Photo Credit: Bev Moser / Moments By Moser – 7.22.09
Brian White & Pete Sallis-"I've Been Watching You”
Arlos Smith -"Mayberry"
Danny Wells -"Check Yes Or No","Write This Down
Wynn Varble - "Waiting On A Woman","Have You Forgotten"
Julie Roberts - "I Don't wanna Break Down Here"
Kent Blazy -"If Tomorrow Never Comes"
Cory Batten - "She Wouldn't Be Gone"
Aaron Benward - “Good Little Girls”
Brian McComas -"99.9% Sure (I've Never Been Here Before)”
Travis Howard -"Famous In A Small Town"
Also performing were special guests such as Lisa Hentrich (wife of TN Titans Craig Hentrich who has song cuts with Richie McDonald and Chris Cagle) and cancer survivor Jamie White as well as Chris Compton (who’s wife had cancer and is mentioned on the special CD available through SFTC). The list goes on and on with the many amazing artists, musicians and members of the music industry who were willing to donate their time and talents to a heartfelt evening.
The purpose of this special event was to raise funds for The Tug McGraw Foundation. Songs For The Cure organizes events and puts on shows in the fight against cancer as well as create awareness that others are available to reach out into the community by visiting hospitals, individuals and being a friend to those in need of a shoulder when going through this difficult time. The focus is "hope and healing" where people can share, make new friends and be inspired. Several people were in attendance at the show who have been touched by the efforts of Songs For The Cure providing inspiration to others and to show appreciation for the efforts of those involved.Funds are raised by donations at the door and sales of a special CD called "SONGS OF HOPE,STORIES OF COURAGE" which is available for purchase at www.songsforthecure.org. All proceeds of the CD go to The American Cancer Society Relay For Life.
Special thanks to all of those involved who donated time and their talent, including Becca Wall for hosting the event, as well as Angela Hicks/R3 Therapy for donating massages on site, Digital Rodeo for the video and Werthan Granite for making the evening possible by sponsoring the event. A guitar autographed by each of the artists who participated was given away at the end of the evening and won by Vickie Vaughn.
Plans are already under way for the next event, which is planned for fall of 2009. Anyone who wants more information on this event or has questions on how they can help or is looking for support can visit www.myspace.com/songsforthecure. SONGS FOR THE CURE is about giving hope and changing lives one song at a time. For additional information contact Nile "Big Daddy" Peaytt at email@example.com
A streaming video of the performances can be seen on Digital Rodeo at http://www.digitalrodeo.com/DRTV/videos/2166
Photos of the SONGS FOR THE CURE An Evening With The Hitmakers can be viewed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/momentsbymoser/sets/72157621397841155/
I asked Bob if he plans on taking this show on the road and he replied “The Floating Stones is made up of some of the most gifted players in Nashville. Someone would have to come off some serious cash to get The Stones on the road; but it isn’t impossible.”
“We might be nervous, but we are not afraid” were words used to introduce himself and the band to the crowd. In true comic style that makes Bob DiPiero loved by everyone he meets, he joked that he was not there to impress anyone or was he out to get a record deal; he just wanted to have fun. The performance was one of several shows during the last couple of weeks showcasing not only the amazing talent of DiPiero as a hit songwriter and entertainer, but also the band. DiPiero stated he “simply wants to play on stage in a band.” And play he does!
In speaking with Bob I asked him why he put this group together and his response was “Because I can. I have wanted to do this since I first came to town. Playing in Rock N Roll bands is how I made a living in the Midwest before moving to Nashville. Ultimately I always just got an electric charge out of getting on a stage with a great band and rockin’ with an audience. There is no other way to get that feeling and believe me, I've tried.”
If you are anybody in the music business or you are a fan who knows who writes your favorite songs, you know who Bob DiPiero is. He has been an instrumental and key player in the Nashville music scene for the last twenty years. Not only does he write hit songs and play guitar with the best of them, but DiPiero is also a key member of Music Row’s leadership, a board member of the Country Music Association, a Leadership Nashville alumnus and former Nashville Songwriters Association, Inc., president.
He is one of Nashville's most consistent and prolific writers of hits and the reason is a pure love of the creative process. Bob DiPiero has helped make Nashville a port of call for legendary performers from all genres, writing with Neil Diamond, Carole King, Johnny Van Zant and Delbert McClinton, among many others.
