LMC NEWS FLASH
LOUISIANA MUSIC COMMISSION
3330 N. Causeway Blvd. Suite 438
Metairie LA 70002
Ellis L. Marsalis Jr.
Louisiana Music Commission News and Editorials
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Monday February 28
1999 Another Big Year for Louisiana Artists
Louisiana music sells. That's the message that another year of high volume record sales sends the music industry. 1999 marked yet another year in which Louisiana artists sold more than $250 million worth of records. And that's a conservative estimate. Louisiana artists released more than 350 CDs in 1999. The biggest sales came from Britney Spears (now at 11 million and still counting), Cash Money Records (with more than 6 million in sales), No Limit Records, and perennial sellers Tim McGraw, Brooks & Dunn, Harry Connick Jr. and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Many other Louisiana artists racked up modest-but-substantial sales, helping independent Louisiana labels increase their share of the marketplace. 1999 was a very good year for Louisiana music.
Mardi Gras Madness Leads to Festival Overload Season
This past weekend was the most heavily attended first week of Mardi Gras ever. And with good weather predicted, this week, which is highlighted by the massive Endymion and Bacchus parades on Saturday and Sunday, promises to be a record setting Mardi Gras weekend. With Fat Tuesday coming so late this year, the major music festival season is looming. The French Quarter Festival (April 14-16 & 20-22), which many consider to be the state's all around best musical event because it is free, located in the Quarter and along the river, and because it highlights nothing but Louisiana music, in particular traditional jazz, has posted their schedule online. The other big festivals, Baton Rouge's Bonne Fete 301 (March 24-26), the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (April 28-30 & May 4-7), and Lafayette's Festival International (April 26-30) are certain to attract record numbers of people due to the strong economy nationwide. This year looks to be a record breaker if the weather holds. And with south Louisiana in the third year of a drought, rain is unlikely to affect most days.
Cyrus Back On the Air: WTIX 690AM Talk Radio 2 to
Promoting Louisiana Music
LMC Executive Director Bernie Cyrus is back on the air. Adding to his list of radio and television programs, Cyrus has agreed to co-host the popular 2 to 4 PM time slot on talk radio "The Mighty 690" WTIX 690AM. The station, owned by longtime jazz producer George Buck (also owner of GHB Records, the nation's oldest jazz label), has a 10,000 watt signal that reaches into 5 states. The time slot is a prime daytime show that puts Cyrus and co-host Christie Hughes up against Dr. Laura in the New Orleans market. The show has already featured such luminaries as Pete Fountain, Fats Domino and Brian Stoltz. Cyrus will use the radio time to promote new releases, events and music issues as well as other important topics. Recently the show featured the national director of the Hepatitis-C Awareness Network, Andi Thomas, and local singer and Hep-C activist Timothea (see previous story). Anyone wishing to promote upcoming events or CD releases should contact the LMC offices to schedule a time slot for the show.
Caffeine Music Songwriters' Showcase Feb. 24
Caffeine Music will be hosting another Songwriters night at Carrollton Station in New Orleans this Thursday at 9PM featuring Rikki Comeaux, Troy Young and Chris Gray. The series will continue next month with a special Louisiana Songwriters Association showcase. For more information contact Caffeine Music via email.
LMC Chairman Ellis Marsalis will be performing a special concert in Natchitoches to support the establishment of the Ellis Marsalis Jazz Education and Preservation Scholarship. The show takes place Friday, March 31 at 8 PM at the A.A. Fredericks Auditorium. He will also lead a Master Class that is open to all musicians from 10 AM until 11:30 AM, also at the Fredericks Auditorium. For more information, contact the NSU Creative and Performing Arts program at 318-357-4522. The event is sponsored by the Natchitoches Jazz Foundation, PO Box 395 Natchitoches LA 76458.
Chairman Marsalis was also recently featured in a PBS documentary that aired last week and a CNN Worldbeat feature this past weekend.
The latest issue of Zyde.com is online early because Gary says it's so special he had to post it right away. So, check it out.
