Watch: Pensado Papers Promo

The Pensado Papers takes readers behind the scenes on the journey that Dave Pensado has shared with his manager and best friend, Herb Trawick, all the way from death’s door to platinum records to Internet sensation. It features unique insights into the engineering regime of a recording genius, a creative philosophy that results in achievement and success, examples of Dave and Herb’s powerful and inspirational friendship, amazing teachings from guests on Pensado’s Place, and above all, fun! Here, Herb and Dave discuss the making of the book.

Marketing tips from Bobby Borg: Getting approval from your fans

In Music Marketing for the DIY Musician, Bobby Borg provides tons of tips on how to promote and distribute your work as a musician. Bobby recently wrote an article for Sonicbids Blog on one of the best (and most affordable) resources you can use to prep your music before sending it out to any record labels – fans! Read more here. 

Testing and Feedback: 5 Steps to Getting Approval From Your Fans Before Committing Your Valuable Resources

Testing and feedback is the process of getting your music into presentable form, trying it out on your most likely fans, and making necessary improvements before committing your time and money manufacturing, distributing, and 00124611promoting it. Without market research, you could easily spend thousands of your hard-earned dollars recording music that’s unmarketable to music supervisors, labels, radio stations, and even your own target fans – and that would be tragic! Make no mistake: testing and feedback increases your chances for success. Remember that creating music in a vacuum and simply hoping that people will love it is like shooting in the dark.

1. Develop and demo your products and services

The first step in the testing and feedback process is to get your music (or other products) into presentable form so you can test them on your target audience. This could mean simply putting together a pitch to present your ideas conceptually, or creating an “inexpensive”demo/prototype. Whatever approach you take, just be willing to pay some dues! Don’t rush the process. If needed, you might even enlist the professional advice of consultants, co-writers, and others to set you on track. This is crucial! Great marketing campaigns start with great songs first and foremost.

2. Test your products/services out on your most likely fans

Once you’ve invested the necessary effort to get your products and services into presentable form, it’s time to craft a variety of simple survey questions. Your questions might include: “On a scale from one to five, how unique do you think my style is?” or “On a scale of one to five, do you think this song should be included on my forthcoming debut EP?” Whatever it is you want to test, just make your questions precise so that you collect the most accurate and unbiased results.

Read the rest of the article on Sonicbids.

listen: C. Eric Banister on the High and Low Podcast

Eric Banister had a chat with the folks at the High and Low Podcast to talk about his Johnny Cash FAQ, which they call “one of the most comprehensive treatments of Johnny’s music you can find.”

>>LISTEN HERE<<

00119344Johnny Cash remains one of the most recognizable artists in the world. Starting in 1956, he released an album every year until his death in 2003. In addition to these albums, there were also some posthumous releases in the years after his death. From rockabilly to country, folk to comedy, gospel to classical, the prolific Cash touched them all. His hit singles crossed over from country to pop, as he transcended genres and became a superstar around the globe.

Cash skyrocketed from the beginning, flying through the ’60s until he was one of the country’s biggest stars by the end of the decade. Following his own muse through the ’70s, Cash slowly faded commercially until he nearly disappeared in the ’80s. Instead of giving up, he made an incredible late-career run in the ’90s that took him into the new millennium, along the way collaborating with various contemporary rock and pop artists.

His offstage problems often overshadowed the music, and his addiction often takes center stage in the story, pushing the music off the page. But Johnny Cash FAQ celebrates the musical genius of Cash and takes a look at every album Cash released, the stories behind the hits, and how he sustained a fantastic nearly 50-year career.

Landscapes in Piano Repertoire

The Composer’s Landscape features eight insightful essays on the piano repertoire, each chapter focusing on a single composer: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Chopin, and Mendelssohn. In this book, Carol Montparker uses landscape as a metaphor for the score, whether it be a well-tended garden of Mozart or the thorny thickets on a Schumann page.  In her introduction, Montparker beautifully explains the reasoning behind her “landscape” metaphor.

