I'm quite frankly in awe of the talent and creativity that I've found here on RN. There are many many artists on this site that I think hold up with anything the major labels put out and I can't help but feel that we're on the verge of a whole new way to enjoy music and it seems to me all it's going to take is for the general public...non musicians...to transition to the internet to seek out the tracks that they want to purchase. One of the trends I see is that many of the reporting "stations" for Americana are online streaming sites, and they have much more freedom to play independent artists than traditional radio...it's like the 70's when FM was a more open format...and that's going to help artists without the six-figure promotion budgets get the attention they deserve.
I've had a great time refining my recording technique to get the most out of my simple home studio and what I'd like to do now is work with some other musicians and see what I can do for them. The idea is to collaborate and make singles, that showcase the song and the artist and hopefully takes the song to the next level. Many of the artists that I hear on RN already have amazingly polished tracks, so I'll be looking for writers and singers that I think might be a good fit for my style and approach.
I'm lovin' this site. However, I've gotten to a point now where I simply can't listen to every new fan. When I started building my profile I resolved to try to listen to everyone, and so far I've kept up, but there's only so much time in a day, and frankly, only so much music, aside from my own, that I can absorb in a day. I'm inspired by everything I hear and I continue to be amazed at the number of creative people finding a voice on Reverbnation; each new fan is the promise of some wonderful new music. One thing I have yet to do is build my list of recommendations, something I've held off on because I want it to be well considered. So far it's been acts I either know personally, or have just focused on for one reason or another. I've responded to many, sometimes just a track or sometimes there's an original spark that just hits me and I know I want to hear more. I need a strategy though, so here's my plan: I'm going to focus on those who comment on my page first, and see how that goes. My reasoning is that if someone likes my tracks enough to make a comment, that there's a strong chance I'll like them as well. More to come...
This comes under the heading "What is Americana?". I've been listening to a lot of artists, and also those that are getting attention in the larger arena of radio and it seems to me that one thing that might be said about this genre is that it tends to favor songs that are, shall we say, less than upbeat. This comes from the folk and blues tradition that's the foundation of the genre. These days I really see how these styles and "alt rock" have merged to create the Americana sound, and though I identify with and embrace it, I can't fully get behind everything being so gloomy. Sure, I recognize that there's injustice and suffering but life can be sweet, too. There's another narrative that follows and it's more carefree and joyful. "See You Tonight", from my record "homemade", follows that tradition. I like to think it could have been written 150 years ago, and it's just about how being in love "makes all my woes fly away" - not a bad place to be...I'd like to see more upbeat songs accepted as Americana. One example is Band of Joy's "Little Angel Dance". It definitely sounds like Americana to me, but it's a happy little song and I like to hear those once in a while, too.
I'm posting a song from my current record "Scrapbook" while I continue to work on some new songs. As I develop these tracks I'm keenly aware that some of them are more "commercial" than others and I got to thinking...what's the difference? I'm not completely sure what the distinction is, but I think part of it is that I consider some of the songs to be closer to what I call Americana, while the others are more "mainstream". For instance, on the record there's a song called "Someday", which I've given an acoustic treatment but I could easily hear performed by a mainstream Pop or Country artist, with a much bigger production than I've done. Anyway, I'm going to keep this site true to my Americana vision and just post my rootsyer (is that a word?...spellcheck doesn't think so) tracks and try to be consistent in that way.
I'm zeroing in on something that's been somewhat elusive recently. When I put together "Scrapbook", my latest collection, I felt that I had come to resting place, and at the time I didn't really have any new things to work on. No sooner than putting up the songs than some new ideas popped into my head and suddenly I was off again, so I guess I must have needed to "finish" the latest set to open up some space for new things. Funny how that works. I also now see that I have developed a two track approach to my writing, and the two sides are pretty far apart, which is kind of strange, though I've heard other writers speak of this. I have some songs I consider strictly Americana and as such not commercial, and others that are aimed right at country radio. I like both approaches, and I think there may be a meeting place in the middle somewhere, though at this point I can't say where that may be.
By chance I came upon a TV program where an artist was commenting on the explosion of self expression were experiencing worldwide. I have gotten fans from all over the world and when I sample their music I'm generally pleasantly surprised with the quality and variety I hear, but some of it is clearly folks who haven't been playing very long. When I started playing there weren't many musicians around and it was pretty easy to put a band together and find a paying gig. Now it's virtually non-existent and everyone, including me is trying to earn money using the internet to promote rather than playing live. There are exceptions to this and I have tremendous respect for those who are still out there putting in the miles to build a following. It's got to be tough. In Nashville if I go out to perform my audience is mostly other songwriters, which can be a tough crowd, but also can be very appreciative if they like a song. But I don't expect to be paid until I either sell a song to an established artist or set up an itunes account and start getting downloads. In the meantime I continue to marvel at the explosion of self expression that we're seeing online.