Thoughts from the shadows of a great American city

Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a Nashvillian” or the Nashville experience. “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew


As we head into Thanksgiving week, please do not forget those less fortunate than you. The Nashville Rescue Mission just released a statement declaring “about 5,000 people will find their way here on Thanksgiving Day alone.” To make sure they receive love, friendship, and a comforting meal, please call (615) 255-2475 or visit  Thank you.


The “Grow Your Following” Series
for Singer/Songwriters and Bands

Part 1:  Getting the Media to Cover You

by Dave Carew

Let’s face it: If you’re an “indie novelist” like me—or an indie singer-songwriter like you or one of your friends—it’s not easy getting the media to cover you.

But here’s the deal: When my latest novel was published, I received positive media coverage in The Tennessean, The City Paper, The Vanderbilt Hustler, and

So how did I do it? More important: How can YOU?

Let me share a few publicity secrets I’ve learned over the years. First, don’t overlook what I call the “gimme’s.” This is the publicity you get when you’re automatically listed in the “club listings” of your local newspaper. Determine the e-mail address for submitting club listings (it’s often something self-evident, such as “”)  And make sure you e-mail a JPEG photo (at least 350 dots per inch) of yourself/ your band. You’ll “pop” in the club listings a lot more if your photo is there, next to your listing.

Next, move on to the next level of PR. Get the specific name, e-mail address, and phone number of every journalist in a given city who covers music. Then, at least 10 days before your gig, e-mail each journalist the essential information about your upcoming gig, starting with the “who, what, where,” but also sending interesting information about yourself or your band. In that information, try to quickly address the question” “What is unique about me or my band? Why would a music journalist and his or her readership find me/us interesting?”

Then, two days later, call each journalist, introduce yourself and say you’re briefly following up on the information you sent him or her. Specifically ask if he or she might like to write an article about you, in conjunction with your/your band’s upcoming performance. If the journalist says “no” this time, don’t give up. Implement the same PR strategy around your NEXT gig in your city, or when you travel to other cities.

The truth is, no one can predict how much publicity you’ll land thanks to any given PR effort. But using the strategy described above, I’ve helped artists land publicity in every single newspaper in Nashville, plus many others throughout the Southeast. Keep trying, and this activity will secure publicity for YOU, too.

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance publicist and copywriter.


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