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The Music Industry: 101

Last weekend, at around 6:30am I was listening to our local NPR station.  I was a little surprised - I mean, it was so early in the morning - what typical musician would be awake to hear this?.  Still it was a treat to hear such a fabulous program being broadcast about the music industry.  

The show was "On the Media" and the program's individual segments are downloadable/ streamable/ you name it from their website.  This program was packed with so much info, I feel it could be repackaged and sold as a college level self study seminar course. Add a research component to this material, and you could end up with some really forward thinking, issues - aware musicians with a better grasp of the business of making music. 

They were talking about file sharing, mash-ups, fair use and copyright and just before I stopped listening (I was meeting some friends for an early morning run - that's why I was awake so early!) they were talking about the concert industry and the future of concert promotion.  Fascinating stuff!  Some of it was a history lesson, and all of it was just great reporting.  Really captivating.   

I especially enjoyed the discussion of Fair Use and the insights of Duke professor James Boyle, so I've posted the audio from that segment below:

They Say That I Stole This

Twenty years ago a series of lawsuits criminalized the hip-hop sampling of artists like Hank Shocklee and Public Enemy. And yet, two decades later, artists like Girl Talk have found success breaking those same sampling laws. OTM producer Jamie York talks to Girl Talk, Shocklee and Duke Law professor James Boyle about two decades of sampling - on both sides of the law.

The segment Played Out dealt with the live music industry. I was fascinated to learn more about the changes that have made concert promotion the giant behemoth that it is today.  And it made me think if new models (unconventional venues) and a new scale (house concerts) will replace all the consolidation and mergers taking place. 

The segment Charting the Charts brought back memories of when SoundScan became so accurate that it changed the face of Billboard almost literally over night.  

CHRIS MOLANPHY:  "The act that SoundScan arguably made was Garth Brooks.  The very first week SoundScan came online, his then current album, No Fences, shot into the top 10. It’s widely perceived that the advent of truly accurate counting allowed the industry to perceive just how popular he was for the first time and promote him accordingly."

Sixpence's first manager used to work at a record store and had all these stories about Soundscan and how artists and labels would try to inflate their sales numbers. And then later I remember hearing stories from our road manager about the BDS system that could accurately track airplay and how those numbers were being used to determine and help the promotional strategy (to some extent) for Sixpence.  And I think because of this new and more accurate reporting on the part of Soundscan, the music industry was able to finally see that the Christian/ Gospel Music Industry was a bigger "business" than anyone had originally thought.  

I'd say if you've got the time - go to the On the Media website and download all these segments to your computer or iPod.  To get this kind of perspective of the music industry and it's current issues is a real treat.

Tricked Out Tuesdays

I bet you thought I forgot about you today.  Well, I almost did.  I was busy this morning having breakfast and playing music with Patrick from Luego, and then got a call from the guy (Neil Young!) who I watched Napoleon Dynamite with the first time (on a break while recording his band's debut) who is now working at Plantation Studios down in Charleston. Which then got me listening to Need to Breathe, and then inspiration struck!  So I now present to you today's loop of funky (I hope you think it's the good kind of funky) goodness...Keep in mind the "kick" sound is the back beat...so when you hear the kick - it's on 2 and 4 - not 1 and 3.

All right everybody!  "Hear" you go:

Loop of the Day for Oct. 27

Tricked Out Tuesdays

Loop of the Day for Oct. 20

Today's installment is not so much a loop as it is a sonic swath of hand drum goodness.  Weighing in at  - oh I don't know - somewhere around less than a minute is me playing some ( yes!  LIVE DRUMS y'all! ) various size Djembe/ Hand Drums to create a simple a Tumbao pattern of sorts.  I haven't tried to loop this one, so I don't know if it will be as simple to cut and paste as (hopefully) the rest have been.  But if it isn't, I think it's at least consistent enough to cut it up and create your own loop with it.  Again, I hope that this simple drum groove can serve as inspiration or the starting nugget of your next most awesome creation.  So get to it!  Here's to a creative day for us all! 

Tricked Out Tuesdays

Welcome to another wonderful Tuesday of pure loopiness.  This weeks installment sounds like it could've been on a Basia record from the 80's.  Anybody remember her?  Hmm. 

