Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Video-Mule Day Car Show by Jerry W. Henry

This is a 1080p video which means better quality. The video was shot last Mule Day in Winfield, Alabama in 2011. This is a great annual family event that has a limited amount of local talent. There was perfect weather for the car show. The overdubbed music is Alabama music artists, Max Russell "My Daddy's Old Car" and Gary Sparks "Greasy Man."

I have several video projects working that need music. I am accepting original songs, especially songs about Alabama for these projects. Your submissions should be addressed to MP3 attached. I also need a statement in the body of that email stating: you or your band wrote the song attached, you or your band are not signed to a record label nor have ever been signed to a record label and you or your band are giving Jerry W. Henry permission to use that attached song on Alabama Music videos. One song only-Hit me with you best shot.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This Thing Called Blues by Sandy Atkinson 2/2012

Today our guest blogger is Sandy Atkinson. Sandy began singing in school and church events when she was 5.   When she was 14, her Mom gave her a guitar and she started writing songs.  From there her love of music grew and blossomed when she came to Florida in 1994.  She met some great musicians that liked her songs and released her first CD in 1995.   Her 5th, was released in October 2010 with her new band, The True Loves.  "I feel that this is a great combination of musicians. We have so much fun. They are very talented, seasoned pros and we fit like like a favorite pair of jeans."  The CD is a collection of studio sessions and a live recording from a show at the Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg, FL.  She performs solo or duo, but prefers the full band.  She has played venues and festivals in the US & Europe.

This Thing Called Blues

Sandy Atkinson 2/2012
I was flipping through the TV channels one night many years ago and found a video called BB King and Friends: A Night of Blistering Blues.  It was an amazing show with so many great artists including Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Albert King, a very young Stevie Ray Vaughan, Dr. John and the amazing Etta James.  I just happened to tune in right when BB was introducing Etta.  She started singing "I'd Rather Go Blind" with Dr. John on piano.  She was looking straight at him and he got up and came to her and they did some of that slow dancing, back and forth “Oh Baby” kinda singing.  I was glued to that TV and felt chills roll over my body.  The power, soul and chemistry between them and that song was one of the strongest performances by any artist that I had ever seen. That was the first time I heard Etta James.
Of course I had to go out and buy some of her music and I learned that song. Although few could ever hold a candle to her, I always think of her and hope I'm doing some justice when I sing that song…her song.
I would guess that most every female blues singer got some inspiration from Etta.  She lived the blues and sang it from her heart with a mixture of a kind of gospel feeling that gives the blues so much depth as it did with Ray Charles who got a lot of flack about mixing gospel and blues.  You see, the blues was born in the delta to a people who found comfort in song and their God.  The music and religion gave them strength to deal with their troubles and distraction when working in the fields. The classic ‘call and response’ lyric style was born in the fields.  While the words changed from religion to love and trouble, the passion remained and put fire in the blues.
Life on the road is not all glitz and fun.  The road can get very long.  But, I cannot begin to imagine life on the road for the Men and Women that began to spread the blues.  While they were respected for their music, finding a place to eat, sleep or even go to the bathroom was not always easy. Still, they did it and because of their strength, spirit and talent, we have the great classics from Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Ray Charles, Hubert Sumlin, Koko Taylor Etta James and so many others that those of us that “keep the blues alive” learn from.  Thanks in a big way to Aristocrat Records, later known as Chess Records for recording so much of this art for prosperity although I don’t know how much profit the artists received.
And, what would Rock ‘n Roll be without the blues?  Keith Richards said:  “If you don’t know the blues, there’s no point in picking up the guitar and playing Rock and Roll or any other form of popular music.”
It’s true as Muddy said it in his song “The Blues Birthed a Baby and They Called it Rock ‘n Roll.” 
It was mostly the British rock scene that picked up on the American Blues to fuel their songwriting in the 60s.  Bands like Led Zepplin, Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton took to it like a duck to water.  In fact, “Rolling Stone” was a Muddy Waters song.  Muddy’s last performance was with Clapton in Florida in 1982.
For those who maybe just starting out in the Blues, you will appreciate the old recordings from Chess Records.  Videos of legends like B.B. King and Friends are another great source.  When you find those that give you chills, you’ll know you got the best and the right fit for you.
I'm so happy I found that BB King video that night with all the famous legends that are a sort of “next generation” after the Muddy and Wolf era and I highly recommend it to all music lovers. They have passed the torch and inspired a new generation that keeps the blues alive today.   I added Etta to my list of inspirations that night as I'm sure many have at seeing her the first time.  Her passing was sad, but like those legends that she learned from, she lives on in every blues singer she inspired. 
I have always thought that there are two kinds of players.  Those that read and those that feel.  Some can do both, but it’s rare.  Blues is definitely something you have to feel.  You can’t fake it.  And it doesn’t mean the song has to be sad, quite the contrary.  Good blues can make you jump and holler!  As Buddy Guy said:  “Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues”
Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012  Etta & Dr. John

