Twitter redemption: Today I ‘met’ Charlie Shafter

If you know me, you’ve heard me call Twitter a ‘cesspool.’ That’s one of the few absolutes I believe. Yet every day I do a drive-by (or a few) on that site to keep up with music and news. I often roll my eyes at some of the Tweets. But every now and then Twitter redeems itself because I learn about musicians I probably wouldn’t have come across otherwise. Today I ‘met’ Charlie Shafter, and once again, I proclaimed Twitter’s (temporary) redemption. 

Late to the table on Burns’ Vietnam epic, but surprised by the politics

I’m late to the table when it comes to Ken Burns’ epic film series The Vietnam War. I hesitated to watch it for several reasons. First among them: politics. I lived through that era, and although I was young, my uncle, who was like a brother, served three tours. Another boy I’d gone to school with for years lost his life in that war. I wasn’t in the mood for negativity towards those who were required to serve. 

Jamey Johnson stood in line to get Willie to sign his guitar

Jamey Johnson bought his famous guitar “Ole Maple” shortly after he finished boot camp in the US Marine Corps at Parris Island (SC). Johnson said he walked into Bailey Brothers in Montgomery (AL) in 1995, and he said he played every guitar on the wall before making up his mind. Johnson’s guitar is famous among his fans, but what many of us didn’t know is what he did to get Willie Nelson to autograph it. 

Imagination nation: World UFO Day is July 2

July 2 is World UFO Day, and it’s a given that many Americans are interested in mysteries the heavens hold. Mysteries in the sky have intrigued mankind dating to antiquity. Power brokers have expressed interest in unidentified flying objects, and a famous author whose works date to the 1950s is now considered a visionary. Even the US Naval Institute has documented photos of objects that haven’t been identified. The USA is an imagination nation for sure, but governments traditionally weren’t exactly forthcoming about such mysteries. 

CDs still staple for country fans; streaming services took note at CMA fest

A story at Billboard about a recent effort at CMA Fest in Nashville confirmed what we’d already learned. CDs are still a staple for country fans, and probably for indie fans as well. In an effort to up their share of the market, streaming services like Amazon, Spotify, and iHeart Radio took action and had a larger presence at this year’s Country Music Association event. Crunching numbers leads to some interesting insights.

Indie blogging faces new challenges in social media wars

Unless you are completely off the grid, chances are you’re aware of the controversy Facebook is dealing with over user data. Facebook isn’t alone—different social media and news entities face challenges domestically and globally. Amid the uproar, there’s something to consider if you’re an indie blogger. 

Songwriting tips from experts—is “simple” really the way art should go?

What gives a song shelf life? What makes some songs so special they’re still relevant a century after being written? Tips on songwriting can be found at various industry websites, but one tip posted at Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) raised my eyebrows and made me ask myself a question. Is “simple” really the best advice for how art should proceed?

Boost your creativity with a journey to the stars

Have you ever been to a planetarium? If you haven’t, check one out. It just so happens that astronomy students from the University of North Florida are cooking up what amounts to an official journey to the stars launched right here in Jacksonville. If you want a creativity boost, this might be the perfect opportunity. What does it cost? 

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