Archive for Music

HOW MANY OPEN EYES AND EARS – The Future Of Recognition

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on September 21, 2015 by damngoodtunes

Elvis – Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Lennon, Aretha, Janis, Michael Jackson, Jimi, Bono, Whitney and Celine-where will the next bright star shine and how many open eyes and ears will be there to recognize the intensity of their light?

Like many of our readers, this editor-CEO writes songs and has a working band. Kim, who is the singer in the group, suggested that I listen to Amy Winehouse’s song “Back To Black “as a possible number to add to our list of great covers. And so last evening I went to YouTube and watched the documentary on her life and her own emotional acoustic version of the song which impressed me a great deal yet it wasn’t like I needed to write another review about a singer or a band to be fulfilled, but that I came away from the screen with a renewed sense of Art and music in our culture and the need to value pure artistic genius.

There are literally millions of musicians and songwriters, painters and dancers and thousands of future artists being born each day. Most humans though will travel onward toward so called regular life, education and raising families. Some will merely get by and some will rise in their chosen fields. Proportionately I believe that fewer music artists will ever rise to the top of the food chain, and this I surmise is due to the physics of how many outlets, or channels on the radio and television actually exist…how many talk shows and specific programs there are to feature the over abundance of creativity flowing upward, all trying to reach the top few spots. And of course, that was the basis of why we started Damn Good Tunes so many years ago, to try to do our part to level the playing field to give at least some the opportunity for exposure.  But there needs to be more creative outlets for our youth and other serious aspiring artists in which the environment would foster excellence and recognize those who are above the cut, providing them the guidance and avenues on which to travel. And that is my vision and thoughts of this day I would like to share.

In the world of sports we have the Olympics. In technology there is MIT. Harvard gives us law, West Point instills military leadership, and science brings us degrees in medicine and engineering. Music and Art though widespread in the world with conservatories and specialized school is suffering from the blind eye, the minds who just as in Mozart’s time refused to recognize his genius until it was far too late, just as society may have pre-assumed and judged artists like Kurt Cobain because they thought they knew and understood him from a video production the saw one time. He had, as Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin did – something special that would set them each apart from the army of millions of regular players and writers who are mostly happy just to be on stage or being featured at a gallery with a little blue ribbon. Not saying anything is wrong with entering a contest or selling a few downloads here and there, but in order to make it all the way to the top there needs to be people in place who are as passionate about the arts and music, but who have the keen eyes and ears to know who has that magic special something that no one else seems to have. Dylan for his lyrics for example and Miles Davis for his diverted sense of melody and cadence. At one time these men were young boys trying to express themselves and find their own way and they found it within themselves to push hard, keep playing and performing wherever they might. But for each of them there were ten thousand who would not be seen and out of those numbers probably at least a few who might have changed the world as we know it.

What I would like to see is that more of us who have been out there in the world creating and sharing our music and Art for decades would start talking about, creating and building centers for the arts where all young people could go to study and play music, dance and further their skills in painting and sculpture. There will always be a need for visual and broadcast arts and sciences and a need for people running cameras and editing film. And since before a Mid Summer Night’s Dream there has been a need for theater and so there must be a place for all the new Spielbergs  and Eastwoods to practice Directing as well. There too I would also envision a curriculum which includes the Business of Music and Art and the necessity of health and abstinence from drugs….maybe even a class on what to do with your money when the big bucks start rolling in!

I had an advantage growing up where my parents were there to open the door  to  the arts to me, and I had a very dear dance and voice teacher, William Smethers, who saw the bright light burning from my heart for music and show business. I would welcome a hundred thousand thinkers and encouragers like Bill to help us build a legion of open eyes and ears, each ready to recognize the next Elvis, Michael or Amy who might be just now walking onto that high school stage to practice during lunch break.

