Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day weekend

Wanye Nelson, his son Erik and I played at the Bale of Hay Saloon in Virginia City Saturday.

We had a great crowd right from the start and held most of them there for the night. Erik's rocker style lead guitar playing, my standard "cover tunes" and Wayne's folk style all kind of blended together and it was a lot of fun.

Wayne and Erik had composed an instrumental where Wayne played a rythm pattern on the keyboard and Eril "rocked it up" with lead guitar. It was really good and some of the audience came around the corner to watch them. I have to say that I will always treasure the memory of Wayne Nelson dancing while he played the keyboard!

One big disappointment in Virginia City this year, though. Cell phones work there now! How depressing to see people texting and hear the jangle of cell phones, the raised voices of the users, all in the one place we were free of that in the past. Progress?

When I got to VC Saturday afternoon, there was still some wet snow here and there from the two or three inches they had gotten Friday night. The skies were mostly clear by the time we were done for the night but it was still kind of cold. Cold enought that, as I was laying in my bed in my camper, I thought about getting up and firing up the furnace. But, it was warm in my sleeping bag and cold everywhere else so I just stayed where I was.

I went home through Sheridan, Twin Bridges and Whitehall so that I could scatter a few more posters about our Cowboy Entertainer Gathering. It was a very pretty trip. Sheridan, however. was closed! I found a grocery store open and left a poster there but everything else seemed to be on Holiday.

I stopped at the Sacajawea Hotel in Three Forks where they were having a local musicians "jam session". It was nice that a stage and sound system had been set up and they were running it very well, getting different performers and groups on and off but giving decent time to each. I knew most of the performers there and made it a point to meet those I did not.

I did a few songs and had a good time with everyone, plugging Our Show, of course.

For me, the highlight was that Claudia Williams (Montana Rose) was there and did a few songs.

Then on to home...finally.

Now, we spend the rest of the week getting ready for the Townsend Gathering. Next week is Primary Election; don't forget! Afterwards, I believe I will start my summer with a trip back to Virginia City.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Charlie Ray Music

Does anyone know this man?

Quite a while ago, I remember sending a CD to Graceland Entertainment in Nashville. Last January, I got a postcard from Graceland Entertainment with the story that they had been playing my CD in their office when Charlie Ray (pictured) came by, heard one of my songs and made favorable comments.

The postcard went on to say that he is a very succesfull "song plugger" and that I should contact him, giving his phone number and website:

I have spoken with him and he seems reasonable. He claims to have placed several songs with major artists over the last few years. He provides a pretty decent resume as being able to find the right doors to knock on and knowing who to talk to behind those doors.

Charley wants to plug several of my songs this summer for a fee.

I've spoken with a few people with good connections in the music world and no one seems to know this guy. On one hand, there is no real info about him while on the other hand; that also means there is no BAD info about him. I would think that if he was scamming people, there'd be a lot of info about that.

I also know of at least two other Western Music people who have gotten similar postcards but have not followed up on them.

Anyway, if he's known, good or bad, to anyone, please let me know. If he's for real, he might be in a position to help us all. If he's not for real, or has caused problems or scammed money from people I need to know it.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

White Sulphur Springs "Motherin' Up Gathering", 2010

We had a great time in WSS last weekend. Lots of great performers showed up and we played all day, jammed part of the night and just enjoyed each others company. There were good crowds even for the Day-Show sessions.

I have two videos here. The first one is Landen Reddington, backed up by his family, the High Strung Band, doing El Cumbanchero. I recorded it in Elko, Nevada in January, 2007.

Here is Landen and his family with his 2010 version of that song.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Nutrition? Not in our food!

Ok, I'm going way off the Western Entertainment reservation tonight as I have another personal "rant" to get off my chest.

For some reason, today, while I was shopping for groceries, I actually took the time to look at the labels of the food I was buying. Have you ever actually done that? I've been watching the sugar and sodium content the last couple of years but I still had never really looked at the whole label. There's nothing in there! Only calories, fat, sugar and sodium. I mean in almost every package! Once in a while you find small percentages of some basic vitamins but those percentages are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you ate enough packaged food (Canned, frozen, dried, pre-cooked, not cooked; it really doesn't seem to matter) to get the vitamins, minerals...basic nutrition that you need in order to be healthy, you'd have to eat far more than 2000 calories.

No wonder we are all getting so fat! No wonder we are hungry all the time and eating too much...too many empty calories as we search the nutrients our bodies are craving.

After today, I realize how seriously important it is to use some kind of nutritional supplement. Ok. I use and sell Reliv products and have a huge "testimony" of how effective they are. But there are many nutritional supplements out there which help. Use SOMEthing to supplement the tiny amounts of nutrients that you are getting in your food.

I know. If we try to stick to fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned and cook our own meals instead of buying precooked, microwaveable stuff we will be doing better but I'm beginning to understand now what some of my friends have been telling me for a long time. Even doing the fresh/organic thing doesn't get the whole job done. Find a supplement that works for you; gives you the nutrition you need and so on and stick with it.

I don't mean to get so far afield but I was really shocked to realize that most of what we eat is useless and grows nothing but fat and developes nothing but heart attacks, strokes and diabetes!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Another Rant about todays "Country Music"

I spent a few hours in a car yesterday, with a local Top 40 Country station playing on the radio. I've been looking for a word to express my feelings for this "music". I've struggled for over 24 hours now and the best I can come up with is...Yechh!

I can't tell the difference between any of the singers by voice. I wish the radio announcers would at least take the time to break in and tell me that it is now a new song with a different singer because, otherwise, I can't tell where one stops and another starts. If they didn't throw a few female vocalists in there once in a while you'd NEVER be able to tell one song from another.

I realize that there is likely a certain amount of jealousy (sour grapes?) involved in my opinion here, since I'm a songwriter with no hits. If one of the songs being played on the Top 40 was one of mine, recorded by one of these "new artists", I guess I'd be a big fan. But none of the songs I heard yesterday seemed to have any substance to them. The melodies weren't memorable nor were the lyrics. What song from todays Top 40 would you think will be a "classic" 10 years from now? Which one of these drab puff pieces will be requested in bars in the year 2020?

Let me give you a hint. I'll bet we're still getting requests for "Mama Tried", "Good Hearted Woman" and "Folsom Prison Blues" in ten years!

I and several of my friends are writing songs today with catchy melodies and meaningful lyrics. Any Wayne Nelson song is more enjoyable than anything I heard yesterday.

I'm not saying it has to be "Western" to be good. And if they want to sing in a more "soft rock" style (The Eagles, Allman Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Molly Hatchett...would all be "Country" bands today by the sound of things) they should at least make it something worthwhile. How about a little meaning in the music? I guess, in my old age, I'm thinking more of a Folk Music style where a message comes out.

The thing is, there are some great musicians in todays "popular" Country Music world. In my opinion, the absolutely best voice in any style of music is Alison Krauss and she is backed up by some of the best musicians in the world; Union Station. Why don't I hear them on the Top 40 stations? Why do they only play the "Top 40"? What group of (insulting lable deleted) chooses what IS Top 40?

In all my travels the past few months I have rarely come across an either AM or FM station which plays a little of everything. If I programmed a radio station, you'd hear a huge musical mix. Waylon Jennings followed by Fleetwood Mac followed by George Strait...and so on. I like to hear the songs my friends are doing, old country songs, old rock songs and even a little Tchaikovsky when the mood hits me.

I guess that's why XM and Sirius have taken a bunch of the radio market away from our local stations. Maybe some of the local programmers should think about that.