Archives for category: Music Row

Adley shares her experience about best friend Miss Oklahoma Olivia Jordan and the Miss USA Pageant on the eve of the release of her collaborative writing effort How They Sell Music on a full blown steam locomotive of a year!

Adley Stump  performing

Adley Stump performing “Little Black Dress” at Miss USA Pageant 2015, photo courtesy No Problem! Marketing

Adley Stump has followed her second season on The Voice with hard won efforts that have collided into a Super Nova this year. As a spokesperson for Little Black Dress Wines with the song “Little Black Dress” and a new video for “Stay At Home Soldier” set the stage for an appearance as the featured performer at the Miss USA Pageant this year after other performers pulled out because of comments by Donald Trump, her story of friendship with Miss Oklahoma who won the competition a few short weeks ago took center stage.

It could be called providence, but a book about the current state of affairs in the music business, How They Sell Music will continue to put her name and face out to an ever bigger umbrella of fans and musicians as she develops her own path to success in Nashville.

Adley has settled into her Nashville roots as the music business has been turned upside down. Country Music still has a traditional path to success but many avenues have opened up for Indie Country artists to strike out on their own albeit with lots of roadwork and looking at every opportunity there is including pairing with manufacturer promotions and being a dealmaker.

Adley shared some of her current insight with The Nashville Bridge.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: I know you were a feature performer at this years’ Miss USA Pageant. Donald Trump’s recent statements created some big issues that put the pageant in the news. It seemed to turn out to be a great experience. Do you want to talk about your performance?

Adley Stump: Absolutely. Man that was one of the most special nights of my life and all. Miss Oklahoma Olivia Jordan had been my best friend since the seventh grade. She moved to L.A. to pursue her dreams the same week I moved to Nashville.

TNB: I bet it was strange to see artists pulling out of the Miss USA Pageant just a few days before it were to air.

Adley Stump Live at the Miss USA Pageant 2015, photo courtesy No Problem! Marketing

Adley Stump Live at the Miss USA Pageant 2015, photo courtesy No Problem! Marketing

Adley: I got the call after the other entertainment backed out. It was about six days before the pageant. I was the only feature performer of the night. It was really amazing. The best part was being able to share that with her. Knowing that Olivia went on to win, the Producers and all knew how close we were and everybody was routing for her. She has genuinely been my personal role model and best friend. She is one of the best people you could ever meet. No doubt in my mind. America is just going to completely fall in love with her. She’s incredibly smart and incredibly genuine. I’ve never been more proud of anybody in my life. I am still on cloud nine from that weekend. I have been watching how fast her life has changed. They whisked her away. She has a new phone number. She has body guards now. They moved her to New York that night to stay in one of Trump’s buildings up in the Penthouse. It is just amazing what this year is going to look like.

TNB: What song did you do at the Miss USA Pageant?

Adley: I was supposed to do two. One of them did not get cleared until three days before the pageant. The song I ended up doing was incredible, it was an original song which felt pretty cool it’s called “Little Black Dress.” It fit perfect for their evening wear walk. The other song was off this last album as well so that felt pretty cool to sing an original. That was really special.

TNB: You have had a pretty busy year in combination with the new song “Stay At Home Soldier” and also the book How They Sell Music; Lesson From Celebrities On Creating Your Own Success [with co-author Bubba Sparxx]. How did the book thing come about?

Adley: I started it. Being in Nashville, I’m sitting here every day thinking people should be a fly on the wall in some of these conversations that are happening all up and down in coffee shops and book stores. I have been blessed to have an amazing group of relationships with artists all over the world that don’t get to be here. They would kill to sit with some of these people and just hang and say, “Can I pick your brain for just a minute? Can I get some advice?”

TNB: What do you think people want to know about the Nashville music business?

Adley: They want to hear from people who have done it and who are doing it, something different than what they are able to find online on blogs. I didn’t want to talk with management. I wanted to talk to people who have done it on their own. Questions like how do I get somebody a demo? When do I not? That’s the kind of real stuff that they want to know that can help them. So, I take twelve artists. Some are You Tube stars; some are touring and became platinum selling artist on their own.

TNB: I imagine you get twelve different stories.

Adley: Everybody kind of has a different story from a different genre but it kind of becomes a real good rounded look at the industry. There is a lot of really tangible take aways that you can apply to your own career. The best tips and tricks of those who did it.

TNB: Is it more than how and when to get demos to people?

Adley: You get their advice for approaching satellite radio or they talk about how they got five million You Tube subscribers here. I write my strategy for attaching You Tube for collaboration with peers or how I di X, Y and Z. It is really great for them. So, that has been a passion project of mine putting it together over the last year and a half. I really haven’t pushed it that much because our big launch is with Amazon this month as a partner and that is going to very, very exciting.

TNB: Do you have a book signing coming up?

Adley: This is the only day that I am in town along with one other day this month. We are going to celebrate it at a couple of upcoming shows. But, as far as something in town, I’m kind of waiting to see what the result is going to be because of amazon’s participation on its release. I’m not just throwin’ it out there.

TNB: Do you feel that the Country Music is changing enough that you have to be your own brand and be a self- starter?

Adley Stump promo 02, photo courtesy No Problem! Marketiing

Adley Stump promo 02, photo courtesy No Problem! Marketiing

Adley: One hundred and ten percent. That’s really what I’ve been since day one. My office is right there on 16th and Edgehill and every day I’m watching people just sit back and wait for somebody to realize that they are talented and everybody is talented. No one else is going to help you. If you think about it; if you were in any other industry like a toy company you would never sit back. People would call you crazy. You wouldn’t say, “I have an amazing toy and I am going to wait for someone to realize how awesome my toy is.   Come develop my toy for me and put money into my toy and distribute my toy and market my toy because it’s so awesome.” You’d be like, you’re crazy! You have to do that for yourself. You have to show, in my opinion, for this to work and have longevity and have a career that you really have some control in it and have the leverage to be able to get a deal.

TNB: I am sure not everybody has the skill to market themselves.

Adley: Lots of people, they find after two years that now they’re dropped [by their label or publisher]. I think you have artists knowing to do the work on their own now and it’s to exceed what artists define as success, to be one of those artists willing to take on the work. The more that I have done that and not waited for someone else to tell me what I can do, than I can be successful in the manner in which I am going to do so.   It’s really empowering. You know you really can create a true entrepreneurial adventure to the inth degree of what you are in business for. You have to treat it like that. A complete full body, full mind and full spiritual focus to get to where you wanna go.

TNB: You are kind of self-contained in the sense that you are a songwriter, as well right?

Adley: Yes, yes.

TNB: Do you think that nowadays it is going to be harder to just be a vocalist as opposed to being a singer/songwriter?

Adley: I think they need to go hand in hand. Yeah, whether, you are independent and you are looking for a major label deal they are going to have you start writing anyway because of your publishing [royalties] if you are going to make their long term return. So, I think yeah it is creating more a part of the puzzle. I get fired up when I talk about this. I would never say, Brad, you got to go see this girl she is like a little bit of good but at everything. This girl sings her ass off or she plays guitar like crazy or she’s hilarious, whatever it is. I think it is a matter of knowing your strengths just like you would have to in any other industry.

TNB: Knowing your own strength and abilities is absolutely key to the situation.

Adley: You go with your group. You know where your strengths are and you go in there instead of trying to equalize and bring up your weaknesses. It’s the difference between knowing their strengths better than everybody else in their corner and not spending ten hours a week on production, ten hours a week on getting better at guitar, ten hours a week on vocal lessons, you know, I think you really have to be very self-aware and know your DNA and figure out how you can position yourself in the market.

TNB: What do you think your strength is?

