Happy Mothers Day song

I posted this tune 4 yrs ago and I’m getting ready to record a real version in the studio. I know, I know…….it’s kinda like when you’re a house painter, you always paint your house last.

Anyhow, please feel free to spread this around. I’ll post the new version when it’s ready.

Demo vs. Master-Which should I record?

Ah, the age old question. Here’s how I break it down.

A demo is a “demonstration” recording of your song that will be used to “pitch” to recording artists. Usually these recordings are made (paid for) by music publishers and/or songwriters, with no intent to sell the recordings.

A master recording is something that you plan on selling via cd’s or digital downloads. Since many demo studios have the gear to produce master recordings, and since the talent pool is so great in town, it is highly feasible to record a “master” in a “demo” studio. Difference is, you MUST pay the musicians a different (higher) rate for the session. This schedule of fee’s is called a “limited pressing scale” or “master” scale. When paying the musicians “limited pressing scale” you are authorized to make up to 10,000 copies of your product to sell via cd’s or digital downloads. Master scale costs even more, and is used when the project is expected to sell more than 10,000 units (major label, etc).

Here are two examples of the Nashville Musicians Union Scale/Wage Chart. Compare the slight difference between demo and limited pressing rates.

For a full list of rates, scales and other wonderfully valuable insight, please check out the Nashville Musicians Association website.

Demo Scale


Limited Pressing Scale

Ricochet-“Daddy’s Money”

Columbia Records

Image via Wikipedia

Back in October of 1993, I took out a classified ad in The Nashville Scene, looking for a good musical opportunity. The newly formed group “Ricochet” was still looking for a permanent keyboardist, steel guitarist and bass player. I joined in October, followed by Greg Cook (bass) in January and Teddy Carr (steel) in February. Already in the band were Heath Wright (lead vocals, elec. guitar) and brothers Jeff Bryant (drums) and Jr Bryant (fiddle). Back in the mid 1990’s country music was incredibly popular, as evidenced by the number of country dance halls and big clubs that featured new and upcoming talent. We honed our craft on the road, playing 5 nights a week around the country. In June of 1994, Columbia records signed us to a developmental deal (we cut 3 songs in the studio). When they signed us to the label, our producers (Ron Chancey and Ed Seay) started looking for songs. we came across Daddy’s Money soon after Ron Wallace (another SONY recording artist) sang the demo. We immediately put the song on hold, and it became our only #1 record.

Much more on Ricochet in the coming blog posts. For now, enjoy our first music video, shot at Little Bit Of Texas, St. Louis MO, November 1995.

The Music Ministry “Evidence Of Journey”

My great friend and co-writer Dusty Workman and I share a passion for music, our families and our faith. We teamed up to create a new music ministry called “Evidence Of Journey”. Still in its infancy, we have performed 3 shows at churches in and around Topeka, KS. It’s an uplifting experience for both of us, since it’s so wonderfully different to perform songs of faith, praise, testimony and the human experience. We hope you enjoy this brief introduction, and we look forward to sharing our “Evidence Of Journey” with you!

It all starts with a song

Song Selection

Let’s first assume that you’ll be looking for some terrific Nashville tunes for your project. These are songs written by hit writers here in town that haven’t found their way to radio yet. One of the things I hear all the time is, “Wow, that song is so great…..! Why isn’t it on the radio?”.

Let’s be honest. Nashville is filled with thousands of good writers, hundreds of great writers, dozens of songwriting legends, and only a relatively few spots on the radio for hit singles. This town is absolutely brimming with “hit” songs that will never be heard by the general public. It’s my job as a producer to help you find great big songs that fit your unique style, voice and musical expectations.

I have forged some wonderful friendships and co-writes with great writers in town, so I have a pretty big catalog of songs to pick from. Of course, not all songwriters let their songs go to independent artists, but many do. I’ve had 100% success in finding the right songs for my projects, it just takes some time and a little homework.

Some of my clients bring in their own songs and we create some awesome tracks! Maybe you’ve written some stuff that needs a little creative attention, or just needs some brushing up. That’s cool, we can do that. But if the songs stink, sorry, I’m gonna tell you. Plain and simple.

Licensing

In order to pay the rent (or maybe just buy a gallon of milk, I’ve had those checks too) songwriters rely on royalty income from the songs they’ve written. But get this, when you record one of their songs, you only have to pay around .09 cents per song/per album.  So if you put 10 songs on an album, your total royalty payment would be around .91 cents per album. Small change considering the quality of songs you can find if you know where to look.

There’s a little paperwork involved too, called mechanical/compulsory licensing. Basically, this is the contract you make with the publisher (songwriter) stating the details of the recording (album title, artist, track length, label, number of copies) plus your required fee. Sometimes you deal dirctly with the publisher, and sometimes you can do all the licensing (including payments) online using a service like The Harry Fox Agency.

Contact me with any questions you may have.

Demystifying the Nashville Recording Process

County Q Studios tracking room

County Q Studios, Nashville TN

I keep busy throughout the year producing artists from around the country and most of them are experiencing the Nashville recording experience for the first time. In addition to the excitement of making a “record” in Nashville, there comes the importance of getting the most value for your budget, using proper time management and correctly completing the necessary contractual paperwork to record and distribute music.

We’ve all heard the horror stories about people who come to Nashville only to be ripped off by a less than honest producer or manager. Every chance I get, I try to educate aspiring artists about the true nature of the recording process; what to expect, what not to expect, and most importantly, where the money goes. Be wary of “project quotes” that don’t have every single expense clearly written in black and white. If your producer can’t tell you what something really costs (or give a very close estimate), move on! Trust me on this one!

There are many different scenarios that bring people to Nashville to record. Certainly the most common is the opportunity to make music with the most talented musicians and engineers on the planet earth. I’m not kidding. I’ve been doing this for 18 years, and I never cease to be blown away very time I sit behind a recording console and watch the magic happen. It’s hard to describe, but easy to hear.

So, in my future blog posts I’ll share some of the responsibilities I have as a producer/songwriter, and I’ll describe the recording process from start (looking for songs) to finish (holding the finished cd in your hand). I’ll include real world budget figures too.

Feel free to contact me with questions.