Archive for May, 2011

The “Underground Nashville” Interview with Singer-Songwriter Darryl MacQuarrie

May 26, 2011

By Dave Carew

Originally from San Jose, California, Darryl MacQuarrie writes and sings the kind of country music that brings to mind the phrase “the real deal.”  In powerful, emotive ballads such as “The Way It Was Supposed to Be” (see YouTube), Darryl renders words and music that course a straight path from his own soul and dreams to those of the listener. Like the very best of country music, Darryl’s work delivers—in a seemingly simple musical presentation—yearnings, feelings, and truths that are profoundly complicated and rich . . . that “get at” not only what it means to be human, but what it means to wrestle with being human.

Underground Nashville recently interviewed this gifted, deservedly-fast-rising artist about his work. Here’s how our conversation went:

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE:  The other day I heard a manager say it’s essential for every artist to have his or her “elevator pitch” . . . your 20-second presentation regarding who you are specifically as a singer-songwriter (i.e., what’s distinctive about you, why people should care about your music).  Okay…we just got on the elevator. What is your elevator pitch?

DARRYL MacQUARRIE: I don’t talk to people in elevators.  No I kid…20 seconds?  OK, here we go.  Let me start by saying that that guy is right.  I think so many people don’t know who they are or where they’re going when they get to a town like Nashville. And if you showed up to a manager’s office and your answer to that question was “I don’t really know” or “I’m sort of like this and/or that,” then it’s going to be hard for that person to take you seriously.

[So] I’d say I’m the best damn voice you’re ever going to hear!  Ha!  I guess I would hope to say, or rather hope to believe, is that I’m unique from anyone else.  Depending on what genre you’re in, and I won’t name names, there’s all this talk about uniqueness, yet once the mold is broken it’s often just a bunch of copycats.  I guess I’m trying to be that mold, a new mold if you will.  I’ve been told I don’t sound like anyone else, which actually I prefer.  Other than that, I would hope you cared about my music because you liked it, and because you felt the connection I feel with it…not because I fit some mold or I get carried around stage in some large egg.  Did I answer your question?  I think my 20 seconds are way up!

UN:  What do you believe is your most important musical accomplishment to date?

DM:  It’s yet to come.  I guess I’m always looking ahead.  Sure, I could name this or that, that I played here or there, or have made an album, but I guess my most important accomplishment is that I’m still doing it and haven’t gone completely nuts yet!  [Laughs] That, and those moments when I write a song that just totally connects with me and those who listen to it.  Those are my best accomplishments, and once I have one I just look forward to the next one.

UN:  If your musical dreams came true over the next five years, what would we see Darryl MacQuarrie doing in 2016?

DM: Sitting in the Bahamas with a cold beer in my hand.  Oh, you meant musically what would I be doing.  I guess the short answer is touring.  But I don’t like short answers.  I guess the main thing is making my living playing music and writing songs.  Just having the ability to play to more and more people andconnect with them, because that’s really what it’s all about. And like I said, I have the best damn voice they’re ever going to hear, so they need to hear it!  I kid.  Or do I???

For more information about Darryl MacQuarrie and to hear his music, visit DarrylMacQuarrie.com. And don’t miss Darryl’s gig at the Bluebird Café on Sunday, July 24.

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/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 book editor, publicist, and copywriter.

 

New Glaser book sets the record straight regarding origination of the term “Outlaw” in country music

May 24, 2011

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

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Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit Lambscoft.org.  Thank you.

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New Glaser book sets the record straight regarding origination of the term “Outlaw” in country music

By Dave Carew

In one of its more myth-debunking chapters, a new book by Dennis Glaser challenges the long-held contention that Hazel Smith—and Hazel Smith alone—came up with the term “outlaw” to describe the brand of country music first popularized by Waylon Jennings, Tompall Glaser, and others in the 1970s. (Dennis Glaser is the cousin and former manager of Tompall Glaser. His new book is entitled Music City’s Defining Decade: Stories, Stars, Songwriters & Scoundrels.)

How does Glaser know the “conventional wisdom” doesn’t offer the full story?  Because he was literally in the room when the term “outlaw” was being debated.

“What I did,” Glaser writes in an e-mail to Underground Nashville, “and what Hazel Smith takes credit for having done, is define the term, based on the dictionary definition.”

Why is that a big deal?

“Waylon Jennings and Tompall were reluctant to ‘accept’ the use of the word, fearing that it would tend to identify them as crooks, bandits, etc.,” Glaser writes. “So, having been a journalist all my life up to this point, I immediately sought out the dictionary, and then wrote a memo which dealt with ‘outlaw,’ ‘progressive,’ ‘cowboy,’ etc.”

It was that memo, Glaser asserts, that significantly helped calm Waylon’s and others’ nerves about the term “outlaw.”

The classic album Wanted: The Outlaws—featuring Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Jessi Colter, and Tompall Glaser—went on to become the first country album to sell more than one million copies.  Thanks—in a small but not insignificant way—to Dennis Glaser’s trusty dictionary.

Music City’s Defining Decade: Stories, Stars, Songwriters & Scoundrels is now available from Amazon.com. 


