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Author Topic:  Hows the scene in Nashville ?
Dean Holman


From:
Branson MO
Post Posted 17 Jul 2017 10:37 am     Reply with quote

I hate to rain on the parade, can you make a living in Nashville? Yes. Is there any security in it? No. I guess it depends on how much of risk taker your willing to be. I've lived in Nashville twice, worked in some good situations and went through some bad situations. One thing I learned about Nashville, not saying this could happen to someone else, but it does happen, but I went through a period where I lost a job, no fault of my own, I was an asset, did a good job, got along with everyone and still had the plug pulled out from under me. I guess this can happen to anyone at anytime and not just in the music business. This became a wake-up call for me, especially if I wanted to stay married. My wife even had a tough time in Nashville even as well educated as she is, but hey, everybody's situation is different. There's no wrong answer to your decision, if you can live pretty conservatively and know how to network and your a good musician, you have as good of chance as anyone, I will say that sadly image and age does play a factor for some of the Nashville gigs, especially if your fortunate enough to land an artist gig. If you have a family that depends on you then I definitely recommend finding what most people would say a regular job or something you can depend on while you pursue your dream. Like I said, there's no right or wrong answer, but you do have to realize the bad and weigh the bad with the good in your decisions.
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David Spires


From:
Nashville, TN USA
Post Posted 17 Jul 2017 10:58 am     Reply with quote

I suppose I am echoing many comments here, but my take is:

- Nashville is what you make of it.
- Touring jobs are for the young.
- There's always opportunity for people who are excellent, work hard, and have a positive attitude.

I'm 46 now, and it's true - I wouldn't be the pick for some acts, purely because I'm not 25. Being a Utility player is also different today that I remember it being. It used to mean, a person could get by on another instrument or two. I find now, so many touring musicians are "good to amazing" on many instruments. This is certainly a plus, because commercial radio releases have never been more sonically dense.

Some players carve out a niche so successfully. There is most certainly a ton of talent in Nashville, and new, exciting players come along every day.

I guess I would sum it up as, it's not for the faint of heart. I moved to town because I loved playing music, doing it for a living sounded amazing, and - I wanted to find out how good I could become. I suppose I still feel that way, and that's why I enjoy the challenge of working with such great musicians (who are also trying to find their way, make a living, and see how good they can be).

Best of luck,

David Spires
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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 17 Jul 2017 11:15 am     Reply with quote

Karen
In addition to the stuff we discussed by phone the other day, there are smaller communities around Austin in the 30-mile radius that would be more affordable, and still reasonable in comparison to Boston/Austin. But as far as living in the city goes...

But FYI, according to the Yardi Matrix, which tracks apartment rental costs by ZIP code, of the 50 of the most expensive postal zones in TX, Austin has 10 of them, including 3 in the top 5, and holding the "coveted" 1st and 2nd places (78701 and 78703), basically downtown central and downtown west. In 4th place is 78705. This means that the average monthly rent for a 2bd apt. is $2105 to $2393 for the 01 and 03 areas. Average rent for 78705 is $2102/month.

These figures were in today's Austin American Statesman, our local daily.
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Johnny Cox


From:
Lives in Nashville, Missin Texas
Post Posted 17 Jul 2017 2:19 pm     Reply with quote

Karen, I moved back to Nashville for my family not my career. My career is over as a steel player. I simply am too old and too set in my ways for Nashville, probably anywhere else for that matter.
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Johnny "Dumplin" Cox
"YANKIN' STRINGS, STOMPIN' PEDALS" & turnin' wrenches since 1967.
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Ron Hogan


From:
Nashville, TN, usa
Post Posted 18 Jul 2017 8:45 am     Reply with quote

Johnny,
Many of us steel player that have been in town for years feel like you. Yea, we could play the bars all the time, but there is no real future doing that. The smart ones get away from that.

I play 4 or 5 times per month in the bars just for fun and play money as i dont have to depend on that.

