Music Morsels - September 2001
Music Morsels - September 2001
  • Crossroads - Jon Oliva of Savatage
  • Industry Profile - Adam Cohen - Talent Buyer for Atlanta's Premiere Venue The Tabernacle
  • Unsigned Band Spotlight - Holly Allen

This month's Crossroads feature interview
This month's Industry Profile
ADAM COHEN - Talent Buyer for Atlanta's Premiere Venue The Tabernacle

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September, 2001
MUSIC MORSELS - The legal stuff
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Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. - Maya Angelou, poet


1. CROSSROADS - Jon Oliva of SAVATAGE by Mark E. Waterbury

2. INDUSTRY PROFILE - Adam Cohen, Talent Buyer for The Tabernacle by Mark E. Waterbury

3. ALBUM CAPSULES - by Mark E. Waterbury


5. QUIPS & QUOTES - Stories & Sayings to keep you motivated in your music career

6. UNSIGNED BAND SPOTLIGHT - A singer/songwriter with a purpose - Atlanta's HOLLY ALLEN by Mark E. Waterbury

7. MUSIC BIZ NEWS AND OPPORTUNITIES - compiled by Sandy Serge

8. MUSIC INDUSTRY MARKETING SHOWCASE - the latest and greatest music industry products and services



1. CROSSROADS.......... Jon Oliva of SAVATAGE by Mark E. Waterbury
Pivotal moments in musicians careers propelling them from obscurity to infamy

In the mid to late1980's, heavy metal ruled the music world. From rock solid "classic" bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, to the melodic driven power of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard and the fresh hard-thrashing youngsters like Metallica and Anthrax, this intense brand of rock and roll had a death grip on a huge slice of the musical pie, from concert halls to radio to the relatively new medium of music video. Of course the party couldn't last forever, and the 90's were not very kind to this genre. It was a decade of finding who was tough enough or dedicated enough to survive. And those who did survive are finding a much more receptive climate as we slipped into the new millennium. Florida's Savatage was a band that perhaps was not as hot in the 80's as an Iron Maiden or a Def Leppard, but they had carved a nice niche for themselves by being unafraid to take a few chances with their music. After their 1987 breakthrough with "Hall of the Mountain King", Savatage continued to make a mark of their own in the music world, weaving orchestration into their songs and writing rock operas, something none of the more conventional bands would ever consider doing. They also dealt with adversities through the 90's stretched beyond the changing tastes of the rock fan, such as a vocalist with voice problems, the tragic death of a member, and a number of personnel changes. But through continued touring, album releases and the burgeoning popularity of a spin-off project, Savatage has survived, not like a punch-drunk fighter, but like one who has never actually been laid out on the canvas.

Jon Oliva was another one of countless youths who were influenced to take the musical path by the Beatles. "I think it was one of the movies, like ‘A Hard Day's Night,'" Jon reflects. "I was about five years old and I really liked Ringo so I started playing drums. But that whole (Beatles) thing that was going on at that time really got me interested." By the age of twelve, Jon started dabbling in guitar and also a bit in songwriting, which he admits were pretty bad songs at the onset. But he kept learning and wrote his first serious song when he was fourteen. Jon's brother Criss was also bitten by the music bug and they would eventually join forces with some other musicians, forming a band called Avatar. "Avatar was really just a bar band. We never really got past that stage. I liked our original lineup because we had three lead singers in it. We had a singer, then I sang and played drums, and our bass player sang. We were doing a lot of great vocals on cover songs by Queen and such. But we only had two original songs because there were too many egos clashing in the thing, so it never worked out."

Jon and Criss eventually left the band and took the name with them. The reformed lineup would add drummer Steve Wacholz and bassist Keith Collins, and because of legal reasons, they renamed the band Savatage. They started to perform, building a following in their home state of Florida and also began to write music, releasing their debut "Sirens" in 1983. They actually had written the songs for the second album "The Dungeons Are Calling" at the same time as "Sirens", then releasing the sophomore effort in 1984. It was around this time they received notice from Atlantic Records, mostly due to a performance at a Theater in St. Petersburg when they opened for the band Zebra. A friend of Jon's who knew Zebra's vocalist Randy Jackson called Randy and landed the opening slot for Savatage, although it was somewhat awkward timing for Jon Oliva. "It was the evening of July 23rd, 1983, and my wife was pregnant in the hospital with my son while I played the show, and after the show was over, I had to go right to the hospital in my stage clothes and everything. But my son was born that morning, and there was a couple of Atlantic reps at the show and they really liked us. A couple of weeks later, we were talking about a record deal." "Power of the Night" was the band's first release on Atlantic which was followed by their first nationwide tour. The record wound up selling significantly, and the tour helped them to gain a respectable following beyond their home stomping grounds.

After the tour was over, Keith Collins was replaced by Johnny Lee Middleton and Savatage hit the studio for their next recording. But the second Atlantic album, "Fight For the Rock" almost became the death knell for Savatage. "'Fight For the Rock' was so bad that we never thought we were going to come back from it," Jon muses. "Everything else had been going so good, and it was like, pow! It was like a shot in the face. We were like, oops! But we were young and so stupid. If you told us to jump off the bridge, we would have asked if we would have gotten rich if we would have done that. Everything had happened for us very fast and we became overwhelmed."

