Monday, November 27, 2006

Some general thoughts about last weekends e-mail storm

What a great day!! It hasn't managed to climb above 10degrees F yet today and it's been snowing a little bit all day long. I'm not sure if it's snowing here or if it's falling above Great Falls and landing here, the way the wind is blowing!

The e-mail storm over my AWA-WMA post seems to have subsided a bit, at least for me. All but one person who commented on it was positive. They all basically said that they had planned to answer the thread until they saw my post and since I had said everything they wanted to they just commented..."right on"!

It did make me take a closer look at what we want these different organizations to do for us. Yes, I'd like to have more recognition for what I do. But, I want to be recognized for my talent, not for who I've been freindly with. I know that's kind of an unrealistic view. In almost any endeavor it's not so much what you know as who you know and the Music business, in any genre, is very much that way. On the other hand, I'm old enough now that I can look out at the world and say "Don't care. I'm gonna do it my way" and be able to live with the consequences. In the past 8+ years that I've been following Western Entertainment I've made some of my greatest friends. I've had a wonderful time and built hundreds of special memories that I will be able to take with me when I'm gone. The awards I've won and the money I've managed to make are nice but when I'm gone, they will stay here. I can't take them with me. The money, of course, was gone Long before I made it!

One of the e-mails I saw mentioned bringing in "big names" so that we could charge $30-40 per ticket and thus make real money for everyone. Let's have a reality check here, folks. Aside from one or two (literally) performers, no one knows who any of our "big names" are except those already interested in Western Music or Cowboy Poetry. Maybe out in Arizona or California you are getting $30 a ticket for an AWA "star" but out here in Montana...well, good luck.

What Bobby Newton of the AWA is saying is true. We are NOT going to beat Nashville at a game they've been playing for a long time. We need to work with them in some way. If Bobby has some ideas about that, I'm ready to listen.

John Westbrook and I were out to dinner with an AWA award winner not long ago. This person spent most of the dinner talking about the "big names" they had played with and were friends with. Names we are all familiar with because we are AWA and WMA members and the success of our peers is important to us. The speaker was "name dropping" to the wrong folks since John has played with Merle Haggard, Johnny Lee and MMM but we didn't say anything...just let it all run past us. My point here is that if this person had been bragging to anyone else in the restaraunt, they wouldn't have known any of the "big stars" being spoken of. Unless John had spoken up! THOSE names, everyone in the building would have known. For Merle you might get $30 a ticket in Montana. Murphy was in Missoula about four years ago and I think the ticket price was $25 and I'll bet there were less than 500 in the audience.

Now I know, because I went to Elko last year and saw what SHOULD be going on at every Western show, that there are a lot of fans out there and a lot of people are learning who we are and what we do. But the few thousand that we see in Elko each year is only a small piece of the thousands who attended Garth Brooks concerts only a few years ago! I'm right back around to; if Bobby Newton and the AWA (or anyone else for that matter) has a plan for building our popularity beyond what we have now, then I'm all for it!

I've got lots of ideas too. Everyone who knows me knows that when it comes to ideas, my motto is: "Quantiy, not quality!" I figure, if only one in 100 ideas works out, that just means you need to crank more ideas out there, faster!

I'm looking forward to meeting more of you out there. One of the best things about this Western Music quest, we all get to run into each other once in a while. With the small size of our "family" it's inevitable. Leave a comment. Let's hear Your ideas! Maybe the solution is out there.

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