I took the opportunity to ask Bob what he enjoyed most about this opportunity to perform with a band vs. the in the round which has been his norm; his response was “In The Round is actually something that took me a lot of getting used to. I never sat on a chair and performed ‘til I got to Nashville. I find it much harder to sing properly sitting versus standing. I also miss the sound of an electric guitar played well backed by a kickass rhythm section. There is only so much passion that can be coaxed out of an acoustic guitar. Also, it seems a lot of folks can learn some chords, write some songs and then sit in a circle with some other folks and play those songs. Not everyone can take the stage with a band, lead that band thru a set that is designed to have peaks and valleys and take the audience with them on a night of original music.”
He added “I’m not just a songwriter; although I am grateful to be one. I am a Rock n Roll guitar player. I'll go head to head with anyone, anytime, with an electric guitar and an amp that can take it. Volume is like the accelerator on a car. Too much and you run off the road, but the right amount in the right places and there is serious fun to be had. It has always been about getting up on stage with some badass musicians that think alike, counting to four and hoping for the best. The Floating Stones allow me to do just that and so far the shows have been awesome. People come away knocked out. That’s what I love doing. That to me is The Fountain of Youth and I intend to drink my fill this time around.”
The show opened with his Shenandoah hit song, "The Church On Cumberland Road" and was followed with a story of how people do not really believe he actually wrote all of the songs he and the band perform. He followed the opener with his first number one song by the Oak Ridge Boys', "American Made" which put his name on the music map. The song won numerous awards and was used in major ad campaigns for Miller Beer and the Baby Ruth candy bar.
I inquired if a "greatest hits" album be available with the band and Bob replied, “It seems like a natural thing to look forward to. The Stones play my songs as I have always heard them in my head. It's American Rock n Roll with lyrics that speak to real people.
Some people these days call that country. The Floating Stones get what is trying to be gotten across. I would record with them in a minute.”
The evening song list included such hits as “Blue Clear Sky” (George Strait), “Worlds Apart” (Vince Gill), “Mirror, Mirror”(Diamond Rio),”Indian Summer” (Brooks & Dunn), “Poor Me”(Joe Diffie), “You Can't Take The Honky Tonk Out Of The Girl” (Brooks & Dunn),” 'Till You Love Me” (Reba McEntire) and more songs too many to mention and ended with “Gone” (Montgomery Gentry).
Bob added in closing “I have no agenda with these performances. I am not looking for a deal, recognition or any kind or some kind of leg up on the ladder of show biz. If I still haven’t had enough of all that ego gratification at this point in my career, then I’m screwed. You can only get in The Songwriters Hall Of Fame once a lifetime. The Floating Stones is all about asking my self a question. Can I bring it to the audience enough that it satisfies me? If anybody else likes it then I am truly blessed once again.”
For more information on Bob DiPiero visit http://www.bobdipiero.com/
Eric Durrance is quoted as saying “I write music that comes from my heart. I like to write music that puts body and soul out there and has a magical way of saying what everyone feels. I like to be real and I believe a good, honest song is the key to an artist's success.”
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Eric and his bass player, Jeff Jenkins, to talk about the new project they are working on, a little about the music business and life in general.
Bev: Eric, what can you tell me about the new album?
Eric: We are in the studio now and we are about halfway finished with the new album. We are really excited about it
Bev: Any release date set for that?
Eric: We want to rush it because we are impatient and we are so excited to get the music out there, but we learned the hard way that it’s all about the set up in country music. We have learned a lot from our mistakes and we are lucky enough to have a second time around. You know a lot of people don’t get that opportunity. We have better songs on this CD. I believe good songs can break down the walls; what the marketing can’t do, the songs can. It’s hard because of so many opinions in the mix. I’d like to see Nashville just let the artist do their thing and let them create.
Bev: Do you mostly co-write or do you write on your own too?
Eric: I do a lot of writing on my own, but the co-writing is always great, too.
Bev: Do you have a preference? Would you rather write with somebody?
Eric: I like doing it on my own. It takes me longer to get to a great song, but it’s more me when I do that.
Bev: When you write do you prefer to have a message with your lyrics?
Eric: Yes, I always do. I love writing story songs; which are the hardest ones to write. But overall, just having a positive message, even if it has a dark and negative feel or it is a sad song.
Bev: Do you sit down at a certain time every day to write or do you have a schedule or a plan when you write?
Eric: No, it’s really weird and it depends on so many other things. When the business really kicks in, then my creative side goes away, and when the downtime comes along, then it automatically just comes back. Like during CMA week, it was so hard for me to write—my brain was just mush, but it’s just starting to slow down again. The best songs I’ve written have been between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. in the morning. I won’t even have a pencil; it’s just weird like that. A lot of stuff we are writing now is written that way. Right now, Jake Owen and I have a single out we wrote together about five years ago called “Eight Second Ride.”
Bev: What do you consider your most cherished moments at this point in your career?
Eric: In 2004, I won a BMI Songwriter of the Year award; it was a pretty big moment.