Well...let this be your inspiration for something creating some awesome music...Cheers!  (Oh, and it clocks in at 86 bpm.  For those of you interested in such things...)

Loop of the Day for October 13

Sentimentality vs Christianity

I recently met the guys behind "The Work of the People" and really enjoyed speaking with them about art and theology, and what it means to be an artist attempting to live out this call that we feel has been placed on our lives.  They were encouraging and I felt some of my own feelings and thoughts echoed in their observations of what it means to be a working artist, supporting your family and desiring to create "good" work. They were recently in town to film interviews with Tim Conder and Stanley Hauerwas (and this awesome artist).  I've enjoyed viewing the videos on their site and find many of them challenging and provocative.  For example here is one of the interviews they did with Stanley - about Sentimentality...(and watch out - there is some offensive language being used).   

"The deepest enemy to Christianity is not Atheism, it's Sentimentality" - Stanley Hauerwas

Sentimentality from The Work Of The People on Vimeo.

Hallelujah Train: Live Recording in Durham!

From the program notes:

Conceived by Brian, the project celebrates his father's nearly 50 year history as the pastor of the Zion Baptist Church in Shreveport, LA.

At the concert tonight, when Brian took the mic he said something to the effect of:  he and his manager had approached Duke about this, and Duke funded the entire project.  In attendance were:

  • Brady Blade Sr.
  • Brian Blade
  • Brady Blade Jr.
  • Daniel Lanois
  • Greg Liesz
  • Buddy Miller
  • Aaron Embry
  • Chris Thomas
  • plus Ada Small, the Zion Baptist Church Choir (25- 30 people?) and Ms. Sereca Henderson (directing the choir and playing an awesome Hammond Organ) and Kelly Jones, bgv's.

I knew that they were going to be filming this but it didn't cross my mind tonight until I walked past the sound board and saw Daniel Lanois talking to the House Engineer (Adam - who I met later after the show), that they were recording this show for a future CD release.  Adam confirmed they were tracking the whole thing to RADAR, and you could tell with all the mics on stage that this was more than your typical live show.  At one point, Daniel Lanois got up and went to the piano to adjust the angle of the vocal mic Ada Small was singing into.  Brian Blade was up between songs at one point too, adjusting the overhead mics being used by the choir.

Seeing Brian and Brady play together was refreshing, and seeing Brian play was simply amazing.  I remarked to my friend Jamie after the show that it seemed the Bass Player did alot of the "holding down" of the groove, so that Brian was free to play outside the bounds of a traditional time keeping role.  At times it was as if Brian was playing parts that felt more orchestrated and composed.  And he was able to respond to subtle changes in the dynamics and direction the songs were going in.  Plus he and Brady just seemed to be having a whole lot of fun!  The joy on the stage was apparent and the two of them seemed to be having a blast. 

Many of the songs felt as if they were being pushed and kneaded like a big lump of dough.  The music felt as if it was being arranged, stretched and pulled while also being directed in seemingly equal parts by Chris Thomas on bass, Sereca Henderson on the organ, and of course Brady Blade Sr "preaching" and leading through the songs with hand jestures, foot movements and his vocal inflections.  I felt as if a "moment" was being created with every song...that this night was special and never to be repeated.  My guess is that tomorrow's performance will have that same "live" and improvised yet structured feel to it as well.

The whole night was awesome, but some highlights for me were:

Ada Small playing piano and singing

Watching the interplay between Chris Thomas and Brian Blade

Seeing the look in Daniel Lanois eyes while watching Greg Leisz play acoustic slide guitar

Buddy Miller's performance of "Wide River to Cross"

The "duet" between Brady Blade Sr. and Daniel Lanois (with Kelly Jones holding the mic so she and Daniel could share vocals)

Seeing the consistency and dynamics of Brian Blade's playing...watching how he used his kick drum, and his use of brushes and sticks.  Plus, those cymbals he and Brady used sounded so beautiful.  Adam (the sound guy) said Brady was using an Istanbul 24" with 60's era Zildjian A's while Brian was using an old 60's Zildjian ride, some old 15" 60's era Zildjian A's and a 24" Italian Cymbal (I can't remember the name, but this cymbal sounded AMAZING).