Adley: I bet my strength is the business aspect of it, creating a product. I do want to write but you know it’s not just sitting there and writing every day and creating every day. If I want to actually be heard I have to take it upon myself to make it and be heard. A strength of mine has been partnering and having massive visibility and offering value propositions to them as to why it would be a no-brainer to partner with me. Right after I got off The Voice, I partnered with Little Black Dress and now I am working with Remington Arms and Logan’s Roadhouse.

TNB: It’s important to look at different opportunities outside just trying to retail.

Adley: Well, take for example my friends that` are on Sony. They are not getting shelf space at Walmart and Kroger and all of that but we are taking 90,000 bottles [Little Black Dress Wines] in just one region putting bottleneckers on them and giving away the “Little Black Dress” song for free and it’s clickable to go right to the website to see the rest of the album. I do an email chain to where I can watch that conversion rate. Now we are in Kroger and we are touring Kroger’s now. We tell them I will come in and do a performance or a radio remote or we will do a bottle meet and greet. Kroger buys a hundred cases of wine to facilitate that. They sell more wine and I get my music in Kroger and visibility in Kroger that matches the supply chain and get to stay on the road. I can sell more of my music independently. I get the numbers up in the media. It really is just a lot of strategic alliances. I do think for the independent artist the trend is going to swing that way as far as keeping the lights on in the short term.

TNB: Do you think that by showing people the business model in your book that it shortens the development time?

Adley: I don’t think that everybody can replicate the same business model. It goes back to knowing your strengths. I don’t want to fit in a van every day and go out and tour every day to build up in indie clubs. The power of TV is for me.

TNB: It seems like TV or radio still has to play a part to get widely known.

Adley Stump promo 01, photo courtesy No Problem! Marketing

Adley Stump promo 01, photo courtesy No Problem! Marketing

Adley: Yes, you’ve got to have TV or radio. It’s still the 800 pound gorilla for becoming a household name. Radio for independents is pretty much a crapshoot. You know, unless you, somehow, win the lottery. I’ve been an independent artist for quite a while. It’s really a marriage of getting together the right team, the right song, the right look and timing. The perfect storm. I think with the average artist you wouldn’t say”Hey, here is a half a million dollars! Go drop this into radio.” I’ve known independent artists to spend a million dollars on radio and they have a ton of tracks and they have TV and it didn’t work. I think if you have a half a million to spend, I think you can get a lot more return and visibility outside of radio because you are going to have to keep putting money into radio once you are there and that’s your mode of operation. So, for the average artist, I wouldn’t recommend it.

TNB: Wow, it seems like do I spend money on radio or not is a huge question for an independent artist.

Adley: I think it’s all different. There is no formula. There is no guarantee. Traditionally, the road is how you are going to build a music career. It’s gonna take several years. You have to want it as bad as you can breathe to be able to stay in there. It’s not chasing a dangling carrot that’s been out there in the distance because I believe God changes the method in which you get to that goal. I think you have to be really structured and struggling when it comes to your goals and what you want. You have to be really flexible in the methods to get there.

TNB: It’s strange how an Artist can be struggling and all of sudden things click.

Adley: The doors can swing wide open sometimes and when they swing wide open, you never saw it coming but, you’re hopeful.   Along the way, it could be something totally unexpected that’s going to be the biggest blessing at that time in your career.

TNB: We didn’t get much of a chance to talk about your last single “Stay At Home Soldier.”

Adley: On “Stay At Home Soldier” we have used brands to capitalize on the launch with a decent amount of success. It’s a single that has been very exciting for me because it is different than the typical commercial single release; it’s going to take you back to the genesis as to why I’m an artist in the first place. It’s to write music that meets somebody where they are. We’ve put ourselves as songwriters in situations that we are not always in and this is definitely one of those. This has been a really special release for us.

  • courtesy No Problem! Marketing

    courtesy No Problem! Marketing

    Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

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LOCASH Signs to Label; Key Team Members Announced

Pictured: (L-R back row) Sony Red's Dewayne Brown, Webster PR's Kirt Webster, Paradigm's Brian Hill, Butch Waugh, Star Farm's Matt Corbin, Conway Ent. Group's Tony Conway, Paradigm's Bob Kinkead and Star Farm's Michael Powers.  (L-R front row): Chris Lucas, Reviver President/CEO David Ross, Preston Brust

Pictured: (L-R back row) Sony Red’s Dewayne Brown, Webster PR’s Kirt Webster, Paradigm’s Brian Hill, Butch Waugh, Star Farm’s Matt Corbin, Conway Ent. Group’s Tony Conway, Paradigm’s Bob Kinkead and Star Farm’s Michael Powers.
(L-R front row): Chris Lucas, Reviver President/CEO David Ross, Preston Brust

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (December 1, 2014) – What do you get when you take one of Nashville’s biggest all-star lineups of music professionals and partner them up with one of the hardest working acts in the business? You call that Reviver Records, which opens up its’ Nashville operation today.

Longtime music industry executive David Ross will lead the team at Reviver as President/CEO. With a career history that began at Alpha Distributors and has flourished over the years with stops at S* Management, College Music Journal, and Vertis, Ross has helped add pages to the legendary careers of such acts as Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Alabama and The Judds.

Ross leads a team that includes some of the most successful members of the Nashville music community. Butch Waugh – who built his name during a decades-long run at Sony, will serve as strategic advisor to Reviver. Waugh has been a key player in the career story of such country acts as Carrie Underwood, Alabama, Kenny Chesney, and Martina McBride as well as Bruce Hornsby and The Dave Matthews Band. Longtime promotion veterans Michael Powers and Matt Corbin (from Star Farm Nashville) will lead Reviver’s charge at radio, while Kirt Webster (from Webster Public Relations) currently handles publicity for LOCASH.

Industry favorites LOCASH (formerly known as The LoCash Cowboys), who have already gained airplay with singles such as “Here Comes Summer,” “Keep In Mind,” “C.O.U.N.T.R.Y.,” and “Best Seat In The House,” are among the initial artists signed to the Reviver roster. Their most recent album, a self-titled effort, made it to the top half of the genre-encompassing Billboard 200 album chart. Chris Lucas and Preston Brust, who comprise the duo, have also written chart hits for Tim McGraw (“Truck Yeah”) and Keith Urban (“You Gonna Fly”). Working with LOCASH will be Nashville power manager Tony Conway and Paradigm Talent Agency’s Bob Kinkead will handle booking for the duo. Distribution for the label will be handled through Dewayne Brown at Sony RED.

Ross says that he is passionate about the music that LOCASH will soon be releasing through the Reviver label, as well as the team he has assembled. “I feel that we have put together a group of people that have the experience and the success stories to lead this team all the way into the stratosphere,” he said. “And, I think that the industry is going to be blown away by what Chris and Preston have coming down the line. We’re ready to take this town by storm.”

Reviver Records, LLC is based in New Jersey and is comprised of the record label, Reviver Music, and a Production and Management Company.

Resource Reviver Records: http://www.revivermusic.com

Resource LOCASH: http://www.locashmusic.com

Tristen performing at The Groove, Record Store Day 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Tristen performing at The Groove, Record Store Day 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

2013 proved to be a year where Nashville didn’t make as  big an impact nationally as it should have with no major album from either Country or Nashville sub-genres making any real impact on any national or international best-of lists from Rolling Stone Magazine [other than Keith Urban noted] to Mojo or anything else in-between.

It’s not that there were not any releases with big expectations from our region, but apparently they didn’t catch on nationally or internationally for that matter. Missing in action on the best of lists were Kings Of Leon, Paramore, Jack White, The Black Keys, Taylor Swift and pretty much every record that Nashville Scene listed as the best this year including releases by Tristen and Diarrhea Planet.

Zac Brown continues to chart his own path in the Country music scene with his Southern Ground Festival, Southern Ground group of artists that is now headquartered in Nashville  and charting records that have more to tell; just recently putting out the Dave Grohl Sessions Vol. 1, the problem is, can one list a four song EP as an album? As an artist, I definitely can give Zac kudos for songwriting, performance and outright tenaciousness.

