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And now we come to the present.
It wasn't too long after I moved home that I got a call from Joey Herd. I met Joey while we both were at a theatre in Branson. Joey had moved to Nashville, and was trying to convince me to do the same. I kept saying no, until one night in November, I really couldn't think of a reason not to go. So I moved here and am trying to find my place in the music industry.
My journey has taken me through so many twists and turns, and honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way. I have been blessed to have this life. Do I know what's around the next bend, musically or otherwise? No. Do I trust God to lead me through it? Absolutely.
And now you know the musical story.... of me!
After a brief stint away from the piano (I was running sound for a family group named The Halls), I joined the Signature Quartet.
That group was the closest I ever came to playing gospel music professionally. The group was great to play for, and I had a blast; but honestly, I was not confident in my abilities as a player. That ultimately led to my demise.
After that, I played for my church's worship teams, but the urge to try playing country music tempted me, and I tried it. I tried out for a country band led by a man named Brent Baker. Playing for him and the rest of the band gave me a confidence in my ability that I never had before. Brent also had me sing harmony vocals something I had never really done before. It was during that time that I experience the most growth at the piano in my life. I also, through Waylon Schultz, got to meet and eventually play for Duke Mason. Duke sings all styles of music well, and puts on a great show. It was an honor to play for Duke and Brent; their music and bands were and are top notch.
During that time, my personal life was in the middle of some drastic changes. It wasn't until then that I decided to try and fulfill a lifelong dream, and somehow, I got a chance to live that dream. In a last second job interview, I was hired to play piano.... in Branson, Missouri!
I was hired by the Branson Hayride to play Floyd Cramer style piano and sing harmony vocals for an up-and-coming classic country show. I had some great times with those guys! Eventually, we changed around some personnel, and I became the lead vocalist in the new Missouri Hayride! That first show was rough, but by the time that first season ended, my vocals were better than they ever were. I owe a lot to Dennis Tinsman and the rest of the Hayride for helping me with my confidence vocally.
I ended up moving back home after the second season in Branson. I started playing music with Duke again, and played and sang with a group called Clover Road. They were basically Brent's band without Brent, who was taking some time off to focus on his business, which he started from the ground up. I even became my church's youth leader and praise and worship leader.
I have been asked several times about the history of my piano playing and singing. So as I'm sitting here watching one of my favorite movies (You've Got Mail), let's take a trip back in time! (You've Got Mail is the movie my mom and I watch together all the time. Don't Judge :-) lol).
There is some conflicting opinions about when I started playing piano. Some say I was 3 years old; others say I was only 2. I don't remember. I do remember watching and listening to my Uncle Mark play the piano. His were the first hands I saw that were actually playing, which is probably why I play like he does. The first song I played the melody to happened at my Uncle Scott and Aunt Sheila's house. They said I heard "Elvira" by the Oak Ridge Boys on the radio, then went to their piano and started to play what I had just heard. I got a piano from my parents soon after that.
I was eight years old when I cam home from school one afternoon and told my dad that the next time he sang at church, I wanted to play piano for him. I don't know how, but something happened that day in school; I guess something clicked in my head during music class, and it has stuck with me ever since. So we picked out a song just to see if I could play, and I started chording along while my dad sang (I think the song was Albert E. Brumley's "I'll Fly Away"). I played for my dad for about 5 years, and then my time came to branch out.
At around age 12, I got to play a song with a quartet my dad sang with called the Spirit Echoes. They quit singing, and I joined a quartet called the McNatt Messengers. Oddly enough, I took over for a lady named Missy, who in a weird turn of events, would become my step-mom! (She now plays piano for my dad. Funny how life is sometimes.... :-) lol).
When that group retired, I played for a quartet called the Revelations. That was my first time playing with other musicians. I owe that group a big thank you; they taught me the Nashville Number System. That system has been a life saver on more occasions than I can count!
In the meantime, I was playing piano for my high school choir and show choir. I learned a ton from those classes, but my best learning experience in high school came from my senior year in Jazz Band with Mr. James Kelso. He taught me how to really listen to different parts in music and know when to step out and be a lead instrument, and know when to blend in and become a group. I still heed his advice on a daily basis today. (By the way, I played trombone in jazz band, not piano).
As many of you know, I work at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Broadway in Nashville. I've had the awesome experience of walking where literally thousands of country music stars have walked and be where many historical shows have taken place. Unfortunately, music sales have been declining across the board in recent years, partly because of the creation of iTunes, Amazon, and other digital distributors. This puts the ET shops in jeopardy of losing customers, possibly even to the point of going out of business.
For those that don't know, let me give you a brief history on the Ernest Tubb Record Shop. It was started by Mr. Tubb himself in 1947 in a small store front shop on Commerce Street, not too far from the current location. In 1951, it moved to the current location. The shop was the first of its kind, because music stores across the country didn't really offer "hillbilly" music to their customers. Ernest Tubb's offered its customers country music through the shop and through its mail order department, which was also a rarity at that time. The Ernest Tubb Record Shops has also played host to the Midnight Jamboree, which is the 2nd longest running radio program in history, behind the Grand Ole Opry. It has been running since 1947; last week's episode, airing Saturday nights at Midnight on 650 AM - WSM, was episode number 3,446. Thousands of artists have performed on the Jamboree, including Loretta Lynn, Elvis, The Louvin Brothers, and Garth Brooks. In fact, ET's stage on Broadway was the first place Elvis and Garth played when they came to Nashville, and the last stage the Louvin Brothers played. Scenes from the movie "Coal Miner's Daughter" were filmed on Broadway. That's just some of the reasons why ET's is historically significant!