Instead of taking that leap off the proverbial bridge, Savatage added another important piece to their puzzle: producer Paul O'Neill. "After 'Fight for the Rock', we were breaking up. It was all over," Jon remembers. "Paul called me and Criss and we told him that the record company and everyone hated us now and Criss and I were going to stop and start all over. (Paul) didn't want us to do that. He said he would call Atlantic and work everything out and that we should start writing because he wanted to do a record with us. It was the first time someone really wanted to put time and money into what we were doing. Paul became very important, not only working in the studio but on a personal level also."

The subsequent album, "Hall Of the Mountain King" really launched Savatage's career, and also brought to a forefront their melding symphonic instrumentations into their music, solidifying the signature Savatage sound. The band embarked on an extensive tour, adding rhythm guitarist Chris Caffery to the lineup. The following album "Gutter Ballet" was also very well received and spawned another lengthy tour. Caffery left the band following that tour, and as a foursome Savatage recorded their first rock opera, "Streets." "On 'Gutter Ballet' we kind of experimented with the idea, and once we realized we were on to something we took another step with 'Streets'. I think that album was the peak performance for our lineup. We spent so much time on it and did different things. It was just a really intense record to work on. I think it's the most underrated record we've done." But after "Streets", Jon was having increasing problems with his voice, and while he continued to write and record with the band, they brought in Zachary Stevens to do the vocal work. Savatage released "Edge of Thorns", and then toured again, but without Jon and Steve Wacholz. Then, in October of 1993, tragedy struck as Criss Oliva was killed by a drunk driver. "The saddest thing was after the tour was over, Chris Caffery and I were going to come back to the band and we were going to keep Zach and have two lead singers like we wanted. And when Criss got killed, it just f**ked everything up. Chris Caffery went into seclusion. Johnny came into the studio one day and just broke down and then left, and Steve basically did the same thing. It was too soon. They just couldn't deal with it. I basically did everything for the next album myself. Alex Skolnick came in at the end to finish the (guitar) solo work, but everything else was myself. That record was my therapy. It kept me from going off the edge. It made me have something to do for Criss, to get the record out." The record was "Handful of Rain", and the band did a brief tour with Jeff Plate replacing Steve Wacholz on the drums.

In 1995, Steve Caffery rejoined, and when Alex left the band, guitarist Al Pitrelli took his place. Savatage then recorded a second rock opera "Dead Winter Dead." They did not tour the U.S. after that album, but instead went to Japan and Europe, where "Handful of Rain" had done quite well. An instrumental song on "Dead Winter Dead" called "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24)" received some decent response on radio, so Savatage launched an instrumental side project called Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The first TSO album "Christmas Eve & Other Stories" went gold in less than a year and would eventually go platinum."That was a very important album because it showed that we could produce a hit record. When ‘12/24' came out on 'Dead Winter Dead' it was the top requested song on almost every station that played it. But a lot of stations wouldn't play it because it said Savatage, and they just weren't playing metal bands from the 80's. They wouldn't even listen to it. So we got so pissed-off that the next year we took the same song, changed the name to Trans-Siberian Orchestra, put a Christmas tree on the cover and sent it out. And it became the number one requested song in the U.S. for eight weeks. It was a way around the politics here in America."

Over the next three years, Savatage would release the album ""The Wake Of Magellan" and would also release another Christmas TSO album, as well as the first non-Christmas effort by the project "Beethoven's Last Night", which would also spawn the first tour of TSO. After recording a final album on Atlantic, Savatage left the label on good terms, signing with Nuclear Blast America. With a lineup of Jon Oliva, Chris Caffery, Al Pitrelli, Johnny Lee Middleton and Jeff Plate, as well as Paul O'Neill still behind the boards, Savatage would enter the studio, recording "Poets and Madmen" which was released in April of 2001. The story of Pulitzer Prize winning photographer Kevin Carter and the affect the time he spent documenting famine in Africa had on him, "Poets and Madmen" also heralded the return of Jon behind the vocal mic. Al Pitrelli left after the recording to join Megadeth, and was replaced on the tour by Jack Frost. The band also added a second lead vocalist Damond Jiniya, and the turnout and response at the shows on the tour was quite impressive for a band that came close to folding it up after their disastrous second album. "Before the American leg of the tour, they were telling us we would be lucky if we did two or three hundred people a night. And at a number of places I was quite impressed, we did very well. Towns where we did four or five hundred the last time through, we were doing a thousand or twelve hundred. The promoters were really surprised, but I guess the people remembered us. But we make the audience as much the part of the show as the band is and it's different every night. We have people who follow us around to every show. And we like to hang out after the show too. We don't run and hide in the tour bus. We're a people's band, and the people really like that. And we're having a really good time playing, too." :->


