Vinyl is back! Are Hula Hoops and Bobby Socks Next?

Weren’t we done with “records” “cassingles” and the like a couple decades ago? Didn’t new and supposedly better tech push those and many other “no longer useful” items into a huge pile to decay on the scrap heap of history?

Not so fast.

The Recording Industry of America reports that vinyl record sales, which first overtook CD sales in 2020, have been increasing for a decade now. And they’re up substantially over the two year pandemic period, by as much as an additional 200%.

But it’s not just vinyl records making a comeback. Another once nearly extinct item, the cassette tape, has also increased year-after-year in sales that now total in the six figures over this past twelve month period.

As more and more listeners choose vinyl and cassettes, the case for songwriters to make a portion of their work available in these old school formats is building, and some singer-songwriters already have.

For example, the Los Angeles based duo, The Swansons, have recorded three full albums here at Nashville Trax, are midway through a fourth, and just re-released their popular second album done here, titled Bam!, on vinyl…. red vinyl, no less.

Yes, far more people have cell phones to play an mp3 than have record players or cassette tape players at this point in history, but even if your vinyl record sales don’t track quite strong enough to turn a profit, there’s a certain coolness factor to having product in a retro format that can make releasing on cassette, on vinyl, or both, a good business decision regardless. It’s also uncommon enough, with many people, including members of the press, not realizing the comeback is on, that it can help your act obtain articles and interviews.

Since we are discussing old things becoming new again, there’s this kinda sorta related fact:

Did you know that all growth in the music business is coming from decades old songs? Yes, really. Newly written and produced material is actually experiencing a decrease, proof and details here:

Is Old Music Killing New Music?

But what what does this interesting, little known fact, mean for songwriting, if anything? Your songwriting?

Not much. Make no mistake, the trend line may not be in their favor, but the numbers that “new music decline” are based on were huge so even with a decline, new Christian, country and pop artists are still enjoying plenty of radio airplay and are still building lucrative careers. There is plenty of opportunity to write and market your songs in those genres.

If you’re an independent songwriter/performer you don’t want to sound dated of course, that’s often the kiss of death for someone plugging their latest tune. But food for thought: if you can incorporate the best aspects of the material that was popular in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s into your writing- the super catchy hooks, the cool arrangements, while having your demos produced with a modern spin, you may tie into something of a hybrid nature that can grab airplay and sell in big numbers to both the diminishing demographic that loves the new songs, and also appeals to the older demographic that is tiring of listening to Heart’s These Dreams” on their local oldies station for the 3,000th time.

That influence can be subtle, it can be overt, such as the Kidd Rock riffing on Sweet Home Alabama in “All Summer Long”, or downright blatant the way De Jay Silver recorded a rap tune that sampled bits of the Alabama country hit “Dixieland Delight”.


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The first step to releasing your songs on mp3, CD, Vinyl or cassette is to have a professional recording produced. Nashville Trax can guide you through the entire production process. Interested? Drop us an e-mail at nashtrax@bellsouth.net


The Swansons Rock Revelry!

The Swansons out of Southern California, regulars at venues such as Sunset Station in Las Vegas and Whiskey A Go Go in Los Angeles, perform their first show in the Nashville area at Revelry, . backed up by Nashville Trax session musicians Brent Mason on guitar, Bill Watson on bass guitar, Jim Riley on drums, Jenee Fleenor on Fiddle, Steve King keyboards and Mike Douchette on steel.


Need Acoustic and/or Electric Guitar for Your Project?

Hi Bill,

Thank you very much for your fast service and the GREAT sounding

guitars 🙂

Song: Laber

Player: Tom Wild

Provided: High and low register acoustic picking/rhythm, electric fill and electric bed tracks.

Player:

Nashville Session Guitar Player, Brent Mason at Nashville Trax Recording Studio. Known for his Telecaster work, for this song he's playing a Gibson Les Paul.
Nashville Session Guitar Player, Brent Mason at Nashville Trax Recording Studio.

Grammy winner, CMA Musician of The Year (year after year).. Known for his Telecaster work, for this song he’s playing a Gibson Les Paul.

Need to add the best guitar tracks Nashville has to offer to your project? And at a reasonable price? Text 615-319-8616 NOW!


Need A Steel Guitar Track for Your Project? Or the Best?

Simply e-mail NashTrax@bellsouth.net

“What a great performance! Thanks for the quick turnaround and for the stellar track. This is totally what I was after.” Dave F.. 9-23-20

Song: New Colors.

Pedal Steel

Mr, Johnny, a Nashville legend..

Steve Sturm, 7 years with Travis Tritt.

