Playing in Cincinnati, Filming, and Merching

It seems like this past week has just flown by. There’s been so much going on that it’s going to be difficult condensing this into a single post, but I’ll certainly do my best. Here’s a brief little outline of everything that’s happened in the past week:

I. Road Trippin’ It

II. Playing Shows and Filming in Strange Places

III. Finally Getting Some Merch up on the Interwebs

I’ll pretty much stick to this exact outline for the rest of this post. Just in case you were wondering why I bothered including an outline.

Road Trippin’ It

This past Friday I piled into the Pontiac Vibe with my good friends Joey and Mitchell to head up to Cincinnati for a busy and sleepless weekend. Joey and Mitchell are my roommates, and they also help me with my music a lot. Mitchell engineered, mixed, and mastered my EP, and Joey filmed my Indiegogo video, helped with branding, and has been doing an awesome job as my merch guy at any shows I play. Joey is also cooler than Mitchell. I DIGRESS.

We stayed at Mitchell’s parents’ house in Kentucky, but the next two days were pretty much spent entirely in Cincinnati (yes, I know, there are parts of Cincinnati in Kentucky, but in my mind it’s all Ohio). Friday night consisted mostly of us walking all over Cincinnati and observing the wreckage of Oktoberfest and returning at 2 am.

On Saturday morning I played at Velocity Bike and Bean in Florence, KY to a very whispery crowd after renting a PA system extremely last minute for $15 (thank you Willis Music). Saturday evening saw the three of us in Clifton near the University of Cincinnati playing at the Roh’s Street Café with Zach Zook and Charlie Millikin. Needless to say we were all exhausted, but it was a good time and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience.

A lot more happened in Cincinnati that I won’t worry you about, but I did learn two invaluable pieces of information from this trip. 1). Check to see if the venue you’re playing at is near a big university, and then be sure to check if they have a homecoming or other huge event going on. It will greatly impact your show’s attendance. 2). Don’t walk across the Purple Bridge into Cincinnati at midnight and then get lost in Covington.

Filming with the Cops

On our way back from Clifton on Saturday night, we drove past a warehouse in construction that was just too perfect to pass. We turned around and went back to shoot a quick video. My friend Mitchell dropped us off as Joey and I ran inside to shoot as fast as we could (P.S. It’s going to look really cool when it’s done). We shot the video with no problems, but when we left we just so happened to jokingly give a hitchhiker’s thumb to a car that turned out to be a cop. He was a tad bit curious about what we were doing, but he was a nice guy and didn’t act suspicious of us. After that, we hopped back in the Vibe and went back for some well-needed sleep.

I’ll be sure to post it here when the video is done. There might be more than one video coming soon, so I’ll let you know!

Merchmerchmerch

I know, I know– it’s about dang time. Well it is dang time, and I now have one piece of merchandise up on Society6! It’s a poster designed by my aforementioned friend, Joey Brodnax. Joey is pretty awesome and does some sweet video work as well. Check out his Vimeo channel here. Also, here’s the link to that Society6 page where you can buy the poster.

That’s it for this week. I’ll be sure to keep you guys updated on everything that’s going on. Enjoy the music, and I’ll talk to you again next Wednesday.

Music

This week I’ve been listening to a lot of The Red Headed Indian, my friend Caroline’s music project. Caroline is an extremely talented musician, and I’m so excited that her EP is finally out. She’s one of the hardest working musicians I know, and she puts so much of her heart into her music. For fans of Fleet Foxes, The Lumineers, The Civil Wars, Ray LaMontagne and any kind of amazing folk-soul music. Give her a listen.

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/honey-ep/id916279899

Spotify: The Red Headed Indian – Honey

Noisetrade: http://noisetrade.com/redheadedindianmusic/honey

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Wednesday Weekly Update — August 27, 2014

Greetings, and welcome to this week’s Wednesday Weekly Update. The school year is back in swing, and that means things are busier than ever. So without any further ado, let’s get right to it.

Subheading One: In Which Forrest Moves Back to Nashville and Misses Last Week’s Update

Image © Jim Davenport via Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/52ft5m

Image © Jim Davenport via Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/52ft5m

If you follow this blog religiously like I do, you might have noticed that last week there was, in fact, no Wednesday Weekly Update for August 20th. This is because I was moving back to Nashville, Tennessee, home of trendy coffee shops and McDougal’s Chicken. Ah, McDougal’s. It’s almost exactly like Zaxby’s except less mainstream and more expensive. Still good though.