As we were coming down the stairs from the Balcony, we found the room where the musicians were all hanging out after the show.  I reconnected with Buddy Miller, who I had recorded with many years ago back in Nashville, and we were able to catch up a bit.  I got to meet Daniel Lanois and Brian Blade and am just blown away at the fact that all these guys were in town playing together and I GOT TO SEE IT!  Amazing stuff.  Totally inspiring.  I can only imagine when this project comes out on CD/ Vinyl/ Download or what have you...it's going to be a great joy to listen to it all again.  And I'm looking forward to seeing the film too!

By the way here are more opportunities to hear and experience the "Hallelujah Train":

Sunday morning (Oct. 11) you can go hear Pastor Brady Blade Sr. preach on Psalm 23 at 10:00am and then later tomorrow afternoon, you can attend the concert again at 5:00pm.  All the musicians will be playing during the Sunday service as well.  Ever want to hear how Daniel Lanois would play a "church gig?"  Well now's your chance!

On Monday (Oct. 12) there is a brown bag lunch conversation happening between Brian Blade and Melvin Butler from 12:30 - 1:30pm in the Alumni Memorial Commons Room in the Duke Divinity School.

Later that day there will be a visit to Prof. John Brown's "Intro to Jazz Course" and Prof. Rupprecht's "Music Theory 65 Course" from 4:25 - 5:40pm in White 107 on Duke's East Campus

And that evening from 6:30 - 8:00pm there will be a listening session and conversation with Brian Blade and Melvin Butler at the Pinhook Bar, 117 W. Main St. in Durham.

On Tuesday (Oct. 13) Brian and Melvin will be visiting Prof. Charles Piot's "Religion in African Diaspora Course" in Friedl 240 (between Aycock and Wilson on Duke's East Campus) and later from 4:00 - 5:30pm there will be a conversation and demonstration by Brian and Melvin at the North Carolina Central University Music Building.

Read more about it via Duke's Office of News and Communication

or via The Herald Sun

What the Church stands to lose...

When asked, "What does the church stand to lose if it doesn't embrace the arts/ artists?"  she answered (provocatively) "Jesus."  The question was being asked by The Work of the People and "she" was (and is) Carole Baker: a visual artist and Research Associate at Duke Divinity School (who also happens to be my wife!). And yes, that is one of her paintings (icons) you see in the background there.

Want to know more about Carole Baker Visual Artist?  Here you go: Trained as a theologian and working with the tangible, Carole creates paintings and installations that aim to prompt a theological encounter with the viewer. Her installation entitled "Mary: The Paper Doll Project" continues to exhibit locally and will begin traveling nationally in 2011. Carole's next project, "The Confessional", is set to open in February 2010. For more information about Carole or her work contact her at carole.baker@duke.edu.

Reclaiming The Material Gifts from The Work Of The People on Vimeo.

Tricked Out Tuesdays

Once again, a free loop for you!

This one is a bit tricked out (aka "extremely busy")...I used Logic + Toontrack's Superior Drummer and then put a bit of Supatrigga on the tracks to get the beat displacement thing going.  The file is an mp3 this time (I think the others have been AIFF - for those of you keeping score at home).  I'm not sure if that will make a big difference.  BPM is at 146.  My thought is that you could pan this loop to one side or the other and make a more simple beat of your own, to drive your song, as I don't think you would want to make this loop the main beat for too long.  Or you could use this loop as a short fill.  Enjoy!

Loop of the Day for Oct 6

Hire Me!

  • I'm currently accepting new projects.  Please Contact Me for work inquiries.  I look forward to hearing from you!

My Drumming On CD

  • Sixpence None the Richer: This Beautiful Mess

    Sixpence None the Richer: This Beautiful Mess
    The second CD Sixpence recorded was my first with the band. We tracked the rhythm tracks in 4 days at Omni Sound studios in Nashville. Armand John Petri produced and many fans say that this is their favorite Sixpence album.

  • Sixpence None The Richer: Sixpence None The Richer

    Sixpence None The Richer: Sixpence None The Richer
    The Grammy nominated, RIAA Certified Platinum selling album that featured the breakout hit, "Kiss Me." Produced by Steve Taylor and wonderfully engineered and mixed by Russ Long, with additional mixing by Bob Clearmountain. The follow-up hit, "There She Goes" was also later added to this album.