Bev: Do you have any songs that are very personal to you?
Eric: The last song on the current album is a song about my grandpa. It’s one of the songs that just everybody goes through in life. It’s amazing how many people come up and say they lived through that song word for word, and that’s pretty amazing.
Bev: Was it written through personal experience?
Eric: No, it was written out of fear. It was written out of the fact that I know it’s going to happen, and odds are I’ll be away because this business keeps you away. It’s just kind of one of those darkest times that you know it’s going to come and you’re not looking forward to it. I just wrote that song out of imagination and what it would be like, and sure enough there have been a lot of people that have already been through it.
Bev: Do you have any moments that stand out from the recent CMA Music Festival and CMT Awards week?
Eric: I got to see Carrie Underwood again. She’s the only person I get starstruck by. I feel the coolest moment was all the fans that brought pictures for us to sign. This one lady had a purse made of all the artists she had taken pictures with, and we were right in the middle.
Bev: When you have down time how do you relax?
Eric: I love to go fishing and I’ve been doing that a lot lately. We haven’t had a lot of time off because we’ve been trying to figure out ways to get back on the road and back in the studio. We spend a lot of time stressing over that. Downtime is not that great of a thing. The only way to just get away from it is to literally get away from it.
Bev: How old were you when you got into the business?
Eric: I got into it kind of late. I was about 26.
Bev: Had it always been a dream?
Eric: It was a slow process for me. When I was 15 I started playing in bands, but we never could find a singer and I was terrible singer, but because we couldn’t find anyone, I started to sing. We also needed songs, so because of that, I started writing songs. The songs were terrible, but they were songs; 10 minutes long and unorganized, but then through the years as other opportunities fell away, this one got stronger. The older I got, I really started growing in the songwriting, I recorded a demo, sent it to labels and had a deal within five days. I was like, OK, this is what I want to do.
Bev: Have you established any type of ritual before you go out on stage?
Eric: Our keyboard player likes to grab the skin on our elbow. That’s his thing. He’s just silly; I don’t know what that really is all about. We burn a lot of incense and listen to a lot of Def Leppard. It’s an adrenaline thing; it gets you going.
Bev: Have you performed with anybody that you’ve considered an idol or looked up to?
Eric: I can’t say we performed with them, but we’ve worked with them. Teddy Gentry, who produced (my last) album, for both of us, was a big influence.
Bev: Who do you want to perform with?
Eric: Honestly, we are just still really excited to play with Jason Aldean. And honestly, we’d love to be headlining our own show, but if we had to open up for Jason Aldean for the rest of our careers it would be OK. They are great guys and they are easy to get along with. I’d love to open up for Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith. Anyone that has a tour right now.
Bev: What’s the best stage you’ve performed on?
Eric: We just did a casino about a month ago. The stage was huge and seemed like a football field. For us that was a pretty big step. The ones where we can get the fans close to us are always better, because sometimes they are just so far off you can’t even see them in the lights. If they can get in by the front of the stage, that’s when you can really get into it because you can’t get into it if you can’t see the crowd.
Bev: So do you like the bigger stages or more intimate setting?
Eric: Our songs seem to do better in the bigger venues. I don’t really know why that is, but it’s like taking Rascal Flatts in a small room—it might not come across the same. It just depends; the acoustic stuff is much better in a smaller room. Our show is very energetic, too, and playing with Jason, he gave us a lot of room out there. A lot of headlining acts don’t give you that much space. We are able to create an arena show.
Bev: Are you addicted to the Facebook, Twitter and MySpace?
Eric: The Twitter we are just getting into. I try to get into it, but I really don’t do it that much. We got a couple of guys that are concerned about it, about their safety and their private lives. I think that those things can kind of get in the way. Certainly if you’re going to let people know where you’re at and that you are not at home. Not only can they mob me where I am, but also my house is now empty. We would love to get mobbed now, though, at this stage in our career.
Bev: What are your thoughts on the differences between MySpace and Facebook?
Eric: MySpace is huge for us. I don’t really do Facebook, but one day, my publicist is going to make me. She’s already warned me, but for now, it’s Twitter and MySpace. I don’t really know what’s better, but I think MySpace is better because you can download music. I think there are so many more things you can do on MySpace and it’s more individual. You can really use MySpace for more advertising, and I don’t know if this is true or not, but I think I heard that MS is going to start to have a streaming radio station. So you can be “MySpacing” and listen to artists on MySpace. That is a great opportunity for artists to get their music out there. That is the generation that we are living in.
Bev: What is the best advice that anybody has given you?
