Category Archives: Uncategorized

2/3 Goat Live Performance Review at Tootsies.


Every now and then I like to get out and see a band that has caught my attention over the years if they come to town. Luckily, I had seen a post on Facebook this morning that the Americana/Country band 2/3 Goat was playing at Tootsies (yes that Tootsies) in down town Nashville this morning. Since I was already down here for business, I stopped in to listen and see if they stood up to their music video for “Stream of Conscience” that originally caught my attention a year or so ago containing a serious message well crafted into a song with a great hook and harmonies.

The best time to catch a band really is when they are playing to a very small crowd. It’s let’s you see if they can really pull it off. It’s easy to play to a large crowd full of energy, but it’s a whole different story when playing at 11 am to 15 people in a venue you have never played before. So now I am going to go over the good, the bad and my final thoughts.

The Good

The lead vocalists Annalyse McCoy (descent of the Kentucky McCoy’s, yes those McCoy’s,) and Ryan Dunn have a theater background and moved to New York to make it on Broadway. Why is this relevant? Because it means they can actually sing, I mean really sing. Not like many of todays vocalists who are constantly straining their voice and coughing up hairballs live because they aren’t as good as on their CD.

Annalyse McCoy is a tiny power house of a vocalist. After listening to about an hours worth of singing, not one bad note came out of her mouth. She has great tone and no matter what register or what volume, she sounds full, clear and better than most anyone else I have listened to in Nashville. When behind her mandolin or guitar she is a bit timid and stoic in her body movement but her face is very expressive which really helps her performance. Once she steps out from behind her instruments, she is almost a different singer live. She is more sultry and expressive and adds a new energy to the stage. Annalyse is also very good with her eye contact which is crucial when performing. Annalyse sang a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Silver Springs” that honestly, I liked better than the original. While I love Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks’ tight vibrato sometimes really gets on my nerves and with Annalyse’s version, it was much more personal and listenable to me.

Ryan Dunn is a solid singer who also stayed in key the whole time and  blends very well with Annalyse for harmonies. While a solid singer (again, more consistent than many I have seen here in Nashville,) Dunn needs to add a bit more character to his voice to really stand out from the pack and make his mark. This is not a knock, just an observation. Dunn can sing and sing well. Dunn is a bit more animated while singing with his instrument but not much.

The songs are well written but not all super hooky radio hits. 2/3 Goat write with much deeper messages and stories than most of todays artists. A lost art in my honest opinion. The band while sometimes consisting of fill in players for the sake of touring is solid and very tight. The violinist at todays show was really fun to watch as he looked the most excited to be there and it came through more in his performance, plus he is a good fiddle player. One thing Nashville has is great fiddle players on Broadway and this guy (sorry, not sure of his name) could hold his own with most of them.

The Bad (well not really)

The things I will list here are very nit picky, but things that possibly could make the difference. They are suggestions as honestly, I have only seen 2/3 Goat live this one time and a few videos so take this with a grain of salt.

First thing is energy on the stage. Being that both Dunn and McCoy have a background in theater, I’d like to see them apply that back ground to their live performance some how and much apply more energy into their act. While their performance is solid musically, it lacks the energy needed to get a crowd excited. This is where Annalyse could kick it up a notch or two with her performance especially without her instruments.  Sometimes bands get into the rut of what they are used to seeing live and honestly, Americana music isn’t full of energetic performers, but there is no reason for that at all. When you are trying to sell tickets, trying to get a crowd to stay and sell alcohol for the bar, you need to use every thing at your disposal. Supplying a great live energy to the crowd is the way to do it.

The second thing is image. If you look at the 2/3 Goat website, they have a specific image and maybe that was just for the video of “Stream of Conscience,” but it is what I am expecting when seeing them live. Not necessarily that same outfits, but at least the togetherness of the group. It was one thing I really liked about them when I first noticed them. In today’s performance and in other videos I have seen, it was basically the same old shopping at Wal-Mart clothes (except the fiddle player) that many alternative rock bands do. It is not something Country music does in general, but then again, all the guys dress like Kenney Chesney and the girls all look the same as well.

Finally I’d like to see them work on their transitions and stories in between the songs. While certainly not the worst I have seen, based on many their songs content, they could be very strong here and really draw in the audience to the music. Billy Joel is a master at this and this band could really benefit here.