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Secret. by Jerry W. Henry

Whose reasonability is it to make sure folks know about your music? Unless you have big bucks or a record label deal, it’s you. Many of you are getting that overwhelmed mind set already. This can be cured with a bit of organization.
Don’t try to conquer the world. Don’t think that you are going to tell everyone about everything that you do or have ever done. As a journalist, I can tell you from years of experience, promote one thing at a time. Usually you will promote a single, a new album, a show, a tour, or your website.
Once you decide what you are going to promote, then you can decide how to do it. I hate to be the one to tell you, but everyone is not going to like your music. Your music will appeal to a certain niche. Niche: activity for which a person or thing is best fitted… a specialized market (Merriam-Webster). You have to be smart enough to figure out the right niche. If you don’t know your niche yet, don’t worry about it. Just be you. Stay true to yourself. Stay true to your music. Remember Milli Vanilli? Nobody likes fakes.
Organization and common sense tells you not to waste time telling everybody that knows you about your gig in Huntsville when most of your fans live in Birmingham. Have your email list organized for the right audience. I know I am repeating myself, but your email list and your website should be your most prized possessions. They should be able to do what you want them to do. You should be able to notify local print publications and radio stations in any town that you play with one click. If you are releasing a single, it should go to your email list and media with one click.
You should have an up to date promo pack as well as an EPK. I receive a huge amount of information from a huge amount of artists from all over the world, as does every other writer, radio station, entertainment website and even your fans. Even being besieged the way we are, great music stands out.
I have found that many of you do very well in promoting yourself to your fans. I also find that many of you fear direct contact with music business professionals and the media. Here is the secret; it is our job to promote music artists. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Alabama Fight Songs and Ringtones By Norm Butler

Alabama fight song ringtones were written to celebrate the victorious moments of Alabama's success over Washington in 1926. After a wonderful success, the student newspaper of that time, 'The Rammer Jammer' arranged a contest to write a best cheer song for University. Several people submitted their composition but the winning entry adopted as a University song was "Yea Alabama".
The Yea Alabama is a popular ringtone that many college students enjoy as their new tune. Ethelred Lundy (Epp) Sykes wrote this wonderful song. He was a student of music department of Alabama University. This song was first time played by million-dollar band on the event of University football games. This opening of the game was much popular in those days. During the year 1950, an album was released for football songs and this fight song was played in this album as the Dixieland jazz version of the cheer of Alabama University.
This new version of the ringtone was played extensively around the country in the next two decades. This album was late released with the name 'Touchdown'.
Alabama fight song ringtones were also used as the theme music of the 'Bear Bryant Show'. During 20's and 30's, the song achieved so much popularity and likeness. The last words of Alabama University fight song had become the cheer for victory and greeting during University games events.
This cheer was the symbol of success and had been played even at any significant even in University. This song was the message for courage and firm determination to win a game in life. These ringtones are very popular among university students and on some of websites; these ringtones are available online. You just needs couple of clicks to downloads.
Download Fight Song Ringtones Now for Alabama.

