every band that needs publicity but I would feature the ones who she sends me and who really have something different to offer, at least in this writer’s humble opinion. She has never let me down and I am truly sorry for all the great talent and records I listened to that either didn’t make the grade or we just didn’t have the time to talk to or write about them. But relentlessly Kaytea never gave up on me or Damn Good Tunes. She never quit sending me these innovative and eye catching bright reflective envelopes – never worried about cost effectiveness. She does what she is hired to do as a publicity company and she promotes the heck out of the songwriters and bands who she also believes in. Such is the case with this latest music study if you will – the works of Ayron Jones!

When I heard the CD right from the first track I stopped what I was doing and actually sat down and listened to the first three tracks.  I pulled it from the player and set it aside for a day and, knowing I had to make a long drive the next day I did what I love to do - listening to the latest releases XO sends me or at times the CD’s that I have purchased by some of my personal favorites. And by the way my own collection and tastes varies from vintage John Coltrane jazz to Muddy Waters Blues to Adele, Lady Gaga, Imagine Dragons and Coldplay and a lot more. Being a working professional guitarist and producer I listen to Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa   and Eric Clapton a lot.  I only mention this part because production values and guitar work when applicable are critical to my tastes. I have listened thoroughly to every guitar line on every record Kaytea and XO have sent me because I gravitate that direction naturally and to the quality of a vocalist of course. I pay attention to lyrics so in order to grab my focus it’s got to meet all of those criteria. And this record by Ayron Jones does just that!

The CD is titled Audio Paint Job and it comes as a complete and all-in beautiful design and artworks rich tri-fold case that is reminiscent of the old days when we had the first round of vinyl where the elaborate art was there to say that inside these paper walls is housed a record you will be talking about for forty years. And they were usually right. To just spend money on fancy artwork and production to show off would make no sense at all if the music wasn’t all it should be.  This record again meets my own personal standards of excellence in every way. The music content, production values and musicianship are some of the highest I have experienced in a number of years and I would like to mention that producer Barrett Martin did a fantastic job helping his artist accomplish their mutual goals of good record making. All who played on or worked around this record from the engineer Catherine Ferrante and mastering which was done by Chris Hanszek, each contributed his or her part as though their lives depended on it or as if it was their own writing and singing at stake.

Ayron’s vocal style varies so much that I had to re-read the credits to see if there were other members of his band who trade off the lead vocal spot. This happens usually because a great singer like Ayron has been around a while and has listened to the best vocalists in the world of music. I couldn’t help but hear a touch of Michael Jackson’s rock voice on the opening track called “Take Me Away “which I am sure was unintentional but when I say someone sounds a little like the King of Pop I mean it in a very sincere way that this singer, Ayron Jones who is definitely a man of his own carries with him the souls of influence of generations. In fact I hear Ayron sing and cannot figure why the world is not pounding on his door. The guitar playing on this record is superbly ever-changing and fresh, innovative though I don’t usually use that word having grown up and stood ten feet in front of Jimi Hendrix at a concert one rainy wet Seattle day at a stadium.  You see, I don’t judge a guitarist on how many licks and riffs, how many thirty-second notes he can fire off. I gauge him on all the comps, the fills and the creative ideas and sounds which he or she will use in the song. Anyone can buy a rack mount sound module and dial up any sound they desire but the trick is to not make it a trick!  Ayron’s guitar playing is interesting and evolving throughout this recording.

There are a total of fourteen songs on this new CD release but I couldn’t possibly review every one though I’ve heard each at least a dozen times and love every single track!  There is though a favorite  which hit me in the gut like a martial arts front kick called “It’s Over When It’s Over “.  A well written sad love-gone-wrong reflection, I almost tear up when I hear the title line against the minor chord progression. Anyone who has loved and lost at love can relate to this theme and Ayron sings his words with the conviction of a master Grammy award winner who has been on the scene for decades.  The music in this song incorporates strings and a looped refrain that will haunt and please, making the listener want to hear it again and again even if they are not feeling the pain.  The next track “Mr. Jones” is a fun one which starts off with some scratch overlays, semi-rapping the words and then building into his frenzied hyper-destructo crazy on fire lead guitar! Song number thirteen “Love Is the Answer “which has powerful lyrics of a broken world, yet this visionary troubadour sings to us a message of hope and peace through a chorus which falls nicely into your head- becoming memorable which after all is the point of writing great songs. This is a record that anyone would be proud to purchase and own for a very long time. I suggest you buy your own copy and watch for an Ayron Jones show in your area. Get him to sign it because he has a big career ahead of him. Audio Paint Job is truly one of the best records I have heard this year and I expect that radio will be warm to Ayron Jones. In conclusion, I can’t wait to see him play these songs in concert!