Anyway, I’m back in Nashville, and it feels good. I missed this great city something fierce.

Music Licensing Deal

Image © Triple Scoop Music

I haven’t been able to devote as much focus as I would like to my own music lately, but I did manage to wrap up a music licensing deal with Triple Scoop Music shortly before hitting the road. Being able to license your music as an independent artist is a great resource, and I’m really grateful that the people at Triple Scoop liked my music enough to contact me.

This was after a couple other music licensing companies had turned my material down, so just remember to keep on keeping on… You never know when a success is just around the corner. It really is important to thrive on rejection, and I’ve been learning that more and more as seemingly failed attempts turn into something good. So there’s some inspiration if you’re feeling discouraged.

EP to Release in Two Weeks

This is it, kiddies. The day we’ve all I’ve been waiting for– the day my album releases on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, and many others. Yes, the rumors are true. There Are No Unsacred Places does indeed release on many popular digital platforms on September 8th, and you can even pre-order it off Amazon now! Also, don’t forget that physical copies are available for order from my Bandcamp profile, which you can find here. I might start putting together other merch as well, so be sure to watch for updates about that!

Well, here we are again– at the end of another Wednesday Weekly Update. I’ll try to keep these shorter now that school has started back. And while I’m sure that I will undoubtedly continue to have new and interesting things to fill you in on, I might take a bit of a break from focusing so much on reporting what I’m up to and focusing instead on offering tips and insight on how to get started as an independent musician.

There really is no better way to learn than to just do it yourself, so I’ve certainly been learning a lot over the past several months that I didn’t necessarily learn from any books. Feel free to respond in the comments about a question you might have or to email me personally at forrest@forrestbrownmusic.net.

Until next week. Happy Wednesday, boys and girls.

P.S. This week I’ve been listening to a band from Athens, Georgia (close to home!) called the Family and Friends Band. Check them out! They’re a refreshing take on folk rock, a genre I feel like can get really tired sounding. For fans of Fleet Foxes, Noah Gundersen, Frightened Rabbit…definitely worth a listen.

Wednesday Weekly Update – August 13, 2014

Good morning, world. This is the Wednesday Weekly Update, coming to you a day late due to busyness and insufficient time. My sincerest apologies to my subscribers who were undoubtedly refreshing their inbox every two seconds all day yesterday. I’m a bad person.

The update is late this week because there was simply a whole lot going on. Kind of a good problem. So without teasing you anymore, let me catch you up on what’s been going on.

There Are No Unsacred Places in Stores

Cupbearer Picture

If you happen to be cruising through the popular tourist destination of Cumming, GA and just happen to stop by The Cupbearer Coffee and Tea Outfitter and His Rock Music, you might be pleasantly surprised to find copies of my compact discs being sold in these fabulous locations. And I say “might” because you really will find them.

The Cupbearer and His Rock have been gracious enough to sell copies of my CD in their stores, and as of this past Monday you can buy them. I think the going rate right now is $6, but if you tell Bob at His Rock that I told you you could have one for free, he will probably question your motives and/or the truthfulness of that statement.

One Chapter Ends, Another Begins

Crimson Moon

Last night I played my last show in Georgia for a while. Truly a bittersweet moment. We laughed, we cried, we danced, but we mostly just drank coffee and ate crab fondue dip from The Crimson Moon Cafe (10/10 would recommend).

But really, it was a very good experience all around. I’ve been playing at the open mic nights the Crimson Moon hosts every Wednesday for a few weeks now, and I’ve met a lot of really great people doing it. Make sure you check out my new friends Jacob Elliott and Xak Hodges, they’re very talented and genuinely nice people. Go like their Facebook pages and subscribe to them on YouTube. It will be well worth your time. I will be back in Georgia over Christmas, and I’m sure I’ll be playing in Dahlonega as often as I can.

Which leads me to divulge some exciting news…I got a gig playing in Cincinnati, Ohio! On September 20th I’ll be playing my music for the lovely people of Cincinnati at the Roh’s Street Café with the talented Mr. Charlie Millikin. This is my first official out of state gig, so if you’re in the Cincinnati area, stop by! Charlie plays at 8:30 and I go on after him. It’s $3 at the door, but I’m thinking about a deal I might offer people who can bring some friends…

Last Day on NoiseTrade

Noisetrade

Last week an artist relations person from NoiseTrade contacted me and wanted to feature my music on “New and Notable” in their bi-weekly newsletter and on NoiseTrade’s homepage. Of course, I jumped on the opportunity, and the next day, there I was. This was a great opportunity for me, and I am so glad and thankful that NoiseTrade liked my music enough to want to feature me.

