FLOWER-BILLY—HUH?

Guitars, Hippy Pants & Hillbilly Music

It’s My Bag, Man

I write HonkyTonk and Rockabilly music.  It is sometimes called Americana, or most recently, American Music.  I have been playing it with more of a straight HonkyTonk/Rockabilly styling.  Lately I have added a slight Surf/Spaghetti Western sound to it.  I am thinking of putting more of that kind of sound into it, plus adding a layer of Psychedelic sound.  I think it will work.  Actually it’s an exciting process.

In practice it involves the use of more pedals on my rhythm guitar,and I’m trying to decide between the Martin D-28 and my Tele with the P-90s.  There’s a lot more swirl to the sound, more slap-back echo, phase shifter, flanger, chorus, vibrato, tremolo.  So far some of my preliminary recordings sound OK.  On the suggestion of my sound engineer, I tried running my vocals through a flanger as well on some parts of some of the songs.  Very interesting results, but I’m not sure I’m going with that just yet.  I may end up playing straight acoustic, Who knows?

Trippy, Baby

I have discovered that this whole, wild, incredible, Indie Music Scene is a first class trip!  It is like a Star Trek voyage into unknown space.  I get folks who will ask me questions about music, and all I can say to them is that it’s all uncharted territory.  However there are a few things I have learned, that I can share with certainty.

Whether you are listening to a musician, songwriter, or a so-called Music Industry Professional, there are two major factors at play in the Music Industry: 1) personal taste and money–nothing more, nothing less.  Some are more honest about it and admit to the accusation, while others try to hide it behind proclamations of  years of experience and professional knowledge gleaned from said years put in.  The truth is that with a few exceptions, many of the MIPs are running scared, hoping to keep their jobs, look good, and ride whatever wave is happening at present.  If it sounds cynical, it probably is.

With the above said, the trick is to hold true to the vision, regardless of the voices in your head:  neither the voices of mental illness, nor the very loud voices of  self-proclaimed experts.  One will tell you that your worst fears are true and you should just give up, and the other will try and tell you about how your sound won’t work, how no one is buying it right now, how the production and sound you have worked so hard to get would be better if it was re- over- under-produced by them.  There is only one voice that should be in your head and that voice is your own–the voice of your dream.  No other voice belongs there!

In wrapping this posting up, let me say that I have been told over and over that my sound is too rough and too raw for the MIPs to go anywhere with.  I ask, If that is the case, then why is it that so many fans get so excited when they experience the music?  I won’t quit, folks, until my fans do.

Be Groovy, Man, Be Groovy

Flower-Billy, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!  IN our own thinking most of the Sixties were influenced by the Seventies.  Really!  It’s always in retrospective.  We were generally so drugged-out that the Sixties weren’t noticed until five or six years after the fact.  So here I am in 2011, and I’m going to try and do this music thing of mine my way–all the way.  Honky-Tonk, all mixed up with Surf and Psychedelic sound.  My advice to anyone wanting advice is to do your thing in your own Groovy way, nobody else’s.  This is my advice:  Be groovy baby!

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2 thoughts on “FLOWER-BILLY—HUH?

  1. I always enjoy your blogs, Hilary, and this latest one is no exception.
    I stopped trying to please the MIPs a long time ago, after attending a conference, where a record label executive, who was leading a seminar, kept hammering the point that, “If you don’t spend at least $30,000.00 making a record, you might as well forget it, and find yourself another career.” Horse dung! And besides, Rockabilly, Psychobilly, and Flower-Billy, are supposed to be rough and raw, and if the public likes it and buys it, ain’t that what matters? Let the Indie spirit soar!

  2. I am not sure why they do that. It’s probably about job security–theirs! I have some friends who are getting air play on XM Radio’s Outlaw Country, and they did everything for almost free. I am not against being Major, but only if I can do it my way–and my way appears to be Indie all the way!

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