The Next Big Thing
HearSay slept in this week (that’s right, all week), so staff writer Jeff Prince agreed to pinch-hit – and immediately seized the chance to give himself some free publicity.
My biggest influences while growing up – uh, sorry Mom, Dad, and Jesus – were singer-songwriter types: Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, Bruce Springsteen. So it’s a thrill to have surpassed all those hacks.
My band PrinceRodriguez recorded a homegrown album in 2005, Ballad of Pedro Nix, and went about the difficult task of trying to get somebody – anybody – to listen to it. The album sold like hotcakes. Old. Moldy. Disgusting. Hotcakes. Of the 500 copies we had pressed, we sold five. But at least we don’t have to worry about pesky empty closet space anymore!
A few months ago, somebody suggested we send a copy to Americana Homeplace Radio, a web site devoted to roots music that offers subscription-free streaming audio. Lo and behold, a song from our album is sitting pretty on American Homeplace’s Top 100 Chart. At No. 7, “Tierra Mia” is charting higher than songs by all the aforementioned “artists,” who now aren’t worthy of carrying my guitar picks. Skeptics might say Homeplace’s chart lacks the relevance of, say, Billboard or CMJ, but they’re just jealous. Americana Homeplace is devoted to indie music from stalwarts like Gillian Welch and Earl Scruggs, and to geniuses like me and my musical partner Phillip Rodriguez. I listened to the station for a half-hour while writing this column and heard several great songs by obscure artists, and they were sprinkled in among the likes of J.J. Cale, Dr. John, and The Band.
Obviously, payola isn’t required to receive airplay. PrinceRodriguez doesn’t know or blow anybody, and we’re far too prideful (read: poor) to buy our way into the business. What’s cool is having a free-spirited radio station that doesn’t seem to give a shit about corporate pressures or glossy marketing. Ain’t the worldwide web great? Check it out, AmericanaHomeplace.com, and tune in for an eclectic and eccentric take on down-home music. While you’re at it, go to the site’s e-mail contact link and request “Tierra Mia.” Chart placement is based on listener requests, and that no-talent bum Neil Young is standing between my band and No. 1.
Something about my Waylon Payne cover story from a couple weeks ago prompted a rash of phone calls and e-mails, with many of y’all wondering if the actor and singer-songwriter has any new music available. Well, later this year through his MySpace page, he’ll release a live album and DVD of a 2006 gig with Willie Nelson at The Fillmore in San Francisco. As for a new studio album, Payne is currently working on it in Austin with producer and Fort Worth native Stephen Bruton. For more, check out MySpace.com/iamwaylonpayne.
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