Rock Biz

The Indie News Beat for the week of July 18, 2005


July 18, 2005 Edition

* Luther Vandross Obituary

* Entertainer Big Al Downing Passes Away July 4

* Jann Klose Lets Fans Choose Their Favorite Live Digital EP Cover

* Cheryl Bliss Plays It Unsafe with The Sweet Soul Light

* MusicDish Netwok Offers Websites ‘This Week In The Music Biz’

* DBE.Music Calls For Songs

* Natives of the New Dawn – Emergenza 2005 International Finalist

* Indie Acoustic Project Now Accepting Submissions for the Best CDs of 2005 Awards

* Vernon Neilly Grabs Second Consecutive Smooth Jazz Award

* 650AM WSM Radio Annonces The Launch Of "From Tootsie’s To The Ryman"

* NCM East Records Says: "Give The Drummers Some!"

* Music Business Solutions Releases "Sample CD Marketing Plan"

Luther Vandross Obituary

Luther Ronzoni Vandross, the silky-voiced R&B crooner who spun romance into hits like "Here and Now and "Any Love," died on Friday, July 1st, 2005 at John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Edison, NJ. He was 54.

With a smooth yet soulful delivery, the highly admired singer/songwriter/producer has sold in excess of 30 million records worldwide, winning eight Grammy Awards, numerous Soul Train, BET, NAACP Image and American Music Awards.

He ranked as one of the most successful R&B singers of the 1980’s and broke through to even wider commercial success in 1989 with the Best of Luther Vandross, the Best of Love, which included the new song "Here and Now," his first Grammy winning hit which became a signature wedding song.

Born in New York City in 1951, Luther was the youngest of four children. In 1972, a song Vandross wrote, "Everybody Rejoice," was included in the Broadway musical "The Wiz." But his biggest early break came when he landed a job as a backup singer for David Bowie and created vocal arrangements for the hit album Young Americans.

Luther soon became a sought-after backup vocalist and arranger, working for artists from Bette Midler to Barbra Streisand, and he helped pay the bills as one of the most popular jingle singers of the time. His 1981 debut, Never Too Much, reached the top of the R&B charts and sold more than one million copies. Through the 1980’s, he recorded a string of platinum albums, including Forever, For Always, For Love, Busy Body and The Night I Fell in Love. His last album, Dance With My Father received 4 Grammy Awards (including Song of the Year for the title song "Dance With My Father") and has generated worldwide sales exceeding 3 million copies.

Luther was also a prolific writer and producer for such musical icons as Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston and Dionne Warwick thereby fulfilling a lifelong dream. "When history books are written, I’d like it to be said that I am one of the premiere singers of our time," said Vandross in an interview with BET.


Entertainer Big Al Downing Passes Away July 4

Big Al Downing died Monday, July 4, at approximately 6:45 p.m. with his family at his side. The legendary country-soul entertainer, hospitalized last week with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, was 65. He leaves behind his wife of 27 years, Beverly; four step-sons, Michael Melanson of Hyannis, MA; Peter Melanson of Oakam, MA; Steven Melanson of New Hampshire; Jeffrey Melanson of Leicester, MA; five brothers, Donald Downing of Oxonhill, MD; Clay, Marvin and Sylvester Downing of Coffeeville, KS, and James Downing of Sand Springs, OK; five grandchildren, Kara Hazelton; David, Jacki, Lindsey and Alyssa Melanson. He is pre- deceased by six brothers and two sisters.

A member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, Downing began his five-decade career as the keyboard player in Wanda Jackson’s "Let’s Have A Party" band. As a solo performer, he enjoyed success as a songwriter, musician and entertainer. His songs were recorded by Fats Domino, Bobby Blue Bland, Tom Jones and most currently, Webb Wilder. A recipient of Billboard’s New Artist of the Year and Single of the Year in 1979, his lengthy career is a testament to his many talents. In 2003, he released the critically-acclaimed CD, ONE OF A KIND, and was recording tracks for an upcoming project when illness overcame him.