Bruce J Maier

The Wrecking Crew

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 23, 2015 by damngoodtunes

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In about 2008 I had the fortune of meeting film maker Denny Tedesco in Seattle’s EMP theater along with the Audio Engineering Society, with whom I was an invited guest. Denny was unveiling a film project that had already taken him a decade to bring to this point of near completion. With a few hundred other attendees we were treated to clips of behind the scenes in the music business like no other we had ever viewed before. The dozens of artists who appeared on the screen were responsible for thousands of music tracks on record and in the movies, though  many of them would go on to become icons such as Glen Campbell, Hal Blaine, Leon Russel and  Tommy Tedesco, the former Mr. Tedesco’s father.

After the short feature film was over we gathered in the lobby and met with Denny and a few others involved in the production. Tedesco and I exchanged business cards and I agreed to do some sort of write up about the movie when it was officially released. Not long after, Denny phoned me at Damn Good Tunes and invited me to be his guest at a Vancouver BC premiere, and also to the Hollywood opening. Believe it or not, I couldn’t make either one! I’ve kicked myself in the buttocks a few times over this, believe me! However, there would be an epic saga unfurling and for Denny Tedesco legal battles over the use of some of the music would put his personal life and health on hold for a number of years.

Fast Forward ! It’s 2015 and I’ve just watched The Wrecking Crew movie on Pay Per View with a select number of musicians, producers and friends:

This is the finest music documentary I have ever seen or heard in my life! Not only did it give me the ol’ goose bumps on the arms and a bit of a tear in my eye, but there wasn’t a single part, interview, clip or music piece that was incorrect or out of context. In short, this is a film that every budding musician, songwriter, producer or engineer should be required to watch. All high school and college music programs need to  show this to the students, not only from a historical perspective, as documentaries may lead, but to help musicians understand the kinetic energy, the unspoken communication amongst musicians which is the magic ” pixie dust ” that makes the music real and from the heart, even when reading a chart!

Come back soon for my part 2 opinion and review of ” The Wrecking Crew ”

Bruce J Maier

The Seventh Year of Damn Good Tunes.com

Posted in Guitar Nation, Independent Music, Indie Music, Interviews, Journalism, Nashville, Now Now Now, radio, recording, Reviews, songwriter, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2014 by damngoodtunes

When I began this journey into the unknown of publishing a web-based music magazine there were no illusions or false expectations, just a vision and instinct  based on one simple philosophy – helping others.  I wasn’t this guy who had been president of the school newspaper or anything nor was I some kind of literary and grammar genius.  I just wanted to help musicians, and for the sake of purpose for the new readers who don’t know me / us at DGT, here is why:

The music industry is in a way like the eye of a needle, only enough room in the doorway of opportunity for a select few to enter, be promoted and  then to  become successful. That’s nothing new to  the art of music, dance, theater and art itself. There’s a lot of talent out there in the world, most would agree. But I saw it as  an  uneven challenge always leaning to favor the super-attractive, the more youthful and those with the most dollars behind them. With the way the world has been growing technologically there came some new advantages but not enough to break through the stigma of talent vs. looks and money and it all came down to one thing; promotion.

All songwriter-singers and bands no matter if they are Indie or signed to a major label need publicity, so we decided to level the  above-mentioned playing field by offering a new system that was not an exclusive club. It’s not closed to large, small, old, young,  black, white, red, brown people, grey haired, no hair, long-haired  – it’s open for everyone. Race, creed, political views and orientation have no meaning here at DGT and we  do not and will not ever spin a story that is based on bias or prejudice. We’ll let the big boys of publishing do that. All we want to do is write reviews and conduct interviews with deserving talent and keep it family friendly in the process.

Since 2007 we have been making friends all over the globe and  we have earned respect through simple guidelines and a shared philosophy among our writers. We have also partnered with some of the best other ” like ” industry leaders such as the Country Music Association, XO Publicity, Music Clout, Countrified Canada and as of most recent AudioSprout.com so that we might expand further and bring our readers more related news and information that they might not otherwise have seen. These affiliate partners provide content which  enhances our original features  and gives our fans and readers a great totally free web magazine experience. There are no fees or locked content – it’s all there for you to see and hear right there on your Pad, phone or computer.

