Nashville and NMSG News: Friday, August 26, 2011
With my new book “The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide” finally being out into the world, I’m starting to get my life back again. And going out on the town to network and check out the scene a little more often has now become a little more practical.
Last Thursday I went to The Fillin’ Station, in Kingston Springs, for their weekly blues jam. There was a great turnout of talented players and some killer jams took place. For those of you who have never been, the jam is hosted by “The Mohawk Slim Blues Band” and runs every Thursday from 7 – 11 PM. A great place to meet new players, do a little jamming, or just hang that’s outside the in-town microscope – you owe it to yourself to check this place out!
This past Tuesday I went to The Fiddle and Steel Tuesday night jam. As some of you may have previously read, “The Steel” is a great in-town bar and a place that helped me get my start in Nashville. When I first moved to town, Tuesday nights at The Steel were THE place to be, as it was one of the best music industry hangs in the city for the longest time. In recent weeks the jam has been resurrected, and this was the first time I had a chance to check it out. The band started just after 10 PM and the place was packed by 11 PM, with a great turnout of players playing everything from Vince Gill to SRV and Merle Haggard to Jimi Hendrix. Toby Keith and some of his bandmates were hanging out for a bit and I saw several well-known Nashville songwriters there as well. It looks like Tuesday nights at The Steel are on again!
Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide News
This coming Monday, August 29, I will be giving a talk about my book and my experiences in Nashville at Indie Connect. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this organization, Indie Connect is a community of independent musicians, singers, bands, songwriters, record labels, music professionals and service providers who come together to support each other by sharing ideas, expertise, contacts and resources.
Where: Indie Connect: 2720 Old Lebanon Rd. Ste.108, Nashville TN 37214
When: 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Last week I was invited by Bryan Cummings to appear on “The Jesse Goldberg Show” on Channel 19, our local community access station. I will be talking about my book and my experiences in Nashville. I’ll post the air time at a later date.
While I was at The Steel the other night I had the pleasure of meeting Darlas Rai, an on-air personality at Nashville’s 103WKDF. When she learned about my book, she offered to do some promotional giveaways on her radio show. During the next few weeks she will be giving away five free copies of my book during her nightly show which can be heard weeknights from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM, and Saturdays 6:00 PM to 12:00 PM midnight. Listen to her show for details!
And lastly, the book just received its first official review. The French country music magazine “No Fences” caught wind of the project and asked me to send a promotional copy for review. I don’t speak French, but judging from some comments in an e-mail from the magazine, the review is a good one. The review is posted here, and while I’m sure there are computer programs that can translate this, if anyone out there can translate this, please let me know via e-mail.
That’s about it for now; I’ve got some other interesting things in the works and will keep you posted. Meanwhile, happy jamming and I’ll talk to you later!
New England Here We Come! Eric and Kelly’s Vacation Turned Book Tour
I can’t tell you how excited we are to be finally about to embark on our first trip to our native homeland of New England in seven years. I’m sorry we haven’t gotten back sooner, it’s not because we haven’t wanted to, it just seems that whenever we’ve had the time we didn’t have the money (we call this Nashville winter), and when we’ve had the money, we didn’t have the time (Nashville summer). So this year, with my 25th high school reunion taking place at the end of July, we decided this was the perfect excuse we needed to block out a week in the middle of the summer and pay our old friends a visit.
Somewhere in the middle of planning this trip I got the idea to do a clinic at “The Music Workshop,” a music store in Salem, NH that I used to frequent in my younger days. My idea was that this would be a great way to share some of my Nashville experiences with my peers in New England, while, of course, promoting my new book “The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide.” I’m not sure how this happened, but before I knew it, I was booked at four different workshops throughout New England (some of you may have noticed my recent series of Facebook event invitations). With all this activity evolving I thought it would be cool to throw in a special show with some of my musical comrades from back in the day, and this has led to the Eric Normand and Friends Reunion Concert at Wally’s Pub on Hampton Beach, on Wednesday, August 3rd at 8:00 PM.
There is a complete listing of all these workshops and events with addresses and weblinks on the new events page of my survival guide website. Here is the longhand version plus some info that’s not on the website:
Wednesday, July 27, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide Workshop
Ralph’s House of Tone, Dover, NH
During this workshop I will talk about what it has been like to work as a “hired gun” in the Nashville music scene, what it’s like to work on a national level tour, and some of the key differences and similarities between being a working musician in New England versus Nashville. There will also be a “Nashville guitar rig and style demonstration” and question and answer period followed by a book signing immediately afterwards.
