Thursday, May 23, 2013

MONROE CROSSING - The Road Has No End


MONROE CROSSING
The Road Has No End
Cool Cool Ride - Chattanooga - Bullet Train - Hobos In The Roundhouse - Cicada - Rain Was Turning Into Snow - Foggy River - Heavenly Table - East To Get Lost - If The World Were Filled With You - Doing My Time - Bread & Milk - Last Letter Home - Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress
 
The single really great thing about Bluegrass music is the opportunity and open door policy of band members writing their own original songs.  The second really great thing about acoustic Bluegrass music is that it is nationwide.  Really super good Bluegrass bands are coming from everywhere, even Minnesota.  Monroe Crossing did an absolutely superb job of doing exactly that.  Bluegrass is also an extension of America's original country music, or mountain music, or just plain 'people' music, and there are some extraordinary groups performing this music today.  Monroe Crossing is one of them.  To be credited as a 'top' Bluegrass band today, and get the higher paying festival gigs, a Bluegrass band HAS to be tight.  Monroe Crossing is one of them.  To get a record review in Europe on a German country music Internet magazine means the group has to have international appeal.  Monroe Crossing is one of them.  This extremely 'tight' group is made up of Lisa Fuglie on fiddle, guitar, vocals, and some tremendously appealing original songs, no less than six with some of them co-written with Mark Anderson (bass, especially good on "Foggy River," snare, vocals). Listen to Lisa's roaring train-smashing lead on "Bullet Train."  Derek Johnson (guitar & vocals) contributed two excellent songs, my favorite being "Easy To Get Lost" with the admonition that it's easy to get lost when you don't know where you are going.  Sounds pretty much like what contemporary country music direction is today.  Matt Thompson on a stunningly good Monroe style mandolin (yes both Monroe's), also contributed "Rain Was Turning Into Snow."  The rest of the band is made up of David Robinson on banjo, resophonic guitar, harmonica (whaaaat, in bluegrass, and yes it's good), and vocals. I really liked his frailing style of banjo on "Cicada."  Recorded at Wild Sound in Minneapolis, this excellent recording has been gone over with a fine toothbrush in the final mix.  Nothing anywhere stands out as 'unwanted.'  I especially enjoyed their rendition of "Doing My Time" which I had the extreme pleasure of playing with Jimmy Martin on my television show.  Being an older reviewer I'm beginning to have a little trouble with extreme lows and extreme highs, which in my case would wish the vocals were just a bit higher above  the instrumental mix, but that is very personal.  It's no wonder that the Rural Roots Music Commission brought this CD to my attention for their  2013 "Contemporary Bluegrass CD of The Year" award.  I hope that all works out for Monroe Crossing, they are definitely a Bluegrass band on a road that has no end. 
Bob Everhart, Reviewer, www.ntcma.net

1 MORE ROAD - Be Assured


1 MORE ROAD
Be Assured
Be Assured - Live Beyond The Grave - Trade The Old Cross For A Crown - Will You Meet Me Over There - Old Rugged Cross - Cryin' In The Rain - Sweet By And By - I Know Who Holds Tomorrow - Rocky Top - Feelin' Fine - Orphan Boy - Three Men On A Mountain
 
1 More Road is made up of a mother, father, and five children.  Steve & Cathy Young are mom and dad. Clint, Haley, Amanda, Faith, and Nathan are the children.  They were known in the past as the 'Young Family Band' but now they are '1 More Road,' and that is very indicative of where they are headed with their music.  Traveling from Oklahoma (where a tragic tornado recently struck), this family goes wherever their 1 more road takes them.  Gospel oriented, they blend the musical sounds of bluegrass and traditional country to produce a most pleasant listening experience.  The entire family has a passion for playing good old-time American style Gospel music, utilizing acoustic instruments undoubtedly interchanged among the players,.  The line-up is impressive.  Dad Steve plays bass; mom Cathy plays guitar and banjo; daughter Amanda plays Dobro and hammered dulcimer; son Clint plays guitar and emcees the shows; daughter Haley plays fiddle; daughter Faith plays mandolin and twin fiddle; and son Nathan plays banjo, bass, and guitar. All of this family sings, and I can just hear them practicing  a new song as they roll down the road in their bus.  Why?  Because their harmony is so perfect.  That's what makes 'family' bands so unique, so creative, so dynamic, and 1 More Road is one of those families.  "Feelin' Fine" is a perfect example of this kind of perfect family harmony singing.  This entire family sings, but not always together on the same song. This CD project, recorded at the Covenant Studios in Amarillo, Texas, is dedicated to grandparents Nana Jo and Papa Lyle, making this fine gospel group, '1 More Road' a truly 'family' experience.  It's pretty easy to see why the Rural Roots Music Commission picked this CD for their 'Traditional Gospel CD of the Year' for the honors.  We have our hopes up that they can be in LeMars to make the connection and accept.  It'll just be another stop on one more road this fine group travel,s in the pursuit of sharing the teachings of Christ and the everlasting hope that all of us Christians have in meeting Him someday, to sing with Him, to share with Him, to become one with Him.
Reviewer: Bob Everhart www.ntcma.net

