Welcome to your Bed of Roses


Whoever told you it was going to be easy LIED!
Whoever said life is a Bed of Roses Lied as well!
If you are attempting something and everything always goes smoothly then one or two things are most likely going on, you have only begun or you are not really attempting something you are imagining you are, either way you got a long way to go or you are a happy idiot!
Do not ever, ever , ever give up. The winner is the one who keeps going when others sat down and cried, ran for shelter, and or peed their pants The victor is the one who at the end of it all is standing amid the carnage screaming like the world’s most vicious Spartan of old “Is that all you’ve got?”
You have to summon your own King Leonidas, Conan, Rocky Balboa, or Albert Pujols! It is no one ‘s duty to “do you” as best as “you” can be done but “you!”
You are the arbiter of your own destiny, get busy making a map and stick to it like your life depends on it, because guess what, it does!
When you can’t do anymore, do ten more and then really get focused.
We gather things in times of ease for when we need them for times of hardship. Be a great gatherer because if you are in the grit there are very little times of ease, get used to it.
If you really want something but you are easily frustrated and quit because you can’t cope then you did not want it to begin with, you just thought you did.
Nobody wants to hear it! If they did they would ask!
Buck up!
Keep your powder dry!
Make sure you are right and move forward!
Take everything any coach who was trying to motivate your sorry butt and make a raw stew out of it in a blender and drink ever freaking drop of it and lick the glass clean!
This is you, this is now, and it has to be done or else!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Those who read this thank you. But it wasn’t for you it was for me!
Elam McKnight
https://www.bigblackhand.com
https://www.facebook.com/elam.mcknight
https://www.twitter.com/elammcknight

Clench thy teeth Grasshopper


A man is suspended from a cliff by his teeth which are clutching deftly to a branch. His hands are bound and he will most undoubtedly fall to his death if he lets go. A man below says “call out to me and I will help you?” What does he do?
The answer to this question is not as important as the overall meaning of the situation posed. Often we feel like the man clenching to the branch by our bare teeth.
Just some food for thought.
Elam McKnight
https://www.bigblackhand.com
https://www.facebook.com/elam.mcknight
https://www.twitter.com/elammcknight

Conway Twitty was a PIMP!


Listening to my local commercial free 5,000 watt AM station, as it usually does, caused me to have an utter realization while listening to its perfect mix of old school country:
Conway Twitty was a pimp folks. Just search over some of the titles of some of his hits:
Hello Darlin’ – Man runs into old sweet heart (insert booty call) and totally smooths his way back into the mix.
You’ve Never Been This Far Before -Older man is talking his way into the arms (insert messing around with) of a much younger woman by way of his advanced manipulative talk and superior wisdom in the ways of young women.
Between Blue Eyes and Jeans- You get the picture.
And lest we forget this is the man who sang “there must have been a tiger in them tight fittin’ jeans.”

But there is one song in particular in the Twitty canon that would defy modern subject matter, if released today, that would probably cause picket lines in front of whichever record label brave enough to release it. Conway Twitty was the country equivalent of contemporary Soul shouters like Tyrone Davis, Johnny Taylor, or any other of those artists who sang about begging back but really after they had really messed things up and generally at their own terms. That sort of thing does not nor would not fly today, sadly, in the country genre, though it abounds in hip hop today but in much rawer terms and not with the premise of romance, manipulatively used for effect or not.
“Touch the Hand” stretches it as far as this theme could ever go. The man has realized that his woman is no longer “feeling” his charms and I suspect, though unspoken, there has been some infidelity or some sort of mistreatment which has precluded this. But Twitty does not bat an eye. He goes straight to the heart, or better yet the self conscious psyche, of things. He uses the premise that because he was her first he would most assuredly be her last. Wow. You just can’t get away with this sort of thing anymore, in life, and also in song. Kudos to you Conway Twitty, pimp to death!
(Lyrics included below)

Today I heard my woman say something I never heard her say before
She just told me that she was going to leave me and that she didn’t love me anymore
But I know that the loving kindness and the understanding is still there somewhere
So I’m gonna get down on my knees and I’m gonna say to my baby.

Touch the hand of the man that made you a woman
Then tell me you don’t love me anymore.

I was the first man to ever
Hold you in a special kind of way
And those unfamiliar feelings that caused you to tremble
I know you remember today
Before you decide that your gonna leave me
And do things you’ve never done before.

Touch the hand of the man that made you a woman
Then tell me you don’t love me anymore.

The two lips that once held sweet surprises
Surprised me and said goodbye today
And those two lovin’ arms that use to reach for me
Just reached out and pushed me away
I know you believe you don’t love me
Before you walk out that door.

Touch the hand of the man that made you a woman
Then tell me you don’t love me anymore…

You tell em Conway Twitty!