Jam at the Station House in Dover
After the workshop, (which is free to the public) I will be attending a jam at The Station House Restaurant and Pub right down the street. The Station House usually has a jam on Thursdays, but when I contacted my old friend, Rick Landry, inquiring about any area jams on Wednesdays, he decided to put together this special jam just for this occasion, and I must say that I am quite honored. This jam will serve to be a kind of after party for the workshop and should be a great chance to catch up with some old friends and share a little music. Thanks Rick!
Thursday, July 28, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide Workshop
Buckdancer’s Choice, Portland, ME
This workshop will be like the one in Dover, only in Portland (also a free event). Before our move to Nashville in 2002, Kelly and I lived in Kennebunk, Maine, and at that time I played many shows throughout southern Maine with my band, Electric Blue. One highpoint during that period was our regular Sunday night jams at Chancery Lane in Sanford, ME, a truly magical musical moment that occurred weekly, and one that gave birth to many friendships and even a couple of bands. We hope to see some familiar faces in Portland on this night.
Monday, August 1, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
Music Skills for Life and Rhythm Section Workshop
Music Maker’s, Hampton, NH
This multifaceted workshop will be a little different than the previous two, and while I will share some of my Nashville experiences here as well, I will also spend some time talking about some practical aspects about being a lifelong musician. The second half of this clinic will be an “interactive rhythm section workshop,” during which students will have the option to explore some fundamental basics of rhythm section performance with me and Music Makers instructors, Mark Davenport and Tom Martin. Music Maker’s is a seacoast area music school that offers private lessons on a wide range of instruments and the place in which I first began teaching guitar in the mid-90s. I’m excited to be returning to share some of what I have learned since that time with their next generation of students. This event is open to the public: cost: $20 per person – $15 for current Music Maker’s students.
Jam night at Whippersnappers in Londonderry, NH
After the workshop, we are planning on attending the Monday night jam at Whippersnappers in Londonderry, NH, hosted by Gardner Berry of Mama Kicks. I used to jam with Gardner and other members of Mama Kicks back in the late 80’s/early 90’s when he hosted a Sunday night jam at Classics in Manchester, one of my first jam night experiences. Should be a lot of fun so come on out!
Tuesday, August 2, 7:00 – 9:00 PM
The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide Workshop
The Music Workshop, Salem, NH
This will be the final workshop of this trip and similar to my clinics in Dover and Portland the week before. Salem used to be a big part of my stomping grounds back in the day and I used to frequent the Music Workshop regularly, constantly “experimenting” with new music gear, occasionally buying some. I also used to perform regularly at the old LJ’s in the Rockingham Mall, remember that place?
Blues Jam at the Roma in Haverhill, MA
After this workshop we are planning on attending a blues jam at The Roma in Haverhill, MA. My good friend and drummer extraordinaire, John Medeiros is part of the host band at this jam (John is also a former member of Electric Blue and will be part of my core band at Wally’s on the third.)
Wednesday, August 3, 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Eric Normand and Friends Reunion Concert
Wally’s Pub, Hampton, NH
This will be the last stop of our New England book tour/vacation and a very special night of music and reconnecting with old friends. It’s been seven years since we last set foot on Hampton Beach, and more than ten since I last performed their regularly. When we first started planning this trip I had the idea about doing a reunion concert of sorts and I called up and presented the idea to my old friend, Kenny Gaudet from The Bars, who fast became instrumental in making this happen. The first set will consist of me on vocals and guitar, John Medeiros on drums, Keith Foley on bass, and some friends from seacoast area jam band, Superfrog – Charles Cormier on guitar and Adam Vinciguerra on percussion. A little later into the night there will be a brief reunion of my old band “Shockwave” with Doug Hinton on drums, Mark Gagnon on bass, and Keith Bowen on vocals (also possibly Brandon Lepere). Other guests will include Kenny Gaudet, Devin Cordero from Last Laugh, and possibly a partial “Jet City” reunion.
This night will mark the end of our week in New England and we are really looking forward to reconnecting with so many of our old friends and musician buddies. We are hoping to make this reunion concert an annual event, so if you like this idea at all, please come out and show some support. And for anyone who is interested in purchasing my new book, this will be your last chance before we head out of town, so if you have it in your heart to help us out with a little gas money for the ride home, pick one up, they’re only $20.
