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Italian accessories brand Manfrotto has announced a new model in the 190 range of tripods that is lighter and more compact than others in the series. The Manfrotto 190Go! is designed for traveling photographers and those working on location who require an eye-height tripod that packs away to take up as little space as possible. Read more
Nashville, TN -- Laura Orshaw is an exciting voice on today’s acoustic music scene. Fast-becoming one of today’s celebrated emerging artists, she is a multi-instrumentalist and compelling singer. Laura earns die-hard fans across the country with her energy and her earnest performance, playing and singing with joy and drive.
Songs of Lost Yesterdays is Laura’s brilliant solo project, available now. The album is a pleasing mix of 11 tracks, both originals and covers, with guest artists including: Matt Witler (mandolin), Catherine “BB” Bowness (banjo), Tony Watt (guitar), Alex Muri (bass), Michael Reese (guitar and vocal harmony), Mark Orshaw (vocal harmony) and John Mailander (fiddle harmony). Laura took great care and consideration in choosing songs, with each one having its own story.
The album includes some traditional folk standards like “Sailor on the Deep Blue Sea,” “Row Number Two, Seat Number Three,” and “Going to the West.”
Laura commented on the finesse and insight that went into creating a “songs of yesterday” list that would fit the album concept. “My dad and I spent a lot of time driving the highways and back roads of Pennsylvania. Each time we got in the car I knew that Norman Blake would be on the stereo. I knew every obscure old time fiddle tune and English ballad by heart,” Laura exclaims. “Without question, I was going to pay homage to Norman on this album, and being a fiddle player, I couldn’t think of any better song than “Uncle.”
“Getting Over You” has an old country feel, but on this album Laura morphs the song by creating an old swing feel. “Charlie Moore’s ‘Cotton Farmer’ came into my repertoire through some good musicians and friends,” Laura reminisces. “They’d argue about who learned it first, and then they’d move on to whose dad played it first, whose arrangement was stolen from who, and so on. I found the multi-generational competition over this song pretty comical, but I couldn’t argue that it was a good song!” “Guitar Man” is one of the originals, written after Laura heard John Prine’s “Unwed Fathers.” Reminded of a friend who had to leave school early due to an unexpected pregnancy, Laura was inspired to write something that would be intimately relatable for women.
Laura’s “New Deal Train” was inspired by stories her grandfather told about growing up during the Great Depression. “It seems like little boys always loved trains, but to a boy growing up during the Depression, a train was especially meaningful. During FDR’s New Deal, trains delivered food and supplies to the poorest towns across America. Families would line up near the tracks and wait for a bag of flour, or a pair of shoes—this was quite an exciting outing for a little boy who didn’t have much.”
Providing sensitive insight into the life and musical history that Laura experienced and learned over the years, Songs of Yesterdays pays tribute to acoustic greats and also offers a pleasant new twist on tradition through the compelling voice and playing of Laura Orshaw.
Songs of Lost Yesterdays is available from iTunes, Amazon and other digital retailers. For more information visit: www.LauraOrshaw.com
Will 2015 be the year that old-time music finally hits the mainstream? Old-time music, bluegrass' much older brother (or is it father?) has been on a tear the past few years. Old Crow Medicine Show went platinum with "Wagon Wheel" and even became Grand Ole Opry members. That sound is about to get another major bump from Orthophonic Joy, the Carl Jackson-produced tribute to the legendary 1927 Bristol Sessions that gave the world the first recordings of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. Old-time music gets weekly TV exposure on RFD-TV's Marty Stuart Show, in the hands of clawhammer master and "The Sultan of Goodlettsville," LeRoy Troy.
Perhaps the year's most promising crossover is the duo of Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck, who played the cave last month as part of our PBS series taping (Season 5 airs in September; set your DVRs.). Abby's non-resonator open-back banjos hold their own with her husband's fingerpicked 1937 Gibson Mastertone, and frankly, she steals the show. Given that they're spending 2015 playing Bela's circuit of major-market performing arts centers and massive national music festivals, Abby's playing to new audiences for clawhammer banjo, people unfamiliar with her solo work or her band Uncle Earl. Not surprisingly, at least anecdotally, I keep meeting more folks trying to learn clawhammer style, picking up the old-time banjos which, like most other vintage-style instruments are being made in huge numbers by indie luthiers as well as Asian/American companies like Eastman, Gold Tone and Recording King. It's not a ukulele-size craze, but it's steadily becoming one.
