INDIE NEWS BEAT – 03/26/2007

INDIE NEWS BEAT

March 26, 2006 Edition


* Bathtubmusic.com Makes A Splash

* Life Span, Joseph Maas Debute CD – When New Age Meets The Next Age

* New Sponsor Added As Contest Deadline Nears

* Musical Storyteller Chris Towzey Releases Debut CD, “Rockin’ At The Stoplight”

* Amy Speace Among 2007 Independent Music Awards Vox Populi Winners

* Kobo Town To Share The Stage With Treasa Levasseur At The Live Wire Music Series

* NewMusicWest 2007 Receives Record Number Of Showcase Submissions

* Vernon Neilly Performs At Los Angeles Area School For Students

* UK Pop-Punk Band Break World Record

Bathtubmusic.com Makes A Splash With New Online Music Website and Indie Artist-Focused Approach

Bathtubmusic.com, a premier music site for independent artists selling DRM FREE downloadable music and CDs, announced the relaunch of their website with a new look and features. But behind the cosmetic changes lies a renewed focus on meeting the changing needs of today’s independent artist.

“We realize that we’re in a crowded field of online music retailers,” noted Bathtubmusic.com CEO, Moses de los Santos. “In order to compete, we had to develop a package that provided independent artists with a greater return on their investment than our competitors.”

A one-stop retail shop, Bathtubmusic.com allows artists and labels to upload an unlimited number of free albums for digital sale. This is particularly attractive to independent labels with large catalogs who want to start earning revenue on older releases. “While labels may focus on their most current releases, there is often untapped value in their catalog. We want to make it as easy as possible for them to monetize it.”

Bathtubmusic.com has also committed to setting the industry’s lowest fees for physical CD sales. In addition to only charging a $9.95 per CD setup fee, Bathtubmusic.com retains just $3.00 per CD sold – both the lowest rates available. “By charging a lower commission, we provide artists with greater flexibility to price their product as well as extra revenue they can invest in their careers.”

In addition to providing full retail support, Bathtubmusic.com also strives to help expose its artists, such as through the “Bathtub Broadcast Station,” their answer to the traditional music store listening station. They have also forged unique business relationships with strategic partners to help its artists’ music get promoted to an audience of over 1,500 websites representing some 65 million site visitors.

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Life Span, Joseph Maas Debute CD – When New Age Meets The Next Age

Be it the slow, liquid tones of an antique 12 string guitar played in a unique style against the backdrop of New Zealand’s Ohakune rain forest (Life Span) or the haunting strains of the ancient double reed Daduke (After the Storm), this music is an exploration in sonic textures invoke strange lands and new vistas within the mind’s eye.

Through use of both rare traditional instruments such as the Middle Eastern Daduke, as well as electronically invented instruments (that have essentially never been heard before), with all the delicate phrasing and subtle nuances normally heard in the concert hall, a life-long dream has been realized in this work.

Joseph Maas is a life-long musician well versed in jazz-fusion, world beat and new age genres performed on an array of different instruments.

Born in Kansas City, Kansas in the mid 1950s Joseph began playing music professionally at age 15. With influences that range from Steve Howe (Yes) and Josef Zawinul (Weather Report) to German bassist Eberhart Weber, Joseph moved to Northern California in 1976 playing small venues usually as a solo artist and always performing original (if not experiential) compositions.

He studied recording engineering and computer programming in the early 1980s at the then famed Mendocino Technical Community School. In this era of big 1 inch tape reels and 8 track recorders the size of washing machines, Joseph began to use the sound technology reproduction medium as if it were another instrument. This practice continues today as applied to digital technology. Pushing technical boundaries to bring out the spirit, essence and natural timber of the performance has been a focus from the beginning.

Throughout the 1990s, playing and composing regularly, soon it became apparent that studio perfect recordings could be achieved digitally in small studio setting given the right equipment and enough patience, and most importantly without the astronomical costs of such endeavors only a few years earlier. It was clearly time to put to good use his decades of experience in both music composition and recording technology.