Bruce Jonn Maier
DGT Founder



So Many Notes To Play!
by Bruce J Maier

How many notes we play per measure does not determine our proficiency nor our ability to captivate an audience. Being a speed wizard on guitar, sax, piano, violin or drums for example doesn't mean you're a great musician. It can mean that you either are learning how to play in front of others or that you are a total show-off 

I've played with all kinds of musicians who in their own ways were all " great ". There are the Julliard schooled players who are so regimented that they can't communicate with someone like myself who plays by ear, or with Stevie Wonder for that matter who cannot see the sheet music. Then there are players who can totally wing it, like the late Terry Kath of the band, Chicago. Here were all these fantastic horn players and orchestra, big band jazz cats around him who could read a chart from two miles up. Yet Kath couldn't read a note of music and he was equal in every other way as a contributor and writer for the band. Remember "25 or Six to Four " , " Make Me Smile " or " Color My World : ? All lead sung by Terry Kath and co-written by him. Yes he could play blistering fast lead guitar licks all day but he didn't have anything to prove. he just got into the groove, set the pace and let it flow. One of my early heroes whom I got to see Live in concert in Seattle, I would later learn of the total admiration he earned of the rest of Chicago Transit Authority.

So you don't have to play every note you know in the four to eight bars you've been given to solo in. Just play well. It worked for BB King and so many others. Chuck Berry played cool licks and knew his instrument but how he played to the audience, the same way BB and Kath played locked them into the " conscious receptors " of the minds of audiences by the millions More is not always " better ". 

Bruce J Maier


Ben Potter and his Nashville Road Show were a great success last night at the Station Coffee Bar & Bistro. For two hours an appreciative audience was delighted by the sequential performances by Adam Bruno, Renee Wahl and Lewis County’s own Ben Potter. This was an all original music concert featuring great melodies and lyrical content from tracks on each of their albums. Ben Potter’s latest CD, The Wait is just being released today but Ben and wife Barbara Potter handed out download cards for a free song to everyone in attendance.

Each writer gifted us with several great selections and every one was truly from the heart as they poured out their souls and left no questions on the table. Renee Wahl is a very strong presence the likes of Brandy Clark, Kacey Musgraves and Martina McBride who are all lovely women with amazing voices and the knack for writing better songs than typical Nashville staff writers could ever hope to do. Her amazing song called “ Temptation “ was a haunting yet romantic in a dark sort of way ballad that totally engaged me, making me realize that she is a lyrical powerhouse! Setting her own course, polished and ready, I found that Renee Wahl didn’t just “play “the guitar, she lived it. Every beat and rhythm was acted out with her shoulders, hips and legs. She is totally involved with her music and I like that!

Adam Bruno is in a league of his own though at times he reminded me of singer Daughtry; passionate and clean but with an edgy rasp in his voice at times. Each song he played for us was good but there was this one – “ Home Again “ which really pointed out all the things in life which really matter such as family, friends and familiar places. Adam has been having some rising margins of success and I expect that very soon he will be nudging a few of the more established singer-songwriter acts right out of his way in Country Music radio. Humble and polite with a great smile, even his jeans without knees were a perfect fit to his persona. He is who he is and we will be hearing more from him soon.

