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  • Category: Book Progress  (10)
    • Nashville and NMSG News: Friday, August 26, 2011 

      August 26, 2011, 08:40

      With my new book “The Nashville Musician's Survival Guide” finally being out into the world, I'm starting to get my life back again. And going out on the town to network and check out the scene a little more often has now become a little more…

    • New England Here We Come! Eric and Kelly's Vacation Turned Book Tour 

      July 11, 2011, 09:11

      I can't tell you how excited we are to be finally about to embark on our first trip to our native homeland of New England in seven years. I'm sorry we haven't gotten back sooner, it's not because we haven't wanted to, it just seems that whenever…

    • Coming Gigs and Events 

      June 8, 2011, 10:10

      As some of you might know, there's a lot going on in Nashville this week. It's that time of year again where 250,000 country music fans converge on the city for “CMA Music Fest Week” (formally known as Fanfare). Tourists, country music fans, and…

    • The Nashville Musician's Survival Guide eBook, and eBooks in General 

      May 5, 2011, 10:47

      Today marks another milestone in my self-publishing book adventure, that being the arrival of “The Nashville Musician's Survival Guide” epub and Kindle versions. I am pleased to announce that these digital formats are now available for purchase…

    • Book Release Party for "The Nashville Musician's Survival Guide"  

      April 30, 2011, 10:14

      Come out tonight for the official book release party for "The Nashville Musician's Survival Guide" at The Fillin' Station in Kingston Springs, TN (7 - 11). Many of the contributors to the project will be in attendance and the first three people to…

    • “The Nashville Musician's Survival Guide” Is Here! 

      April 18, 2011, 10:28

      That's right everybody, the book really is finally done and now available to all who have been patiently awaiting its arrival. Orders for the print version will be processed and shipped this week, the e-book and Kindle version will be ready and…

    • Every Day Gets Me a Little Bit Closer 

      March 29, 2011, 09:22

      It amazes me how every day is so packed full of tasks. As soon as I'm finished with breakfast, I excitedly walk up to my office, sit down at my computer, and dig in to this book project that has all but consumed my life for the past two years. I'm…

    • Nashville Musician's Survival Guide Preview And Release 

      March 11, 2011, 16:50

      April 18, 2011 - A Date That Will Live in Infamy! (Sorry, I couldn't resist). Monday, April 18 is our new, official release date for this long overdue book about the Nashville music biz’.  When I first embarked on this project, some two years…

    • New Features on the Nashville Musician's Survival Guide Website 

      March 4, 2011, 11:13

      As I'm now nearing the end of this book writing project, I'm realizing that I have neglected the Survival Guide site a bit. While I have managed to put up a new blog at least once a week for the past year, it's been quite some time since I've added…

    • Nashville Musician's Survival Guide News - Tuesday, January 4, 2011  

      January 4, 2011, 13:49

      Hey everybody, welcome to 2011! For all of you that have been following the progress on my book project, here's a little update: We have now achieved an interior design! After a couple months of hard work and a steep learning curve, Kelly has…

  • Category: Clarksdale Mississippi  (5)
    • Clarksdale, Mississippi - Exodus and Photo Journal 

      October 4, 2010, 13:30

      While we awoke Sunday morning in high spirits, we were sad to see this trip drawing to a close. What was originally planned as a simple three-day getaway wound up being a prolific, life-changing experience. We thanked Marc for her hospitality and…

    • Clarksdale, Mississippi - Verse Three and Outro 

      October 1, 2010, 12:15

      Saturday Morning at the Shack Up Inn We woke up kind of late on Saturday morning, a light rain falling on this grey but warm September day. Although we had initially planned to check out and head to Memphis around noon, we felt like our journey…

    • Clarksdale, Mississippi - Verse Two and Chorus 

      September 29, 2010, 15:59

      Friday Morning at the Shack Up Inn Friday morning came a little too early when we were awoken by some sort of tweety bird chirping right outside our bedroom window around 7 AM. With the help of some earplugs, we were able to fall back asleep for…

    • Clarksdale, Mississippi – Intro and Verse One 

      September 28, 2010, 13:09

      The Drive It was noon on Thursday, September 23 when we left our Pegram, TN home bound for Clarksdale, Mississippi. Our route took us west on Interstate 40 for about 200 miles to Memphis, and while this stretch of I-40 is typically a rather…

    • Clarksdale, Mississippi - Planning our Pilgrimage 

      September 27, 2010, 13:52

      Last weekend my wife and I embarked on what turned out to be the most exciting vacation we've ever taken. Our three days and nights in historic Clarksdale, Mississippi, birthplace of many of America's greatest blues artists, was as much an education…

  • Category: Gigging in Nashville  (10)
    • Mike Chapman 

      June 15, 2016, 14:06

      Back in 2009, I began putting together a list of people to interview for my book, The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide, and my friend, Mike was at the top of this list. Those of you who knew Mike know that he was a very caring, giving, and…

    • The Gig I Thought Would Never End 

      January 9, 2012, 11:58

      Have you ever played a gig that seemed to go on forever? I'm not talking about your typical three to four hour bar band performance that occasionally might drag a little in the middle, or some uninspired club gig full of “T n’ A” (tables and…

    • My Band Is like Ice Cream - The Perks of Living Nashville 

      February 11, 2011, 10:30

      Last Saturday saw another outing of my new trio when we played to another standing room only, sold-out show at the Fillin’ Station in Kingston Springs, TN and boy was it fun! Okay, maybe it wasn't standing room only, but I always wanted to say…

    • Pick a Night, Book a Gig, and Go Make Some Music With Your Buddies 

      January 18, 2011, 15:36

      The ever churning music scene of Nashville can be kind of quirky. Even though it has downsized a bit since its heyday of the booming 90s, it's still a constant flurry of activity, with thousands of musicians of all levels and backgrounds continually…