Final Thoughts

2/3 Goat is a band with a very bright future. They are tour work horses. Most of the musicians I come across make every excuse in the book to not tour. They don’t have enough money, don’t want to play on a Monday night or what ever lame ass excuse they can come across. This is not 2/3 Goat’s motto. They have the DRIVE to get after it everyday. They understand what it takes to make it happen to some degree and will do everything possible to get their music to the public. They still deliver musically even when not with consistent members of their band in tow. They don’t complain on social media. They understand this is a business and they act like it. They are very professional and trust me, that is much appreciate by everyone in the business. Most of all, they have big vocals, talent and have worked in the side of entertainment where everyone actually has talent and drive, Broadway. This maybe the most important thing of all.

I have no doubt if 2/3 Goat doesn’t give up, they will make a big impact on the Americana scene. They love what they do, they walk the walk and they actually have the talent most people are looking for. If you ever get a chance to listen to 2/3 Goat or see them live, don’t deny yourself the opportunity. You will miss real musicians who actually work hard for the art and bring something to the table creatively that most don’t.

2/3 Goat Website: http: //twothirdsgoat.wix.com/twothirdsgoat

Facebook: https: //www.facebook.com/twothirdsgoat

Twitter:https: //twitter.com/TwoThirdsGoat


Promoters Need to Promote More…. WTF?


One of the great lies I hear from bands that haven’t made in the music business is that promoters don’t promote enough for their shows. Really? A PROMOTER whom by title and definitions job it is to promote isn’t promoting enough? I call a serious BS to this excuse that musicians use to not be accountable for their poor numbers. I have yet to meet either as a musician or a business person a promoter that didn’t promote. We are talking 30 years of playing or working in the business and I have never seen this. Even the small promoters work their fingers to the bone, pay the bands with what little came in and always go home with nothing while the bands bitch and complain and pretty much did no promotion what so ever.

It is my contention that most musicians don’t know what promotion truly is and wouldn’t recognize it if they saw it and they have no idea what is going on in the background. Is this harsh? Yes, but it is my experience dealing with musicians.

So let’s get this out of the way early. Yes, there are exceptions where maybe a promoter is new or doesn’t know what they are doing or maybe doesn’t have a budget but this is not what you normally deal with. Even still people who are promoting an event are usually very excited about their event and will promote it the hilt to the best of their ability which I can not say about musicians. Yes there are a few musicians out there that get it, but the majority don’t and they make excuses as to why they there are no people at their shows.

First and foremost, promoters are not in the business of losing money. Promoters are in the business of making money. They aren’t into taking chances and throwing away hard earned dollars by throwing an event and not promoting it. That is just plain stupid and not even close to reality. If you as a musician have met a promoter that is into throwing money away and you worked with them, then that is your fault for making a bad business decision. Hopefully you have learned form it and know what questions to ask next time.

As far as promoters taking advantage of local bands again a load of BS. If you are a local band, and you were lucky enough to get a spot on an event that has money behind it, you are already getting more than you are worth in advertising and promotion alone. It builds your brand, your credibility and if you actually drew in the minimum of 30 paid tickets you should be drawing in, then you will be remembered and brought in again and again as long as your work your butt off and keep brining in numbers. This does lead to getting paid and much better opportunities for you. If you are a local band opening for a A level or B level band, you are getting paid by getting in front of the audience that paid to see the headliner not you. This is a crowd that would never normally come see you. Understand the opportunity that it is, the opportunity you couldn’t normally afford to pay for yourself and make the most of it.

I can’t tell you how many times I stood in front of Bridgestone arena during a big concert by myself handing out promo cards while not one of the band members helped or how many times I was out ever day hanging posters and no help from the bands. 3 times I had a tiny bit of help hanging posters from 1 musician who did one small area of town with me and 2 others where a model and a friend helped me to 2 square blocks. Everything else was me every day hanging posters and hitting a previous area again every third day. The bands always had an excuse as to why they couldn’t help.

Promoters have their events listed on all the known event websites. They get their events in all the local entertainment rags. They set up radio interviews and advertising. They do email blasts over and over again. They have social media accounts that they promote on. They hang posters all over town over and over again because posters are always pulled down. This more promotion per event then most bands will do in a year for themselves let alone for just one event. What do musicians do? Maybe a couple Facebook posts or tweets and call that promotion.

