Stream of Consciousness

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comThe stream of consciousness of someone about to release their debut EP:

Will anyone listen to it?

Have my parents even bought the pre-sale yet?!

I wonder how many people bought the pre-sale?

Do people even buy music anymore?

I get my puppy on the same day as the release!

Will iTunes put it on new and noteworthy?

Will I ever make the money back that I spent making it?

I hope someone puts my new songs on Spotify playlists! How do I get them to do that?

Will my dark album cover be seen with the backlighting of the iPhone? Maybe I should have made it lighter?

I probably should have made the single a different picture.

PUPPY!!!

Will this be my first and last release?

Will people accept it in the country genre even though it’s not that country?

What genre is it?

I need to get the music to tv sync people. Now…. How?

Did I get enough blog reviews? Will they review it once it’s already out or will it be old news?

PUPPY!!

Think anyone new will listen to it?

Will my husband listen to it casually in the car? What if he doesn’t? Does he even like my music?!

Will my new puppy like it? Maybe I’ll play it for him…



While I know I can be negative sometimes, most of my thoughts are a testament to how much I made this music for other people to hear. If I was the only one listening to the sound of my voice, that would be so lame. So I really hope people listen to it and get swept away in the emotions and lyrics and truly enjoy it. That would make my day!!

iTunes. July 15. Be There.

Have You Heard?

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comWell…have you heard? I’m releasing the first single off my debut EP, “Jericho” on 3.31! WOOO

Have you heard the sneak peeks I’ve posted on my website? Click here to listen to 4 out of 7 songs from my EP. I hope you’re as excited as I am to hear the whole thing dropping this July! WOOO

Oh yeah…and here’s the album cover!

 jericho album cover

For an inside look at the photo shoot for the album artwork, check out this article!

Can’t wait to release “Jericho” 3.31!!!!!!!!! Stay tuned!!

The Story Behind the Secret Song

erica bryan beaverdamusa.comWell, it’s about time I release some new music!!! I’m super excited to share with you the secret song that I wrote for my husband, and surprised him with at our wedding. I wrote the song back in February with my friend Sarah Williams. I was telling my friend Sarah that sometimes Billy’s schedule was very different than mine and we would go days without seeing each other. After 4 years of dating, I was ready to come home to him after a long day. That’s where I came up with the title “Come Home To You.” Sarah had just gotten married also, so we were both on the same page with wanting to come home to our husbands!

Writing the song without Billy knowing was easy. I’m always heading off to write songs and sometimes I tell him about them and sometimes I don’t, so he didn’t really think anything of the write that day. But recording it was a different story. I had to tell him I was writing with the same person over and over and we just never could finish the song (while all along I was recording it every night with my Producer friend Charlie). After night 3 of “writing” (recording), Billy asked me what the song was about. The first fake title that came to the top of my head was “Take Another Piece of My Broken Heart.” So I just kept calling it that. Then, he asked me how it went, and I started humming Faith Hill’s “Take Another Little Piece of My Heart”–and I got away with it!!

Another day, right before we were leaving to go to Georgia the week before the wedding, Billy was putting some files on my computer. While he was doing that, the song was RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM on my iTunes. But, he didn’t look too closely and just x’d out of the screen. Phew- I got away with it again!!!!!

Another time, I had to secretly tell the DJ of our wedding that I was planning this secret song for the first dance. I even talked to the DJ about it while in the car with Billy, but I was so covert that Billy never thought anything of it! (I guess I’m good at being sneaky!)

On the wedding day, Billy thought we were just going to do our first dance that we had choreographed ahead of time. But right before the first dance, my mom took the microphone and announced that I had written a song for Billy. He was so surprised and caught off guard. We slow danced to the song and the surprise turned out perfect!

Now, I’m releasing it for you all!! The final album version will be available later this summer, but I am releasing the version that I played at my wedding to my mailing list TODAY! This song is so special to me and I cannot wait for you to share in the magic moment.

To join my mailing list, you can sign up here.

secret song 1

Billy and I dancing to the secret song.

Billy really likes the secret song.

Billy really likes the secret song.

Billy and I doing our real first dance, after the secret song. We choreographed a dance to "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. 

Billy and I doing our real first dance, after the secret song. We choreographed a dance to “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

The Basement Sessions: All Your Days & Nights

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comThis week I’m pulling out another Basement Sessions song we recorded. This song is called, “All Your Days and Nights.” I wrote this song about 2 years ago with a writer named Andrew Rollins. Andrew has had a lot of recent success with writing songs for the TV show “Nashville,” and one of his songs from the show was Number 1 on iTunes for a while! 