While we will be leaving Thursday morning to rejoin the Rhett Akins tour for shows in Ohio and Chicago, we will be back, and next time we won’t wait seven years! In the meantime, go ahead and make some plans to come out to the Wally’s show and a workshop or two, we would love to see you all again! See y’all real soon!
Coming Gigs and Events
As some of you might know, there’s a lot going on in Nashville this week. It’s that time of year again where 250,000 country music fans converge on the city for “CMA Music Fest Week” (formally known as Fanfare). Tourists, country music fans, and curiosity seekers from all over the globe will fill the streets, shops, hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and concert halls, and while this can make getting around a little sticky for the locals, it is truly an exciting week for Music City, not to mention good for the local economy. This year, I am fortunate to play my own part in these festivities.
Thursday, June 9 from 11 AM – 2 PM I will be doing a book signing at the Charlie Daniels Museum on Second Avenue in downtown Nashville (between the Hard Rock Café and the Wildhorse Saloon.) This unique museum/gift shop began selling my book last week at which time I was fortunate to meet the museum’s owner, Bud Messer, who requested I come back and do and in-store signing during Fanfare. Bud is a great guy and I am honored to receive this invitation from such a prestigious institution, not to mention the fact that they are now selling my book. (The Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Broadway is also now selling my book.)
This Saturday, June 11 my band will be performing at The Fillin’ Station in Kingston Springs. The fun starts at 7 PM, and if the weather is good (which it looks like it will be), the outdoor patio will be open. This week the band will consist of me on vocals and guitar, Nick “Shaggy Bag” Forchione on drums, Tom Good on bass, and special guest Patrick Weikenand (formerly of the band “War”) on harp and beer slinging. This club is a one-of-a-kind experience, so if you’ve never been, you owe it to yourself to check it out. (no cover.)
Monday, June 13 I will be giving my first talk on the book when I host “The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide Workshop” at Corky’s Ribs & BBQ, 100 Franklin Road, Brentwood, TN 37027. This luncheon will be sponsored by “Indie Connect” and held between 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM. Cost $10.00. This presentation will be somewhat informal and there will be a lot of questions and answers, networking and group interaction.
Other than that, it’s been hot as hell in middle Tennessee for the past month, and we’ve had over 10 straight days of 90° plus heat with no end in sight. Stay on the lookout for heat and poor air-quality advisories.
So that’s it for now, if you’re around, please stop in to one of my events or gigs and say hi.
The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide eBook, and eBooks in General
Today marks another milestone in my self-publishing book adventure, that being the arrival of “The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide” epub and Kindle versions. I am pleased to announce that these digital formats are now available for purchase on my web-store for the low price of $9.99.
While I am still a big fan of old-fashioned paper books, and the original vision of my book was one which was printed on paper, I do see the practicality of eBooks and understand their growing popularity. In this hyper-digital world it comes as no surprise to me that printed books are starting to fall by the wayside, similarly to the demise of CDs, VCR tapes, and newspapers. But I believe there will always be a place for printed books, and therefore my book is available in both print AND electronic versions.
When the printed version of my book was complete I focused on the eBook conversion and hired a company that specializes in this work, eBook Partnership. During this process I learned a lot about the benefits and drawbacks of eBooks.
Here are a few benefits from the reader’s standpoint:
- A person can now carry hundreds of books in one small device.
- They are delivered almost instantaneously.
- They require no packing or shipping expense.
- They can show links, allowing easy access to related information and websites.
- Fonts can be resized to allow easier reading.
A few benefits from the self published author’s standpoint:
- The sale and transaction are instantaneous.
- They require no packing or shipping.
- They’re easier to sell internationally as shipping packages abroad is very expensive.
- They can be more affordable to the masses as they’re typically less expensive than printed books.
- They require essentially no storage space.
It all seems too good to be true, especially from an author’s standpoint. Well after a bit of research I learned that they are just a little too good to be true. Despite all these advantages there are some drawbacks:
- If your battery dies and you aren’t somewhere where you can plug it in your screwed.
- ebooks lack the look and feel of a traditional book – i.e. cover, pages, binding, etc.
- Unlike traditional books there is no market for used eBooks, so a reader can’t recoup some of their original investment.
- And perhaps the biggest drawback from an author’s standpoint is that eBooks lend themselves to piracy.
