Arnold Schwarzenegger, of all people, proves Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell and about 100 other people correct


“I just thought, This will freak everyone out. It’ll be so funny. I’ll announce that I’m running. I told Leno I was running. And two months later I was governor. What the f*** is that? All these people are asking me, ‘What’s your plan? Who’s on your staff?’ I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have a staff. I wasn’t running until I went on Jay Leno.” Arnold Schwarzenegger (former guy who was California Governor and also played a Cyborg in the Terminator)

There you have it. It was said here in a Vanity Fair Article about the state of California’s economy. The man is obviously a lunatic mad and addicted with power. He gets off on doing stuff he is not supposed to do. Why? Because he thinks he is above many others and perhaps he is correct or at least knows something that the majority of the people in the world do not know or chose not to practice: action is the way to get something done.

Many of your progressive idealists and plan makers of today will tell you, and obviously correctly so, that you do not need a plan, just do whatever it is you want to do. The plan will develop on the fly. They also say that a plan is almost counter intuitive to doing because the plan will fall apart at the date of shipping (shipping being the day you roll forward and actually start doing what you planned).

And I do not think there could be a better example of this than Arnold. The man is obviously a complete and colossal Arsehole. But he is a confident Arsehole. Confident enough to, on the fly, announce on national TV that he was seeking the governorship of the most populated state in the USA without even really being serious. And then, two months later, he becomes the governor of that state. That is all the proof one needs to know that doing trumps planning every time.

Advertisements

Mando Blues and the Omega Lab is the place to be!


http://mandoblues.wordpress.com/

When I read this I was not totally sure what I was getting myself, and my band, into:
When planning your trip to Omega Lab – the studio where we will be recording, please keep these things in mind:

*The studio is in fact inside a tent complex.
*Dress in layers as the temperature could change during the show
*There is no Air Conditioning
*Wear shoes that can handle mud and dirt.
*Bug Spray in the summer is a good idea.
*A flashlight is not a bad idea.
*While there is a toilet in the vicinity, it is advisable to take care of bio breaks prior to arriving

We met at the clandestine rally point of the Loveless Cafe and it was immediately good to be back in the atmosphere, or as close as I was to get this night, of Nashville. Following our host, Whit, through the rainy darkness of the night we went up a hillside road and into the woods. We parked next to, as described, a tent facility, yet still this is a broad understatement. If the Omega lab is a Tent Complex then it is the mother of all Tent Complexes.
Once inside we met everyone, Rob, Bo, and Hunter who were the coolest most down to earth cats I have had the pleasure of meeting. This is like stepping into a version of MASH except the improvised martinis and post surgical gore was replaced with a full-blown professional studio and a staff that was there to make the magic happen.
The complex, as I was later to learn, was a chain of six military, Gulf War era, tents lashed together and capable of handling wind gusts of 55mph. It was raining and I did not ever got a drop of water on me or my equipment. These guys set us up in record time, knew their tasks like clock workers, and when the place is referred to as a “LAB” this is very appropriate because the recording process is lab-like yet rustic. Imagine a safari or a camping trip but with upscale recording equipment and a wood burning stove that I think could heat a neighborhood.
The show, Mando Blues, is hosted by Whit, our rally point contact, and he runs a smooth ship. The atmosphere while doing it is like hanging out with friends and just doing what you love doing, playing the music you love and sharing it with people. This crew makes sure that the pallet to do such is unencumbered and the process less a process and more like a labor of love with you performing in the middle of it all.
People bounced in and out and it was totally cool. It was that Nashville thing inside a tent. How cool is that?
I commend Whit Hubner and the crew at the Omega Lab for showing us a great time and helping us in our effort to share our music with the world.
KUDOS INDEED!

Our Show will air tomorrow night, Wednesday Sept. 21, 2011
The show airs on Wednesday nights at 10PM CST and again on Saturday Nights at midnight on WRFN – Radio Free Nashville.