2. INDUSTRY PROFILE - ADAM COHEN, Talent Buyer for The Tabernacle by Mark E. Waterbury

Adam Cohen has an ultimate goal and he has been working in pursuit of that goal for most of his life. Born in Montreal, but raised in Atlanta, Adam had always been into classic rock music, particularly the Grateful Dead. "That music actually helped expand my knowledge of music and appreciation for jazz, blues and country and other styles outside of the rock vein." While attending Emerson College in Boston. Adam began to gain a serious interest in restaurants, bars and nightclubs. He began majoring in marketing, but then switched over to business management in his senior year. "I really wanted to own a nightclub or bar, and it was mostly just the lifestyle of some friends of mine who owned some nightclubs in Europe that interested me the most. You get a good amount of spare time if you do it right. So I switched my major over and everything kind of switched focus in college. Taking the marketing knowledge that I had and moving it over to the business side, learning how to get people in the door." Adam came back to Atlanta where he began working at a nightclub in suburban Marietta called Charades. In four months he became the general manager, but after just six months in that position he decided to leave when he realized that managing a dance club was not his thing but he had still gained valuable experience in the business of running a club. "It was running a club at the very bottom level. Everything by hand, no computers or whatever." Adam then went to work for a small management firm working with the band Donkey, mainly as their booking agent in the Southeast. He set Donkey up as the first band to play Swing Night at the multilevel Atlanta music club Masquerade. That caught the attention of the management of the club, and Adam went to work at the Masquerade in security. He stuck with it, and then landed the opportunity to work with booking the Impotent Sea Snake's tour with W.A.S.P. and Motorhead. That led to booking the local bands at the Masquerade as well as working with national act promotion. "Booking was offered to me and I looked at it as an opportunity and to learn more about what I want to do at the end, which is get butts in seats or through the doors of whatever I choose to run in the future."

Right about the beginning of 1999, Adam went to work for the Tabernacle, a relatively new club that was actually an old Gospel tabernacle which was a House Of Blues during the 1996 Summer Olympics. He saw an article at about a club in the basement of the Tabernacle called The Cellar that was looking for a booker for local bands. Adam clinched the opportunity and soon afterwards booked the national acts at the Tabernacle in conjunction with Cellar Door Productions. "I learned a lot from the folks at Cellar Door - how to talk to agents, how to research your band, figuring out the financials of actually putting on a show, what a good promoter needs to know about how his building works, and how people react to the building and the bands...everything."

Some changes happened at the Tabernacle, as The Cellar was replaced by another Atlanta music club, The Cotton Club. The venues were also bought by SFX, which was recently purchased by Clear Channel Entertainment. Adam worked his way to becoming the talent buyer for both clubs as well as the assistant general manager of the Tabernacle, and has also helped to turn the Tabernacle/Cotton Club into two of the most respected concert venues in the Southeast. "When I came over here, we were still one of the bottoms of the barrel. We had some good shows, but it wasn't an every day type of venue. Since I've been in here, we've put in everything across the board. I've been a huge supporter of bringing Latin and urban music into the venue. We bring in such diverse acts that we're on everybody's calendars now. There's nobody in Atlanta we feel that we've excluded."

Adam would also like to put on a music festival at some point in the future, and is still working towards his ultimate goal of owning his own club by using all available methods to learn the ins and outs of that end of the business. But while he is working at the Tabernacle and Cotton Club, he enjoys the feel of putting on shows and the enjoyment that comes from the audience when their band hits the stage."It's the first hit of guitar and drums in any show where the crowd goes nuts. The first time that band walks out and the crowd goes nuts and the whole room explodes at once. I really enjoy that moment. But I think that the ultimate goal for anybody is to work for themselves. When a question cannot be asked that I don't have any experience answering, then it will be time to move on." :->


3. ALBUM CAPSULES by Mark E. Waterbury

Savatage - Poets and Madmen
Nuclear Blast
One of metal's great underrated bands Savatage has provided the world with another great concept album "Poets and Madmen". From the hauntingly discordant piano laced interlude to the lead track "Stay With Me Awhile", you can tell that this band has not skipped a beat since their breakthrough "Hall Of the Mountain King" in 1987. Always a band that liked to lace their gritty power metal with orchestration ala Queen or King Crimson, Savatage proves again on this CD that they are some true musical masters. A great example is "Commissar" that begins with majestic choruses and bombastic rhythms and then morphs into a snappy, hard driving finish with wicked guitar solos. "Man In the Mirror" begins as a throbbing, moody ballad before exploding with dramatic fire. This album also heralds the return of Jon Oliva as the vocalist behind the machine. Although not as high pitched as in the earlier days, Jon's voice resonates powerfully throughout the album. Guitarists Al Pitrelli (who left after the recording) and Chris Caffery provide the variance of rhythm passages, from stoic to intricate, burning in incendiary soloing at just the right spots. Drummer Jeff Plate and long time bassist Johnny Lee Middleton flesh out the sound with their blistering rhythm dynamics. When Savatage spawned Trans-Siberian Orchestra several years ago, it gave the band widespread musical credibility. Their longtime fans know that these guys have always had the talent as players and songwriters, and "Poets and Madmen" stamps an exclamation point on that. E-mail: URL:

Holly Allen - Her Place: The Decatur Sessions
This four song EP by Atlanta singer/songwriter Holly Allen gives a great first glimpse at this lady's talents, both in crafting the songs and performing them. Holly's excellent voice shows the obvious roots instilled from her upbringing in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, but it has a sly, seductively bluesy tilt to it, with a slight Janis Joplin inflection. This can really be felt in gutsy tracks like "Let Love Come Between Us" and "Slick Enough to Slide", tunes that would feel as equally at home at a gritty honky-tonk or a yuppie coffee shop. The mellow ballad "Three Chord Country Song" is reminiscent of the grand ladies of country, backed with music that is etched with more modern day Nashville. The poignant emotive ballad "Her Place" showcases a breathier side to Holly's voice, more influenced by the likes of Shawn Colvin or Cheryl Wheeler, also taking a forthright view at the subject of abused women. It is obvious through the passionate lyrics on all four songs that the subject matter is not only dear to Holly's heart, but also written FROM her heart and delivered with a proper fervor for each separate feeling. The flavor of this CD is taken a further level by a solid core of talented session musicians and the stellar production of veteran producer Johnny Sandlin. The final touch is the fact that even though this is Holly's first recording, it sounds more like the work of a veteran who is just beginning to hit her stride. Mix that with her obvious talent and passion, and you have a serious recipe for success. E-mail: URL:

Anthrax - The Very Best of Anthrax
Island - 314 586 004-2
Damn, I love Anthrax! The more I listen to the songs that they did in the mid to late 80's, the more I am convinced that they were one of the best heavy metal bands ever. From the pounding rhythms and blistering guitar work that ran the gamut of hard driving mid-tempo thunder to furious speed thrash - often in the same song - the extra jolt always put into Anthrax songs are the lyrics. Occasionally bizarre, often sardonic, and covering modern subjects with a brash directness rather than skipping around the edge like some alterno-weenies do, the band's words brought the listener into their world, actually provoking thought while your head is thrashing and banging about. And this band was doing the rap metal thing long before the modern purveyors of that musical coupling even thought of it. This latest edition of their greatest songs is the most solid, because it is from their days with Island Records, i.e., the days with singer Joey Belladonna. I don't even need to really review them, just name a few of them: "Indians", "Antisocial", "I'm The Man". "Belly of the Beast", "I Am The Law", "Keep It In the Family". Enough said...except move the furniture back and hide the breakables before cranking this one up!

Django & the Regulars - Laying Low and Inbetween
Alyosha Records - AR-102
This is album number two from this New York City trio headed by singer/songwriter Django Haskins, and it not only shows maturity, but a knack for weaving several popish influences into a raucous musical ride. Of course, it seems like no pop-oriented rock band can escape the influence of the Fab Four, and track one "Disappointment Book" solidifies that right off the bat. But you can hear a bit of the later stuff by The Replacements, and perhaps a touch of XTC with Django's voice sounding a bit like Andy Partridge. His jangly guitar strumming gives the music a nice touch of personality, sometimes showing several sides in one song. "12 Gauge Microphone" is a good example of this where the chops range from avante garde fuzzy twang to brash punk-tinged fire. The moody ballad "Time and Again" gives another glimpse to the versatility of Django's writing. The music is fleshed out nicely by occasional harmonious vocal turns, and the solid rhythms of bassist Byron Isaacs and drummer Neil Nunziato. But the real enjoyment hear comes from the songs themselves, as Django proves that he can take styles that have been really overdone in the recent past and make it very listenable and pretty fun to boot. E-mail: URL:

Buckra - Fall of Porkopolis
Cincinnati's foursome Buckra gives a wild kick and a spit in the eye to any sense of normalcy in the pop rock world. But considering what a lot of that normalcy has produced over the years, that's actually a good thing. Think a little of the Bosstones without the horns and with cleaner vocals. Add in a bit of Run Westy Run, B-52's, Dead Kennedys and you get an idea of some of the influences, but the music hops back and forth, keeping a certain distinguishable undercurrent that assures you it is the same band. Take the brash punk sound of "Dirty Mirage" and compare it to the frenetic jazzy lilt in "Trophey Song." But then comes the near heavy-metal guitar riff laden "Ransack" which is closely followed by the gin-house blues of "Lawn Man." Sounds hard to pigeon hole into one genre, doesn't it? But in order to pull off this kind of mishmash, you have to have several elements, primarily players with talents, solid lyrics and well-written songs, and this band has all three. The lyrics tend to be tongue-in-cheek and that even adds more spice to the music. It is a trip where you don't know what your next destination will be, but you'll probably have a good time when you get there. E-mail: URL:

Richard Carr - When Soul and Heart Collide
Rec'D Music - REC'D CD 1004-2
"When Soul and Heart Collide" is a very adept title for this fourth release from New Orleans by way of St. Louis pianist Richard Carr. He definitely puts both heart and soul into the wonderful music on this recording. Combining elements of new age, classical and light jazz into his own delectable hybrid, it is easy to see why he is becoming one of the most respected pianists in the Big Easy. One of the first things you notice in the sweet lead track "Familiar Stranger" is how his right hand rapidly pirouettes like the graceful ballet soloist, as his left hand flows with a solid and fully rounded accompaniment, as if there were more that one player at the piano."Sunbeams at Twilight" is simple but dramatic beauty, enticing the listener to paint a visual of the title's theme. The music of "Racing Hearts & New Love" also fits the title, with a brisk pace and joyful feel. It is quite obvious that Richard is not only extremely talented, but quite well-versed in the art of telling his musical stories with no words. That is the goal of any instrumentalist and it is what makes "When Soul and Heart Collide" a true masterpiece. E-mail: URL: :->



Build that Catalogue - NOW!