Tim Basieski…a great young player breaking out in the Nashville recording scene.

We have the player you need!

Need to add the best Pedal Steel Guitar track Nashville has to offer to your project? And at a reasonable price? Text 615-319-8616 NOW! J


Is Your Songwriting Dated?

There are many things that can knock your song out of contention.

One of those things is your presentation sounding, or even looking, dated. That can be in the writing itself, the subject matter, or the demo recording. it’s often the kiss of death if an A&R person is thinking, “This could have been a hit back in the 80’s”. But that happens… a lot.

If it’s friends and family you’re writing for, no problem, write what you like, nothing here applies to you. But if you’re hoping for a cut with a major label artist you likely have little choice but to “run the A&R gauntlet”. They are the gatekeepers, so to speak, between you and the final decision maker, either the artist or their producer.

Many writers get mentally entrenched in what was popular in their formative years, not realizing how much radio hits have changed over time. Or maybe its not recognizing how much influence their formative years still have on their writing, even when intentionally attempting to craft something more modern.

The instruments change. The way records are mixed changes. Listen to 3 or 4 country hits from the 60’s, 70’s 80’s etc. on up to current hits. you’ll hear dramatic differences every 10 to 20 years.

Lyrics change. The culture changes. If your lyrics are conjuring up stereotypes from a decade or more ago, it’s not likely your song will get very far.

One thing to be very careful about is when you attempt to reference something familiar and universal in your song. If you reference a famous movie star, will the younger people who buy most of the records even know who you are talking about? Stadiums and teams get re-named. Products go out of production, stores go out of business. Slang and cliches fall out of favor and new terms take their place.

Even a dated approach can lessen your chances. Mailing in a cassette tape for example. Cassettes have not been popular or used much in the music industry in over twenty years. Even CDs have largely given way to mp3 files. Most communication these days occurs via e-mail, not the postal service,. Mailing in a cassette will impart the impression that you are old, out of touch and clueless.

Review your catalog or have it reviewed by someone who won’t pull punches. Be sure your songs are similar in terms of lyric content and overall sound to what’s getting played on radio right now. If not, updating is in order.

The best way to stop living and working in the past is simply to listen to more modern music regularly. In your early years you probably listened to a steady diet of what are now oldies. Can you honestly say you’ve embraced the modern music you are hoping to get a break with in that same way? Are you listening to it the same number of hours? If not, that may part or all of your problem.


Life Is So Unfair! Releases this week!

The Thompsons, a family band from Canada had Nashville Trax produce this track titled, Life Is So Unfair, this past winter and it’s finally being released, you can hear it on Spotify.

Danielle.jpg

Lead singer Danielle.

“Life Is So Unfair” written by Danny and Danielle Thompson.

Produced by Bill Watson for Nashville Trax.

For more about this exciting band visit

The Thompsons

And be sure to attend one of their shows listed on the site!


The Thompson’s Band Video- Music Cut At Nashville Trax- Released!

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered For the Canadian Women’s Trucker Association, by producer Bill Watson of Nashville Trax:


How To Make Your Self-Produced Album Sound A Lot More Professional

Albums2018

Four CDs released this year Nashville Trax helped make happen

Planning your next album? Interfacing with Nashville Trax can help make it more professional than any music you’ve created before.

The CDs pictured, all released in 2018, demonstrate four different ways these artists chose to work with us to achieve a better result than they could muster on their own.

The upper left CD by The Greatest Gift was an eight song album, one of many we’ve done for this Christiam three-piece vocal group. The group’s songwriter sent us his rough originals recorded with just piano and vocal.

We charted his songs and cut all new music tracks. The group then added their vocals to those tracks in a local studio near them in the New England area and mixed there.

As we’ve worked with them they’ve gone from playing on Sunday’s at their local church to appearing on T.V. shows and scoring hits on the Gospel charts.

Lower Left: The Swansons first album: We cut all the music tracks using our Nashville Trax A Team. Based in the Los Angeles area, they came to Nashville and cut their vocals here at Nashville Trax then we mixed here in Nashville using three different mix and mastering studios, including here at Nashville Trax.

Country This has garnered considerable radio airplay in the United States and birthed two charting singles. We are now about half way through producing their followup album.

Upper Right: Rootstock was an album project we added individual instrument tracks as needed, steel on several songs, fiddle on a few songs, etc. simply beefing up the musical muscle.

Lower Right: This group is based in Norway. We cut every instrument track, they added their vocals at a studio in Norway, sent them back to us where we mixed and mastered. This Christian group reports that CD sales are going extremely well with many hundreds sold the first few days, nearly recouping their investment within hours of release.