Before the write started, I was talking to Andrew about how I can only write at night because of my day job, and Andrew said, “Well then I want all your nights!” We both looked at each other and nodded in agreement that that was a great song title! So, we started writing the song. Another songwriter named Steve Pasch popped his head in the room and said, “You all need to say something about ‘days’ in there.” (Songwriters are very into opposites in songwriting–if you have “nights” you have to have “days,” if you have “first” you have to have “last,” etc.) So thanks to Steve, we had our hook! We built the song around the line, “I don’t want much from you, just all your days and nights.” 

The song is about a love that is fading and the singer wants her love to give her everything he’s got. She wants the passion back in the relationship and wants to go back to when the love seemed new and exciting.  

This song definitely hits home for me (well, I hope so, I wrote it!). I remember being in a relationship that was fading and years seemed to go on where it wasn’t new and exciting. Every time I sing this song, I try to go back to how I felt during that relationship. (Video is below lyrics)

Here are the lyrics: 

You don’t look at me the same. 
There’s no spark, we’ve lost the flame.
Your hand feels different in mine.
Has this love run out of time?

It never used to be so damn hard. 
How could someone be so close but seem so far?

I don’t want us to be something we don’t believe.
A temporary kind of love that leaves us incomplete.
I want to feel that fire, that passion and desire,
That only the two of us can make right. 
I won’t want much from you
Just all your days and nights. 

You used to send me flowers.
We could talk in bed for hours. 
Now it’s just silence in my ear.
So much can change in just a year.

Exciting Show Announcement!

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comA lot of people have asked about when and where I am touring this year. So, I hope I can answer those questions, along with a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT about a show I am so excited about!!When: I have been taking a short break from performing for two reasons:

A. To focus on the wedding planning I have to do– (but, I can’t help it that I secretly like planning my shows more than my wedding…shhh…don’t tell anyone. It’s just that music is my most favorite thing ever! [besides my fiancé])

B. To focus on writing and recording my EP (which always takes longer than you think it will, and it takes time to write the absolute best songs with the best style in order to present the music to my favorite people ever- the people that listen to the music! [besides my first favorite, my fiance])

Where: It takes a lot of money to tour and the farther out you travel, the more money it takes. Thanks to social media blogs and other platforms, my music has been able to reach across the globe. I am so grateful for technology and how my music can be heard by people practically anywhere!

But, the downside for me is that I personally cannot reach everyone with a live show. The cost of touring is greater than the money usually made on a tour, which makes it hard without an investor or label backing us. And in Nashville, no one is playing for “fun.” Every musician is here to make a living, so it’s kind of offensive to them if I ask them to play with me as my backing band for free.

So, every show I do costs money, which is why we have been traveling to places where we can easily drive to from Nashville and not have to spend the night.

BUT! I am so excited to announce my solution to reach anyone, anywhere!!! March 23 at 7:30pm CST, my band and I will perform a Stage-It Show.

Stage-It is a website where musicians can broadcast a performance and anyone, anywhere, can watch the show from the comfort of their home on a laptop. WOOHOO! I can’t wait! And, there will be a prize for the top supporter of the night- an original song written by me, on the topic or idea of your choice! GUYS! I’m SO EXCITED!!!! Tickets are pay-what-you-can and go on sale….NOW! There’s only a limited number, so grab them while you can!! Click Here!

Picture

Musing While I Am Still Able

musings 250_edited-1No, the headline is not referring to the North Korean’s shutting down my Music Musing blog or the Beaverdam Tavern.  It is referring to the fact I am truly feeling old – musically, if that makes sense.  While my soon-to-be 51 trips around the sun have taken their toll on my body, I am truly feeling out-of-touch with the music world.

For a while now, this feeling has been lurking in the back of my mind like an awkward, nerdy kid at the prom – back in the shadows.  I scan the upcoming shows at our local arena and for the most part recognize the names, even if I don’t like them.  For instance, Eric Church set an attendance record at Bridgestone this past weekend.  I have heard of him – wouldn’t go see him in my living room, but still I know him.  So I scan the line-up for the Ryman auditorium:

  • Gregg Allman – ok, still alive I guess.  Seats still available for the show tonight.
  • Ben Howard – Thought he was directing movies when not at the Andy Griffith convention.  SOLD OUT!!!   People might be confused as me.
  • John Mellencamp – know him, like his stuff.  Tickets available.  Hmmm.
  • Trampled by Turtles – what the heck?  Who are those folks and how the hell can you not outrun a turtle?
  • Diana Ross – Still around – wonder if she will have a video of Michael Jackson?  Creepy.
  • Shovels & Rope – Sponsored by Lowes?
  • Lee Bice – American Idol right?  Getting better.
  • Willie Nelson = Sold out for two shows.  Good for him.  Folks must think he is passing one around, if you know what I mean…..
  • Hozier – Sold out.  Three shows.  Didn’t know they had a gym in the Ryman.