For my next installment I am going to tell you why Loretta Lynn might have been the seminal influence on violence among young women. Stay tuned for
Loretta Lynn: Chick on Chick Crime
Elam McKnight
https://www.bigblackhand.com
https://www.facebook.com/elam.mcknight
https://www.twitter.com/elammcknight

Amy Winehouse update.


Her death has been ruled inconclusive by the coroner and the world will have to wait for the usual month long analysis of the toxicology. At the end of the day it still only means one thing: The world has witnessed yet another great talent gone all too soon. When an old blues cat passes it is sad yet they got the opportunity to release a body of work that we can all look back on and admire it at the breadth and greatness of its prolific strength, Ms. Winehouse will not be afforded that opportunity.
The work she left us is stunning to say the least but as a fan I would have preferred to hear her release much, much more, even bad stuff, because I would bet the next pay check I get that she would have struck upon some amazing stuff and the world would have been better for it.
Those who will be responsible for ultimately milking this tragedy I only hope one thing: do not turn her great talents into a mockery, please!
Either handle the things the world has not heard with care and due diligence or don’t release them into an endless array of re-mix mess. She deserves better and in the long run your candor and good judgement will only honor the memory of a great songstress who millions miss.
I am going to go listen to Valerie and might even shed a tear or two.
Elam McKnight
https://www.bigblackhand.com
https://www.facebook.com/elam.mcknight
https://www.twitter.com/elammcknight

Negative People (redux)


Here is a new screed on even more reasons to stay away from them. We all have a tendency to spew negativity sometimes only internally but it can be an element of the human condition. Those that are in a state of constantly spewing it for the world to hear though are bad tone setters. Just like positive people are infectious, but the kind of infect you want to be around, negative people infect in bad ways. They can bring whole groups down and their observations are generally the ones that are most convenient. It is too easy to find the wrong side of things and revel in not trying. It is a form in internal resistance that they are sharing with the world because, possibly, they have low self-esteem and are troubled by it. They release this bad energy in the form of bravado that seems confident and erstwhile but unless they are immediately following their “this won’t work” or “that is not a good idea” with alternatives that they believe will work they are only giving you a window into their own hang ups. Misery hates to be alone, don’t be the one keeping it company.

Elam McKnight
https://www.bigblackhand.com
https://www.facebook.com/elam.mcknight
https://www.twitter.com/elammcknight

Amy Winehouse


I am so very sad about the passing of Amy Winehouse. I was secretly rooting for her to pull out of the years long funk she had been in and hoped that she would come fighting back, but alas she is now among the immortals. Her voice gave me great enjoyment, she was a rarity for these times, a mainstream superstar with impeccable music taste and a voice that could shiver your soul. Her takes on Back to Black and Rehab are classics for any time.
Goodbye dear Ms. Winehouse there will never be another like you!

Elam McKnight
https://www.bigblackhand.com
https://www.facebook.com/elam.mcknight
https://www.twitter.com/elammcknight

Some days you get the bear and … well there are somedays


I am worn out. I have been stuffing envelopes left and right to go to Europe. It is not the physical act, that part is a joke. It is the checking, rechecking, and the “wait let me make sure I have not mailed him one” check. That sort of thing grinds on me. This is not what I really want to be doing. Part of me wants to be in the basement studio with my guitar and my notebook or just strumming along some chord progressions that have been lurking in my head going “we are here getting dusty”, part of me wants to be in the floor with my little girl watching television, and part of me wants to take these custom forms and throw them all over the room.
Yet I know that this is part of the racket, my pound of flesh, and just part of the game. I will persevere this and they will make their way to Mr. Postman first thing in the morning, why? Because I care and want my work to be heard. It means too much to me.
Why does it matter?
Because there are so many voices, those of resistance, telling me to “put it off”, “just let it go for now”, and I know them all too well. They used to sound like this “it ain’t good enough” or “you are wasting your time they aren’t gonna play it or review it.” But you know what? If I had paid any attention to them then I would not have a front row seat for these new excuses to do something besides make all my efforts count. This is a game of inches, a game of attrition, there are no quick fixes, no magical moments where it all just happens without you knowing about it. That is why you go to through the necessary motions and learn from them. Savor them. There will be a whole new lot to take there place. There is no “when I get there” once you are on the road you just bear down and keep it between the lines. The work will take care of itself.

Elam McKnight
https://www.bigblackhand.com
https://www.facebook.com/elam.mcknight
https://www.twitter.com/elammcknight

Words of Wisdom


A friend of mine posted this on FB. It is probably something he stole from somewhere but I am going to steal it myself
Kudos to you Sheldon K. Walker
Sheldon Kelly Walker
Have you ever noticed that Ferrari or Rolls Royce dont have commercials? REASON: They know the value of their product that brings customers to them. LESSON: When you know your value, you don’t have to beg people to be your mate, to spend time with you or love you. Foolishness is not tolerated. Be confident in who God made you to be. Everyone can’t afford the luxury of your friendship.