    • Saturday Nights at the Fiddle and Steel and Fun Times with Frank Taylor 

      December 15, 2010, 12:55

      Ask any musician or songwriter that's been in Nashville for a while if they've ever heard of, or been to the Fiddle and Steel and most will say yes, for sure. The Fiddle and Steel Guitar Bar, aptly dubbed “The Steel”, is located in historic…

    • Gigging with Ronnie Pittman, and no “Dubadibby Dabaduboo” 

      November 30, 2010, 12:35

      It was sometime in the fall of 2002 and my wife, Kelly and I were attending our weekly Tuesday night outing at the Fiddle and Steel. Already having sat-in earlier in the night, we were getting ready to leave as it was getting kind of late, when…

    • Live at Libby's: Country Music Basic Training: Part 2 

      November 24, 2010, 13:41

      It was the fall of 2002, I’d been in Nashville for a few months, and had just landed a weekend house gig at Libby’s Steakhouse in Kentucky, a great country music venue in which I could hone my chops. I was spending most of my days…

    • Live at Libby's; Country Music Basic Training 

      November 19, 2010, 10:45

      As my first summer in Nashville was drawing to a close, I was basically jobless, running out of savings, and fast realizing that I had a long way to go to become proficient at playing country music, a style that was quite new to me. For many…

    • Train Wreck at Tootsies and a New Beginning 

      November 16, 2010, 11:45

      During the summer of 2002 I was aggressively exploring the live music scene of Nashville. Upon the recommendation of my friend, D, I was regularly making the rounds at clubs on Broadway, Printers Alley, and other spots around the city to better…

    • Freddie the Bluesman and My First Gigs in Nashville 

      November 9, 2010, 12:58

      The names of some of the musicians in this story have been changed to protect the innocent guilty. I first arrived to my new home in Gallatin, TN, some 30 miles north of Nashville on a warm summer night in June of 2002. My family and I had just…

  • Category: Inpirational  (4)
    • Mike Chapman 

      June 15, 2016, 14:06

      Back in 2009, I began putting together a list of people to interview for my book, The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide, and my friend, Mike was at the top of this list. Those of you who knew Mike know that he was a very caring, giving, and…

    • Two Years of Yoga - Part 1: the Physical Journey 

      December 12, 2015, 12:05

      This past Thanksgiving marks the second year anniversary of my yoga journey. It's been an exciting year, lots of milestones and lots to be thankful for. At the one year mark, I decided to write a blog about my first year of yoga, so now that another…

    • A Year of Yoga - How I Self Healed Injuries Using the World's Oldest Healthcare System 

      November 29, 2014, 12:34

      Namaste, friends and fellow Yogi's! If you're not a regular yoga practitioner, you're probably not familiar with this greeting, don't worry, until recently, I wasn't either. Almost exactly one year ago from the time of this writing I embarked on my…

    • Meeting a Sandcastle at High Tide  

      November 29, 2011, 10:54

      It was a warm summer afternoon in a small town in southern New Hampshire, back in the summer of ’79, and it had finally arrived. Summer vacation had just begun, and for this group of friends gathered around the family pool, the air was ripe with…

  • Category: Life and Life's Problems  (19)
    • Our New England Reconnection 

      August 9, 2011, 07:49

      It's now Saturday morning and we’re in Waukegan, Illinois, just north of Chicago, and back on the Rhett Akins tour.  It's early, I'm the only one up, and the view out the bus window is not unlike many I've seen before - a hotel, a highway, and…

    • Nashville Climate For Northerners; A Reversal of Seasons 

      November 3, 2010, 10:30

      After spending my first 35 years living in New England, getting used to the humid subtropical climate of Nashville took some effort. Compared to middle Tennessee, spring through fall in the Northeast is quite mild, while the dreaded winter months…

    • Losing Your Hair? Balding in the Middle? Learn How to Just Let It Go! 

      October 21, 2010, 15:20

      In this day and age, looking the part is often just as important as playing the parts for many professional musicians. This is equally important for those who have not yet achieved a career in music, but are working towards one. While being…

    • Coming Up 

      May 23, 2010, 23:24

      With each day bringing horrific new insight and ever more uncertainty regarding the oil spill in the Gulf, it's now more important than ever to become educated and aware about the world we live in. With that in mind, my wife Kelly and I have…

    • A Big Week 

      May 22, 2010, 16:36

      It's been a busy week, and there have been many new developments I would like to share. On Monday, MSNBC posted an article I wrote about the flood on one of their websites, The Maddow Blog. My new contact at that website is urging me to continue…

    • My Flood Report made the MSNBC Website 

      May 18, 2010, 16:57

      For everyone that lived through the Tennessee flood of 2010, the flood is still here. While the water has receded from most areas, in general, the state is still a mess. Every day I continue to hear new stories about people and families affected…

    • Getting Back to Normal 

      May 12, 2010, 20:50

      If you've been following my blog over the past week and a half, I'm sure you're aware of what's happened here in Tennessee. While I consider myself extremely lucky to not have lost anything in this flood, the experience of it all has, nevertheless…

    • We are Tennessee; Surviving the Flood of 2010 

      May 11, 2010, 17:23

      The news of this disaster is getting out there. Volunteers are arriving from all over the country to help rebuild our communities, and we are truly grateful for this outpouring of goodwill. To help rally more support for the relief effort, I have…

    • A Sad Day at the Park 

      May 10, 2010, 18:24

      Yesterday, my wife and I took a drive to Percy Warner Park, one of our favorite spots in middle Tennessee. The Warner Parks are over 3000 acres of exceptionally maintained nature reserves, with a nature center, miles of hiking trails, playgrounds,…

    • Only Time Will Tell 

      May 9, 2010, 15:56

      It's now Sunday, eight days into this new world of a waterlogged state of Tennessee. And although the Gulf oil spill is still the lead story in the national media, about to decimate ecosystems and local fishing industries across the Gulf, I just…

    • A New Kind of Normalcy 

      May 8, 2010, 17:21

      It's now Saturday, May 8th, one week into this life changing event, and I find myself feeling still off balance, having difficulty focusing on some of life’s normal routines. The images of an ocean of brown murky water coming within a half-mile…