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

It’s not to say that these were not good records, but it shows the deepening divide between well crafted music and the ability to get it out there in some way where it becomes part of the collective consciousness and not just affect the local pub crawl or mini festival.

Most stateside best-of lists had Vampire Weekend at or near the top of their lists whereas in the rest of the world they might have made the Top ten in one major publication and barely scratch the Top 40 in other important music rags and blogs outside the United States.

Luther Dickinson, North Mississippi Allstars, Cannery Ballroom 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Luther Dickinson, North Mississippi Allstars, Cannery Ballroom 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Rolling Stone probably had one of the most bi-polar lists that included everything from real music artists to “entertainers” such as Miley Cyrus – Bangerz in their Top 40 list whereas Miley Cyrus isn’t on any major serious list outside the United States. Henry Rollins had a polite way of putting it this way: there is a lot of stuff that Rolling Stone writes about that isn’t on his radar.  Rolling Stone has gotten so far away from its original intent that the 360 label controlled deal signed Entertainers make the front cover regularly as well as politicians and a great amount of type space is spent driving home the Editors personal political point of view. I can’t fault them completely; there is the occasional Ginger Baker or Merle Haggard interview perfection. They even have a great local Nashville writer, Adam Gold, who doesn’t really get to write that much about the real Nashville. In a town where a 1600 word piece could be written every week about records being made and shows being played by regional Artists, nine out of ten articles are reviews of the previous Nashville TV Show plot.  Why don’t they give Adam free reign and really show what this town has to offer?

Tim Easton & JD Simo at Grimey's 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Tim Easton & JD Simo at Grimey’s 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

As far as America’s perception of Nashville, I can’t fault the Nashville TV Show. There are some great aspects that I enjoy such as the cityscape backdrops and watching the “Live” performances to see who is playing in the band as well as T Bone Burnetts choices for locally written music. I always like to see folks like Colin Linden or Jim Lauderdale on the small screen!  I am still waiting to see JD Simo, Kenny Vaughan or maybe Dave Roe. Of course, if they put Joe Fick on there, he would probably steal the thunder away from the movie star. Honestly, Hayden Panetierre does really well playing a damaged girl that is trying to do her best to be good / bad at the same time. She has a heart of gold and a heart of stone that makes yin and yang seem as normal as Corned Beef Hash and Shrimp and Grits on the same plate. It just seems that when she tries to do something good she ends up screwing it up. I’m not sure if she is suppose to be bi-polar or her Mother smoked crack while she was in the womb but she sure does need the reassurance of her fans.

Mojo is probably the best music major publication in the world and they managed to have a list that was almost devoid of pop schlock and had an Artist, Bill Callahan – Dream River at number one that didn’t even make a stateside list.

In Mojo, Memphis inspired Mavis Staples – One True Vine sat at number 21 whereas it was not featured on any lists in any major American publications. What used to be true is still true, foreign music fans seem to appreciate real American Artists more than we do ourselves. Guy Clark’s My Favorite Picture Of You  as well as Jason Isbell’ Southeastern cracked some great lists without making a whisper on any stateside lists outside of Americana specific publications.

lorde pure heroineOkay, the Artist that probably really got the short end of the stick in all the lists was Lorde. Lorde’s Pure Heroine probably had more impact than any other record this year whether I like it or anybody else does. Lorde has already been ripped off by K-Tel style sound-a-like commercials for Boss and Victoria’s Secret.  They ripped her off as blatantly as if somebody had tried to write a commercial that sounded like “Honky Tonk Women” or “Brown Sugar” back in the day and just call it advertising Muzak. Lorde definitely brings more to the table than Lady Gaga’s “Fashion” going after David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” instead of previous attempts at Madonna’s eighties catalog.

Okay, as far as local goes. I think Nashville Scene got it right for the most part, but, what about Ricky Skaggs or Modoc’s new albums?  There is a much larger alternative scene in Nashville than even where Nashville Scene went with its own list.

DeRobert & the Half Truths at The High Watt 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

DeRobert & the Half Truths at The High Watt 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Although regional albums didn’t seem to impact national lists this year, there are prospects coming up in 2014. For one, Nikki Lane has those Dan Auerbach produced tracks still waiting for a drop date. GED Soul is putting out their first full length vinyl, De Robert & The Half Truths – I’m Tryin’ on January 14th. Jack White is putting out new music by The Dead Weather.  One could hope for a new Kenny Vaughan album or even a revolutionary new Country album like Miranda Lambert’s Revolution  or how about a historical Live recording like Jerry Lee Lewis Live at Third Man from a couple of years ago.

Probably my biggest anticipated Nashville area release will be the new Mike Farris album which has been a couple of years in the making and should get a release date some time in 2014.

With the prospect that album buying is an ever shrinking source of revenue and has started to become a vanity project for almost everybody but a major label 360 signed Artist / Entertainer /  Dancer / Avatar, will the “best of” album lists start to disappear and be replaced by the “best live” performances since that is where the hopes for revenue are? I can’t answer that one. I still buy CD’s and vinyl and I don’t buy shrill sounding MP3’s. That is my line in the sand. I like liner notes, credits and photos so downloads don’t do much for me.

Doyle Lawson at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Doyle Lawson at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

It seems that music in people’s lives is as important as ever, yet twenty million views on You Tube might only translate into 80,000 units sold.  In this kind of environment, an Artist might be safer to build a following in a sub-genre such as Americana, Blues or Bluegrass and tour on that specific festival circuit rather than to try to get a grass roots following on some new angle of Indie music and try to build up from the clubs. The prospect of never getting bigger than the clubs and eternally couch surfing are enormous in the current all-music –should- be- free- to- listen- to conundrum.

I have to admit that bands are becoming creative.  The Cult talks about sending out “capsules” of music in the future such as three new songs every quarter. Jack White has printed different band names on the CD’s he has taken on tour to sell to make collectibles out of “tour bought” merchandise. Infinity Cat has put out different covers or changed up colored vinyl to keep its catalog collectible among label followers. Creative marketing is as important as creative songwriting nowadays. A limited quantity of whatever seems to be a “buy” even though it may only bring in a limited amount of money.

Will there ever be a big budget grandiose masterpiece like Rumours or Dark Side of The Moon in the future? Maybe not but, if so, it would probably come out of a big budget Kickstarter campaign for a complete vanity piece that may only sell 20,000 units due to current radio formats and the free listening or subscription services now available. If there are less units of such a great masterpiece out there than the original Ramones album, will it be found and enjoyed 20 years down the road?

I can’t give up on the fact that somehow the music business will survive in some fashion that will keep creative people out there producing something new. I love going to see a band live but, will there ever be a budget for Quincy Jones style production on real music and not the flavor of the month?

Anyways, my best of list is based on a couple of criteria. I like it and it is regional, as in, from the south or with ties to the south and not necessarily middle Tennessee. I’ll keep it to ten because there are 20 and 30 and 40 lists; why not just make it essential?

andy t nick nixonNumber 10: The Andy T Band and Nick Nixon – Drink Drank Drunk

Andy T has been a regular guitar slinger on the blues scene all around town after arriving here via California and Houston, Texas. Nick Nixon is a native son following in the tradition of the Jefferson Street scene. This mix of a stew of standards produced and mixed by Texan Anson Funderburgh was the strongest Nashville Blues record out this year with a definite Gatemouth Texas Swing Blues influence and got the two with their band on Blues Festivals nationwide in 2013. Stand-out tracks: “Midnight Hour” “Drink Drank Drunk” “Have You Seen My Monkey?”

ricky skaggs bruce hornsby coverNumber 9: Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby – Cluck Ol’ Hen Live

Ricky Skaggs has been an Ambassador of Bluegrass to the world and his collaboration with Bruce Hornsby on piano turned out to be one of the greatest live events of the past few years. This recording captured from a couple of those shows features some great jamming with Bruce Hornsby kind of going to the roots after having toured with The Grateful Dead years ago. The in-between banter gives the feel of really being there. Stand-out tracks: “How Mountain Girls Can Love” “The Way It Is” “The Dreaded Spoon.”

