Category: Music stores


Madalyn White, Grace Kuch, Grace Ritter

I worked the Dallas Songwriters Association booth at the Dallas International Guitar Festival (I still call it the Dallas Guitar Show – as it was for years – or, as above, the Dallas Guitar Festival). Naturally, there were hundreds of really nice guitars. There were some of the usual vendors, but some of the ones I was used to seeing weren’t there this year. Then there were the new, or non-yearly, vendors.  And of course the music on multiple stages. Suffice it to say, there were a lot of things to see and music to hear.

I was sitting at the DSA booth, talking with whoever was with me at the time, and watching people walk by. A good number of them came by the booth, but more just passed by. Since a lot of them weren’t songwriters, that made sense.

A group of younger girls and a guy walked by. I thought one of the girls looked familiar. As showcase director for the DSA, I try to promote younger talent, DSA or otherwise. But I just figured I was imagining things. They passed by at least once, maybe twice, when the girl I thought looked familiar walked intently toward me. She walked up and held out her phone.

“Is that you?” It was my website with my blog on the home page.

“Yes.”

She said okay while still fiddling with her phone. She pulled up  this post.

“You wrote this about me a few months ago. I just wanted to say thank you. I really appreciate it.”

I always try to promote other musicians and songwriter. It was nice to hear someone say “thank you.”

The guy that was with them said that they were playing on the Young Guns stage. Jimmy Wallace and the staff of the Guitar Festival take entries from bands with members under the age of 20 for a chance to play the stage. I made a note of it.

G2 Band

The young girl was Madalyn White. The band was the G2 Band. I managed to get over to the stage soon after the start of their set. The lead guitarist and the drummer are Grace Kuch and Grace Ritter, I think respectively but I’m not sure. Madalyn played rythmn guitar. I didn’t have a chance to get the names of the rest of the band – keyboard player, bassist, saxophone player, and second vocalist.

At one point Madalyn said they were in a jazz band at school. They played mostly blues. But after Madalyn made that announcement, the saxophone player, bassist, and drummer played a very interesting piece with saxophone as lead instrument. A nice break from the constant blues through the weekend.

When G2 played the blues, their inexperience and naivete worked in their favor. It was refreshing – in contrast to the constant flow of standard blues licks mixed with doesn’t this sound like Hendrix licks or I can play Stevie licks, not to mention the I don’t know what I’m freaking doing licks throughout the weekend. I’m not referring to the bands on the stages.

I think that given another environment, with different audience expectations, G2 could relax and play music that comes more naturally to them. Not that they didn’t hold their own on the Young Guns stage. But they didn’t break loose either. I would have liked to hear a couple of jazz tunes. However, I was probably in the minority with that thought.

Check out Madalyn White when she plays solo and the G2 Band if you get the chance. You would be pleasantly entertained.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Sanger-Harris

Sanger-Harris

[Read part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4] As I mentioned in an earlier post, McCord Music was upstairs on the right side of the wing toward Sanger Harris. When our house burned down – see part 4 – I bugged the crap out of my parents to replace at least one of the two guitars that had burned in my room. For some reason, they were a little more concerned about the blackened house on Courtshire Dr. with no roof.

I finally convinced them that my way of dealing with the situation was with a guitar and writing songs. I can be stubborn. So I went to McCord at the mall and bought another Yamaha to replace the one that had burned.

By the end of the school year, we were back in the house. During the summer, I started working at the car wash at Forest Ln. and the Tollway. In front of the Pizza Inn by the Safeway. Then the Pizza Inn became Kel’s Kitchen. It now sits empty. The Safeway is now an Antique Mall. Or was last time I bothered to check.

I was still working there went I started at Richland College before transferring to NTSU, now UNT. When I had some money saved up, I talked my dad into co-signing a loan for a Martin guitar. Thanks in large part to the staff at McCord Music.

A year and a half later, I took a break from school and moved to Nashville with Joel Nichols. One day while we were working at Deli Junction (our day job), Joel got a phone call. One of our roommates called to tell him that our apartment had been broken into and his guitar was stolen. It turned out that it was my guitar that had been stolen, along with anything that you could play music on or with. When Joel looked into his room off of the kitchen, his guitar was still there. We figured it was a friend of his that didn’t want to take his guitar.

Fortunately, my parent’s home insurance policy would cover the guitar and tape recorder. I took the bus back to Dallas. Unfortunately, the insurance wouldn’t pay out enough to replace the Martin. So I took what they gave us and went to McCord Music of course. I sat in one of the listening rooms, surrounded by guitars. Most of them were in the price range. A couple of them were a little more. I’ve always thought positively.

I came to an Alvarez. I played a couple of songs and then called the salesmen back. I told him I’d found my guitar and he could put the rest up. The sound actually fit my voice. It had a clear pick guard and the wood matched my hair. I had my guitar.

That’s my history with McCord Music in Valley View Mall. Although I was in there at least a hundred times over the years. That Alvarez guitar sounds better today than it ever has. You can hear it at my show on Sunday.

Peace be with you.

With Chris Martin

With Chris Martin

Cameron and I woke up early on Friday – although later than on Thursday – and stopped off for breakfast on our way to Music City Center. When we got to the exhibit hall, we visited the booths we had on our list that pertained to the church. It was going better than we thought it might. We found exactly the companies and services we had come to find out about.