AGGIE - Country Gospel

AGGIE
Country Gospel
I Saw The Light - Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine - Just A Closer Walk With Thee - Mama - I'll Fly Away - Old Rockin' Chair - The Scarlet Purple Robe - Tears Of Ste. Anne - Where The Roses Never Fade - Tramp On The Street - Will The Circle Be Unbroken - How Great Thou Art - One Day At A Time - Coat Of Many Colours - Amazing Grace - Too Old To Die Young - It Is No Secret - I Wouldn't Take A Million Dollars For A Single Maple Leaf - Why Me Lord - How Far Is Heaven
 
I sure don't know very much about Aggie, not even her last name.  Michael T Wall sent this refreshing CD of old-time gospel music to me.  Aggie lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, this much I know, and she has a very nice way of singing gospel music, this much I know.  You can hear her Canadian accent on these old songs, and that makes them even more precious.  She used some of the musicians Michael uses.  Aggie done all the vocals, quite nicely I might add, as well as playing keyboards.  Larris Benoit is on lead, bass, and rhythm guitar, so there is some over dubbing involved on this project.  The final mix did justice to it all however.  Garry Gale played squeeze box accordion for Aggie as well as for Michael.  Roddie Lee is on drums. This for me lends authenticity and some very real uniqueness to any kind of recording project like this.  We hear some of those old standards done many different ways here in the upper Midwest of America, but never done so characteristically unique as done by Aggie.  I think it must be her 'accent' that makes her voice stand out so nicely, so uniquely.  I think my favorite one here is "Amazing Grace."  The story about John Newton who wrote it, takes me directly to the button accordion who opens the song for Aggie, and takes her through it sounding eerily sometimes like soft bagpipes which was the original choice of instrument for Newton.  Twenty great old time gospel songs makes for a long time in the studio, but Mike, engineering  at the Ruminal Studio in Mississauga did a masterful job.  It isn't very often I get to review a CD like this, mostly because modern country music has strayed so far from what the 'genre' really is, or was.  Aggie brings that original country music sound back, loud and clear.  I sometimes hear Grand Ole Opry voices in her voice, you know like Jean Sheppard and Kitty Wells.  The Rural Roots Music Commission who forwarded this to me along with Michael T Wall's magnificent double-CD set are making decisions.  I believe they are going to place their "Old Time Country Gospel CD of the Year" on Aggie.  Good luck Aggie in all that you do, and please continue making good old-time country music.
Reviewer - Bob Everhart - www.ntcma.net

MICHAEL T. WALL - From Newfoundland To Australia


MICHAEL T. WALL
From Newfoundland To Australia
From Newfoundland To Australia - Island of Newfoundland - When The Plane Touches Down In Deer Lake - I've Been Here And There - Sally's Harbour - I Wouldn't Take A Million Dollars For A Single Maple Leaf - Hillbilly Newfie - No Price Tag On The Doors In Newfoundland - Island By The Sea - Newfoundland Waltz - Newfoundland That's What You Mean To Me - Daddy's Girl - We're Still Daddy's Girls - The Newfie Sheik - The Mighty Vikings Came To Newfoundland - Lady Of The Forest - Memories Of The Newfie Bullet - Did She Mention My Name - The Recycling Song - The Singing Newfoundlander - Sinking Of The Titanic - Back In '56 - Big Old Newfie Dog - Sweet Nellie - Ballad Of Walter Pigeon
 
This CD project is actually two CD's from the prolific Michael T. Wall, perhaps the best promoter Newfoundland has ever had.  This project is so massive I don't have time to listen to both CD's, the first one being about Newfoundland, the second one about Australia.  Michael writes about all of his experiences, this one to Australia is without a doubt his most sincere, and certainly his most rewarding.  So, expect to hear a lot about his Australia travels in his self-penned songs.  BUT, expect some remarkably good Gordon Lightfoot and Pops Stoneman too.  This project is indeed massive. The insert 'limited edition' is in itself massive.  It's so large you can hardly get it out of the CD cover.  It's really a rather nice 'history' of Michael T. Wall, a priceless collection of photos, letters, and highlights of this remarkable man's musical career.  Through it all he never wavered from his 'country music' sound.  He has drifted occasionally into 'folk' music, but all for the better.  He has 'never' wavered into what we now call contemporary country which has lost is way totally.  Not so for Michael T. Wall, he continues on his road of 'real' country music, from Newfoundland to Australia and back.  In all those photos and letters he included in this project you will even find myself and Michael in a photo taken in front of the Pioneer Music Museum in Anita, Iowa, where Michael is the first Newfoundlander inducted into America's Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame.  And, that's what this CD is all about, old-time country music at its best.  Gary Gale and Angus Kavanaugh both play button accordion giving the entire project a very nice and easy to listen to Newfoundland flavor.  There's also a lot of steel, Dobro, Lapp guitar, fiddle, harmonica (sometimes called mouth organ) and even harps.  Yes 'real' harps.  So, you can see this is a gargantuan undertaking.  All of the songs Michael wrote and sings are true reflections of his life, his life-style, and certainly his life-time.  His voice is a good as ever, maybe more poignant and sincere.  Erinwood Studios get credit for undertaking the undertaking of recording, mastering and re-mastering, and final mix.  Lovely job done all the way through.  It will take me a couple of days to listen to each and every song on both of these incredible CD's.  If you like unique, if you like creative, if you like 'real' country music, both of these CD's are for you. I already have some favorites, but more than anything I would like my own road to somehow make the trip to Newfoundland and join Michael T. Wall in a round of music playing and tasting and sharing the friendship of this wonderful spot on planet earth, where 'real' people and friends still exist.  I'm not sure what the Rural Roots Music Commission here in Iowa are planning, after listening to this incredibly huge project by Michael T. Wall, but it sounds like this collection of music might very well get their "International Ambassador of Music CD of the Year" award, which would be a 'first-time' experience.
Reviewer - Bob Everhart - www.ntcma.net