Believe me when I say that there was a time in this industry that a producer would call for material on a Monday, the artist would hear the song and react positively to it on Tuesday or Wednesday, and the song would be recorded that Friday...but not so these days. Some major artists pour over 1000 to possibly 2500 songs before they decide on ten. Then maybe six months later, the studio sessions begin and 18 months later, the CD is finally released.

I specifically remember a writer bringing me a superb song when I was managing Central Songs in L.A.. He was a new writer whom I'd never met and I signed the song immediately. The song was demo'd the next evening and I brought it to a local producer the next day. He also reacted favorably, called an artist in to hear it and the artist also felt the song was highly competitive. The producer called me the next day to put a lock on the song and stated that I was invited to the session the following week. I didn't call the writer because you never know if a song is going to come off as expected and I didn't like to get their hopes up, but the song DID come off better than expected and the artist said, "I want to hear EVERYTHING that writer has." Naturally, I was excited for the new writer and passed the good news on to him. His answer: "I don't have any more songs at this time, but I'll work on some more." Eventually, eight months later, he did bring in some more material - some excellent, some so-so, but the sad part of this saga is that if the writer would have had an immediate catalogue of songs when his first one was cut, he may have had four or five more accepted by an excited producer and artist. You bet from that point on when I was meeting with a new writer, I would always say, "Let me hear your strongest five songs", and hopefully, they would have them.

When I became a producer, I always respected the song-plugger for Acuff-Rose - namely Jerry Byrd, the seasoned steel guitar player/song-plugger for Wesley Rose. Jerry would call me and ask if he could bring me a song and I always said, "Get on over here". In variably, he would play me a tailored song for one of my acts and it would be perfect (and it would get cut), but I'd always say, "What else have you got?" He'd say, That's it". I loved it because he would take up five minutes of my time and he'd hit the nail on the head every time.

Needless to say, if I needed any more Acuff-Rose songs, I knew they had over 10,000 of them and I could always call Jerry (or Wes) and they'd be glad to 'rifle' the catalogue until we hit pay dirt. And we did - many, many times.

The specific moral of this column is to tell you to be prepared when you (finally) get that face-to-face meeting with any publisher. Just show 'em what you've got and expose all the different styles you can. If that one great song hits them, they will definitely want to hear more so as they say, "Hit 'em with your best shot(s)".

You're probably wondering what that one song was that I brought to the producer, but I openly admit that I can't remember, especially since we were screening over 300 songs per week. But I do remember I felt like an idiot when I had to call the parties and say, "He doesn't have anymore"!! :->



Stories & Sayings to keep you motivated in your career

We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts. - Madelein L'Engle, writer

There is only one be able to spend your life in your own way... - Christopher Morley, author

God doesn't require that you succeed - He only requires that you try. - Mother Teresa

The 6 characteristics and traits of successful people
1. Specific goals
2. Strategy
3. Action
4. Self-management
5. Passion
6. Support :->



The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia are steeped in musical history. This is the environment that Holly Allen grew up in, with a musical family that included a father who was a championship fiddle player and several performing siblings. Holly grew up performing and writing music and would eventually perk the interest of producer Johnny Sandlin, who recorded her first CD, a four song EP called "Her Place - The Decatur Sessions". The CD captured Holly's wonderful voice and showcased her songwriting capabilities, melding her roots-country background with more modern influences like Shawn Colvin. The title track landed on a compilation CD that benefited the organization for battered women and children called Hope Place, and included performances by such luminaries as Chuck Levell, Delbert McClinton and Wide Spread Panic. Relocating to Atlanta, Holly has assembled a veteran band featuring guitarists Mark Thompson and Phillip Haushaulter, bassist Duke "Stray" Straton and drummer Mike Bruce, who have shared the stage with a virtual who's-who of prominent music acts. With a new album in the works and a hot band backing her up, Holly Allen may be on her way to write her own chapter of musical history. Holly's recent interview with us sheds some light on her background and present plans.

MM: You grew up in a musical family?

HA: Yes, my father grew up playing music, mostly bluegrass, and when I was growing up he played in a country band almost every Friday and Saturday night for all of my life. He had a day job, but that's what helped put food on the table. The band did some recording, but nothing on a big scale.

MM: When you first started performing did you start with members of your family or was it with other people?

HA: I used to go to my dad's band practices when I was little. And from about the time I was thirteen, they would take me along and get me up and have me sing a couple of songs wherever they played. Then in my early twenties, I played in a band with my sister and another guy and we were called Traveling Light. We just had acoustic guitars and harmonies, doing original music mostly. We did some covers but most of it was stuff that my sister and I or Michael had written.

MM: Was that the first time you had written songs?

HA: I had been writing songs before that, probably as a teenager. It seems like songwriting was something that just came naturally. I have two sisters - both of them are musicians, and they are older than I am. I grew up with two of my cousins. We would get together and sit around and play. That's when I really started writing and learned to play the guitar.