  • Sixpence None the Richer: The Best of Sixpence None the Richer

    Sixpence None the Richer: The Best of Sixpence None the Richer
    Includes the hits "Kiss Me," "There She Goes," and "Breathe Your Name" and many other of the songs I played on and helped promote during my 7+ years with the band.

  • Sixpence None the Richer: Tickets for a Prayer Wheel

    Sixpence None the Richer: Tickets for a Prayer Wheel
    Out-takes and B-Sides from Sixpence's "This Beautiful Mess" CD. There were some extended jams, a live track, some moody percussion and even a re-mix done by friend and former roommate, Sal Salvador. Not only does this CD feature my drumming, and vocals(!), but I make my producing debut on this album with an angst-filled vibey take on an old Patsy Cline song.

  • Sixpence None the Richer: Mega 3 Collection

    Sixpence None the Richer: Mega 3 Collection
    Includes Sixpence's first 3 CD's. Of these 3 CD's my drumming only appears on the 2nd and 3rd disc. The first CD featured the drumming of Chris Dodds, one of my favorite people and drummers.

  • Sixpence None the Richer: There She Goes

    Sixpence None the Richer: There She Goes
    CD single of the 11th hour addition to Sixpence's self-titled album which helped solidify Sixpence as a legitmate "Breakthrough Artist" according to R&R magazine. The song went on to become a Top 10 Single with an appealing video (featuring "Saving Private Ryan" star, Adam Goldberg), by director and good friend of the band, Brandon Dickerson.

  • Sixpence None the Richer: Breathe Your Name / Northern Lights

    Sixpence None the Richer: Breathe Your Name / Northern Lights
    CD single of the Top 20 hit, Breathe Your Name w/ non-album track Northern Lights, from Sixpence's Divine Discontent record. Both songs feature my drumming.

  • Sixpence None the Richer: Collage: A Portrait of Their Best

    Sixpence None the Richer: Collage: A Portrait of Their Best
    A compilation of the best tracks from the band's REX years. And yes, that's me in the corner with the beard and glasses.

  • Sixpence None the Richer: Kiss Me

    Sixpence None the Richer: Kiss Me
    Imported Single of the most played song from the year 2000. This song features my drumming and went to the top of the charts in over 10 countries (US, UK, Canada, Israel, Japan, etc...). I also appeared in all the videos and TV appearances that helped promote this song. Interesting side note: this song was chosen by Britain's Royal Family to be played for over 200 Million viewers during Prince Edward's 1999 wedding.

  • Sixpence None the Richer: I Can't Catch You

    Sixpence None the Richer: I Can't Catch You
    Import Single of a song from the band's self-titled album. This was one of the songs Bob Clearmountain mixed and it was honor to have him work his magic on my drum tracks!

  • ...The Basics: Grow
    I was really happy how this record turned out. An honest, well produced CD by a couple of North Carolina's (and Northern California's) best songwriters. I also took the photos that appear in the CD booklet.
  • [Various Artists]: City on a Hill: Collection

    [Various Artists]: City on a Hill: Collection
    I played on the first City on a Hill CD as well as a track or two on the second CD.

  • [Various Artists]: Return Of The Grievous Angel: Tribute To Gram Parsons

    [Various Artists]: Return Of The Grievous Angel: Tribute To Gram Parsons
    I played drums with the Rolling Creek Dippers, aka: Buddy and Julie Miller, Victoria Williams, Mark Olsen, Jim Lauderdale.

  • [Various Artists]: Roaring Lambs

    [Various Artists]: Roaring Lambs
    I played drums with Sixpence None the Richer, Emmylou Harris, Steve Taylor and percussion with Burlap to Cashmere on this CD.

  • [Various Artists]: Exodus

    [Various Artists]: Exodus
    I played with Sixpence None the Richer, Michael W. Smith, and Kenny Meeks on this CD.

  • Kim Taylor: So Black, So Bright

    Kim Taylor: So Black, So Bright
    I played drums on this CD that was produced by Jack Henderson. This is one of my favorite projects to have played on. Some of the tracks feature Linford and Karin from Over the Rhine as well.

  • Frankly Scarlet: Stories I've Heard
    I played and recorded with this band back when I lived in Dallas. We even shot a video...with the Dallas skyline as our backdrop.
  • [Various Artists]: Making God Smile: An Artists' Tribute to the Songs of Beach Boy Brian Wilson

    [Various Artists]: Making God Smile: An Artists' Tribute to the Songs of Beach Boy Brian Wilson
    I played drums and percussion (timpani, chimes, beat box) on Jason Harrod's version of "In My Room" for this Brian Wilson tribute album.

