Amplifier Blog

south central Kentucky’s arts & entertainment

Plan it & they will come is not sound promotion

Posted by amplifier on September 17, 2009

The Daily News recently published a letter to the editor ( ) written by a musician entitled “Local media ignores bluegrass event”.

In it he comments –

Last weekend, a bluegrass contest/festival was held at Sugar Maple Square. This probably comes as a big surprise to most of you since none of the local media, especially this paper you are holding right now, decided to cover the story or print one word about this great event. Kind of makes you feel sort of excluded from the mainstream of my hometown.,

I always find it interesting that so many artists and event organizers are quick to come up with conspiracy theories when their event isn’t covered rather than realize that members of the media are not actually mind readers.

I did not write anything about the event in question because I’ve never heard of  it.  I received no press release and no one entered it in the Amplifier/Daily News  free calendar.  I received no event notification on facebook or bulletin on myspace (which are nearly impossible to notice but are at least a minimal effort).  I didn’t see or hear any mentions on radio or television.  I didn’t see it in any newsletter or arts email blast.  And I never saw any flyer posted around town or online.  Most of these are free resources for publicity.

Time, limited resources and limited space make it difficult to cover all local events.  Keeping an event a secret makes it impossible to promote it.


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New videos: BSC w/ Nickel Back, Daddy & Rabbit Recipe

Posted by amplifier on June 9, 2009

Just added, new clips of Black Stone Cherry performing with Nickel Back, Daddy featuring Tommy Womack and Will Kimbrough and a rabbit recipe from Harry’s Cafe in Frankfort.

Visit the Amplifier’s Exchange section to view our YouTube playlists.  Our playlists feature area artists, events and other videos of interest.

Black Stone Cherry recently finished their UK tour in Sheffield.  One of their videos features footage from the last night of the tour which also featured Nickel Back.  The second Black Stone Cherry video features lead singer, Chris Robertson singing AC/DC’s Highway to Hell, backed by Nickel Back.

Also new to our local band playlist is a song from Daddy’s new album, For A Second Time.  Daddy is Tommy Womack and Will Kimbrough.

Finally, our recreation playlist now includes a Kentucky Afield clip from Harry’s Cafe in Frankfort where Harry provides a simple recipe for cooking rabbit.  Harry also demonstrates the proper way to cut a rabbit.

If you are a local artist, organization or event coordinator and have a YouTube channel, visit our channel at and subscribe or friend us so that we can keep up with your posts and add them to our playlists.

Our playlists are featured in the Amplifier’s Exchange section which also includes local blogs and user photo galleries.

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1st Homecookin & Lee Harvey added to Starrchives player

Posted by amplifier on June 8, 2009

This month visit the Starrchives player for the latest update from Tommy Starr.  From the Vault features a live recording of Lee Harvey performing Sarah at the 2003 Lightening Bug Festival.  Also included is the very first Homecookin episode with Tommy Starr as host, Feb. 24, 2002.

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Toxic Shocks & Rufus Huff added to Starrchives player

Posted by amplifier on May 5, 2009

I’ve just upload a 1988 version of the Toxic Shock’s Nighttrain Express and the April 12, 2009 interview with Rufus Huff on Homecookin’ to the Starrchives player.

The player, found here, features past Homecookin’ with Tommy Starr interviews as well as selections from his private collection dubbed “the vault”.

The recently signed Rufus Huff, formed in 2005 is a blues rock band which features Greg Martin on guitar (Kentucky Headhunters, Taildragger, Mighty Jeremiahs), Dean Smith on bass (Supafuzz, Taildragger, The Mighty Jeremiahs), Chris Hardesty on drums (Supafuzz, Fender Benders, the Naked Mole Rats) and Jarrod England, vocals (Fender Benders, the Naked Mole Rats).

The Toxic Shocks were a power house rock band in the late 80’s.

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Floord & Fifteen Strings added to the Starrchive player

Posted by amplifier on April 3, 2009

Visit the Starrchives section of our website for Tommy Starr’s latest addition to the local music history archive.  Each month Starr provides a peek at the past with a Homecookin’ episode and a From the Vault selection for the Starrchives player.

This month’s Home Cookin’ with Tommy Starr episode is the 2005 interview with Floord members David Rich, Chad Moseley and Donny Alvey.    Floord (1999-present) was on the show promoting their newly released The Traveling Salvation Show featuring their original  “straight Kentucky rock n roll”.  The episode also includes a live selection from Slander’s gig at the Green River Catfish Festival.

