Every Tuesday @ the SKYLARK LOUNGE on Airport Blvd. (between MLK and Manor Rd) . . . 8:30-10:30pm . . Playing acoustic duo with Mr. Chris Mietus on mandolin and myself on banjo and guitar . . doing what we do . . Original DLE tunes!
April showers bring May flowers . . What do May flowers bring?
If you can answer this question correctly, before the end of April, you win a signed, Dickie Lee Erwin CD of your choice! Respond to the email link provided on this website!
NEWS ON THE MUSIC . .
I’m writing some new songs. They’re all at different stages of development . . some complete with melody and strong lyric content. Others are being developed.
When I have an idea and want to develop it into a song, it takes a lot of ‘thinking’ on how to deliver the ‘message’ in the song using as few words as possible (leaving a little room for the listeners imagination to participate) and still staying on course with the original message or story. It’s tricky but if I stay on with the original idea to the end, then I reap the reward of completion!
Of course there’s the melody. For myself melodies are infinite. I can reach up into the ‘invisible’ and grab one or, many times ‘they’ grab me. Nevertheless that is the ‘easy’ part of a song. Arranging the song is fun yet challenging. I can’t tell anyone how to arrange. I’m just now starting to pay attention to the ‘arrangement’ part of the songwriting. It has to be felt, thoughtout . . and each song has its own feeling/meaning and, I feel that the ‘arranging’ and ‘phrasing’ are the parts that ‘deliver’ the story and its meaning, effectively. Effectively means, the listener is in the song, feels it and is influenced by all its content.
To finish anything, whether it be washing dishes, finishing a painting or cleaning out the car . . . Just feeling how it feels to complete a song is a huge reward!
O.K. now, go write a song and get back to me.
THE AUSTIN MUSIC SCENE . . 4/04/14
This is a commentary on the music scene in Austin.
First, there are Austin musicians and then there are musicians living in Austin. Two kinds. Some want to make it big in ‘Austin’ and then there are the musicians that don’t concern themselves with that and perform outside of Austin. There are the musicians/artist that create their own, original music . . and the musicians playing cover music, whether it be pop, country, rock, it’s previously created songs that were popularized over radio, tv . . mass media.
The musicians playing cover music; the top 40 radio hits, in whatever jandra of music, can literally make a killing. They make $1000′s of dollars per show. I have associates/musicians that are making a comfortable living doing that. I call it corporate music. Corporations put on functions all the time, all over the globe, and their request is some jandra of top 40 music.
Then you have the musicians that create/compose their own music. They thrive on making something new and original for the masses or, possibly just for the sake of creating new melody with contemporary, lyrical content. They are ‘dream driven’. Dreaming of catching the ear/eye of the audience (you), or an A&R rep for a record label, publisher, manager, booking agent or anyone who can elevate them to the next level in the ‘business’ and out of the part time, low paying ‘day job’ they’re holding down until they’re ‘discovered’.
I came to Austin in 1978 with a dream to live the life that I imagined a musician/writer lives. I didn’t realize that in the process of all this I’d have to also be: a wood placement engineer (a title given to myself as a grunt on a construction site), a carpenters helper, head bottle washer/ gravy maker (Soap Creek Saloon), art gallery manager/ salesman (Country Store Gallery on Lavaca), painter, paint contractor (Handsome Painters), truck driver/ delivery man (U.T.), , faux finisher and landscaper. I did this during in the daytime. In the nighttime, I write, practice my instruments, rehearse, record, book shows, and I’m an artist, so I paint. Art a vital part of the dream I have. Whether a person is in or out of the dream is a choice they themselves make.
I chose to do all the non-music related occupations because I didn’t know what else to do in order to stay in the dream and stay in Austin.
To succeed in the Austin music scene one has to ‘warm up’ so to speak, to the people in the business ( dics jockeys, columnist, booking agents, managers, bar owners, city government, etc.) that control what the public will hear and see around town. I’m not good at that, to my fault. In the Live Music Capital of the World it’s how many connections you make and if those ‘connections’ find you favorable, you’re in. If your fortunate enough to be played on the local radio or reviewed by a local news print then, other doors open and offer the better paying venues.
Radio and local newspapers plays an important roll in the Austin music scene. Local disc jockeys and music critics do the best they can with the overwhelming amount of music they’re sent each day. That’s understandable. unfortunately I hear and see articles concerning the same artist. Their music is played over and over and over again, articles written about them over and over again leaving scores of unheard musicians/writers to fen for themselves. There are numerous singer/songwriters with well recorded songs of their own that are rarely heard on local radio or reviewed in local newsprint.
Recently I had a disc jockey from one of the local stations ( I won’t mention her name) emailed this statement: "we are under no obligation to respond to emails, phone calls, or take meetings with folks who want us to play their music. What you regard as unprofessional,, we regard as impossible, in terms of getting the work of the radio station done".
This is what I got out the email: We are the gate keeper. We choose what to spin and you artist have no voice in this. We (program directors, disc jockeys and owners) will decide who gets the ‘airplay’. Hey, I’m just sayin . .
Bar/club owners hold the musical purse strings in Austin. They control the revenue that is paid to the performing musicians. Remember, they’re not in the business to be your friend. They want money. That’s the root of their existence. Hey, business is business. If you, as an artist, have a following and the club/bar can sale a shit load of alcohol, your in. If not, they may throw you a happy hour slot or nothing at all. The HH slot is usually tips only. In some cases an owner will give you a residency HH where you can hopefully grow an audience. If that happens, other establishments will see your success and jump on board and give you a gig. There’s always the club that’s starting up somewhere that will take on new artist, you just have to have your ear to the ground to find them. Clubs are opening and closing weekly in Austin. To be continued . .