La. Artists' New Releases Heading into Peak Months
This is the time of the year in which new releases by Louisiana recording artists reach flood levels. Due in large part to the upcoming New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Festivals International in Lafayette, the number of releases is always difficult for us to track since many independent record companies still don't realize we exist. However, we are receiving lots of info and new CDs these days. We strongly encourage all Louisiana artists and labels to add us to their promotional mailings. The LMC not only lists new releases on our site, but we also send out weekly fax press releases on which we list new release info. These faxes go to more than 300 fax destinations in the Louisiana media and the general music industry press. Here's a listing a some of the CDs we received in the past couple of weeks:
Native Sons just released their latest on Latanier Records called "Black Bayou Road." The band, whose first release was well received, is made up of some of Lafayette's most respected musicians, including Mike Hanisee (a founding member of the legendary Red Beans & Rice Review), Danny Kimball, Bruce McDonald, and guests Sonny Landreth, Sam Broussard and many others. For more info, email Mike Hanisee. The new CD is filled with passionate songs that are sure to touch the heart.
The Romeos are back with their first new release in more than a decade. The Alexandria-based band achieved modest success many years ago with a great rock record that many thought would launch them into stardom. Success, however, eluded them so the members went their separate ways. Until now, when a new CD, simply titled "When in Rome" was released. Featuring the songwriting of Jerry Honigman, the CD is a return to the straight-ahead rock sound of the band's former days. For more information contact BooRay Music at 318-442-6300.
The Rhudabegas, a unique band whose songs are mainly performed with just bass and drums (the music is quite strong despite the scarcity of instruments) just released a new CD. Recorded in New Orleans at the Jimmy Ford Clinic, the disc is a big fat rock record that should delight alt-rockers and other lovers of loud rock and roll. Released on Louisiana Red Hot Records, the label can be reached by email or by phone at 504-948-4600.
Lil' Brian and the Zydeco Travelers recently released "Funky Nation." The CD, produced by none other than Buckwheat Zydeco, is available from Tomorrow Recordings of Baton Rouge. Contact Vary Baker at 818-896-5200.
Donna Angelle and the Zydeco Posse recently released a CD titled "Down on the Bayou" on Floyd Soileau's Maison de Soul label. The disc features 12 original tunes that could only be composed in South Louisiana. Contact Floyd's at 800-738-8668 or visit Floyd's website.
David Roe and the Royal Rounders will be holding a CD release party at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe on Decatur Street in New Orleans on Tuesday, March 14 at 8PM to celebrate the release of "Angel of New Orleans." The CD is mostly traditional New Orleans jazz. For more information contact David at 504-566-7247 or via email.
Ellis Marsalis to be Profiled on PBS Thursday
PBS will be airing a show called "Ellis Marsalis: Jazz is Spoken Here" this Thursday at 9 PM Central Standard Time. The one hour special delves deeply into the family life and education environment that keep him a productive and busy man. We're thrilled that the world will now get a chance to learn more about the Marsalis family and the roles Ellis and Dolores have played in not only their offspring's successes, but how they've touched the lives of so many students and friends. Ellis and Dolores will have to watch the show on tape, however, since he will be playing piano at the Governor's Mansion that evening as part of a D Day Museum fundraiser.
Billboard to Spotlight New Orleans
Billboard magazine will feature a special Spotlight on New Orleans section in its April 8 issue. A sales representative from the magazine will be in New Orleans later this week to line up advertisers. The magazine is offering a deeply discounted rate for the Spotlight. The feature article will be authored by Times-Picayune music writer, Keith Spera. For more information contact Phil Hart at Billboard's Nashville offices at 615-321-4297.
Los Hombres Calientes Nominated for Billboard Award
Basin Street Records recording artists Los Hombres Calientes have been nominated for a Billboard Magazine Best Contemporary Latin Jazz Album award. Our congratulations to Mark Samuels of Basin Street and to the band. For the whole story, visit this link.
Jazz at the Sandbar Spring Series Announced
The UNO Jazz Studies Program's Jazz at the Sandbar series recently announced its Spring lineup. All shows take place at the Cove on the UNO Campus on Wednesdays and get underway at 8:00PM.