Joseph writes, “Music production and recording technology have come of age to the extent that exquisitely orchestrated compositions can be fully realized by the solo artist working in an independent studio.”

This debut CD, LifeSpan is truly a labor of love. Thirty months in the making, Life Span is a grand project created without the pressure of production studio budgets and deadlines. It is clear that compositions on Life Span were carefully crafted to reveal unique chapters of an atmospheric journey. In many ways it’s an adventure, a theme-propelled road trip through ever changing landscape on the way to the next great age of music.

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New Sponsor Added As Contest Deadline Nears

As the 2007 Great Lakes Songwriting Contest enters its final four weeks, The CD Seller company has joined the contest as a sponsor.

The CD Seller, an online company based in Minneapolis, has created a CD selling tool for independent performers. The company is the newest of four sponsors of the regional contest, now in its second year, which is now open to current residents of the eight Great Lakes states and the Province of Ontario. Other sponsors are Songbridge, the song marketing company based in Ontario, Canada, which provides a weekly pitch sheet to its songwriting members and a free e-newsletter with tips and insights on marketing; Elderly Instruments of Lansing (MI), one of America’s largest mail order suppliers of vintage and new stringed instruments; and Lamb’s Retreat for Songwriters of Royal Oak (MI), which holds songwriting weekends in Northern Michigan.

Thirteen winning songs will be chosen this year, and the Grand Prize has been increased to $1,500 cash, with additional publicity and promotional opportunities. Winners also receive prizes and discounts from the four sponsoring companies.

The CD Seller has created a professional and affordable CD display and sales tool for musicians and bands who market their CDs at live performances. The product, created by a professional musician, can be seen and ordered exclusively through the website, www.thecdseller.com.

The deadline for entries in the 2007 Great Lakes Songwriting Contest is April 14. The contest is organized by The Michigan Songwriters, the Ann Arbor-based cooperative that previously sponsored the Metro Detroit and Michigan Songwriting Contests. The group expanded to the Great Lakes region for the first time last year, and the contest drew about 500 entries.

“A lot of great music has come out of our part of the world, from Motown to Prairie Home Companion to Chicago Blues and New York jazz,” says contest spokesman Bill Frank. “It’s produced big names like Bob Dylan, Prince, Madonna, the Barenaked Ladies, and Jars of Clay, just to name a few. But some of the best music is written by the locally known, little-known, and unknown songwriters, and that’s who we’re looking for.”

The 2007 contest is open to all ages and all styles of music. Songwriters are not forced to pick a particular category for their songs. Each song is judged on its own merits, not by how well it conforms to the conventions of a certain genre of music. There are no age limits, and past winners have ranged from teenagers to senior citizens. Rules, entry forms, and information on the 2006 winners can be found on the contest website, www.GreatLakesSongs.com.

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Musical Storyteller Chris Towzey Releases Debut CD, “Rockin’ At The Stoplight”

The music of singer/songwriter/guitarist Chris Towzey is a journey through classic R&B, rock, and world styles bound by clever and spiritually enlightened lyrics, delivered by our honest, soulful, all-American vocal tour guide. On his debut CD, Rockin’ At The Stoplight (now available at christowzey.com, iTunes, and CDFreedom.com), the title track welcomes you to the party with an R&B tinged, horn-driven romp through the city streets. Each song tells a story, embracing sounds that embody the characters and moods being explored, from a honky-tonk homage to fine women, to bluesy commentary on the state of the world’s consciousness.

Bored with the life of a sideman in a long line of local bands, Towzey decided to take a leap and become an artist in his own right. He started taking long-distance songwriting lessons with hitmaker Harriet Schock to transform his first artistic ramblings into accessible lyrics. Towzey soon moved from Marin County to Los Angeles and put together a dream team of backing musicians, engineers, and recording and mastering studios to bring life to his vision.

World influences are apparent in Chris’ music, and his keen interest in Shamanism and non-western philosophies and spiritual orientations have steadily helped him to return to his original passion of playing music and releasing this CD.