This dream might never have come so far were it not for the efforts of my daughter Trinity, who heads up the art and design department and  doubles as a writer in many different areas of music. Then we have James Dean Fisher who has been with us for over five years bringing us the Indie Country music world the way that only a  Nashville Tennessee resident of near forty years could tell. James is joined by Linda Mewhirter, Randy Kamradt and Dr. Kenneth Love who are all outstanding people and extremely knowledgeable of the music industry. Last but not least, and perhaps our golden star is Lou Anne Michel, who has been bringing a smile to people all over the world with her exclusive Cartoon-Guitar characters in Guitar Nation and Fabulous Friends! We might have been a bit too determined and serious until our little guitar buddies came along, and they add something fun and  relaxing to the wonderful magazine we have become.

Yes, this article is laced with pride isn’t it? Yep, it’s been a great seven years and now damngoodtunes.com is on its way to becoming an internationally recognized brand known for truth and ethics and for being a real friend to musicians and songwriters  all over the planet. We didn’t buy our respect, we earned it. We didn’t buy our following with a SEO company, we couldn’t afford it so we built it ourselves through social networking and time-tested word-of-mouth. Imagine that !

Special thanks to all past contributors including Rocky Nelson,  Kris Edem,  Firelyn, Jessie Torrisi, Ms P, Linda Harboth and Kevin Limiti

Guitar Nation comic comes to DGT!

Guitar Nation comic comes to DGT!

Bruce J Maier / CEO

Damn Good Tunes rebuild

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 25, 2013 by damngoodtunes

Dear friends,  fans and co-bloggers here on Word-Press;

It is my pleasure to announce that   damngoodtunes.com has had a  major face-lift and has a better layout with easier navigation. We’ve learned a lot since 2007 when we started on this mission – how to be a  totally self-contained business entity without hiring a professional webmaster or SEO companies who would promise to drive traffic to us….all for a tidy some of cash we didn’t have to spend.

So cruise on by and take a look at the all new damngoodtunes.com today!

Bruce Maier/ publisher

damngoodtunes

Amazing Colorado songwriting Duo

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

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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.

THE HARMONICA KING – JON GINDICK

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 25, 2012 by damngoodtunes

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Bruce J Maier

When I first heard about Jon Gindick last Winter, I really thought I had found the prize – that I now had learned something very few others knew. How I couldn’t wait to tell people about my discovery. Then, when I started getting the raised eyebrows and the ” where have you been ” stare, I realized I must have been living in a dark closet for Jon Gindick is the author of over a dozen instructional books about the Harmonica. Man was that humbling!

Back in the day when I was playing a lot of one man shows, especially solo-acoustic, I wore a harmonica holder and probably owned a total of three harps which were just there to provide some kind of extra interlude and passages in the folk tunes I was performing. But I never really ” got ” it, meaning that I didn’t fully appreciate the depth of character the instrument was capable of. Sure, I’d heard a few good Blues players along the way banging out a handful of riffs with their favorite local rock band in a tavern and I’d also heard a lot of Dylan, Neil Young and Country music’s Charlie McCoy. One of my favorite Harmonica players was actually John Lennon but now I am pretty sure that Mr. Lennon never came close to having mastered the Harmonica although it really added something to some of those early Beatles numbers! So for myself, the Harmonica was a step above an ornament unfortunately and that’s probably what the audience thought as I stumbled around aimlessly trying to accompany myself. I thought it was cool and everyone seemed to agree but in time I just took it out of the act and my poor little harps probably rotted into the ground somewhere near Seattle, abandoned by their clueless owner.

Jon Gindick discovered the harmonica back in the nineteen-sixties and although it was a popular, affordable and highly portable device that nearly anyone could learn to play a basic song with, few would realize the potential that the great men of Blues like Sonny Terry, Little Walter, Paul Butterfield and an elite few others had done. Gindick said that he played the Harmonica for a couple of years and it was cool and everything but then he had an epihamy which would change his life forever; cross-harp technique!

Music and that of the Harmonica or as it was known – the French Harp, has changed a great deal since the invention was patented by a sixteen year old boy named Christian Friedrich Buschman, decades before the commercialization by the Hohner company. By 1887 over one million Harmonicas were being manufactured and sold each year! (And it was easier than packing around a Piano on your way out to the West!) The Harmonica would become the sound and the symbol of campfire and folk music the world over as the little gems multiplied and found their way into hands of people from all walks of life eager to make music anywhere, anytime.