In a perfect world, each event will be promoted to the hilt by the promoter, venue and bands. Will this happen? Maybe, maybe not. The reality is this. Each musician or band is responsible for their success and the success of each event no matter what anyone else does. You can never rely on someone else’s promotion for your business. YOU have to kill it each and every time. YOU cannot let excuses creep into your thought process. People pay to see bands that are good, the pay to see an experience. If they aren’t paying to see you, it’s not because of a lack of promotion by the venue or promoter. It’s because you aren’t giving them what they want yet. They don’t see anything worth paying for. YOU as a band have to learn how to separate people from their money. YOU have to learn how the become the EVENT that makes them put other things off and come see you instead of a movie or handing with friends.

As a promoter we have to do the same thing however, promoters learn quickly usually and bands seem to languish in poor work ethic and lack of creativity.

Bottom line is this. YOU have to toot your own horn and not expect anyone else to. YOU have to learn the skills to make this happen. YOU have to have a band that is dedicated to putting together a strategy to promote effectively. This means everyone in the band has to participate and quit using the “that just isn’t my thing” excuse. If you are in a band and you find that you don’t have the drive or the time to make this happen, then it is time re-evaluate your business and maybe step aside or just be comfortable with being a local band. There is nothing wrong with that. Getting up and playing music for any number of people is it’s own reward.

The music business isn’t the same as it was 20 years ago. There is very little money it, especially for bands that haven’t made it. Musicians wanted control of their careers so they could make more money and not get screwed. Well guess what, you got it. Now it is all your responsibility. The real work, the hard work is now up to you and you live and die by the sword.

Now you know why, bands had contracts that paid other people so much. They were the ones making you successful. They did all the hard work, the grunt work. They were the ones taking the risk and fronting the money so you could be a rock star.

Time to make a decision. Either you want it and will do everything as a unit possible to make it or you won’t, but quit blaming others for what you are not willing to do for yourself.

To all the bands that are doing it, keep it up! Never give up! Take the reigns of your business and do your best to dictate your success!

Good luck!


Why Aren’t People Coming to Your Shows?


The entertainment business is incredibly tough to be in. We all think we are amazing talents and think we should be paid for all of our hard work and what it takes to put on a show of any kind but that isn’t the reality. The reality is it’s hard to separate people from their hard earned income and with all the entertainment being thrown at them from every angle now days, it’s very hard to capture their attention.

This is why is so incredibly critical that word of mouth spreads about your show the entice people to your future shows. It almost always takes lots and lots of shows before you start to see the crowds you want but there is a strategy to doing it and most importantly, it has to be an experience they will remember and always talk about.

The other day, Dana White of the promotions company UFC came out and said “If you want to get paid, you don’t want people doing the wave during your fight.You want them talking about you on Monday and Tuesday and that isn’t going to happen if they aren’t paying attention to your fight” (paraphrased.) This is completely true of any form of entertainment. If you can’t get people to talk about how completely amazing your show or performance was, you are not giving the audience the experience they are paying for and hence, you don’t deserve to get paid no matter how hard you worked nor should you expect them to. This isn’t an hourly paying gig based on the hours you put in. Lot’s of people work hard (most likely in the wrong areas) but may not be talented enough, visionary enough or a good enough producer to put on the entertainment experience of a life time.

This is the truth. Hard work doesn’t determine getting paid. Buying gear doesn’t determine getting paid. Nothing determines getting paid other than your show putting butts in seats no matter how hard you work or talented you are. This can be a very long and arduous process for any entertainer but it is usually the most common road. Time, effort, talent and an amazing amount of patience are absolutely necessary in the entertainment business. If you aren’t giving the public something that makes them want to part with their money, then you have no one to blame but yourself. You don’t deserve to get paid just for showing up.

Along with talent, planning, intense amounts of practice and the vision to make your dream happen and to also deliver something the public finds value in comes the actual real work that most entertainers don’t want to do and hope others will do for them before they are big enough for anyone to want to. The promotion, booking and business end of things. Somehow the entertainers have to be able to do all of this. It’s obviously very hard and if it was easy, every one would be doing it but they aren’t. However it can be done and there are plenty of examples in the business to prove it. It comes down to will, determination and talent not only to perform but design a show that will provide and experience, not just another so-so show that the public usually gets. They deserve much better than average if they are going to spend money on a ticket plus any other expenses such as drinks, dinner, parking or babysitting etc.