We covered the majority of companies in the House of Worship area list in a little over an hour. We were walking out of the exhibit hall and we passed by the Martin Guitar booth. I noticed that Chris Martin, CEO, was at the booth. I waited until he was free, then said hi, shook his hand, and told him I’ve been playing Martin guitars for years. He thanked me and was kind enough to pose with me for a picture.

We found a seat in the hallway and went over the plan for the day. We decided it would be a shame to be across the street from the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum and not drop in for a visit. Actually, Cameron was planning to go and didn’t want to go by himself. Which I could understand. We had a couple of hours open before our next session anyway.

I was interested to see the “new” museum. I remember the original museum on music row from the ’70s. I

A piece of floor from the original Country Music Hall of Fame.

A piece of floor from the original Country Music Hall of Fame.

passed it all the time when I dropped songs off at music publishers who all had offices on music row. Some of the exhibits, I recognized. Particularly the older exhibits that haven’t changed. But there was plenty I hadn’t seen. If you visit Nashville and want to go to the Country Music HOF Museum, go during the week if you can. We drove by on Saturday and it was packed.

After the museum, we attended the sessions we needed to, including one on acoustical considerations for houses of worship and another on easy live recording (easy being relative). Then we headed back to the hotel and watched the Rangers game as we looked over information we had picked up from exhibitors.

Peace be with you.

Roy Elkins 1Roy Elkins, CEO of Broadjam.com, has been Master of Ceremonies for the Dallas Songwriters Association Song Contest Award Ceremony for several years now. This year, he offered to come a day early and give a Your Music and Your Business workshop – at no cost. With the awards ceremony/Christmas party always on the second Tuesday of December, which would be our regular meeting night, we decided on Monday for the workshp.

DSA President Michael Brandenberger has known Tommy Roberts for many years. Tommy Roberts is co-owner of Tone Shop Guitars, north of Beltline on Midway, in Addison. Michael asked Tommy if we could have the workshop in their very large showroom. It is a very nice store. Tommy said they would be happy to have us. I met with him and we went over details.

The day of the workshop, we had 26 rsvps. We were shooting for 30 people. I brought 32 chairs. The Attendees workshop was to begin at 6 p.m. I arrived at 5 p.m. and one person was already there. Since it was a guitar shop, the early arrivals had something to do – which was one of the reasons Tommy was eager to have us.

Since a few people had not arrived by 6, we started a little late. Several people arrived during the presentation. The final tally was 28, with two no-shows of the original rsvps. At such a busy time of year, with traffic like it was, we had a great turnout.

Roy gave a very entertaining and informative presentation. He talked about starting Broadjam because he wanted to help songwriters. The used Broadjam, as well as his experience in the music business to illustrate his points. Roy discussed what, and how, to prepare for a pitch. He described good and bad music or song pitches.

Roy Elkins 2Elkins showed the crowd a written pitch that he had actually been given by a member of a band. The writer was apparently inviting Roy to see them at a show. He went on to basically say that the drummer sucked, but they were still going to use him just for the night. He made some more excuses – with bad punctuation and grammar. He ended by saying “you can find our music on soundcloud, sonicbidz, and revernation.”

Roy talked about how ridiculous the mistakes were. The punctuation and grammar mistakes were obvious. Have good material for them to hear. If it’s good, there’s no need to make excuses. Stand behind your work. And if you want someone to listen to your music, you don’t tell them they can find your music on their competitors website.

“It happens more than you think. I talk to those guys all the time (representatives from the three companies mentioned above) when we’re on panels together,” Elkins said, “and we always laugh about it.”

It was a great workshop. Stay tuned for posts with advice culled from the recent meetings and workshops and experience. You will also read a bit more about Roy in a post about the song contest award ceremony. In the meantime, however, if you are a songwriter, join Broadjam, fill out your profile, and check it out. As with most online music sites, there is a free level. But there is quite a bit you can do, with extras at a la carte expense (which is reasonable). You can have your song reviewed by professional songwriters. And much more.

Peace be with you.

Tone Shop In case you don’t know, there is a new guitar shop on Midway, just north of Beltline, in Addison – Tone Shop Guitars. Co-owners Tommy Roberts, Grant Sheffield and staff will be happy to show you around. They have one of the few Taylor rooms in the country. For the uninitiated, they have a partnership with Taylor and have a room dedicated to Tayor guitars.

Tone Shop also has an extensive line of Martin guitars in a separate room with other guitars. Then there is the amp room. And the wall of electric guitars, as well as other guitars and basses hung around the showroom. You can see the layout in the pictures. They also have vinyl records.
Tone Shop 2
Having only been open a little over six months, their concentration is on guitars, basses, and amps. The accessories and sound equipment “departments” are works in progress. It is safe to say that they are, literally, just getting started. Tommy refers to it as a “Mom and Pop” operation (although I think “Pop and Pop” would be closer to the truth). Regardless, they are locally owned and operated. Which is a plus in several ways, one of which is the personalized service from a neighbor, who listens to what you’re saying and pays attention to what you need. The Dallas Songwriters Association will be working with the Tone Shop on a special event or two, beginning with a workshop.
Tone Shop 4
So drop in and see Tommy and Grant. Play a few guitars – there is sure to be one, or several, that you like. Test out an amp or two. Pick up strings, replace your humidifier or pouches, and buy that accessory you’ve been considering. Tell them I said “hi.” And follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Peace be with you.

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