MODOC_AlbumArtNumber 8: MODOC

MODOC has had great song placement in the last year or so that has put their music on television.  MODOC just plain rocks and “Runnin” has been all over the local airwaves. This album still has some legs after its release in August and will get a vinyl release after the first of the year. The Indiana natives have really stuck to their guns since arriving in Nashville about three years ago and have really improved their song craft and play every date they can.  A solid album is the pay dirt. Stand – out tracks: “Runnin” “Coward” “I Want You”

patty griffin american kidNumber 7: Patty Griffin – American Kid       

You could say Patty Griffin is from Austin and you could say that Robert Plant is from England, but let’s be real, they spend a lot of time here in Nashville and therefore are just as much Nashvillian as most of us who come from everywhere from California to Australia and spend perhaps a good majority of our lives here in pursuit of musical nirvana.  This may be Patty’s current album as the reigning Queen of Americana, but Robert makes enough guest appearances to let you know he is there without calling it a duet album. The North Mississippi Allstars make an appearance as well. Stand-out tracks “Don’t Let me Die In Florida,” “Ohio” and “Highway Song.”

jason isbell southeasternNumber 6: Jason Isbell – Southeastern

215 reviews and this album is still five stars on Amazon. Southeastern should be on every Top ten list this year.  Unfortunately, this was mostly shunned by American media while in Britain and Europe, where The Drive By Truckers were treated like The Rolling Stones, this gets what it deserves. Muscle Shoals will live on forever and Jason is definitely one of the favorite sons.  There are guest spots by Kim Richey (“Stockholm”) and Amanda Shires on “Travelling Alone.” There are a couple of southern rockers but most of this set would go over well at The Bluebird Cafe. Stand-out tracks “Flying Over Water,” “New South Wales,” and “Super 8.”

tim easton not coolNumber 5: Tim Easton – Not Cool

Tim encapsulizes everything cool about Nashville in one album that includes members of Robert’s regulars from The Don Kelley Band, Joe Fick [The Dempseys} on bass and JD Simo on guitar. The recording puts you front and center listening to real new Nashville Honky Honk music. What a concept! People travel from all over the world to hear it, so why not put it out to the airwaves.  If you missed the in-store that featured JD on guitar at Grimey’s, you missed one of the best in-stores of 2013. The songwriting has some gritty stories and moves things out past toney East Nashville to Riverside.  The old plywood acoustic sits in the middle of the mix. This one sits somewhere between Dylan’s Nashville Skyline and John Mellencamp’s Sun records effort a couple of years ago.  Stand out tracks include “Little Doggie (1962)” and “Four Queens.” “Troubled Times”

north mississippi allstars world boogieNumber 4: North Mississippi Allstars – World Boogie Is Coming

What can you say when the first two tracks start out with Robert Plant on harmonica recorded at Royal in Memphis? The Dickinsons along with Lightnin’ Malcolm are taking us for a ride through Holly Springs on this essentially covers album that plays out like a Midsummer Night’s Dream where R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough are still alive and Junior’s Place is still open for all night jams and ribs. Although Blues can let out your frustrations, this one puts on a smile and gets your groove going. Stand-out tracks

“Snake Drive,” Meet Me In The City” and “Goin’ To Brownsville.”

diarrhea planet artwork 2013Number 3: Diarrhea Planet – I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Diarrhea Planet is probably the best live show in Nashville right now, especially if you like guitar. They one up Lynyrd Skynyrd with four guitars. I repeat, FOUR GUITARS!  Watching them is like watching a Jack Black music skit on SNL, but the guitar work is pretty good and they are always entertaining and have some strong music that is designed for live consumption. Stand out tracks:  “Separations” “Ugliest Son” “The Sound Of My Ceiling Fan”

guy clark my favorite picture of youNumber 2: Guy Clark – My Favorite Picture Of You

Guy Clark pays tribute to his wife and wears his heart on his sleeve and his favorite picture of his wife on the cover. My Favorite Picture of You is an introspective soul searching masterpiece that makes one stop after every song and process the lyrics they just listened to. If Nashville is about songwriting then this is this year’s litmus test. Stand-out tracks, “My Favorite Picture of You” “Cornmeal Waltz”“Heroes”

tristen cavesNumber 1: Tristen – Caves

Tristen proves a point that you can follow your muse no matter what style in Nashville and create something cohesive, beautiful and unique. If this doesn’t become the huge record it should then it will become a cult album that everybody will want to show their friend and turn them onto. If Mojo ever gets a hold of this one, Tristen will be over in England and Europe playing to sold out crowds for the next year and it will be tough to ever see her play in the backyard at The Groove on Record Store Day again.  Tristen comes from the world where Pop means great songs like The Beatles, The Smiths, Fleetwood Mac or Blondie. Stand out tracks: “No One’s Gonnna Know” “House of War” “Dark Matter” “Monster”

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN    thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

MODOC Selected as FOX Sports Artist of the Month, iTunes “New and Noteworthy” Artist

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, Nashville, TN, 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, Nashville, TN, 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Music to be featured across all FOX sports programming during the month of December, including college football and NFL coverage

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, 2013, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, 2013, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

MODOC returned to Nashville and was caught Live in the act at Soulshine Pizza by Brad Hardisty playing to a packed house out on the deck all sealed up from the extremely cold weather after getting major local radio airplay.

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

(Nashville, Tenn. – Dec. 10, 2013) Nashville rock band MODOC has been named FOX Sports’ Artist of the Month, with the television network currently airing the band’s music in a variety of its December sports programming.

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

Following Pearl Jam as FOX’s featured November artist, MODOC’s music has been licensed to appear across all FOX Sports properties in December, including College Football on FOX, College Basketball on FOX, NFL on FOX, MLB on Fox, FA Cup on FOX, UEFA, UFC, NASCAR on FOX and Fox Sports 1. “Fortune and Fame,” “My Way” and “Runnin’” are among the songs from the band’s most recent release that have been licensed for use.

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

Additionally, MODOC has been selected as one of iTunes’ “New and Noteworthy” Alternative artists, beginning December 10. The band is currently offering its new self-titled album via iTunes for only $7.99 as a special promotion through the end of the year.

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

“We’re really excited to finish out 2013 with these feature placements with FOX and iTunes,” says MODOC manager Eric Hurt. “This has been a big year for the band in its growth, and we’re really starting to open people’s eyes to the next big rock band coming out of Music City. I’m absolutely thrilled with how things are shaping up for 2014 and where MODOC is headed.”

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

“Joe Rangel from Hitcher Music called me and said, ‘I have a band you are going to love’ and sent me MODOC’s music,” says Janine Kerr, VP/FOX Sports Music. “I listened, loved what I heard and called him back immediately to let him know that the band definitely has a cool, unique sound. We are very excited to showcase MODOC as our December Artist of the Month.”

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MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

The band released its first Daytrotter session on December 2 and will be issuing a limited edition run of MODOC on vinyl LP in January. MODOC was also selected as the featured daily artist on the worldwide music discovery app Band of the Day on October 24.

MODOC, photo, Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo, Brad Hardisty

MODOC is: Clint Culberson (vocals, guitars), Kyle Addison (lead guitar, vocals), Caleb Crockett (bass, vocals) and John Carlson (drums, vocals).