Jann Klose Lets Fans Choose Their Favorite Live Digital EP Cover

"Live At The Bitter End, NYC," Jann Klose’s live Digital EP from his stunning May 12, 2005 show at the legendary Greenwich Village club is now available for just $1.99 at his site ( The Digital EP made its world premiere on Jann’s MySpace page on June 30th, leading up to the EP release party at the same club where itnwas recorded on July 5th.

Taking a cue from major magazines, fans can select between two printable album covers when they purchase the full EP package. Each package also includes an 8 minute video clip from the Bitter End show, wallpaper showpics and song lyrics, as well as the ‘Stormy Monday Blues’ track, which is exclusively available with the full EP. Fans can also purchase three of the individual EP tracks for $0.69 each.

The EP includes brand new Klose songs "Beautiful Dream," and "Doing Time," plus a jammin’ live version of "Walk Through The River," which was originally recorded for Klose’s 2004 studio EP, BLACK BOX, as well as a lucid, call & response rendition of T-Bone Walker’s "Stormy Monday Blues."


Cheryl Bliss Plays It Unsafe with The Sweet Soul Light

Austin-based independent label Grab A Mic Records announced today the June 14th release of "The Sweet Soul Light," the long-awaited new album by Cheryl Bliss. This landmark album, co-produced by world-renowned guitarist and recording artist Phil Keaggy and Cheryl Bliss, is Cheryl’s first release in four years. This album presents a thrilling and eclectic collection of material featuring a richly layered blend of acoustic and electronic instruments by one of indie music’s most refreshing voices.

"This album was an amazing journey," says Cheryl. "I began by recording some tracks with Mark Howard (U2, Tom Waits, Peter Gabriel) and Daryl Johnson (Emmylou Harris, Neville Brothers), and while what we had sounded pretty good, it was missing that magic. So I called on my friend Phil Keaggy, and that’s when everything fell into place."

Cheryl started from scratch, recording all her initial tracks for a new collection of songs in her own studio, playing keyboards, piano, and Wurlitzer, and adding drum programming and vocals. She brought these tracks to Keaggy’s Kegsworth Studio in Nashville.

The remainder of the album was recorded in short spurts over the period of a few months, using the same small group of musicians. It was mixed by John Paterno (Robbie Williams, Badly Drawn Boy, Elvis Costello) and mastered by Richard Dodd (Tom Petty, Sam Phillips, Johnny Cash).


MusicDish Netwok Offers Websites ‘This Week In The Music Biz’

The MusicDish Network, a web content syndicator for music sites and webradio stations, announced the addition of ‘This Week in the Music Biz’ to its music content offerings. ‘This Week in the Music Biz,’ available for free to MusicDish Network sites (, features business stories ranging from developments with the major labels, technology and piracy to career announcements.

Websites can join the MusicDish Network for FREE at

‘This Week in the Music Biz’ is the latest content category offered by the MusicDish Network to music websites, including:

* Artist Express Features: original spotlight/interview articles written by MusicDish authors, featuring multimedia content such as audio, video, & graphics.

* Business/DIY: the best articles from the MusicDish magazine, such as industry news & viewpoints, artist/songwriter career articles and interviews with leaders in the music biz.

* Indie News Beat: a weekly summary of some of the top artist-focused music news


DBE.Music Calls For Songs

dBE.Music Publishing is currently seeking songs with master recordings for placement. At this time there is particular interest in Metal instrumentals and R&B, though all genres are accepted.

dBE.Music Publishing specializes in placement of songs in television programs, commercials and feature films. "Publishing generates income for artists as well as giving them exposure that helps take them to the next level," says dBE’s Director of Music Publishing. Opportunities exist now with major networks including MTV network, TNT, Lifetime and The History Channel. Artists interested in placing their work in sound for picture should email for submission details.