This lasted for exactly one week, so my last day of being featured was yesterday. You could download my new EP totally for free as long as you provided your email address and zip code. I’d say overall this was a great success. After checking this morning, my final total downloads for the past week was 762. And that’s from literally all over the world. That’s crazy! I had people from all over the country (and even one from Germany) contacting me to tell me they were enjoying the music.

This was a very humbling and kind of surreal experience for me. I’m a guy from a tiny town in North Georgia, so to know that hundreds of people all over the world were downloading my EP and enjoying it really made me happy. And I’m not at all saying that because I was making money off it or anything (I made a grand total of $3.15 in tips haha), but just because it really does make me happy to know that I made someone’s day a little bit better with my music. Awesome.

Well, that’s it for this week’s update. I’m sure there are some things I forgot to include that I’ll kick myself for later, but I try to keep this from getting too long. Until next week, then. And as always, enjoy the music. Happy [belated] Wednesday, guys and girls.

P.S. This past week I’ve been listening to an album called The Great Glass Jar by my new friend from Maine named Arlo Cristofaro. What a cool freaking name! Fantastic album, too, and I really truly am not just saying that. I urge you to listen to it, especially “Dear Sergeant Pepper.” What a beautiful song. I can really relate to it, as it’s one of those kind of nostalgic growing up kind of songs. Really tugs at my heartstrings. Anyway, I’ll stop crying on my keyboard now and give you the links to this great collection of music:

Spotify: Arlo Cristofaro – The Great Glass Jar

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-great-glass-jar/id691469219

Bandcamp: http://audiblearlo.bandcamp.com/album/the-great-glass-jar

What have you been listening to?

Wednesday Weekly Update — August 6, 2014

Good morning, and peteetong. Welcome to this week’s WEDNESDAY WEEKLY UPDATE! Lots of exciting things going on this week, so let’s get right to it.

New Bedroom Session on YouTube

Did I stutter? That’s right, I [finally] uploaded this week’s Bedroom Session video– a live performance of “Cold Descent” off my EP. I say “finally” because it was supposed to be up on Monday…my apologies. This week got a little crazy pretty fast and pretty unexpectedly, so unfortunately the Bedroom Session for this week got moved to the back burner. But hopefully the other cool stuff happening this week will make up for it!

New Shows and New Songs

Image © Konzerthaus via Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/aYnLTn

Image © Konzerthaus via Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/aYnLTn

This past Monday I had the good fortune of venturing to Athens, GA in the ‘Stang with a few great people. We ate copious amounts of fried chicken at Popeye’s then went to Open Mic Night at Hendershot’s Coffee Bar off Prince Avenue where I kicked off the night by playing one song off my EP and a brand new song that I literally finished writing that day. Very nerve-wracking but fun nonetheless. After that we received the tour of all the shadiest bars in Athens from a native Athenian. Truly grand.

I don’t have a name for the song I played at Hendershot’s yet. It still needs a fair amount of tweaking, so it might be a little bit before you people get to hear it. Maybe when it’s ready I’ll post a private link on SoundCloud that you can only find on my blog. But you didn’t hear that from me! I’ll also be playing at The Crimson Moon Cafe in Dahlonega, GA tonight at 7, so if you’re in the area stop by. New songs are in the works, people! I’ve got a fair amount of material that I’m working on now, so hopefully you’ll be hearing new music from me before too long.

There Are No Unsacred Places in a Retail Store Near You!

Image © Forrest Brown

Image © Forrest Brown

Well, actually just a retail store near where I live in Cumming, GA. I’ll be driving down to His Rock Music in Cumming this afternoon to hand deliver some copies of my EP to the venerable Bob Johnson, who has graciously agreed to sell my music in his store. This is the first time my music will ever be sold in a record store, so I’m pretty excited! Be sure to grab your copy before they’re gone!

NoiseTrade

Insertalbumhere

This is probably the most exciting bit of news that I have for everyone (or at least for myself), so I saved it for last! On Monday I uploaded my album to NoiseTrade in the hopes of people sharing my music, and on Tuesday morning I got an email from NoiseTrade saying they want to feature me on “New and Notable” this Thursday! So if you’re subscribed to NoiseTrade’s bi-weekly newsletter, look for my album in the “New and Notable” section of the email. I will also be featured on their homepage for a solid week, so tell your friends! Any download from NoiseTrade is free, but tips are appreciated!

