Saturday, June 30, 2012

Music Reviews in today’s music world. By Jerry W. Henry

Music Reviews in today’s music world.     By Jerry W. Henry

Music reviews keep you posted on new artists or bands. Seems simple enough, right? I have a need to introduce you to new artists or established artists with new material. Reviews will keep you current in this big world of music. The importance of music is different in every individual's life. I know you are not as immersed in music to the degree that I am, but regardless if you are reading this, you are a music lover.

I’m not making any money out of promoting hot new artists or bands. I do it because of my love for music! I love music but I don’t love bad music. Yes, I said it, not all music is good. I listen to the bad stuff but don’t review it. I see no need in perpetuating the bad. I truly try to be as honest as possible. Plus, most reputable magazines and newspapers are careful not to mislead.

Back when musical taste was less fragmented, a review was more likely to influence buying decisions. Back then, music reviews were more critical. Today, I am asked, almost daily, why I didn’t review a certain release.  There are so many music releases that even Pitchfork can only cover a small fraction of them. I try to review as many local artists as possible in the Tannehill Trader, an Alternative Publication with a Hometown Appeal. I do reviews for other publications but none other locally.

An album has to make a “splash” of some kind to even get reviewed. Often, that “splash” has to do with the album being good. I am told that music reviewers of Top 40 music are fewer in numbers these days and certainly less influential than those of us who write about music that sells poorly. We are effectively exploiting subcultures.

These days we are writing a different type of review than the ones designed to answer the question “should I buy it?” Today we review to get you interested in something with which you are unfamiliar. A music review usually tells you that if you like A then you should check out B.
I may be the first to admit; music reviewers are likely to only review music they think they’ll like. Music reviewers are generally part of the music scene and one of the reasons music reviews on a local level are so glowingly positive, especially in major cities. Many just don’t bother reviewing the bad bands. It all comes down to why waste time talking about what to not listen to when there is such a massive number of bands worth hearing?

 Music journalism has always been a very expressive medium as compared to news, sports, editorials and such. Humans are good at language and plenty of us appreciate it when it's used to express our likes and loves. If done well, it rises to the top and actually gets read.

What do readers want? Reviews without corporate interests? Honesty? Freshness? Passion? A good read? Is it real? Can I relate? Reviewers readily understand reviews are generally read to reinforce opinions.

What do I want? I want more people to hear more music. I write reviews because I love music. I like writing and I like being able to express myself with matters of music.  I don’t write reviews to help bands (although that is a by-product), I write reviews because I feel compelled to do so. I enjoy creating something that has consumed me since puberty. Reviews require an amount of hard work, raw skill, discipline and integrity. I feel reviews are needed. I am good at it.

There are less young people becoming music journalists. The reason is simple there is less media with less payroll than days gone by. The lack of inspiration for young writers plays a role in the type of music writers we will see in the future.

Without music critics there is no community experience. Which would mean we are talking to ever decreasing circles. The result; we become unfocused. No longer will we see music as a potentially revolutionary social force.

Published in Tannehill Trader June 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ken Randolph sings Tribute To A Soldier

Alabama Music goes to Mike Brannon's Executive Services Party at Chuck's Fish in downtown Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Ken Randolph and Cooter Brown provided the music entertainment for the night. This video shows Ken sing "Tribute To A Soldier" which he played at the White House for President Bush.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Royal and Toulouse at Workplay 2

Alabama Music goes to Workplay in Birmingham, Alabama to experience Royal & Toulouse. This band is creative with a mixed bag of different sounds which makes for a great listen. Singing duties are in the capable hands of Milyn Satterfield with her dynamic delivery. This is a band worth finding.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Royal & Toulouse play Workplay 1

Alabama Music goes to Workplay in Birmingham, Alabama to experience Royal & Toulouse with singer Milyn Satterfield.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Jason Isbell talks about songwriting

Alabama Music goes to Aly Stephens Center in Birmingham, Alabama to hear Jason Isbell talk about songwriting. He answered all questions afterward including his days with the Drive-By Truckers. Excellent advice through out. Here is a little bit at the beginning.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

NSAI Birmingham welcome new songwriters

Alabama Music goes to the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) Birmingham chapter on a Monday night (6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m) at Moe's BBQ 2501 Rocky Ridge Rd.Vestavia Hills, AL 35243. Meetings are once a month.