COUNTRY’S NIGHT TO ROCK,” AIRING MONDAY AUG. 12


REIGNING CMA VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR LITTLE BIG TOWN TO HOST SUMMER’S HOTTEST CONCERT EVENT, “CMA MUSIC FESTIVAL: COUNTRY’S NIGHT TO ROCK,” AIRING MONDAY AUG. 12 ON THE ABC TELEVISION NETWORK 

NASHVILLE – Reigning CMA Vocal Group of the Year Little Big Town will host the summer’s hottest television music event when the ABC Television Network airs “CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock" on Monday, Aug. 12 (8:00-11:00 PM/ET).
"It's an incredible honor to be hosting this year's CMA Fest,” said Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town. “We could not be more excited about the party that's going to break out at LP Field every night!"
Little Big Town members Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, and Jimi Westbrook first entered the music scene more than 13 years ago with hits such as “Boondocks,” “Bring It On Home,” “Good As Gone,” and the Grammy-nominated single “Little White Church.” The quartet’s fifth studio album Tornado was released on Sept. 11, 2012 and debuted at the top of the Billboard Country Chart where it stayed in the No. 1 position for five consecutive weeks. The album, which is certified Gold, was produced by Jay Joyce and includes the double-Platinum-selling, No. 1 hit single “Pontoon” and the follow up single and title track “Tornado,” which also reached No. 1. Their current single, the emotionally-charged "Your Side of the Bed," is at radio now and quickly climbing the charts.
Collectively, the group has earned more than 25 award nominations and has taken home the trophies for CMA Single of the Year (“Pontoon”) and CMA Vocal Group of the Year, and a Grammy Award for Best Country Group/Duo Performance (“Pontoon”). The foursome has played in front of more than four million people to-date and recently wrapped “The Tornado Tour,” their sold-out headlining tour across the U.S. and Canada. They will join Keith Urban on tour later this summer.
Filmed during CMA Music Festival Thursday through Sunday, June 6-9, the special features many of today's most exciting Country Music stars as they hit the stage during the four-day party and celebration of America’s music. The annual event is unlike any other, with autograph signings in the new Fan Fair X, live music on 11 stages, more than 450 artists and celebrities, and a guest list of 71,000 avid singing-and-dancing-till-dawn fans.
The special first aired in 2004 and is marking its 10th anniversary in 2013. This is the ninth time ABC will broadcast the special – which invites the whole country to America's largest Country Music celebration. Artists appearing in the television special have not yet been announced. The special will air on ABC through 2021.
Artists performing as part of the sold-out Nightly Concerts at LP Field during 2013 CMA Music Festival include Gary Allan, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Kelly Clarkson, Florida Georgia Line, Hunter Hayes, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Kip Moore, Jake Owen, Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and Zac Brown Band. Several legacy acts are performing, too, including Lee Greenwood, Tracy Lawrence, The Oak Ridge Boys, and Randy Travis. Brett Eldredge; Gloriana; Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis; and The Oak Ridge Boys are scheduled to perform the national anthem.
Fans can stay in the loop by visiting CMAfest.com, the official website of CMA Music Festival, where they can sign up for the CMA Exclusive e-news. Fans can also connect with CMA at Facebook.com/CMA, Twitter.com/CountryMusic, Pinterest.com/CMAworld, and Instagram.com/CMA_Country_Music_Association.
CMA Music Festival is organized and produced by the Country Music Association. Fan Fair® is a registered trademark of CMA. Chevrolet™ is the Official Ride of Country Music. Bud Light is the Official Beer of the CMA Music Festival. Pepsi is the Official Soft Drink of the CMA Music Festival. Transitions® Adaptive Lenses: the Official Eyewear of the CMA Music Festival. American Airlines is the Official Airline of CMA Music Festival. Bad Boy Buggies are the Official UTV of the CMA Music Festival.

Aaron Lewis Set to Make Opry Debut Tuesday May 28

Aaron Lewis Set to Make Opry Debut Tuesday May 28, 2013

New single, “Granddaddy’s Gun,” set to launch
 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 23, 2013) – Hit singer/songwriter Aaron Lewis will make his debut on the historic Grand Ole Opry Tuesday May 28, 2013 along with a star-studded lineup that includes Bill Anderson, Ricky Skaggs, Josh Turner, Dustin Lynch, Craig Campbell and Sam Palladio (from the ABC hit show “Nashville”) among others.  The show starts at 7:00 pm. Tickets range from $35 to $57 and can be purchased at www.opry.com or by phone at 1-800-SEE-OPRY.