    • What a Rainstorm Can Do 

      May 6, 2010, 18:02

      Wednesday, May 5th, marks day five of the Tennessee flood of 2010, and the story continues to unfold, with each new day giving larger perspective to the magnitude of this situation. This was the first day we had a chance to go out and see some of…

    • The Quiet Katrina; Four Months of Rain in a Day 

      May 6, 2010, 13:58

      It's now Tuesday morning, May 4th, and the local news is announcing that while the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville has crested with the waters now receding, Ashland city and Clarksville are still at flood stage. Several city blocks in…

    • The Great Tennessee Flood of 2010 

      May 5, 2010, 23:27

      It's now early Monday morning, day three of this epic event, and I awoke to a dark house, as we were still without power. Living in this world of constant connectivity and electric powered amenities allows for a lifestyle that we take for…

    • flood blogging 

      May 5, 2010, 22:37

      In light of the recent flood disaster that has decimated middle Tennessee, I feel compelled to put my music industry blogging on hold temporarily as I feel this developing story is much more pertinent. As some of you may have read in my last two…

    • Marooned on Pegram Island 

      May 5, 2010, 13:13

      It was just after noon on Sunday, May 1st, and the electricity was still down when we turned on our battery-powered weather radio. Now day two of the heaviest rainstorm we had ever seen, me, my wife Kelly, and our son Josh sat around the living…

    • It Looks like We Might Have Dodged a Bullet on This One 

      May 4, 2010, 18:14

      Saturday morning began for me at 5:30 AM, when I was suddenly awoken by the sound of a loud crack of thunder. By the time I dragged myself out of bed a short while later, a heavy downpour was underway, and our fair state of Tennessee was…

    • Are Common Courtesy And Intelligence Victims of the Digital Age? 

      April 22, 2010, 17:40

      Over the past 20 years or so, there have been many powerful innovations in the world of communications, and I often wonder if these changes have hindered society as much as they have helped it. The Internet, e-mail, cell phones, Facebook,…

    • The Pitfalls of Texting 

      April 13, 2010, 15:48

      Yesterday I learned a valuable lesson. If you have something to say to someone important in your life, perhaps texting isn't the best way to do it. I just learned this the hard way. I made the mistake of complaining to my boss about an issue that…

  • Category: Mike Chapman  (2)
    • “Music is like ice cream!” – Remembering Mike Chapman 

      June 22, 2016, 07:06

      To say that last week was heavy is probably the biggest understatement of all time. Last week was one of the most emotional times I can remember in my adult life, I can't even remember the last time I cried so much. When I first heard the news of…

    • Mike Chapman 

      June 15, 2016, 14:06

      Back in 2009, I began putting together a list of people to interview for my book, The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide, and my friend, Mike was at the top of this list. Those of you who knew Mike know that he was a very caring, giving, and…

  • Category: Music  (23)
    • Mike Chapman 

      June 15, 2016, 14:06

      Back in 2009, I began putting together a list of people to interview for my book, The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide, and my friend, Mike was at the top of this list. Those of you who knew Mike know that he was a very caring, giving, and…

    • Zoro Speaks Words of Inspiration at the Nashville Berklee Jam 

      December 16, 2014, 08:10

      During the last Nashville Berklee Jam to be held at The Rutledge, which sadly closed its doors shortly thereafter, international rock star, author, and motivational speaker, Zoro addressed a room full of hungry musicians with a heartfelt, life-changi…

    • The Peach Pickers Rock The 2014 Luke Bryan Farm Tour - Slideshow 

      October 22, 2014, 08:15

      No description found for this item.

    • The Peach Pickers Rock The 2014 Luke Bryan Farm Tour 

      October 22, 2014, 08:09

      By Eric Normand Sunny days, dusty hayfields, huge crowds, great music, great people, light beer, diesel fumes, gator balls - these were the sights, sounds and aromas of the 2014 Luke Bryan Farm Tour. I can't believe it's over, it seems like I…

    • Music and Art; to Pursue, or Not to Pursue? 

      January 15, 2014, 10:27

      By Eric Normand I recently read an article on Huffington Post, “Art and Music Are Professions Worth Fighting for, and while I agree with some points of this article I think the author does a major disservice in presenting the pursuit of music…

    • Stevie Ray Vaughan keyboardist, Reese Wynans talks at Nashville Berklee Jam 

      April 19, 2012, 09:55

      Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my dad playing records and, dare I say, reel to reel tapes of the music of Paul Butterfield, John Lee Hooker, Santana, and Derek and the Dominoes. I guess this music made an impression, because by my…

    • Eric Normand and Friends Reunion Show: Wally's Pub, August 3rd, 2011 

      August 10, 2011, 10:52

      When we first began planning our New England visit, sometime late last year, I had the idea to put together a special reunion show, one at which we could reconnect with our dearest friends and musician buddies from days gone past. My initial thought…

    • When in Doubt, Lay Out 

      May 4, 2011, 10:05

      Have you ever found yourself in a situation which required you to play a song you did not know? Perhaps you've had to play unfamiliar material while sitting in at a blues jam or open mic. Or maybe when an audience member shouts out a request and…

    • Top 25 Greatest Rock Albums of All-Time 

      December 2, 2010, 11:59

      Just for fun, I thought I would make a list of what I consider the top 25 greatest rock albums of all time. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, this music was the backdrop of my life, and I listened to most of it on vinyl, the medium in which I still…

    • Endless Boogie Rocks the Fillin’ Station – A Little Music for the Soul (Part Two) 

      October 18, 2010, 15:45

      Saturday night was the first outing for my new band ‘Endless Boogie’, and fun was had by all who ventured out to party with us at the Fillin' Station in Kingston Springs, TN. The club, owned by Patrick Weickenand, was the perfect setting for my…

