Tag Archive for: Musicians

Book Review: 25 Notes for the Successful Musician

bookChad Jeffers is a successful in-demand road musician; he currently tours as Carrie Underwood’s steel guitar player and previously toured with Keith Urban, playing a variety of instruments. He was also a member of the group Pinmonkey, which had several singles released by RCA.

Jeffers’ new book, 25 Notes for the Successful Musician: The Ultimate Guide to Making It in the Music Industry is aimed at aspiring musicians. First, he wants to bring a dose of reality to those who believe playing music for a living is all glitz and glamour, by stressing the importance of professionalism.

What sets Jeffers’ book apart is that he stresses the networking aspects of being a musician. A musician certainly has to be able to perform at a professional level in the industry but, after that, it’s personality and networking that determines who gets the gigs. He also stresses that practice and preparedness are essential—something many young musicians overlook. It’s more than just getting your guitar tuned, it’s getting yourself in tune with who’s going to hire you and the audience you’re playing for.

In his “notes” on “Work Hard and Be Nice” and “It’s All About Sales. Are You a Salesman?” Jeffers confronts the issue of whether its “music” or “business” (he’s also got a chapter by that title). The answer, of course, is that it is a mixture of both and those who ignore one side in favor of the other are doomed to come up short when they chase their dreams.

Finally, Jeffers ends his book with some practical advice with “Save (and Invest) Your Money” and “Taxes.” He is right on about these important topics. Too many musicians proclaim that they love the music and hate the business, but those who want a long-term career that ends with some dignity need to keep an eye on the business side, whether they “love” it or not.

Copies of 25 Notes are available for $19.99.

3 Doors Down Local Side Project, Golf Tournament


3 Doors Down

Local musicians Todd Harrell (3 Doors Down), Jon Nicholson (Muzik Mafia), Kenny Olson (Kid Rock’s band), and Shannon Boone have formed a new band called 7dayBinge. They recorded their self-titled debut album recently at the Sound Kitchen and will release it via Rock Ridge Music. The self-produced album will be available digitally on Dec. 8, and in hard copy on Jan. 26, 2010.

Meanwhile, Harrell’s 3 Doors Down bandmates are planning the first annual Rivergate Studios Celebrity Rock-n-Golf Tournament to benefit Lyrics for Life, the non-profit organization that helps fight childhood cancer. Tournament players will join more than 25 music and sports celebrities including Gary Allan, 3 Doors Down, Sister Hazel, Halfway To Hazard, 38 Special, and Ira Dean on Mon., Nov. 9 at Hendersonville’s Bluegrass Yacht and Country Club. An after party/all-star jam will follow at 12th And Porter. Rivergate Studios, co-owned by Chris Henderson (3 Doors Down) and Bobby Capps (38 Special), is co-hosting the event. Sponsorships and VIP golf packages are available at www.rivergatestudios.net.

AMA To Honor Sam Bush

Ssamam Bush will receive the Lifetime Achievement for Instrumentalist award at the 8th Annual Americana Honors & Awards ceremony, presented by the Gibson Foundation, on Thurs., Sept. 17 at the historic Ryman Auditorium. As co-founder and leader of the seminal progressive bluegrass band New Grass Revival for 18 years, Bush was among the first purveyors of newgrass–the wild bluegrass stepchild that features rock ‘n’ roll grooves and extended virtuosic jams–and he continues to burn as one of the genre’s most brilliant lights, both as a sideman and the leader of the Sam Bush Band.

Jed Hilly, executive director of the Americana Music Association, praised Bush’s standing as one of the greatest mandolin players ever. “Sam has created his own genre and has become such an integral part of the Americana community,” Hilly said. “It’s such a privilege to honor him this year.”

The past 20 years have found Bush performing as a sideman with Emmylou Harris; special guest artist with the likes of Lyle Lovett and Bela Fleck & The Flecktones; spearheading boundary-stretching collaborations with Edgar Meyer, Mark O’Connor and David Grisman; and driving nearly every “bluegrass supergroup” imaginable with his mandolin playing. Bush’s newest album, Circles Around Me, will be released Oct. 20 on Sugar Hill Records.

The Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist is one of several career honors that will be handed out during the awards ceremony on Sept. 17, to be hosted by Jim Lauderdale with Buddy Miller leading his all star band. Running Sept. 16-19, the 10th Annual Americana Music Festival & Conference will offer seminars, panels and networking opportunities at the Nashville Convention Center by day, and bring a stellar lineup of musical showcases each evening. Conference registrations currently at the early bird discount rate of $350 for members and $450 for non-members are available here.

Updates: Gina Hilburn, Laura Huie, Heather and Bobby Young, Beckett Service

Pictured from left: Patrick Davis, Gina Hilburn, Harley Allen, Lisa Carver and Marv Green

Pictured from left: Patrick Davis, Gina Hilburn, Harley Allen, Lisa Carver and Marv Green

Songwriters Patrick Davis, Harley Allen, Lisa Carver and Marv Green came together for a recent benefit show to help longtime Warner Music Group employee Gina Hilburn in her fight against cancer. The event took place Friday, June 26 at the Bluebird Café, and raised nearly $4,000 which included contributions from friends and co-workers, ticket sales, auction items and a matching gift contribution from the Roger Jennings Davis Memorial Fund. To make a donation, please send a check to 
Roger J. Davis Memorial Fund, 1708 2st Ave South #101, Nashville TN 37212, and indicate “For Gina.”