“Getting to play the Grand Ole Opry is such an incredible honor,” says Lewis.  “It’s a dream come true to think that I’ll get to stand in that same iconic circle where music royalty has stood.”

Aaron’s new single “Granddaddy’s Gun,” from of his critically-acclaimed album The Road, ships to country radio next week.  The powerful song focuses on the nostalgic experience of passing down a family heirloom. The song, written by Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson and Bobby Pinson is a perfect reflection of Lewis’ own childhood and deep country roots.

“‘Granddaddy’s Gun' is the only song on the album that I didn’t write,” Lewis notes. “In fact, it’s the only song I’ve ever recorded that I didn’t write.  But the minute Rhett played it for me, it took me right back to my childhood.  It’s my story.  It’s a song I could have written.”

About Aaron Lewis:
Aaron Lewis’s 2011 debut solo release, Town Line, shot to #1 on Billboard’s Country Album Chart. His first solo single, “Country Boy” was certified Gold, earning him multiple CMA, ACM and CMT Music Award nominations; the video has been streamed over 15 million times to date. Lewis is currently the headlining act on the Jagermeister Country Tour– performing songs from his current album, The Road, a project released by Blaster Records via Warner Music Nashville. As the front man for the multi-Platinum selling band Staind, Lewis is the songwriter and voice behind the most-played rock song of the past decade, “It’s Been Awhile,” in addition to three #1 hits and eight Top Ten singles.

For up-to-date information on Aaron Lewis, visit www.aaronlewismusic.com.

Why to pay for Music?

This is Vic Lawson and something came to my attention a couple of days ago. A person was very adamant that music should be free. This person felt that no one should get paid for a mere 3 or 4 minutes of work. He said that if we love playing music so much, we should just do it and not worry about getting paid. The problem I have with this goes a lot deeper than his shallow opinion. Sure the end product may only be 3 or 4 minutes long, but it certainly takes a lot more than 3 or 4 minutes to create that product. First off, somebody has to write that song. Joe Melson comes by from time to time and he said that it took him and co-writer Roy Orbison about a year to write, polish and hone “Blue Bayou” into the hit song that it became. The person assuming that it only takes a few minutes to come up with the words and music for a hit song has no grasp of the reality of the situation. It also takes way more than 3 or 4 minutes to record a hit song. It takes a well-equipped studio and experienced and talented people to setup and operate the equipment to get the best possible sound on tape, or hard drive as it is today. You’re talking producers, engineers and musicians who earn their stripes through many years of striving to be the best they can be. It is sad that the average listener has little ability to distinguish any difference between hackers and seasoned players. They don’t realize how many hours of practicing every day and how many years it takes to become proficient enough to make it look as easy as we make it look. That results in opinions like the guy mentioned in the beginning has. They think anyone can learn a half dozen chords on a guitar and go out and be phenomenal. If it’s so much fun and so easy, you shouldn’t get paid for it. Or should you? Let me make a comparison. Anyone with a reasonable amount of intelligence, diligence and motivation, can learn to be a lawyer or doctor, but when it comes to being a musician, it takes more than intelligence, diligence and motivation. It takes talent. This secret, missing ingredient makes a world of difference because not everyone can learn to play with soul and passion which in my opinion is what separates the great players from the not so great. Everybody needs to eat and everybody should be compensated for the work they do, even if it is fun. I think the guy above is motivated more by a desire to justify downloading music without paying for it than he is by any philosophical belief. I wonder how he’d justify going into a grocery store and wheeling a cart full of groceries out without paying for it? For the guy who wants music for free, maybe he should listen to music made by musicians playing for free and see what he thinks of that. Go out on the back porch and listen to Uncle Hershel play his banjo. I’d like to see how much of that he could take. The point is, if you want great music, it’s going to cost because good equipment, lessons and whatever else you need to get to a professional level don’t come cheap. If you want free music, then be happy with what you get. How would you guys handle this? What would you say to someone who thinks he should get paid for the work he does but considers the work you do worth nothing?

Country Music News International May 23. 2013


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Christian

Country Music News International
Editor / Publisher
Christian Lamitschka
An der Pfingstweide 28
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Interview with Joe Pickering, Jr.

An interview with Joe Pickering, Jr., Songwriter and Music Publisher, by Christian Lamitschka, Country Music News International.


Lamitschka:

There's a classic country song by Roger Miller called: "King of the Road". His destination was Bangor, Maine. Tell us about Bangor, Maine. Isn't it far from Nashville and the music scene?