Digital Bear Entertainment is devoted to the mission of Artist Development: finding gifted musical acts and developing them from burgeoning talent to recording artists. Artist Development is about creating relationships with a small number of carefully selected clients, giving each one the full attention and dedication of the DBE staff. An Artist Development deal with DBE offers clients the personal attention of music producer Jordan Tishler, access to his many major label contacts, and studio time in the private DBE studio.


Natives of the New Dawn – Emergenza 2005 International Finalist

Surviving the first three Detroit heats, the Natives of the New Dawn prepared for Emergenza’s U.S. Finals in Boston over this past weekend. After the completion of the bands first 4 dates on this summer’s Van’s Warped Tour, the group gathered up their equipment and caravanned 1500 miles from Kansas City, MO straight through to Boston, MA.

Arriving in Boston early Friday afternoon for Saturday’s competition, the Natives remained optimistic despite their growing odds. Competing against 13 other bands including 12 Boston acts, and the Philadelphia finalist, the New Dawn’s chances of surviving this round were very slim. In fact, an out-of-town band has never come into the finals and come out victorious. However, in typical New Dawn fashion the Natives rose to the occasion and put on a flawless performance that won over the Boston fans, bands, and judges.

As the night came to a close and the judges were announcing the list of prizes, the Natives were voted as the top band by the other bands, and awarded the grand prize of competing against the worlds best in Germany by the panel of industry judges.

Now back home, the Natives are looking forward to the international finals in August. Competing in the international finals are 3 U.S. finalists (one from the Boston finals, Chicago finals, and Atlanta finals), the Canadian finalist, and a handful of European finalists who will be representing countries such as: Italy, England, France, Sweden, Spain, and Germany.


Indie Acoustic Project Now Accepting Submissions for the Best CDs of 2005 Awards

The Indie Acoustic Project is now accepting submissions for our "Best CDs of 2005" Awards. What qualifies: any full-length (25 minutes or longer) CD that: (1) is mostly acoustic, and (2) has been (or will have been) released for sale to the public during 2005 by any entity other than a major US label. Recordings released by a non-major but distributed by a major label qualify for consideration, as do recordings that feature electronic instrumentation in addition to acoustic instrumentation. Fourteen awards will be given‹one per category. The categories are as follows: Acoustic Ensemble, Alternative Rock, Americana, Celtic, Instrumental, Multi-Genre, Rock, Roots, Singer-Songwriter (Male), Female Singer-Songwriter (Female), World Music-Africa, World Music-Europe & Asia, World Music-Latin, and Best Lyrics. Contact and product ordering information for the finalists and winners in each of the award categories (and their respective record companies) will be posted on the IAP website.

Consideration for, and inclusion in the "Best Of" list and awards is a public service of the Indie Acoustic Project, and as such, there is no charge of any kind for any aspect of these awards. All decisions regarding any aspect of the "Best Of" List and Awards will be made solely at the discretion of the Indie Acoustic Project and will be final. Submissions must be postmarked no later than December 31, 2005.


Vernon Neilly Grabs Second Consecutive Smooth Jazz Award

For the second consecutive year Vernon Neilly and his guitar compilation "G-Fire" series project, has captured another "Smoothie" smooth jazz award. "G-Fire II" is the current project playing globally that has captured the hearts of smooth jazz, and jazz fans internationally. Vernon Neilly a world class guitarist himself, first on "G-Fire", and again on "G-Fire II", has assembled some of the top touring and recording guitarist in the world, and the formula has proven to be highly successful for his Boosweet Records label which is distributed by Synergy Distribution.

The current lineup features renown jazz guitarist Mark Whitfield who became popular in the jazz world with his Warner Bros, and Verve Records recordings, he is also the protégé of legendary guitarist George Benson, next Kevin Chokan the musical director of the legendary icon Diana Ross, but who has also recorded and toured with jazz luminaries George Duke, and George Howard. Next is the hot Brazilian guitar wiz Miguel Mega who brings a little edge to the project, and finally the founder of the "G-Fire" series Vernon Neilly, who has worked with legends Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Cuba Gooding Sr., Billy Paul, Teena Marie, George Clinton, just to name a few, and can be seen on the big screen in the feature films "Along Came Polly", and "Starsky and Hutch".

