DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Jumpin’ On the Mary4Music Bandwagon

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on June 17, 2012

Mary4Music.com gets over 32,000 unique visitors a month, and I don’t mean hits. (That number is in the hundreds of thousands.) I’m talking about individuals who come back to the site over and over again. I’m not particularly surprised, because I’m one of them. It’s a great site.

Mary4Music is one of the best resources around for all things blues – blues clubs, blues festivals, blues bands, magazines, websites, CD reviews and more. So I’m beside myself that they’ve asked me to add my interviews with blues artists to the site. Zowee!

The Mary in Mary4Music is Mary Roby. She’s a music fan from way back. About 13 years ago, she met blues guitarist Forrest McDonald online and wound up working with his Atlanta, Ga.-based World Talent Records label. “It began as a hobby. I used to update the web page for the label site. I put up a page of music-related links and that link page evolved into Mary4Music,” she told me on the phone last week. “Then I met Pete online, too. I had been to see Lonnie Brooks and commented on AOL about it. Pete responded, so I started checking out his reviews.”

Pete is Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro, Mary’s business partner, fanatic blues aficionado and CD reviewer. Pete adds, “I was working as a doorman at what was then a major blues clubs (now defunct) called Alligator Alley. I’d come home all wired up, not ready to sleep. There was section in the Jazz & Blues category in AOL called Who’d You See Tonight. So I’d review the shows I’d seen … Mary sent me an email about writing reviews for her website and that’s how we became partners.”

Today Mary4Music has evolved into a comprehensive resource used – and inspired by– both musicians and fans. Mary says, “I had one email that said, ‘I’m coming up north. Can you map me a route?’ That’s where the directory came from. Another guy told me that he had planned his whole trip from Canada through the U.S. based on my website.”

Debbie Davies with Mary Roby and Pete “Blewzzman” Lauro

“For us,” Pete (who gets to at least 40 blues events and festivals a year) explains, “blues isn’t just something to do on a Saturday night. It’s a lifestyle. “My wife, Rose and I, we take our vacations to blues festivals.” Asked about his favorite event, the Blewzzman answers emphatically, the Blues Awards, which are held each May in Memphis, Tenn. “Rose and I went to our first Blues Awards show in 2000, and we got hooked. I said to her, ‘We have to do this again,’ and we have, every year since. This year was my thirteenth consecutive year. “I know everybody. I know it sounds like I’m bragging, but I’m not. Blues musicians are so approachable.”

Pete and Mary have not gone unnoticed in the industry. This past October, Pete was invited to be a presenter at the Blues Blast Awards. “So here I am at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago and Buddy Guy won my category. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life.” Mary4Music was also honored last year with a 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award in the Internet category from the Blues Foundation. These international awards are presented to individuals and organizations (non-performers) who have made “significant contributions” in both promoting blues and preserving the music.

Pete “Blewzzman” Lauro, who used to write for BluesWax online and Big City Blues magazine in Detroit, publishes CD review/s each month. By the first read, you can tell this is a man who loves his blues. I’ve been following his reviews for some years now, and my take is, if the Blewzzman tells you to check something out, check it out. You won’t be sorry.

On the subject of CDs, Mary4Music is currently hard at work on putting together a ten-track compilation CD. Sadly, it won’t be for sale. The recording, which is titled Mary4Music Presents Keeping the Blues Alive Vol.1 (with the blessing of the Blues Foundation), is a promo disc for radio deejays, to help get airplay for the groups involved. According to Mary, they hope this is the beginning of a series of recordings. To me it seems this is just one more way that Mary4Music is working to get the music out there.

You may notice when you visit the site, there are two portals, one titled Blues and the other, Indie. “Back when I first started working with Forrest, it was more about indie music,” Mary says. “But as I got into it, I started leaning more toward the blues, so I separated them.” There is clearly more blues-related information, but there’s plenty of indie resources, too.

What I’ll be doing with Mary4Music though is strictly blues. My plan is to continue my blog, DarielB-Flying Under the Radar, which covers mainly roots, R&B, soul and blues. But my interviews with blues artists will be posted at Mary4Music as well. I am so excited to be a part of this. Stay tuned. I’ll be posting my first Mary4Music interview soon!

If you haven’t been to Mary4Music.com already, I hope you’ll visit soon and “like” them on Facebook, too. (And in case you’re wondering why there isn’t a photo of Mary, you’ll have to take that up with Mary herself!)

Advertisements

Webcasts & Music Blogs

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on June 30, 2010

The current LiveFromDarylsHouse.com webcast features Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas with Daryl Hall.

These days I spend a lot of time on the Internet listening to music, researching articles, reading blogs and just having a great time. I thought I’d share some of the music sites I frequent with you.

livefromdarylshouse.com

I’ve got to thank Ray Scott, deejay at 94.9FM The Surf in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. for giving me a heads up about this dynamic monthly webcast. I love it! According to the site’s home page, musician Daryl Hall  came up with an idea to produce a monthly Internet show that featured him, his friends and other players in an intimate setting … his living room. “After being on the road for so many years as part of Hall and Oates, I thought it would be fun to bring the road to my house,” he says.