    • Eric Normand and Endless Boogie - A Little Music for the Soul  

      October 14, 2010, 10:55

      As a professional freelance musician working and living in Nashville, much of the work I perform is for other people's entities, as is true for many hired guns. I'm not complaining mind you, this is how the bills get paid. My regular gig as tour…

    • Having Fun with Music; It's All in Your Head 

      August 19, 2010, 11:47

      Some people play music for the sheer joy of it, others do it for the money, and many fall somewhere in between. But regardless of music being a career or a hobby, the level of personal enjoyment and satisfaction achieved is largely up to the…

    • For the Love of Vinyl - the Sounds of Inspiration 

      August 13, 2010, 16:57

      Where do you get your inspiration from? As a lifelong musician, I've now been playing music since the age of eight, about 34 years. But I've been listening to music even longer. As a young child, some of my earliest memories are of my dad playing…

    • How to Be Complementary without Complimenting 

      July 14, 2010, 14:53

      Most musicians, at one point or another, have, or probably will play a gig where one of the other musicians plays poorly or with bad taste resulting in a “painful” musical experience for some. But an even more awkward situation comes at the end…

    • The Dumbing Down of Music: Or, True Music for Life, and Life with True Music 

      July 4, 2010, 19:25

      Computer-based recording might possibly be the savior and destruction of music as a true art form. With computer based recording technology so affordable, it is now possible for anyone that wants to record music to do so. The plus side of this is…

    • The Nashville Musicians Survival Guide Update 

      June 11, 2010, 23:26

      I am now about fourteen months into this project and am happy to say that there is an end in sight. As I have about 95% of the writing finished, I decided it was time to turn it into an unformatted hard copy so I could give it a read thru and…

    • What is a Musician? 

      June 10, 2010, 20:12

      What is a musician? A musician is one who makes music. I believe that if you can make music on any level, by any means, then you are a musician. While there are varying levels of musicianship and musical expression that one can possess, a…

    • Avoiding Scams 

      June 8, 2010, 20:08

      Nashville is overflowing with musicians, songwriters, artists, producers, and just about every type of aspiring music entrepreneur imaginable. Unfortunately, this massive talent pool also attracts a fair share of scammers and fakes, many who…

    • After You've Played a Song Once, It Is Forever a Cover 

      April 28, 2010, 17:12

      What is the real difference between a cover song and an original song?  For in reality, after a song is beyond the compositional stage of its life, it is forever “covered”, even by the artist or band that wrote it. I have been in cover bands…

    • The Power of the Jam 

      April 27, 2010, 14:55

      Over the years I have heard and engaged in many discussions about the validity of open mics and blues jams. Some argue that they only exist for club owners to have free entertainment and that skilled players shouldn’t play for free, others…

    • Have You Already Made it, but Just Don't Know it yet? 

      April 17, 2010, 14:53

      Success is all about expectations, and everyone has their own definition of success. But is it possible that many people have currently, or previously achieved a major success in their life, but simply fail to recognize that success because it…

    • Life is Expensive, a Walk in the Park is Free 

      April 16, 2010, 16:56

      This week, like most, has been a busy week so far, and my wife and I have logged some serious hours in our home offices. As we own our own businesses, our days are filled with constant activity; from website projects to advancing tour dates to…

    • Does Everybody Want to Be a Rock Star ? 

      April 15, 2010, 14:33

      What a funny world we live in. My wife and I went to our bank yesterday to open a new account for our website design business. During the 45 minute meeting with the branch assistant, the conversation steered towards the music business, at which time…

  • Category: music business  (28)
    • Mike Chapman 

      June 15, 2016, 14:06

      Back in 2009, I began putting together a list of people to interview for my book, The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide, and my friend, Mike was at the top of this list. Those of you who knew Mike know that he was a very caring, giving, and…

    • Kate Taylor on Music for TV and Film at the Nashville Berklee Jam 

      November 6, 2014, 07:13

      By Eric Normand At the August Nashville Berklee Jam we were fortunate to have an expert in the field of music for television and film - songwriter and CEO of Song Placement International, Kate Taylor. A native of Michigan, Kate has been in…

    • "New to Nashville" Berklee Alumni Reception 

      November 14, 2011, 10:33

      Berklee is alive and well in Nashville! On Monday, November 7 we had our first “New to Nashville” Berklee alumni reception at the NSAI studio on Music Row, and the event was a huge success. Upon the suggestion of Berklee Alumni Affairs Officer,…

    • Music Careers in Nashville - To Be or Not to Be 

      May 10, 2011, 10:38

      So far, the feedback I have received on my book has been very positive, and I'm thrilled about that. Several people who purchased the book have e-mailed me and share their thoughts; I've even had some European interest. However, a Craigslist…

    • Why a Berklee Education Is a Good Thing, and Why Bragging About It Can Be a Bad Thing 

      March 17, 2011, 13:25

      If I think back to when I first got out of the Berklee College of Music, back in 1989, I remember feeling excited about all I had learned. My head still spinning from the intense and rapid absorption of so much musical information, I also felt a…

    • Auditioning for the Big Shots: What Have Been Your Experiences Auditioning in Front of Music Reps or Performing in Showcases? 

      October 26, 2010, 15:32

      This is another question I was asked in an interview by Wendy Willis for her upcoming book ‘Making It In Nashville‘. The question made me think of a few different scenarios regarding how auditions are conducted in the Nashville music industry.…

    • How Musicians and Entertainers Can Benefit from Being Physically Fit 

      October 7, 2010, 09:33

      Becoming a successful musician or an entertainer in the 21st century is a tough endeavor. It's probably as difficult as becoming a successful actor in Hollywood. In this field of extreme competitors, you need to have every advantage you possibly…

    • Leaving Things Behind - What or who did you have to leave in order to chase your Nashville dreams? 

      September 23, 2010, 09:29

      The other day I was answering a questionaire for author, Wendy Willis' upcoming book 'Making It In Nashville' when one of the questions created a moment of pause - "What or who did you have to leave in order to chase your Nashville dreams?" The…

    • Playing for free or getting paid to play; What is playing music worth to you? 

