Casting Now : Reality Show For Aspiring Male Country Artists Age 14 to 20

Hit The Country Music Jackpot!

Hit The Country Music Jackpot!

Jan Smith, vocal coach for The Band Perry’s Kimberly Perry, Usher, and Justin Bieber is part of a new reality TV show focused on discovering the next generation of country music talent.

If interested, upload your video to YouTube then e-mail the link to

Please include your city of residence, age and all contact information.

Our New Plug Ins Will Take Your Recording To The Next Level!

Nashville Trax Mixing Board Shot

Nashville Trax Mixing Board Shot

To say I’m excited about this new batch of plugins we’ve acquired for the Nashville recording studio, Nashville Trax, over this past this month is an understatement. Over $100,000 worth of software recording and mixing madness!

This Solid State Logic plug is $300 retail but well worth every penny; it sounds just like a channel pulled from an SSL 4000 E Series console. There is no way anyone, including a seasoned Nashville studio engineer, could tell the difference in a blind A-B comparison. The richness is there, the clarity, the punch…love it! It’s an awesome addition to our studio that will bring quality up several notches:

SSL 4000 E Series Channel Strip plug-in

SSL 4000 E Series Channel Strip plug-in

And here’s a cropped pic of our new Waves Vocal Rider plugin:

Waves Vocal Rider

Waves Vocal Rider

Man, does this take a load off. Until now I didn’t make it a practice to ride the vocal fader manually on demos, it was too tedious and the budget isn’t there for that degree of manual labor on a demo mix. Only master mixes with inherently higher budgets received that level of attention to detail.

This SSL vocal fader plug will change that. Less than 60 seconds of setting levels and it rides a vocal automatically, pre-reading the vocal signal, comparing it to the mix level, then adjusting the vocal setting in real time to compensate for the music/vocal variations and keep the vocal in your face at all times. Awesome! Awesome, AWESOME! Why NOT start using it on demos too?

But guess what? We purchased the version for bass guitar too!

Here’s a studio screen shot of our Bass Rider in action on a mix:

Pro Tools HD2 Bass Rider Software

Pro Tools HD2 Bass Rider Software

And Max Bass? Got it! In the Max Bass window, the green area on the left is the original bass signal, the green line slanting left shows where the frequency of the original signal cuts off and the brown area to the right shows the frequencies generated by Max Bass, psycho-acoustically creating a huge bass sound that seems to eminate from everywhere, rather than from the fixed point of the stereo speakers.

Max Bass for Pro Tools HD

Studio Shot of Max Bass for Pro Tools HD

Combine the Max bass, Waves Bass Rider and Vocal Rider and you have the foundation of one fantastic mix!- b.e.

The Freemans : Voice In The Desert CD

Freemans Voice In The Desert CD

Freemans Voice In The Desert CD

The Freemans are just one of the big name Southern Gospel groups that call Hendersonville, TN home base, H-ville is about a 15 minute drive north of Nashville. The Oak Ridge Boys, The Isaacs and others do the same, as well as several top nationally known bluegrass groups. I’m not sure why there’s such a concentration in such a small area, obviously the proximity to Nashville plays a part but there are probably historical and family connections as well.

I met Darryl Freeman and his son, Caylon, the drummer in the band, for the first time about 8 weeks ago. They gave me a free copy of their newly released Voice In The Desert CD which I’ve since listened to several times and found to be super.

Reading the liner notes I noticed they didn’t write their own music on the CD so that might be a pitch opportunity for you if you have something that’s dead on target for their next project. I highly recommend you purchase their VITD album and listen thoroughly beforehand, just because you wrote a song that mentions Jesus it doesn’t mean it will fit their style- b.e.

Study Claims Increased Ability To Hear Pitch In Adults On Valproate

Fiddle Tracks Online Fast and Priced Right!

Fiddle Tracks Online: Click through and listen to musicians play with perfect pitch!

Adults can learn to play an instrument, but many previous studies have demonstrated that certain synapses in the brain close by age twelve and eliminate the possibility of developing into a world class musician.