Joe Pickering, Jr.:

Bangor is over 1,300 hundred miles from Nashville. Not as far as Europe, but a big distance. Still Bangor and Maine is a hot bed of Country and all kinds of music. Bangor and the State of Maine attract many people as it is a beautiful recreation area. As you point out, the King of the Road depicted in Roger Miller's wonderful song made its destination in Bangor, Maine! A couple of years ago a German tourist thinking he was going to Las Vegas ended up in Bangor, loved it, and stayed two weeks! He may like it more because now there is a casino! Although Bangor is a small city it has an international airport with the longest airport runway on the East Coast. Many Country, Pop, Folk and major Rock stars play in Bangor. At the Bangor Auditorium I've seen Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, Rebe MacEntre, the Oak Ridge Boys, Kenny Rogers, and so many more. Kenny Rogers once played on a round revolving stage in the old Bangor Auditorium. It was raining hard and the roof leaked and Kenny danced and sang with an umbrella! What a trooper! Note: Bangor in October will open a brand new larger Auditorium which should attract more major Country and other music stars. There is also a famous water front music series which attracts major acts like Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Charie Daniels, Jason Aldean Sting, Phish and an equally famous international Folk Festival. Both draw tens of thousands of fans. The Country stars can be accessible in Bangor. I pitched one of my songs to the Oak Ridge Boys and personally met Ricky Skaggs just a few days after he won Country Singer of the Year. So the big stars do come, but is it easy being in Bangor or in Germany or other places far from Nashville? Of course not but, it isn't easy in Nashville either! Just before Ricky Skaggs shook my hand and spoke a few words someone approached him to give him some songs. Ricky politely declined by raising his hands up saying, ”I've got 5,000 of those in Nashville". If you're not a singer but do write songs the odds are difficult. They are even more so when you are primarily a lyric writer and you need to practice what I call the UP principle which is U..nrelenting P..ersistence. Passion and persistence is not enough, you have got to have a plan which starts with the song! Some thoughts below.

First, you need to learn how to write about the various structures of songs such as verse/chorus which is the most common song form.

Second, if you are a lyric writer pair up with someone skilled who writes melodies for your lyrics. Make sure that the song penetrates the heart of people. I have had more than 8 singers doing creative work on what is called a Work for Hire Basis. Simply put I pay them for their creative work and then I own the total rights to the song. Some of the singers have been on TV shows such as Laugh in, Movies, have 3 platinum records and two gold singles have been and members of the Grand Old Opry. I have two music publishing companies King of the Road Music which is affiliated with BMI (Broadcast Music Institute) and Paul Bunyan Music affiliated with ASCAP. I own the music publishing on nearly all of the songs I have written. I then put them out on single CD's through CD Baby which has affiliations with most of the major digital download companies such as Apple I Tunes, Amazon, Napster, Spotify and also physical CD's which I sell through CD Baby and Amazon.
Lamitschka:

Why did you make your destination Bangor, Maine? Why are you there?

Joe Pickering, Jr.:

My family and I moved to Bangor from Bellevue, Washington, some 3,000 miles away back in 1978. I become the Executive Director of Community Health and Counseling Services (CHCS), a large home health and mental health organization serving over 8,000 children and adults yearly through much of Maine. I did it for more than thirty years but still managed to write songs and develop my music career.

Lamitschka:

It's tough enough being a singer/songwriter, you are a lyric writer only and living in Bangor . How difficult is that and why do you write?

Joe Pickering, Jr.:

Like so many others who write, the impulse to create is within all of us and it comes out differently with each one of us. Anyone who has a deep desire to write will do it regardless of whether fame knocks on their door or not. Anything worthwhile takes time and effort. You probably just described tens of thousands of your magazine readers who do not sing or are lyric writers only, but have deep within them a urge to create in words a story or a moment in time that brings us all together. I have been writing song lyrics for decades. All of us store up memories that sustain us in life. So I try to write song lyrics that penetrate the heart. Meaningful songs make us think. They make us feel. They make us be. By capturing these memories in song we are all brought together. I have written on many topics about Sports Heroes: baseball, football, and rodeo. Heroes too who have fought in wars or faced discrimination, war and peace, patriotism, personal tragedy, gospel, love, romance, loneliness and redemption, comedy fantasy and so many other subjects.

Finally, we all can't live in Nashville, but that should not stop any of us. It certainly hasn't stopped you from all your successful efforts in the music business nor should it stop anyone.

Lamitschka:

Tell me about some of your success in the music business.

Joe Pickering, Jr.:

Songs of mine have been in an Emmy award winning HBO film narrated by Ben Affleck, played on national and international networks both radio and television. Four of the CD's are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame Sound Library.

The Ballad of Paul Bunyan" was named the Comedy Song of the Year by the Country Music Association of America in Las Vegas. This song is also the official song of the Bangor Chamber Region of Commerce. (Paul Bunyan, the mystical American folk hero, was born in Bangor). Bangor has a giant statue of him in which Paul stands 37 feet high including the pedestal.
The “bible” of the Music Industry, The Green Book of Songs by Subject (www.greenbookofsongs.com), is a resource book which has more than 116,000 songs and album track listings recorded during the past 100 years. Only a small percentage of the songs in their database are ever featured in their Lists of the Week . I am honored by their featuring six of my songs.

This is very rare but I have had one song lyric reprinted in the U.S. Congressional Record about the life of Harry Agganis, “the Golden Greek”, one of America's greatest all around athletes.

Two of my funny songs have played on the Doctor Demento show when at the height of its nationwide popularity. One of them was co-written with the late great songwriter Paul Hotchkiss who wrote a number of songs for Mickey Gilley. The song was a response Christmas song called "Reindeer Don't Run Over Grandmas!" I hope someone out there will cover this song! I bet there has to be a singer from Texas with a funny bone who will cover my co-written song with Joe Terry called "Santa, You're Just An Old Texas Cowboy!"