Contact info: Coordinator: Gary Furr Phone: 205-790-4377 Email:

Coordinator: Garland Burnette Phone: 205-482-7685 Email:

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mark Sherrill sings at Yellowhammer Inn

Alabama Music goes to see singer/songwriter, Mark Sherrill, sing at the Yellowhammer Inn. Mark has been writing and producing hit songs for over 30 years. His songs have been recorded by George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Jon Anderson, Paul Anka, Kenny Rodgers and many other music legends. His hit song "Ol' Red" was a Top 20 Hit and was recorded by Blake Shelton.
The Yellowhammer Inn presents talent every 3rd Wednesday of every month from March through October, 2012 beginning at 6PM on the back deck of Tuscaloosa's Unique Retreat. The Yellowhammer Inn is located at 2700 Yacht Club Way, North River, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 205-343-4213

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ralph Soul Jackson sings Huckle Buck Woman

Alabama's Ralph "Soul" Jackson sings and comments on his "Huckle-Buck Woman" at a recent Dick Cooper party. Dick lives on Shoals Creek in a place that is perfect for parties. We all owe Dick Cooper for his support in this world of music.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton at Moonlight on the Mountain

Alabama Music goes to Moonlight on the Mountain to see Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton perform. These former Capricorn Records veterans played to a packed house. This video showcases a Topper Price song "Some Day I'm Going To Take You Home. "Moonlight on the Mountain is in the Bluff Park area of Birmingham, Alabama. A truly great listening room.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

More Alabama Music Reviews. by Jerry W. Henry

Again, Please tell these folks about their reviews.
Thanks again, Jerry

Veteran Alabama power-trio, Microwave Dave & The Nukes, has released Last Time I Saw You (self-released) which is their 7th release. Why these guys aren’t on a label like Alligator is beyond me. The Nukes have been around since 1989. Back then they were backing Bo Diddley and Jerry “Boogie” McCain. Microwave Dave Gallaher was born in Chicago, raised in Texas, served in Viet Nam, attended Berklee School of Music, mentored by Johnny Shines and lives in Huntsville. Big time author Stephen King has written about Microwave Dave: “...That electric slide guitar will change your way of life.” Believe King and I, this is killer contemporary blues. Available at CDBaby and Amazon. {Published-Tannehill Trader March 2012}

Sylacauga, Alabama power trio, Beitthemeans, has released Head Held High (Ol Elegante) with it’s all things Southern alternative rock. Bassist Casey Wilson, drummer Nathan Kelley and singer/guitarist Josh Jones partnered with Birmingham’s Ol Elegante studios and producer Lester Nuby (Verbena & Vulture Whale) for this outing. “They’re Southern rock, no doubt, but with a hint of the occult,” Nuby says. “And, lyrically it’s completely truthful...singing songs about salvation and sin, about getting by in crazy, small-town Alabama.” Head Held High is Southern alternative rock with an attitude and some profanity. {Published-Tannehill Trader April 2012}

Birmingham, Alabama’s Jackie Lo (Jacklyn Loquidis Hamric) has released, Until I’m A Ghost (Ol Elegante) which is her debut solo project. Jackie Lo has played with Twinside, Sunny So Brite and her all-girl group One Minute GO in the past. She wrote all the songs on Until I’m A Ghost and does the vocals as well as play guitar. She picked Lester Nuby to produce this fine rock/pop album. {Published-Tannehill Trader April 2012}

