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? 

The book every songwriter (and poet) should read

If you write songs, chances are you’ve confronted the same challenges poets confront. How do you make time-honored themes like love and loss or anger and redemption new again? You have to do that if you’re writing a new song—you can’t rely on standard clichés and rewrite the same tropes, even altered, over and over again. I often talk to musicians and songwriters in my personal life, and lately, I find myself recommending the one book I think every songwriter (or poet) should read. The latest person I recommended it to is a filmmaker (Hello, Jared Rush). 

Improve Your Songwriting in Three Steps

Independent musicians earning weekly paychecks playing in bars know their fair share of cover songs. More and more, indie artists are learning about the revenue opportunities for original music through streaming services like Spotify. Original music can take a musician’s business and brand to the next level. It’s not always easy to translate the creative musings in our minds to lyrics and melody, but here are three ways to start improving your songwriting right now.

Brain freeze? Here are five ways to get inspired

As an independent artist, new material is what breathes life into your business. Whether you’re a visual artist, musician or writer, keeping your audience engaged by creating content is possibly the most important rule of success. Maybe it’s the chaos of day to day life that hampers your creativity, or maybe the pressure to make something beautiful is limiting your efforts. Writers’ block doesn’t just happen to writers, and most artists have encountered some form of it. As an independent musician taking care of a family and home while trying to contribute to our brand and business, I sometimes find

Take heart, indie artists: As Irma approaches, ‘happy’ music may aid coping

It’s almost impossible to think creatively right now because those of us who live in Florida are facing a very angry Irma rolling her way towards the south end of the Sunshine State. As I multi-tasked this morning in an attempt to get things squared away, I came across an interesting article related to my current quandary. 

Booked and ready to gig, but short on creative time?

If you do music fulltime, you already have an idea of the challenges. Unless you have a team of helpers, you’re where the buck stops. You do the promoting. And the booking. And the contract bids. And equipment maintenance. Press inquiries. Booking agency contacts. Taxes. Practices, and whatever else demands attention. Amid all that, where is the creative time? 

Eclipse 2017 didn’t quite go as planned here

Yesterday, at 1:34 p.m. here in the southeastern sector of Jacksonville, I got to see something remarkable. The sun was directly overhead. As I viewed it through my special glasses, that big orange orb looked like a mouse had nibbled at the upper right quadrant. By 1:49, the bite got bigger. Then things went south. 

Should there be an aesthetic standard for country music duos?

I enjoy reading at the site Saving Country Music, and I came across an article today that set me thinking. The article is about a couple who make music together, and the writer opined: “Somewhere, the spirit of the country music duo got lost. This isn’t just about the conjoining of two voices. It’s about the mixing of two perspectives on the same theme, telling a story from two angles, making the yearning in the heart that much more aching by adding two sob stories, or uplifting joy that is magnified that much more because it’s shared with someone else.”

Indie thriller ‘Kill Club’ a great summer read set in iconic city

In between books I read for research—mostly history—I like to read fiction that takes my mind off the real world. I came across Kill Club by David Jack Smith, and it proved a perfect fit for my late afternoon coffee reading time on the deck. A mystery-thriller, the book would lend itself well to film. The book opens with a kill, with the novelist placing the reader in the mind of the murderer. The catch is we don’t know the identity of the murderer, and this sets up a guessing game for the reader as the plot unfolds.

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