A few words and metaphors will explain why I gave the series the name “the Composer’s landscape.” music is a language, and that language has a very broad spectrum. often referred to as “the universal language,” still it encompasses many styles, genres, and dialects. not only does each composer write in a unique language, but performing artists have to learn to “speak” and “sing” in these various tongues. Very often pianists find that they are fluent and conversant in many composers’ languages—but not all. Very few pianists play every composer equally convincingly. even if we are lucky enough to be born with talent, it usually has a territorial boundary, as my great teacher Leopold Mittman put it.

00124843To my eyes, a page from any score is a landscape, with its own contours and terrain, that is directly related to the language of that composer—a kind of visual depiction of the language. When a musician beholds a page from a Schumann score, it has an altogether different look from a page of Mozart; it can be as different as a jungle is from a well-tended garden, and an experienced musician can glance at a page and discern which composer wrote it, just from the appearance of the writing style.

Yes, there is the same system of notation: notes, clefs, phrase marks, dynamics, lines and spaces, and so on. But what gets much more com- plex is the “topography”: the shapes—the peaks and depths, the patches of bramble or thickets to plow through, the open plains to traverse, the circuitous routes of the melodic lines, the clotted harmonies, the busy thoroughfares where all the voices converge, the layers of their impor- tance, and the depth of meanings, stacked like the geological strata of a canyon, through which we must dig in order to get to the core of truth. We must, in essence, be explorers and, for me, the metaphor of landscape works so well that I could find endless parallels between the manuscript and any kind of geographical terrain.

Most concerts are eclectic and varied. This series proved to be a rare opportunity to present and examine one composer at a time and take note of the extraordinary and essential elements that distinguish one composer’s landscape from the next, and what the unique challenges are for the explorer-pianist.

Listen: Sue Richmond on Talk Radio Europe

Sue Richmond, author of Excess All Areas, had a hilarious interview on Talk Radio Europe! Listen to hear her exchange stories with Bill Padley on “Let’s Talk.”

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>>LISTEN HERE<<

Excess All Areas takes readers on a roller-coaster, backstage ride into the surreal and unpredictable world of the band contract rider. A rider is a shopping list of items, usually food and drink, requested by the band, which forms part of the contract for the concert venue. If you think Van Halen’s ’80s demands to remove all of the brown M&M’s from the sweet bowl in their dressing room was a tad precious, think again.

Excess All Areas delves into the dressing rooms of our favorite musical acts, from Black Sabbath to Usher, and has a good old rummage around, discovering a penchant for expensive champagne, enough towels to dry an army, the odd boa constrictor, inflatable sumo outfits, ice without square edges, water from the top of Mount Olympus, white tube socks (12 pairs, to be exact), and soda water – just for spilling on the floor.

This colorful volume includes illustrations that are equally as entertaining as the outlandish 100 featured riders and will leave you amazed, stomping your feet, and shouting for more.

Win Keith Richards’ Fender Telecaster

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Guitar Player and Rolling Stones Gear have teamed up to give you a chance to Win the Brands of the Rolling Stones! Now you can own some of the major brands of equipment the Rolling Stones played including Fender, Martin, Framus, Zemaitis, Gretsch, and Vox in this exciting new sweepstakes! They are also giving away the new book Rolling Stones Gear: All the Stones’ Instruments from Stage to Studio by Andy Babiuk and Greg Prevost. Check out this vintage ’52 Fender Telecaster that YOU could own!

 

FenderKeith mainly used his collection of five-string Teles, but also had on hand his 999 blond ’59 Tele (strung as a six-string), the single-cutaway ’57 sunburst Les Paul Junior, a single-cutaway Les Paul TV Junior, a single-cutaway Les Paul TV Special, the ’58 Mary Kaye Strat, a custom-made all-black Tele- style guitar with black P-90 pickups, a transparent black Tele-style Cobra by Tom Anderson, a reissue ’59 sunburst Gibson Les Paul, his acoustic Gibson L-1, an Ovation Adamas acoustic six-string, and a number of Martins. As on previous tours, Keith’s tunings and capo positions remained the same on all the constant numbers in the set. Another Fender Tele that was added to Keith’s five-string Tele collection was a 1952 butterscotch example with a black pickguard, which Keith nicknamed “George.” Unlike Micawber, Malcolm, and Sonny, whose neck pickups were replaced with humbuckers, George’s traditional Tele neck pickup was left alone. The guitar’s original bridge was replaced with an aftermarket bridge, and it was set up as a five string. The George Tele has become one of Keith’s go-to guitars for both stage and studio. Keith’s legendary guitars and their names hold a mystique of their own. Pierre explained: “I laugh when people tell me they spell Sonny with a ‘u’. It’s ‘Sonny’ because it’s named after Sonny Rollins, and Sonny Rollins is not spelled with a ‘u’, but I don’t sit there and tell everyone that. When I met Keith, he literally called all his Teles by their first names—Malcolm, Micawber, Sonny.” Pierre continued, revealing yet another new addition to Keith’s collection, “Gloria is a five-string 1954 Esquire that is totally beat up. It was a ‘parts’ guitar, a total beater with an Anderson pickup in the neck, and the reason for that is the low magnetic pull.”

