Happy Easter Weekend!

performing band silhouette

From the children of The Lord of Lords and King of Kings @ PIA Demos and Nashville Trax, Happy Easter!

Yes, He Reigns:

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken.. Isaiah 25:8

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ” Mark 16:1-8

What’s The Difference Between A Demo Recording and a Master Recording?


As far as music quality sometimes nothing, sometimes a lot. In general a lot more time is spent on a master from pre-production through tracking, through mixing and then it’s mastered, a step not usually taken on demos.

The big difference is rights in regards to selling the project for profit, which reflects on how many $ are shelled out for the recording. The songwriter(s) fully own the rights to the melody and lyric but the right to sell the recording depends on what the songwriter(s) pays for. If the musicians on the recording are paid demo rate then the songwriters can give away all the demonstration copies (on CD or MP3 usually) they like, but they can’t legally sell it. Demos usually cost in the hundreds.

Paying for a master recording (usually costing in the thousands of $) gives you the right to sell CD copies or downloads. It’s important to be sure the singer (if you don’t sing the song yourself) understands that’s the intent.

Two fairly recent developments passed by the musicians union:

1. A limited release master, cheaper than master rate, allows you to sell up to 10,000 CDs or downloads

2. You can upgrade from demo to master by paying the difference. In the old days a demo was forever a demo. I believe this upgrade became inevitable as demo quality and complexity improved and many demos sounded nearly as good as masters.- b.e.

Drew Baldridge signs with Nashville Publishing Company


Singer/songwriter Drew Baldridge based in Patoka, Illinois, has signed a co-publishing contract with This Music (partners with Warner/Chappell) partially due to the strength of his performances at venues in Southern Illionois. We’ve seen it again and again. A lot of signings happen due to building a fan base locally, often through social media. Bloom where you’re planted.

Who Cares What The Deputy Thinks? Will A One Man Band Do?

Bill Watson

Bill Watson

If you can’t afford an “all session player” recording perhaps a one man band recording will work?

I just did two of these for a songwriting duo based in Antioch, TN (just east of Nashville).

For her first project I programmed the drums and Diane, the female half of the duo, was quite happy with it but I recommended hiring session player Jim Riley (long time Rascal Flatts drummer and percussionist) for her second go-round and a session singer who did both lead and background vocals.

Her comments:

“THANK YOU! It’s PERFECT! Thank you so much, Bill. This is so great. I can’t thank you enough. Real drums really make a difference too, huh? ![*:D big grin](Will we be able to get a copy of just instrumental and instrumental + background vocals? You really outdid yourself. Thank you, again. D”

I can program a drum pattern and build your song track-by-track with me playing all or at least most of the instruments OR I can call in a session drummer and then build from that the same way.

Why? Because it will save you some bucks, nothing is more efficient than one guy with some chops knocking it out.

So here’s a sample that can best be described as total strangeness, lol, but it does demonstrate my abilities fairly well.

One-man-band style, I wrote it, played the guitars and other instruments, plus sang the vocals (if you want to call it singing) through a harmonizer, produced, arranged & mixed.

I programmed this particular drum track on the Roland R-8 machine.

That bizarre melody thing happening through the intro, repeated just after on guitar, that sounds like it must be a synthesized kazoo part or something? Nope, vocal through a vocal effects processor.


That spacey, wild electric lead guitar? If you think it might work, I can lay a track like that on your song, just reference this post and ask.

So, would a one-man-band type of demo do for your needs?

Pricing on one-man-band projects is less than for a full band of pro session players and, depending on your goal for the project, may suit your needs.

Please note that one-man-band skills are limited to drum programming, bass guitar, rhythm guitar, lead guitar (acoustic or electric) and keyboard sounds like strings, choirs,  B3 patch, assorted pad sounds, and such.

I can play piano to a degree but some songs may be above my skill level and a real piano guy may need to be hired. Some pop and rap is better with a drum program and/or drum loops but for most styles a real drummer does make a difference.

