I sent my Grammy vote in yesterday. It’s amazing how much music is entered. If one were to listen to every song in every category it would take the entire year. Well its mailed and time to wait for the second round. Which in some categories is determined by a secret committee. Categories like children’s music. I going to have to do more research on this. Never a big fan of secret committee’s
Who do I vote for? This is the question I will be asking myself soon as a voting member of the Recording Academy. The Grammy ballot shall be arriving soon. Requests for votes usually come in a mass email asking that I vote for them. Poochamungas were not eligible this year as the release date had to be by September 3o as was the most legitimate kids awards the Fids and Kamily. These artists are selected by people who actually listen to kindie music. The critics and bloggers who write about and promote it. But back to the Grammys. Here’s my dilemma. When I asked for help in promoting my CD the response from artists was very limited. Now some of those artists asking me to vote for their CD. Asking for my help. Now I’m not asking people to suddenly start endorsing my band for votes or offering me money (Poochamungas ain’t playing no payola). The truth is one can only listen to so much music during the year. I am more likely to listen to the CD by a fellow artist that has helped me than one who hasn’t long before grammy voting appears. Just as a sign of mutual respect. Then to the music has too be excellent for me to vote for it. If I haven’t listened I am probably not voting no matter how many times I get a” please vote for me” email.
Speaking of listening The Hipwaders have reclaimed the family car cd player. The Golden State is one of our all time favorites and one of the best kindie CD’s ever made. Go buy it and thank me later. You can also check out their latest single and video at the following link… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzOX-3IP3I4
Now that the new CD is done, packaged and on it’s way it is time to enter it into various programs to be judged. This is one of the many ways to get exposure so more people become aware of the music. We have entered into the National Parenting Publication Awards and one other, but the one I’m really want to enter is the GRAMMY AWARDS now that I am a voting member and allowed an entry. Because my CD is brilliant! It is sure win over the voters and Poochamungas shall walk upon that stage just like the Okee Dokee Brothers did last year… So goes the scenario in my and many other artists head. The truth of the matter is while the band has had a small amount of success. Not a lot of people know who and what are the Poochamungas. When I mentioned entering the CD for the Grammy to my publicist Elizabeth Waldman Frazier (Waldmania!) in a email she politely replied that our time and investment (this becomes a marketing thing unto itself) is placed better elsewhere at this point in our career. That is a painfully honest thing to say. I won’t say it didn’t hurt a little bit to read in the email, but she is absolutely correct. Which is one of the reasons I hired her. Because I have to look no further to fellow artist Brady Rymer and the BRILLIANT (so good it deserves caps!) Love Me For Who I Am. The fact that it didn’t win is OK, even understandable. The fact it failed to be a nominee was a travesty. It truly was one of the best written, musically performed CD’s I heard that whole year (2011). Then you include the fact he wrote it about autism with help and ideas from people with autism, it’s astounding. On top of that Brady is one of the best live performers you’ve ever seen in any kind of musical forum and has played all across the country. That leaves little room for Poochamungas getting a nod. Not that the CD isn’t good enough because I definitely believe so. It’s just not the only criteria it’s being judged upon. Maybe the next one we take a shot at the ol’ gold gramophone. Till then you just keep grinding away at it.
This weeks song is a beautifully written song about hanging out on the Mississippi River by a couple of guys who fooled the who world by letting them think they were buying a children’s music CD but really got an album of great American Folk music or as Poochamungas say “Good Music Knows No Age.” The fact it went on to win the Children’s Grammy was well-earned. While there are many great songs on The Okee Dokee Brothers CD like the title Track Can you Canoe?, Haul Away Joe, and Brother. The song I wish I had written is Thousand Star Hotel. It’s a simple but eloquent song about camping on the banks of the Mississippi. Starting out with a simple banjo, unfolding to a full orchestral sound and then back to the banjo (produced by Dean jones). It takes you on a complete journey in under two minutes. ” I’m sleeping in a Thousand Star Hotel, Gold leaf pillow for my head, feel like a king on a king sized river bed.” Those are the only words. They set the scene and the music takes you to the grand splendor of a perfect evening along the Mississippi. One of the cool things about this song is there’s a video of them writing the song and going through the process. So go check out the video here and buy the CD. We’ll find another great song soon for Songs I Wish I had Written.
Posted in family, Recording, song reviews
Tagged Banjo, Can you canoe?, Children's, Dean Jones, Grammy, Grammys, Mississippi, Poochamungas, song, The Okee Dokee Brothers, Thousand Star Hotel
Back to reality/ post Grammy Blues
I’ve been home a week and a half since the Grammy’s and life has returned to normal. Normal as it ever is being married with two kids, working fulltime/stay at home dad and oh yeah! I started a band a few years ago. My life priorities pretty much run in the same order except the kids come before the wife. She would agree. Right before the Grammy’s I was sending emails to places that might hire us for a gig. We’ve had some success here with local libraries, getting return gigs at a few venues and festivals and just got booked at Schubas (this is a local legendary music hall and we’re very excited). We got the gig because we stuck with it. What I’m leaning is that there is no fast track to getting gigs. Most bands work through this same process. Apply for jobs, send out emails, make phone calls, send demos (make sure they’re good!) or videos, network and here is the most IMPORTANT PART… FOLLOW THROUGH! Just like your golf swing or jump shot. If you send off one email or just apply for a gig and wonder why the phone doesn’t ring well… Follow through. This does not mean you start stalking after gigs. That just pisses people off. What this means is when you send an email and get No Reply. Two weeks later send a follow-up email. You may not get a reply (try again. I usually go with 3 attempts). They may tell you they’re booked please inquire in a year. Write it down and in a year try again with your new songs/videos, improved (up to date) EPK (Electronic Press Kit), ETC. Go to a few industry events because people who book shows and play shows usually attend. Talk to fellow musicians and band who do what you do. Share what you know and listen to what they have to say. Meet bookers and listen to what they have to say. I went to the Grammys for this reason. I Will Attend Kindiefest if possible for the same reason. Putting a face next to your music (make sure it’s ready!) makes you not a stranger when inquiring about your next gig. Hand them a business card, CD or both. BE POLITE AND COURTEOUS AT ALL TIMES. This is small industry and if your rude, inconsiderate or a general dirtbag the word will spread. Use your manners and most of all keep plugging away. That’s what I’m doing. If you have any other suggestions feel free to share.