      September 17, 2010, 14:03

      Anyone who has ever gigged in Nashville knows that it is hard to make any real money by playing in the clubs around town. Aside from a very small handful of gigs that might pay -0 per player, most offer minimal to no pay - some offering a base…

    • My interview with the record company dude 

      September 14, 2010, 17:52

      Last week I posted a blog in which I asked you (the reader) what questions you would ask somebody from a record label if you had access. That blog prompted some pretty interesting questions, and when I conducted my interview today with EJ Bernas,…

    • If you had an hour with someone who works at a major record label what would you ask them? 

      September 9, 2010, 12:10

      Next week I’m conducting one more interview for my book project ‘The Nashville Musician's Survival Guide’. Upon a recent review of the book’s manuscript I realized I haven't thoroughly addressed the role that record labels play in the…

    • What Would You like to Know about Nashville? Part Two: Your Questions and My Answers 

      September 2, 2010, 12:22

      In my blog yesterday I asked for your questions about Nashville, and received several good ones in the comments section and on my Facebook page. So I decided to put them all together with my answers in today's blog. Here's what I know about what…

    • What Would You like to Know about Nashville? 

      September 1, 2010, 11:50

      Nashville is a destination for people from all over the world, and those considering relocation to Music City often post questions on the Nashville craigslist and other message boards about what it's like to live and work here. While my website and…

    • What Does It Take to Be a Good Tour Bus Driver? 

      August 31, 2010, 15:47

      It's about 1:00 AM and were traveling east on Interstate 40 on our leased Prevost XLII tour bus, just a little bit east of Knoxville, Tennessee on our way to Manteo, North Carolina. I'm getting kind of sleepy so I say goodnight to our bus driver,…

    • DIY Publicity Campaigns; Why You Need to Do Them, and How to Get Started 

      August 17, 2010, 11:03

      Whether you are an obscure musician trying to get your music heard, a first-time author putting forth a new book, or an independent filmmaker introducing your first film, you all share something in common; a desire to introduce your art to a world…

    • The Nashville Musician's Survival Guide Progress Update 

      August 10, 2010, 19:38

      For those of you who following my progress on this project, here is a status report. Writing a book is quite a process, a process I knew nothing about when I embarked on this journey nearly 18 months ago, but one that I am fast learning about. A…

    • What do bands and artists owe the public and their fans?  

      August 9, 2010, 21:43

      I read an interesting message board post the other day in which this question was raised. The post was written by a musician who had just opened for Grand Funk Railroad. His account tells of an exciting day and show for his local band (and the 4000+…

    • Getting Started in Nashville 

      July 29, 2010, 14:44

      So you just moved to Nashville, you're a good solid player with a good attitude and excited to begin working. You don't care about being a superstar, you just want to play music with others but you are quickly learning that this can be hard to do.…

    • Nashville; To Be in the Game, You Need to Go to the Game 

      July 21, 2010, 15:16

      So you're thinking about moving to Nashville. You've heard there's a big music industry centered here and you want to work in it. You're ready to relocate for the right opportunity and just posted a craigslist ad to notify the Nashville music…

    • Who Will Represent the Musicians? 

      June 30, 2010, 17:48

      The Boston Globe recently published an article titled “Pay to Play - strict enforcement of copyright's jeopardizing live music in small venues". The piece revealed how small music venues and coffee shops across New England have recently been…

    • Multiband Shows are all about Organization and Teamwork 

      June 22, 2010, 16:19

      Multi-band shows on any level, be it a national act with a local opener in a concert hall, a battle of the bands at a local high school, or the Bonnaroo Festival, can be a great musical experience for both the performers, and audience. They can also…

    • Success in the Music Business is all about Competence, Integrity, and Relationships  

      June 18, 2010, 22:21

      Getting a good gig is largely dependent on having the right connections. While talent and skill are certainly important attributes, knowing somebody on the inside track can be an extremely important factor when it comes to finding work. Since my…

    • A Taste of Nashville 

      June 15, 2010, 20:29

      The Nashville Musician's Survival Guide is meant to help musicians, songwriters, artists, and everyone that moves to Nashville for a career in the music business find their way. I have done my best to describe in words what it's like to live and…

    • What is fair compensation for musicians? 

      June 9, 2010, 15:33

      What is a fair price for our services as musical entertainers of the world? This is highly subjective, but in general, most musicians are underpaid. My career as a professional musician began in New England, where I played the nightclub circuit…

    • “It Looks like It’s Going to Clear up Any Minute Now.” 

      April 30, 2010, 16:23

      It's springtime, and festival season is upon us. The time of year for county fairs and outdoor music festivals is here, and along with it comes the unpredictable variable of the weather. Working as a tour manager and touring musician, I can't…

    • Why I'm writing the Nashville Musician's Survival Guide 

      April 21, 2010, 16:49

      Nashville Tennessee remains a prime destination for many musicians, songwriters, artists, and industry professionals, and in light of the city's unique musical heritage, this constant influx will unlikely stop anytime soon. But beneath the suggestive…

    • The Pitfalls of "Vanning It" 

      April 20, 2010, 16:43

      Since first moving to Nashville in 2002 I have worked on several national tours, and for the most part, have had the luxury of traveling around on Prevost XLII tour buses, the luxury liners of touring. In my opinion, traveling by tour bus with a…

    • My Book Project, One Year and Counting 

      April 14, 2010, 14:53

      It's been one year, almost to the day, since I embarked on my first book writing project, The Nashville Musician's Survival Manual. And while there is an end in sight, there is still a huge amount of work to be done. I have never attempted to write…

  • Category: Musician's Corner - Performance Tips & Advice  (11)
    • Mike Chapman 

      June 15, 2016, 14:06

      Back in 2009, I began putting together a list of people to interview for my book, The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide, and my friend, Mike was at the top of this list. Those of you who knew Mike know that he was a very caring, giving, and…