You should see this house he’s talking about. It’s an 18th century restoration project located about 100 miles north of New York City. Not only is Daryl Hall a singer, songwriter, keyboard player, guitarist and producer, he also preserves and restores historic homes. This one is on the market for a cool $11.9 million.

Live From Daryl’s House first “aired” in 2007. Guests have included Smokey Robinson, Maxi Priest, Robby  Krieger and Ray Manzarek from The Doors, electrofunk duo Chromeo, Mercury Records group Parachute and more. The current installment, which, by the way, is the webcast’s thirty-first show, features Matchbox Twenty vocalist Rob Thomas.

Past shows are archived, and I’ve been savoring them one by one. Scottish singer/songwriter KT Tunstall blew me away … and don’t even get me started on the Smokey Robinson show (You were right, Ray!).

You’re going to love the energy of this show. And check out mealtime! These guys know how to eat!

www.mary4music.com

I first tripped over Mary Roby on MySpace a few years ago and her website has become a regular stop for me. Mary 4 Music is a treasure trove of information. For musicians and industry folks, it’s full of resources and valuable links. For music lovers, Mary 4 Music offers access to hundreds of bands, clubs and festivals for you to discover.

At the home page, you choose which music portal you want to enter, blues or indie. Just click on the link. The site is straightforward and, given the massive amount of information, quite easy to navigate. You can jump quickly between the two portals by clicking the link under the Miscellaneous listing on the lefthand side of the page.

The blues portal is the more comprehensive of the two. It features listings and links for blues bands, other music links, music festivals, radio listings, publications, blues societies, music reviews and more.

Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro reviews tunes for the site, and I find his evaluations to be thoughtful and well worth reading. Peter has also written for BluesWax.com, the free weekly blues music newsletter and Big City Blues magazine. He served as president for the Treasure Coast Blues Alliance in Florida and is a founding member of the South Florida Blues Society.

On the indie side, many of the same links apply: indie bands, indie music links, record labels and musician’s resources such as agents and bookings, CD and DVD services, publishing and distribution.

stereogum.com

Stax Records, now within Concord Music Group, released Stax Number Ones, a compilation of chart-toppers by some of the best known Stax artists in March. It’s featured on the home page of SoulPatrol.com.

StereoGum is another interesting site I’ve found. One of the very first audioblogs, the site has been around since 2002. Creator Scott Lapatine focused on independent and alternatives music, complete with downloads, videos and news (some might say gossip). StereoGum, which was purchased by BUZZMedia in 2007, became known for featuring unknowns who would go on to mainstream success, most notably  N.Y.C.’ s Vampire Weekend. The indie rock band’s recorded-in-the-basement-slash-apartment-in-Brooklyn  album debuted in Jan. 2008 at number 17 on the Billboard 200. The album has since been certified Gold in both the U.S. (sales over 500,000) and U.K. (sales over 100,000).

While rooting around the site last week, I found a story on the News tab about voiceproject.org. This is a nonprofit project that features what they call a “chain of songs,” where each artist  performs a song which is then covered by another artist whose own song is then covered by another. You get the idea.  Anyway, the video is Peter Gabriel discussing In the Neighborhood, which he sings and then Tom Waits covers the same tune.  Very heady. And just one of the things I love about Stereogum.

If you’re not used to listening to alt-rock, Stereogum may be a bit of a stretch for you, so keep your mind open and have fun with it.

soul-patrol.com

If you want to know anything about soul music, soul-patrol.com is the place. According to the site, this is the only one hundred percent African American owner and operated Internet resource of its kind.

On the home page, click on the Soul-Patrol Radio link to listen to the radio programs featuring black music from yesterday and today: classic soul, southern soul, jazz, blues, nu soul, funk, Motown, Stax and black rock. Listen to interviews, commentaries and more.

From the home page you can also catch up on the latest newsletters and watch selected videos.

Click the Radio I-O link on the lefthand side for more music. The R&B Mix link features 80s to present day R&B. The Blues category covers the musical journey that began in the 20s and continues today. A link to Classic Hip Hop covers the genre’s evolution, from its funky roots in the 70s to the gangsta rap of the 90s. Other links include Classic R&B, Today’s R&B and Hip Hop and Nu Soul.

The Soul-Patrol website also includes doo wop, blue-eyed soul and funky soul. It links the past to the present.

The face and voice of Soul-Patrol is Brooklyn-born Bob Davis. He created the site with his brother Mike, and it has surely been a labor of love.

There are many more websites I follow on a regular basis. If you’re into roots music and Americana, visit nodepression.com. One of my faves. This next blog has been dark since April of 2009, but there’s some great songwriting information at measureformeasure.blogs.nytimes.com. Another one worth looking into is ted.com/themes/ live_music.html. Pitchfork.com is great for indie rock news and reviews. I’m a blues lover so livebluesworld.com is a no-brainer for me (full story about this one to follow shortly).

And just for fun, log onto midomi.com whenever you can’t remember the title of a tune. If you can’t remember the title of a tune, Midomi lets you hum or sing a few notes (about ten seconds worth, and depending on your performance, up pops the song title! Way cool. One drawback, you have to allow use of your computer’s camera and  mic, so you may wind up on YouTube somewhere!