Eric: Teddy Gentry, from Alabama, told us that they made a deal early on in their career that they could fight, hit each other, curse at each other, do whatever they wanted to do, but one thing they could not do was quit. That always sticks out in my mind. It takes that kind of belief system that you can’t quit. You just can’t quit. You are going to go through some pretty tough times, but there is something that happens that takes you back to the top. In life that’s just what happens, (and) you’re going to need the bad to balance out the good. It’s hard to stay good all the time. I look at some people sometimes and I think, “Man, it doesn’t look like that guy has any problems. He’s always got it going and nothing ever bad happens to him.” I guess they just hide it well.
Bev: What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened on stage?
Eric: Our second show opening up for Jason Aldean. I was using a mic with a cable on it and the cable kept on coming undone from the microphone and several times I dropped the mic on stage. The whole mic fell; right in the middle of the word it would happen. The last time it happened, I just made a comment that it was a comedy show. My guitar player almost quit.
Bev: Have you dedicated anytime being involved in any charities?
Eric: No, not yet. We’ve done a lot of cancer benefit shows, (but) we just don’t want to make a million dollars to promote ourselves through something like that. We do try and do benefit shows when someone asks, though, if our schedules allow it.
Bev: Being both of you are dads, how does that work being on the road so much?
Eric and Jeff: It’s tough and that’s probably the hardest part about this job. You know the phone rings a lot, and you are asked when you coming home, and you can’t really give them an answer. That’s definitely the hardest part, but you have to believe that you are leaving them with the right type of people that are capable are taking care of them and giving them the support that they need. Just trying to give them a better life then we could back home.
Bev: What’s next for Eric Durrance?
Eric: We are kind of in a transition stage right now with the whole label situation. I’ve been on this label for 11 years. They are based in New York they are not a country label, but they’ve been really good to me. They’ve allowed me to really grow and develop me as an artist. We are also transitioning in management; we had different management during the CMT tour. Right now, we are just trying to get back to the media to let them that we are not going anywhere and we are still around. I just want to be able to put more me out there. I would love to get a little bit more control over what gets out there.
Bev: Do you find that you have a certain demographic that follows you?
Eric: You know that’s tough question because we’ve had everyone from younger kids to an older group of people that have come up to us and comment on the band or the songs. I don’t think we are shooting for a demographic, but if we were, I’d think stylistically that we fit a late 20s to early 40s. People who grew up listening to music in the ‘80s, but now have a lyric that represents what is going on in their life. I find it fun to play to the younger crowds because they will be there for you the longest, but also it’s hard to sing the serious, “life is hard”-type of song to the younger crowd. In general, though, we just want people to love our music.
Bev: Eric and Jeff, thank you both so much for joining me. I look forward to the new music coming out and seeing you again soon.
Eric: Thank you, it’s been a pleasure.
For more information on Durrance, please visit him online at www.myspace.com/ericdurrance or follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ericdurrance. … (He promises to tweet at least weekly.)
Tue., Jul. 14, 2009 12:55 PM PDT by Marc Malkin
Photo Credit: Bev Moser
If Jeremy Piven isn't feeling well today, sushi probably isn't the culprit this time around.
First up was a chicken dinner at Lime followed by music and mucho drinks at Tootsies Orchid Lounge.
At one point, Piven jumped on stage to play drums with country duo Halfway to Hazard for a set that included "Superstition," "Take It Easy" and "Tush."
Later on, the Pivester was spotted throwing back shots and enjoying Grey Goose cocktails.
No word on what time he and his boys called it a night.
Greg moved from Maryland to Nashville in 2001. It was a visit to the Bluebird Cafe a year earlier that really put his dreams into perspective. He knew where he needed to be and from that moment on has dreamed of playing his own show at the infamous Bluebird Café. Saturday July 11th, those dreams became reality as Greg performed in the round with Mersaidee Soules, Brooke Martin, Leslie Martin and Tom Manning. When asked how it felt to reach this milestone, Friia commented, “All good things really do come to those who wait!” He also noted the highlight of the evening was “having so many friends there to celebrate with me, some of whom traveled over 700 miles to be there.”
Friia is a writer who sings from deep in his soul, bringing a meaningful storyline to life with a melody. He can sing and write, and you can tell he loves what he does whether it is a deep and meaningful song or fun and whimsical tune he has called “Eeny Meny Miny Moe” which is on the new Brady Seals album which is to be released in mid-August.
After living in Nashville nearly eight years, he has had the opportunity to write with some of the finest Music City has to offer, and generously gives his time and experience to some of the upcoming tunesmith’s. His first co-write with Kris Bergsnes delivered “What Lonely People Know” which made the 2008 Top Songs List and was among the songs performed for Friia’s first show at the Bluebird Café. Friia is oftentimes found playing writer nights at Edgehill Studios Café and The Listening Room Café performing songs he has written or co-written with other singer / songwriters such as Dillon Dixon, Felix Cavaliere, Lisa Carver, Will Champlin and George Noriega.