All of my single song albums and major albums are on major digital download companies such as Apple I Tunes, Amazon, CD Baby, Napster. CD Baby and Amazon sell my physical CD songs. My songs are available world-wide through these companies. Today more sales come from digital downloads then CD sales, so it is important for those in the music industry to adjust to that growing reality and take advantage of it!

I do have my own website www.kingoftheroadmusic.com and have gotten as many as 363,000 hits a year. Many come from Europe ,with Germany, France, and the Netherlands having the largest number of visitors. As I mentioned, I have two music publishing companies, King of the Road Music affiliated with BMI, and Paul Bunyan Music affiliated with ASCAP. Whenever possible if you can own your own publishing it can be helpful in negotiating for opportunities.

I am also affiliated with Music Supervisor located in Los Angeles which works to get songs into films. Through CD Baby I am affiliated with Rumblefish, the world's largest synchronization license company in film, TV and in other venues.

In addition, TouchTunes, the world's largest downloading pay-per-play jukebox network, also has my songs in their catalog. I appreciate all these business relationships. Reaching out to make people/music connections is vital.

Many other websites carry stories about my songs or interview me. This is an excellent way to help promote one's songs. I've also been interviewed on many TV/radio stations from many states. I really appreciate the opportunity to interview at Country Music International News.

Regarding your readers who are songwriters, I hope they try to be as creative as possible in giving exposure to their various songs. The internet is a vital present and future resource to showcase your songs. Your songs are your “creative imaginary children”, so give them the best chance that you can for them to succeed in the music world. If they do, you will too.


Lamitschka:

You have titled your main CD's after sports and baseball. Why? Many of your songs aren't about sports.

Joe Pickering, Jr.:

Christian, there are multiple millions of songwriters out there writing a billion love songs. That's like a competition between one drop in the ocean and the rest! I try to separate myself by creating a relatively unique niche. There are many sports fans out there, so I put one focus on sports. Also, many people are interested in hearing stories about life, so I often use a sports background to tell a story about life. Furthermore when I put out a main CD I add many “bonus songs” with the hope that the listeners will come to love these songs that aren't about sports.

Lamitschka:

What's your latest CD?

Joe Pickering, Jr.:

My latest CD is "Baseball Songs Sports Heroes 4" which is out right now! I've used Disc Makers to manufacture the physical CD, and the digital downloads are through CD Baby and their affiliates like Apple I Tunes, Napster, Amazon, etc. There are 20 songs in all. Many are written within the background of the beautiful game of baseball, but go well beyond any sport. Some songs on this newest CD I hope will more than touch hearts. Some I hope will bring smiles, laughter, or tears. All of them are about life.

One song asks Willie Mays, the Hall of Fame baseball player, to come back and play and catch and return to yesterday (when we were young). Another song refers to Hall of Fame Pitcher, Bob Feller, who says of those who have died in war, "Heroes Don't Come Back!". Then there is romance in "That Seventh Inning Stretch" at Fenway Park, to the sadness of suicide and the war machine. There are more tales of love of life songs and funny tales of Santa Claus. Many of these songs will make you feel, think, and pause. I love writing songs that inspire or contribute to life.

Lamitschka:

What impact do you think your songs have had Joe?

Joe Pickering, Jr.:

Lots of people have written, phoned, or emailed me about my songs. Over the decades I've received many letters and quotes on my songs.

Former President George H.W. Bush wrote saying the Bushes thoroughly enjoyed my Cowboy Santa songs, apparently, referring to my co-written song with Joe Terry, "Santa, You're Just An Old Texas Cowboy".

Mr. Marty Markowitz, President of the Brooklyn City Council, loved my songs about Ebbets Field, Gil Hodges, and Howlin Hilda. Mrs. Joan Hodges called to express her deep appreciation about my song about her husband.

Mr. Eddie and Ann Marie Feigner, of the world famous King of his Court, a four man softball team seen by millions all over the world, wrote and spoke several times to say they loved my songs about them.

U.S. Senator Susan Collins humorously wrote on a photo, “I'm humming your songs in the Halls of Congress.” I haven't seen or heard her “humming” yet but I hope she will one day!

Many members of the Agganis family have spoken and written about my song and how it touched them. The late great John Buck O'Neil praised my songs about the early black baseball players and the discrimination they fought against. Ed Rice, the author of the book about the great Louis Sockalexis, admired my song about him.

Major and award winning sports writers, such as the late great Maury Allan, gave great quotes on my songs about Ebbets Field and Gil Hodges. Nick Tsiotis, author of his great heart-felt book about The Golden Greek, and Jerrold Casway, author of his excellent book "Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball" admired my songs about each of those two great Athletes.

My song lyrics have been reprinted in several of Harvey Frommer's Sports Book, and the Toronto Star and other publications, including several articles by Juliana L'Heureux in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Even Mr. Francois Gauthier, the former Consul General of France in Boston, wrote in a letter to me, “Listening to "If This Rifle Could Talk" song is a moving experience and your song a beautiful tribute to those who liberated my country from tyranny. France will never forget the sacrifices of those American heroes.” I was deeply touched by Mr. Gauthier’s remarks.

The quotes are too many to mention here, but one will suffice.