Rita Peixoto & Carlos Fuchs
Should the state create an Entertainment Cluster office that combines efforts to develop and promote music, film and related entertainment industries such as the graphics arts, television, animation and more? The convergence of the entertainment into the digital millennium is creating many new opportunities and pitfalls. Join discussions about the future of Louisiana's economic development efforts by participating in online forums dealing with the Louisiana 2020 initiative. Topics of discussion included Entertainment, Telecommunications, Business Development and many other aspects of the state's economy. Take part in shaping the future of Louisiana government by visiting the site and joining the discussions.
LMC Site Update: So, what do you think of our new Welcome page? And how about the addition of the New Orleans Jazz Centennial Celebration links or our Calls for Submissions page? We're working to improve our website. Please check it out and let us know if you like the changes.
Ace Records' Johnny Vincent RIP
A legendary record company founder, Johnny Vincent of Ace Records, has died. The Jackson, Mississippi based label was a major avenue for New Orleans music in the late 50s and early 60s when Vincent released a string of 8 records that hit the Billboard charts including hits by Huey "Piano" Smith, Frankie Ford, Earl King and Jimmy Clanton. For more info on Vincent, see this fan's tribute page. Vincent will be buried Tuesday. Funeral Services for Johnny Vincent will be on Tuesday at Wright Ferguson Funeral Home in Madison County, Mississippi with visitation on Monday from 3:00 to 7:00 pm and on Tuesday beginning at Noon with burial at 2:00 pm
BR Company Jumps Into Digital Download in a Big Way
A story in the Business section of yesterday's Baton Rouge newspaper, The Advocate, revealed that a startup there, Audioveda.com, has licensed Lucent Technologies ePac codec and developed a complete solution to secure digital downloads of songs. The company not only had developed software for the end user but also the hardware on which the songs can be played. Partnering with another Baton Rouge company, the high-end audio manufacturer PreSonus, founded by Louisiana's LeRoux guitarist Jim Odom, Audioveda.com plans to be a multibillion dollar company by the end of this year. This is a major development in the effort to create a secure method of selling songs via the web in which users cannot make additional copies but can purchase songs and play them on a proprietary system. The hardware solution, which will be manufactured by PreSonus, will be a player/jukebox on which songs, stored as files, can be stored and played back. Users will also be able to compress songs from their existing CDs to be played on the hardware which will be capable of playing MP3s as well. The Advocate article is very detailed and worth reading. It's also quite a surprise as the story was a well-kept secret until now.
Tribute to the Classical Arts 7th Annual Gala Set
The Big Easy Entertainment Awards (see Gambit Weekly's Features page for the full story) will be staging their annual Tribute to the Classical Arts in New Orleans on Tuesday, February 15 at the La Nouvelle Ballroom of the Monteleone Hotel. The event, now in its 7th year, will present 14 awards for the best achievements of 1999 in Classical Music, Opera and Dance plus honor several people and organizations for special contributions to the arts. For more information contact Gloria Powers at 504-486-5900, ext. 136.
Benefit Sunday for John Sinclair
Poet, musician, social activist, producer, manager, DJ and more, a legend in his own time, John Sinclair is the kind of creative artist who adds value to Louisiana in more ways than statistics can validate. John's house burned recently. Priceless archives went up in smoke, along with his other belongings. The New Orleans music community is rallying to assist John in his moment of need--much like John Lennon did for John in the 1960s--by staging a benefit at the House of Blues on Sunday, February 6. An incredible Who's Who of musicians, including Michelle Shocked, Snooks Eaglin, Eddie Bo (himself a victim of a devastating fire not too long ago), and many more (see the list on the WWOZ home page) will perform at what promises to be an historic show.
The February issue of Zyde.com is now online.
Rolling Stone magazine is getting into the talent discovery biz. Every two weeks the editors will choose the ten most promising tracks submitted (in MP3 format). Check out their website for more info.
Caffeine Music Songwriters Night
Caffeine Music's Songwriters Night has moved to the last Thursday of the month for 2000. The venue, Carrollton Station on Willow Street, remains the same. Tomorrow night's lineup includes Whitney Ann McCray, AJ Loria and Erik Balkey. The evening's music and discussions get underway at 9PM.
For the whole story on the Hackberry Ramblers recent visit to Nashville and donation to the Country Music Hall of Fame, visit this link.