For more information on Greg Friia visit http://www.blogger.com/www.myspace.com/gregfriiamusic.
Tommy Cash has a name that is easily recognized, one that makes ears perk up, but his voice is his own. He is the younger brother of country music legend Johnny Cash. With a new tribute album on the shelves we took time to chat about the project and the lifetime career of Tommy Cash.
Bev: Please tell me a little bit about the new project you have out and how it is going for you?
Tommy: The new album is called Fade To Black. There are some songs on the album that I wrote, duets with 4 different people, a duet with George Jones on the opening cut, a song I co-wrote with Jimmy Pepper 40 years ago called “Some Kind of a Woman” and also the first song that I ever wrote is on the album, “The Rambling Kind”. I wrote that song in 1964 and never recorded it myself. Also there are songs that I did in tribute to my brother, Johnny Cash and those songs are “Ring of Fire” and “Folsom Prison Blues” along with a couple of others. I’m really proud of this album.
Bev: Is the entire CD a tribute? Or are just a couple of songs a tribute.
Tommy: No the whole album is not a tribute. I have a tribute album that I recorded about 3 three years ago called, A Musical Tribute to my brother Johnny Cash, but there are some songs on this album that we did as a tribute to him. This album is some of my best work.
Bev: How long have you been in the music business?
Tommy: I started recording and singing professionally in January of 1965; that’s about 44 years.
Bev: Any interesting stories that go along with these songs on this album?
Tommy: I can’t think of any outstanding stories, but songs I’ve always wanted to record like “Skip Rope” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky” is a song I’ve always loved. I can’t think of any stories other than going back 40 years to a song I first wrote was exciting for me and we’ve got a great sound on the lead guitar and a great performance.
Bev: Are any of the other siblings involved in this project or is it entirely you?
Tommy: My sister Joanne sings a duet with me on “Wings of a Dove”. She is a great gospel singer and my son Mark does a duet with me on “I Walk the Line”. Marty Stewart does a duet with me on a remake of an old hit called “Six White Horses”.
Bev: I know you were in the Army and you did some stuff with American Forces Radio Network. Are there any patriotic songs on the album?
Tommy: There is one. I was with AFN when I was in the US army at headquarters stationed in Frankfurt. I used to do a show in the afternoon called, “The Stick Buddy Jamboree” and it was all country music; we had bands from all over Europe.
Bev: Who are some the other artists that contributed to this CD?
Tommy: George Jones, Marty Stewart, my son Mark Cash and my sister Joanne Cash and there are about 8 or ten songs I do by myself.
Bev: Do you have a favorite on this CD?
Tommy: I’m really partial to “The Rambling Kind” the first song I ever wrote. I think it really came out great and the one I did with George Jones because he really loved the song and said he’d love to sing the chorus’. I’m really proud of that song as well.
Bev: How long has it been between projects?
Tommy: I recorded a tribute album to my brother in 2004 and that is without a doubt my best work ever in recording. The engineer who did that album with me got a great sound on my voice and the songs came out great. I guess I always do a CD about every two or three years.
Bev: Have you done work with George Jones or Marty Stuart before?
Tommy: George Jones did a duet with me on an album I had off of Playback Records in 1990. He did a song that was called, “Thoughts on the Flag” and the video still plays on CMT during patriotic times like, Veterans Day or the 4th of July. I worked with Marty Stewart on a couple of things and I’ve done a lot of duets with many people in the music business over the years. People have always been very kind and have been very gracious to me and I really appreciate that.
Bev: What are you doing to promote your new project?
Tommy: Well Inlight records are promoting the CD. So anyone can go to Inlightrecords.com to order the CD and to learn more about the label itself, the artists they are signing and who will be on the label.
Bev: Are you using the online social networks like myspace, facebook, twitter etc.?
Tommy: Yes, my secretary runs that for me and does a great job. I’m still into the old fashioned things and the way of doing things. The internet is a great tool and a Godsend. It really is the information highway. I get E-mails from people from all over the world, as I’m sure all the country music artists do as well.
Bev: What’s one of the most cherished, or memorable Emails or letters you have gotten that has really touched you?
Tommy: You know that’s hard to choose because I get Emails all the time from people all over the world so it’s hard to just pick one.
Bev: Anything else you wanted to mention about the album or the project?