Who Cares What The Deputy Thinks is © 2016, Bill Watson. For demonstration purposes only. Any other use is a violation of U.S. and International copyright law.

Think a one man band demo will work for you? Shoot us an e-mail at nashtrax@bellsouth.net with your rough mp3 version attached and request a quote today!b.e.

Sara Evans Song Pitch Opportunity

Producer Mark Bright is seeking material of any tempo for Sara Evans (Sony). Many producers only want mid and uptempo but this may be a good opportunity for a ballad or a power ballad. No deadline at this point. If you’re interested in having a demo made for this pitch opportunity please send in your rough to Play It Again Demos.

Country Music Sales Up in 2012 Christian/Gospel Results Mixed

Country Engineers: Expect Plenty of Work in 2013

According to Nielsen Soundscan statistics, based on Billboard chart eligibility, Christian/Gospel physical/electronic album sales were down 0.5% in 2012 from 10.7 million to 10.6 million units sold. Country album sales for the same period rose 5.6% to 19.4 million. Both genres saw significant increases in single track downloads with Christian/Gospel up 8.8% from 20.3 to 22.1 million tracks while country downloads increased 13.6% from 73.6 million to 83.5 million.



Green Hills Signs Songwriter Danika Portz

Danika Portz has signed a publishing and career development deal with Green Hills Music Group. Established in 2007, Green Hills is located in the Nashville area and has had songs recorded by Rascal Flatts, George Strait, Hunter Hayes and others. Danika hails from Remsen Iowa.

Former PIAD singer Krista Marie Taking The Farm to Australia

Krista Marie

Former Play It Again Demo’s singer Krista Marie who joined The Farm (on Warner Brothers) a few months ago will be performing with them at a gig in Australia Sunday, March 17th.

Krista sang on many Play It Again Demos over a period of several years as well as singing lead vocals on the swing tune “Borrowed Time” for the John Smith Nashville Trax project.

Her first break came when she landed a job on Nashville Star as a personal assistant to Alabama‘s Randy Owen, who was on Broken Bow at the time, the same label Krista later signed with.

Unfortunately almost all artist signings include clauses preventing singers from using their voice to make money for anything except furthering their aspirations with the label. So after becoming a Broken Bow artist Krista could no longer work for us. But we love to hear about our former singer’s career building efforts and wish her all the luck possible.

The Farm’s current single is called, “Be Grateful.”

Songwriting Tip : The Song Concept Is King

Gruhn's Guitars, NashvilleMy songwriting mentor, Michael O’Connor of Michael O’Conner Music, based in Studio City, CA constantly stressed the importance of a unique song concept. His company hits were mostly middle of the road and pop songs. (Note that there’s a Michael O’Conner based in Texas who publishes his own songs: not the same guy.) When I got into country music and moved to Nashville I quickly realized that what Michael applied to pop songwriting was even more true when writing country where the chord progressions are often simple and in many cases very little except the lyric separates one song from another. There are many techniques country songwriters employ but I think it’s safe to say, in country, developing a unique song concept is king of the hill.

A unique concept can be defined simply as the “idea of the song” or “what the song is about.” But the concept can also encompass the title. In fact, coming up with a great, unique title is the starting point for many hits.

When you want to write about a particular subject your first thought will likely be a cliché. Write down the cliché then try to outdo it with something that says that same thing in a way no one ever has before. Locked Out Of Heaven by Bruno Mars is a great example of a concept title that’s unique. A good country example is the Jamey Johnson penned In Color. The singer is looking through his Grandfather’s old black & white photos taken at highly emotional moments in his Grandfather’s life as his Grandfather discusses them. Grandad ends each chorus with, “You should have seen it in color.” Powerful. It’s the kind of hook line that resonates so deeply the first time you hear it, it takes your breath away.