From the Vault features Fifteen String’s Move A Little Closer To Me from 1990.  The group toured for Atlantic Records from 1989 – 1992 and featured Chris Carmichael.  (Visit Carmichael’s Amplifier Artist Directory listing for a link to Don Thomason‘s 1999 cover story on him and an extensive list of recording credits on records and in film).

You can also find several Fifteen Strings tracks on the Amplifier’s local music jukebox on the mainpage.

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Amplifier online extras

Posted by amplifier on April 2, 2009

We generally add new stories everyday on the Amplifier’s website that are not found in our print edition. Many of the articles in print have been edited for space and can be found in their entirety only and other have additional pictures and video embeds on the site. In addition there is a calendar updated by users, artist and venue directories, a local jukebox and a Starrchives jukebox.
Between March and April more than 80 additional stories were posted.
You can find the extra stories by visiting our website at everyday, or you can receive notices of new stories posted from your favorite social networking site.

The Amplifier is active on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.  You can use Twitter to have our headline alerts and news go to your mobile phone.

Join us on your favorite network!

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Bluegrass Hotel fiasco or free promotions 101

Posted by kimmason65 on March 19, 2009

In choosing the content for a local entertainment pub since 1995, I’ve had some bizarre submissions intended as press releases.   But there were several things particularly striking about some of the recent promotions for the Bluegrass Hotel Project, part of which was to be a concert at the Galt House in Louisville featuring Sam Bush, J.D. Crowe, Tony Rice, Curtis Burch, John Cowan and other members of New Grass Revival and the Bluegrass Alliance, the founders the newgrass genre of music.  Musicians often ask how best to promote their events and this case illustrates some of the best and worst practices.

Target your publicity: Though events outside my coverage area are rarely a focus, I had immediate interest in a project documenting the history of and presenting music from artists with ties to Bowling Green, Ky.

Timing your publicity: I posted a general press release December 17 that was an early general announcement about the scope of the project.  It covered all relevant information as well as many details and was thus posted unaltered.  I posted a writeup from information I gathered about the concert February 17, when I hadn’t received a followup press release, though an official email soon followed.

Cover your basis: In addition to media press releases the promoter set up a MySpace profile and a .com.  Linking was used to network to existing profiles and additional ones were set up, making additional information available as well as expanding their promotional networks.

Know your audience: If your target audience are fans of Sam Bush, insulting Sam Bush isn’t going to sell tickets.  In the internet age, it can be devasting in a matter of hours. Ticket buyers just want to know they are in for a good show and fans often feel protective of the artists they love.  So it doesn’t matter who is to blame when things start to unravel.

They don’t  want to hear the details that you didn’t have ironed out,

The Bluegrass Hotel has been attempting to negotiate an agreement with Sam Bush since Jan. 2008, … Therefore it came as a surprise to receive notification from Sam Bush’s manager at the 11th hour informing The Bluegrass Hotel Project that unless Sam was paid a $10,000 fee to perform…

or see their personal tragedies used against them.

Sam Bush is a cancer survivor and his father recently passed away from the disesase (sic). New Grass Revival founder Courtney Johnson also died from cancer.  Therefore it came as a complete surprize (sic)…

They are likely to let you know how they feel – as some of these comments on the Bluegrass Hotel MySpace blog show:

Lies, all lies.

This act exemplifies a new low that we cannot fathom.

Your behaviour in this matter is appalling.

Bill Millet and The Bluegrass Hotel, as well as this MySpace, have committed “slander” and “defamation of character” against Sam and Lynn Bush as well as Tony Rice.

I see you changed your headline to make it even more provacative….Keep it up, turd, you’ll never work again in this industry, Millet……..

Related artists who were at first pleased with profiles set up on their behalf, will not appreciate the appearance that they share your sentiments when you send these kind of bulletins from that profile. Before long everyone will be cutting ties.  That’s not the time to add more fuel repeating the same mistakes in another bulletin.

due to the toxic atmosphere that Bush’s management company has recently created for a major charitable organization, it was decided that it would be in John’s best interest not to appear at the event

Everyone loses when a project of this scope falls apart so publicly – the promoter, the artists, the fans, the charity, posterity.  And all outlets opened for publicity can become avenues of protest.

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First Amendment and citizen journalists

Posted by kimmason65 on March 2, 2009

With a new administration, more open to the protection of journalists at the federal level, new bills have been introduced.  But despite the fact that citizen journalists in the blogosphere in recent years have broken many stories and been jailed for not releasing their sources, notes and video footage – and in fact, in other countries have been put to death or jailed for speaking out, the House version of the bill [introduced by Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).]  deliberately leaves them out by defining journalists.