I would estimate that about 95% of what entertainers are putting out there in their performances or shows is completely average or below, yet all I see are entertainers demanding that they should get paid. Paid for what? Mediocrity? I won’t pay you for that. When you send in your material and tell me how amazing you are then that is what I expect. If you aren’t that, if you don’t deliver on your words of your live show, if you don’t put butts in seats or increase your crowd on average over time, then you simply are not as good as you say you are. That is reality. That doesn’t mean give up though. It means you need to re-evaluate your show. Take the time to make adjustments, improve in the areas that need it and learn to put on the show that people wan’t to see. If you don’t, you can’t complain about people not wanting to pay ticket prices. You aren’t providing the value to make it worth the price to them.

You want to sell tickets? Provide the experience that people can’t stop talking about. This means the most well rehearsed, professional dedicated performance you can deliver and it must keep getting better. Until then, you will be mired in mediocrity and low ticket sales and letting the business jade you for your perceived slights. No one owes you a living. In this business, talent, hard work, creativity and vision are all you have. Bring it or go home. Don’t complain about people not coming to your shows when you aren’t giving the very best for them to see.

This is the reality that haunts us all. You and me alike.

Good luck!


The Lowry Agency vBlog: Photography


The latest entry in my vBlog featuring a few thoughts on the importance of photography in your press kit and online sites. Please share, rate and comment!

Thank you ,

David


Promotion – Everybody Point a Finger


I have written a couple blogs about the need and responsibility for promotion in an artists career, “Self Promotion – Why It’s Must” and “Creating A Buzz – It’s Your Responsibility,” but even with local artists that have read the blog, it seams to have fallen on deaf ears. When an artist builds a team around them to try and make things happen (especially if there is no money behind them), it is absolutely critical than the artist/band have an amazing handle on promotion.

I had a couple meetings recently with an artist that completely and totally gets it. It was so refreshing, but after talking about our pasts, we grew up in exactly the same camp so it was no wonder. I want to talk about the need for a committed, determined and long-term plan. If you are an artist with no history of success in the business, no name recognition and a very small fan base, there is no getting around this, and almost no team can make things happen for you with out it. Independent artists can do this for themselves and should as it is their responsibility, but many rely on others on their team to do it and don’t pay them at all for the work being done.

This isn’t the same scene it was 20 years ago for your team to gets big commissions on label deals and teams of people who are paid to do this once you get signed. Be prepared to do it yourself or be prepared to pay someone to do it for you. Most managers today are charging a retainer for small bands for all this extra work as this is a lot of work to break an unknown band. They are consultants like any PR or legal team and they deserve to get paid for their work just as much as any other consultant. Your team should be free to focus on the big deals based on your marketing, promotion and buzz, they should not doing all this little stuff they don’t make money on. You and your band should have this in hand especially if you can’t afford a team to develop your buzz for you. Trust me a small percentage of a bands door guarantee or $250 gig, is NOT getting paid for all this extra work. This band is YOUR business; you should be taking it on the chin for the extra work not your team.

So what is good promotion? I can tell you what it’s not. It’s not a couple Facebook posts or tweets. That is almost no promotion what so ever. Promotion covers so many things. It’s the art of branding your band, name and artistry. It’s a 24/7 job and it takes form in all media, merchandise sales and performance. You have social media, print media, radio/tv and live touring. All these have to be covered all the time. Let’s take some time with each.

Social Media: Having a consistent online presence is absolutely critical but is only a part of your overall media campaign. Unfortunately too many artists use this as their only or main promotion and even then do it very poorly. They only post a show a couple times or post it to late for it to matter. They don’t promote their interviews often enough before and after the fact. This goes for their press releases, newsletters, articles etc… Remember the latest statistic on Facebook is that only 7% of your audience sees your post so to post it once is very poor marketing and if you have a small fan base which means under say 100,000 followers you aren’t hitting many people. Promotion is all about the number impressions you can make for your band name. A social media strategy is necessary and it must have great content, be creative and be consistent without the artist getting trapped at the computer all day.

