Archive for July, 2012

CONDOLENCES AND THOUGHTS

Posted in Aurora Colorado, Condolences, Tragedy with tags , , on July 20, 2012 by damngoodtunes

 

It is hard to merely use words at a time of tragedy in what for some of us is still the early morning part of the day. The city of Aurora Colorado, nestled among the beautiful Rocky Mountains was the scene of a horrific mass-murder while innocent people were enjoying the pre-release of Dark Knight Rises and a twenty-four year old mentally disturbed man opened fire on the crowd changing lives forever, while ending others all too soon. We at Damn Good Tunes are saddened by this news and wish to offer our condolences. Our mission has never been to be a general news media outlet nor do we profess to have the tools or knowledge with which to do so however, because music is a major part of motion pictures – we recognize the impact that this senseless act will have upon the future of Dark Knight Rises, and, ultimately how the music might be perceived at those precise moments when the people in that Colorado movie theater were gunned down or injured from the gas or shrapnel. The composers, Hans Zimmer and AR Rahman and each and every member of the music support and production department had nothing to do with this tragic event other than providing a brilliant sound track to what would otherwise have become one of history’s greatest releases of the decade. There will be people and critics who will say that DNR is cursed and some will want to ban the film from public viewing; don’t listen to such nonsense, as this was a random act of violence and cowardice by a lone and sick individual. Our prayers and good thoughts go out to the victims, their families, the entire cast of the film, director Christopher Nolan and all the production crews and music producers. Peace be with you all.

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Amazing Colorado songwriting Duo

Posted in Denver Colorado, Eclectic, Folk music, Harmony, Love songs with tags , , , , , on July 16, 2012 by damngoodtunes

Brave Song Circle:Image

Dustin Morris is a young man who lives in Denver Colorado and one who contacted me back in the Autumn of 2011 for a possible review of his first CD release. I immediately liked Dustin for his music, his candor and sense of humor and believed this was someone like no one else existing in the pop music market of today. He doesn’t sound like a man, and I don’t mean that he sounds like a girl, rather, he has a tone and texture in his voice that is approaching a stronger, almost husky jazz voice like say, Sarah Vaughn. Up to this point I had never heard a man who sings anything like this and I was crazy for his singing! Through the past few decades of Pop and Rock music there have been men who have that distinctive high tenor range; Steve Perry of Journey, Robert Plant – Led Zeppelin, Geddy Lee – Rush just to name a few. That upper stratospheric range escapes my ability and I have always been envious. Still, after forty some years of progressive rock music I actually became tired of the high vocals and they all started to sound the same. So when Dustin Morris came along with his new original style, I was all in and had every intention to get a review going a few months ago. Ah, but we had so many things going on I literally couldn’t get to it and all the other writers were busy as well so, Dustin would unfortunately need to wait. Here just a few weeks ago, feeling guilty for having held off so long, I received a call from him and I remember thinking “ oh boy, Rolling Stone is doing an interview and he’s going to tell me to kiss it!” But no, young Mr. Morris is almost apologetic and telling me he hoped that I hadn’t started pouring ink in the presses yet. I told him that we were all ready to do the article finally but now… all of the sudden he tells me there has been a total restructuring of his plans for taking on the world of music. Enter – Lauren Gale!

Dustin and Lauren met just a few months ago, likely while I was pretending not to notice the cobwebs under my desk, but just the same they met and almost instantly decided they were going to form a duo, collaborate on their song writing, split the lead vocals and actually find a new voice for their act. Brave Song Circle was born! They started booking shows immediately and the harmonies became ever so tight, the music taking on life like the petals on a rose. It wasn’t long before they laid a plan to get back into the studio and create this wonderful new EP, Reciprocity. Both of them being “ green conscientious “ they were opposed to the idea of plastics and certain colorings being placed back into the environment so the duo designed, created and manufactured their own little bags with a draw-string to place the new CDs into for marketing. The idea has been such a smash that they can’t keep up with the orders! They sell out nearly every EP they take with them to their performances. Lauren laughed aloud when she told me that neither knew anything about making clothing or bags but they would need a sewing machine to complete the task. “But where would we get one of those? “ asked Dustin. And then of course they would have to go on You-Tube and watch videos of How To Sew! Well, this might not be exactly what this writer was told but I think it had something to do with black ski masks and raiding Lauren’s mother’s home! Well, they did get busted by mom but It sounds like Lauren’s mother has been such an inspiration to her all of her life and is very proud of what her daughter has so far accomplished. All were forgiven and mom’s old sewing machine may have just helped launch a pair of superstars!

Lauren Gale is a professional music teacher and has been so for over two years at Band Dynamics in Denver. She possesses her Bachelor of Science in Music Industry Studies from University of Colorado at Denver, which in itself would not normally make a difference to me – just because I think the greatest writers of all time were self-taught and in some cases totally blind. In Lauren’s example though, here is a young person who has all the actual talent – taking years to develop her beautiful voice and instrumental skills and becoming a very good songwriter. On top of an already great marketable package, Lauren backs it up with academics and a great head on top of her shoulders. I found her to be quite charming, witty and fun to talk to and what seems to be a perfect fit with Dustin’s personality. Neither one of them thinks that the show is all about one alone. They feel the power of their collaborations where two is greater than what either might be able to do standing on their own. And that says a lot because either one of them could make it on radio and television as a soloist I am certain.