As we all know, when the music industry went digital, this was the start of the illegal filesharing era. Similarly to the MP3, the eBook is also far more prone to theft than its predecessor, the paper book. As the day on which I would release my own eBook drew near, I started looking into ways to protect my electronic book from piracy. I learned that there are protections that can be applied to my eBook to prevent this kind of theft but this would be expensive, and it would not be foolproof.
The truth is that even Kindle and ePub versions of books with the most advanced piracy protection (like the kind of protection applied to eBooks sold on websites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble) could be disabled by the savvy computer hacker. In other words, if somebody really wants to they can take any eBook, disable its copy protection, and pass it around the Internet as fast as a jar of moonshine will get passed around a Kentucky campfire.
Matt Horner, the eBook designer who worked on my project offered the following thoughts on the matter
“Overall, the value of DRM [Digital Rights Management/Copy Protection] is debatable and anyone who is set on copying your eBook would be able to strip the DRM from it within minutes by downloading free software from the Internet. My advice would be to price your eBook sensibly, accept that there may be some piracy, but assume that the majority of people are honest and would rather buy a reasonably priced eBook than download a pirated copy.”
So I have priced my eBook very reasonably – hence $9.99 (thousands of hours went into this project so I can’t simply offer it for free.) I hope that most musicians, the prime audience for this book, realize that this work has value, similarly to the way a songwriter or artist places value on their work.
So steal it if you must, but if you truly want to help preserve the noble endeavor that being an author or songwriter requires, follow this link and get your copy of “The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide” today!
Book Release Party for “The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide”
Come out tonight for the official book release party for “The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide” at The Fillin’ Station in Kingston Springs, TN (7 – 11). Many of the contributors to the project will be in attendance and the first three people to ask will receive a free copy of the book. My band will be playing featuring former “G-man,” Mike Chapman on bass; Nick “Shaggy Bag” Forchione on drums; and me on vocals and guitar. There might even be a few special guests.
After 2+ long years of research and writing, I’m excited to get this book out into the world. This project has been all about paying it forward, and I believe this book will prove to be a useful tool for many musicians trying to find their way in this crazy business. This will be a very special night, and one to remember for a long time to come. So come on out for the festivities!
The Fillin’ Station
385 North Main St.
Kingston Springs, TN 37082
Directions from downtown Nashville:
Take I-40 West to exit 188 (Kingston Springs)
Go right at end of exit onto SR-249 (Luyben Hills Rd.)
Go 300 yards turn left onto Kingston Springs Road
After 1.3 miles you’ll come to a stop sign – turn right onto North Main St.
The Fillin’ Station is about 400 feet on the left (the last business in a small strip mall)
“The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide” Is Here!
That’s right everybody, the book really is finally done and now available to all who have been patiently awaiting its arrival. Orders for the print version will be processed and shipped this week, the e-book and Kindle version will be ready and available by the middle of next week, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally be at this point in time! Others involved in the project are getting excited too. Check out these back cover blurbs that a couple of folks offered after checking out advance copies:
“Awesome! Required reading for any musician moving to Nashville, especially as a hired gun.
Hundreds of hours of priceless advice condensed into one thorough and brilliant book
– an incredibly helpful masterpiece. Makes me want to move there now!”
— DEREK SIVERS, Founder of CD Baby
“If you are making or want to make money in the music industry of Nashville, “The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide” should be your next purchase. Eric Normand’s beautiful and comprehensive book contains invaluable insider information and practical advice from pros actually making a living in the industry now. A terrific read for anyone interested in peeking into the unique world of music Nashville. Even the pictures rock!”
— JUDY RODMAN, Vocal Coach, Producer, Hit Songwriter
As you could imagine, there was a big celebration at the Normand house when these e-mails arrived!
When I embarked on this journey two years ago last January, I had no idea I would be entering the world of book self publishing. In fact, when I initially began writing the content that became the foundation of this book, I had no intention of writing a book at all, or even the knowledge about how to go about doing this. At that point in time, I was simply trying to help a few folks on Craigslist and other message boards who wanted some info about the Nashville music biz’. The next thing I knew I was writing a book, almost by accident. The more I wrote, the more I began to understand the massive scope of this project, and the work it would entail to finish it – Internet research, extensive recorded interviews, photo taking excursions, etc. At some point along the way the book began writing itself. It was as if I was a mere conduit, the end result first being the story of the modern-day Nashville music industry magically appearing on my computer screen, and now in this wonderment of a book.