Sean Holtz of Baseball Almanac (http://www.baseball-almanac.com/), whose comprehensive baseball history site receives more than 40 million hits per month said:

Honestly Joe, you are to baseball music, what Elvis Presley was to rock and roll. A true pioneer in a field full of controversy staying miles above the rest and creating a path all your own – a path many will try to follow and few will even come close.”

Lamitschka:

What has been your biggest failure in the music business?

Joe Pickering, Jr.:

The one that got away!! Andy Wilson and I, a friend and co-writer and publisher of Nashville Sound Publishing, had a song called "Fallin' Out of Love (Can break your heart.)" It was a beautiful song and we had a song hold on it by the Garth Brooks office, but, alas Garth didn't select it!

Lamitschka:

What is your biggest music success?

Joe Pickering, Jr.:

By far my biggest music success is the music my wife has made in my life since 1965. I wrote a romantic song about her called "That Seventh Inning Stretch" which is on my newest album.

Lamitschka:

What is your most imaginative and whimsical song?

Joe Pickering, Jr.: 

It's a tie!  One is the song "Ben the Bull" a whimsical piece about rodeo bulls standing up (or rather, sitting down) for their rights.  It strikes my funny bone!  The other is "The Cowboy With A Hundred Gallon Hat". There is a mystique about the cowboy. I remember when I was in France visiting John and Denise Simonot and their children Annick and Genevive. They asked me to make a lasso for them.  After all I was an American and didn't every American know how to do a lasso?  When I told them I couldn't make a lasso, disappointment spread rapidly over their their little faces.  That image of two disappointed little girls has stuck in my memory. Many years later I did write this wonderful zany tale about a Cowboy with a Hundred Gallon Hat who does far more than tie a lasso.  This Cowboy does the impossible!!! Both Annick and Genevive are grown up now, but wherever you are in Europe this song is for you!  May the song "The Cowboy With A Hundred Gallon Hat" make you smile like the two pretty little girls you were!!

Lamitschka:

Since you write many songs on many topics, are you open to co-writing with others?

Joe Pickering, Jr.:

I am always open to new opportunities.

Lamitschka:

What would you like to say to all those country singers in Nashville, Texas and beyond?

Joe Pickering, Jr.:

Be open to all those songwriters out there. Don't be quick to close the door. That songwriter could walk in or send you an email and open a world of opportunity for you. Country music and all music is changing rapidly. The world is opening up to all kinds of music created by many people. Doing the same old, same old ...will take a toll! (of your career!)

Second, hope you all will consider singing/covering some of my great songs. I have many rodeo, love, country story songs, comedy, Christmas, sports songs etc. A couple of examples are: "A Home Full of Memories", a song about breakup, gathering strength from what was, and redemption. All the songs are on the CD "Sports Songs and Beyond" as bonus songs (partial song lyric below).

"A HOME FULL OF MEMORIES"

THE MOVERS ARE COMING THIS SATURDAY
TO TAKE ALL OUR FURNITURE AWAY
BUT THEY CAN’T MOVE WHAT THEY CAN’T SEE
NO MOVER CAN MOVE MY MEMORIES

HERE’S OLD LETTERS THAT PLEDGE LOVE ETERNALLY
HOW SHORT THE TIME ETERNITY CAN BE
WAS IT ALL THOSE ROSES I NEVER SENT
OR LATER ALL THOSE KISSES WE ONLY HALF MEANT?

CHORUS

I’M SITTING HERE ALONE IN THE FIRELIGHT
RELIVING MY MEMORIES TONIGHT
SOME HEAVY AS HEARTACHE, SOME LAUGHTER LIGHT
SOME WARM AS FIRE’S GLOW, SOME LIKE WINTERS’ NIGHT
BUT YOU CAN’T TAKE AWAY FROM ME A HOME FULL OF MEMORIES

Then there is the heart-warming Rodeo story. (Partial song lyric below.)


"RODEO CLOWN"

WHEN I WAS A LITTLE BOY MY DAD TOOK ME TO SEE
MY VERY FIRST RODEO IN ALL ITS PAGEANTRY
THERE WERE COWBOYS AND INDIANS, AND COWGIRLS TOO
WAVING FLAGS AND BANNERS ALL RED, WHITE, AND BLUE

CHORUS

HE’S A RODEO HERO THE RODEO CLOWN
HIS LIFE’S ON THE LINE WHEN THE COWBOY IS DOWN
THE RODEO CLOWN


THAT COWBOY’S IN TROUBLE BUT THE BULLS' CHARGE WILL FAIL
CAUSE THE RODEO CLOWN’S GRABBING ONTO HIS TAIL.
ARMED WITH BARRELS AND PLENTY OF GREASE PAINT
THE CHANCES HE TAKES MAKES A BRAVE MAN FAINT

I thought your readers might enjoy a few of the lines of "Santa's Red Long Johns" sung by the late Bob Stamper, a wonderful singer and friend. It is on my latest CD "Baseball Songs Sports Heroes 4" as a bonus song. Maybe a singer out there who has a sense of humor might want to cover it and defend and hail the value to Santa of his Red Long Johns!

It was first released by on King Records on Texas Greetings No 8. Compilation CD. Joe Pickering, Jr. is the song writer and he owns King of the Road Music, which has the music publishing and all other rights to this song. The song also played on the Doctor Demento show worldwide. The chorus and first verse will hopefully entice you to listen to this funny Christmas song. Just remember get BEHIND Santa's Red Long Johns he needs all the support we can all give him! (Partial song lyric below.)