The music of Brave Song Circle on their new release, Reciprocity (oh, many a fine definition may be found for that word!) is fresh and invigorating, though very much relaxed most of the time, though there are a few exceptions. The well-crafted lyrics interweave through a glorious texture of tone, rhythm and absolute soul. Not the old school Motown Soul, which is the only music I can dance to, but in your face, ‘deep down in the gut I just got my heart ripped out by my girlfriend and she showed it to me as she was driving away with her new lover’ kind of Soul! I know you get it, right?

I really like that Lauren and Dustin avoided the easy path of plugging in an intelligent arranger keyboard and just programmed in their chords, recorded them and sang over the top and called it a CD. Every song on this new EP has at least two real humans interacting with one another, the only studio trickery is that between these two great musicians they play eight or nine instruments and so they overdubbed multiple tracks themselves and played virtually everything you will hear all by themselves. Now for some writers it makes perfect sense to save up your money, fly to Nashville or Los Angeles and hire an “ A “ team of pros to back you up and make your song into a hit and that works well for some. But when you are capable musicians and can proficiently administer the right musical touch to the backing tracks then that is to be applauded. It worked well for The Beatles and countless other bands and songwriters to be self-reliant so it’s a great think that Brave Song Circle needs little reinforcement outside of themselves.

The songs on Reciprocity are definitely engaging and addicting, as was Dustin’s earlier release for me to listen to time and again on my mp3 player or in the car. I don’t get the feeling like I’ve heard this unique brand of music before, even though there’s this kind of familiarity from another time like back in the late nineteen-sixties when groups like Simon and Garfunkel were dominating the charts with their folk-rock harmonic delights. Certainly one can’t help but refer back to any and all male-female duets or duos in general and there exists some mighty big shoes to fill. The Band Perry and Lady Antebellum of today’s top one-hundred countdown have proven that there was a void in the country-pop crossover that needed to be filled and by all measures – including record sales and concert tickets purchased, those groups have done it with finesse, yet Brave Song Circle’s singing and harmony are as fine as any out on radio today and better than most! When they take on some of the more intricate passages like “Dream Chaser“ from the EP, about three and a half minutes into it when they sing “ It’s Gonna Be Fine “…..Wow! Rips me up and moves me as I know it (and the rest of the songs) will move you, the readers as well! This is a group which is capable, ready and willing to carve out their own piece of music history and to define their destiny, as it was that I would somehow be told by the Universe to hold off and not write that first article about Dustin – that something more beautiful and powerful was about to enter into our dimension through some sort of sacred geometry. And it is called Brave Song Circle.

Nashville Independent Songwriter’s Festival

Posted in Nashville, New Country Music, new music, Uncategorized with tags , , on July 2, 2012 by damngoodtunes

The  following article is an excerpt from the works of our very own  Nashville Editor , James Dean Fisher. James has been with our company for over three years now and he brings a warm light of experience and insights about the music business that only a veteran of Nashville for nearly forty years would be capable of delivering.

James Dean Fisher – Nashville DGT Editor and Journalist

 

 

Another year has come and gone, another Nashville Independent songwriters Festival has come and gone! ” Popcorn,” along with many people as volunteers, has brought about another historical event, of which focused solely on the independent songwriter. Songwriters, independents as well as writers that write as,” Signed writers,” for established publishing houses and record companies, gather in one area in the vicinity of” Music row” to allow the public, as well as the music industry, to see and hear the songs/product, they, as songwriters create.
The songwriter is the heart and soul of the songs that are recorded in today’s recorded music industry. Here in music city, it is a fact, thousands of people come to this great city thinking they are great song crafters. Just ask most anyone on the street, a club, bar or in general conversation, why they came to music city. Nine out of ten times, the answer will be; I am a songwriter/artist. Here in Music City, it is also a commonly known fact, eight out of ten are not writers or artists and will never even get a” Cut.”
The Nashville Independent songwriters Festival is put on each year here in Music City for the established songwriters as well as the struggling songwriters and it is a great event of which writers get to know each other and are able to network and perform with a variety of writers. With that being said, the Nashville Independent songwriters Festival of 2012 was a success, however, there were many, many changes in this year’s event and the event was very closely contained, scaled-back to fit into a small area. There were no main stages, there were no ” Headliners” or any featured artists.

As an artist/writer and entertainer, I personally look for venues that will benefit the songwriters and artist that are looking at the songwriter for products/songs that he or she could and would record. This year’s event mostly benefited the club owners in the area that allowed the songwriters to perform on their stages. There was not a” Main stage” or a main event to attract the people from around Nashville and middle Tennessee.

As the writer/editor for the music magazine, damngoodtunes.com, I have covered the Nashville songwriters Festival for the past three years. As a reporter, I sat and talked to many writers as well as people that came to Music city to attend the songwriters Festival, about the 2012 songwriters Festival and sadly, I received for too many negatives about this year’s festival! I found that many were disappointed and confused about where all the events were to take place. I also found that many of the attendees were unhappy about the stages being located in bars and clubs. As a writer/song-crafter, I was invited to perform on several stages and perform i did. I was able to meet and speak with several of my old friends and perform with some of them.

As a reporter, I found many people from all over the USA there to perform at the 2012 songwriters festival. Many were young and new with all the usual dreams of becoming the next “Big Thang!” I enjoyed the festival and hope to see the event grow and become the largest songwriters festival in the world! POPCORN, my friend, I’m with you all the way!!!
JAMES DEAN