It is also been an accepted fact that while the ability to hear relative pitch may be improved with practice in some adults, if the ability to hear absolute pitch hasn’t been acquired by age three or four up to, at the latest, age nine, it’s no longer possible. Here’s just one of many examples of why this matters: a fiddle doesn’t have frets so a player with the ability to hear absolute pitch has a huge advantage.

Now comes research, The Valproate Study On Pitch claiming taking Valproate can permit an adult to greatly improve their ability to recognize absolute pitch:

So is this a great breakthrough or will we soon hear the usual: “Want perfect pitch? Take Valproate, but by the way “side effects include hair loss, incontinance, increased risk of cancer, five weeks after starting treatment you may grow an extra head…..”

Verse Chorus Form

Acoustic Guitar Sound Hole and Strings

Acoustic Guitar Sound Hole and Strings

The Verse Chorus Form has been part of songwriting since the 1800’s and it’s more popular now than ever.

A good example of this form at work in today’s music is Holy Spirit by Jesus Culture:

As you see the verses usually have the same number of lines, the lines are of the same length, while the words are dissimilar to each other. Each verse moves the song forward with new information.

But the chorus that appears after each verse or two typically is an exact repeat of the original chorus. In this case at 1:21 the first chorus begins with “Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here…” and continues on for a total of four lines. After a brief musical Interlude the verse comes in at 2:00 with “I’ve tasted and seen…”

So the form of a simple verse chorus song is:

Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus

To make it more interesting you can double up some sections: Verse, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Chorus

The chorus is the high point both musically and lyrically. It sums up the point and calls attention to itself. It should be distinct from the verse and that can be achieved by altering the note length.

A Bridge section that’s dissimilar to both chorus and verse can also be used.

Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Bridge, Verse, Chorus

Upgrading Pro Tools HD 7, HD 8, HD, 9, 10 or HD 11 : Gear Glut Alert!

Aural Exciter Software for Pro Tools HD

Aural Exciter Software for Pro Tools HD running on Snow Leopard

So a rather large monkey wrench has been tossed into the Nashville music machine recording engine! Avid has released Pro Tools HD 11 and it doesn’t play well at all with much of the the gear required to support earlier HD versions. Used Accel PCI and PCIe cards, digital converters and more are being dumped on the market as studio owners realize their gear is dated, and if they intend to move to 11, nearly worthless. Control 24 mixer control surfaces that cost about $8,000 new a couple years ago are not supported in PT 11 and are being offered as low as $2,250 on eBay, with few takers. I suspect it will be tough to get $600 for one in a year or two.

Almost all professional grade studios and most project studios in the Nashville area use Pro Tools HD (Or HD2 or HD3) software. Home studios and others may run Cubase, Logic or regular Pro Tools but Pro Tools HD is king in dedicated pro studios. On my last project I worked in three different studios around the area. Because my home base, Nashville Trax runs Pro Tools HD2 and the others run HD too, it was easy to interface with the other two studios by transporting the music files on portable hard drives. No individual file consolidation necessary, just click on the PT session file icon and the song session opens, ready to go, sweet!

HD is far more expensive than regular PT because it’s more robust and has more features. The initial software cost alone is $6,000 to $11,000 more than the $300 to $600 regular Pro Tools costs. Plus you need expensive hardware too, each piece costing in the multiple thousands. Now most studios that move to 11 will upgrade from an earlier PT HD version so the pain of acquisition will be greatly mitigated, but it still isn’t cheap. For example, going from 7 to 11 is a $2,500 jump.

The big problem, and I heard this from several fellow studio owners, then confirmed it on Avid’s website, is that PT HD 11 supports no plug-ins (for quality reverb, EQ, compression, etc.) from earlier versions. If you’ve invested in $50K of extra plugs and you’re running HD10 you either stay with 10 or try to sell the plugs while you can, usually for pennies on the dollar. But a lot of engineers swear by their favorite plugs and won’t give them up without a fight. Many plugs don’t even have comparable 64 bit AAX versions that will work in 11 yet.

“I can’t afford to move up; I have way too much invested in plug-ins.” one owner confided.

