After reconnecting with our friend Craig Carothers at the Tosco Music Party, we found out that he was going to be playing a house concert in Asheville the next night. What luck! We love the idea of house concerts and are looking forward to booking some, but we have actually never been to one, and couldn’t think of a better person to spend an evening of music with. Craig has a warm and engaging personality, and a real gift for the craft of songwriting. Our favorite Carothers tune is In Love For the Last Time. Take a listen here. During his set Craig was very generous to ask us to do a tune for his audience. We performed It Doesn’t Mean Anything. Aside from misbehaving dogs and children, it was a memorable, intimate night that we will cherish for a long time.
TMP has been a Charlotte institution for about 20 years now. The ecclectic mix of musical genres blended with sing-alongs with the TMP House Band, makes this one of the most unique and entertaining nights of music you can experience anywhere. We have attended many TMPs over the past 12 years ourselves . As we developed our songwriting skills and our desire to be performing artists, we have used the TMP to spur us on in this goal. So it was a real honor to be invited to perform this past Saturday. It was a sold out show, and the audience was very enthusiastic. It was great to be able to meet some fans during the intermission at the set of artists tables that are set up in the foyer. The backstage was a flurry of activity as performers eat, prepare, and mingle with other performers. There is a small army of very nice volunteers that guided us through the evening. Despite Cate recovering from a badly broken leg, we had a wonderful experience. Hey, "break a leg", right?
Continuing with our whirlwind weekend, Sunday was also a very busy day. First we had our NC Songwriters Co-op Board Meeting where we made plans for 2011. It's going to be a great year for the Co-op. If you aren't a member, consider joining. It's a great resource for songwriters and musicians.
In the afternoon, we conducted a workshop for the Live Music Lab in Raleigh, NC. Live Music Lab is a NCSC event where musicians come to develop their live music show. There is an hour of performance critiques and then a guest speaker comes in to talk for an hour about their experience as an artist. We led a discussion of lessons that we have learned for the past year and a half. Topics ranged from performance preparation to the nature of the music business as an independent artist. The following are a few of the points that we covered:
1. Open Mics are not a practice; they are an audition. Practice before you come and play well! If an open mic is in a venue that you are interested in playing, the decision makers or bookers are listening via the bartender, sound person, open mic host, etc... Often, bookers for other venues and events have been in the audience when we have played for an open mic.
2. A one hour set is really a four hour gig. You are performing from the moment you step out of your vehicle. Your "show" is the sound check, greeting audience members before the show starts, performing, staying through the performers who follow your set, and hanging around until the last person that wants to talk to you has left. Networking, building a fanbase, booking future gigs, and selling CDs all happen outside of your one hour set.
3. When an artist is starting out, it's very beneficial to have a "yes" year. Our first year in music, we literally said yes to every opportunity that presented itself. This is the year where we made most of our music contacts and built our network. Most of these events will be unpaid, but we had to think of it as a demonstration of our goods. Just like a new business gives out samples of their product to build a customer base, artists must do the same thing.
On Saturday, we spent part of our day at WCOM radio station in Carrboro, NC. We were the featured in-studio artists on the Licks and Lyrics show hosted by Kirk Ridge. We were so nervous because this was our first experience on the radio, AND we were feeling the pressure of being the only artist for the entire hour. However, we were surprised at how quickly the hour passed and we loved every minute of it. Later that night, we played a show at the Blue Note Grill with the band, Black Dog Syndrome. It was a very busy day, but it felt great to be performing for our first events of 2011. Thank you to everyone who listened to the radio show live and for those who came out to see us at the Blue Note. For those of you who weren't able to hear the show, we are posting the entire interview here on our website.
For all of you who have followed our blog over the past year and a half, we sincerely thank you. We've decided that we want to keep everything all in one place, so we will begin, "Off The Stage", 2011 here on our website. It's a lot to ask for people to visit your website, and then to click through to read the blog. Hopefully, we'll gain a few more readers by doing it this way. We love sharing what's going on with you and hearing what you guys are up to as well. We've put up a guestbook on the website, and are looking into a forum page so we can keep in touch with everyone. With some people being on facebook, but some not being there, we'll at least know that there is one place where we can all keep up with each other. Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and spent it with people you love.