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Stripping It Down: Letting Your Songs Get Naked

I’m sure you’ve thought about or tried doing acoustic versions of your songs. If if you haven’t, you need to! Sometimes your gig will dictate you must go acoustic… there simply may not be enough room on a small stage for all your players. Less is more can definitely be amazing, and it creates a […]

The Forrest Gump Moment – Are YOU Grammy-Ready?

In the aftermath of a mostly-great Grammy awards show, filled with some pretty memorable moments, I’m still perplexed by one performance that has many of my Facebook friends still scratching their heads. It’s too bad, because the show had it going on, with Taylor’s wild fantasy number, Jack White & his vibe-y all-girl band, stellar […]

Are You Married to Your Audience, or Just Dating?

(Enjoy this excerpt from Tom’s Live Music Method book, on how to begin constructing a set list that will build a fan base, get you more gigs, and help you sell more merch:) What does it mean to be married to your audience? Or to be dating your audience? Let me explain with some real […]

Be Inspired, Equipped & Motivated

It’s the beginning of another new year! Recently I read a blog I wrote at the beginning of 2010. I’m repeating it for 2013 (because I still feel this way): “As [this new year] begins, a lot of you have resolved to pursue your music and give it a good shot. You’re excited about the […]

What Kind of Vision do YOU Have?

It might be a record producer or a manager that calls us and asks for some help for one of their artists. Or sometimes it’s a friend who refers an artist to us for some work on their show. But the phone calls and emails typically have the same request: “the show is really good, […]

Myths About Spontaneity, Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Myths About Spontaneity

“A show that is planned is not real and people won’t like it.” This statement is a common thought among artists and bands these days. It came from a front man of a popular indie band who was on a panel with me at a CMJ Festival in New York. I agree with that statement […]

Myths About Spontaneity, Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Myths About Spontaneity

I had been on a conference call with 5 other people I was going to see at the CMJ Music Conference. We had been asked to be part of a panel called “Stage Diving 101” about the importance of the live show. The moderator wanted all of us on the same page before the conference. […]

Go Ahead, Judge Me

Performing for a competition is stressful to say the least. Choosing the right song/songs and sticking to an allotted amount of time can drive you nuts! Backstage Pass member, Temperance, wrote in recently asking about a competition she’ll be performing in – she had questions about how to choose the correct song for the situation. […]

Take Control of Your Songs

Some artists are so afraid of looking like they have a “canned” show, they go out and “wing it.” But, the key to a great show is actually a combination of form AND spontaneity! “Canned” can happen when you over-prepare, majoring in the minors, memorizing every word you’re going to say to the audience. Or, […]

Safe vs. Good: The Nerd and the Daredevil

It was not a good morning. So feeling frustrated and anxious, I decided to “self-medicate” by going to McDonalds. No lectures please…I’d worked out that morning! About halfway through my quarter pounder and perfectly salted hot fries, “nerd-dad” and his kids sat down in the booth behind me. (Not a judgment – just painting a […]