But some will feel they are a success doing the bar scene and thats okay as everyone has a different goal here in Nashville.
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Mike Holder


From:
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 18 Jul 2017 9:02 am     Reply with quote

Seems the bottom line is be willing to reach for your dreams or goals no matter where they lead you. A person should have a goal but to be realistic, the goal can and often does change. Johnny for what it's worth I would love to see you offer lessons, I think you'd be surprised at how many players would love to learn from you. The music scene is always going to change and sometimes certain instruments will fall out of favor but they also come back in time and periodically a new style is born and the excitement grows. Don't be afraid of change, accept it and try to play for your self enjoyment as much as you can. A labor of love is difficult to rely on as a business or career, it goes with the territory. I have heard more steel on the Americana charts lately than the "Country " charts and enjoy the musical freedom people are showcasing on there.
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Johnny Cox


From:
Lives in Nashville, Missin Texas
Post Posted 18 Jul 2017 1:08 pm     Reply with quote

Mike, thanks for the vote of confidence but a teacher I am not. I've tried a couple times and it's just not my gift. Actually it has taken an entire career to know exactly what my niche is. I'm a live honky tonk player. I'm at my best in a dancehall playing ballads, shuffles and swing. I do ok in the studio but I hate being under that microscope. That and the fact that I'm only home 3 days out of 21. Those days are spent with my family.
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Johnny "Dumplin" Cox
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Mike Holder


From:
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 18 Jul 2017 1:19 pm     Reply with quote

Completely understand!...Didn't Clint Eastwood say " A man has to know his limitations"!??...lol! Let me know the next time you'll be in a Honky Tonk, I'd love to be watching & listening!
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Jeff Garden


From:
Center Sandwich, New Hampshire, USA
Post Posted 18 Jul 2017 2:05 pm     Reply with quote

Didn't want to hijack Karen's thread but...Don't ever underestimate the quiet influence you've had on newer steel players, Johnny. I took a week with Jeff Newman in the late 80's. You stopped by and blew me away with your playing - especially on C6. I never forgot it. One of the more memorable and motivating steel experiences I've had. Thank you! Smile
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Tommy Detamore


From:
Floresville, Texas
Post Posted 18 Jul 2017 3:05 pm     Reply with quote

Quote:

Don't ever underestimate the quiet influence you've had on newer steel players, Johnny.

Or older ones either 😉
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Tommy Detamore

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Herb Steiner


From:
Spicewood TX 78669
Post Posted 18 Jul 2017 3:14 pm     Reply with quote

I kinda miss you, Dumplin'. Come on down here and visit once in a while. Very Happy
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Allison String Instruments
My rig: Infinity and Telonics.

Son, we live in a world with walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with steel guitars. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinberg?
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George Redmon


Post Posted 18 Jul 2017 7:28 pm     Reply with quote

Perhaps this ole saying is true for the Nasville Steel Guitarist as well. I know this pretty much covers alot of careers.
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Frank Freniere


From:
Chicago, IL
Post Posted 19 Jul 2017 5:08 am     Reply with quote

George Redmon wrote:
Perhaps this ole saying is true for the Nasville Steel Guitarist as well. I know this pretty much covers alot of careers.


Laughing
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Joey Ace


From:
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Post Posted 19 Jul 2017 9:19 am     Reply with quote

I was once told that when driving into Nashville the attendant at the gas station is probably a better picker/singer/writer than you.

They are also in a better position because they have a job.
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Ron Hogan


From:
Nashville, TN, usa
Post Posted 11 Oct 2017 5:57 am     Reply with quote

Smiley Roberts told a good joke today.

How do you get a Nashville steel guitar player off your porch?

Tip him for the pizza.
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Ed Pettersen


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 12 Oct 2017 10:15 am     Reply with quote

I don't have much to add to what's already been said but what I tell students any time I'm asked to speak at colleges/universities:

Do it for the love ONLY.

Marry well.

Keep a day job.
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Bill Sinclair


From:
Hagerstown, Maryland, USA
Post Posted 12 Oct 2017 11:26 am     Reply with quote

Ed Pettersen wrote:
I don't have much to add to what's already been said but what I tell students any time I'm asked to speak at colleges/universities:

Do it for the love ONLY.

Marry well.

Keep a day job.


I'll bet their music department loves hearing that! Laughing All true, of course.
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Ed Pettersen


From:
Tennessee, USA
Post Posted 12 Oct 2017 2:43 pm     Reply with quote

Bill Sinclair wrote:
Ed Pettersen wrote:
I don't have much to add to what's already been said but what I tell students any time I'm asked to speak at colleges/universities:

Do it for the love ONLY.

Marry well.

Keep a day job.


I'll bet their music department loves hearing that! Laughing All true, of course.