I couldn’t have done it alone either. Dozens and dozens of people have contributed their time and resources to this project and for this I am eternally thankful, their contributions have made this a far greater book than I could have produced alone. While the entirety of this project has been a massive undertaking (there were many times that I felt as if I would be writing this book for the rest of my life), this has truly been a labor of love – my way of paying forward all that I have learned in this strange place we call Music City, and I am absolutely thrilled with the end result.
So if you’ve been waiting for this book, it really is finally here. Thanks for your patience and I hope you enjoy reading “The Nashville Musicians Survival Guide!”
P.S. If you live in middle Tennessee, I would like to invite you to our official book release party at The Fillin’ Station in Kingston Springs on Saturday, April 30 from 7 to 11. Many of the contributors to the project will be in attendance on this night, there will be music performed by my band (Mike Chapman will be on bass and Fran Breen on drums), and the first three people to ask will receive a free copy of the book.
Every Day Gets Me a Little Bit Closer
It amazes me how every day is so packed full of tasks. As soon as I’m finished with breakfast, I excitedly walk up to my office, sit down at my computer, and dig in to this book project that has all but consumed my life for the past two years. I’m about two days away from sending the finished PDF off to the printer, yet it still seems like it’s never actually going to happen.
Yesterday’s big task was all about finishing the cover design. I had some major help with this all-so crucial and final last step. This help came in the form of the world’s greatest graphic designer (AKA my wife, Kelly). The cover came out great. The front cover art was completed last year, but we still had to design the spine, and the back cover. According to “Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual,” the back cover is the most important element of your books exterior. For it is the back cover text that will ultimately cause a potential customer to look inside, and hopefully purchase the book, or, put it back on the shelf and pass on it. And of course, it must have a look and feel that makes people want to read it when they pick it up.
We looked at several other books for ideas as a starting point for our cover design. One of them was “I, Alex Cross” by James Patterson, a very cool looking, and eye-catching book exterior. After hours and hours off trial and error, experimenting in Photoshop, etc., we arrived at a finished design that does justice to this manuscript. While the cover concept was completely Kelly’s brainchild, I was the chief laborer in this massive endeavor. Almost every time I had a question, her answer was simply “Google it.” This was not because she didn’t know the answer, but because she knew I was capable of figuring it out myself – and that by figuring it out myself, I would actually learn something:)
There was one other interesting moment in the last couple of days. Last week I took a flash drive down to Staples and had them print out the entire manuscript on premium copy paper, and then fasten it together with a ring binder. This was so we could give the book one last proof read, check for photo resolution, formatting, etc. (there’s a lot of stress involved when you’re about to spend thousands of dollars to print a book no one has even read yet.) But the funny moment came just before leaving for Staples when I put the flash drive on the kitchen table and made the comment “So there it is, my entire life’s work for the last two years reduced to one, microscopic flash drive, barely the size of a walnut.” It seemed so strange and surreal.
Anyway, just a few more details and I will be done with all the “tasks” required to get this long awaited book out into the world. I really am getting close, but it still seems like I will never finish. Well that’s it for now; got to get back to those tasks …I’ll keep you posted!
Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide Preview And Release
April 18, 2011 – A Date That Will Live in Infamy! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist). Monday, April 18 is our new, official release date for this long overdue book about the Nashville music biz’. When I first embarked on this project, some two years ago, my thoughts were simply “there seems to be a void of information out there about the Nashville music industry, so I’m gonna write a book about it. I mean, how hard can it be?” This was probably the biggest understatement of the century. I had no idea how to write a book at that point in time, I just knew that this book needed to be written. So I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. A year later, I thought I was done writing. At that moment, it seemed finished. I turned my manuscript into a PDF and had a couple of rough drafts printed. As I read through this document I made many corrections and notes, and by the time I was finished, I realized I hadn’t covered all the bases.
So then the project entered phase 2. I had a handful of new chapters that I needed to write, but I also decided to pursue some more interviews, my thought being that this would help broaden the books perspective and appeal. Around that same time I bought the book “Dan Poyntner’s Self Publishing Manual.” After skimming through this fascinating must-read for first-time authors, I began to compile a massive “to do” list. It seems there were dozens, if not hundreds, of little details (many that turned into huge details) I hadn’t thought of – things like: writing back cover copy, purchasing an ISPN number, setting up a P.O. Box, setting it up as an e-book, photo permissions, photo captions, and of course, what is often the most neglected task of authors, marketing.