Okay, you get my point.  Then here comes the Bonnaroo lineup.  No, I won’t go, but it is cool to see who is coming.  The headline states – Billy Joel to headline Bonnaroo.  Now we are talking!  Finally a big name to hit Bonnaroo.  Then I start reading the other performers – uh-oh:

  • Mumford & Sons – Know them.  My youngest loves them.
  • Deadmau5 – Did the proofreader fall asleep on that one?
  • Robert Plant & the Sensational Space Shifters – Not a Led Zep reunion, but cool.
  • Hozier – Again?  Maybe the championship game after the early rounds at the Ryman?
  • Spoon – For soup or your nose?
  • The War on Drugs – Guess the preceding question’s answer was “nose”.  Bet these folks will be busy at Bonnaroo from what I hear.
  • Tears for Fears – They were top 40 when I was in college.  Guess they are touring since healthcare costs are going up.
  • Shabazz Palaces – Sounds like a place where WMD’s were located.
  • Between the Buried & Me – Isn’t that a preacher?  Maybe they will pass the plate.
  • Pallbearer – Maybe opening (or closing) for Between the Buried & Me

Bottom line – I know I am old and really understand now how my parents felt when I brought home Van Halen, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Loverboy, KISS, etc.  I realize it is a “passing the torch” kind of moment, but it doesn’t make it go down any easier.  I will be over here in the corner with my iPod listening to my golden oldies.

Until next time –

Zach – aka the old Geezer

A Different Side of the Brain

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com, behind the micPeople have asked me if I can write songs while touring. I didn’t really understand why they asked me that because I assumed you could just write all the time and then perform and I didn’t see how there would be any disconnect. However, as I’ve gotten more busy with my tour schedule this year, I’ve realized that there really is a disconnect.

In 2013, all I did was write songs. I would co-write with people on weeknights and weekends, I would write lyrics during the day at my day job, and felt like I was a writing machine! (Not every song was a good song…but it was still a song!) I only played 2 shows that year, so almost all my energy was dedicated to writing. After my big writing stint, I had plenty of new material to start playing shows with in 2014. 

So this past year, I dedicated all my time to performing. I thought I could still keep writing during weeknights, but came to realize that after being my own tour manager, booking agent, publicist, and band leader, I had no creative energy to devote to songwriting. It was really sad! I would try to sit down and write a song…and nothing came out! Words were inexplicably harder to form. I’m no brain expert, but I started realizing that maybe there is a different part of your brain you use when writing songs. It wasn’t that I ran out of stuff to say (which is a relief!), I just hadn’t used the other side of the brain as much. 

Now that my touring has wrapped up for the year, I’ve been coaxing myself back into writing gear. I spent this past weekend house sitting for someone, and literally did nothing but sit at the piano and write songs all day long. For three days I pounded out new lyrics and melodies, came up with new ideas, and completed 4 new songs. One morning, I couldn’t sleep and got up at 3:30 am. Instead of lying in bed, praying to fall back asleep, I decided it was time to get up and write more music! That song ended up being called “Coffee at Midnight,” for obvious reasons [because I couldn't sleep!]. 

As an artist, it’s easy to feel like you’re not “doing anything” if you’re not on the road playing, but I’ve had to give myself a break and realize that if I don’t have good songs to play, the touring is irrelevant. So although on paper this time looks “quiet” and less flashy, it’s turning out to be very productive. I’m excited to keep writing and creating, and look forward to the time when I can share my new music with you all! 

Ghosting on Broadway

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com, behind the micPromotion can come in many forms. I’m not really sure how I thought of this form, but I decided that the best way to promote my music video was to dress up as a ghost and run around downtown Nashville. So, I recruited my friends and had my boyfriend film everyone’s reactions. We did get a little nervous leading up to it and thought about all the things that could go wrong. But, what kept us going, was thinking about all the things that could go right.

So here we are, making  our very expensive costumes: white sheets!

 erica 0807 1

Walmart only had 2 white twin sheets…so one of us had to be a cream colored ghost!

 erica0807 2

We did get some mixed reactions. One of us got “hit on,” although no one could see our faces. I didn’t know standards could be set so low! Children were scared of us–but then they were fighting over the free download cards we gave them, so I guess they got over their fright quickly! Some people would “boo” us and try to scare us. And some people just asked what we were doing- which was the perfect time to hand them a download card and segue into telling them about my music video! We filmed the footage and put together a promo video to announce my music video release. Here it is:

And because I love my blog readers so much- I even made a special blooper reel, just for you! Here it is:

If you haven’t gathered the point of these shenanigans yet, it is this: to tell you that my music video will debut on 8.13.14 at CMChatlive.com. I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you next week! Stay tuned, because I will have a behind the scenes post about the music video. And, if you read my blog post Turn Up the Radio, you can stream my interview with East Nashville Radio THIS FRIDAY at eastnashvilleradio.com 8am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm and 9pm CDT. 