MM: What brought you to the Atlanta area?

HA: My husband Stray is from the Atlanta area, and we were talking about coming to Nashville or here. He was not so keen on the Nashville scene and he had more contacts here. He used to play for Capricorn Studios and played with several different people, and still knows some musicians in the area.

MM: How did you hook up with Johnny Sandlin?

HA: Through my husband. Stray and I worked together on a recording project in North Carolina, and ten years later we started talking on the phone to see if he was interested in helping me with my music. So I sent him a tape and he sent a tape to Johnny and Johnny liked the stuff that we sent so we set up some recording time. That was about three years ago.

MM: How was that - to go into that studio and work with some of the industry notables you worked with on that project?

HA: It was like stepping into a dream. It was very surreal. At the time I guess I didn't know the people that I was working with or that they were kind of legendary. If I had, I probably would have been a bit intimidated. But they were just really down-to-earth and everything really clicked. It was just wonderful. I was thrilled to have had that experience and meet the people that I have met and worked with. I'm looking forward to more experiences like that.

MM: The first time you heard the finished product, what was your reaction?

HA: Sort of a love-hate thing. Something that you worked towards and it finally manifests and comes to fruition and you like it and then start picking it apart and wish you could have done this or that better. There was really no middle ground - either it really sounds good or sounds really bad. (Laughs)

MM: Was this CD sort of a precursor to your full release that's coming out in fall?

HA: It was sort of a demo to shop to the record labels. What we are recording now, we may or may not use those songs again. I'm hoping to have all new material, and I've been writing again recently. I kind of go in spurts. I have a couple of new tunes that are probably going to take place of two of the four songs from "Her Place", so I just want to keep getting new material out and probably not use any of those.

MM: You have been playing live in several areas of the Southeast. What has been the reaction so far?

HA: I think pretty good. I've met a lot of nice people and have been getting some interesting feedback. The main response that I get seems to be that people think that I write from my heart and have something to say in my songs. I'm not like a rocking, dancing type of deal, but I think that people have been appreciative and they listen, and they have listened in places I never would have thought they would have necessarily listened to my kind of music.

MM: Is your songwriting spontaneous? Do you see or experience something and feel you have to write about it, or is it more planned out?

HA: It's a combination of both, but the material that I feel is better are things that are something I feel very strongly about or something that comes to me. One of the songs I wrote is about this guy when I was little. He wasn't homeless, but he lived in sort of a tarpaper shack place. He didn't have a job and was kind of like the village idiot person. He would pick up glass pop bottles by the road and turn them in for money. They called him Pop Bottle Arnie. I was always curious about him, and I came to find out that he was actually an illegitimate half-brother of my grandfather. I started finding out some things about him and hearing stories. One of the stories was that people would always try to make fun of him and say things to him just to laugh at how he replied. Someone asked him one day what he thought the longest word in the English language was, and he stutters, but he said, "That would be love; it stretches from here to heaven." And that really struck a cord with me - how we judge people without seeing who they really are. I thought it was a really intelligent statement. So I wrote a song about it.

MM: What are your thoughts and plans to make your music successful at least as your definition of success goes?

HA: Just keep getting out there and playing and playing from the heart. Getting out and meeting people and talking to other people and playing with other people. I think just doing it because you feel like it's what you want to do. And then the rest will come.

For more information on Holly Allen, please visit her web site at :->


News and Opportunities Compiled for Musicians, Songwriters and Music Professionals by Sandy Serge

Music Morsels encourages all of you to fax your press releases to us at 678/494-9269 or email them to for possible inclusion in this column. This column will be featured monthly. Deadline for inclusion is the 25th of the month for the upcoming issue.

Attn: Musicians: Got Good PR??
With all the responsibilities musicians have between writing, recording, performing and promoting their music, it can be a tough job juggling them all. Let us help you put your career on the fast track to success! Serge Entertainment PR is seeking additional rock (all styles), new age/instrumental and country music clients (musicians and labels) to add to its roster. For more information, please visit our web site at

Attn: Musicians - Serge Entertainment Group is always seeking DEDICATED booking representatives in all parts of the USA. If you have booking experience through booking your own band (or anyone else's) and you want to make some extra money by securing quality bookings for other indie bands, please email for more information. This is your opportunity to help other indie musicians and make money while doing so! Commission based with incentive program.

We would like to invite you to keep up to date on the latest country music news at! Subscribe to our weekly newsletter by entering your e-mail address in the newsletter form at the top of our page. It's that easy!
*country news updated twice daily
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Check out our Yahoo! Club at

The site:
* Get your act on the unsigned Top 40 Chart
* Advertise your band's CD's free
* Get a featured artist page
* If you use backing tracks they've got them, less than 70p a track
* Recording software, studio tools (Free to download)
* Promotion tools and ideas
* Pages of site links
* Plus loads more
Check it out

As a former owner and manager of SONGS.COM (now fast asleep), I want to invite you to visit , a brand new web site where a lot of former members are coming together along with a host of new music faces. More every day. The music's as good as ever, the artist membership is growing quickly, and it's continually growing into something worthy of your attention. is a great, new and innovative site for these artists and many more. It is designed to serve them and you in some very new ways. You can visit artist home pages, listen to their music and browse through the store catalogs. You can search the site for artists touring near you, and send them an Instant Message that they'll get as they're online. As well, you can influence the careers of budding new artists in the Open Mic by posting an opinion or a rating, chat and leave your comments and questions in several online forums. You can even create a page for yourself. There is much more to come, too. It's cool. I am sending this message to you because I believe that if you enjoyed visiting these artists at SONGS.COM over the past six years, you may want to keep track of some of them and their music, and also to meet some new faces. There is really some fine music on the horizon today. Many of these artists have new CDs and will be touring in your area. This is a one-time mailing, inviting you to visit the new site and if you find it interesting, to sign up for regular music news. So, please find your way to, visit some old friends and listen to some great music. I really think you'll be glad you did.