Birmingham, Alabama’s Bert Trotman has released Fingerstyle (Frozenhen) which is 10 laid back acoustic instrumental tracks. Fingerstyle is beautiful through out, beautifully composed songs that are beautifully played. Bert is a guy that is known for his pickin,’ but usually with an electric guitar. Bert is the son of another great musician, Herb. Both can be found at Fretted Instruments in Homewood. {Published-Tannehill Trader April 2012}

Helena, Alabama’s singer/ songwriter, Steve Norris, has released I Just Can’t Help Myself (www. Listening to this true troubadour is always fun and I Just Can’t Help Myself is no exception. Steve adds these 12 songs to his well-crafted catalog that include “BBQ” and “I Just Don’t Look Good Naked Anymore.” Some things get better with age and that includes Steve. {Published-Tannehill Trader April 2012}

I received 11 track songwriter’s demo from Joe Gregg appropriately titled Songs 4 Sale. The songs are country and are in a medium tempo which should be just right for many aspiring artists. These are very good country songs and the only contact info I have is from the demo sender from Graysville, Alabama-jgwinsett@gmail. com {Published-Tannehill Trader May 2012}

Alabama’s Marty Raybon accomplishments including 13 Number 1 singles, CMA, ACM and Grammy Awards. Before Shenandoah, he performed Bluegrass and Gospel music with his family. His latest release, Southern Roots & Branches (Rural Rhythm Records) takes us back to those days. Southern Roots & Branches is songs that includes both previously released and newly recorded material. It’s all bluegrass. {Published-Tannehill Trader May 2012}

Each of us is a product of our exposure. The band members of Tuscaloosa, Alabama based NIGHTFIRES have had decades of exposure to rock and its influences. Those influences manifest themselves layer after layer on their EP release NF ( Their music is a culmination of indie-rock past and present. Very creative in a way most indie-rock bands don’t understand. {Published-Tannehill Trader May 2012}

I met Al & Pashion Lewis at The Fish Market in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. These two are in love. It’s obvious when you meet them and certainly obvious as they sing to each other on their release, Keep The Fire Burning (Alpashionate Music). The liner notes say it best, “Its purpose
is to support the institution of marriage.” They are called the “Love Couple” and after listening you will know how they got that name. Available at CDBaby. {Published-Tannehill Trader June 2012}

In The Pocket has released, The Pocket Project (self-released), which can be described in one word, classy. In The Pocket is some of West Alabama’s finest musicians; Don Dendy, Andy Paxton, Tom Wolfe and John Kliner with additional musicians JK Terrell on percussion and Brad Guin on sax. This is jazz with a lot of influences. An excellent listen in all respects, truly “Classy.” The Pocket Project is available at Oz Music.  {Published-Tannehill Trader June 2012}

Paul Thorn dazzles us again, this time with a collection of covers that you will think are his own. Paul’s release is What The Hell Is Goin On? (Perpetual Obscurity/Thirty Tigers Records). He tells us what is going on with his mix of soul, blues and Southern rock. This is another excellent album from one of this country’s best songwriters who gets to team up with Elvin Bishop on the title track and Delbert McClinton on “Bull Mountain Bridge.” (Paul Thorn records in Sulligent, Alabama.) {Published-Tannehill Trader June 2012}

The self titled release, Shiny Machine (Recite Recordings), is a “melting pot of common and uncommon musical interests.” Tuscaloosa, Alabama based Shiny Machine is Rob Nolan (guitar), Rennie Jackson (bass guitar & vocals), David Rodgers (keyboard), Dwayne Pruitt (drums) and Jim Corriher (guitar). Another damn good band from T-Town. Shiny Machine is available at OZ Music, CDBaby, iTunes and Amazon.  {Published-Tannehill Trader June 2012}

I had the pleasure of seeing The Pyles perform at Dick Cooper’s most recent party. They have released an EP titled, Stranded, which is 3 ukulele powered tracks of americana/country. This EP is truly a great listen. Stranded was produced and engineered by Jerry Masters & Jimmy Nutt and recorded at the NuttHouse in Sheffield, Alabama.  {Published-Tannehill Trader June 2012}

