Monday, April 4, 2011

Say Anything

I had forgotten about this Blog. I am not an expert on anything to do with music but I still have opinions. Sometimes people offer to trade CDs with me and I always accommodate them. When I play their CD quite often I feel cheated by the low quality of the CD I received in trade. Mine are professionally recorded in a studio and everything is mixed well. The music does not drown out the performer's voice. My covers are professionally designed by a graphics artist and the printing is done in a printing shop - not on a color copier. Cowboy Slim out of Nashville has CDs that are inexpensively made but he is an exception to the rule. I love all his songs. I love to attend songwriter festivals, especially the ones in Nashville and Gulf Shores. I enjoy meeting other musicians and hearing them perform. Some are great, some are awful and lots are in between. It's a good life if you stay fit and don't let drinking control your life. When you are performing somewhere you are working and you should NOT drink on the job. When I come back I may talk about my watching Rock & Roll being born.
What we need are listeners. Don't give up.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


OPEN MIC by Eddie Rhoades ©2010

Relax, You're not getting paid to perform at open mic so why be nervous? Some open mics require you to pay to perform as does the famous Eddie's Attic in Decatur, Georgia. What is the point of an Open MIc? They are generally held on off-nights when business is slack. These businesses hope you will bring in a few fans, friends, family who will in turn spend money on food and drinks. It's a trade-off, you get experience and exposure to new possible fans and other musicians. Don't be intimidated, It's like a church covered-dish where everybody brings something different to the table and it's all good. more than likely you will practice more for open mic than you would for say: playing to the basement wall again.The key is being prepared. Open Mikkers are a diverse bunch with some doing only cover songs with a repertoire of 4 or 5 songs they repeat. Some very young and pretty females learn 3 or 4 chords on the guitar and are singing songs they wrote about life and love from their 15 years of life experiences in a slow folk or Americana tune. Their next song is in the same key and the same tempo which puts you to sleep. But they all plan on moving to Nashville where they can be discovered.  
A good point about Open Mic is you don't have to pack and set up a PA system and microphone, that is done for you. You can travel light, packing only your guitar and songbook.  There is usually someone on hand who is running the open mic to see that each performer gets equal play time. Some are run on a first-come first-serve basis where you play in the order that you sign up. Whereas others are run at the discretion of the person running the show as to who plays when and for how long. On some occasions the venue may give you a free drink for playing and in rare incidences they have fed me. What the venue is looking for is business. They want you to bring fans, friends and family who will come and drink and eat and spend some money. They should keep in mind that the customers have a TV set at home and beer in their refrigerator so that is not all they are there for. It would be more respectful of the performers if the TV sets were turned off. It is a good idea to keep a journal of places that have open mic nights and ask fans and other performers to sign your journal so you can keep in contact. You never know when you might want to go in the studio and record songs and you may need a mandolin or a harmonica player. Don't abuse this list and make them regret giving you their email addresses. Relax and enjoy your performance and the performances of others.
Eddie Rhoades

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The Good Thing About Depression © Eddie Rhoades 2010

Depression is a terrible state of mind and most all of us have it from time to time in our lives. Think about the first extended trip when you were young and away from home and how homesick you were. Or how about when your first romance ended.
Later in life one or both of your parents died. Then you might have gone through a divorce and were living alone. Dear Abby said there is nothing worse than being lonely and I believe her. So you have a drink or two or more and guess what? You wind up being even more depressed. But if you're a songwriter you're all about capturing raw emotions and setting it to music because you're not alone in your feelings. There are plenty of people who can identify with your emotions, sometimes right down to the letter. It's good for your soul to step back and take a look at your condition and the accompanying emotions in the process of writing them down. And to tell the truth, many a great song is a tear-jerker. What's your favorite sad song? One of mine is Bobby Goldsboro singing Honey I Miss You. I tear up just thinking about it. My brother,Robert Rhoades, wrote a song about suicide. Despite the morbid subject matter it is a beautiful song. And how about Johnny Cash singing Give My Love To Rose. Those are sad songs but they were big hits and I'm sure you can think of lots more examples. When my daddy died I wrote a song about how hard that was. Same thing when my mother died twenty years later. These are great songs and at first they were extremely hard to perform due to my emotional ties to them. Yes, it was depressing for my parents to pass away but from that family tragedy came two beautiful songs and I know mother and daddy would have been extremely proud to know I wrote these songs for them. Now if you are battling depression and you are a songwriter then use these strong emotions to tell the world how you feel - It's what we do, express the human condition and the feelings that accompany them. Good times and bad times and memories of them all, that's what life is all about so write about it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