Why do you want to mess with this title creating and lyric crafting stuff, why not just let the words pour out and let the chips fall where they may? Because publishers are your best pathway to getting a song cut and publishers know they have a much better chance of making that happen if a song has a unique concept/title than something bland and unimaginative. So their antennas are up for great titles. Impress them with a great one that’s developed into a complete, equally well developed lyric and a phone call to contract your song probably isn’t more than five minutes away. Anyone can write “My Grandad showed me some old pictures and wished I had been there to see it for myself.” Not everyone can boil it down to, “You should have seen it in color.”

The paradox for most songwriters is when they look at the pop or country charts and see clichés or common phrases used as titles and think,”That dude at Play It Again Demos telling me about the importance of great titles and concepts doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Or they listen to the radio and think, “Hey my song is better, therefore it should be a hit.” If the unpublished songwriter’s song really is better it’s usually because the artist songs were written by the artist or someone with an inside track to them. It’s the artist’s fan base and clout that get the song on the charts and garner sales.

Yes, Hank Williams, Sr. wrote “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” and Dolly Parton wrote “I Will Always Love You” two songs that almost surely were outpourings of emotion that came out ready to cut as-is, no tweaking necessary. And both writers had enough experience to know that injecting craft and cleverness was the wrong way to go for those particular songs. But both had their share of songs that obviously were crafted to the max. And most songs by less experienced songwriters fall far short of that out-of-the-gate perfection.

Only compare your work to “outside” songs on the charts that were written by writers who have to run the same gamut of gatekeepers song publishers, producers, etc. you do. In most of those cases you’ll find a unique concept is the catalyst that propelled the outside song all the way to its current position on the charts- Bill Watson

Fiddle & Steel Country Music Demo Sample

The above track is a sample of the skilled Nashville session musicians we use on demos. Steel and fiddle often are used in the same song as they are here.

Interested in having either steel, fiddle or both added to a recording you are working on in your home or studio?

e-mail us at nashtrax@bellsoyth.net  or text 615-319-8616

Song Publisher Gabi Kochlani Building Catalog


Gabi Kochlani, formerly in management for Guns & Roses; A&R for Third Blind Eye; and songwriter management for EMI Music Publishing has formed her own publishing company and is seeking to build a catalog of Top 40 pop/rock, pop/dance songs.

Click Here For More Song Pitching Opportunities

If you need a song demo produced for the Gabi Kochlani pitch, please have your rough in to Play It Again Demos by May 15th, 2013 which will allow us enough time to record it for you before this opportunity closes.

Did You Know? The Revenue Stream From Songwriting

ist1_4647415-money-pile-100-dollar-billsAre you aware there are numerous ways a song can can produce income? It’s true. There are mechanical royalties; airplay royalties; foreign publishing; synch licenses; sheet music income; download income; ringtone revenue; YouTube views; jukebox and bar band cover tune revenue from licensing fees collected by ASCAP and BMI … it’s a long list and I have to question the wisdom of the songwriters who decide to self-publish. For a few it makes sense, For most it’s, “What are they thinking?”

It’s highly unlikely that most songwriters with no publishing experience have the contacts or experience to fully promote their work. In many cases the money generated by a major label release is the tip of the iceburg with the bigger money being made on covers of the tune by other major label artists; “Greatest Hits of the Decade” type packages; foreign language releases by top artists in other countries and other avenues.

Some songs make substantial money from repetetive upfront licensing fees paid by aspiring artists. When I produce a singer who doesn’t write on a Nashville Trax project I search for suitable songs from our own Play It Again Demos catalog as well as the catalogs of song publishers and begin running them by the artist. In order to be legal to sell downloads or press CDs the artist or their backer has to pay the songwriter(s) upfront according to the type of project. The minimum is a limited release license payment for 10,000 CDs or downloads.

One reason to consider pursuing publishing deals for your songs is it frees you from copyright administration and promotion. You’re most likely a creative type and not particularly good at exploiting a song copyright so why not hand the reins over to a pro while you focus on increasing the herd?- B.E. Watson