Jon Gindick, being one of the new pioneers of Harmonica music, grew to become a large fish in a rather small pond. There weren’t many Caucasian men around who could play a Harmonica “Blues-style” with soul and conviction, stacking up amongst the greatest Blues players such as those previously mentioned but Jon learned to wield his powerful little axe, jam with Rock, Blues, Country and Jazz. It didn’t matter what the style of the music was – Jon could make it fit. And fit it did! Jon Gindick went on to become one of the most important and highly sought after soloists in the country and he has played with everybody who is anybody, including the King of the Blues, BB King! Mr. King has referred to Jon Gindick as the “foremost instructor on the Blues Harmonica”, a title that is rightfully Gindick’s by any sense of measure. Jon’s instructional books have sold over two million copies to date!

Years ago Jon began teaching Harmonica and has helped thousands of aspiring beginners and pros alike to get on the right road to Harmonica Mastery. Jon’s master class is held near Clarksdale Mississippi for several days each session and limited to about thirty students. Demand is high and space limited but if you are serious about the Harmonica, this is the next big step.

So this would have been a story good enough for Rolling Stone or any of our competitors in music journalism on the web and I would have been more than happy with the conversations I have enjoyed on the phone with Mr. Gindick…. That is, until he asked if I would listen to his CD of original music. First, I thought well it’s going to be like a bunch of Muddy Waters covers you know, like everyone in the West Coast scene seem to gravitate to, so I said ” sure Jon, send it. I’ll give it a listen “. Well Jon sends me two deluxe instructional books to go over, and a couple days later arrives this CD with the title; WHEN WE DIE WE ALL COME BACK AS MUSIC. I was drawn to it like the proverbial moth to a flame. I went for a drive and put the CD on in my car and I started shouting out some expletives unfit for even this publication! Song after song Jon Gindick laid one surprise after another on me. I have never heard anything like this music. It is so outright original and entertaining it’s hard to imagine why music like this hasn’t spread like wildfire across the planet! All the elements are there; great words, instrumentation and production – top notch. But that’s not even the kicker…it’s Jon Gindick’s soulful beautifully melodic choice of song structure – how the vocals dance through your head as a journey through an enchanted dreamscape of love, loss, pain, anger and joy like only a true legend would know how to deliver. Sometimes a crooner in the classic style, at times rough and raspy and others so subtle you can almost hear a secret you’re not supposed to know! I have not been this surprised by a record or an artist since we started this web magazine over five years ago. And this CD will become one of my most cherished – right up there with Layla and Let It Be. It’s that good!

In conclusion, it is my intention to actually study the instructional books written by Jon. Perhaps with some hard work and my ” readers ” perched upon the end of my nose for a couple of years I just might bring the Harmonica back into my own personal act and it won’t serve as a mere ornament. Who knows? I might just one day make a trip out to Mississippi to Jon Gindick’s Jam Camp!

For the rest of you, I strongly urge you to check out Jon’s websites, listen to his music and buy his album. If you are thinking about learning the Harmonica or already play well and are ready for the next level, then consider studying with the very best. Call or write to Jon Gindick today!

http://gindick.myshopify.com/

 

 

Update on our dgt girls!

Posted in Dialysis, Health, Indie Music, Interviews, Journalism, Lifesaving, News with tags , , , on May 17, 2010 by damngoodtunes

Just to let you all know once again, that Firelyn and her sister Trinity are doing really well. The transplant of the kidney was a success, and though Firelyn’s doctors are trying to get a handle on her body having too much potassium, she is doing good. Trinity told the doctors she needed very little pain meds and was released to make her trek from Seattle to Flagstaff AZ by car. They turned it into a badly needed vacation but after about 2 days she realized she should have accepted the pain relievers. But she made it home, tougher than most and now is back to normal. We have given both young women an extended leave from damngoodtunes.com while they rebuild their lives and health. Thank you to all the well-wishers and prayers that came in from all over the world!

BJM/dgt