I think that’s about it for this week. There’s a lot going on, and I’m pretty excited about it. Until next week, happy Wednesday, guys and girls.

P.S. This past week I’ve been listening to a band from Nashville called Khamsin. My friend Jacob is their guitarist and singer, so you should definitely check them out. Really awesome music for fans of American Football, Sunny Day Real Estate, This Town Needs Guns, Explosions in the Sky, etc. You can buy their debut EP on BandCamp here or stream it on Spotify here. What have you been listening to?

Wednesday Weekly Update — July 30, 2014

Peteetong, folks. And welcome to this week’s Wednesday Weekly Update.

This week I thought I would talk a little about something that seems to really confuse and terrify a lot of guitarists– open and altered tunings. Specifically composing in these befuddling, repugnant, odious (thesauruses are fun!) tunings. But don’t worry, hopefully by the end of this WWU you will be less terrified understand open and altered tunings! Let’s dig right in.

Open vs. Altered Tunings: A History

Image © Danny Sullivan via Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/H93HG

Image © Danny Sullivan via Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/H93HG

Maybe not a history, but a brief explanation. Question: is there a difference between open tunings and altered tunings? Answer: yes. To put it simply, when you tune a guitar to an open tuning, you will be voicing a chord any time you strum all of the strings open. Hence, open tuning.

Altered tunings are pretty much exactly what they sound like– a tuning you’ve changed slightly. You might do this for a number of reasons, but I usually use altered tunings when an open tuning doesn’t work out for the direction the song I’m writing is taking.

Open tunings come in a variety, but some you are probably already familiar with include open G tuning (DGDGBD) for you blues players and open D tuning (DADF#AD) for fans of Mumford and Sons. Probably the most famous altered tuning today thanks largely in part to many punk/emo/metal bands (even though it started as a blues tuning) is drop D  tuning (DADGBE).

Who Uses Stupid Open/Altered Tunings Anyway?

Image © Christopher Michel via Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/fn9wFU

Image © Christopher Michel via Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/fn9wFU

Well, I already mentioned a few people, but you might be surprised by how many guitarists use open or altered tunings to spice up their music a little. Of course we do have a few very well known people who use different tunings such as Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin, Marcus Mumford from Mumford and Sons, and Justin Vernon from Bon Iver, but the truth is that a lot of guitarists use open and altered tunings.

Any kind of “dropped tuning” is very common among metal guitarists, and a lot of emo/punk/grunge guitarists like drop D, half step down, or whole step down tuning. Kurt Cobain liked to tune his guitar to drop D and then down a half step on songs like “Heart Shaped Box”. Different tunings are also used by a lot of folk artists such as The Tallest Man on Earth, Joan Baez, Jose Gonzalez, and Iron & Wine, to name a few. Of course, bands like This Town Needs Guns, American Football, and Little Tybee are also known for using open tunings. In fact, it’s pretty safe to say that open and altered tunings are used by guitarists playing just about every genre of music. I am quite fond of open and altered tunings as well.

So What’s the “Big Secret?”

Image © Nesster via Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/9xY4QL

Image © Nesster via Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/9xY4QL

Well, this might be really frustrating to hear, but there really isn’t any “big secret” to composing in open or altered tunings. But hear me out before you try to find my address and go to my house to kill me– I’m not the only person who says this.

I’ve had several people ask me how to compose in open and altered tunings, and I always tell them, “I just play whatever sounds good and go from there.” It might sound far too simple, but, alas, it is true. Different people use different tunings for different reasons. I use different tunings to force me to be creative.

I get stuck in songwriting ruts so easily in standard tuning that sometimes I need to be put in uncomfortable playing situations so that I have to be creative. For me, that looks like open and altered tunings. I don’t really know any scales or chord shapes in any of these tunings with the exception of a few, so this helps me to think outside the box when I’m writing music. To better understand this, check it out this interview with Mike Dawes in which he explains his process for alternate tunings.

If you still have questions about alternate tunings (as I’m sure you do) check out this video in which Don Ross explains different tunings in more detail.

That’s all for this week, kiddos. Happy Wednesday, guys and girls.

P.S. This week I’ve been listening to Jack White’s new album a lot. Specifically I really like his songs “Lazaretto” and “That Black Bat Licorice.” Give them a listen. Also, my younger brother also recently released a short EP of instrumental music. Check it out on Bandcamp here, and consider buying it for just $1! What have you been listening to?