“Avid has ticked off a lot of people in this town with 11 and lost some customers,” said a session musician.

I suspect there will be much kicking, screaming and gnashing of teeth, but most studios will eventually cross the bridge to 11. Nashville is a world class recording environment and PT HD is still the best thing on the planet.

So a lot of studios that ran early PT versions for years are taking advantage of the used gear glut and upgrading to a higher level of HD or moving from PT to PT HD. But that can be a nightmare because the operating system on the studio’s Mac (Pro Tools HD runs better on a Mac so few serious studios use PCs/Windows) must match up with the version you’re upgrading to.

To help fellow up graders out I thought I’d post some useful info:

To upgrade to HD7 you’ll need to run the Mac Tiger operating system 10.4.2 through 10.4.8. The old G5s often had it as well as Mac Pros. Beware of purchasing one of the short-run Intel Mac Pros from around 2006 unless you get the original disc or unless the Tiger version your upgrade requires is already on it. The Tiger OS X disks for the Intel machines were machine-specific. Otherwise, there are lots of retail Tiger versions for Power Macs and G5’s.

There’s little difference between PT HD 8 or HD 9 and 8HD licenses are dirt cheap. But if you can afford to jump to 10, do so, a lot of pro studios will be hanging at 10 for at least another year or two, some for good.

Also, check out the limit your computer will upgrade to! If you’re trying to jump from Tiger 10.4 to Mt. Lion 10.8 it’s not likely to happen.

HD 8 requires Mac OS X Leopard 10.8.0 to 10.5.8

HD 9 is Snow Leopard 10.6.2 to 10.6.8

HD 10 is 10.6.7 Snow Leopard to 10.7.4 Lion

HD 11 requires Mountain Lion.

Be careful, I’m talking about software. If you purchase any of those cats you should NOT hear a GRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!! If so, forget exchanging it, run for your life : ) b.e. watson

Do you produce music at home or in a commercial studio? Did you realize how inexpensive and EASY it is to get a Nashville session quality player on your projects? Yes, make your project better or even make a profit! Tell your country music clients you have Nashville quality pedal steel guitar and fiddle tracks available and they’ll sell themselves! Add a markup and voila, easy money in your pocket! Or how about saxophone? Harmonica? piano? Bass guitar? Acoustic? Electric? Mandolin? Vocals? You name it, we can probably do it?

Nashville Skyline

The Music City Songwriting Competition is accepting entries in just about any genre or category imaginable. No instrumentals though.

Entry fee is $30. A pro demo isn’t necessary to enter but considering many entrants will be from cogs in the the Nashville songwriting machine who always do great demos; it’s questionable if you’ll win without one, we believe it’s a very good idea.

Click through the link for more information.

Fractured Fairytale

Play It Again Demos

Play It Again Demos

If you like your music a little on the swampy side, this is what the Play It Again Demos team  did with the Michael Jackson penned, Fractured Fairytail. We excel at in-your-face swampy  bluesy , partly because of our whompin’ drum room and the Gretsch kit with its one-in-a-thousand kick drum.

Montgommery Gentry’s drummer, William Ellis, played on this track. While listening down he marveled at how good the drum sound is here, even in the raw state before EQ, reverb and other effects were added. The bluesy harmonica by our harp man, Mr. Mike, is icing on the cake:

Here’s “Fractured Fairytale”:

Fractured Fairytale ©  Michael Jackson, acquired by Listen Again Music (BMI)  in 2017, posted by permission. All rights Reserved. Unauthorized use is a violation of U.S. and International copyright law.If you’re interested in recording this song, please let us know and we’ll forward your request to the music publisher.

Do you need a quality band like this to make your song sound professional?

Pro demos make everyone- friends, family, artists, record company A & R and music publishers- take notice. Have 3 or 4 pro demos to peddle and they’ll brand you as a pro-level songwriter every time you pitch them.

We would be as happy to do that for you! Just shoot us an e-mail at with your rough mp3 version attached and request a quote today!

Write in another style? There are more samples of work to your right in Categories > Samples of Our Work.




