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Opinion

It's All in the Name

Bob CherryDuring the past couple of months, I have received numerous press releases and news items to post on Cybergrass. Besides the usual grammar errors, one common error is where predominant artist names are misspelled. It is usually where the artist is attempting to boost their recognition by claiming they have performed with the misnamed artist.

Disturbed by the Bluegrass Police

Junior SiskYesterday, a very disturbing announcement was made by one of my favorite artists and the International Bluegrass Music Association's Male Vocalist of the Year second year running, Junior Sisk, regarding a song he and his band recorded on their most recent CD. The band has announced that they will no longer be performing the song, "Old Bicycle Chain" at their live performances. Apparently, a lot of people couldn't look at the song without seeing only the bad. Sadly, they influenced the band to cease a part of their art.

Awards. Awards. And More Awards. It's That Time Again

IBMA Award TrophyEvery year about this time, the awards for the previous year's artists come around. We have the International Bluegrass Music Awards, The Inspirational Country Music Awards, The Dove Awards, and a lot more. Everybody has their own awards. In a way, it is like music charts. Everybody wants one and they rarely agree. The same can be said for the various awards. While awards shows and charts are entertaining and everybody wants to see their favorites at the top, do these really reflect who's best? While they have a great entertainment value themselves, do they really mean what we think they do?

Nurturing Children and Music -- Making it Work

Sleepy Man Banjo BoysI've watched many youngster grow within the music biz and it has been exciting to watch them evolve into some of today's top artists. I followed a young boy playing mandolin when the instrument was much bigger than himself and a young fiddler playing the local and regional festivals and both are tops in their field today. I've watched while some succeed and others do not. I've seen top talent go nowhere and seen others get well into the popularity ring. The dynamics of what works and what doesn't could take volumes to cover in depth.

Self Produced Doesn't Always Cut It

Self ProducedI heard about a new album to be released privately. The talk leading up to it was pretty good and the band isn't new to the genre. I was expecting some great material. Sadly, the album just turned me off. It was almost painful to get through the dozen tracks on their latest release. The album certainly doesn't reflect what this group is capable of.

Playing for Fun OR Profit

Monroe NoteIt is no secret that the music biz isn't what it used to be and that is certainly true in bluegrass music as well. Artists are always searching out new avenues for generating revenue. This frequently leads to some creative methods including unique sponsorships, partnerships, digital retail methods, and more. It is certainly an exciting time in music today or, at least, different than the past. One thing is certain, the music as a commodity is definitely in a new commodity exchange marketplace.

Get the Word Out Early

Press Release TTYIt's important so get the word out early. Send a press release out to all the media so that they can help publicize the event. That's the way it should work. In the recent couple of months however, that is not how things played out. In one recent case this month, we received the press release on the second day of the event and would end up posting it on the last day of the festival. Thus, nobody would be able to read the announcement and be able to use that information to attend the first 3 days because there wouldn't be any notice until the end of the event.

The Music Buying Experience: RIP

Record BuyersApril 20th was National Record Store Day and it got me to thinking "What happened?" In the '70s, '80s and part of the '90s, I joined the ranks of many others who regularly searched through isle after isle of bins full of treasures in search of a new gem to add to the collections of jewels that played upon turntable and stereo systems across the nation. My friends would do the same thing hundred of miles away but, we'd share what we found in regular phone calls and we would each soon own the coveted album. I would follow a particular artist, musician or even label to see what else they were doing that interested me. I have no idea how many albums I purchased that I had never even heard of prior to finding a name on a liner that indicated something good was about to fill my room with musical treasure. I rarely got burned. It was fun and was really the original music social network. Many long lasting friendships were built around the music and the discovery of new pieces of acoustic art.

Music Artists and Financial Insecurity

Medical BillsRecently, there have been a lot of benefit concerts for artists who have come down with disease, traumatic injuries and other expensive health or family issues. In almost every case, the artist has no medical insurance to cover their care. Yes, insurance is expensive but, so is going without it. What does this do to the family when the money runs out? What about their homes? What about their future? What about themselves?

There's That "Bluegrass" Word Again

Bluegrass WordsI was wading through the various announcements, promotions and press releases I get sent and noticed that probably a third of them have absolutely nothing to do with bluegrass music. It seems that everybody wants to be a part of our little community so, when they send out their press releases, they are sure to mention "bluegrass" as well as some other styles. I've also seen numerous links come up when searching for "bluegrass music" in the various search engines that have absolutely nothing to do with bluegrass and some don't even have anything to do with music either.

America's International Bluegrass Music Association

IBMA LogoIt's called the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) but the association is about as International as the World Series is a global baseball game. Sure, the association has members who reside outside of our borders just as the World Series has ball players from other countries. But, it takes more than putting the word "International" into your name to actually be International. Nobody considers the World Series to be a global game and, for the most part, the people I know don't seriously consider the IBMA as an "International" association.

There are Awards and then, There are Awards

IBMA TrophyThis is the big week for the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) which, is holding their annual World of Bluegrass tradeshow, convention, awards show and FanFest festival. This is the big week for the professional members of the society to celebrate the year's achievements, see what's new and to network with others in the biz. This is also the week of bluegrass music's night where multiple awards are presented to the IBMA's members.

To Carry or Not To Carry? Once Burned, Twice Learned

Bob CherryCybergrass is known for carrying accurate and relevant information about bluegrass music but, every now and then, somebody attempts to take advantage of us and the exposure we offer. A few years ago, that is exactly what happened. We received numerous conflicting news items from competing parties and we set out to verify who was telling the truth and who was not. It turns out that one party was feeding us a lot of press releases that were all determined to be false in content. The opposing party was being amazingly neutral and honest.

A Complaint about Complaining

Bob Cherry"No good deed goes unpunished." That statement is certainly true in bluegrass journalism. That point was made this week because we didn't run a press release we received. We rarely run all of the press releases, announcements or articles that we receive for a variety of reasons. The most common is that there is no "newsworthy" content. Announcements of just another concert aren't newsworthy. When there is a special group reunion, celebration of some historic event, a interesting angle, dedicated purpose or other aspect that brings news into the announcement, we will try and carry the announcement. We however, don't run everything we receive and, we never have.

The Golden Age of Music and Audio

Teac A-4010 As many know, I spend a great deal of time each week in the restoration of vintage electronic equipment. I won't touch anything made in the last 40 years. I live in the world of the esoteric when quality really existed. It was found in equipment quality. I work on anything from tape decks and receivers to vintage aircraft avionics and radios. If its old, I'll work on it -- even tubes! Bringing old things back to life is a passion. Bring the old music back to life is a wonderful experience.

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