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Thanks, Everybody...


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The last issue of “The Writer’s Blog” prompted an outpouring of messages of hope and encouragement for which I am extremely grateful. I had no idea that many people were reading this thing. Thanks, everybody. A lot of folks urged me to take my 15 years’ experience as a city manager and use it to do something else for a living. I think I will.

As noted in the first issue of the blog, nearly two years ago, the blog is describing a journey, hopefully to success as a songwriter. Like all journeys, there are potholes and washed-out bridges and abandoned things along the way. If anything I do works, and other people can imitate it or better it, that’s a good thing. And if what I do doesn’t work, well, remember the old proverb—“Some people’s purpose in life is to serve as an example to others.”

I visited some old friends (about 20 years older, in fact) and got encouragement and ideas from them, too. They’re very religious folks, of “the Lord will provide” variety—and the weird thing is, the Lord does provide in their case. Things just happen around them—precisely what they need (no more, no less), precisely when they need it. They are a walking advertisement for why one should be serious about religion.

They had ideas for jobs, and for gigs, and I’ll follow up. I had no idea (for instance) that some nursing homes were paying musicians to come perform, and that there was a company that arranged those bookings—but one of our local nursing homes uses the service, and I’ll talk to them. Said couple also telephoned the people back in Virginia who run the Museum—because (of course) they know them personally. (And there will be a gig—a paying one. Won’t happen till next summer, and I don’t know if it’ll be solo or with a band, but there will be a gig.)

I sent e-mails to the folks who do the open mike in nearby Bay City, to a music store in Vancouver (WA) looking for live performers, and a Portland (OR) cable-access TV station (ditto). First draft of the poster for the “Saturday Thing” at the Tillamook library is done, too, though I won’t hear from the librarian for a couple of days.

And I went to the bluegrass jam the State Forestry Center’s been putting on monthly as a promotional activity; it was 30 miles away, but it was a chance to play with new people. Two other guitarists and a fiddler, all from the Portland area (and one of them remembered me from the “Moograss” Bluegrass Festival two years ago). We played to a mostly packed house (and the State Forestry folks did notice). State Forestry might want to consider doing this more often.

Haven’t received my copy of the Philippine Christmas album with my song on it yet; I understand it’s being issued on a flash drive rather than CD—the publisher said that’s becoming standard practice in the Far East. Is that the wave of the future? CD technology is 23 years old, after all, and does have space limitations. There are DVDs, true, but they don’t seem to be that durable.

A flash drive would allow one to include video. At that point, the music industry changes a lot. A video track of some sort becomes a must-have, just like drums in country music. (Deejay/veejay Len Amsterdam has been saying this for a long time.) I wonder (former advertising manager) what the packaging would be like. Flash drives are small, way smaller than CDs. You could put the liner notes—and a lot more—on the flash drive itself, digitally. What about bundling the flash drive with a poster? The thing people have complained most about in the shift of recorded music from LPs to CDs is the loss of the album covers, which were often considered works of art. Including a poster could restore that.

Maybe—and I’m dreaming, here, because it’d take money I do not presently have—the next album (not the one that’s partly “in the can,” but the one afterwards, that’d come out in maybe another year) should be issued on a flash drive (and simultaneously on DVD, just in case), with poster. I think I either have the technology to do it (though I don’t know how to use all of it), or know people who do. My record company, Outside Services Ltd., could do it on small enough a scale so it wouldn’t entail a huge investment while we saw whether it worked. It’d be a first—I haven’t seen anybody else doing this. But it’s okay to be first, as long as failure doesn’t cost a lot of money.

Joe

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