With this combination Neilly has put together a very musically diverse project that flows effortlessly from start to finish, something very rare in today’s music world, and in the genre where things tend to sound very homogenized. "G-Fire II" has received rave reviews from all corners of the globe from magazines, e-zines, radio programmers, and independent journalist alike.


650AM WSM Radio Annonces The Launch Of "From Tootsie’s To The Ryman" In Nashville

650 AM WSM announces the launch of "From Tootsies to the Ryman," a four month long talent search that will culminate during the week of the station’s 80th anniversary with a special celebration show at the Ryman Auditorium.

The premise is simple and harkens back to the days when the stars used to walk down the alley to play at Tootsie’s after performing on the Grand Ole Opry. Hopefuls can send in CDs in an attempt to qualify to perform at one of four qualifying nights at Tootsies Orchid Lounge. A panel of judges will determine which four entrants will be awarded a slot to perform.

Each qualifying performer will play two original songs and then a well-known headliner act will close out the show. The headliner will also serve as a celebrity judge, in addition to three music industry judges. Serving as judges will be Wade Jessen (Country Chart Director, Billboard Magazine), Brian Mansfield (Country Music Writer, USA Today), and David Preston (Director of Writer/Publisher Relations, BMI). A winner will be announced after the headliner performs, and will go on to perform in the "From Tootsies to the Ryman" finals. The finals will be held on September 22nd at the Ford Theater inside the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The grand prize winner of the talent search will be awarded the opening slot for the 650 AM WSM 80th Anniversary Listener Appreciation Concert at the Ryman Auditorium to be held on Saturday, October 8th.


NCM East Records Says: "Give The Drummers Some!"

NCM East Records is pleased to announce the release of two new albums where the drummers take on a welcome and unusually larger role.

On the self-titled debut from Justice on a Budget, drummer Eric Hastings takes over the producer’s chair and deftly combines programmed drums, samples, and loops with his acoustic kit and other live instrumentalists to create a unique mix of live jazz and down-tempo electronica. The album, which hits stores today, has received early praise in the press as "Absolute Genius" (Smother Mag) and "Exceptional!" (The Inside Connection). In addition to performing with Justice on a Budget, Hastings can be seen on the road this summer and fall with the alt-country group North 19.

On the upcoming Rix Glassmeyer release 26,200 miles, Jano Rix adds keyboards and vocals to his signature powerful and funky drumming (and plays them simultaneously in the live show!). Along with multi-instrumentalist Matt Glassmeyer, this powerful duo’s sound, somewhere in the chasm between The Clash and The Band, has been generating some serious buzz in the NYC indie scene. Rix Glassmeyer will be performing some preview shows around New York City in July and August before the album’s September 20th street date. A national tour and press/radio campaign will follow. Jano Rix can be seen on this summer’s U.S. and European tour with blossoming Verve artist, Lizz Wright, and with the Gabe Dixon Band (Warner Brothers).


Music Business Solutions Releases Its Latest Business-building EBook, "Sample CD Marketing Plan"

"Releasing a CD can be a daunting task for any artist," says music biz educator Peter Spellman. "This is why having a CD marketing plan sample can be so helpful. It helps you step back from the numerous details in order to see the overall map and stay on course."

"Sample CD Marketing Plan" walks you through all the essential steps for creating a successful release plan for your CD: product description, primary and secondary markets, competition analysis, image development, pricing, creative alliances, distribution & publicity tactics, online strategies, timeline, and budget. Solid examples illustrate each step along the way. Use it as a reliable model and checklist for releasing your own CD.

Created for the Massachusetts rock band, Failed Silence, this model plan takes the guesswork out of setting up your own CD release and provides a practical touchstone so you can be sure you’re covering all the steps necessary for promoting and marketing your recording.


Provided by the MusicDish Network. Copyright © Tag It 2005 – Republished with Permission