And finally Ben Potter, my friend and music associate for many years I believed delivered his best performance to date. Ben has been writing songs and performing for over thirty years and he just keeps getting better. Though his “ Peace Of Mind “ with its catching and memorable melody in the chorus line is one of my all time favorites, it was his  “ I Get A Little Bit Of Rhythm From Your Sun “  which really won me over as a listener. Ben has a way of talking about real things, real life and love moments that we sometimes may otherwise take for granted. He brings a special light to every stage and this was a grand example of what a true leader and entertainer Ben Potter has always been. He takes a few seconds to set up, tell you about the song and also gave the audience insights into Nashville – first by asking how many had ever been to Music City with a show of hands. He explained about the two distinctive “sides “of Nashville which are Music Row, which is of course fun and always happening – where the tourists all go, but then the “other “Nashville which is the peripherals of the city where there are hundreds of establishments, Coffee houses and little cafes’ who promote the songwriters and give them a chance to be in front of people so they might better hone their writing and performance skills. Ben Potter’s new album hits the  world August 13th and you may find out more about Ben and where to buy his records at  .

Ben Potter’s Nashville Road Show was as good as it gets, as good as the Nashville Unplugged shows I’ve been frequenting in Vegas in recent years. It put the listener and music fan literally up close and personal and gave some of us a sense of connection to the hearts and minds of real people from Middle America where handshakes, church, love and laughter still have value in this chaotic and me-mine world and where the reflections of simplicity through poetry and the melodies of passion will last beyond the charge of any lithium powered device here, inside our heads.


  Bruce J Maier
  Editor CEO

Elvis - Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Lennon, Aretha, Janis, Michael Jackson, Jimi, Bono, Whitney and Celine-where will the next bright star shine and how many open eyes and ears will be there to recognize the intensity of their light?

Like many of our readers, this editor-CEO writes songs and has a working band. Kim, who is the singer in the group, suggested that I listen to Amy Winehouse’s song “Back To Black “as a possible number to add to our list of great covers. And so last evening I went to YouTube and watched the documentary on her life and her own emotional acoustic version of the song which impressed me a great deal yet it wasn’t like I needed to write another review about a singer or a band to be fulfilled, but that I came away from the screen with a renewed sense of Art and music in our culture and the need to value pure artistic genius.

There are literally millions of musicians and songwriters, painters and dancers and thousands of future artists being born each day. Most humans though will travel onward toward so called regular life, education and raising families. Some will merely get by and some will rise in their chosen fields. Proportionately I believe that fewer music artists will ever rise to the top of the food chain, and this I surmise is due to the physics of how many outlets, or channels on the radio and television actually exist…how many talk shows and specific programs there are to feature the over abundance of creativity flowing upward, all trying to reach the top few spots. And of course, that was the basis of why we started Damn Good Tunes so many years ago, to try to do our part to level the playing field to give at least some the opportunity for exposure.  But there needs to be more creative outlets for our youth and other serious aspiring artists in which the environment would foster excellence and recognize those who are above the cut, providing them the guidance and avenues on which to travel. And that is my vision and thoughts of this day I would like to share.

In the world of sports we have the Olympics. In technology there is MIT. Harvard gives us law, West Point instills military leadership, and science brings us degrees in medicine and engineering. Music and Art though widespread in the world with conservatories and specialized school is suffering from the blind eye, the minds who just as in Mozart’s time refused to recognize his genius until it was far too late, just as society may have pre-assumed and judged artists like Kurt Cobain because they thought they knew and understood him from a video production the saw one time. He had, as Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin did – something special that would set them each apart from the army of millions of regular players and writers who are mostly happy just to be on stage or being featured at a gallery with a little blue ribbon. Not saying anything is wrong with entering a contest or selling a few downloads here and there, but in order to make it all the way to the top there needs to be people in place who are as passionate about the arts and music, but who have the keen eyes and ears to know who has that magic special something that no one else seems to have. Dylan for his lyrics for example and Miles Davis for his diverted sense of melody and cadence. At one time these men were young boys trying to express themselves and find their own way and they found it within themselves to push hard, keep playing and performing wherever they might. But for each of them there were ten thousand who would not be seen and out of those numbers probably at least a few who might have changed the world as we know it.

What I would like to see is that more of us who have been out there in the world creating and sharing our music and Art for decades would start talking about, creating and building centers for the arts where all young people could go to study and play music, dance and further their skills in painting and sculpture. There will always be a need for visual and broadcast arts and sciences and a need for people running cameras and editing film. And since before a Mid Summer Night’s Dream there has been a need for theater and so there must be a place for all the new Spielbergs  and Eastwoods to practice Directing as well. There too I would also envision a curriculum which includes the Business of Music and Art and the necessity of health and abstinence from drugs….maybe even a class on what to do with your money when the big bucks start rolling in!