I also learned in my research that, in general, traditional book deals do very little advertising for their authors. If an author wants their book to sell, unless their name is James Patterson or Stephen King, they must promote their own book. As I am self-publishing, this means that promotion is entirely up to me. Enter Eric, the blogger. Not only has blogging turned out to be a great way to build a readership, it’s been a fun and exciting learning experience as well. Writing a new blog every few days about everything from my shows on the road with Rhett Akins, to the Nashville flood, to self-help tips for musicians, to progress on my book, has been very rewarding. For instance, after writing a blog a few weeks ago about tinnitus, I got a few e-mails from different musicians informing me that they are buying earplugs.
At the same time I began blogging, I began soliciting “chapter reviews” by my peers and experts in the industry, as was suggested in the self-publishing guide. By involving other individuals as contributors, this not only served to further help market the book, but it also greatly improved its content.
The next hurdle turned out to be the interior design. Upon looking into hiring someone for this task, it quickly became obvious it would be extremely expensive. This discovery prompted me to get creative and learn how to do it myself. My wife, Kelly, acquired some tutoring help to learn Adobe’s InDesign software, taught me the basics of what she learned, and then I managed to completely submerge myself in the interior of this book for the past several months.
Well doggone it, I think I finally got it. The design is essentially finished, (just waiting on a few final copy edit changes from one of my copy editors) and will soon be sent to Create Space for final approval and printing – WooHoo! I have been waiting for this moment for almost 2 years. I mean, this project has all but completely taken me over, and as much as I have learned and grown in the process, it will be nice to have my life back.
So in the meantime, check out the beautiful PDF preview (if I don’t say so myself). This will give you some idea about the final version which will be released on Monday, April 18 – A Date That Will Live In… (whoops, sorry, it almost happened again!)
P.S. You can make an advance purchase of your copy of the book to our new online store we just set up. This will not only guarantee immediate delivery the day our first shipment of books arrives, it will also help me pay for some upfront printing costs.
P.S.S You may notice I have put a CD and audio downloads for sale in the store as well. This CD “Songs Without Words” is an instrumental project I recorded in 2003 while I was on a break from the Toby Keith tour. With flavorings of rock, blues, jazz, and Americana, it is an audio snapshot of where I was musically at that moment in time.
New Features on the Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide Website
As I’m now nearing the end of this book writing project, I’m realizing that I have neglected the Survival Guide site a bit. While I have managed to put up a new blog at least once a week for the past year, it’s been quite some time since I’ve added any new content anywhere else on the site. I’ve wanted to make some changes for a while, and this week, along with the help of the world’s greatest webmaster, Kelly Normand of Just Ducky Designs, we added several new useful features, or “Extras” to the site.
In a recent conversation with a talented singer songwriter from Maine considering moving to Nashville, he inquired about what clubs would be worth checking out. I told him that The Bluebird, The Commodore Grill, and Douglas Corner all hosted popular weekly writers’ nights, and it would serve him well to check these out when he comes down. (BTW -the singer/songwriter’s name is Chris Ross and he’s a great talent, definitely worth checking out! Here’s a link to one of his inspired Youtube performances). But the conversation gave me another idea. My site, that refers to itself as “a central point of information geared towards helping musicians, singers, songwriters, engineers, and others find their way in the Nashville music industry.” was missing something. After a fair amount of digging and e-mailing, I have put together a thorough listing of some of the the most popular writers night’s, blues jams, and open mics in middle Tennessee. More will be added later, but this is certainly enough to get you started. If you host one of these types of events and would like it posted here, just send me an e-mail.
I also created another new section of the site I’ve wanted to develop for quite a while now, “Road Manager Resources”. This will be all practical stuff for tour managing on any level. Right now, if you go to that page, I’m offering a free download of my itinerary template. This is an ideal starting point for you to build your own custom day sheets for your tour or band. Have you ever been on a tour that seemed void of all pertinent information? I have. I’ve been on tours where the tour manager didn’t provide itineraries and didn’t have many answers to the most basic questions. Every day would come and go with most of the tour members asking him questions all day long. Questions like “what time is sound check?”, “what time is dinner?”, “when are we going to the hotel?”, and “what time will we be getting back?” A good itinerary, placed strategically in the front lounge of your bus or van, will not only provide all this info, it gives the tour manager the ultimate response to most questions he or she will be peppered with throughout their day – “Check the day sheet”!