Article Source:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Who Wants To Work? by Walt Aldridge

We are proud to announce that over next next few months we will have music business professionals sharing their knowledge with you. Our first guest blogger, Walt Aldridge, comes from Florence, Alabama. Walt is an musician, singer, songwriter, engineer and record producer. He has written dozens of hit Country songs including the Number One hits "(There's) No Gettin' Over Me" by Ronnie Milsap (1981), "Holding Her and Loving You" by Earl Thomas Conley (1982), "Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde" by Travis Tritt (2000), and "I Loved Her First" (2006) - recorded by Heartland.[1] He is listed as a "Music Achiever" by the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, which is a precursor to future induction, and has been awarded a star on their Walk of Fame. In the late 1980s, Aldridge also sang lead vocals in the band The Shooters, a country band which charted seven singles for Epic Records. Aldridge is an alumnus of the University of North Alabama, and has recently signed back on to teach at UNA in the Entertainment Industry Program in the Fall of 2011. (Wikipedia)

Who Wants To Work?

It’s amazing to me how many writers I bump into have not made the connection that success in the music business is, in many ways, similar to the formula for success in any business: have a knack for it and work TWICE as hard as your competitors. Forget the notion that someone is going to give you some little key that will unlock the treasure troves of global success with your music!

Three components to having success are:

1)    Talent- God given
2)    Luck- also God given
3)    Work- the only thing you can really control

How should you approach writing as a job?

1)    Form a mission statement- this should be a short and concise sentence of no more than 30 words that capsulates what you want to accomplish with writing. E.g. “I want to learn to better express myself by using my unique musical gifts”, “I want to make my living writing songs for the country market”. Make sure that it is within your power to control the possibility of achieving the mission. Also, try not to make it too general like “I want to be a better writer”. It should NOT be “I want to write a hit song” or “I want to be ASCAP’s writer of the year”. These missions lean heavily upon all three components of success and are not controllable by you or anyone. All your decisions that you are faced with about your writing will use this statement as a yardstick..

I want to write as many songs as  possible that are within commercially accepted parameters for country radio yet that embody the uniqueness of my outlook on life and music.

2)    Time allocation- You will need to plan your weeks ahead of time rather than just waiting for the muse to visit. This is because you must be  writer and publisher as you get going.
a)     Spend 60% of your time available for the week writing. This is sitting down and slugging it out time.
b)    Spend 20% rewriting, editing and collecting ideas and thoughts for your next week. You may find going to a library and reading trade magazines and other articles gives you a thought. Remember- great songs are usually not only written but also rewritten. Make sure after you’ve had a few days to back away from your work that it makes sense and that you have said what you thought you were saying.
c)     The other 20% should be used promoting your songs. This may be done by mailings and writers nights but is most effective with meetings. Meetings also give you a chance to hear what other people say is going on or what their upcoming needs are. You also will get better feedback on songs. Everybody loves everything you play at a writer’s night.

   For you math whizzes, this breaks down to 3 days of writing, one day of rewriting and one of meetings, given a 5 day work week. It may be that you divide your time in a less rigid way, though.

3)    The rule of four- Write 4 songs. Write 4 more. Then 4 more. Then 4 more. At this   
           point select your favorite 4 of the 16 and demo them to the best of your ability.
          These are what will make up your pitch package. While you are promoting these
           songs you should start the process again. Learn to walk away from the other ones.
           If they are not interesting enough to set themselves apart in YOUR judgment they
           won’t be anyone else’s picks either.

   I would never advise writers to hurry through the process. However, my experience tells me that most of you are too entangled in songs you have already written. Sometimes this impedes your getting on to that song that is going to be a standout. All writers have songs that have not been noticed as much as we feel they should be. Welcome to the experience of being an artist!
   Always remember that you write a hit the same way you write a flop. You must go through the process over and over. Show up and give yourself a chance for today to be the day. Get on to the next one! Publishers are looking for writers- not songs….