Our condolences to legendary poet/musician John Sinclair who's house burned this past Sunday while he and his wife were out of town. The fire is a blow to John but also to the world as Sinclair had a significant archive and collection of music and memorabilia. A benefit will be held in the near future and we'll keep you posted.
Friday January 21
Low Power Radio Initiative Passes
The FCC approved the Low Power Radio initiative at a meeting this week. The LMC, working with the Low Power Radio Coalition, strongly supported the effort believing that Louisiana artists will benefit from the possibility of increased airplay around the country. The initiative is limited to noncommercial stations most of which will be associated with schools, community groups and other such institutions. (See previous story)
Timothea Launches "Siren to Wail" Hepatitis C Awareness Campaign,
New Mardi Gras Single on MP3 from Upcoming CD
New Orleans blues songstress Timothea got the news from the LSU Medical Center New Orleans Musicians' Clinic. She, along with some 3.9 million in the USA, has hepatitis C, a dangerous liver disease. Rather than falling into a state of depression, Timothea decided to not only fight the disease but to advocate for testing, treatment and better understanding of a quiet plague that currently is killing more people than AIDS in this country. She's done her homework and networked with national efforts as well as local. She recorded a PSA now airing on WWOZ and has established a website and links to more information.
Additionally, Timothea is set to release a new CD, "No Nonsense" on Blue Soul Records on February 14. In advance of the release of the CD, she has posted a hot new song "Hooray for Mardi Gras" on the MP3.com site. Download the tune and get yourself into the Mardi Gras spirit. And while you're at it, check out the information on HepC, it could save your life.
Note that we expect to be announcing a major campaign by the LSU Medical Center Musicians' Clinic regarding HepC in the very near future. Thanks to strong support from a major drug company the testing will be followed by free treatment for qualified patients. We'll have more on this important development later.
Gone But Not Forgotten
Greg Hardison of Satchmo.com has posted Gone But Not Forgotten, a list of Louisiana musicians who died in 1999. It was a very good year for Louisiana music, but an often tragic year for Louisiana musicians and their families. We lost several great ones due to age, but far too many to tragedy. Review the list and remember them for the joy they brought to so many.
Low Power Radio Initiative Needs Assistance
Mike Bracy of the Low Power Radio Coalition (see previous story) is seeking assistance. A ruling on the initiative is expected within the next 90 days and the Coalition is working to stir up voter interest and seeking to get Congressional support. However, the effort is strongly opposed by the National Association of Broadcasters which wields considerable clout in Washington. Interested parties are invited to contact Bracy and join his weekly email list. The LMC supports the FCC's Low Power Radio Initiative because we believe this effort will allow Louisiana artists to reach wider audiences around the country. A series of concert events will take place in March around the country in support of the measure. (Related link: Write a Rep)
The Mo' Music Foundation's Magic Music Bus is online. Steve Novak spent the last 5+ years working on a program to provide transportation to significant music venues around New Orleans and he's now ready to go. Visit the site to learn more and get on the bus!
Lots of great music around New Orleans this week (heck, every week for that matter) with the IAJE conference in town. Check out schedules for Basin Street Records artists including Kermit Ruffins, Jason Marsalis and Los Hombres Caliente. Also, check out the schedule of STR Digital artists which includes Bill Solley & Kim Prevost, Clarence Johnson and the Joe Krown Organ Combo.
Our condolences to the family and friends of Cajun balladeer John DuBois who passed away Saturday. DuBois, who was 74, leaves a great legacy of historic Louisiana music. He will be missed.
KBON Updates Server and Releases New CD
"Louisiana Proud" KBON FM 101.1 in Eunice, the only commercial radio station with a format comprised primarily of Louisiana music is in the process of updating its webcasting capacity. Station owner Paul Marx announced the upgrade today, noting that online demand had consistently reached capacity, denying many would-be listeners their fix of Louisiana music. The upgrade, part of an agreement with Warpradio.com, will allow unlimited hookups. This is a major improvement for the station which was struggling to find a cost effective way to increase capacity to meet growing demand.