When I get around to it, I plan on adding some more “tour manager goodies”, among them, an easy to use merch spreadsheet, links to some of my favorite “Road manager friendly” websites for booking hotels, flights, rental cars and more, and periodic updates to my “Tour Manager Tip of the Week” (check the site to learn this week’s tip).
I also added a brief excerpt from the book about the Nashville Recording Industry to the site. It’s kind of a precursor to some more extensive writings about this topic that will be explored in the book.
And lastly, I would love your feedback! If there’s something you’d like me to blog or write about, or another feature you would like to see added to the website, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
So that’s it for now, there’s a lot in the works, and the book is just about to go to print. Check back next week for a major announcement about its release.
P.S. If you live in Middle Tennessee and are looking for something to do this Saturday night (March 5), I’ll be playing at The Fillin’ Station in Kingston Springs, TN with Mike Chapman and Fran Breen – 7 to 11, no cover, tons of fun, come on down!
Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide News – Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Hey everybody, welcome to 2011! For all of you that have been following the progress on my book project, here’s a little update:
We have now achieved an interior design! After a couple months of hard work and a steep learning curve, Kelly has mastered the basics of Adobe inDesign, a powerful document designing program. A few months ago I posted a Craigslist ad to find and enlist the help of an Adobe inDesign expert and, after responding to several inquiries, hired a very well-qualified Nashville based designer to help us learn this program. A few phone tutoring sessions and e-mails later, and Kelly, already a great Web designer with a deep knowledge of computer graphics, understood the program well enough to teach me the basics. Together, we arrived at a design that we feel is right for this book.
Here are a couple of sample pages (click on the image to view full screen):
I can’t tell you how exciting it is to finally see my endless stream of Word documents begin to look like a book. At last, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!
I’ve compiled some great photos for this book. After year and a half of writing and conducting interviews, the book is quite massive, currently weighing in at 120,000 words, or somewhere between 350 and 400 pages. To help the book stay visually stimulating with this much text, I felt it was important to include as many pertinent photos as possible, not only to help break up the text, but also to give any readers who are considering moving to Nashville a greater sense and feel of this place. After about five or six photo taking “field trips” into Nashville Metro, I’ve compiled about 1000 pictures from which I am choosing the best 100 or so for the book. I’ve also gone through my hard drive and picked out the best shots I’ve accumulated from my decade of working in the Nashville music industry, and have received a few great contributions from my interview subjects as well.
The EJ Bernas interview is now edited and approved. This interview with the senior director of UMG Southwest region, the last and longest interview I conducted, takes an in-depth look at some of the thought process that goes into signing new acts, and reveals much about what goes into developing an artist in this post-Napster era. After making a few adjustments, EJ has now approved this document, and the interview is now officially a part of the manuscript.
Copy editing is now underway. After reviewing the same material over such a long period of time, I don’t know if I could spot anymore mistakes, but I know there are more to be found. For instance, did I place all those commas correctly? Comma’s are a bitch, and, I, sometimes, get confused, as to how many to use,,,;) So we’ve enlisted some outside help for a fresh perspective.
We have chosen Amazons Create Space for POD (print on demand) services. A traditional printer would require at least 1000 books for a minimum run, and that would be a lot of cash out of pocket. The good news is that now, in the day of self-publishing, POD services like Create Space and Lulu have helped greatly in this regard. I am, however, planning a first print run of 500, so I will still have to come up with a good chunk of change. (Donations anyone?)
We now have a target release date – March 14! If everything goes according to plan, the book will be available for purchase on Monday, March 14, in both paperback and e-book formats through this website and at Amazon.com. It will also be for sale at several music stores, bookstores, and tourist shops around middle Tennessee. There is still a ton of work to be done to make this happen over the next two months – completing the interior, making the necessary copyedit changes, creating the e-book, setting up a P.O. Box and phone line, designing the back cover and spine, assessing and purchasing shipping containers, annoying Kelly with my endless onslaught of computer related questions, stressing, pacing needlessly around the house, and a lot of freaking out in general.
Thanks for reading, and keep checking back for more news about the release of “The Nashville Musician Survival Guide”. I assure you, it will well be worth the wait!