How can you hear it??? heres how…

107.1 on the FM dial in the Nashville area

http://www.radiofreenashville.org in cyberspace

Public Radio app for Iphones & Ipods

Comcast Channel 10 (sap setting) in Music City

I am about to really make myself look unhip: Why X Factor will end AI


I had never watched an episode of American Idol until the season began in 2009. I followed it that season for reasons I will not share and must admit it hooked me in. I became enamored at the process and whether my perceptions were going to be correct or was the show convoluted and hand-picked and a “set up.” My angle(s) for watching were very different from the ones I noticed in others. I know (all you hipsters out there) that does not make me any less uncool for admitting this and I could share with you another reason but I do not want to be all personal and also I do not want to cop-out either: I enjoyed that season, the next one so-so, and last year, it was ok.
Here is my prediction and here is why it will work out just like I say. X Factor is going to jump the gun on AI and come out this week, probably run right up to the beginning of AI or a little after, and totally take its thunder and fans right along with it. Here is why: 1) Simon Cowell has recreated the original AI panel of judges, looking at publicity shots I thought LA Reid was Randy Jackson and wondered to myself “did Randy Jackson leave American Idol?” That is totally on purpose and most people, the average media consumer, especially reality TV fans, will not miss a lick. They are so Zombi-fied they will probably call him Randy and not even realize they are doing it. Of course you have Paula Abdul who was an original and of course Simon Cowell himself. which leads me to 2) Nicole Scherzinger. Have you ever seen her? Nuff said? Lol seriously she is fine and her industry credibility is without question. Not sure how this will play out and wonder if they are not shooting themselves in the foot right out the gate a bit. I think they should have gone with the 3 judge panel of the original AI. It seems to work and would only bolster those who want AI back. But she will have the male, teen-30 year old demographic covered. Sorry J-Lo but there is a new sheriff in town.
3) Proven Success rate. X Factor already works in the UK which when something is a hit there it usually translates right into Americans audiences. And lastly
4)Simon Cowell himself. What was obviously missing from AI, and granted I have only watched the show for 3 seasons and last year’s was kind of on and off, but that might explain it: the absence of Cowell is so obvious there is no point in even bringing it up. This will be why the X Factor will trump AI and AI will die a pretty quick death. Simon Cowell brings perfect balance to the show and will be successful as that Brit you just love to hate.
There you have it. I have blogged on something totally un-hip and I feel better for it!

That Represents Man: Hillgrass Bluebilly’s Keith Mallete Interview


“We represent MAN, in the form of music.”

An interview with Keith Mallete of Hillgrass Bluebilly.

I first became aware of Hillgrass Bluebilly way back in 2005 around the time I was releasing The Last Country Store. Their graphics immediately caught my eye (and I am really dating myself here) on Myspace, remember that? After checking out more about them I learned about Keith Mallete and began following his exploits in the music world and his work for Hillgrass Bluebilly. Keith comes across as and is very passionate about what he believes in. You see it in the evocative way he writes about his artists and the care he takes to bring the message to the people. I had the privilege of meeting Keith in 2007 at the inaugural Deep Blues Festival. He is as passionate in person as he appears elsewhere. I asked Keith to do an interview about Hillgrass Bluebilly and also give some input that might be helpful to the burgeoning artist(s) to be, much like I did with the Marian Salzman piece I did a while back. I merely sent the questions and Keith responded and I appreciate him taking the time and more importantly for offering his unique insight about what he does. So here it goes:

1) So what are you and what do you do?
I am a promoter, for lack of a better term. I like to think that I can take what touches my heart & soul and share it with folks. In this case, music is what shares our light, without going into specifics. I do not “own” anything, Ryan Tackett & I “found” Hillgrass Bluebilly Entertainment about 7 years ago, after 2 years of helping Ryan Tackett and friend Adam “Otis” Senter with “Roots & Boots” in Phoenix, AZ. Otis kinda showed me the ropes and when then that met it’s end, Hillgrass Bluebilly was birthed. We started featuring events/concerts/shows several months later….. fast foward… we have expanded/matured into a record label.
2) What are some of the most exciting things going on in the HBE universe right now and in the last year or so?
With so much work to be done, I do not know how much of it is “exciting”, but that just may be my personality. Right now, community and shared ethics and finding the folks that do this across the world and joining hands with them is pretty exciting to me. A few months ago, Tom VandenAvonds’ “You Oughta Know Me By Now” (feat. Larry & his Flask) was nominated BEST ALT. COUNTRY ALBUM for the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards, along with Possessed by Paul James’ “Feed the Family”, which won the award, and was also nominated for BEST AMERICANA ALBUM. More recently, we attended the Muddy Roots Festival, outside Nashville, TN, and was able to connect/reconnect with alot friends, fans & bands. Also in the last year or so, it serves to notice radio stations and various writers and certain podcasts giving a lot of artists tremendous coverage. In’tha last year or so you can find me at savingcountrymusic.com a lot. I believe in them, more than I can express in words….

3) What are some things the world can look forward to from HBE?
We are gearing up for our release of “Yeah, I Carve Cheetah’s” by REST^vRANT, for a November 2011 release. We also recieved GREAT news that we will be releasing Possessed by Paul James’ new release, scheduled for this winter. Tom VandenAvond just finished up his record, which will be released this winter on Hillgrass Bluebilly Records as well. Our pile of rereleases are stacking up… Mario Matteoli’s “Hard Lick Hittin” and there are negotiations for Hillgrass Bluebilly to rerelease both Doo Rag albums, “Chuncked & Muddled” & “What We Do”. You can also look forward to the rerelease of “Good Times” on vinyl by the Weary Boys along with a “Weary Boys – Greatist Hits” in 2012. Soda will also be releasing a double album soon and we hope to get the details on that out as soon as possible. Also, we have our dirtyfoot testing out all kinds of waters, as usual, we expect the unexpected for the better…in our future. I can guarantee you this though, what you get from us will raw, will be roots, and real… and will stand on it’s own…with or without us.
We are almost out of all of our releases as well, we really look forward to repressing everything we have in the next 6 months.

4) The music spectrum is wide open and the old ways of “disseminating”(terrestrial radio, CD’s, etc.) are dead and or dying. Young people seem to be less genre-oriented, where before people identified (“I am into hip-hop or I am a metal-head.”) with a narrower, more exclusive membership. How do you see the type of music you present reaching a larger audience? What will be your vehicles?
Great question, but I am not sure all of that pertains to our releases. They stand on their own and their shelf life will never expire. We represent MAN, in the form of music. I believe our audience is a physical one, they want hard evidence… and we do our best to get it to them. I am not one to believe that we will be denied. The message is there, the determination is there, the will, power, struggle.. is all there… we believe in what we do, we live by it every waking moment. Our vehicle is providing proof & word of mouth takes over from there.

[Alright all you indie musicians, here is some advice from Keith Mallete of Hillgrass Bluebilly. I included this series of questions to Keith because he has been at this a while and when I mean “at this” I mean “on the grind.” His answers are direct and to the point, pay close attention.]

1) What should be the goal and means to an end of an independent music artist when utilizing social media (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr)?
Sync ’em all together and try and use just one. Display imagry & sound, tour dates & be yourself….

2) What are some of the new social media outlets you see on the horizon that will be a useful tool to the independent artist?
for now, it’s Facebook & ReverbNation

3) What are your views on piracy and how can the independent artist “flip” free music to their benefit, is streaming/subscription the new answer?
No comment, no thought/views at this time.

4) Should an artist forgo the old school press kit and go for a total online one or a mixture of both?
Whatever it takes I reckon….

5) What are the ways you discover an independent artist and what are the things that make them “sticky” to you?
It’s the point where I cannot not think about their music and how it affects me. I let them know that, and a relationship is formed.