MODOC, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, photo – Brad Hardisty

Interviews with Dierks Bentley, Ricky Skaggs and many more –

Dierks Bentley during Simply Bluegrass taping, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Dierks Bentley during Simply Bluegrass taping, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Larry Black gathered some of the most well-known names in Bluegrass Music to record live for the Gabriel Communications’ series Country’s Family Reunion to be titled Simply Bluegrass featuring Ricky Skaggs and Bill Anderson as co-hosts with musical guests that have spanned decades.

Larry Black, Ricky Skaggs & Bill Anderson at Simply Bluegrass taping, photo - Brad Hardisty

Larry Black, Ricky Skaggs & Bill Anderson at Simply Bluegrass taping, photo – Brad Hardisty

Ricky Skaggs explained that it took over two years to put this together. Larry Black added, “Well, it took two years to get Ricky convinced to do it.” Ricky, after a quick laugh explained, “It took two years to where I could get my schedule to where I could do it.  But, you know we started talkin’ about doin’ this a couple of years ago. We started trying to plug in bands and people and availabilities and that kind of thing and I am so glad we did.

Rhonda Vincent, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Rhonda Vincent, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Lee Gibson of The Gibson Brothers shared, “It’s a bit surreal to sit there and I’m sitting so close to Ramona Jones who since I was a young boy before I became musical at all, was a part of our entertainment and our life on Hee Haw or when I watched any kind of Country Music Awards Show you would see Grandpa [Jones] and Ramona. I never thought I would be in the same room let alone standing there and singing a song in front of her.

Sierra Hull at Simply Bluegrass, photo - Brad Hardisty

Sierra Hull at Simply Bluegrass, photo – Brad Hardisty

Ricky Skaggs working with Larry Black put an incredible roster together that included everybody from Ramona Jones and Del McCoury to Sierra Hull who has put out two great albums under the guidance and production of Alison Krauss.

Sam Bush, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Sam Bush, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Sam Bush known as part of the Newgrass movement beginning in the late 60’s – early 70’s said, “Well, for starters, we are fans of each other so I have already got to hear The Gibson Brothers. I have already got to hear Rhonda Vincent and at first I thought you had to have an AARP card to get in here but then fortunately, Sierra Hull showed up. I have been influenced by a lot of people in this room. I used to see The Osborne Brothers on television. The Osborne Brothers were really, really, so progressive in their day. They are overlooked. Obviously, I was influenced by Doyle Lawson. I was influenced by Ricky Skaggs to want to learn to play the mandolin because he started before I did. He is two years younger than me and I started to see him on local Bowling Green, Kentucky TV. Ricky Skaggs sat in with Flatt and Scruggs on their television show. So, when I saw this kid playing the mandolin I thought this was the greatest thing I had ever seen and I wanted to do it too. It’s nice that many are contemporaries and we get to play on the same gigs and stuff. So, that’s one of the nice things about it. We play a lot of festivals but, we get to “horse around” more today.

The Whites at Simply Bluegrass, photo - Brad Hardisty

The Whites at Simply Bluegrass, photo – Brad Hardisty

Sharon White, who is Ricky Skaggs’ better half and a long time member of The Whites said, “Well, we started out playing acoustic music, playing bluegrass music and I mean we still do a lot of concerts that are considered bluegrass concerts and we love these people. I think my favorite part about being here today is that I am a big fan of everyone in the room plus some of these men like Bobby Osborne and Jesse McReynolds, Del McCoury and Mac Wiseman are legends and to hear their stories and to be part of this day it is just a real blessing. You know it really just feels like a family. We love each other. We are fans of each other. It’s a great thing,” Sharon than added, “When I got here and everyone was seated, I told Larry Black, you can really tell this is a Bluegrass family reunion. Everybody is holdin’ their mandolin or guitar and everybody has their instrument because that such a part of being in Bluegrass.

Ricky Skaggs, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Ricky Skaggs, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Ricky Skaggs felt the best way to understand Bluegrass Music is to play it. Ricky said, “You really just got to play it. You know you can study it all day long but until you get your hands on it, it’s like a farmer; until he gets his hands in the dirt, he’s never going to know about farming!

Jerry Douglas says that his most favorite part of being one of the world’s greatest Dobro players is the performance and getting out on the road.  Jerry said, “I like playing live. You can’t take it back. In the studio, nowadays especially, it’s so easy to make something perfect and the idea as musicians is to make something as perfect as possible in the moment and I was good at it and learned a lot from it.

Jerry Douglas ay Simply Bluegrass, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Jerry Douglas ay Simply Bluegrass, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Jerry Douglas reminisced about how the live aspect used to be when Music Row was really Music Row in Nashville when he said, “I can remember walking down Music Row when there was snow. When Nashville used to get snow, remember that? I’d park my car at one studio and walk to two or three sessions back then.

Doyle Lawson at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Doyle Lawson at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Dierks Bentley, photo - Brad Hardisty

Dierks Bentley was probably the most mainstream current Country Artist in the room and he shared when he first really got an interest in Bluegrass Music saying, “I moved here to do country music when I was nineteen but, that same year I walked into a little bar called The Station Inn here in Nashville and my life kind of changed forever. I saw a band there called The Sidemen made up of different guys from The Del McCoury Band and The Osborne Brothers. It was a really special night that changed my life for me and I’ve been a big Bluegrass fan ever since.”

Dierks Bentley at Simply Grass, photo - Brad Hardisty

Dierks Bentley at Simply Grass, photo – Brad Hardisty

For Dierks it was a real community feeling that won him over and he said, “The authenticity of the music, real and honest, not just the music part but also the Bluegrass community is such a great community of folks: a real place to call home for a kid from Arizona. The whole community just took me in and I found myself at pickin’ parties and weddings and just a lot of cool, cool, things. It gave me a musical foundation. Terry Eldridge who sings with the band The Grascals was my mentor.  I paid five dollars for my Tuesday night door fee cover charge to get in and hear The Sidemen play so those were my lessons:  listenin’ to Terry and Ronnie McCoury who is up there on mandolin a lot. It really was a bluegrass education sitting there and listening to those guys play.

The Grascals at Simply Bluegrass taping, photo - Brad Hardisty

The Grascals at Simply Bluegrass taping, photo – Brad Hardisty

Dierks would eventually get his guitar out and learn some licks saying, “I went to a lot of picking parties. I would bring my Martin in my truck and it would stay in the case in the truck. I would be too nervous to get it out. I never wanted to get the guitar out of the back of my truck.  But, eventually I would get enough nerve to pull it out and play but, it’s never ending, even tonight just playing is just nerve racking playing in front of that audience.  It’s pretty cool to be a fly on the wall and just hang out and hear them tell stories just off the top of their head like they are just hanging out in their living room.

Bobby Osborne at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN, photo  courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Bobby Osborne at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN, photo courtesy Phil Johnson (c) 2013

Bobby Osborne will be marking 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 2014 and shared how he and his brother decided to record “Rocky Top” which became a hit in 1967 and is the official song of University of Tennessee and of eight official songs of the state of Tennessee. Bobby was grateful to be a part of such a special historic taping and he said, “I have always been interested in the history of Bluegrass and Country music for that matter, you know, because I have always listened to Country and Bluegrass songs also. I’m very happy to be a part of this today. A lot of us are happy to be here today. We don’t get a chance to get together that often, you know, like we are today so, it’s really nice to be here and I am enjoying it very much. It’s really interesting to hear the stories that all of us have gathered in our minds through the years. It really is.”

