Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Good News from the Indie Bible

The folks over at The Indie Bible contacted us recently and asked if we would take some time to look at their resource guides for independent artists and share our thoughts. After thumbing through the four guides in their collection, all I can say is, Wow! I wish we would have known about this before we released our first album! The four guides (Indie Bible, Indie Bible Online, Venue Guide [divided into six geographical regions] and Media Guide) give valuable and detailed, genre specific contacts to help promote your band and music. The Indie Bible features sixteen sections from "Music Reviewers" to "Radio Stations That Play Independent Music" to "Online Music Vendors" and more. Each section is divided by genre so you can quickly locate the specific leads you need. Each listing features at least a current website address and most also include a current email address and contact.
The Indie Bible Online offers the same features with a searchable database and features automatic updates throughout the year. The Venue Guide is an incredible resource if your band is starting to branch out beyond your hometown. If you're booking gigs out of town or out of state, you can easily find bars, clubs, coffeehouses, theatres, etc. that book your style of music, making it easier to fund your road trip with more paying gigs. The Media Guide lists magazines, radio stations, professional and nonprofit organizations, etc. broken down by state (and Canada too.) In addition, the Indie Bible also features 66 topic specific articles to guide you through the process of approaching and submitting to their resources. The only shortcoming we can think of for this series is that they don't have any listings for awards and contests, but we'll share that feedback with them!
The Indie Bible promotes itself as a great monetary value for bands (they're currently offering their entire bundle of resources for $60,) but the thing we like best about this service is its value in TIME. To be honest, most of the contacts in these four resources can be found for free online or in area phone directories. However, the time it takes to weed through hundreds of sites to get one good lead is absurd. Once you find a good site, it can still take you ten to fifteen minutes just to find the contact information for it. To give a personal example, we spent weeks trying to find 20 solid leads for possible review sites for our album. In less than two minutes we were able to find 37 leads using the Indie Bible. If you'd rather spend your time making music than searching for ways to promote it, we wholeheartedly recommend Indie Bible.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Album Review: Big Love by Holly Renee Allen

Holly Renee Allen sings with a voice that’s older than her years. Lifetimes older. How else can you explain the emotion, texture, and soul that pour out of her petite frame? She used that incredible voice to garner tons of praise for her debut album Red Dirt Soul. She follows that success with her new album, Big Love. As the name implies, Holly focuses her attention on affairs of the heart. She explores the love of a woman for a man, the love of a mother for her child, the love of God for all God’s children, and even the love of a woman for her guitar. In a relaxed, “unplugged” session, Holly’s voice and lyrics take center stage on this album.
On the opener, “Back Home,” Holly sings a fond remembrance of her parents and the love that inspires good people to work themselves beyond the point of exhaustion just to build a better life for their children. She follows up with the album’s theme song, “Big Love.” Sharing intimate glimpses into the lives of two broken souls (as if she’s lived them both) Holly reminds us that even broken hearts can be mended if you surrender to BIG LOVE. Holly’s is the voice of experience that keeps telling us that there is a love that transcends romance. Singing, “Even on the verge of madness spinning out of control, when you get lost in life and run out of hope; you’re gonna find your healing in BIG LOVE.”
Holly explores the transcendent power of love on some of the albums other cuts like “Bigger Than Both of Us,” “Faith,” “Love is the Healer,” and the touching, “Pop Bottle Arney.” Showing her understanding of the depth and complexity of love, she tells the story of a mentally challenged child abandoned by his father. Teased by lesser hearts, Arney still finds his redemption in the power of his mother’s love: “Now the folks around here say he ain’t got no sense. I reckon everyone’s had a laugh at Arney’s expense. Just the other day at Gray’s grocery store, somebody asked Arney, ‘what’s the biggest word you know?’ Arney stammered and stuttered and broke out with a smile, and he said ‘LOVE stretches here on up to Heaven’s eyes’.”
Holly’s lyrical depth combined with her intimate, honest vocals resonate more like hymns than mere songs. Each song is a prayer and a meditation that washes over you like a musical baptism. These hymns to love remind me of the times in my own life when I was touched by BIG LOVE: when I felt the kindness of a stranger or when I was lifted from despair by the actions of a friend. And like those moments, BIG LOVE inspires me to be more loving in my own actions. I know that’s not a typical reaction to an album, but this is not a typical album. This album needs to be felt as much as listened to, and you’ll feel better for having listened.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Introducing Jesse Brewster

Meet Jesse Brewster. He has a cool new concept, called "March of Tracks," which he is using for the release of his new album. He is releasing one new song each month for twelve months leading up to his album debut. The best part is that he's sharing the songs for free for a limited time!
This month's single is World Closing In. It's a story of hopes and dreams crashing down ("If it's lonely at the top, there's no doubt it's lonelier at the bottom looking up.") But luckily for Jesse, he's found a love to help support him when his world comes closing in. Musically, Jesse drives the song on his acoustic guitar, but there are flashes of world rhythms and what I can only classify as "gypsy stings." The overall effect is a song that's comforting and exotic at the same time. Check it out and keep checking back as Jesse reveals his next songs!