Black Fret Launch Party 

We are very proud to have played a part in the launch of Black Fret, a local non-profit providing meaningful support and resources to some of the most promising artists emerging from Austin’s music scene.  With featured performances by Ben Kweller and Emily Bell, the Black Fret launch party, hosted at the Gibson Guitar showroom on January 18th, was a raving success by any measure.
 
The Gibson Brands Showroom staged for action
 
 
Black Fret founders, Colin Kendrick & Matthew Ott

As fellow music promoters, we share Black Fret’s enthusiasm for artist development and would further qualify their purpose by making a distinction between a developing artist and an emerging artist.  As anyone can admit, one of the unique characteristics of Austin is the sheer quantity of musicians along with the abundant opportunities to perform.  While a developing artist may be improving every day, only a handful of these artists however, would we deem ready for national exposure.  “Success is when opportunity meets preparation.”  In our company, we refer to this point as “product ready.”  It’s tough to pin-point, but we all know it when we see it, hear it, and ultimately feel it.

Black Fret is serving what we see as the immediate needs of an emerging artist:

1. Substantial funding: The preliminary goal of Black Fret, which they are already within inches of reaching, is to fund 10 sets of artists with $10,000 a piece.

2. Business Mentorship: Between the Board of Directors and their member base, Black Fret Artists are placed under the wings of key players in the big league music business.

3. Meaningful Opportunities: In addition to the launch party, Black Fret hosts their annual signature event, The Black Ball along with routine private and social event giving their artists major exposure and networking opportunities.
 
Michael Barnes of the Austin American Statesman hit the nail on the head in saying, “I am profoundly impressed by the idea behind Black Fret.”  As Austin continues to progress and maintain the title of “Live Music Capital of the World” please do your part in supporting Black Fret.

Beto & The Fairlanes - 35 Years and Counting 



One of Austin's longest standing musical supergroups, Beto & the Fairlanes recently celebrated their 35th anniversary as a band and simultaneously rolled out their 7th full-length recording, "BEST O BETO."  To celebrate their accomplishment and ramp up for the album release, we facilitated a promotion called "35 DAZE of BETO," a 35 consecutive day marathon of performances in and around Austin. Some highlighted appearances include opening for Bela Fleck and Robert Marcus at One World Theater, an educational workshop at McCallum Highschool for the Grammy® Texas Chapter, a live on-air interview and performance with NPR's Larry Monroe on his 70th birthday, and Austin's Mayor, Lee Leffingwell declaring September 28th "Beto Day" during their performance at City Hall Plaza. I took a particular interest in this project after hearing the band's manager, label owner and trombonist, Mike Mordecai describe some of the rich stories and novel tales that only a group with such longevity could experience.  The 40+ members of Beto & the Fairlanes, spanning up to three generations of musicians, collectively tell a first-hand account of the history of the Live Music Capitol since it's prime in the late 70's.



To demonstrate the significance of their impact, we hosted a private party at the Gibson Guitar showroom for media and key supporters of the band throughout their career.  Our emcee, Terry Lickona, screened a nostalgic viewing of the band's 1980 national television debut on Austin City Limits.  We were amazed to hear personal Beto stories from some of the most influential people in the industry.
 

35 Years of Beto & the Fairlanes Memorabilia

Emcee Terry Lickona and Robert "Beto" Skiles

Screening of the 1980 Austin City Limits episode featuring Beto & The Fairlanes

Drummer Steve Summer, with John Mills, Greg Williams, and Rich Haering in the horn line.

"35 DAZE of BETO" concluded with a grand Full Moon Finale performance at Threadgill's World Headquarters followed by a half-mile conga line through downtown Austin to the Willie Nelson statue.  It was an epic ending to an epic celebration.  BEST O BETO is now available in stores and online through Fable Records.

Robyn Ludwick "Hollywood" Music Video Premiere 


We're very proud to have produced Robyn Ludwick's first music video.  A huge thanks to Laughing Cardinal Productions and our sponsors: Gibson Guitar, The House of Songs, and LOOT Vintage Rentals.  It takes a village... I met Robyn back in January through our mutual dear friend Abbey Road (a.k.a. - Abbey from Luckenbach).  Robyn had recently received an unexpected second wave of media attention at the tail end of 2011 for her latest album "Out of These Blues."



"Out of These Blues," produced by Gurf Morlix, was ranked in the Top 10 Albums of the year by Austin City Limits, No Depression, Texas Music Magazine, 93.3fm KGSR, and The Texas Music Scene with Ray Benson... any Texas-based artist's media dream come true. So the question was raised as to what we do next?  To record a new album would drive attention away from Robyn's current album which has now been tried, tested, and endorsed by the toughest critiques in Texas Roots music.  And although the record was undeniably well received on a regional level, it remained virtually unknown on a national level.  But how can we create a third wave of attention with a record that's over a year old and furthermore with an artist who is working triple duty as a full-time civil engineer and mother of two? In the digital age, a great music video can be a very powerful tool.  It awakens both the viewer's audio and visual senses with zero cost and minimal inconvenience.  Furthermore, through the power of social networking and tracking analytics we are able to see not only how well it is being received, but also exactly where in the world it is being received. Robyn is a songwriter's songwriter.  Her brothers Bruce & Charlie Robison are known throughout the world for their songwriting ability. We chose a narrative style video to illustrate the story behind Robyn's song.  We chose the song "Hollywood" for it's wide accessibility.  It's very suiting to Robyn's sound and image... raw but sincere, tough and beautiful.  And who hasn't chased a dream that turned out to be a nightmare?



An unfathomable amount of time and energy went into this 6-minute music video.  Three grueling days of production with a 25-man cast & crew, two moving trucks worth of gear and set decor, bouncing back and forth between our two shooting locations in South Austin, the Gibson Guitar Showroom and The House of Songs.  This is not to mention the months we spent in pre-production working on the script & storyboard, discussing wardrobe and lighting and every single detail of what might unfold during those three hellish and magical days. Tom Parish (Associate Producer) and Kai Salim (Writer & Director) with Laughing Cardinal Productions ran the ball the rest of the way through post-production.  Robyn and I along with the Executive Producer Amy Griffin popped in occasionally to see new edits... this one with color correction applied, that one with CGI, and finally the end product which we are now proud to share with the world. I have been fascinated at the responses and feedback we've gotten thus far.  What is your interpretation?  Who is the girl?  What do you think her relationship is to Robyn?  Please enjoy and share! 
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