David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/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 book editor, publicist, and copywriter.

Interview with Nashville-based singer/songwriter Matthew Solberg

May 17, 2011

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

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To make sure homeless human beings receive the food, love, and friendship they need, please donate to the Nashville Rescue Mission by calling (615) 255-2475 or by visiting NashvilleRescueMission.org.  Thank you.

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Interview with singer/songwriter Matthew Solberg

By Dave Carew

Matthew Solberg first came to my attention when I learned he had spearheaded the Elliott Smith Tribute Concert presented at The Mercy Lounge in late 2009.  Since then, Matthew has been working on his just-released full-length debut album, Matthew Solberg, which, he says, features songs influenced by Elliott Smith, Daniel Johnston, The Beatles, Paul Simon, Nick Drake, Neutral Milk Hotel, and others.

Interestingly, Matthew—who plays out in Nashville very seldom—has had decent success as an “Internet musician,” promoting his music primarily online.  Underground Nashville asked Matthew about that—and about his new record in general—in this brief interview:

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: What was the creative vision behind your new record? What are you trying to achieve with it artistically and musically?

MATTHEW SOLBERG: I think one of my main goals was to make songs that I like. With my first [EP], I sort of just tried to write songs that I thought had good/meaningful lyrics and that showcased some guitar skills—but at the time I was only beginning to get a sense of melody and how to sing. With this new album, I suppose I wanted to take what I did on the EP (focus on lyrics and guitar), and sort of expand on that by adding in some more instrumentation (including more vocal parts) and focusing more on melody.

UN: In the past year, you have mostly been an “Internet musician” and have enjoyed some success spreading your music that way.  Specifically how are you using the Internet to reach music fans and raise your visibility as an artist?

MS: Besides making my first two albums available for free download, I’ve spent quite a bit of time marketing my music online, specifically by contacting bloggers and by advertising. I estimate that my first album got downloaded about 700 times, and it also got radio play in seemingly random countries. That might not sound like much to some, but to me—as an unknown solo artist releasing his first record—it’s reassuring. I couldn’t tell you how many live shows I would have had to have played to get that same effect, but I’m guessing it would be a pretty high number.


For more information about Matthew Solberg and to hear or download Matthew’s music, please visit matthewsolberg.com.

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor/writer 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 book editor, publicist, and copywriter.

 

Interview with Vinny Ribas, CEO of Indie Connect – – Part II

May 13, 2011

For those of you who missed Part I of the Underground Nashville interview with Vinny Ribas (presented in its entirely below), let me recap a couple of quick points, as a lead-in:

Vinny Ribas is the founder and head of Indie Connect, the most innovative and empowering indie music networking organization in Nashville. (The organization also has offices in New York and Dayton.)

Underground Nashville recently interviewed Vinny about Indie Connect and how it is benefiting our local indie music community.  Following is Part II or our two-part interview.

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: Can you share a few specific stories about the types of helpful connections made at Indie Connect?

VINNY RIBAS: We have people from all levels of the industry showing up, ranging from aspiring artists to former major label stars. We have hit songwriters and first time songwriters. It’s this mix that makes anything possible. Some examples of success stories include:

Shaun Murphy came to one of our meetings after 15 years as the co-lead singer of Little Feat, until she was let go because the band was cutting back their schedule. She didn’t know what to do. We found out that she loves to sing the blues. One of our members introduced her to the band that hosts the Monday night blues jam at Bourbon Street. Some of those members became her back-up band. She now has two solo CDs out, and is a hit at blues festivals everywhere. She credits Indie Connect on her first CD with making her new career possible. Songwriter Lisa Aschmann met Shaun at an Indie Connect meeting and landed two songs on her debut CD.

Tracy Snowe, who is my friend and an amazing pop singer, came to a meeting at which Michael Moore was speaking. [Editor’s Note: Michael Moore the music professional, not the filmmaker.] Michael was responsible for marketing the Thriller album, among others, in the 80s. They had coffee after the meeting, and he is now her manager. Today they are close to getting her signed with a major pop label.

Former CMA Female Vocalist Of the Year and hit songwriter, Judy Rodman, is now a sought-after vocal coach. She recently contracted to host her own TV show on vocal health on the Light Waves Inspirational Network (a soon-to-be-launched Internet TV network). That connection, along with dozens of vocal students and production clients, came directly from Indie Connect.

Aspiring country artist Tyson Bowman is now co-writing with a handful of hit songwriters he met at Indie Connect meetings. He just appeared on Music City Late Nights, a TV show hosted by county legend, Ronnie McDowell. That connection came through Indie Connect.

This list could go on and on.

Editor’s Note: Until its new Nashville-area facility opens, Indie Connect meets each Monday at 11:30 AM at Corky’s, located at 100 Franklin Road in Brentwood. The cost is $10 for non-members, plus attendees pay for their own meals and beverages. The organization also holds a monthly ‘Welcome To Nashville’ workshop hosted by Marc-Alan Barnette, and a monthly Christian musicians meeting.

For more information, please visit IndieConnect.org.