Reno and Mac Wiseman at Simply Bluegrass, photo courtesy Gabriel Communications

Reno and Mac Wiseman at Simply Bluegrass, photo courtesy Gabriel Communications

Ricky Skaggs noted how spontaneous Bluegrass music is when he said, “This music is very organic. It changes every night. You never know what’s going to come. You never play a solo the same way twice. That’s what makes it fun. Every time Country loses its way and gets so far away from the center from what it should be then bluegrass music goes straight to the top because that is the alternative. That’s the real Country. Those were the records that we fell in love with and we learned as young kids and we loved those little “hickies” in a record that wasn’t perfect and we would make the same mistakes. You know, like Beatles fans will play the same mistakes and go to the wrong chord in the wrong place, where George or John might have played somethin’ totally different and these crazy Beatles groups like 1964 … the tribute bands. They will make the same mistakes just to keep the records right just because they love it, you know.

Rhonda Vincent and Dailey & Vincent warming up backstage at Simply Bluegrass, photo - Brad Hardisty

Rhonda Vincent and Dailey & Vincent warming up backstage at Simply Bluegrass, photo – Brad Hardisty

Ricky explained the real difference between Country and Bluegrass music by saying, “It’s built around a band. It’s not built around a lead singer. I mean you got to have a lead singer to sing the stuff but bluegrass that’s the difference in bluegrass and Country. Country is usually built as a band in the background and the lead singer is up front and he is doing his deal and they are just kind of supporting him. A bluegrass band, everybody is just as important. You got to have the mandolin, you got to have the fiddle, you got to have the guitar and you know obviously you got to have good singin’ and you got to have good playin but it is built around a band.

Del McCoury signing commemoratove poster, photo - Brad Hardisty

Del McCoury signing commemoratove poster, photo – Brad Hardisty

With this much talent in the room, the idea of collaboration had to come up and Ricky shared, “I am always up for something, I just had Jamie Johnson from The Grascals ask me to do something with them. They are going to re-record “Waitin’ For The Sun To Shine”, a song that I had hit with back in the eighties.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

Open House and Interview with Danny White and Ken Broad

Sixteen Ton Studio adds Norman Petty Room, 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Sixteen Ton Studio adds Norman Petty Room, 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

“The kinds of things that Norman Petty brought to music were recognized by Paul McCartney with what he says…the technique and the quality that came along with the recording of Buddy Holly in his time.” – Ken Broad – Curator of the Norman Petty Recording Studio

Sixteen Ton Studios  on Historic Music Row held an Open House to show off The Norman Petty Room, know as Studio Two which features some of the most important vintage gear that has been brought up to spec by Danny White.

Buddy Holly Gold Record recorded at Norman Petty Studio, photo - Brad Hardisty

Buddy Holly Gold Record recorded at Norman Petty Studio, photo – Brad Hardisty

Norman Petty’s Studio in Clovis, New Mexico is well known as the place where Buddy Holly recorded most of his classic hits as well as music by Roy Orbison, The Fireballs, Buddy Knox, Waylon Jennings and scores of other Artists.

Danny White at vintage 1969 API Console at Norman Petty Room, Sixteen Ton Studio, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Danny White at vintage 1969 API Console at Norman Petty Room, Sixteen Ton Studio, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

At the center of the room is an API board custom built in 1969 by API founder Saul Walker for Chet Atkins and was used in a mix/overdub room at RCA Studio B in Nashville during that time.  The console had been out of service for 35 years before being restored along with the original late 50’s early 60’s gear from Norman Petty’s Studio by Sixteen Ton Studio Owner/Manager, Danny White.

The original Altec, Fairchild and Pultec tube rack gear used by Norman Petty during the early Rock and Roll era has been restored and can be used in conjunction with the vintage API board or anything else at Sixteen Ton Studio.

Norman Petty's Ampex 401 now at Norman Petty Studio, Nashville, TN, Sixteen Ton Studio, photo - Brad Hardisty

Norman Petty’s Ampex 401 now at Norman Petty Studio, Nashville, TN, Sixteen Ton Studio, photo – Brad Hardisty

During the Open House an example of the original Buddy Holly mix of “That’ll Be The Day” was played on the exact  machine it was recorded on – the original Ampex 401 ¼ inch mono tape deck owned by Norman Petty.

Ken Broad and Lyle Walker who worked with Norman Petty and are Curators of The Norman Petty Studio in Clovis, New Mexico worked with Sixteen Ton Studios to bring the gear to Nashville were on hand to demonstrate and answer questions.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: It looks like all the vintage gear in this room is operational.

Scully, Ampex, Fairchild, Altec and Pultec vintage gear, restored at Norman Petty Studio at Sixteen Ton Studio, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Scully, Ampex, Fairchild, Altec and Pultec vintage gear, restored at Norman Petty Studio at Sixteen Ton Studio, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Danny White, Studio Owner/ Manager: Both the Ampex 300 and Scully 4 track are ready. You could come here and record an entire record with this console recorded to tape, mix it to tape and press it to vinyl without touching a computer. So, the answer to your question is both. The vintage stuff can be used as an outboard piece of gear or as a standalone.

BH: Does the Ampex work as well as the Scully?

DW: Oh yeah. Everything is running.

BH: Did you have the head re-lapped and all of that?

Original Ampex 401 used for early Buddy Holly material restored at Norman Petty Studio, Nashville, TN pphoto - Brad Hardisty

Original Ampex 401 used for early Buddy Holly material restored at Norman Petty Studio, Nashville, TN pphoto – Brad Hardisty

DW: Heads re-lapped. Electronics completely recapped and re-tubed. The heads on the Scully 280, everything in here is operational, even this is Norman Petty’s original Ampex 401. This is the “Buddy Holly” machine that had tracks recorded to tape.

BH: It’s a mono machine?

DW: It’s Mono.

BH: The API board: did you find this from a collector?

Danny White shows features of 1969 API Consolte originally built for Chet Atkins at RCA Studio B, nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Danny White shows features of 1969 API Consolte originally built for Chet Atkins at RCA Studio B, nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DW: No. I bought this from my very good friend, Dave Copp who is a Producer here in town and he got it from a guy out in Hollywood, California that had ended up with it many years ago. It was ordered by Chet Atkins during 1968-69 [RCA Studio B] eras and it was finished later on in 69-70. It was installed in Studio B. What they called Studio D which was a small room right across from the main tracking room.

BH: It was a mixing room?

DW: Mixing room and overdubs. But, they also tracked…now my friend Tom Pick brought these Monitors in because whenever they closed RCA in 77 he was the Chief Engineer and he got these Monitors and a bunch of the other gear out of there.

BH: Are they Altecs?

DW: Altec 604 E Super Duplex and that’s what is in them now.

BH: You matched what was in them originally?

DW: They are the same speakers that were in RCA Studio B.  I had them re-coned.

BH: That’s really cool.

vintage Ampex 4 track, Norman Petty Studio at Sixteen Ton, nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

vintage Ampex 4 track, Norman Petty Studio at Sixteen Ton, nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DW: This is the RCA set-up right here.   But, the cool thing is that you can have this in conjunction with the Norman Petty gear so, anyway, you got the best of both [50’s and 60’s analog] worlds.

BH: was the API board made out in California at that time?

DW: This was made in Farmingdale, New York. This is the one of the oldest intact API’s in existence. This was a very early console.

BH: It’s got Automated Processes Incorporated right across the top.

DW: That’s it.  You have the original 512’s, original 550’s not 550 a or b and you have the big meter 525 compressors. Everything in this console is still the way…in fact it has the master control from RCA Studio B and the monitor control.

BH: It’s amazing how the API design was kept almost the same this whole time. This looks almost identical to the API lunch box modules.

DW: Absolutely.

BH: Have you done any recording on it yet?

DW: We actually ran this API Console, for a little while as a side car in Studio A while we were building this room. It sounded amazing. But, we haven’t done anything in this room. This is our Open House. We will do some more tuning and we will get ready to record toward the end of the year.

BH: What about The McIntosh tube power amps?

DW: They all came from Clovis, New Mexico. 

BH: Is that a 50 watt?