Most know Ken Randolph as lead singer for Cooter Brown. Ken has a release that has been out for some time, “Tribute To A Soldier, his single with Charlie Daniel’s & Jeff Cook. The song pays tribute to all that have fought to make this country free. Ken has played for President Bush in the White House. I feel this song needed more publicity and can be had at iTunes and watched on YouTube.  {Published-Tannehill Trader June 2012}

Alabama Music Reviews. by Jerry W. Henry

 I did not get tear sheets out to some of these people. Please let them know about these reviews.
Thanks, Jerry

Grayson Capps latest The Lost Cause Minstrels (The Royal Potato Family) is titled for his new band after dissolving The Stumpknockers. The Lost Cause Minstrels are made up of the best of the best from the Gulf Coast music scene. The songs are more additions to Capps’ phenomenal storytelling catalog. He is featured in Relix Magazine on newsstands now and it’s just a matter of time before he will be discovered by the rest of this nation. This is another excellent album which in-part must have something to do with him moving back to Alabama. {Published-Tannehill Trader January 2012}

Lisa Mills’ release Tempered In Fire (self-released) is recorded in Super Hi-Fi Analog. This Mississippi lady can sing and her sultry vocals are a mix of blues, gospel, soul and a touch of rock. She toured with Janis Joplin’s band Big Brother and the Holding Company for 3 years. She is not a Joplin imitator, she has a sound all her own. She covers Wet Willie’s “Keep On Smiling” & “Countryside Of Life” and does them proud on both. Lisa Mills has the pipes and interprets the blues as well as anyone in the genre. She lives in Mobile, Alabama now. {Published-Tannehill Trader January 2012}

Scott Ward Band, has released Muscle Shoals Through Decatur (Lucky Dog Records) with it’s well chosen 11 tracks. The Scott Ward Band is on the leading edge of the music revival going on in Muscle Shoals. The songs are all written by Shoals greats. They are joined by Spooner Oldham on keyboards. I count Scott as a friend and appreciate his tireless effort in bringing great music to the masses. The last time we communicated, he told me that he is working on a new project with Johnny Wyker. Available at Pegasus Records in Florence, Criminal Records in Atlanta, Cosmic Debris Records in Anniston, and FYE Stores in Gadsden, Decatur, Mobile, Birmingham, and Hot Springs, Arkansas. {Published-Tannehill Trader February 2012}

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Alabama Blues Machine video

Alabama Music traveled to Memphis to watch Alabama Blues Machine perform for the International Blues Challenge in 2009.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Internet and the Musician continued. By Jerry W. Henry

Last week I posted an article titled “The Internet and the Musician” on this Music: Alabama Blog. I received over 100 comments and more are still trickling in. The majority that responded agreed with the content. But as always there were exceptions. Those with differing views make us think beyond our original mind set. That is good!

Neil Alexander absolutely agreed and passed on a great read at
The vast majority of the response was aimed at the statement I made, “Great music sells itself. (You can quote me on that.)” Chris Dair said, “…. I do agree that great music will sell itself, and great music will survive, but only if it can be heard.”  Stephen Foster wrote, “…. apart from Cumulus and Clear Channel, everybody else (FM/AM/Net) plays what the heck they like. I do radio promotion, and I talk to DJs/PDs all over the world every day, and they listen, and the good stuff plays. I have to be especially careful not to promote even mediocre releases because they just won't fly. There is an abundance of music available via the web, coming from young and old musicians. No need to push anything but great songs and recordings. To me, this is all very good.”
Stephen Wrench wrote, “I like the entire article except the end Unfortunately great music does not sell itself wish it did we have a lot of that it still takes a lot of promotion to expose that great music….” UB added, “I do agree for the most part. I am not so sure about good music selling itself forever; as I have gotten too many great CDs for review purposes that I had never heard of. It perhaps sells itself in the artist's hometown area, but in order to reach a wider audience I believe that it is best to find a way to spread the word. The Internet is a good medium for that once a person or website has gained a reputation….” Natasha James put it this way, “Still you must be able to get people to be aware of your good music. Good music DOES NOT sell itself. In fact, good music has rarely sold itself! You still need promotion, marketing, exposure, advertising...all those avenues, in addition to a great touring schedule….”