Rockin’ Out Island in the City
Now onto performance improvement. We’ve had really good gigs and some not so good gigs (nature of the beast). The learning curb is steep and fast. In terms of musicianship we have been knocking it out of the park our last few shows. We listen to each other and the band has really come into its own but our showmanship needed some work. So that’s what we’ve been doing. Finding what works for us. Call and response, dance moves, silly band antics, how to keep the show rolling, fun and the audience participating. The fun should always lead back to the music which is why everyone is there. Being that most kindie shows run 45 minutes to an hour this isn’t rocket science. It does take some structure, planning, rehearsing, rehearsing and more rehearsing. Because it’s not enough that the band sits around and plays really good music. You need kids and parents to feel involved in the show. It’s a Live Music Experience and all should have a good time. Or what’s the point?
Shameless Grammy Photo
Lastly the Grammys. I think I had a Grammy hangover the last week. It was all so much fun and I did so much (see Rollin’ with the Bogle)it took a few days to really take it all in. Mind you the day after returning home I went right to the firehouse. Total reality check. But here’s what I am proposing and leave comments as you see fit. The Pre-Telecast Grammies was a nice show with some really great music acts. Why shouldn’t one of the Childrens Grammy acts perform for the pre-telecast show. I think it adds legitimacy to the whole kindie movement. Especially with this years acts and the fact the house band TOTALLY ROCKED! The Pop-Ups singing “Connect the Stars” with a live band would’ve been awesome. Or the Okee Dokees doing “Haul Away Joe” or my personal favorite “Thousand Star Hotel” with the big house band. Those are just great songs. Heck it was a Woody Guthrie year so why not Elizabeth Mitchell singing any one of Woody’s songs? A lot of Bill Harley songs are timeless and ageless and JumpinJazz Kids could have rocked the house. So powers that be if you read this let’s get the ball rolling! The Kindie movement won the Grammy now we need to take the stage.
Posted in family, gigs, live music
Tagged Bill Harley, Elizabeth Mitchell, Gigs, Grammys, Kindiefest, Okee Dokee Brothers, Poochamungas, Schubas, The Pop Ups
So prior to the New Zealand adventure and after I have been endeavouring to book gigs for the band. Not only am I the Songwriter and Executive Producer for the new CD Block Party which should come out in the spring I have a host of other duties as well. They are as follows – Manager, publicist, roadie, sound engineer, equipment manager and Guitarist/vocalist. Not uncommon in the world of music but still a lot to do when you add Husband, Parent of 2 and Chicago Firefighter. So I try to book one gig a day or at least send an inquiry as to playing a gig somewhere. I slowed up on this back in December as we were working on the new CD and the holidays were upon us. So now I am back to the grind. If anyone would like us to play an event in their area let us know and we would be glad to inquire. Now to send another email and make another phone call…
The 4 song demo is nearly ready in time for the Grammys. All sorts of industry folks are supposed to be there and I should be appropriately prepared. At least that is the intention. John Abbey at Kingsize studios has been doing a heck of a job mixing along with Alton Smith who has been doing a heck of a job getting us the right sound and leading the band in the proper direction. The four songs that are going on the demo are Imagination Train, Bah Humbug Halloween, End of the day and My Favorite Summer Day. Each is different than the others with four different singers and 4 different styles. Like a band buffet. Hope those that get a listen like what they hear.
And since we mentioned the Grammys it looks to be a busy couple of days. I fly on Friday in the late morning and then go where I don’t know (remember to pick up tickets!) It’s free day so I’m going to try to visit family and friends. Saturday it’s off to the Children’s Grammy Nominees Family Concert. There I shall get to see Bill Harley, The Pop-ups, Elizabeth Mitchell, The JumpinJazz Kids Band and our family favorites and friends The Okee Dokee Brothers. I look to enjoy the show and it’s followed by the ANNUAL NETWORKING LUNCHEON for the children’s recording arts industry (I took it right off the web site!) Here is where I hope to hand out a few CD’s. Then the next day it’s the main event as the 55th Grammy awards take place with this guy in attendance. The seats are a bit high up. (I may take a picture with a Lakers championship banner if you get my meaning.) But I will be there! Also the kids Grammy is given earlier in the day (it’s much more informal) in a completely separate building followed later by the main event. Then to the main event and then dinner with Bill Harley, his wife Debbie and some others. Looking to be quite an enjoyable evening indeed!
Posted in family, gigs, Recording, Travel
Tagged Alton Smith, Bill Harley, Demos, Elizabeth Mitchell, Grammys, John Abbey, Kingsize Sound Labs, Okee Dokee Brothers, Poochamungas, The JumpinJazz Kids Band, The Pop Ups