"SANTA'S RED LONG JOHNS"

Chorus:
THERE ARE CHRISTMAS SONGS ABOUT CHRISTMAS SNOW
REINDEER, ELVES, AND EVEN MISTLETOE
WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE WRITE A SONG ABOUT ME?
I'M SANTA'S RED LONG JOHNS, I SERVE FAITHFULLY

WHO'S THE CLOSEST TO SANTA'S BIG HEART
WHEN DOWN THE CHIMNEY HE GOES WITH A START?
IT AIN'T THOSE REINDEER HIGH ON THE ROOF
ASK MRS. SANTA CLAUS, SHE'LL SHOW YOU PROOF

A Special Note about the late Bob Stamper. Bob was a dear friend to me and all who met him. He was a member of the Grand Ole Opry widely respected for his voice and the quality he gave to his thousands of recordings for thousands of songwriters.

A great songwriter and friend, George LaFlame, and I wrote "Johnny Silver". (Partial song lyric below.)

"JOHNNY SILVER"

WRITTEN FROM SOMEWHERE HE DROPPED HER A LINE
JUST WHERE DOESN’T MATTER HE HAD SOMETHING ON HIS MIND
ANOTHER WOMAN’S IN HIS LIFE, THE ONE HE NEEDS SO MUCH
HE THOUGHT SHE SHOULD KNOW HE’S BEEN LOVIN’ LADY LUCK

HE SAID, DARLIN’ DON’T CRY JUST TRY TO UNDERSTAND
THERE’S NO WAY ON EARTH TO CHANGE A GAMBLIN’ MAN
GOD KNOWS SHE TRIED BUT THAT WAS NOT ENOUGH
BECAUSE HE LET HER DOWN AND TURNED TO LADY LUCK

CHORUS

JOHNNY SILVER IS HIS NAME KING OF THE GAMBLIN’ SCENE
HE NEVER CHASES WOMEN HE ONLY CHASES GREEN
A DECK OF CARDS, A ROLL OF DICE, HE’S GOOD AT ANY GAME
HE LOVES LADY LUCK JOHNNY SILVER IS HIS NAME

One final note: King of the Road Music is the music publisher on Those Old Forty Fives. Just wanted to introduce this song to the world via Country Music News International 1.

The song "Those Old 45's" is wonderfully sung by Jim Davis. He and George La Flamme are the co-songwriters of this Traditional Country tune which has echoes of Crossover Country and Country Pop. The instruments are varied and include Piano (Upright), Keyboard/Synthesizer, Drums, Saxophone, and Guitar (Electric). King of the Road Music is the music publisher of this song.
"Those Old 45's" song vibes are Heartfelt, Nostalgic, Heartwarming, Reminiscent, and Romantic. The main band track recorded & mixed at Dixiana Studio Nashville, Tenn. Vocals and some instrumentation and engineering and further mixing at Smoke House Studios Nashville, Tenn. Produced by Lonnie Ratliff Steel Guitar player Perley Curtis played and was in Loretta Lynn's Band. Jim Davis was once a backup singer for Country Music Star Connie Smith. Jim Davis and his wife Linda Davis also make up a duo called Hearts in Harmony.
Song lyric below:
"THOSE OLD 45's"

I WAS SURE FEELING LONELY ON ONE SATURDAY NIGHT;
SOFT RAIN WAS FALLING, AND THE SETTING WAS JUST RIGHT.
THOSE OLD SONGS WERE PLAYING FROM OUR RECORD ARCHIVES.
THEY BROUGHT BACK MEMORIES OF YOU DEAR
WHILE PLAYING THOSE OLD 45'S.
JUST LISTENING TO ELVIS AND THE KINGSTON TRIO
MADE ME THINK OF ALL THE GOOD TIMES DARLIN’
WHEN OUR LOVE WAS REAL.
THOSE WORN OUT SCRATCHY RECORDS KEEP THESE MEMORIES ALIVE.
HOW WE LOVED DANCING AND ROMANCING TO THOSE OLD 45'S.
YOU LOVED MOST OF THE POP SONGS WHILE PURE COUNTRY WAS MINE.
WE BOTH HAD OUR FAVORITES WHEN YOU WERE MY VALENTINE.
YES, I WILL ALWAYS THINK OF YOU DEAR SEARCHING THROUGH OUR RECORD ARCHIVES.
WHAT A WONDERFUL PASTIME WE HAD DEAR, SPINNING THOSE OLD 45'S.

JUST LISTENING TO ELVIS AND THE KINGSTON TRIO
MADE ME THINK OF ALL THE GOOD TIMES DARLING WHEN OUR LOVE WAS REAL.
THOSE WORN-OUT SCRATCHY RECORDS KEEP THESE MEMORIES ALIVE.
HOW WE LOVED DANCING AND ROMANCING TO THOSE OLD 45'S.
Jim Davis Artist. Jim Davis and George La Flame co-writers and owners of the song. King of the Road Music, music publisher C 2007.

Thank you, Christian, for the opportunity to interview with your great Magazine!

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