Also, KBON is home of the "Louisiana Proud" record label which recently released "Louisiana Legends," a compilation CD featuring Johnnie Allan, Warren Storm, Rod Bernard, Lil' Alfred & Willie Tee. The CD is getting great reviews, even from KBON's radio competitors, and is highly recommended. Look for a new release on the label from Don Fontenot and Les Amis des Louisianne coming soon. For more information, visit KBON on the web or contact Paul Marx at 337-546-0007.
Louisiana Artists Finding Audiences Via Internet
Two Louisiana artists are reaching new audiences via MP3.com. Lake Charles blues singer Melissa Sigler posted her songs on MP3 in October. In a short time, she found her songs among the top downloads. In just two weeks, she was contacted by SkyDisc, a company that produces music for airline passengers, including Delta and United. Melissa's song "Merry Christmas, Baby" was picked for inclusion on a holiday sampler CD of which 150,000 were pressed. Congratulations and what a great Christmas present (we hope she received a licensing fee as is customary in such situations).
Another Louisiana artist, guitarist Victor Sirker, who in the past worked with the Neville Brothers, had one of his tunes chosen as part of the "Top 20 Songs of the Year at MP3.com, A Year in Review." The tune, "Black Coffee" was voted the Number 4 Blues Song of the Year on the site. Victor is from New Orleans and currently resides in Atlanta.
One of the things we like about the MP3.com site is that artists and songs can be searched by state. Thus, if you are a Louisiana artist you will can be found under the Louisiana listings, making joining the MP3.com music community even more worthwhile. We contacted competitor site Liquid Audio suggesting they, too, list artists by state and the response was positive, though we haven't checked to see if they've made the change.
The web is changing the way music is heard, distributed and purchased. We strongly encourage all Louisiana recording artists to stay on top of developments in this area and take immediate steps to join the digital revolution.
The announcement of the Grammy nominees included a few surprises. The list includes Britney Spears, Harry Connick Jr., Nine Inch Nails, the Neville Brothers, Tim McGraw, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Beausoleil, and the Dukes of Dixieland. However, one Louisiana studio boasts having recorded two of the nominees. Dockside Studio in Milton (just south of Lafayette) is one of the finest studios in the country. And BB King has become so enamored with the place that he cut two albums there and plans on recording his next one at Dockside as well. BB's "Blues on the Bayou" is a Grammy nominee. Beausoleil also recorded at Dockside. Studio owners, Steve and Wishy Nails, keep their studio rather low key, even though the list of artists who've recorded there is impressive, including Mark Knopler (of Dire Straights, who also helped them acquire vintage microphones and other key gear), and many other stars. The Nails' pick and choose their projects carefully making the studio a rather exclusive facility. Our congratulations to Dockside.
Lafayette music attorney King Alexander sent us the following: "I am in need of information regarding blues and R&B artists, from anywhere, not just Louisiana, who have succumbed to, or are suffering from, lung cancer and other smoking-related illnesses." King represents Guitar Gable, a Cajun country guitarist who a couple of years ago was a victim of an impostor posing as Gable in North Carolina.
The International Association of Jazz Educators will be meeting in New Orleans next week bringing more than 7000 jazz lovers from around the world to the birthplace of jazz. We'll be attending the event which runs from January 12 - 15, so don't expect to be able to reach Bernie or Steve at the office during the convention. Things will be back to normal on January 18 (after the Martin Luther King Day holiday).
The RIAA reports in its most recent newsletter that the US copyright industries contributed more than $384 billion to the US economy in 1999.
The Louisiana Songwriters Association is holding two seminars in January. On January 23 the Baton Rouge chapter will hold a critique session at Full Armor Recording Studio in Prarieville. Call 225-622-3786, bring a tape of your music--and thick skin!. The event is scheduled to take place every other month. And on January 30 Diana Thornton of the LSA will hold a "Straight talk about getting your CD manufactured" seminar at Crescent Music Services at 1819 Demosthenes in Metairie. Call 504-835-5887 for more information.
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Louisiana Music Commission
3330 N. Causeway Blvd. Suite 438
Metairie LA 70002
Phone: 504-838-5600 Fax: 504-838-5280
©1999, 2000 Louisiana Music
We encourage the dissemination of these news stories. Please credit the Louisiana Music Commission as the source.