6) What would you advise an independent artist to evaluate and try in order to improve their “stickiness?”
I‘d say try whatever strikes you, if it works… it works. I’d rather sit back and see what these folks can do on their own… I do not dazzle, I am dazzled, and only a reflection of a dazzle, regardless the angle… you know there is a dazzle nearby…

7) Where do you see music going (how it is presented, acquired, utilized) in the next 5 years?
I don’t know… I guess we’ll find out!

8) If you were an independent artist with an album of material what would be the first 3 things you would do to get it noticed?
Packaging, quality and all variations of it’s display

9) Do you think major record labels are a thing of the past? Will they evolve into new things or just fall completely in on themselves?
I do not know what will happen to other folks, we do what we do and are not going anywhere that we do not want to be, unless it’s by our choice.

Mr. Oyola responds on my bit on Auto-Tune


I guess you are shooting some BB’s into the boxcars when you critique another writer’s blog but to get the author of a particular blog to respond well that says something and I commend Mr. Oyola for responding:

“Hey! Thanks for the link. Just to clarify, “Sounding Out!” is not *my* blog, but just a blog on which I am a regular contributor – there are a diverse number of both regular contributors and guest bloggers who write on a variety of subjects relating to sound to I encourage you to come back and see what other people have to say.

I think its great you took the time to respond to my post at length, but I think where your response falters is in its assumptions about my experience with music both as a listener and practitioner. I guess I could try to counter your characterization of my musical knowledge, but there doesn’t seem to be much point – it would be my word against yours, and maybe what I have experienced and heard and done would not measure up to your standards. And yet it is exactly those standards, or rather how the supposedly commonly held standards of musicality and authenticity are constructed that interests me when I write about topics like autotune or “soul” (you should check out my post from November of last year on the latter subject). The problem with the idea of authenticity is that it seeks to cut itself free from the historically contingent social contexts in which particular notions of how to measure or identify authenticity are based. The multiplicitous and often contradictory ways that authenticity is defined speaks to its positional nature – in other words, “authentic” depends a great deal upon where you are standing and from which direction you are looking and the information at your disposal. For example, at one time Alan Lomax traveled around with Leadbelly, displaying him as an example of “authentic negro music” – Now I like Leadbelly just fine, but at the time the musical establishment wanted to define the authenticity of black music based on its notions of primitivism, ignoring the fact that Black Americans were making a great deal of complex music at the same time that this was happening. And yet to this day, people still think of Leadbelly in the way the narrative of his experience was recorded by Lomax.

Anyway, this has already gone on longer than I wanted, but you get the idea. . . Thanks for listening.”

And thank you Mr. Oyola.
And I am glad you chose to use Alan Lomax as an example or rather you meant to say his father John Lomax. John Lomax is more to credit for the “displaying” of Huddie Ledbetter, though the 18 year old Alan did play a part in the original recordings. It was the intervention of John Lomax that set the stage for Leadbelly to rise, eventually, into an independent performer and noted contributor to the American Song. The myth that Lomax “traveled around” with him for a long period of time is one many fall into and to understand that time period of American music is a deceptive task at best. But Leadbelly was one of many artists heralded as “authentic.” You have to remember that “race records” were a separate genre altogether. You also have to consider the artists that predate Leadbelly (Tommy Johnson, Sleepy Johns Estes, and Blind Lemon Jefferson.) These are only three out of many who were very active before Leadbelly. And if you have ever listened to the intricacies of Tommy Johnson’s guitar work you know that others were well aware of the depth of African American music or they would not have taken the time to record them, sound recording being an arduous task in John Lomax’s time, and even more so in the years before when these other artists were recorded.
One man’s authenticity perhaps may be another man’s “pat hand.” But citing Leadybelly, or any artists from that time period only proves my point against the overuse of Auto-Tune. Their performances were being captured by equipment that was archaic by our standards today and yet the music, the artist’s authenticity, stands the test of time. If this was not the case we would be listening to the other thousands of artists recorded in the same time period. Art, or rather great art, is sticky.
I become confused by assertions like yours about Auto-Tune when genuine music is made light of and authenticity questioned. I do not argue that it does not have its place. But an effect only goes so far.