FBISF Songwriter Festival 2009

Frank Brown Songwriter Festival 2009

This year was different. Due to a down economy the list of invited performers had been cut in half. Neither I nor my brother Robert were on it. I was a bit depressed about that but Robert was all excited and wanted to go anyway. On the way down I was feeling guilty about going there uninvited but when we walked in the door they were glad to see us, hung a badge/pass around our neck and invited us to eat. We had brought food from home and a cook stove just in case but thank goodness we didn't have to use it.
Breakfasts were a bit sparse but lunches were great. We burnt the candle at both ends while we were there, staying out till 3, 4 or 5 in the morning and back up the next day sometimes at 7:30. I think about 9am is as late as we ever slept and we weren't taking naps during the day. We saw lots of famous songwriters: people like Aaron Barker, Marc-Allen Barnett and many others. We got to perform at Newcomers Showcase at the Silver Moon several times, at the FloraBama Lounge several times and at open mics at Tipseas and the Market. We also went to after hours jams at the River House. I had my picture made with Aaron Barker and I met a lady named Peggy who wanted her picture made with me. Just as Robert snapped the picture she raised her top and - well, you get the picture. One of the mornings Robert had gone fishing along the beach while I got a cup of coffee and relaxed in the outdoors hot tub. We usually headed to the Silver Moon an hour or so before lunch so we could socialize. I love being around other songwriters. They run the gamut in talent levels. I don't think we sold any CDs but we gave a few away. Sometimes you have to do that to promote yourself and your music.
I found myself a couple of times talking gardening instead of music. Right now those are the two biggies in my life. My neighborhood association wants me to put my garden on next Springs first Tour Of Gardens. I don't have any grass in my front yard, just fruit trees and flowers but I think they'll like it.
I started going to this event several years before Robert decided he wanted to join in. He is better at learning people's names than I am. He takes pictures of lots of the fellow musicians and posts them on his myspace page:
I am pleased to see Robert taking it all in and learning about the music business and the social aspect of it all. He also is exposed to what it takes to lift his music to the next level, although, I think on a lot of his songs he is already there. He doesn't realize how good he is. When he gets onstage and puts that smile on his face and sings those beautiful love songs he's as good as anybody out there. I tell him "Listening songs have to have substance, dancing songs mostly need sound." As if I knew more about songwriting than him. But I am the older brother so I do get to offer my advice. Robert has a ten song CD and every song on it is great. Problem is, he doesn't offer it for sale on MySpace or CD Baby. You HAVE to promote your music in order to sell it. My goal is for me and Robert to be invited to perform at the Silver Moon during the late hours where they charge admission and the place is packed and no one talks because they're hanging on your every word -sometimes singing along. Your dreams can't come true if you don't have a dream to start with. Robert is working on the artwork for the cover of my second CD titled Universal Love which should be released early 2010. It's perfectly okay to pre-order yours now and maybe I can get it to you before Christmas. (You can still say Christmas can't you?)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Oh Wow! Jump Up And Down

Oh Wow! Jump Up And Down!

I just found out that I was accepted to play at the FBISF: Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama. This is truly an honor as I will be associating with people who write the songs for well-known stars. Lots of little things running through my mind right now like which songs to play? what to wear? should I put new strings on the guitar? what all should I pack?
I should take my camera and I wish I had some business cards. Nonetheless, I should exude confidence and get up there and perform my heart out. I think I'll start out with a couple of my rocking tunes then hit them with a tear jerker or two. I must go now and practice. I am so excited. This is going to look good on my resume.