If you want an inside look at the recording studio, what goes on, how to prepare for, who to work with, how to use the gear, etc.. You need "Inside The Recording Studio." The perfect handbook for the basics. Check it out at the link below.

On September 1st, Degy Booking International (DBI) will begin operations as a national and international booking agency. The agency, owned by music manager, Ari Nisman, will have offices opening in both Colorado and New Jersey. DBI will be devoted to booking both signed and unsigned acts with strong management and promotions teams. Plans for the new agency have been in the works for nearly a year, but the decision was delayed until the company made its new move into their Union, NJ headquarters. DBI's initial agency team is comprised of several agents hired away from other U.S. booking agencies with Chad Denney running the East Coast booking office and Jason Rossman running the Colorado based booking office. Submissions must contain the following materials and information: CD, press kit, bio, one sheet, venues played list, current record label, promotions team and materials, management team, video (live and/or promotional), # dates per month, touring vehicle information, and other pertinent materials. One submission package should be sent to each DBI office: Degy Booking International - Attn: Booking Submission - 1155 West Chestnut Street - Suite 2A - Union, NJ 07083 -- & -- Degy Booking International - Attn: Booking Submission - 9725 E. Harvard - Suite T-323 - Denver, CO 80231.
For more information:
Degy Booking International
(908) 810-9190

Dimsum Entertainment is seeking music videos of all genres to program on our 24-hour public broadcast station in the United States. Beginner as well as professional-looking videos are acceptable. The following are minimal requirements in terms of format and standard:
1. Submit in NTSC standard (standard US)
2. No more than 5 minutes in total length
3. Music CD must be available for sale
4. Videos on mini DV tapes preferred (VHS OK)
Please send video with contact information along with artist name and song title to:
Dimsum Entertainment
8748C 78th Street
Woodhaven, NY 11421
P: 718-296-5658
F: 718-281-1845

You are cordially invited to the Songwriters of Wisconsin International 2001 Awards Banquet on Saturday, September 22, 2001 at The Park Plaza Valley Inn, 123 E. Wisconsin Ave., Neenah, WI. Begins at 2PM. Send $22 per person before September 15 to: SOWI Awards Banquet, P.O. Box 1027, Neenah, WI 54957-1027. For more info, call 920/725-1027. :->



Looking for products or services to assist you on your path to success?? Then look here! Ad rates are only $15. Your ad runs for 3 months and has visibility all over the world. For complete ad rates, contact All ads are also posted on our web site at
Labels, musicians, songwriters - send your press kits with CDs for a possible upcoming review/interview to Sandy Serge - Editor, Music Morsels, P.O. Box 2760, Acworth, GA 30102 USA .


Music Morselsí Own Scott Turner Chronicles His Life In Audio Cassette Series
Scott Turner Audio Cassette Series Tape #1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 Are Now Available!
Scott Turner, renowned publisher/producer/songwriter and columnist for Music Morsels has begun his audio cassette series chronicling his 47 years in the music industry. Each 90 minute tape will highlight the important events in his music career from his first recording session and how he landed a recording deal to his days with Buddy Holly, Tommy Sands, Guy Mitchell, Eddie Fisher, Herb Alpert, Audie Murphy, Harry Nilsson, Phil Spector as well as his career at recording labels such as Central Songs and the country division at Liberty which eventually became United Artists. Each tape sells for $12 and will periodically include songs that have never been heard along with rare photos. The first tape chronicles Scott Turner's "Early Years" beginning in the mid-50's spoken by Scott Turner himself. Several publishers have approached him to write a book, but guess what? Scott Turner has graced us with the honor of presenting the treasured moments in his musical career on tape to you!

To order Tape #1, please complete this form (copy and paste is easiest) and mail with your check or money order for $12 plus $1 shipping and handling ($13 total) to: Scott Turner Cassette Series, c/o Serge Entertainment Group, P.O. Box 2760, Acworth, GA 30102 USA . You will receive ordering information for additional tapes when you receive your first tape.

Name __________________________________________

Address ________________________________________

City, State, Zip __________________________________


Email __________________________________________

Please make checks payable to Serge Entertainment Group. Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery. Thank you for your order!