I've only been invited back to one institution <g>.

Gotta' tell the truth though. I've been a full-time pro for 25 years and in retrospect there was no reason to leave my very well-paying day job back then. I'm extremely happy where I am but it wouldn't have made one lick of difference pro or con in my career.
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Darrell Criswell


From:
Maryland, USA
Post Posted 13 Oct 2017 6:57 pm     Reply with quote

I have talked to some people who worked on Broadway, not steel players but band leaders, they play for tips often with a guarantee amount from the club which isn't much. Sometimes they can make quite a bit and other times people don't tip and I have seen quite a few times when nobody even went into a club, even though the musicians were terrific. Overall I believe the people who really do fairly well are people with a regular gig on a good night like Don Kelly or Gary Gibson, but I have seen Gary nights when nobody was tipping, almost nothing at all, and he and his band are great. The people with money on Broadway are the people who sell the booze, I saw a bartender counting a stack of money at the Wheel, it was enormous, the only bigger stack of money I have seen was when the girl depositing the register for Dunking Donuts was in front of me at the bank, they had a money counting machine and it still took forever.
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Damir Besic


From:
Nashville,TN.
Post Posted 14 Oct 2017 12:20 am     Reply with quote

Only people making money from music on lower Broadway in Nashville are bar owners.... and traffic cops writing parking tickets to musicians loading and unloading their gear...
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Mickey Adams


From:
Bandera Texas
Post Posted 21 Oct 2017 4:03 am     Reply with quote

Karen, what did you decide....?
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Don Mogle


From:
Fort Worth, TX, USA
Post Posted 21 Oct 2017 8:50 am     Nashville Reply with quote

There's no way I'd go to Nashville looking for a steel gig since I probably don't have the chops for it.

I try to bloom where I live in Fort Worth. I play in church and don't get paid at all. I probably have over $8K invested in gear, drive a $1,000 car for a half mile to church and make $0. What keeps me going are the accolades from those who like what I do to add to the mix. I believe the payday will come later.

I'm retired from a military career and have a good day job. Weekend steel gigs, for no compensation, is where it's at for me. I just love to play and there's just nothing like a steel guitar! Like Jack Smith once said, "I play for a loving, not a living!" RIP Jack.

Karen, maybe you should think about more that just making a living playing steel. Some other things to consider about any move are these:

** Cost of Living--probably cheaper in Nashville
** Big City (Boston) versus smaller one (Nashville)
** Scenic Beauty--I bet Nashville wins out on this. I'll take the trees over high-rise buildings any day.
** Number of world-class steel players living in TN
** Greater retail steel guitar support in Nashville
** The Grand Ole Opry and other main street clubs
** The Time Jumpers LIVE whenever you want to
** You can buy a steel from Damir & avoid shipping!
** If you are liberal, perhaps Boston is the place to be.
** If you are conservative, Nashville would be a better choice (I'm guessing).



Don


Last edited by Don Mogle on 24 Oct 2017 4:00 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Chris Schlotzhauer


From:
Colleyville, Tx. USA
Post Posted 22 Oct 2017 8:24 am     Reply with quote

Bob Hoffnar wrote:
Come on down to Austin ! It's getting expensive here though. If I was moving to Texas now I would head for Fort Worth. Much more affordable and a very happening scene.



Shhhhh.....don't give it away
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Bobby Nelson


From:
North Carolina, USA
Post Posted 22 Oct 2017 12:58 pm     Reply with quote

I experienced a very similar thing to what a lot of guys are saying about Nashville, in New Orleans in the 80's. I was at least as good, and better than a lot of guys who were there. I loved NO,had contacts, a place to stay at my sis's house till I got off the ground. After a month or so, I realized that $150.00 a week was going to be about it, playing every day. The French Quarter was cheap back then, but it would cost about $300.00 a month for a shabby apt. On top of that, there were almost no day jobs, other than bar tending. I was also looking at Austin, and in a lot of ways, wish I had gone.
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Damir Besic


From:
Nashville,TN.
Post Posted 22 Oct 2017 2:01 pm     Reply with quote

I always enjoyed playing music, I wanted to see Nashville not because I wanted to be famous, but to see other really good guys, that's why I'm still here, never made it big time, but never really cared for it, so I didn't get disappointed and leave like many others....it's hard to make living playing music anywhere, not just in Nashville....
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