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Music Investors! by Jerry W. Henry

Music Investors!     by Jerry W. Henry
I know two singer/songwriters types that have been together for 7 years now. They are good at what they do and had always seemed to be happy doing what they do. I last saw them about a year and a half ago. They had taken on a one-man- investor/manager/booker that had given them some money and was booking them on a cross-country tour. After the glitter worn off, they found themselves controlled by this one-man-investor/manager/booker. They now are in a situation where their percentage of what they make is not enough to pay back the loan he gave them.

They didn’t read the fine print. They knew that they were giving up a percentage of their business. They also realized they were also giving up some their autonomy. But they didn’t realize how much.
Before you get into a similar situation make sure you are clear on the following points before you sign.

To what extent will the investor be in your business decisions?

Do your business philosophies agree?

Is the money an investment or a loan?

My best advice would be to hire a music attorney.

Another consideration is experience in the music business.  Dealing with a professional with a long history in the music business could be great for you. Working with an investor that only wants to invest and sit back and wait until you “make it” would be a Godsend. An investor that wants to be involved can be good or bad.  Just make sure that you understand his involvement.
This is a new day in music. You are in control.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

‘70’s by Jerry W. Henry

In my mind, I can see myself back in the ‘70’s. I am wearing bellbottom jeans and a shirt with large graphics, flip-flops. I of course have sideburns and long hair. I never wore platform shoes or leisure suits. I get into my car with retracting headlights, opera windows and an 8-track tape player. The really good music stopped in 1972 and it was disco time. The hippie days were over. Many of the "radical" ideas of the 60's gained wider acceptance in the new decade, and were mainstreamed into American life and culture.
It was the time for mood rings, lava lamps, Rubik’s cube, smiley face stickers, pet rocks, ‘Far Out,’ floppy disc and VCR’s. The first “Earth Day” was in ‘70. Watergate happened in 1972 and the Roe v. Wade decision was in ‘73. South Vietnam fell to Communist forces of North Vietnam in ‘75. Our nation’s 200th anniversary was in ’76. Jonestown mass suicide occurred in ’78. Three Mile Island leak was in ’79. Names in the news were Cesar Chavez, Shirley Chisholm, Patty Hearst, Jesse Jackson, George McGovern, Karen Silkwood, George Wallace and Andrew Young.
Rock & Roll became soft rock, hard rock, folk rock, country rock, punk rock, shock rock and progressive rock. The Beatles broke up and Elvis died.
On January 1, 1970 Jimi Hendrix rocks in the new year -- and the new decade -- by debuting his Band of Gypsys at a New Year's Eve show at Filmore East. The concert is recorded and released on his Band of Gypsys album. The #1 single that week was Someday We'll Be Together by Diana Ross & The Supremes.
On December 31, 1979 The Jefferson Starship's New Year's Eve concert at X's night club in San Francisco is broadcast over radio to much of the Western world. The #1 single that week was Le Freak by Chic.
In between, the best selling artists of the decade in the US: Elton John, followed by Paul McCartney, Bee Gees, Carpenters, the Jackson 5 and Mike Oldfield who released Tubular Bells that went to number one and sold over 137 million copies. Worldwide, the best selling group of the ‘70’s was ABBA.
During the ‘70’s I lived in Panama City Beach, Florida. I owned surfboard/t-shirt shops, called Surf Hut, and a large screen-printing company Adcraft. I was also a concert promoter that brought music acts to the city auditoriums along the Gulf Coast. Most of the garage bands from Alabama I saw in the clubs on the beach such as the Breakers, Old Dutch, Old Hickory, and Cork & Bottle/Red Rooster.
For me much of the ‘70’s was a blur. Not only was I drinking heavy, I was also smoking as much Mexican pot as my lungs could inhale. In spite of myself I was very successful in business. I surrounded myself with talented dedicated people. If I remember anything about that decade it would be how social drugs were.