I had an advantage growing up where my parents were there to open the door  to  the arts to me, and I had a very dear dance and voice teacher, William Smethers, who saw the bright light burning from my heart for music and show business. I would welcome a hundred thousand thinkers and encouragers like Bill to help us build a legion of open eyes and ears, each ready to recognize the next Elvis, Michael or Amy who might be just now walking onto that high school stage to practice during lunch break.

Bruce J Maier


Thank You For The Music

When I first began playing the guitar there would come and go many icons and so-called gods of the instrument but none would have such a profound and enduring impression nor influence on my playing as BB King. It would be until my late fifties when I would actually get to see him play three different times in Las Vegas. I, like millions of others will always remember him for his passion, commitment, soul and incredible guitar playing. That inimitable style which, with but a single note, could touch me deeply on a spiritual level. Travel far, play well my friend.
Bruce J Maier / editor

Guest Review of Stubborn Son and the release of a free download
provided courtesy of XO Publicity

In an era of overhyped, overhyphenated musical miscegenation, Stubborn Son plays it straight, digging into rock n’ roll so earthy it’s almost elemental. Birthright, the young Seattle trio’s debut album, recalls Little Richard’s quote “Rhythm and blues had a baby and somebody named it rock n’ roll.”
Indeed, the Architect of Rock n’ Roll is part of Stubborn Son’s DNA. So are Led Zeppelin and Cream, the Black Keys and the White Stripes. Sensing a theme here?
Coming together in early 2014, singer/guitarist Garrett Lamp, bassist Andrew Knapp and drummer Blair Daly discovered that their mutual musical interests led to the very core of rock. Knapp and Daly had known each other since they were kids in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue; Lamp, a Spokane native, fell in more recently with Knapp via Seattle’s fertile live music scene. Each musician’s slew of influences meshed like greased gears in Stubborn Son. In the winter of 2014, they convened at Jupiter Studios with producer Martin Feveyear (Kings of Leon, Mudhoney, Mark Lanegan), to record Birthright over an intense two-week span. The album’s ten songs rev so high because the fuel they run on is pure. Birthright is a testament to honest and passionate expression—turned up to 11.
Take album opener “The Broken Heart Proof.” As the rhythm section kickstarts a martial backbeat, Lamp lays into his guitar like it’s a rocket heading to heaven and he’s hanging on for dear life. (And not just any guitar—along with “Thick as Blood” and “All Saints,” “Proof” is one of three tracks on Birthright where Lamp trades his Gibson for an acoustic slide resonator and all the righteous, silvery tone it imparts.) He sings about resilience: Just because you loved and lost doesn’t mean you’ll never love again. This, friends, is the Broken Heart Proof.
From affirmation to accusation: Driven by Lamp’s hard-grinding riff and Knapp’s echoing background vocals, second song “Make Believe” points a finger at hypocrites and egotists. Later on, “Vixen” tells an archetypal tale of its titular character, eliciting the kind of full-body lust that’s as dangerous as it is magnetic. With its languid, sultry simmer, album closer “Make Your Heart Stop” warns of a similar sort of tenuous romance before erupting into a raucous finale.

Each of these tunes is explosive but concise, Lamp balancing soulful vocals with aggressive guitar melodies while Knapp and Daly provide a thick-as-thunder rhythmic foundation. At nearly six minutes long, “Voices” is the album’s exceptional centerpiece, an epic of soul-searching and personal reckoning set to a ferocious rock n’ roll backdrop. Here the band blasts deep into instrumental territory, unraveling a slow-building groove that soundtracks a modern-day parable reminiscent of Robert Johnson’s meeting at the crossroads. “It’s time to go hunting for the devil…” Lamp intones, singing not of a biblical bad guy but the cynicism and self-doubt that haunt every one of us.
The guys of Stubborn Son are after meaningful good times—the kind generated from going through a trying experience and coming out the other end better for it. Doing it together—meticulously in the studio or sweat-drenched and howling from the stage of a packed club—forces emotional honesty. Dedicated to delivering truth to their audience, Stubborn Son arrives at the place they were meant to be, Birthright in hand.