    • 70 Songs Every Musician Should Know, and Why It's Important to Know Them 

      October 20, 2011, 12:23

      Whether you are a longtime veteran of your local music scene, a recent music school graduate, a hired gun working for a national act, or an aspiring independent artist, you all have something in common – that being a life centered around music.…

    • Playing with Pain: Overcoming and Avoiding Repetitive Motion Injuries  

      October 10, 2011, 14:25

      Have you ever experienced hand or arm pain, or pain in your joints when playing a musical instrument? Perhaps you experience this pain while working at a computer or a mixing console? How about weakness or numbness in your hands or fingers? If you…

    • Need help with your vocals? Check out Vocal Coach Extraordinaire, Judy Rodman 

      May 23, 2011, 11:17

      I've wanted to take a step with my vocal abilities for some time now and this year seemed like a good time to do it. A few months ago I dug out an old vocal method book, “The Rock 'n Roll Singer's Survival Guide” by Mark Baxter, a vocal coach I…

    • The Benefits of Having, and Being a Mentor 

      May 6, 2011, 11:24

      “Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.” - Author Unknown When I first arrived in Nashville in 2002, I realized that to succeed in this massive and confusing music industry I would be faced with great challenges in…

    • Do You Ever Hear the Sound of True Silence? 

      February 4, 2011, 12:45

      Are you ever in complete silence? During the quietest moments of your life, lying in bed about to fall asleep or sitting alone in a quiet room, can you hear the sound of nothing? I wish I could say I can but I can't. My ears ring constantly,…

    • Does Practice Make Perfect? 

      September 16, 2010, 14:58

      When I was 12 years old I was inspired to learn how to play the guitar after hearing the music of Jimi Hendrix. As I began learning, I quickly realized I would have to put a lot of effort into this endeavor to be able to make the kind of music that…

    • Cliffs of Dover: The Benefits of Taking on a Seemingly Impossible Challenge 

      August 5, 2010, 17:35

      Have you ever challenged yourself with something really, really hard. I mean something so difficult that initially you weren't even sure if you could do it? Challenges like running a marathon or completing a triathlon, learning to speak a new…

    • Vibrato is King 

      June 7, 2010, 20:38

      As a guitarist, having good control of vibrato has been a key component in my ability to effectively communicate through my instrument. For many music purists, the use of vibrato has been widely debated, as so many artists and performers have…

    • Space is Beautiful 

      June 3, 2010, 15:18

      Throughout my career as a professional guitarist I’ve played in all sorts of bands, and in all sorts of situations. I've played in rock bands, blues bands, jazz trio's, and eight-piece country bands, and performed in night clubs, sports arenas,…

    • Don’t be a Blues Nazi 

      May 28, 2010, 23:54

      Last night I went to a blues jam at a local bar near my home. In my younger days, I used to frequent blues jams regularly, sometimes driving an hour and a half just to sit in for three songs. I haven't been to a blues jam in quite some time, and…

  • Category: Nasville Berklee Jams  (4)
    • Jack Pearson at the Nashville Berklee Jam - August 14, 2011 

      August 29, 2012, 11:51

      Guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer and session-musician, Jack Pearson shared some unique perspective about his musical journey with a room full of Berklee alumni and others from the Nashville music community last Tuesday. The Nashville…

    • The Nashville Berklee Jam Goes Public 

      July 5, 2012, 11:51

      Today I want to tell you all about an exciting monthly event I have been hosting - The Nashville Berklee Jam, and its new accessibility to everyone in the Nashville music community. The beginnings of this idea came to me a few years ago when I first…

    • Nashville Berklee Jam with Rich Redmond - June 5, 2012 

      June 7, 2012, 08:15

      The latest Nashville Berklee Jam last Tuesday was a great success, thanks to all who attended! The weather was beautiful, so we had a very laid back talk outside on the patio at The Fillin’ Station, our usual location for this event. Rich Redmond,…

    • Nashville Berklee Jam with Judy Rodman - March 6, 2012 

      March 12, 2012, 09:42

      Our second “Nashville Berklee Jam” at The Fillin’ Station in Kingston Springs this past Tuesday was a great success! The guest speaker on this night was none other than Nashville's award-winning vocal coach, Judy Rodman. Judy has played many a…

  • Category: Networking  (3)
  • Category: Newsletters  (3)
    • Eric’s End-of-Summer Blog 

      September 3, 2013, 10:24

      I can't believe summer is drawing to a close! Well, not really...It'll still be really hot down here in middle Tennessee for at least another month or so. But to me, especially being from the north, Labor Day weekend always feels like the end of…

    • A New Year, a New Blog, and a Few Other Things  

      January 4, 2013, 12:39

      It's the first week of this brand-new year of 2013 and, not that I believe in New Year's resolutions, one of the things I'm going to try to do differently in this new year is to get back to blogging more regularly. In that spirit, I also want to…

    • Eric's Monthly Newsletter: February 2012 

      January 30, 2012, 13:25

      I hope everybody is having a great winter so far and that 2012 will be a great year for us all. February is looking to be a busy month for me and I would like to tell you about some of these gigs and events. Thursday, February 2nd I'll be playing…

  • Category: Recording  (2)
    • Mike Chapman 

      June 15, 2016, 14:06

      Back in 2009, I began putting together a list of people to interview for my book, The Nashville Musician’s Survival Guide, and my friend, Mike was at the top of this list. Those of you who knew Mike know that he was a very caring, giving, and…

    • Recording with the Big Dogs before You're Ready, And the Longest Hour of My Life 

      November 12, 2010, 12:09

      It was sometime late in the summer of 2002 and I had already been in Nashville for a couple of months when I got a phone call from my friend “D”. He had been hired by a producer at a recording studio on Music Row to lay down some lead guitar…

  • Category: Rhett Akins  (27)
    • Peach Pickers’ Rhett Akins and Dallas Davidson take some “Back Roads” on the Luke Bryan Farm Tour 2012 