Print Media: Print media is everything from posters, flyers, table tents, cards, business cards, signs, pamphlets, brochures, one pages, advertising in the local rags, articles, basically anything on paper. This is VERY necessary still today. You name needs to be everywhere at every gig, on your merch table with signs, cards etc…. You should have contacted all the local media about your upcoming shows in print media to make sure it’s listed. With ArtistData.com this is much easier to make happen now and not time consuming at all. All of your interviews and articles should be reposted many times and printed out and left out for people to find and read about you. This isn’t rocket science kids, those that want it bad enough will do what it takes.

Radio promotion is another huge part of promotion whether it be having a single on the radio, touring stations in the cities you are playing to get them to play your single, promote the show, interview the band and talk about you over the airwaves. Radio is still relevant enough as their audience is much bigger than most of the bands will ever have on their own. Learn to utilize this tool and work it for all it’s worth. Create great relationships with Program Directors and always be very respectful and thankful that anyone cares enough to say anything about your band.

TV is the same thing. What is your story? Can you utilize that to get press coverage on TV? Are their local shows or shows in the cities you will be playing that your story makes sense for them to air?

When most bands tell me they are working their ass off, all I have to do is take a couple minutes to look at this and then I know the truth. Most artists have no idea what that really means and usually if a band or artist is doing all this, it is almost always to left one person in the group while the rest sit around with their thumbs up their butt expecting things to change for them. Then they find everyone else to blame their lack of buzz instead of realizing they simply didn’t do or have what it takes from a drive level to make things happen.

You have to understand what promotion, marketing, branding and buzz truly is. Branding is having your name or logo everywhere. People should be thinking that all they see is your name everywhere so this band must be doing something. If you do everything you can, you will see an uptick in your bookings and ability to get more yeses then no’s, which is what it is all about.

If you tell me that print media is irrelevant or nobody does this anymore, then I know you don’t understand anything about promotion, branding or marketing. Your fliers most of the time probably aren’t going to bring people to the show that first time they see it, but after seeing your name everywhere enough times, people will start to come check you out. It’s a process, sometimes a large arduous one, but it’s the way most things happen.

So here is my challenge to you. Quit blaming everyone else for what you are not doing. Quit making excuses as to why you can’t do it. Quit expecting people to work for you for free and thinking that a tiny percentage of your door is going to pay a manager, promoter or booking agent enough to do what you are unwilling to do for yourself. Build a budget, find a way to fund the budget so you can afford your promotional campaign and actually go work you ass off to make things happen. Remember, you can’t control or rely on what other people do to promote your band whether it be a venue, promoter or local rag for your shows or events. It’s up to you to really drive this. You will drive yourself crazy and blaming others is never going to change things. Take it upon yourself to run your business and promote as much as you can to ensure greater success.

It’s a brave new world out there for those that are willing to take control of their business and future. Respect the work ethic, make it happen and give your team something to work with otherwise quit complaining about what every other band is making happen and get out of the way of those who actually give it everything they got. You are just watering down the field and making it harder for everyone else with real drive to achieve the success they are looking for.

Good Luck!


The Show .. What To Wear?


The Show.. What to Wear?

by Sass Jordan, The Lowry Agency Artist

I Want To Believe

Stage clothes .. the dreaded task …

Long ago and far away, there were once fascinating, flashy, shiny creatures that lived under lights and on stages with smoke and fire and loud, rhythmic noises .. we called them ‘Rock Stars’. They were akin to the mythical dragons that once roamed the earth, and they are now extinct. They wore colors and jewels and wonderful fabrics, they had astonishing manes of hair, and there was really nothing subtle about them … they were mighty, and they lived in magical lands that the rest of us had no access to except when we would go to see them do their thing on a stage or a television show.

FlashForward … Today. Now everyone you know is either in a band, has a family member in one, or a friend in one. Music has become ubiquitous everywhere you go, and EVERYONE thinks they can write it, play it and perform it. Or pretty much everyone. The general public has become so desensitized to almost everything that it takes a gargantuan effort of will and ambition just to be noticed at all! One of the old ways has survived, though, and that is the ‘image’ that you project. Your image is largely defined by the clothes you wear and the way you style your hair and makeup, and of course, last but not least, the way you carry yourself.