William Shakespeare wrote a bunch of words, I think we can agree on this. Others wrote many other words in the same time frame, Christopher Marlowe for example. Why do his stand the test of time? Because of their authentic, intrinsic beauty. We still listen to Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Elvis, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, and many, many others because they “authentically” contributed to the American Song before we knew what even a digital signal was or what binary code could actually do. These were humans reflecting the human spirit within us or at least doing a great job faking it with the aid of very limited technology. In the end, as always, it was the art that shown through and still does so.

Thank you for taking the time for an open exchange of ideas. This is how we get somewhere. By all means!

In Defense of Common Sense: Auto Tune does not make ART!


Edit***
Bob Lefsetz really sums it up nicely here:
“As a result of crass commercialism, primarily MTV and now the Silicon Valley
rush to riches, our vision of art has been skewed. Money comes first. It’s
readily available to he who succeeds, and there are short cuts to ubiquity. But
most people employing these short cuts are not art.”
—The Lefsetz Letter
I found this after I wrote the blog below. Hang onto it mentally if you decide to read the rest of this.

http://soundstudiesblog.com/2011/09/12/in-defense-of-auto-tune/

I have wanted to get at this one all day. Mr. Oyola has the right to his opinion for the same reason people have the right to walk off a dock into freezing waters. Now here is mine. The link above is a blog entitled In Defense of Auto Tune. Auto Tune is a device, and now software, which can be used to modulate a sound wave (a vocal recording) and alter it. Many times this is used to make people who cannot actually sing sound like they can. You can read the blog at the link above but I have included (in bold) most of the main assertions the writer, Mr. Oyola, has made in his blog.

“When someone argues that auto-tune allows anyone to sing, what they are really complaining about is that an illusion of authenticity has been dispelled. My question in response is: So what? Why would it so bad if anyone could be a singer through Auto-tuning technology? What is really so threatening about its use?”

First of all I would not argue with anyone whose knowledge base is this challenged about music. The assertion that authenticity is an illusion is a contradiction in terms by the very nature of the statement. If authenticity was an illusion we would not call things authentic, especially since humans have been singing for at least 4-5 thousand years and authenticity gauged that entire time. Magicians create illusions, musicians make music. David Blaine makes us see things that are not there, illusion. Aretha Franklin sings her rear end off, authenticity.
And also to assume that someone who is musically or vocally talented is threatened by auto tune is silly and sophomoric. It is not about the technology being a threat it is about the continual debasement of music or creating a misunderstanding to the uninitiated. Do I care that Lil Wayne uses auto-tune? No. What I care about is someone asserting that authenticity is not real or that it is an illusion. It is a spit in the face of real artists who create music, not because they think it is cool or it would be neat to make a song, but because they have to! They have no choice because there is a compunction inside of them that emits a force which is called authentic talent and it bleeds from their pores.
I have had many experiences in my musical life where a barely functional PA system was in place to reinforce the audio and have had chills run down my spine. Or sat in a room with a group of people and had someone shake my soul with an acoustic guitar and their voice. Or stood in a church and listened to one voice, no accompaniment, bring tears to people’s eyes. Were these experiences illusory? Was there no authenticity present? The only thing inauthentic is the depth of this writer’s experiences.

“Mechanical reproduction may “pry an object from its shell” and destroy its aura and authority–demonstrating the democratic possibilities in art as it is repurposed–but I contend that auto-tune goes one step further. It pries singing free from the tyranny of talent and its proscriptive aesthetics. It undermines the authority of the arbiters of talent and lets anyone potentially take part in public musical vocal expression.”