Hot off the press, so to speak!

My approach was to re-format the original work into a more formal chorus/verse/bridge structure, alter the chords at the bridge to create some separation, track it as a three piece rhythm section, then build the production around the increasingly interesting vocal, including the introduction of some Antares and Waves vocal effects plugs.

The total music dropout with “cell phone” EQ on the vocal in the middle section adds a bit of “wow that’s cool ” factor. but I can take no credit, it was an unplanned afterthought that Jesus laid on me as I mixed, (He always helps me out).

Anyway it all seems to work, here’s a clip, see what you think:

This was Brittany’s first project here and it was a blast working on her vocal tracks. She’s friendly, a lot of fun, a great Christian woman and I absolutely love her singing style. Mixing was extra fun too as I got a chance to use several of the new plugs we added recently. Hopefully the results speak well of them.- b.e. watson

Gone is ©  Michael Jackson, acquired by Listen Again Music (BMI)  in 2017, posted by permission. All rights Reserved. Unauthorized use is a violation of U.S. and International copyright law.

If you’re interested in recording Gone or using it in any commercial application please let us know and we’ll forward your request for a mechanical license to the music publisher.

If you would like a quote on making a professional version of your song simply drop an e-mail with your rough mp3 or mp4 attached to: detailing what you want.

Write in another style? There are more samples of work to your right in Categories > Samples of Our Work.

Piano & Vocal Christian Song Demo Before/After.

Bill Watson

Bill Watson

I thought you might like to hear this, hot off the press so to speak.

The client’s Before version of Oh Lord I Sing To Thee:

The Play It Again Demos in progress version:

The songwriters are pleased with our work. “It sounds great!” said Robert Landes after the first listen to this version, then he paid extra to create a final mix second version with suggested possible additions: violin, bass guitar and percussion. That second version will be posted here in a couple of weeks, stay tuned.

Update! Here is the version with violin, bass guitar, drums and percussion (the drummer added a shaker) to it:

Oh Lord I Sing To Thee is © 2016 Landes/Purdy, posted by permission of the songwriters. If you’re interested in recording this song or using it in your church service please let us know and we’ll forward your request to the songwriters and publisher.

Do you like our singer? She’s awesome isn’t she? Strong and clear, great with harmony. Do you need a quality piano track or a superior quality vocal to make your song sound professional? Pro demos make everyone- friends, family, artists, record company A & R and music publishers- take notice. Have 3 or 4 pro demos to peddle and they’ll brand you as a pro-level songwriter every time you pitch them.

We would be thrilled to do that for you! Just shoot us an e-mail at with your rough mp3 attached and request a quote today!b.e.

Music publishers Looking for Songs for Carly Pearce and Kenny Chesney

Sony Music Publishing, Nashville

Sony Music Publishing, Nashville

Speaking of Sony Nashville, word has it that producer Paul Worley is looking for songs for a new artist, Carly Pearce. Meanwhile, also for Sony, producer Buddy Cannon needs tunes for Kenny Chesney by late October.

But do not try to submit directly to the producers or the label, they don’t accept unsolicited materials, won’t accept phone calls from songwriters, etc. The best route onto one of these projects is by getting your song professionally demoed and signed to a song publisher who has a relationship with the label.

So what are you waiting for? Send your rough on an mp3 to and ask for a quote.

There are also independent music publishers looking for songs that fit these two projects. File this under Music Publishers Looking for Demos.

If you’re sure you already have a demo that absolutely, positively meets industry standards (pro session quality musicians, pro singer, professionally mixed, nothing semi-pro or home quality about it) you can submit .wav files via or e-mail MP3, MP4, AAC, or AIFF files (1 type of file per song! 2 song max) to music publisher Michael Bright of Bright Songs Publishing at

Sony Music Hires New A & R Director

Sony Music Publishing, Nashville

Sony Music Publishing, Nashville

A new A&R Director has been hired for Sony Music Nashville. Taylor Lindsey. Her duties will also include A&R for the Nashville branches of Columbia, Arista and RCA.