Last week, our owner was approached about selling all four shops, including the historic 417 Broadway location. The offer was being considered. Those of us who work at the shops were nervous, not knowing what the future would hold. Then we found out the potential buyer was planning on making major changes, including closing two of the shops, and moving our mail order department. The biggest news, however, was the fact that they were going to move the Broadway shop to the 2nd floor of the Broadway location, and where the shop is located now, they were going to put in a bar / club. Yes, the shop that has been going since 1951 in that location, the location of the Midnight Jamboree, where thousands of stars have played, was going to be a bar. That made us absolutely sick.
Thankfully, the Ernest Tubb Record Shops are going to stay in the hands of its current owner. I appreciate my boss for taking a stand in what he believes, even though it means the loss of millions of dollars. He has been a part of the shops since the mid 1970's, starting out where I am on the floor and gradually working his way up to being Mr. Tubb's business partner. He is an honest man with tons of integrity, and I am proud to work for him and be a part of this shop's history.
Sales pitch time: If you like to purchase country music, please help me keep the shop alive and kicking. We have 65 years worth of shop history and 90 years worth of country and bluegrass music history with us at our Broadway location. If it's country and in print, we have it or a way to get it! If you can't make it to Nashville, feel free to use our website for purchases (www.ernesttubb.com), or call our mail order department between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Central Time at (615) 255-7503.
This is something I hoped I wouldn't have to write, but as the advice on friends and my producer, I must ask for your help.
The music business, unfortunately, is more about luck than talent. There are many singers and musicians who will leave Nashville this year because of lack of finances over lack of talent. I don't want to be one of those musicians.
Here is where I need your help. If you or someone you know is looking to get into the business side of the music, I need your help. For me to finish my CD project, I need to find a financial backer. Someone who believes in me and my music. Meetings are ready to happen with some pretty influential people as soon as this new project is done.
Feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to help or point me in the right direction for a financial backer. Thank you for all your support. I really appreciate you listening to my music and telling your friends about it. Here's how you can find out more....
www.chrisfreundmusic.com www.facebook.com/chrisfreundmusic www.twitter.com/pianoguy2010 www.reverbnation.com/chrisfreund
Be blessed, friends!
Sitting here watching the show "Nashville". It's cool driving by the places they show on a daily basis, but what they say is "real".... really isn't real in my Nashville. LOL
Speaking of the letters LOL (laugh out loud), I think I'm going to change what I say to something that's more truthful when I write on Facebook. I think I'll start writing SALTS (smiles a little, then stops). :-)
It's very hard to watch Nashville when you switch back and forth between it and Big Bang Theory. Love that show!
It's amazing how new songs can come from out of nowhere. I was sitting downstairs at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, reading a book about songwriting, when an idea came to me. One hour and 15 minutes later, the song was complete! I am very proud of it and can not wait for you to hear it! (It's called "I Miss You", by the way....)
I'm spending more and more time alone here lately. Is that a good thing? I don't know. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that I'm never really alone, even when I'm alone.
Whatever you are doing, I hope it's something you enjoy and that you are having a wonderful evening. Please tell your friends to like my pages and have them tell their friends too! :-)
www.facebook.com/chrisfreundmusic www.chrisfreundmusic.com www.reverbnation.com/chrisfreund www.twitter.com/pianoguy2010
One of my favorite artists (Blake Shelton) has caused a stir with some comments made during a GAC interview. Do I agree with everything he said? No. Will I bash him for it? No. I think he makes a valid point on one aspect of his comments. Look at the song he used as an example; "For The Good Times" by Ray Price. That is one of my favorite songs of all time. It, however, was totally different than the country sound before it. You could say, it evolved. Another example is Ernest Tubb before and during Leon Rhodes' time with him. He didn't necessarily evolve, but the band around him certainly did! As long as we remember the past and everything great that the country legends have taught us, shouldn't it be o.k. for the music to evolve? Just thinking out loud, Your thoughts and comments are welcome, as long as there is no bashing.
Speaking of Leon Rhodes, it is an honor and privilege to run sound and sing with him and Anita Stapleton every other Saturday at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop's Broadway location. Leon is still an incredible guitarist and one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, and Anita has the voice of crystal (one of the clearest voices around)! The next time you are close to ET's, drop by and see us!
Thank you all for listening to my thoughts. Be sure and check out all my pages, and thank you all for your support!
My roommate is playing his guitar while we are watching Food Network. Sweet Genius is a cool show. It would be nice to be thought of as a genius at something. Hopefully it will be music soon.
I can't watch American Idol. At least not the auditions. Too many people get made fun of, although too many people think they can sing when they can't....
I have so much happening right now that it is tough to keep track of everything. I can't wait to reveal some exciting news to you soon!
I LOVE FOOD NETWORK!!! Chopped and Iron Chef are the greatest shows! I miss my family in friends in Missouri, but seriously doubt I will ever move back there. I love Tennessee too much!
I'm sure there will be more blogs in the future! Be sure and e-mail me or comment on my blog with any comments or questions you may have. Here's where you can find me....
www.chrisfreundmusic.com www.reverbnation.com/chrisfreund www.facebook.com/chrisfreundmusic www.twitter.com/pianoguy2010
Have a great night, friends!
Thank you for stopping by my page here on Reverb Nation! Be sure and check back often to see what I will be doing in the world of music, and also, check me out on Facebook! www.facebook.com/chrisfreundmusic. Thanks again!