What is it about music that compels man / woman to want to play an instrument or lift up their voices and sing? Yet why is it that not everyone is compelled? Why do some humans become good carpenters and others get paid to play a four-hundred year old song on a piano? Is it possible that there is an invisible force that calls us to our station in life?

I imagine back to the dawn of man and my senses are overloaded with bad smells and grunting noises and it makes me wonder if the cave people mimicked birds singing, as a way to formulate melodies or did a change in voice pitch rapidly occur as a wild animal was devouring his leg? Figuring out drum sounds by means of a tree branch being struck onto a fallen log as a method to get varmints and other food sources to come out into the open makes perfect sense to me. In fact I know many working drummers today who essentially are doing the same thing- beating on a drum making noises , getting paid and then in turn running down to Trader Joes for some organic meats and veggies!

All kidding aside I have always been curious how it is that some of us turn out to be astronauts, teachers, carpenters or code writers and relatively few become music artists who actually make a living at their craft. I think percentage wise more musicians simply give up their dreams of making it big one day than technology or science minded individuals. And there are several factors which might lead up to throwing in the towel and putting the amp up for sale.

It’s immensely frustrating trying to get people to be so interested in your music that they are willing to buy it.  But the artist who has another good paying job or is rich to begin with probably doesn’t feel so many of these frustrations because he/she is not hungry. Sometimes people who are not hungry don’t have a dire motivation to succeed to the , what we call “ big time “ level of the industry because they already have most of their hierarchy of needs met or exceeded without fame or income streams from the performances of their music. In either scenario it may or may not work for person A or B, and in some ways one wants what the other has – peace and quiet, anonymity or the opposite – crazy life full of fast people, parties, planes and a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Let’s not push aside the value of having an edge of resources. Many incredible talents came from wealth which never affected them personally. In some cases they would even rebel or cast aside the security of money simply to pursue their art and live the dream, come what may.

And in conclusion a folk, this business is no bed of roses. One may need to see it first hand to realize that legitimately working oneself up the ladder, paying the dues – is not fun a lot of the time. Traveling around in a crappy old van with no heater in the winter time, getting screwed out of pay and being mishandled but the wrong management, in addition to being away from loved ones for extended periods can really suck. Still, we do it and why? Having been a performer since the age of seven I can only relate through my experiences that there is nothing on earth like performing, showing your art and feeling the gratitude or the applause of an audience who likes you for who you are and for how you interpret the dance or the music. It’s how you make them feel, and it comes back to you from them and you feel like you’re really doing something good – something that in a small way contributes to making this life and this planet just a little more tolerable. Of course, this is one writers’ opinion but I think yes – it is something you can’t quite see or define, but it’s something we feel or perceive, and the feeling is worth sharing and talking about .Maybe someone else will become inspired just by telling your story or singing your song. Works for me!  Until next time,

Bruce J Maier

Editor / owner


Spoon-fed, silver-platter baby or did you work for it?
Bruce J Maier

I know that seems to be a bit bold of me since I’m always so passive, never wanting to upset anyone with my own opinions on politics, religion and sexual orientation. And I’ve remained  that way happily for years and this magazine continues to grow just by being good conductors, not leveraging ourselves into the carnage of gladiator journalism. That said, I’ve decided to open up a discussion if you will, on the merits of those who have become so incredibly popular and wealthy in the music industry. Hopefully it will shed some light on where you, the Indie artist must chose your own path and build your future upon.