Tommy: Well I’m still touring and I tour about 60 days a year and that’s all about I want to work the road and as long as I am healthy and I still feel like I can do a good show I’m going to continue to sing and travel and do shows. I’ve probably done over a thousand shows in the last 44 years and I’ve loved every one of them.
Bev: Do you prefer a smaller more intimate venue? Or do you prefer to play really large ones?
Tommy: I love working in the smaller ones, or theatres, but I just love it all. I get tired sometimes of traveling, but when I walk out on stage then I forget about all the hardships about getting there or getting back home.
Bev: Is there any artists out there that you haven’t worked with that you’d really like to work with?
Tommy: I would love to work with Tim McGraw and Alan Jackson. There are a lot of artists that I’d love to work with but these big artists don’t need opening acts anymore, but I’d love to work with some of them yes.
Bev: When you do perform on stage do you have any ritual that you do before you go out?
Tommy: No I’d like to have some time by myself, because people talk to you right up to you going out on stage. I like the moment to just clear my mind. I just do voice exercises about 10-12 minuets before going out on stage. I like to be by myself just a few minuets before I go out.
Bev: As far as advice that you have received is there anything that you would pass on to a new artist if they were to ask you for advice?
Tommy: Don’t give up; don’t ever give up keep on trying until you get your foot in the door. It’s a tough business and it’s tough to break in. I know a lot of talented people that have come to Nashville and they didn’t make it. If you do come to Nashville try to sing; play at places that you can be seen by the writers or the producers. Always try to perform whenever you get a chance. If you keep trying and keep pushing then someone will help you get in the door.
Bev: Tommy I really appreciate this time of getting to know you and I hope I get a chance to meet up again soon and see you perform.
Tommy: Well thank you Bev, and I would love for you to come to one of my shows. It’s been a pleasure talking to you.
For more information on Tommy Cash visit http://www.tommycash.com/ or www.myspace.com/thetommycashshow.
They say that music heals the heart and calms the soul And with that in mind; several artist’s took their music on a special mission Wed July 8th to bring a night of song to a unique young lady who has been fighting a battle with cancer for the second time in a her short life.
Songs For The Cure Chairman, Nile Peaytt, organized the surprise visit to “Jennifer’s” house through her brother, Mike, and brought along several Nashville singer/songwriters and musicians to jam and share joy with the family, friends and special people in Jennifer’s life.The look of shock and disbelief on her face when the caravan of vehicles pulled in was one that won’t soon be forgotten. Several of those in attendance had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer at the Spring “Songs For The Cure” benefit and since that time she has been through a rough time of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, but always faces each new day with a smile, much laughter and determination to beat this monster.
The evening could not have been any more perfect as the tailgate dropped on the truck which was pulled up into her yard and the guitars came out of their cases. Lawn chairs filled the grass as music filled the air and the evening sun set behind the party adding an ambiance and serenity to the moment. Later on fireflies danced while the full bright yellow moon above gave the night a glow that matched the smile on Jennifer’s face.
All the artists took turns playing several songs throughout the evening accompanied by percussionist, Derek Wyatt. Several highlights included Brian McComas, "99.9% Sure (I've Never Been Here Before)", when he opened the evening with a song titled “Havin’ Us A Party” and in true songwriter form, the others joined in changing the words to fit the special moment. Travis Howard, “Famous In A Small Town”, slowed the momentum with a moving version of Steve Earle’s “Pilgrim” and Johanna Jacobson added a personal touch performing “Bonified Country Girl”, since both she and Jennifer are originally from New York. Alex Call, “867-5309/Jenny” and his wife, Lisa Carrie sang Jennifer his famous and well known song and then presented Jennifer a plaque with the lyrics to the song which had been autographed and dedicated to her. Aaron Benward, “Good Little Girls”, closed the night with a sing-a-long of “Pink Houses”.
Songs For The Cure was started in 2006 after Peaytt lost his wife in her battle with cancer and since the organization has grown into a national effort and soon to be international campaign. You can join these songwriters and more on Tuesday July 14th at The Listening Room starting at 8 PM for the summer fundraiser.
For more information on Songs For The Cure visit http://www.songsforthecure.org/.
Additional photos of this event are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/momentsbymoser/sets/72157621166286744/
The debut album titled “Love is in the Details” is currently available online and select music stores across America. She took a few moments with me while in Nashville to introduce me to her family and her music and talk about all she has accomplished in such a short time.
Bev: Amanda you’ve had an exciting start to your career; let’s talk about who you are and how you got to this point.
Amanda: I’m from California, grew up on a farm there. I started singing when I was 5 years old and have been writing for about 5 years. I wrote my entire album with my brother we recorded it out of our home studio with some cool producers and very excited to get it out in front of the people and perform the music.