  • Rebecca St. James: Transform

    Rebecca St. James: Transform
    I played on a track produced by Matt Bronlewee, that featured the London Symphony Orchestra and some very "Bjork" sounding vocals by Rebecca. I think we did about 40 tracks of various percussion overdubs for this track too.

  • [Various Artists]: Never Say Dinosaur

    [Various Artists]: Never Say Dinosaur
    My first time to work with producer Brent Bourgeois and one of my first times in the studio with Sixpence. I borrowed a whole bunch of percussion from Steve Hindalong and had a great time overdubbing frame drums, rattan shakers and the like. The track ended up sounding very Daniel Lanois-ish with some Peter Gabriel-esq type layers thrown in for good measure.

  • Phantasmic: Fluffy Vs. Phantasmic
    "Rainy Day Assembly" appears on this record. This out-take from Sixpence's "This Beautiful Mess" session was used by Tess Wiley (aka, Phantasmic) and features shaker performed by percussion wiz Lalo Davila.
  • Honey: Lost on You
    I played on two tracks from this record produced by Dan and Steve from Jars of Clay.
  • [various artists]: Here On Earth (2000 Film)

    [various artists]: Here On Earth (2000 Film)
    This Soundtrack album features two songs I did with Sixpence, one a cover of a Sam Phillips/ T-Bone Burnett song: "I Need Love" and the other, the opening track ("We Have Forgotten") from Sixpence's self-titled record.

  • [various artists]: Snow Day: Music From The Motion Picture

    [various artists]: Snow Day: Music From The Motion Picture
    Sixpence's version of The La's tune, "There She Goes" is on this soundtrack album. And yes, I'm playing drums on that song...

  • [various artists]: Bounce: Music from and Inspired by the Miramax Motion Picture (2000 film)

    [various artists]: Bounce: Music from and Inspired by the Miramax Motion Picture (2000 film)
    Another song ("Love") I did with Sixpence from their self-titled album, appears on this soundtrack. Mark Nash and I played a drum duet of sorts to get the primal heavy-handed approach needed for this wonderful song.

  • [various artists]: Dick

    [various artists]: Dick
    One of my favorite tracks. Everytime I hear this song ("Dancing Queen"), I can't help but think of Alan Partridge.

  • Sixpence None the Richer: Divine Discontent

    Sixpence None the Richer: Divine Discontent
    Even though I quit playing with the band in 2001, the bulk of this record was recorded in 2000, and so my playing is featured on more than half the tracks on this record. Produced by Paul Fox, beautifully engineered by Mark Chevalier and mixed by Tom Lord-Alge.

  • Sixpence None the Richer: The Early Years

    Sixpence None the Richer: The Early Years
    New Sixpence compilation from the REX years. Includes songs and b-sides from the early work I recorded with Sixpence - pre "Kiss Me" era.

  • Steve Hindalong, et.al: City on a Hill: Reflections on Our Spiritual Journey (Ccm Book)

    Steve Hindalong, et.al: City on a Hill: Reflections on Our Spiritual Journey (Ccm Book)
    Okay, this is a book. But I wrote the first essay that appears in the book and took all the photos that appear as well. You can actually read my essay by clicking this link and "looking inside the book." Fun, huh?

  • Various Artists: Pointfolio 1.0

    Various Artists: Pointfolio 1.0
    A radio station compilation featuring in-studio and concert live cuts. Includes, Sixpence doing "Kiss Me"(with me on drums), and Fleming and John's "Ugly Girl", Dido, BareNaked Ladies, etc.

  • : Plumb

    Loops, fragments of songs and lots of percussion is what I remember from this session. Producer Dan Haseltine and Matt Bronlewee made this a fun and creative time in the studio. It was great to be a part of the debut album of such a phenomenal artist (am I gushing to much here?).

  • [various Artists] : Felicity: Senior Year (tv soundtrack)

    [various Artists] : Felicity: Senior Year (tv soundtrack)
    Features "Melody of You" a beautiful song by Sixpence None the Richer that I played drums on and was featured on the series final episode (I think).