DW:  The original is Norman Petty’s and that is a 50 Watt. It’s a McIntosh 50W2. That’s his original amp that he used for all the Buddy Holly stuff as well as, Buddy Knox or Roy Orbison. He was the first one to work with Roy as well. The 70 Watt amp is a 60’s amp that Norman went to and that is mono also. We are running mono in here today but obviously we will have stereo. We decided to run mono just because of the open house.

BH: That is a tracking room right off of here.

Sixteen Tow Studio, main room, converted house on Music Row, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Sixteen Tow Studio, main room, converted house on Music Row, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

DW: Yes, these are all tracking rooms. Studio 1 is over there and this is Studio Two or The Petty Room. But, all these rooms are independent. We have an independent headphone system for this room and that room but, we can also tie both the rooms together through the patch bay. So, if you want to get a mix going on in here and you want to go through the Altecs and you wonder what they would sound like through the $20,000 ATC’s then we go in that room and patch them in and pull them up and see what they sound like.  We can A/B them and you can put them through the compression rack over there or vice a versa and that’s kind of nice.  But, Ken and his partner Lyle have been the reason why this has happened. I just got it and put it together.

BH: It’s great that you have some of Norman Petty’s original staff here today.

DW:  Ken Broad and Lyle Walker came in from Clovis, New Mexico.

BH: Tell me a little about Norman Petty’s legacy.

Ken Broad: Well, we like to make a point that Norman Petty is one of the greatest engineers of all time. Not only that, but, Producer, Songwriter and we’re lookin’ forward to letting that be more known here in Nashville for people to come and visit. We want to keep his legacy available to the public. Musicians for their appreciation of it and also for just a tribute to him for what he contributed to music. He turned things around in ‘57 with the way he recorded Buddy Holly.

BH: He brought High Fidelity Recording to Rock and Roll.

Ken Broad, Norman Petty curator, demonstrating Scully 4 track, nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Ken Broad, Norman Petty curator, demonstrating Scully 4 track, nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

KB: The kinds of things that Norman Petty brought to music were recognized by Paul McCartney with what he says…the technique and the quality that came along with the recording of Buddy Holly in his time. He didn’t record by the clock. He didn’t believe that creativity came by the clock. He recorded by the hour to keep his Artists relaxed and comfortable so that they could contribute with their very best in the expertise with which they are recognized and he had a respect for the Artist. However, he was a great deal older than some of those that he recorded in ’57, ’58,

BH: How old was he at that time?

Ken Broad turning up vintage Altecs playing location recoding form the '50s of Tommy Dorsey Big Band, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Ken Broad turning up vintage Altecs playing location recoding form the ’50s of Tommy Dorsey Big Band, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

KB: Well, he was older than Buddy Holly by about seven years which wasn’t very much. He was in his 30’s when he worked with Buddy Holly.  He recognized the talent in them and there were 12 major hits that came out of the Norman Petty Studio on West 7th Street in 15 months time which was pretty phenomenal. They were coming out on the Coral and Brunswick labels as well when Decca didn’t take him [Buddy Holly] on with “That’ll Be The Day.”  After Buddy Holly was dropped by Decca he came back and with the recommendation of a disc jockey in Lubbock, Texas he came out to no-man’s land in Clovis, New Mexico and matched with somebody who could really take his music and work together. He and Buddy Holly worked together. They collaborated on a lot of the songs that they did and look where they went.

Danny White:  I want to add something to that just to go along with Ken. There are two big bangs in Rock and Roll as far as I’m concerned. The minute that Elvis Presley walked through the door at Sam Phillip’s Studio and the minute Buddy Holly walked through the door at Norman Petty’s studio. You look at those two things and right down the street here just one block is where Buddy Holly recorded for Decca and he was dropped off of Decca. How fast? Less than a year.

Ken Broad next to original Norman Petty Ampex 401 now in Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Ken Broad next to original Norman Petty Ampex 401 now in Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Ken: Oh, Yeah. In months and then he was done. But, he went to Norman and without that work he did in Clovis…no Beatles like they were, no Rolling Stones like they were. I mean the early Beatles; the early Stones were heavily influenced by the work of Buddy Holly.

BH: The difference between Elvis and Buddy was Elvis was a great interpreter but Buddy Holly was a singer/songwriter like Little Richard. He did his own stuff.

Danny:  Right. So, you look at the first Beatles, “Listen To Me”, “Words Of Love”. I think one of the first Rolling Stones releases was “Not Fade Away.” So, that all came out of Clovis, New Mexico so that is pretty interesting to think about.

Ken: These many years later, 50 some years later the interest is still strong in that music. It is much stronger in England than any other place that I know of.  The people have held high the banner of Buddy Holly.

BH: I think that is true of all early Rock and Roll, Gene Vincent on down to Eddie Cochran.

Danny: Eddie Cochran yeah!

Vintage Seeburg jukebox fille dwith Norman Petty recordings at Sixteen Ton Studios, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Vintage Seeburg jukebox fille dwith Norman Petty recordings at Sixteen Ton Studios, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Ken: We do tours of the old studio in Clovis, New Mexico at 1313 West 7th on the original gear that was used in that studio and there are people that come every several months. Groups that want to measure the studio because they want to re-create one in London or some part of England so they can have a studio like Norman Petty.

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

Big Kenny Alphin Electroshine Press Conference

Courtesy Webster & Assoc.

Courtesy Webster & Assoc.

“I have listened to so many different types of music my whole life. So, it started to hit me that here at the University of Creativity which is what we call this whole place. We are experimenting with new things, heck that’s what I do. Ever since we came into this town it was Musik Mafia and Musik Mafia is about, you know just takin’ the doors down.That is, to be able to expand what I know of as Country Music and my love of Country Music.” – Big Kenny Aphin

Big Kenny gathered some key media individuals at his home studio in Nashville and laid it on us all at once.

Courtesy Webster & Assoc.

Courtesy Webster & Assoc.

“Music City is a beacon of creativity for the world right now if you all have noticed this. But, there is just so much varied talent that comes in and out of this place. Sometimes, people just show up on my doorstep and then all of a sudden you find out that they’re brilliant at something musically and that, in my world, I’m just kind of “why don’t you go take a room and stay a little while and let’s make some music.”

“This talent just started showing up in my world including two amazing organic players. A group called ChessBoxer, it’s Matt Menefee, who plays banjo in our band right now and Ross Holmes who plays fiddle in Mumford and Sons. We put the two of these guys together for a year. I had them up in the bell tower and they just opened the windows and were just putting in all these riffs at the same time.”

“You have a whole crowd of people in EDM,  Electronic Dance music, that’s  producing music and synthesis right here on a computer on a screen and I thought ; why we could just jam all this acoustic great instrumentation here in Nashville into these kind of beats and I mean as soon as you start doin’ it, it makes you want to dance!”

Big Kenny's API Plus console in Home Studio, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Big Kenny’s API Plus console in Home Studio, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Anybody who visits Lower Broad any time of the year will notice that bands at Tootsie’s upstairs as well as other venues have already began mixing up modern Country like “Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy” with a medley of Rock and Roll like AC/DC’s “Back In Black” and Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” prompting waitresses to jump on the bars and strut their stuff.

“So, this first piece I’m goin’ to show you, actually, it came about as I was working here and then I would have to fly to LA for another event and I ran into some of the most amazing producers out there and one of them being specific is Chebacca. “

“The next week, I flew him to Nashville and we started workin’ and he was upstairs in creative mode and we were goin’ back and forth. We just had to do this music if we had time so we would be on the road and off the road and work everything out. So we decided we would smash it together. We just kind of laid out a vibe and also laid out the feeling. We just put visuals with it to lay out the feeling of what we were feeling when we were doing this, right? To kind of give out a vibe of the kind of people  that ,you know, we also see that love this stuff so it’s fresh, it’s new and this is danceable.” – Big Kenny

Courtesy Webster & Assoc.