We arrived in Gulf Shores, Alabama on Thursday Nov. 16, 2006 and drove to the Silver Moon cafe & bar at around 2 pm. The volunteers were handing out goodie bags and name tags and we found out where our accomodations were to be and where meals would be. Mealtime turned out to be the best time for networking. I found myself a little shy about approaching these successful songwriters and performers because let's face it, I'm a sensitive guy. It's true. I have to admit I cried the first time I ever had sex but I think that was because of the mace.
I got to perform twice officially with the "New Friends Of The Festival." To me a couple of the singers sounded like folk singers or what they call Americana. Nothing wrong with that and I do the same sometimes but too many slow songs in a row and I tend to get sleepy so when it came my time to sing I picked some of my peppier songs to liven things up. According to the applause, I think they liked it. In fact, this guy announced that I had single-handedly created the biggest genre shift of the evening. I personally like traditional country and old time rock and roll. I was born before there was such a thing as rock and roll so I have had the great fortune in this life of watching rock being born. The two biggest thrills while at the festival were going across the street to FloraBama roadhouse and watching the performers there while the "Lolas" were there. LOLA stands for Ladies Of Lower Alabama. The Lolas are a group of women similar to the Sweet Potato Queens who dress outrageously in bustles, leotards, fishnet stockings, boas, pink wigs (or blue), and ridiculous accessories. There was a big, loud crowd there and everyone was having great fun in the middle of the afternoon. The second big thrill was going to RiverWatch. That's the name of the house directly behind the Silver Moon. The protocol there is, you come in with your guitar and take a seat around the dining room table and each person takes a turn playing a song. If you stay as long as I did (till 3 am) you eventually get to play all your songs. I heard some amazing songs that night. Songs about a rhinestone Jesus outside the Taco Bell, a song about RCs and moon pies, a song about a southern girl that calls everybody honey and sweetie and is always fixing to go over yonder, a song about waltzing the two-step all the way back to Texas and many, many more. You needed to be there to experience the magic of the moment. It was so great I am really a little bit stunned and haven't had it all sink in yet. I told the coordinator that if I didn't get invited back next year then I would more than likely kill myself and she did not want to be responsible for that happening. I learned that beside the hospitality room where we all ate there was a place called Hub Stacy's where they hold the kick off party and the closing festivities. Not only that but the Hub hosts several open mic nights. Sadly I didn't learn all this till I got back home.
While I was there I did a little fishing and when I got back to the room my wife said "Did you catch anything?" I said "God, I hope not."
Now I am seriously going to work on my second CD. I have all the songs written and the finished sound is in my head. It's an expensive venture but I am going to bite the bullet and do it. Although I write great songs, I drop the ball when it comes to marketing and promotion so it winds up being a labor of love. I would love to hear anyones comments on any part of this.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Here's The Plan

MONDAY, MAY 24, 2004
Here's The (Revised) Plan
Every Monday night (almost) I plan to be at McCrackens which is on Atlanta rd. just before the Marieta Square then every Tuesday night (almost) I plan to be at Crystal's on the Square in Marietta which is right around the corner, for their open mic. night. I did this last Monday and Tuesday and had a ball playing my guitar and kazoo - of course they laughed but they liked it. Never been there before? It's on the southeast corner of the square on Roswell Road right across from the courthouse. I think the address is 150 Roswell road. Great music, friendly people (even friendlier long about midnight) and no admission charge. I'm not sure it's a good thing to have a favorite bar and a favorite drink: Crown Royal & Sprite. There is additional seating outside on the sidewalk where the next player up can be found practicing. I have seen bass, harmonica, keyboard, and conga drum players congregating there. So far, I am the only one that plays a bit of country music along with the eclectic mix of songs I do. Why don't you come up and see me sometime and sing along?

Couple Of Things

A Couple Of Things
I went to the hospital Oct 6 for heart catherization and the possibility of angioplasty and maybe having more stents put in. This would relieve my shortness of breath and improve my memory. Turns out I am not a candidate for any more stents as my vessels are diffused. I will have to treat my heart condition with a combination of diet, exercise and medication.

On a more cheerful note, I should have a CD of ten of my original songs out before Christmas (I hope). I hope this happens as it would be a dream come true. Then I will be back to square one with my shortcomings in marketing. I can write great songs I just don't know how to sell them. Any ideas out there?