Very well said! I think we all can learn a bit from this.

Elam McKnight
https://www.bigblackhand.com
https://www.facebook.com/elam.mcknight
https://www.twitter.com/elammcknight

The Press Kit Monologues


Ok
There is nothing in life more fun than sending out, what seems like, endless amounts of press kits. Stuffing envelope after envelope with CD’s, bios, one sheets, and whatever else you think you need to stick in there to get your point across and your message out there to the masses. Then you seal that bad boy up, god forbid you bought non adhesive envelopes, and take it down to the local post office and get prepared to spend a small fortune mailing it. As you can tell by my sarcasm I am about to my breaking point in this endeavor, but I know that it is still the only game in town in the process, though I have had more opportunities this time out utilizing electronic based kits and other options of which I have talked about before and will elaborate on in the future. But on to the press kit, the bane of my existence as of late.
**Warning this is not an all-inclusive guide just my observations**
1) Buy ‘friggin labels and learn how to orchestrate Excel and Word into spitting out labels. If you are sending out a massive mail you will be glad you did and you need to go ahead and have a personal data base of your contacts going if you are planning on doing more release than just this one. Do not hand write your addresses on there unless you are going for the complete personal touch, you have great penmanship, and a desire for carpal tunnel syndrome. Buy the labels!* A side note on labels: when you are peeling them off get that first one-off and peel all that border stuff off immediately. It will make future peeling so much easier. You are welcome.
2) Follow a standard or the standard. If you are mailing a CD release to radio and or a journalist include the following:
*The CD (DUH. But wait make sure it is in a container with a spine that can be stacked with other CD’s and be read. DJ’s get thousands of CD’s and they need to be able to read them in order to find them. No slimline jewel cases, no sleeves, only Traditional Jewel Case or Digipack. That is it. And they need to be professionally done or at least look like it.)
* A bio. Be short with it. Say what you need to and get out. They do not need to know your life story just the fact that you made some music, what that is all about, and what you are planning on doing as an artist.
* A One Sheet. This has the track listing and a description of each song. Be brief and to the point on the description. If you need help ask people whose musical senses you trust to help with this. Also make sure to have the running times beside each song listed. This is important for those programming radio.
* A review sheet if you have gotten some reviews in the press. This will help give them and idea of what people are thinking about the music. Don’t overdo it and make sure this is easily read (no crazy fonts just the basic).
*Used to be an 8×10 photo was expected. You might still want to go with this. I don’t because our photos are all over our materials. It won’t hurt but if you are on the cheap drop it and just have really popping press documents that have your image on them. Also have all your contact info on every sheet you send and have it in a mast-head style that is easily read and plainly in site. Never forget to have your Name, Phone, Email, URL, Twitter, Facebook, and anything thing else you think they need to reach out and find out more about you.
Stick to this standard and solicit before you mail. I did not stick to the standard once and am pretty sure many of my press kits ended up in the trash. Before you send one do this validating thought process: ‘Have I stuck to the standard? Is this been solicited by a return email from this person?” if either or both answers are “no” then have a trash can handy and by your side, insert press kit into trash receptacle, and be glad I just saved you the postage.
That is all.

Elam McKnight
https://www.bigblackhand.com
https://www.facebook.com/elam.mcknight
https://www.twitter.com/elammcknight

Spotify is now on my computer


Ok
I got one of the coveted Spotify accounts and I have to say that this will spread like wildfire in America. Just the idea of having something first drives our consumerist minds and there will be “gabillions” of people flocking to this service which is free for 6 months. I get the feeling that this is going to be one of those drug dealer scenarios for music junkies, “just a taste” for now kind of things and then later the shakes for it will kick in once all the bells and whistles come rolling out.
If this is the answer to combating piracy or better yet offering a more consistent, safer, and quality alternative I am all for it and am going to follow its development closely.
Out of the box I like it. As a music junkie I love the idea that I can reach out and grab the Jimi Hendris catalog at a whim. Sure I pretty much own the Jimi Hendrix catalog but still it’s nice. Though the Beatles and AC/DC are absent which I find interesting and wonder when that will change.
(I gotta respect AC/DC’s complete ignore on downloads for no other reason than it is always interesting to see someone go so completely against the grain. I think they are probably smart but I am not sure why. Holding out does seem to drive your product harder. I will write my thoughts on this issue after some more study and reflection.)
But it is convenient and pretty awesome, when you want to listen to some music, and know that 15 million songs are just sitting there at your disposal. It is like you have been given access to this endless music library with the minder simply saying “just turn off the lights and lock up when you are done.”
This is probably going to get interesting.

Elam McKnight
https://www.bigblackhand.com
https://www.facebook.com/elam.mcknight
https://www.twitter.com/elammcknight