Henry Rebellius Blog replied, “I do not agree that great music sells itself, because not every good musician is a great web-designer, blogger, social networker, SEO expert etc. Right now Dali comes to my mind - the genius, which would have been forlorn in his world, when there wasn’t his wife Olga, who handled the business side of his art. If you’re an unknown or young artist, who cannot pay for a web-expert, you’re forlorn in this world. And this scares me. Not for my sake, but for the sake of real good art.”

Michele Wilson-Morris told us, “…the Internet has become the great equalizer, but indie artists must be both exceptional in their music and marketing because they are competing with millions of other artists who have the same dream -- being heard and thought of as being distinctive.” Chef Beercan said, ….If you're also failing online be you 'can't afford a web designer' you're not trying hard enough. If your music is good and has appeal, you will find people willing to work on the project.”

Roger Greer sent us,“….I also agree "good music sells itself." I think one thing stays the same if artists are going the indie route. They must be able to market their self and learn marketing strategies that work for them, which in some cases is not easy to do. But with the Internet, it has definitely made marketing and promoting a lot easier and this is what record labels fear. The major labels are losing a lot of money because of piracy and artists with these new abilities to purchase recording technology. Production and getting yourself out there is not as expensive as it was in the past.”

I think Matt Peter summed it up best, “True enough, but I still think at the end of the day - the cream will find a way to rise to the top.”

I appreciate your comments. I still stand by my statement, “Great music sells itself. (You can quote me on that.)” I have been involved with promoting hundreds of music projects. My experience has taught me that great music sells with the right promotion and anything less takes twice as much promotion resulting in poor or mediocre sells.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Internet and the Musician. By Jerry W. Henry

To truly understand the Internet one needs to read The Long Tail by Chris Anderson. After reading his book, I realized that all things before the Internet were time sensitive. As long as something was a “hit” there was space for it. Once it was not popular there was no space for it. Then came the Internet that made everything available, popular and unpopular alike. Everything had a space.

Before the Internet, in the day of splicing audiotape and duplicating cassettes, we were spending big bucks to get popular enough in hopes of a national distribution deal. It was an expensive proposition from the recording studio to final product. If not promoted properly the cassettes would end up in some musician’s closet forever. Quoting from The Long Tail; ‘the computer and ability for self publishing, whether it’s books, typing in a word processor, recording with a microphone, you didn’t have to go to a studio anymore to record your audio books; video is possible….’

A record label has to sell their products in high numbers in order to profit. We with computers became entrepreneurs. We could now record and had worldwide distribution virtually free. We became part of the long tail. Our music became our niche.

What we do with our niche is the difference between success and failure for our music. Great music sells itself. (You can quote me on that.) But if you have great music and no way of telling the world or a poor attempt at telling the world, you have failed your music.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bo Roberts sings at The Yellowhammer Inn

Alabama Music goes to The Yellowhammer Inn in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to hear singer/songwriter Bo Roberts perform. Bo performed with Mark Sherrill on the back deck which is a great setting. The Yellowhammer Inn presents great talent every 3rd Wednesday of every month from March through October in 2012. It starts at 6PM at Tuscaloosa's Unique Retreat, The Yellowhammer, 2700 Yacht Club Way, North River. It's Free!!!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Shawna P and Adam Tyler Brown at Tiki Bar in Gulf Shores, Alabama

Alabama Music visits Joey's North Shore Grill & Hula Hula Tiki Bar to experience Shawna P and Adam Tyler Brown doing their duet show. Shawna P shows why she is the undeniably Queen of Earth Funk Muzik as she sings Mother Mary Moonshine. This is one of Gulf Shores hot spots year round.