Bev: While at CMA Music Fest did you find it hard to attract people to your booth since you are a new artist? Did you find it sometimes overwhelming or hard to meet the new fans looking for the bigger names?
Amanda: It was overwhelming! Yeah, but I had lines and lines of people and those people were so nice. It was cool because I had a free download in country weekly so most of them brought the country weekly and many knew me from Myspace. I was shocked. I am very thankful.
Bev: Are you big into the facebook, myspace, twitter?
Amanda: Very big. I do it all. I have friends that I’ve met on myspace that drove to Nashville to meet with me and are part of the family now. It’s really awesome the people I’ve met because I’m just sitting on my farm in California and these people know me now!
Bev: What part of California are you from?
Amanda: Ventura Country.
Bev: You were performing all through your school year and being busy with the acting on TV as well, we’re you home schooled?
Amanda: No I wasn’t home schooled. I actually went to Oaks Christian High for High School, but my brother is home schooled because all this started to pick up in the last 5 years. He actually missed his graduation to join me at CMA Music Fest, but we had a chicken wake him up in the morning and give him his diploma at the Hotel. It was really funny.
Bev: What was your best experience during the music festival?
Amanda: Performing was a lot of fun, performing at Cadillac Ranch. I also got to see Wynona Judd, which was amazing. She was walking past me at the convention center greenroom. Simply meeting all the people and having them be so nice and welcoming.
Bev: Have you always been country?
Amanda: Yes, but its country meets Pop/Rock so it’s a little different.
Bev: With a little bit of both genres, do you find differences as far as meeting people in that certain genre?
Amanda: Everyone in Nashville is very nice and welcoming. Everyone is nice in California too, but I’m more at home here because of the country music. There is only one country bar in California that I know of.
Bev: Tell me a little bit about your personal life, hobbies and so forth. What do you enjoy doing?
Amanda: It’s funny because our entire family and our whole life is music. We record and write at our house, but I love to ride horses, wake board, fish and I like to shop of course.
Bev: If you could choose only one part of the whole recording process to do what part would you choose?
Amanda: I’d probably pick performing because I like to see everyone in the audience, but I love to write and I do love recording just to hear the end product.
Bev: Is it safe to say you like the live performance better than working in the studio?
Amanda: I’d have to say I enjoy them equally.
Bev: Do you do everything at home in your studio or do you utilize outside producers?
Amanda: The producers come to our home studio and we get drums and bass from other people, but we always do it out of our home.
Bev: Is there a reason you chose that way or did it just happen?
Amanda: My dad built the studio and we are very thankful because we get to be there all night every night and we take advantage of that.
Bev: Do you get to perform with your brother, or is it he’s his own and act and you having your act?
Amanda: We always perform together, he’ll play guitar for me and we have duets and we always write together.
Bev: Are you going to promote that as a duo?
Amanda: Yes, we are as a duo, but we also have our own separate projects.
Bev: Do you think that you’ll eventually go different directions?
Amanda: Yes probably, but we are in a new show we are both in called Anywhere by the director of Gossip Girl. We are both together on the road then eventually on the show we part.
Bev: Is it based on your story with your brother?
Amanda: Yes it kind of is, but it’s a drama. It’s not about my family, but we share the first names and he’s the rocker and I’m the country girl. I’m the sister and he’s the brother, but other than that it’s a script they wrote for our music and us. It’s very exciting.
Bev: When will we see this project?
Amanda: Right now it’s up on Youtube.com/anywhereweb. Hopefully be picked up by a television network soon.
Bev: Does that take away from your songwriting time?
Amanda: No, actually it helps because I am getting into someone else’s mindset being that character and their life experience. When my brother and I wrote “I Feel” we were in those mindsets. It helped a lot.
Bev: Did you do acting in school?
Amanda: Yes, I did musicals in High School and acting. I started acting when I was very little. I was in a movie with Reba. It was very cool.
Bev: When you were in school did you find that people treated you differently because of the acting and being an artist?
Amanda: I went to a private school so they were very supportive of it because of choir and the musicals.
Bev: Were there any other students that were in the business so that you weren’t the only one?
Amanda: One of my friends was on American Idol, so I wasn’t singled out.
Bev: What did you do in Nashville while you were in town for CMA fest?
Amanda: We had a booth at the convention center so we were busy meeting people and performed on the acoustic stage. I also got to ride in the parade, which was so fun.
Bev: When you write do you have a game plan? Are you someone who has a notebook that you constantly write in?
Amanda: I write in a bunch of different ways. I’ll get with my brother and sit with a piano and we’ll write together; or a producer will send me a track and I’ll write the lyrics and melody to it. I keep a diary and it can come out that way, or sometimes it just comes out.