Karaoke does the same exact thing. It is a definite that it potentially allows someone, anyone, to take part in public, musical, vocal expression. But do we call it art? No. For the same reason that people who create vocals exclusively with auto-tune are not artists but hacks. Used to move a note a micrometer up or down the musical scale is not going to be taken to the task maker but if your entire performance is based around the use of auto tune you are not a vocalist nor does it a vocalist make.

“Auto-tune represents just another step forward in undoing the illusion of art’s aura. It is not the quality of art that is endangered by mass access to its creation, but rather the authority of cultural arbiters and the ideological ends they serve.”

A person capable of making this assertion has not experienced enough music in a true live setting or during their life in general. There is no illusion of art’s aura or it would not be art in the first place. The whole point of art, any art, being special is that it is a rarity, one of the rare things that make humans human. I would not take anything for experiences like seeing RL Burnside perform whilst sitting at his feet, Steve Earle tell a story and then sing a song the story was based around from 15 feet away, or witness Etta James WAIL “At Last” in front of a crowd of 80,000 in Memphis, TN. No sir. The authenticity of any of these, and many other, experiences are without question. And they were done by humans with their own voice, the aid of auto tune happily absent. I have no ideological ends to serve I just like the idea of a real human’s voice.
Just go sit in a song circle in Nashville,TN, a picking party in Appalachia, or a juke joint in Clarksdale, MS and listen for it. If you do not hear it your ears are broken.

“Auto-tune supposedly obfuscates one of the indicators of authenticity, imperfections in the work of art. However, recording technology already made error less notable as a sign of authenticity to the point where the near perfection of recorded music becomes the sign of authentic talent and the standard to which live performance is compared. We expect the artist to perform the song as we have heard it in countless replays of the single, ignoring that the corrective technologies of recording shaped the contours of our understanding of the song.
In this way, we can think of the audible auto-tune effect is actually re-establishing authenticity by making itself transparent.”

The more I read this writer’s word the more I realize that we are not dealing with someone who has really experienced music or understands it. This writer’s grasp or understanding of music should be an inch long and a mile deep but yet it is many miles long and maybe an inch deep. Recording technology does not make talent. It is obvious that this writer has either never recorded in a studio or was not paying attention if he did. The devices available to a modern recording studio only accentuate the sound quality going into the system in the form of a digital capture. Certainly Pro Tools can realign, remix, chop, screw, and blend things into any configuration but at the beginning of each day, each session there has to be something worth opening the mics up for and hitting the red record light.

“These artists aren’t trying to get one over on their listeners, but just the opposite, they want to evoke an earnestness that they feel can only be expressed through the singing voice. Why would you want to resist a world where anyone could sing their hearts out?”

Ok he really jumps the shark on this one. Why would you resist a world where anyone could sing their hearts out? First of all they are not singing their hearts out. They are blathering into a microphone and someone else engineers it to sound like it is melodious. I reject this as valid art for the same reason that I would reject a robot created to mimic the talent of Michael Jordan or Alber Pujols. Sure it would be neat to watch a robot make shot after shot or hit dinger after dinger but after a while it would get old. It would be a pointless exercise devoid of humanness. We follow sports as much for the failures they bring our hearts because every so often a human does something that defies our collective minds and souls, same with art. If I scan a Van Gogh and then reproduce it with a printer in 3D am I an artist? Absolutely not! By the logic of this writer it is totally acceptable and authentic or by his terms it pierces the veil of authenticity which I doubt he would know if it really, not authentically, ran up and bit him in his ass.

Autotune? So here goes this guy


http://soundstudiesblog.com/2011/09/12/in-defense-of-auto-tune/

I have wanted to get at this one all day. Mr. Oyola has the right to his opinion for the same reason people have the right to walk off a dock into freezing waters. Now here is mine. The link above is a blog entitled In Defense of Auto Tune. Auto Tune is a device, and now software, which can be used to modulate a sound wave (a vocal recording) and alter it. Many times this is used to make people who cannot actually sing sound like they can. You can read the blog at the link above but I have included (in bold) most of the main assertions the writer, Mr. Oyola, has made in his blog.

More to come!