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Jersey City’s Own Amy Speace Among 2007 Independent Music Awards Vox Populi Winners

Wildflower Records is proud to announce that Amy Speace was selected as an Independent Music Awards (IMAs) Vox Populi Winner in the category of best country song for her single, “The Real Thing.” The IMAs is a program that promotes independent artists, labels & releases to more than 11 million music fans & industry insiders.

Now in it’s 7th year, this is the first time the IMAs has opened the voting process to include fans and industry voters that were not on the official judging panel. Designed to provide more opportunities for indie artists to get heard and win new fans, these IMA Vox Populi Winners are promoted to industry and music fans via print, online and other promotional initiatives.

Amy Speace‘s latest album release, “Songs For Bright Street,” has been attracting lots of attention, spending 3 months in the Top 10 of Folk Radio Charts and 10 weeks in the Top 10 of Roots Americana Charts (both in the summer of 2006). The album was chosen as one of Indie-Music.com’s Top 25 Indie Releases. PBS distributor FastFocusTV is to feature Amy on their new series “Frequency,” hosted by Dave Koz. Amy was recently nominated “Emerging Artist of the Year” for the 2007 Folk Alliance Awards and has been asked to open for Little Feat, Heartland, Phil Vassar, John Corbett Roger McGuinn, John Gorka, Peter Mulvey, Tracy Grammer, Sloan Wainright and Steve Forbert.

Amy has also won considerable critical acclaim. The Village Voice (NYC) observed that Speace is “taking her Americana away from twangy contemplation toward tangy confrontation” and noted that she’s “not another of those breathy would-be child poets, but a real singing writer of songs.” Time Out New York stated, “Amy Speace plays sweet, twangy folk music with a clear voice and an innocent vulnerability.” The Nashville Scene noted that she “balances wry humor with open-hearted honesty” and renowned Nashville critic Robert K. Oermann, writing in Music Row, dubbed her a “new star.”

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Kobo Town To Share The Stage With Treasa Levasseur At The Live Wire Music Series On March 31st

Toronto-based roots-calypso act, Kobo Town will join Canadian singer/songwriter Treasa Levasseur at the Octave Theatre in Kingston, Ontario on March 31st as part of the Live Wire Music Series.

“Live Wire Music has been a huge fan of our debut record, Independence, since we released it last year,” comments Kobo Town front-man Drew Gonsalves.

The Live Music Report listed Independence among their Top 10 outstanding 2006 discoveries and had this to say about the record:

“It is daunting to attempt to describe a CD created by a poet with the eloquence of Trinidadian-born Drew Gonsalves. His “St. James” would fit nicely in an anthology of Caribbean and Caribbean-born poets that would also include the works of Linton Kwesi Johnson. Some heavy material, but there is levity too ? and rhythm! Lots of sounds to savour.”

Kobo Town produced and self-released their
debut album Independence in November 2006. Drawing heavily upon the sounds of traditional calypso, roots reggae and dub poetry, the album is a collection of stories which offer a running commentary on a wide variety of social and political themes including domestic violence, homelessness, globalization, the war on Iraq, and the various frustrations and betrayals of the post-colonial era. Independence was co-produced by Lyndon Livingstone (David Rudder, Andre Tanker, Mighty Scrunter) and Drew Gonsalves at the Razorshop in Maraval, Trinidad.

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NewMusicWest 2007 Receives Record Number Of Showcase Submissions

NewMusicWest judges have their work cut out for them as almost 1000 artist applications were received, breaking last years’ record. Over 30 showcasing venues across Vancouver have now been confirmed for the festival May 2nd to 6th.

This year NMW features several Master Workshops, including confirmed sessions with Mike Fraser (Led Zepellin, Metallica, Aerosmith), a voice workshop with Greg Enriquez (Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Evanescence) and a digital marketing innovation seminar with Eric De Fontenay (founder of Music Dish Magazine) along with several other high profile speakers to be announced soon.

NMW will also be presenting the Music IP Digital Artist Playground on www.newmusicwest.com where music fans and A&R can listen to all accepted artists before they showcase.