Bev: Have you performed with a lot of other people?
Amanda: I won a Maverick Music Award and I got to open the show for that and I also performed with a couple other artists.
Bev: Have you been on stage with any big names yet?
Amanda: I sang with Slash for Rock Camp that we did in Las Vegas. “Sweet Child of Mine”.
Bev: Do you have a favorite way that you like to promote your music?
Amanda: I love talking to every one. I am all about meeting people and knowing them as friends.
Bev: When you choose songs, do you like to sing things that you either have experienced, or deeply connected to, or can you sing anything and make it sound real whether you have experienced it or not?
Amanda: Well everything I wrote I’ve experienced, but when you do cover songs I can totally get into that mindset and put it into my life and my relationships.
Bev: When you write it’s very personal?
Bev: Do you ever feel that writing in that way is giving away too much of yourself?
Amanda: You know it’s sometimes it is. I’ll have a boyfriend, break up with him and I’ll write a song and then my mom or dad will be like, “oh” then they’ll really know what happened.
Bev: Have you ever have someone come back to you after the fact and say “why did you put that song out there about me”?
Amanda: Actually yes. My first love. I wrote a song for him and it was called “I Didn’t Miss You Anymore” and he was really hurt over it, but that’s just how it goes sometimes.
Bev: In your family there are three kids, mom and dad correct?
Amanda: Yes. Mom is the manager and they are the most supportive family and I’m so thankful to be in this family.
Bev: So tell me about the other siblings.
Amanda: Nick plays the bass and loves video games and getting in trouble at school. Lexie is the little princess who likes to be the center of attention. She likes to sing too.
Bev: Do you think she’ll pursue music as well?
Amanda: I think so. Whatever she wants to do, but its very much part of our life and our family.
Bev: Do you ever see a family, the whole thing, as she gets older to be like the Osmond’s or do something similar?
Amanda: That would be awesome. My sister would love to do that. We actually just went to her school and all three of us performed for her class. We did “Picture to Burn” and “Time to Breath” one of my songs.
Bev: As you went through the whole CMA Music Fest event, what was the one thing people asked you the most?
Amanda: I was asked “How did you start singing?” and “how did you get into the business”. A lot of people ask that.
Bev: What kind of advice did you give them?
Amanda: Just to never give up and always write and meet as many people as you can. Sing at open mics and play anywhere and everywhere. For every no there is a yes around the corner.
Bev: Have you had anyone in your life that’s been a big inspiration that’s given you advice?
Amanda: My producer Doc Little. My mom is the best mom in the world and my dad is a self-made man. H didn’t go to college and built a business. All are all huge inspirations to me.
Bev: Who is your dream duet partner or artist to perform with, write with?
Amanda: I’d love to do a duet with Taylor Swift. We just went to her concert. I’d love to work with Keith Urban.
Bev: Your album is out right now?
Amanda: Yes. It’s called “Love is in the Details”. It is a collaboration with a Rap artist, because I like to be a little different. We did Country, Rap, and Rock.
Bev: You are promoting it on myspace and such. Do you have any tour dates set up?
Amanda: We have a lot of shows in California and we are getting most of the tour dates set up now.
Bev: What is next?
Amanda: I want to meet as many people as I can, sing as much as I can, set up a tour, get it on the radio. Everything and anything.
Bev: As far as your acting, are you going to just sit with the TV thing for now? Or do you have ambitions to do both?
Amanda: I would love to do both. I would love once our show gets picked up that I could be a singer and an actress.
Bev: You also have something going on with a clothing line. Tell me about that.
Amanda: I am a Rock Your Fashion Artist. I teamed up with Lexi Johnson and I got to host for the Oscars. I was on the Red Carpet. Then I got to go to Las Vegas Fashion week and host for E! and do a lot of cool stuff.
Bev: How did you get hooked up with that?
Amanda: I think someone I knew sent my CD and they picked my brother and me.
Bev: Now they obviously send you clothes. Do you get to pick out your clothes or they just send you what they pick out?
Amanda: Usually whatever they pick out, but I just got a dress made by Cowgirl Heaven and I get to be in her Runway Fashion Show in Beverly Hills California.
Bev: Do you get to pick your hairstyle or do they do it?
Amanda: I usually do it myself.
Bev: What has been one of the most fun things in your career so far?
Amanda: Absolutely the CMA Music Festival. It has been the most amazing time in my life.
Bev: Amanda, I have enjoyed this very much and look forward to seeing you again. I wish you all the success in the world, but it sounds as though you have a pretty good grip on it.
Amanda: Thank you so much I appreciate it very much.
For more information on Amanda visit www.myspace.com/amandamarshmusic