The Dirty Guv’nahs Turn Pro With “Hearts”

Let’s get one thing straight from the get-go: The Dirty Guv’nahs are much more than your typical college-town band.

the dirty guv'nahs, beaverdamusa.com, tunes from the dam

The Dirty Guv’nahs

The Knoxville, Tenn., sextet proves that on Hearts on Fire (Summertown). Frontman James Trimble and bandmate Michael Jenkins wrote all 11 songs on the record, which was released on March 11. Each song tells a story through evocative lyrics, aided by talented musicians and tight production. Naturally, it’s folksy, rootsy and oftentimes deep. But it also has its fun. Though The Guv’nahs transcend the college feel, the Athens, Ga., influence is inescapable. I also heard Counting Crows, some U2 and The Stones. Mostly though, it’s The Dirty Guv’nahs, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Here’s a recap of the tracks:

“Where We Stand” is a mid-tempo boy-gets-girl-back tune that foreshadows a recurring theme throughout the album of dealing with fear. “Every generation has a past/I don’t want to be a soldier for the last” is a pretty nifty lyric.

Though I was already somewhat familiar with The Guv’nahs, I truly discovered them when I first heard “Morning Light” and saw the video. I subsequently gushed about it here. Go watch, listen and read in case you missed it.

“Lovin’” is a good ol’ tempo tune about young love and devotion. The band conveys a Rolling Stones feel with a Motown vibe. “I’ll make a living out of lovin’ you.” It makes you want to hug somebody you love (or would like to).

I especially liked “Ever Start to Wonder.” This fun upbeat jam tune features a nifty slide guitar and piano part. Bonus points since the lyric mentions Market Square in Knoxville, which is a pretty cool place to hang out for a while. According to the band’s web site, it was written in 2010 and reincarnated for this album.

“Dear Jamie” is a true tearjerker. “And it feels like my whole world’s falling apart/And I don’t mind dying, baby don’t break my heart.” If you haven’t figured it out by now, Trimble and Jenkins are gifted writers. Think U2 on this one, all the way down to the MLK Jr., speech dubbed in at the end. The slide guitar weeps.

“Slow Down Easy” delivers the best line on the album: “In the times you need me most/I leave you standing with my ghost.” Loose, groovy and soulful describe it best.

“Tarwater (The Fighter)” is an inspiring anthem about perseverance. It’s based on the life of USA Olympic Gold Medalist Davis Tarwater, who failed to make the Olympic team twice, retired, then came out of retirement to win a Gold Medal in 2012. Take this one along with you go on that run in the morning. Find some steps and go all Rocky Balboa.

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“Under Control” has a cool driving groove. It was my least favorite on the record, but it’s not a throwaway by any means.

“Three Little Angels” features  Amy Helm, daughter of troubadour Levon Helm. “Angels” is a cautionary tale about trying to go through struggles alone. It’s the most acoustic song on the record.

the dirty guv'nahs, tunes from the dam, beaverdamusa.com

The Dirty Guv’nahs (Photo: Marc Millman)

“Someone to Love” is the song to play when it’s way later at night than it needs to be, and you’re sitting alone in a motel room with a bunch of empties far away from home. Again, the slide guitar is impeccably moving, and the B-3 compliments it nicely. If it didn’t have so much competition, this would certainly be the encore for the band’s live show.

“Canyons.” This ballad about yearning for love ends with the characters feeling as much desperation as when it began. Consider the chorus: “I just want to be loved/That’s all I’m holding on to.” Now, consider the last lines: “At the bottom of it all/That’s where you’ll find hope.” About the song, Trimble wrote, “I spend way too much time comparing myself to other people. Insecurity and jealousy that I didn’t even know existed seeps from the corners of my heart and drives me deep into a canyon where the only thing that I know how to do is surf the internet, watch TV, build up walls, and silently or verbally compete with other people who are going through the exact same struggles that I am. That’s not exactly how I want to live the rest of my life.”

Struggles notwithstanding, Trimble and the rest of The Dirty Guv’nahs raised the musical bar with Hearts on Fire. Get it. Visit the band’s web site.

The Dirty Guv’nahs are:
James Trimble, vocal
Cozmo Holloway, lead guitar
Kevin Hyfantis, keyboards, BGV
Justin Hoskins, bass
Aaron Hoskins, drums
Michael Jenkins, rhythm guitar.

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