Picking on the Beatles for example, Sir Paul McCartney might have wound up working at the foundry just like his father did. He even tried it for a while when the future fab returned from Germany and the eight hour sets without a break, disillusioned and saddened by George being forced to leave for being underage in the clubs. But the music the boys were creating was so powerful as was their friendship that they never gave up. Instead they loaded up their crude amps and PA into old trucks and cars, cabs or whatever and went and played every possible gig they could find. Eventually rehearsed and sharpened by the keen fashion eye of Brian Epstein, the group pressed a few demos which would later become the fuel of genius for Sir George Martin. They made history before they ever really saw cash in their hands but they worked hard for every penny (Lane) they ever made! Years later Paul, upon quitting the Beatles set out once again to build a whole new band, Wings, with his wife Linda.  While starting up they bought an old delivery van and once again moved all their own amps and drums while keeping it ever so stealth that it was he, Paul McCartney who the schools, colleges and pubs had booked in. Sure he had the dough and could have hired people to move the gear but the band wanted to actually go out and earn their money and see real Pounds for a change. Could have taken the easy was out but this I believe is some of what makes Sir McCartney the most recorded and distributed songwriter in the history of modern music and publishing. 

Elvis Presley was a poor young man who had to drive a truck every day to help his mom and dad pay the bills and keep food on the table. Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, BB King – the list and the stories go on forever about being humble and one day making it to the top. Modern acts like One Republic’s Ryan Tedder worked as a waiter and at the pottery barn while honing his skills and securing a position with DreamWorks SKG in Nashville. As a producer of demo records he was able to earn a living but knew that all his efforts even since he was seven years old – singing at least two hours every day and practicing the piano would help him to get to that place he now occupies and deserves. Nobody gave him a record or publishing deal, Tedder earned his place and by now you may have surmised where I’m going with this.

Nashville and Los Angeles are magical places and dreams really do come true there. But much of it is fabricated and paid for, bartered and even blackmailed when necessary. It’s the only explanation when some young hunk or gorgeous little gal with mediocre karaoke competition talent suddenly has a top ten single on Billboard. And it’s not genre specific either. All types of music from Hip Hop to Country seem to be coming out of the vending machine and digitally being spun on the Big Heart network. And so we ask, “I thought payola died in the nineteen fifties “!  No it hasn’t and it’s not exclusive to the music industry either. It’s rampant in the sports world and movie production. Ask any of the independent producers and directors at Sundance Film Festival how hard they have worked, how many barriers were placed in the way to keep their films from being seen and noticed. And were it not for these types of outlets for film makers, and the Independent music festivals all over the world there would be less hope for a writer, artist or band than there is today. 

Now rather than me starting to sound like a Rant against the recent iHeart music awards and it’s plethora of no-talent cupie-doll cutout kids….( I know, I said I wouldn’t go there ) that was so much like all the other ho-hum awards shows, I think you’re all adults here reading this and you know in your heart of hearts what is good, what is real and what is fabrication.  So lest we be judges and stone throwers, let us be creators and developers who can right what is wrong and correct the imbalance so that every little boy or girl throughout the world will have an equal opportunity. One that says no matter your language, religion, color or belief – no matter if you are a serious poet-rapper with a message to tell, or a Strat-slinging hard rocker or a real life country artist from the farm or the projects, your voice will be heard and your story listened to.

In conclusion I have to also admit that it’s not the fault of the rich privileged kids who do have plenty of talent but have had favors granted because of daddy’s connections. They deserve a chance just like the rest of us, but let’s not be making up tales about our rough childhood and how much mommy didn’t love me and that’s why I had the Blues every day laying around the pool eating hors d’ oeuvres  with our morning champagne. Work for it, stay humble and inspire others! 

Bruce J Maier



About my friend, Clyde....

I really don't want everyone to think that I only write about people who have passed away because I love to write about life, all life.Life will sometimes also include death, because death escapes no one. Some of the folks we have written about in here have had a profound influence on shaping my destiny, who I am and why I ever got involved in trying to help their artists to succeed or even to develop a stronger web presence and publicity. This time I want to share with you the story of just an ordinary guy who lived a normal life, married and had a child, developed a business as an independent trucker and paid his taxes on time. But long before he was all that, this man was a " smokin "  hot guitar player! His name was Clyde, and he was my friend.



Gary Edmonds

Photo by Carroll Hill

What is it about music that compels man / woman to want to play an instrument or lift up their voices and sing? Yet why is it that not everyone is compelled? Why do some humans become good carpenters and others get paid to play a four-hundred year old song on a piano? Is it possible that there is an invisible force that calls us to our station in life? bjm/ dgt

Editor's Archive


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