I am hoping that each of you is having happy holidays and that your family and friends are healthy and happy. I can’t believe we are already at the end of another amazing year. Each year as artists we find our self looking back to see if we met our expectations of the last year. Some years we have been more satisfied with ourself than at other times. Most of us would agree that in the years when we accomplished the most it was because we had a vision and then worked to keep that vision day to day.
There are so many things happening in the world and in our lives with family, work, health, etc that many times being creative is way down at the bottom of our list. We find that we play the same songs and keep the same routines because it is easiest for us. Then we find ourself bored and wondering about our progress as an artist. Many of us wonder if we should even continue in this adventure of writing and playing music. The problem with quitting is that most of you write from the heart and/or your gut. It is part of who you are. You will leave the art before the art leaves you. It will nag and tug at your heart. You will miss it. And the world needs it.
Music has been proven to be healing. Recently I had the opportunity to sing Christmas songs for the children at the Neurological Rehab. I was thinking that I was going to be helping with their healing…as it turned out they were helping with mine. There was no denying the love and healing going on in that room all because of the music. It reminded me again how important music really is…for all of us. You never know who you might be helping..including yourself. Making music is good for your heart and soul.
As an organization, ASG works throughout the year to bring in as many music industry professionals as we can to help our members. First of all, with ideas and help in writing the best songs that we can. Secondly, we bring in as many music industry professionals as we can to help us all sell our songs and/or get paid for our music. Last, and most importantly, we are there for each other on a weekly basis every Tuesday night at 7 for what we call Song Doctor. On most Tuesday nights this year there were 20 or more songwriters there to help one another write better songs, network and lift each other up. We also meet the first Sunday of the month for a pot luck and picking circle.
In 2011, we added to the list of great shows at our own listening room, The Mockingbird Cafe. We had Chuck Cannon, Jim Photoglo, Louie Ortega, Matthew Santos, Will Sexton, David Halley, Marvin Dykhuis, Bob Cheevers, and Greg Whitfield. We hosted a few writers in the round concerts. Tim Dubois, managing executive of ASCAP Nashville came to do a workshop and Q & A for us. Bobby Rymer, of Writers Den Music Group, came in to hear our songs and one of our members, Katie Trotta, is now writing in Nashville because of it. We had our annual songwriter contest and found some great songs. We had a contest to pick 6 writers, then paid their way to Nashville to meet with industry professionals, including newly installed Hall of Fame songwriter, Allen Shamblin, and then, they finished the night performing at the legendary Bluebird Cafe.
Also, in 2011, we held our annual Merle Haggard Birthday Bash as a fund raiser to help raise money to support KOOP radio personality and ASG supporter, Ted Branson. Ted has had his liver transplant and is back on the job! Of all the things we did, this is the most important and closest to my heart. That is proof of how we can effect the world in a big way if we each do just a little. We did it! There are only twelve months in the year…you can see we were really busy over here. I am sure I am missing something. All of this is just off the top of my head.
Oh, I forgot that we started the year with the Songwriter Symposium!!! We had Brett James, Chuck Cannon, Jesse Willoughby, Daniel Lee, Bobby Rymer, Sonny Throckmorton, Bill and Ruth Carter….and about 30 other folks from the industry. It is the Symposium in January every year that relights the fire under Rick and I to come back to work and make it the best year we possibly can. It is our goal to support each other as we try to make as many opportunities for songwriters as we possibly can. We are rewarded each year as we watch ASG members being supported by other members. There is nothing else like it! Four days and four nights of classes, panels, laughter, camaraderie, all night picking, and concerts from the top songwriters in the world.
Next week, we will be holding the 8th Annual Austin Songwriters Group Symposium from Thursday-Sunday, January 5-8 at the Omni Southpark Hotel in Austin. We have done our best to bring you the most current industry professionals to help you kick your creative year 2012 off with a big bang. You can go to the website and see the list of greats that we have for you this year. We brought back your favorites and have added some very important new ones. From new folks like Ed Bailey of the Austin City Limits television show to perennial favorites like Sonny Throckmorton – “THE” songwriter… we have got you covered.
We do this event for YOU. We have worked very hard on every detail to make it the very best event that we could. Please go to the website and take a look at the schedule. I feel sure that there are people in the industry that you have been wanting to meet that will be there. From radio and print media, publishers, major artists, Performing Rights Organizations (BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC), the City of Austin Music Department, The Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau, the State of Texas Music Office, and on and on.
Please support this event. If you can’t go yourself please consider sponsoring an artist that wants to go very badly but can not afford the cost of registration. You could make their whole year! www.austinsongwritersgroup.com
If you are not a member please take a moment to go to the website and join us. Dues are only $50 a year (less than $1.00 per week or 13 pennies per day). If we all do just a little we can do big things together. Please support our efforts.
You are also welcome to make a tax deductible donation that will go to support our efforts in supporting songwriters. Please go to the website and do that now. www.austinsongwritersgroup.com There is a donation button there for you.
Thank you for your time and all the support you have given to help this group continue to grow.
Peace and Love,
Austin Songwriters Group