      October 22, 2012, 11:00

      By Eric Normand What an amazing run of shows we had with Rhett Akins and Dallas Davidson on the forth installment of the Luke Bryan Farm Tour! The sold out tour embarked on eight shows across the Deep South, with Rhett and Dallas performing…

    • Peach Pickers featuring Rhett Akins and Dallas Davidson rock CMA-Fest 2012 

      June 8, 2012, 12:04

      Even though the majority of the people who come to Nashville for CMA week are country music fans, you didn't have to be one to enjoy the BMI songwriter showcase-tailgate party yesterday at LP Field. This unique event was as much a foot stompin’…

    • Rhett Akins at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Alpharetta Georgia 

      July 18, 2011, 11:01

      We've done a handful of shows with Georgia native, Corey Smith over the years, and Saturday’s performance at the packed Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Alpharetta, Georgia was another blockbuster. It was a warm summer day when we pulled into the…

    • Rhett Akins Plays Rome River Jam 2011  

      June 22, 2011, 10:17

      Even though summer hadn't yet officially started, it sure felt like it when we pulled into Ridge Ferry Park in Rome, Georgia last Saturday to play at the fifth annual ‘Rome River Jam.’ It was just before noon and the temperature was already…

    • “We're getting out of here before the shooting starts!” - Country Music Festival Runs Amock 

      May 18, 2011, 09:56

      Our concert last Saturday in Speedwell, Tennessee was a wash, and not because of the rain. We arrived on site to this would-be country Woodstock a little after noon, and from the moment I stepped off the bus I knew something wasn't quite right. You…

    • “Blessing of the Fleet” with Rhett Akins in Darien, Georgia 

      April 5, 2011, 09:44

      After several days of heavy rain had inundated the coastal town of Darien, Georgia, I was more than pleased to view a beautiful sunny day out the window when I first walked to the front lounge of our bus last Friday morning. All week long I had…

    • Rhett Akins plays the Bone Collector Fan Club Party with Michael Waddell and Special Guests 

      February 15, 2011, 12:22

      Last weekend the Rhett Akins tour rode into Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for what would be one of our coolest outings in a while. Fans of Michael Waddell and his popular hunting show “Bone Collector” were about to be treated to a special night of…

    • Rhett Akins Tour 2010 Wraps up with Two Shows in Texas 

      October 12, 2010, 16:12

      October 8, 2010 - Dallas, Texas We left Nashville Thursday at midnight, bound for two shows deep in the heart of oil country, the first being at the oversized dance hall, Cowboys Red River in Dallas, Texas. Our regular bassist, Clint Jacobs,…

    • Rhett Akins at Old Threshers in Shelbina; What's a Little Mud When You've Got Friends with Tractors? 

      September 20, 2010, 12:39

      This past weekend was one of the last outings of the 2010 festival season for Rhett Akins and gang. Like many things in life, outdoor festivals are like a potluck dinner - you never know what's under the lid of that next casserole dish. That goes…

    • Rhett Akins Plays Balloons, Tunes and BBQ Festival in Bowling Green Kentucky 

      September 13, 2010, 07:44

      Saturday night's show at the U.S. Bank Balloons, Tunes and BBQ Festival in Bowling Green Kentucky turned out to be a huge success, but earlier in the day things were looking pretty bleak. All week long the weather forecast showed a strong…

    • My name is Eric Normand and welcome to ‘Country Concerts’! 

      September 7, 2010, 11:25

      I was talking to a college student a while back who said he was interested in becoming a tour manager. It turns out that one of his best friends is an aspiring young artist with a bright future, one who will likely need a tour manager someday.…

    • The Exceptional Bus Driving Skills of ‘Les the Wingnut' 

      August 30, 2010, 12:35

      It was a warm Wednesday night in July of 2007 when the Rhett Akins tour left Nashville, Tennessee, bound for Macon, Georgia, on what would be a four city run across the deep South. The bus, a still shiny and new looking 2005 Prevost XLII, wreaked…

    • I Found My Bus Driver on Match.com 

      August 27, 2010, 11:53

      It was almost midnight on a Friday in late September, 2006 when I pulled up to the bus near Opryland in Nashville, TN. The Longbranch saloon in Raleigh, North Carolina would be the destination for Rhett Akins and band, and this ten hour - 540 mile…

    • Tour Bus Drivers Are like a Box of Chocolates - You Never Know What You're Gonna' Get 

      August 26, 2010, 12:09

      My experiences with a brake happy novice bus driver this past weekend have prompted me to write a few articles on the do's and don'ts of driving an entertainer coach. This article will be the first of a series I will be writing in the next couple…

    • BBQ on Lake Barkley with Rhett Akins and Band - Another Hot Summer Show! 

      August 25, 2010, 10:56

      It was about 10 AM on Saturday morning when I crawled out of my bunk to peek out the front lounge window of our tour bus. All week long the weather forecast showed a good chance of rain, and I thought our outside show was doomed when I viewed the…

    • Rhett Akins plays Lambda Chi Alpha frat party at Troy University – Friday August 20, 2010 

      August 23, 2010, 11:41

      It was about 5:00 PM when we pulled our tour bus up to the newly built Lambda Chi Alpha frat house on this hot and humid summer day in the deep South. The kids greeted us with much excitement as this party was the first to be held in their…

    • Jamming with Oteil 

      June 24, 2010, 19:39

      During the summer of 2008 when the Rhett Akins band was between bass players, our sound engineer Penn Robertson threw out the idea of calling his friend Oteil Burbridge to sub a few gigs, as he was currently on hiatus from his regular gig with the…

    • Eclectic Alabama; Adventures in the Valley of Mud 

      June 21, 2010, 17:01

      Saturday, June 19, 2010 started out innocent enough when I awoke on our tour bus in a motel parking lot in Montgomery Alabama. The fact that the nearest location of any hotel to this venue was a 30 mile, hour long bus ride, might have been the…