It makes sense. It always seemed like old-time music would fit the young hipster crowd more than bluegrass, in that there are fewer rules and and a more rocking, bluesy sound to the old-time stringbands. Back in the '70s, the Highwoods String Band and the Hotmud Family carried that banner; in the '90s it was the Horseflies; and in this century, bands like Uncle Earl and OCMS brought in new, younger audiences. Until now, it seemed unlikely to become a major new movement, but like Chicago Cubs fans have said for so long, old-time music lovers are now saying, "Thiscould be our year."
Which brings us to our next Bluegrass Underground artist, a multi-instrumentalist who was way ahead of the clawhammer curve, old-timey before old-timey 's latest resurgence of cool.
Frank Fairfield has been playing old-time banjo, hillbilly ragtime guitar and raw-toned mountain fiddle for years, and his sizable following mixes hard-core traditionalists with alt-rock fans, as the California native tours clubs and festivals of all sorts.
He's a veteran of BGU and a human time machine who will transport the Volcano Room back to the 1920s, when Ralph Peer and the Lomaxes were making their Southern field trips in search of new old sounds.
For a taste of what he does, one of Fairfield's Youtube videos features him tearing up the banjo on "Nine Pound Hammer" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lefJBwJhQ6E). Or check him out online. He'll be performing as part of the April 29 lineup of our sister show Music City Roots, and you can stream the show live at Musiccityroots.com. And, as great a venue as the Factory in Franklin is, nothing beats seeing Frank Fairfield at Bluegrass Underground, under that antique crystal chandelier in the natural cathedral that is Cumberland Caverns' Volcano Room.
Visit the Bluegrass Underground for tickets and more information.
[by Chris Winton-Stahle]
Personal work is an important part of continuing to grow as an artist and photographer. I have found that creative buyers are interested in hiring me based on the personal work that I create.
Though it’s important to have fun with personal work as an artist, this is no game! Personal work takes time, energy and money, so it’s important to find ways to fund these projects, and also make them profitable. Throughout the process, we should always consider how these images we create will be incorporated into our overall marketing plan and our company brand.
The saying is, “dress for the job you want”. As a commercial artist or a photographer, that means we must create for the jobs we want. Showing work that you’re excited about is often more valuable than showing tear sheets from projects you’ve been hired for!
One way that I have been able to produce a consistent amount of personal work is to incorporate these images into my marketing plan. That means always producing images for new updates on my website, blog material, e-promos and direct mail. This process keeps me growing as an artist, technically and conceptually, and provides a legitimate reason to “play”.
I have had some luck with selling prints of personally produced work. It’s an area that I’m still exploring and finding new avenues for. I have an e-commerce page on my website where I sell art prints that anyone can buy a print at an affordable price. Etsy.com is also a good online service where you can list your art for sale. If you have the time during a slow season, it might be a good option to rent space at an art festival to sell prints.
Getting your creative community involved in the projects your doing, “or want to do” is always a positive direction. Other artists in our industry such as designers, writers, models, stylists or art directors are often interested in creating exciting new work to use in their portfolios or when pitching a project. Connect with people in your area and express your interest in collaborating on self-produced portfolio projects. Bring a strong concept and a plan for its production to the table and you will most certainly find talented people who will play.
Most recently, I have arranged to host independently produced images I’ve created with the Rights Managed collection of a stock photography company. My goal is to generate a separate source of income that will pay for my time and production of self produced imagery as well as all of my company’s marketing expenses. The idea is for it to be a self-sustaining creative machine, allowing me to have an avenue for growth, creative freedom and a way to push my own boundaries as professional artist.
An important thing to keep in mind is that people hiring for our industry are often attracted to enthusiasm, positive energy and conceptual thought about the work we’re creating. They want to see who “YOU” are as a creator of art and how your vision or specific style may come into sync with their vision for their client. Have fun with the personal work you’re creating but always keep in mind that you’re a commercial artist and the work you create will be selling a brand or telling an important story. Find subjects that are exciting to you, envision the brands and dream clients that you want to attract and have fun creating projects that represent your specific brand as an artist.
Chris Winton-Stahle is an award-winning photographer and accomplished photo illustration artist who sees the camera as only half of his process in creating great imagery. Chris often pulls components from multiple images and CGI when creating his work for clients in advertising, magazines and entertainment.