Now celebrating our 16th anniversary, NMW is the largest and most influential new music festival on the west coast. Past event performers have included Matthew Good, The Flaming Lips, Liz Phair, Nickelback, Run DMC, Gene Simmons, Marilyn Manson, Hot Hot Heat, Sam Roberts, My Morning Jacket, Stars and The Lowest of the Low.

Special festival rates are offered to all out of town participants so be sure to contact our hotel sponsors including; The Metropolitan, The Opus, The Days Inn and Sandman Suites.

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Billboard Top 10 Artist Vernon Neilly Performs At Los Angeles Area School For Students

Recently, contemporary jazz award winning, Billboard Top 10 charting artist/producer Vernon Neilly took some time out to perform at a Los Angeles area school. Vernon who is a stickler for education and supporting music in public school programs, is always reaching out to young aspiring talent who are interested in learning about and pursuing professional careers in music.

Vernon was supported by his all-star band consisting of Juan Nelson (Grammy Award winning bass player and member of Virgin Records recording group “Ben Harper And The Innocent Criminals), Derek Organ (drummer Janet Jackson, Gladys Knight, New Edition, Mary Jane Girls), Norman Weatherly (Ike Turner Band, Rose Royce), and Edward Neal (The Dramatics, Bloodstone, Rufus Thomas). They descended upon the world famous Musicians Institute Hollywood, where they gave a tremendous, crowd pleasing performance for the international body of students attending.

After the performance, as is customary with Vernon, he took and answered questions ranging from his career in the music business to the type of gear that he uses during performances. After the Q&A the students went crazy when Boosweet Records promotions and marketing director Pierre Neilly gave out CD’s, t-shirts, hats and other merchandise to the very eager and excited students, making the event a total and complete success.

Vernon Neilly will travel to Japan in April to perform, visit music schools and, most importantly, gain support for a big charity jazz event called, “Katrina Struck Jazz Charity” that he is involved in. “Katrina Struck Jazz Charity” was put together by Japan Enterprise LLC and their director Chiharu Fujimoto. Realizing that the government has fallen very short on their promises to victims of the Katrina Hurricane disaster, this event will raise money to support these victims, some of whom are still homeless and who do not even have the basic necessities to survive. Vernon will do interviews at FM Yokohama, J-Wave Radio, Musicum TV and several other media outlets, as well as interviews for some of Japan’s leading music trades such as Jazz Life.

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UK Pop-Punk Band Break World Record Before Canadian Tour

UK pop-punk band Buck Brothers broke the Guinness Book of World Records on March 5, 2007 for playing 28 concerts in 10 hours around London. A mere three days later they will cross the Atlantic for a Canadian tour that kicks off during Canadian Music Week in Toronto on March 10th.

The famed Leicester Square in central London was the spot for the bands first and last gig on Monday with stops in Camden, Soho and Islington. Kansas City, a German group held the record with 26 concerts in 12 hours in Hamburg in 2004. The Bucks planned 30 shows and managed to hit 28 venues to break the record.

“This record attempt has really just been a dress rehearsal for our Canadian tour,” says Andy Duke. “Having heard reports about petrol shortages and the deep freeze that are taking place in Ontario and Quebec at the moment, we thought that a massive ‘gig-a-thon’ would be the best way to ensure that we’re in tip top shape for our forthcoming two week Canadian tour. The fact that we achieved a world record while doing so is a bonus.”

“We succeeded in the face of adversity. Whatever could go wrong did,” continues Duke. “A rented PA system ceased working by the second gig, one of the two vans broke down entirely and a member of our support crew, one of the drivers, was struck down with food poisoning. Despite all of these things, we soldiered on and our success is really a testament to the great teamwork of our band, crew and supporters. Receiving text messages from fans throughout the day, from all around the world including Canada, really turbo-charged our resolve to beat the record.”

London is one of the few places where attempting to beat the world record is possible because of the close proximity of so many venues. Fans and volunteer roadies helped carry and set up equipment around London from 11am until 11pm. An independent adjudicator was in attendance for all 28 gigs gathering evidence in support of the Guinness Book of World Records attempt. “It was a real challenge. But we did it. I’m delighted, it’s fantastic.”

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Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright © MusicDish LLC 2007 – Republished with Permission

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