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor/writer 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 book editor, publicist, and copywriter.

 

 

Interview with Vinny Ribas, CEO of Indie Connect – Part I

May 10, 2011

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

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To make sure homeless human beings receive the food, love, and friendship they need, please donate to the Nashville Rescue Mission by calling (615) 255-2475 or by visiting NashvilleRescueMission.org.  Thank you.

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Interview with Vinny Ribas, CEO of Indie Connect – – Part I

By Dave Carew

Vinny Ribas is the founder and head of Indie Connect, the most innovative and empowering indie music networking organization in Nashville. (The organization also has offices in New York and Dayton.) From the 1970s through the early 90s, Vinny was a full-time musician, producer, band leader, booking agent, artist manager, and state fair entertainment director. He later became an author and served as an entrepreneurial consultant.

Underground Nashville recently interviewed Vinny about Indie Connect and how it is benefiting our local indie music community.  Following is Part I or our two-part interview.

UNDERGROUND NASHVILLE: What exactly is Indie Connect?  What type of person does it serve?

VINNY RIBAS:  Indie Connect could be compared to a “Chamber of Commerce for the Independent Music Industry.” We are a membership organization consisting of people from all segments of the industry, including singers, songwriters, musicians, bands, record labels, service providers (vocal coaches, marketing experts, etc.), artist managers, booking agents, and other music professionals. They join us to learn about what is working in the industry right now for indie artists, as well as to make vital connections.

UN: What are the primary ways people benefit by becoming members?

VR: Our chapters conduct music-industry networking events and workshops. Each features a guest speaker discussing some aspect of the industry. Our meetings begin with a brainstorming session in which everyone introduces themselves and asks for whatever it is that they need next to move their careers forward. Some people ask for contacts, some for advice. Artists might be looking for a producer or a gig. Managers might need a referral to an attorney. Songwriters might be trying to find a co-writer or an introduction to a publisher. As each person speaks, everyone in the room tries to help him (or her) find what he asked for. The contacts, advice, ideas, and encouragement that come from these sessions are sometimes quite amazing.

UN:  What other benefits do members receive?

VR:  Our members benefit in many ways. Making vital connections is one of the major benefits. Our members also have access to our complete online training library, receive discounts to our meetings and events and receive product and service discounts from our partners (Broadjam, MyWerx, Airplay Direct, MusicPro Insurance, recording studios, duplication, distribution and much more.). Pro-level members get a feature story in our magazine. When we move into our new location, we will be holding member-only events as well.

UN: What other resources to you have available?

VR: We also have an online training library of over 300 videos, articles, podcasts etc. We publish our newest ones in Indie Connect Magazine, our free bi-monthly e-magazine (www.indieconnectmagazine.com).  We also host a free industry-only social network at http://www.indieconnect.org.

UN: What’s on the horizon?

VR: Here in Nashville we are about to open a full-time meeting space where we will hold meetings, workshops, private showcases, video presentations, meet-and-greets, book signings, and much more, 7 days a week.

Editor’s Note: Until its new Nashville-area facility opens, Indie Connect meets each Monday at 11:30 AM at Corky’s, located at 100 Franklin Road in Brentwood. The cost is $10 for non-members, plus attendees pay for their own meals and beverages. The organization also holds a monthly ‘Welcome To Nashville’ workshop hosted by Marc-Alan Barnette, and a monthly Christian musicians meeting.

For more information, visit IndieConnect.org. Watch for Part II of the Underground Nashville interview, coming later this week. 

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor/writer 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 book editor, publicist, and copywriter.

Glaser’s New Book Offers Behind-the-Scenes Look at Nashville in the ‘70s

May 3, 2011

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

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To make sure homeless human beings receive the food, love, and friendship they need, please donate to the Nashville Rescue Mission by calling (615) 255-2475 or by visiting NashvilleRescueMission.org.  Thank you.
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Glaser’s New Book Offers Behind-the-Scenes Look at Nashville in the ‘70s

The 1970s were the decade in which Nashville’s music scene changed forever—transforming from Hillbilly to Music City, fueled by the Outlaw movement. Now—in a fascinating new behind-the-scenes account—Dennis Glaser (Tompall’s cousin and former manager) offers a revealing new look at that seminal era, as it was lived by the people he met during those years. The book is titled Music City’s Defining Decade: Stories, Stars, Songwriters & Scoundrels.

Among the many fascinating, pivotal figures Glaser knew personally and writes about are Waylon Jennings, Earl Scruggs, Captain Midnight, Shel Silverstein, Tom T. Hall,  Bill Littleton, Johnny Darrell, and Billy Walker.

Glaser’s book offers a you-are-there look at how the artists—sparked by the Outlaw movement—progressed from record label control to development of today’s relationship between art and business. Glaser was present at the birth of the new reality, and gives us a never-before-seen look at that key moment in Music City history.

Music City’s Defining Decade: Stories, Stars, Songwriters & Scoundrels will be available soon from Amazon.com.  Watch for the review of Dennis Glaser’s new book in a future post.


David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/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 book editor, publicist, and copywriter.