Nashville-based media coach Laura Huie has changed her contact info. She can now be reached at [email protected] or 615-415-2460. Laura is owner and operator of Huie Media, a company that specializes in artist media training. She has worked with artists on major labels including Sony/BMG, Warner Bros. and Lyric Street Records, as well as independent artists. She also continues to work as a television producer/writer for various media outlets and just wrapped working as a segment producer on the fifth season of “Gospel Dream,” which airs on the Gospel Music Channel.


Heather Young, Director of Radio Marketing for Dierks Bently, and Bobby Young, Director of National Promotion/Republic Nashville, welcomed daughter Addison Lea Young today, July 6. Proud Daddy reports that she was born at 1:52 PM, “with 10 toes, 10 fingers, and 2 beautiful eyes,” weighing 7 lbs. 15 oz.


Reminder:  The memorial service for famed musician/producer Barry Beckett will be this Sunday, July 12 at 5 PM at the Musicians Hall of Fame.

Service Scheduled For Barry Beckett


Barry Beckett 1943-2009

As arrangements for a memorial service are announced, the recent passing of acclaimed musician/producer Barry Beckett continues to be felt throughout Nashville’s creative community. Musician Steve Nathan and producer Steve Buckingham offer their remembrances below.

The memorial service will be Sunday, July 12 at 5 PM at the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville. If those who knew Beckett would like to send a statement to be used as part of the service, they can email it to Steve Buckingham at [email protected].

Respected studio musician Steve Nathan had this to say:
Just weeks before MusicRow magazine’s annual awards honoring studio musicians and others, we lost Barry Beckett, one of the best there ever was. I’ve been fortunate to receive a number of those awards over the years, thanks in no small part to the skills I learned working with Barry.

From the first session, when he told me (with his characteristic lack of any sugarcoating) that I’d “stayed a little too close to the chart,” I saw that there’s more to being a “studio musician” than knowing how to play an instrument. At the time he wanted me to realize that any monkey can tuck his elbows in and follow a chord chart, maybe even do it in tempo, but I needed to bring more, dig down and put my heart and soul into every record. Thankfully, he didn’t give up on me then and there.

Over the years, watching Barry, I learned to listen deeper, to hear the subtleties in the music and the lyrics. I learned to pay attention to everyone in the phones, to react to the other players and always give them something to play with. Most importantly, he taught me that “job one” is to come into the room, listen to the artist and producer, and “get” their vision for the record. He said to figure out what they want to say and then use all of your abilities to help bring that vision to the ears of the listener. Have the guts to step up when you have an idea, even if it upsets the apple cart, and have the humility to let it go when you’re wrong. And know that anytime you catch yourself showing off for other musicians, you’ve failed.

Barry didn’t teach me how to play piano, but he taught me how to make records. I wish I’d remembered to say thanks sooner.


Well-known producer Steve Buckingham also has fond memories of Beckett:

I have heard from so many people about Barry’s death. Paul Simon called from his tour in New Zealand to offer his condolences. I asked him to call Diane, Barry’s wife of over 43 years, which he did. The following is something I wrote on the night I was told Barry had died:

Eddie Bayers just called me and said Barry died about 30 minutes ago. Barry Beckett was one of the greatest studio keyboard players in history and a hell of a guy. If you listened to Rhythm & Blues, Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody,” Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome”…and thousands of other records…you’ve heard Barry Beckett.

I first met Barry in 1976 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama when I was still playing sessions and hadn’t yet started producing. Barry and the other members of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section…Roger Hawkins, David Hood and Jimmy Johnson…were already legends, having played on records for everyone from Wilson Pickett to the Rolling Stones.

Barry moved to Nashville a few years after I did. The first country artist I produced in Nashville was Tammy Wynette and the first musician I called to play on the session was Barry. I have a great picture of Tammy, Barry and all the other musicians together in the studio. We all look so young…and, sadly, three of those in the photo are no longer with us.

Barry and I worked together a number of times over the following years and even co-produced some artists together. As so many of the other musicians have recalled, the image of Barry holding a cigarette in one hand, elbow on one knee, toothpick in his mouth…staring at the keyboard, waiting to lay just the right 5 or 6 notes in the perfect spot…is indelibly stamped in our memories.

A week ago today, I went to see Barry for the last time with Eddie Bayers and Michael Rhodes. Eddie and Michael played drums and bass on hundreds of Barry’s productions as well as for me. We all consider ourselves lucky to have had him as a mentor…and, especially, a friend.

I will close with this one story. Barry and a group of us studio musicians and producers loved trains. Every year we would charter a steam engine and several cars and go on all-day excursions out of Chattanooga. The cars were the old, luxurious types built in the 1930s. The last car on the train had a platform out back and we all wanted to spend time sitting out there, watching the tracks disappear behind us. This is where Barry would park himself for the entire day, except when it was time to eat. One afternoon I was sitting on the back platform with Barry who, typically, had his elbow on one knee and was holding a cigarette…staring at the tracks. Finally he said: “Buck…listen to that rhythm.” (He was referring to the clickety-clack of the steel wheels on the rails). Barry continued, “That’s a deep pocket (groove)…let’s remember that the next time we’re in the studio.”

Believe me…there are a lot of things I remember about Barry Beckett.


To read more about Barry Beckett, click here.