Saturday Night Live Turns 40

Saturday Night Live will begin its 40th season tomorrow! Saturday Night Live FAQ author Stephen Tropiano tells us all we need to know about the new season.

Saturday Night Live is Turning 40!

Stephen Tropiano

Saturday Night Live’s 40th season begins on September 27th with host Chris Pratt and musical guest Ariana Grande. They are both smart choices for the season opener: Pratt is the star of the summer blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Grande’s album, My Everything, debuted last month at #1 on the Billboard Chart. Pratt and Grande will be followed by two former SNL cast members: Sarah Silverman with musical guest Maroon 5 (October 4), and Bill Hader with Hozier (October 11). This is Silverman’s first appearance on SNL since her short stint as a cast member in Season 19 (1993-1994). Hader is a veteran cast member (Seasons 31-38, 2005-2013) currently co-starring with fellow SNL vet Kristin Wiig in The Skeleton Twins.

As expected, some cast changes and shuffling occurred at SNL over the summer.

  • Nasim Pedrad has officially left the show to join the cast of former SNL head writer John Mulaney’s new sitcom, Mulaney. Lorne Michaels is the executive producer, which explains why the Mulaney cast also includes former SNLer Martin Short (Season 10, 1984-1985) as Mulaney’s boss, a legendary comedian turned game show host, and Elliot Gould as Mulaney’s gay neighbor. The first member of SNL’s “Five-Timers Club,” Gould hosted the show five times during Seasons 1-5 (1975-1980) and the season opener for the disastrous Season 6 (11/15/80).
  • Three of the eight-featured players–Noel Wells, John Milhiser, and Brooks Whelan– will not be returning. A fourth, Michael O’Brien, who wrote for the show for four years, will be returning to the writer’s room full time. It’s not entirely clear why Wells, Milhiser, and Whelan’s contracts were not renewed, though it is safe to say that due to lack of airtime, they probably didn’t stand out enough compared to the two returning featured players, Beck Bennett and Kyle Mooney, who, filling the void left by Andy Samberg and his Lonely Island collaborators, showcased his comedic talent in a series of quirky shorts. Bennett and Mooney will be joined by Sasheer Zamata, who debuted in January, and head writer/Weekend Update anchor Colin Jost.
  • Two new feature players, Pete Davidson and Michael Che, will be joining the cast. Twenty-year old Pete Davidson is a young stand-up comic from Staten Island whose credits include Nick Cannon Presents: Wild ‘N Out , the MTV series Guy Code, and an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Che will take over for Cecily Strong as co-anchor of Weekend Update with Colin Jost, marking the first time the news has been co-anchored by two males. Che, a stand-up comic, was a SNL writer last season and spent the last three months as a contributor to The Daily Show. Apparently Cecily Strong has no hard feelings–hopefully she will return to Weekend Update soon as “The Girl You Wished You Hadn’t Started a Conversation with at a Party.”
  • Darrell Hammond, whose tenure on SNL was the longest in the show’s history (14 seasons, 1995-2009), will be replacing the legendary Don Pardo as the show’s announcer. There is likely to be a tribute to Pardo, who died at the age of 96 this past August, sometime soon. As Hillary Clinton will no doubt be running for President in 2016, Hammond will hopefully also be appearing on-camera as the man who may become America’s “First Gentlemen.