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“But I Can’t Afford the Bells & Whistles!”

We like the challenge. We know most artists – at least the ones starting out – won’t have access to lots of lights, staging, props, and the extras established performers have. And to be honest, that stuff can just be a bandage on a sub-par performance.

It’s important to understand the logistics and principles for putting on a good show with just YOU, or you and your band. If you can’t rely on lights, or a huge fan base, or radio airplay, can you entertain and engage your audience?

THAT’s what you should be asking yourself!

In an interview with Nashville’s Tennessean newspaper, country artist Luke Bryan was asked about his thoughts on his upcoming tour. He said, “We’re not going to build some galactic spaceship and spend $200,000 a night putting on a show. At the end of the day, one spotlight and me doing my job as an entertainer should be enough to hopefully make it a great show.” When he’s sure he’s got the ticket sales, he plans to “build the bells and whistles around me.”

Luke’s got that right! He understands that all the tricks, costumes, and props are secondary to knowing how to put a great show together.

Awhile back, Tom and I had a meeting with a band with a fairly large following in certain markets. They seemed to be excited about how to maximize that and take things to a higher level. Well, after our meeting, they did… sort of. They didn’t hire us. Instead they bought a couple of mechanical lifts and that was their ‘next level.’ They skipped over the part about creating moments.

Don’t get me wrong – the lifts are cool and a nice addition. But they’re not the end-all to creating a great performance. It creates an exciting moment when they’re used, but you can’t use them on every song.

I’m guessing the cost to purchase the lifts could have paid for all 3 of us Live Music Producers for several weeks, in which we could have created an entire show filled with moments!

Don’t have the budget for bells and whistles? Good. Invest your time and money into developing the skills it takes to create an engaging show that stands on its own.

You can do that by working 1-on-1 with a Live Music Producer, either in Nashville or in your home town.


Amy Wolter

As a trained Live Music Producer for Tom Jackson Productions, Amy Wolter brings her years onstage as a lead singer & keyboardist - along with her experience as a producer, arranger, and songwriter - to singers and bands who won’t settle for ‘good enough’. She’s worked with artists at all levels, and genres ranging from Rock to Celtic, empowering them to have confidence and authority onstage, and put on memorable live shows, a few of whom have been on two of the largest US tours in recent history. Some of her clients include Grammy award winners The Band Perry & Lacrae, CMA and ACM –winning country acts, Gloriana & Thompson Square, 2016 The Voice contestant Mary Sarah, CCMA (Canada) winners High Valley, Jess Moskaluke & Chad Brownlee, and Winter Jam Tour veterans Sidewalk Prophets & Love and The Outcome.

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Greenroom Comments

  1. Kirk Schiefelbein says:

    Thats wisdom !

  2. Amy, I totally agree with you. A great artist who’s name escapes me once told me that a great song is a great no matter what instruments are used. If you have a song that can work with the full band or with just a flat top then you have a good song. It is not the “Dressings” that you put on the song that counts and the same thing can be said for a live show. I have seen artist who come out with explosions and effects that would amaze you and I have seen artist sit on stage with a guitar and a spot light, that impressed me much more then the explosions & effects. There are so many artist out there who have no idea on how to connect with audience and/or create moments. It is a craft it is not something we are all born with. I think that when artist are asked to learn this technique they feel that they have to admit that there is a fault. NO ! Let me put it this way; Would you give an 18 wheeler to a 12 year and ask him to go get milk at the store ? Of course not So as an artist why are we doing that to ourselves all the time ? Let go of the FEAR and you will sky rocket !

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