Will new Americana podcast help clear up confusion?

Robert Earl Keen will soon launch Americana Podcast: The 51st State, and it’s a given the genre will benefit from Keen’s support. Few can clearly define Americana,  but many lay claim to it. The new podcast comes at a time when listening to podcasts is becoming more popular. Will this new messaging help clear up confusion about this genre that could be loosely a hybrid of country and rock? Maybe. Then again, it seems to me there’s a wide range when it comes to defining Americana music. The genre can comprise more than a mix of country (or folk) and

Six sites that may help you in your blogging or other writing

Recently I found workshop sheets from several years ago when I was doing seminars and such. About the same time, there was a movie on TV about a blogger who found instant success after leaving her job. That would be unusual, by the way. Blogging is usually not an instant success. I thought I’d share six sites I‘ve found valuable over the years. 

Hoby’s gets a new home; shop is a First Coast destination must

Hoby’s Honey and General Store is a favorite in our family and for many in the Mandarin community, and the shop’s new location is much more convenient than the old place was. Located in a shopping center Jax residents frequent, Hoby’s will have its grand  opening on Saturday, April 7. I wrote about this indie business in an earlier column. 

With YouTube tragedy in the news, are your eyes wide open on social media?

Social media—YouTube, specifically—is back in the news for tragic reasons. Billions of people use sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. If you’re a self-employed artist, these sites are probably critical to your messaging. Regardless of your purpose in spending time on these sites, you might ask yourself a question. Are your eyes wide open? 

Need ideas on branding? Look to Trader Joe’s

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling music or your independently published book or hand-crafted jewelry. You are your own brand. That brand will say everything to a newcomer who hears about your product via media or word of mouth. If you’re doing things as a hobby and don’t have an interest in profit, you probably don’t need to read another word of this. But if you view your endeavors as a business venture, read on. 

Quincy Jones crits Beatles’ talent in yet another eye-popping interview

Quincy Jones needs no introduction. He’s always been outspoken, but a recent Q&A interview at Vulture isn’t just Jones doing his customary emoting.  Amid pronouncements on just about everything, including Jimi Hendrix, the music icon offers some useful info for indies. 

Will Facebook music licensing give indies short end of the stick?

It’s been awhile coming, but Facebook’s music licensing contracts appear to be baked. Not much is available about pop culture contracts. But according to Digital Music News, it’s likely, “If you’re an indie publisher or songwriter, you’re probably going to hate Facebook’s music publishing contract.”  

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). 

Americana Music Association partners with CDX to launch airplay charts

There’s a new monitor in town when it comes to country music airplay. Expanding the options for monitoring will be a good thing for the music industry, and hopefully for indie musicians as well. Move over, top ten charts. How will this work? An announcement from the Americana Music Association about a new partnership explains: 

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