Rock Candy Music Video Show is looking for videos from unsigned bands to air on their show. They are based in Vacaville, California and are currently cablecast in several Northern California cities. The show debuted on June 27, 1996 and has received great response from unsigned bands from all around the world. The response from unsigned bands has been so good that they have been able to do all unsigned bands "Rising Stars" episodes about every 10-12 months. Rock Candy is a non-profit show produced for the entertainment of its viewers. The show is one hour and airs one new episode per month. They feature top name bands that perform Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, and Glam. On each episode, they feature one unsigned band on their "Rising Stars" segment of the show. If you would like to get your video on Rock Candy, check out the Rock Candy Unsigned Bands Page at
You will find all of the information you need to submit a video there.
You can contact Rock Candy with questions at:
Rock Candy
142 S. Orchard Ave
Vacaville, CA 95688
E-Mail us at:
Producer: Troy Correia
Rock Candy is a non-profit show produced at TCI Cablevision in Vacaville, Ca. for Public Access Television.
Rock Candy Music Videos is a Trademark.

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SONGWRITER'S MONTHLY - the stories behind today's songs. For a free sample, call 1-800-574-2986.


"Best of Bad Boy", the CD on Surgeland Records by Midwestern rockers Bad Boy has sold-out its first pressing. On to the second pressing. To order, visit the best on-line indie store around - CD Baby - at Also available at The Exclusive Company, Mainstream Records, Nickelodeon, Dream Disc and Madcity Music Exchange. Overseas the cd is available through DSB Distributors in Germany. For more info on Bad Boy, please visit their web site at Order at or call 1-800-448-6369. THE LEGEND LIVES ON....


Musicians Tip Sheet - The Tip Sheet is a free newsletter for musicians which includes many industry contacts and informative information about the music industry. To subscribe, please send an email to: mailto:


Attn: COUNTRY MUSIC LOVERS - hearing is believing! If you haven't ordered your own copy of Lea Brennan's debut CD "The Entrance" produced by Nashville's Scott Turner, please do so now at If you like Stevie Nicks, Alison Krause and Dolly Parton, you will love this beautiful soprano's vocal renditions on this collection of wonderful traditional country tunes!


The alt/rock CD "Seeing in the Dark" featuring the single "Nothing at All" which aired on the ABC series "Making the Band" by NineDollarMelonBaller is now available at CD Baby


CD Baby - the best indie online store in the world -


JOIN INTERMIXX, the nation's first true indie music internetwork. Indie musicians need to market themselves in every way they can, to reach the maximum number of consumers. The internet has helped make this more possible now than ever before. Maximize your internet marketing capability by joining InterMixx. Find out more by entering the InterMixx IndieGate: or call 1 800 MIXX MAG. Because Sandy Serge, editor of Music Morsels, is a valued InterMixx member, please mention Music Morsels and receive a special $50 discount off the annual membership fee of $150.00!


ATTENTION BANDS, LABELS, MUSICIANS & MUSIC BUSINESSES! Serge Entertainment PR gives you access to all of the music industry's top publishers, editors and journalists in print, broadcast and the Internet. We position you for success!! Visit our web site at


Get a FREE subscription to The Buzz Factor, Bob Baker's music marketing tip sheet. Every issue features inspiration and low-cost marketing ideas for your independent band or record label. To subscribe, just send a blank email to or visit


181.4 Degrees from the Norm! If you're looking for today's newest music, then stop by 181.4 Degrees from the Norm! We put out a new issue each month that's loaded with album reviews, regular columns, concert reviews, and more. No fluff - just truth in reviewing.


Labels, songwriters and musicians!
Check out the Bandit A&R Newsletter at
For a free sample copy and info, send a blank email to
Here is just ONE example of numerous listings that appear in Bandit A&R Newsletter:
Barry at GOTHAM RECORDS has dropped me an e-mail to say he has recently licensed product from a couple of subscribers and talking to another. He is still going through some of the Rock and covers requested in his last feature so if you haven't heard anything yet maybe he still has to 'discover' you! Barry says he is now looking for UK R&B and Trance tracks for several of his world-wide contacts. Send quality masters in these areas only to:
Barry Tomes, GOTHAM RECORDS, P.O. Box 6003, BIRMINGHAM, B45 0AR. Tel 0121 477 9553 [Return with SAE]


GAJOOB Magazine's DiY Report is a listing of DiY recording information, distributed freely over the Internet 2-3 times monthly for musicians. To subscribe, send an e-mail to Also available in hypertext format on the world wide web at


Fall into a place beyond earth listening to music by new age/classical pianist Mark Birmingham. Visit his web site at for a taste of his "Garden Life" CD that offers some true soothing and relaxing music as well as several uplifting, emotive tunes for your listening pleasure. Media members: For more info or a presskit, contact


ATTN: MUSICIANS! HAVE WE GOT THE 411 FOR YOU! Get the only directory you will ever need - A&R Registry (Regional A&R contacts not listed in any other directory with all major & independent labels in LA, NY, Nashville & London). All this for only $325.00 1 year (6 issues) or get a trial issue for only $65.00. Call The Music Business Registry at 800-377-7411 for ordering information.



To SUBSCRIBE to our FREE e-mail version of Music Morsels, send an email message to and put the word "Subscribe" in the subject field. That's it. Expect to receive your email issue the first week of every month. Please note: We do not share or sell our mailing list with anyone so your privacy is protected.


That's it for September! Thank you for your subscription. E-ya next month!


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