Courtesy Webster & Assoc.

Big Kenny has put together a creative team called Electroshine involving everybody from West Coast EDM Artist Chebacca to members of Mumford and Sons, Dave Stewart and others to work on creating EDM worthy Country mash-ups of not only Big & Rich hit songs, but, original material as well as possible re-mixes of Merle Haggard and other possible classic material and taking the music on the road.

Rolling Stone magazine recently published an article about Swedish DJ-Producer Avicii and his major international hit “Wake Me Up” that mashes EDM and bluegrass featuring vocals from Dan Tyminski best known for the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou  track “I Am a Man Of Constant Sorrow.”

Big Kenny describes life on the road, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Big Kenny describes life on the road, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

“ John and I, we are music lovers and in half or more of the cities we play in America we either end up…there’s nowhere to go and we end up putting big speakers up outside between our busses and just DJ and just jam to this kind of music. Dance music across all of what we love; there’s popular and then we will bust into a little Haggard in there too.”

“That’s kind of how it got started, right? So these people are showin’ up and then that song was actually one of the first things we released. We knew we had to just start putting some music out and so we created Electroshine TV, aYou Tube Channel, aFacebook,Twitter.  We kind of just let it grow organically, build organically like everything we have ever done in our lives.” – Big Kenny

Big Kenny's guitar rack at home studio, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Big Kenny’s guitar rack at home studio, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

The idea has been on a grassroots level over the last year and couldn’t be timed any better. One of the best examples of this idea was the success of Daft Punk’s hit “Get Lucky” which dropped a couple of months ago and began to be covered by all sorts of DIY artists one of which was East Nashville Banjo man,  Charles Butler who was trending twice as many hits on you tube as the original Daft Punk version. Charles’ version was featured as a hot video on the android app as it continued to outpace and inspire online mashups of the Charles Butler and Daft Punk versions.

“I wanted to kind of give you a briefing of what all this Electroshine project is. You know, it is truly just the continuation of what the Musik Mafia has always stood for which is to expand the boundaries of music without prejudice. We don’t want other artists who come into this town that are friends of ours to think that we are anything other than the most open minded musicians in the world, but “damn those boys can play banjo, fiddles and guitars and aren’t they great singers and melody makers.” So the thing we realize is missing in Nashville is EDM which is, hopefully, everybody knows this by now, it is the most exploding genre of music that we have on this planet. “- Big Kenny

While Electronica introduced R. L. Burnside’s Hill Country Blues to the rest of the world more than a decade ago this is a brand new thing for country music and could help to expose Country Artists all over the world in a new way as well as carrying on the original country melodies through time with maybe a simple Carter Family inspired bluegrass part in an EDM dance re-mix.

Courtesy Webster & Assoc.

Courtesy Webster & Assoc.

“It’s kind of hard to just take a sweaty race horse who has just finished a show or a couple of them and you have to walk ‘em and cool ‘em down, right? So, we found the best way was dancing.  We hit these clubs and we see what people are doing and what people are dancing too.   So, we kind of know where this thing is. We thought this could really happen so then we decided to remix two songs on the last Big & Rich Record, “Party Like Cowboyz” and “Born Again that will drop on September 3rd”

“Our radio partners out there thought “Party Like Cowboyz” was a little heavy for them to play because the songs rocked pretty hard, kind of AC/DC rock on the album.  It was the same thing with “Born Again” which we wrote and it featured, on the remix, Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora.” – Big Kenny

While there may have been a lot of resistance in the Country Music culture ten years ago, now would be the time for success since Country Music has had an influx of Hip Hop flavored tracks, AC/DC inspired guitar riffs as well as the straight up pop crossover of Taylor Swift.

Big Kenny, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Big Kenny, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

“We crashed a Belmont party one night with that song and uh, Belmont, I mean they were doing a charity event in a big room and everybody was in there just glowing and any way. We put that on there and played it and everybody just started coming up and “It’ so cool. You guys keep doin’ that stuff man that’s awesome.” – Big Kenny

The most important thing is that Country Music has a devoted fan base who continues to buy product that has proven out in actual Billboard chart positions as Country Artists begin to dominate release by release in actual album sales.

Courtesy Webster & Assoc.

Courtesy Webster & Assoc.

“John and I were playing up  just above Twin Lakes, Wisconsin so Troy, this is where my partner Troy  Volhoffer comes in. We just bought a circus tent.  We just bought a circus tent ( Troy Volhoffer, owner of Premiere Global Productions), yeah! At the Twin Lakes Festival this year we went bustin’ in there with the circus tent and we put up visuals and I DJ’d until so many people were packed on the stage that it became unsafe. Someone was going to fall off the edge and so we just sang a song and said goodbye.” – Big Kenny

Country has seen artists from other genres cut Country albums to see if they could make the crossover and sell actual product as seen by the Bon Jovi country project as well as Darius Rucker’s current success so why can’t Country Artists go out and see if they can make inroads into dance clubs?

“With Electroshine, we are paying attention to the BPM’s, everything you know and how that makes you move. Yeah and also, just the technology we put into just the way it makes you feel. Like if you were deaf and you sat in here you would…you will feel this music. Especially, when we put it out of 6000 amps in that circus tent in full surround sound.  The kaboom, kaboom of just putting up a circus tent that is over a half an acre. People want to party. So we are here to throw the parties and get everyone dancing.” – Big Kenny

Big Kenny Alphin and his Electroshine project may actually open the roads to what may eventually be County mash-ups not only in his travelling big circus tent show , but maybe eventually as part of Country Music radio programming as well as awards during the CMA’s for best Country EDM tracks.  

“I guess I can tell you what our next steps are and what we plan on doing with this. Again, we’ve been inspired to bring in other artists, as you just mentioned there and I think we can make a lot of cool mash ups like Grammy kind of mashups, right?”

Courtesy Webster & Assoc.

Courtesy Webster & Assoc.

“I know you all know that I have a couple of other careers too. One of them being pretty large and that’s Big & Rich. So, what we have come up with is this kind of stuff.  John and I are still kind of into the mentoring thing.   It just kind of happens. There are nine interns running around here at any given time amongst all my staff. They are just a bunch of brilliant open-minded creative people.  But, to be able to take this to the next step we will go and do a Big & Rich show and then we do Electroshine after-parties.”

If you visit Nashville during CMA week, the DJ’s are already mixing up Modern Country and Classic Rock with EDM beat tracks and vinyl matching up pitch and BPM’s and making their own remixes on the fly already at dance party venues that run concurrently with all the concerts all over town. Country Music fans love it and it has been going on for the last several years.  They like to get out and party and dance just like it was L.A., Miami and New York, in fact a lot of fans travel from there as well as from all over the world where EDM is already the major player.

Big kenny, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Big kenny, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

“We can take this circus tent anywhere. Now these places, like my fifth grade teacher who had been helping feed 400 kids that were homeless, she has wanted to do a festival, you know and she needs to do something with bigger awareness and she doesn’t know how to do that and now we have put together all the partners to know how to do that and in a tent we can just go, “Where is the parking lot? Get us a parking lot and Swummff!  Right? “

” I can finally go play a show in my hometown of Culpeper, Virginia so our plan is to tour this kind of music in a circus tent. Right now we have drawings of inside and outside the tent. The insanity of what will be inside this tent. It will have the extremities “Extreme- a- tees” of any international big city, big time club that you would go into. Like The Marquee in Vegas or Tao in New York.  Well guess what? We take that out to our people. They love that stuff, right? We are going to put little flying angels over their heads. We will put stages on all four sides of the tent. The design of this thing is intense. I mean it is super intense. People will be going into a multi-sensory environment. I mean dudes like me ought to be able to crowd surf too.”  – Big Kenny

screenshot, photo - Brad Hardisty

screenshot, photo – Brad Hardisty

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com