Finding the right clothes to express you AND your music is a tough task,  made all the more so these days by the mass availability of shiny, flashy clothing, which used to be the domain of rock stars and movie stars – but, like I mentioned, today, everyone’s a star, baby !!! Your choice of clothing has to reflect your style of music as well as be eye-catching, if you really want it to work for you. We went through the antithesis of this in the early ’90′s, with grunge and garage being the fashion, but in the end, I think people want their entertainers to give them something to aspire to themselves – albeit perhaps in a slightly more toned- down manner.

The guidelines I personally use for stage clothing are these …

1. Is it comfortable? Does it move with me or against me?

2. Is it restrictive in the diaphragm area?

3. Is it transparent? Is it reflective of light?

4. Will it get caught in the mic or stand or whatever?

5. DOES IT MAKE ME LOOK FAT? (LOL)

6. What is it saying about me in general?

When you are on a stage you don’t want to wear something that is going to make you blend into the background – you wanna wear something that is going to be eye catching .. it’s part of the show! Of course you will make mistakes and wonder how your friends could have let you be seen in public like that .. but hey, that’s why you need  new friends .. (joke). In the end, I try not to wear anything that is going to distract from my performance, either from my point of view or the audiences. I once saw a really great singer who was wearing a rather short dress onstage, and honestly, I spent so much of her performance worrying about people trying to look up her dress that I basically missed the show. Another time, the singer’s jeans were so tight that when he put his leg up on the monitor whilst singing, the whole seam split open, and left him hanging there, so to speak … it took me a whole week to recover from the sore muscles from laughing so hard and I remember NOTHING else about that show.


Developing Your Own Style


Developing Your Own Style

By Sass Jordan, Artist – The Lowry Agency

What I Need

The key to the all important ‘style’ is absolute knowledge of your vocal limits and strengths. I remember a couple of years ago, I was doing a songwriter circle, and one of the other songwriters was an artist I love, by the name of Ron Sexsmith. We were doing a group number with Roger Hodgson, of Supertramp, (another one of my faves), and there was a hideous out of tune issue going on .. we were trying to find the source of it, when lo and behold, Ron held up his hand and said .. “Guys, it’s me. I can’t sing in tune. It’s my style”! It broke the ice, and we laughed non-stop from that moment on.

The thing is, Ron wasn’t really kidding – that wavery, blue tunage type of thing is very much ‘his style’, and it completely suits his amazing songs and melodies. He is a consummate artist in that he knows what works for him, what delivers for him-and he doesn’t try to be anything he isn’t. It’s the same as anything else – you know if you’re a size 6 shoe, you ain’t gonna be wearing a size 10!

You have to develop your thing from a variety of influences. First of all, what type of styles do you love and admire in other singers? I was (and still am) a HUGE Chaka Khan fan, but there was no way in HECK I was ever going to be able to sing like her – I just can’t do it physically. However, I developed a couple of tricks that I use now, that came from trying to imitate her sound. Same with Tina Turner, Paul Rogers, Lou Gramm, Steve Perry, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Leon Russel, Dr. John, Linda Ronstadt, and a host of others.

Another thing to consider is the style of music – there are certain types of phrasing etc that are intrinsic to certain styles. I personally think that Stevie Wonder is the originator in large part of a very popular singing style we have been hearing for the past fifteen to twenty years. Singers like Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera are skilled at it. It incorporates a lot of what is known as ‘vocal gymnastics’, but to be good at it you have to know when to lay out. Less is ALWAYS more.

Your sound has more to do with your physical structure than anything else. If you have a great big resonant skull, like Pavarotti, you will be able to make sounds that other’s with less cranium can manage. It’s also down to lung capacity and the strength of your diaphragm – all massive contributors to sound and style.

The development of personal vocal style is like the development of your personality, and actually works hand in hand with it. Age and experience are two factors that cannot be underestimated in terms of their impact on a singing style. Your style is the one thing that sets you apart from other’s, and is an identifying feature, along with your tone and personal energy. The great thing is, there will only ever be ONE of you, so you never need to think about ‘competing’ with another singer, which goes against everything music is. People either resonate with you, or they don’t. NEVER worry about it!