    • Rhett Akins in Reinholds; Don't Take Magic for Granted 

      June 14, 2010, 13:53

      It was Saturday morning when I suddenly was awakened in my bunk to the sensation of a rough ride on a bumpy road somewhere in southern Pennsylvania. Our destination was the little town of Reinholds, PA, and a short while later we pulled our tour bus…

    • Getting to the Heart of a Song 

      June 13, 2010, 22:15

      Our weekend tour began Thursday at midnight, when we pulled out of Nashville, bound for Wake Forest, North Carolina. By early afternoon on Friday, we were loading our gear into Crossroads, a large nightclub located in a strip mall that would be home…

    • Rockin’ on the Mountain 

      May 31, 2010, 11:25

      It was just after 1 PM on Saturday, May 29 as we pulled into the Fast Lane minimart in Huntsville, Tennessee. The parking lot of this fine establishment would be our home base for the day as this was the closest our tour bus could safely get to…

    • A Heavy Wet Blanket in Phenix City 

      May 16, 2010, 20:28

      It was about 9 AM Friday morning when I crawled out of my bunk and walked to the front lounge of our tour bus. I looked out the window to see a hotel parking lot, a very typical start to a day in the life of a touring musician (I often associate…

    • It Looks like We Might Have Dodged a Bullet on This One 

      May 4, 2010, 18:14

      Saturday morning began for me at 5:30 AM, when I was suddenly awoken by the sound of a loud crack of thunder. By the time I dragged myself out of bed a short while later, a heavy downpour was underway, and our fair state of Tennessee was…

    • “It Looks like It’s Going to Clear up Any Minute Now.” 

      April 30, 2010, 16:23

      It's springtime, and festival season is upon us. The time of year for county fairs and outdoor music festivals is here, and along with it comes the unpredictable variable of the weather. Working as a tour manager and touring musician, I can't…

    • Rhett Akins and Band Rocks the Rye Patch 

      April 26, 2010, 16:10

      A light rain was falling as we drove our tour bus down the long dirt driveway leading into “the Clubhouse in Rye Patch”, the concert venue in which we would be performing on this night. Buried deep in the woods of Ludowici, Georgia, the view out…

    • The Big Pig Jig 

      April 24, 2010, 17:19

      This day began like so many other days on the road, waking up on a tour bus to the view a hotel parking lot in the middle of nowhere. On this particularly warm spring day we were scheduled to play a multi-band extravaganza in Vienna Georgia, and…

    • The Longest Mile, Another Great Saturday Night in Dixie 

      April 19, 2010, 16:18

      The Saturday morning of April 17 started out like so many other one-off's for all of us on the Rhett Akins tour, and on this day, it was the Kappa Alpha fraternity house at Georgia Tech in Atlanta that would be our destination. This particular day…

  • Category: Touring  (10)
    • The Peach Pickers Rock The 2014 Luke Bryan Farm Tour 

      October 22, 2014, 08:09

      By Eric Normand Sunny days, dusty hayfields, huge crowds, great music, great people, light beer, diesel fumes, gator balls - these were the sights, sounds and aromas of the 2014 Luke Bryan Farm Tour. I can't believe it's over, it seems like I…

    • Living Well on the Luke Bryan Farm Tour and tips for Healthy Living 

      October 29, 2013, 09:11

      By Eric Normand You might think that the life of a touring musician is easy - performing for thousands of screaming fans, sleeping late, eating at catering, free booze, lounging around all day on a million-dollar tour bus. While some, or all of…

    • The Peach Pickers on the 2013 Luke Bryan Farm Tour 

      October 21, 2013, 08:16

      by Eric Normand This year’s Luke Bryan Farm Tour was an epic event and as a “Peach Pickers” band member I was a first-hand witness to what has become a yearly phenomenon in the Deep South. We played eight sold out shows in eleven days, most…

    • Hampton Inn Caryville, TN – An American History Lesson 

      May 19, 2011, 12:14

      There was one bright spot on our recent concert destination to Speedwell, TN, and that was our brief stay at the Hampton Inn in Caryville, TN. We arrived back to the hotel around 3 PM on Saturday after our tense and stressful outing in Speedwell,…

    • The Honky Tonk Tailgate Party; Part One - Nailing It to the Floor 

      February 24, 2011, 13:19

      It was the spring of 2004, and I had just completed my first year as guitar tech for Toby Keith. The whirlwind tour ran almost nonstop from July through February, taking off the months of March through June before firing back up again. So with a few…

    • The Toby Keith Shock ‘N Y’All End of Tour Party 

      January 28, 2011, 12:04

      Hey everybody, I apologize for the big gap in between blogs lately. I'm up to my armpits in this book project, literally swimming in it, and it's been hard to break away and write a weekly blog. But here it is! As many of you have been reading, some…

    • Backstage with Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick: “Got Picks?” 

      January 12, 2011, 13:07

      One of the best things about working as a guitar tech on a major tour is that it provides you access to the world's coolest guitar picks. When working on a high profile tour, there will be many occasions when you will share the bill with other…

    • The Mysterious Disappearance of Chuck's MIDI Pedal and Repentance with a Bottle of Jack 

      December 29, 2010, 13:02

      It was a couple of months into my new gig as guitar tech on the Toby Keith tour and things were going pretty well. I was getting used to this new world of touring life, had become accepted by the band and crew, and had my job down pat. Or so I…

    • My First Road Gig and What Not to Do on a Tour Bus 

      December 23, 2010, 13:04

      It was a hot summer night in July of 2003, and I was hanging out at the Fiddle and Steel, when my good friend, Dave McAfee, told me that there was a job opening up on the Toby Keith tour. The position was for that of guitar tech, and Dave, who had…

    • Vern's Coming over for Dinner 

      December 8, 2010, 11:00

      Having grown up in the Northeast on a diet of rock and blues, and listening to very little country music prior to moving to Nashville, the name Vern Gosdin was not one I was familiar with. So when I got a late-night phone call in the fall of 2002…