The question of who should be considered a journalist has been a long, ongoing debate.  However, with the advent of the internet, definitions based on the format used to relay information, or who owns the means of dissemination are outdated.  But using quality as a gauge is also precarious, given someone’s opinion would serve as the measure.

In any event, the House’s definition:

The term “covered person” means a person who regularly gathers, prepares, collects, photographs, records, writes, edits, reports, or publishes news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public for a substantial portion of the person’s livelihood or for substantial financial gain and includes a supervisor, employer, parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such covered person.

seems particularly shortsighted, leaving out not only bloggers but many freelancers and independents.

As Jason Lee Miller points out in the linked article,

Apparently our “representatives” have a real problem with citizen journalism done for the sake of journalism and for the good of democracy, and believe protecting the “free flow of information” is only reserved for officially approved press. No bloggers, no patriotic radicals, no underground agitator pamphleteers like the ones who actually founded and fought for this country to begin with.

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Contributor Ronnie Jaggers wins Celebration of the Arts sculpture award

Posted by amplifier on February 27, 2009


Originally uploaded by chiseledfeaturesstudio

Ronnie Jaggers, an Amplifier contributor for more than a decade with her featured artist column, took 3rd place in the sculpture category at the US Bank Celebration of the Arts exhibit.
The show features 2 floors in WKU’s Kentucky Museum of regional artwork. An awards reception will be held Saturday February 26, 5-7 p.m. The exhibit will remain in place until April 4 at which time the winners will move to another exhibit in the Ervin Houchens Gallery in the Capitol Arts Center.
Ronnie’s piece, the Intervention of the Sabine Women, is an Alto Relief, 14″ x 14″, made of polymer clay. This will be her third time showing in the Capitol Arts Center in Bowling Green including a mask exhibit for the Bowling Green International Festival Gallery Walk in 2006 and an award winning piece in the Women in the Arts show last year.
You can view more of Ronnie’s work online at

Posted in Arts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

MySpace or Facebook for promoting local arts?

Posted by kimmason65 on February 16, 2009

The showdown for the most popular social networking site seems to be heating up. In January comScore reported they anticipate Facebook overtaking MySpace as America’s leader by the start of 2010. Facebook recently beat Myspace with their worldwide numbers and reportedly is drawing a higher percentage increase each month in the US – especially among adults, which are fast becoming the majority on both.  Finally, new stats reported in WebProNews indicate that the average MySpace user spends 266 minutes per month on the site, more than double the average Facebook user.

While Linkedin seems to be the winner with regard to business promotions, when it comes to the arts, MySpace has been the place to be. MySpace Music in particular, has changed the music industry. According to one local band, when booking a gig, venue management doesn’t even ask about a homepage, just “What is your myspace address?”. Label A&R people are likewise using it as a tool.

Like me, it seems most people that use social networking sites these days are opting to reside on both networks, though show a clear preference for one over the other. My own preference, hands down, is MySpace. Though from my observations it seems to be the choice of artists and art lovers. When I ask people which they prefer and why, by far the most common response is that they like the individuality/customization on MySpace or conversely they like the “lack of clutter” from the forced format on Facebook.

Recently a local musician asked me why Facebook seems to have less stigma attached to it. I noted that Facebook was still limited to college students when MySpace was making headlines for drawing pedophiles and suicidal teens (and smaller stories for busting pedophiles and preventing suicides). I had signed up for a Facebook page as soon as it went public but after a couple of pokes left, only to return after Pages were added to the site.

I have to say I was impressed with the power of Facebook’s networking avenues. In the time I was creating a business page, I began getting all kinds of friend requests from people I actually knew from school but hadn’t spoken to in years. Then family members starting finding me, including the whole family of one cousin who had been lamenting the evils of MySpace the last time I saw her!

Though first annoyed by the pokes and other time wasters, I was happy to reconnect with everyone and opted to separate the business page from my personal account. Unfortunately the only way to do that is by creating a separate profile for the business. Now the problem is artists are requesting to be friends of the profile instead of becoming a fan of the page.

Clearly Facebook’s intention is that businesses have pages and people have profiles. But it’s easier to steer users to profiles than to pages. In the last month or two I’ve seen several more local arts organizations, businesses and bands join Facebook. They seem to be having the same issues, therefore some are profiles, some are pages, some are groups and some are a mixture of more than one of these.

So, while I have found less than 10 local organizations and bands with Facebook pages or profiles thus far, I have 111 businesses/organizations & 560 local bands as friends on MySpace. It will be interesting to see how those numbers change over the next year as both sites borrow ideas from each other and add new features in the race to be the most used.

Join me on your preferred network:
MySpace Profile
Facebook Page

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