In each case the group or artist mentioned above possessed a high degree of talent but no one is an expert at everything. We were able to provide top notch equipment, world class musicians, professional engineering and guidance to make their projects superior to what they could have accomplished alone.

We can help you too! e-mail nashtrax@bellsouth.net with a description of your project, what you wish to achieve and how you believe we might help out. Or call producer Bill Watson at 615-319-8616.


The Greatest Gift’s New Video, Music Recorded at Nashville Trax!

They started working with Nashville Trax a few years ago, just another local Christian act playing at their local church.

Some 70 + Nashville Trax Produced songs and performance tracks later, they signed a development deal, have been on radio throughout the U.S. and made the Grammy ballot!

Blessed Be The Man

Music Credits:

Steve King: Piano & String pads
Jenee Fleenor: Violins
Jim Riley: Drums
Bill Watson: Bass Guitar
Tom Wild: Guitars

Music Engineered and Arranged by Bill Watson

This project is a great example of how we interface with artists and studios outside of Nashville.

Working with this Christian group’s rough piano/vocal, Bill Watson charted the music. Upon completion he forwarded it to a studio near the group where they recorded vocals, mixed and did the video.

Some clients do vocals then Dropbox the files back for mixing here, such as the album we did recently for a Christian group in Norway.

You can do your demo, your single or your album the same way!

Take advantage of our musicianship and production skills, add your vocals without leaving your home area!

Interested? Text 615-319-8616 OR e-mail nashtrax@bellsouth.net with details about your project.


Christian Music Producer in Nashville

Bill Watson, Nashville Trax music producer Nashville Trax, Play It Again Demos

Bill Watson

One Christian Music Producer based in Nashville TN is Bill Watson, his primary studio, Nashville Trax. About 50% of the projects Mr. Watson produces for his clients are Christian. Two of the four albums he was involved in producing this past year are Christian.

A testimonial from one of those clients:

“The Swansons were blessed a year and a half ago when Mr. Watson returned our phone call. We were looking for a change in our music and thought very highly of #Nashville and the great music they make here. Bill Watson produces records in Nashville and has a stellar reputation. I listened to his work and asked if he would be interested in working with the #Swansons. Thankfully he said yes and we are right in the middle of a really cool dream. Thank you Bill for EVERYTHING!! You are a super natural talent!! Absolutely Brilliant!!”– Joe Finley

If you are looking to have a single, an album or even a demo produced, please feel free to browse Nashville Trax to hear samples of Mr. Watson’s work.

Or contact him now at 615-319-8616 (text is usually best) or e-mail: nashtrax@bellsouth.net


Sample of Our Work: The Swansons NEW Video Released, Music Recorded at Nashville Trax!



I Can’t Wait
written by Joe Finley
Drums: Jim Riley
Bass Guitar: Bill Watson
Guitars: Brent Mason
Fiddle and Mandolin: Jenee Fleenor
Piano and B3 organ: Steve King
Harp: Michael Douchette

All music produced by Bill Watson at Nashville Trax

© 2018 The Swansons

“The Swansons were blessed a year and a half ago when Mr. Watson returned our phone call. We were looking for a change in our music and thought very highly of #Nashville and the great music they make here. Bill Watson produces records in Nashville and has a stellar reputation. I listened to his work and asked if he would be interested in working with the #Swansons. Thankfully he said yes and we are right in the middle of a really cool dream. Thank you Bill for EVERYTHING!! You are a super natural talent!! Absolutely Brilliant!!”– Joe Finley

Purchase the Swanson’s Country This album containing I Can’t Wait and 13 other Swansons original songs, all produced at Nashville Trax here: TheSwansonsMusic.com

Interested in doing your single or album at Nashville Trax?

e-mail:

nashtrax@bellsouth.net

Phone:

615-319-8616

NashvilleTrax.com

Join our Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/nashvilletrax/


Background Vocals For Your Project

In Nashville, we call them “bgv’s” which is short for “background vocals”. Two of the best were in Wednesday, Jim and Jaime Riley, pics below, adding bgv’s to three Swanson songs, the final touch before moving the songs on to mixing.


J
While they can be somewhat costly, bgv’s can really make a song special; consider putting them in the budget of your next demo, single or album.

The songwriter this session was for, Joe Finley texted session producer/engineer, Bill Watson: “Hey Bill, heading to the airport and just listened to the rough mixes with background vocals, needless to say I’m in tears!! # Grammy”

We can add bgv’s to projects recorded wholly at Nashville Trax or even add them to songs in progress at other studios.

E-msil nashtrax@bellsouth.net or call 615-319-8616 for additional information or to book a session.