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Author Topic:  Hows the scene in Nashville ?
Bill Ladd


From:
Wilmington, NC, USA
Post Posted 13 Jul 2017 1:52 pm     Reply with quote

Karen - I agree with Mike Holder 110%. I have a number of wish-I-had-dones in my music career.

I passed on the gig that got Bob Hoffnar down to Austin. (Turns out is was a horrible gig, but it got Bob down to where it seems he should be, so I'm happy I passed as far as not getting in Bob's way. [He played with the Stooges for chrissake!!] Who knows what it would have led to for me though?).

A few years later I passed on the steel/multi spot for Darius Rucker. Yep. I did. Darius and I have been friends since the very early Hootie days. I emailed him when I learned that he was planning a country career. A few weeks later his music director called and said I had the gig if I was willing to relocate to Nashville in two weeks and ready to hit the road for 8-9 months. The pay really sucked for size of the gig, I was a newlywed, and I'd just started my new business - plus is was scared I would bomb and be put off the bus in Albuquerque or somewhere. I called back later that day and passed.

I think about that decision a lot. A lot.

You have a very cool and unique look. You have chops. If I were a music director in Nashville, I'd certainly give you a look see.

Life is short. I say go for it. Nashville doesn't pan out? Head to Texas. Seems like there's a ton of work down there.


Last edited by Bill Ladd on 13 Jul 2017 3:34 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Rich Upright


From:
Florida, USA
Post Posted 13 Jul 2017 3:33 pm     Reply with quote

Well, look at it this way...I play guitar, pedal steel,5 string banjo, bass, & sing. I am a "first call" musician here in the Tampa Bay area, yet I wouldn't even pick up a guitar in Nashville.
Was at the Hall of Fame motor inn some years back, and there was a steel player who everyone knows; one of the world's top players, and he told me he was making $15/night playing there, just doing it for fun. The studio is where he makes his bucks. And, Nashville is prolly the only place that pays less than Florida!
I compare trying to make it in Nashville like trying to join the Mafia...you gotta be "born" into it, otherwise "Fugheddaboutit"!
I think you would be much better off in Texas...gotta drive a lot; everything in Texas is 100 miles away. And, at least they play country music in Texas; Nashville ain't produced a real country artist in years. If I were to do it again, I would go to Austin-SA. Better weather than Nashville, & I think less competition. I have been at my day job for 13 years, but if I ever lose it...Texas here I come.
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Johnny Cox


From:
Lives in Nashville, Missin Texas
Post Posted 13 Jul 2017 3:50 pm     Reply with quote

Starved me out. I'm done with it.
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Paddy Long


From:
Christchurch, New Zealand
Post Posted 13 Jul 2017 8:09 pm     Reply with quote

I can remember a lot of people trying to talk Jamie Lennon out of moving to Nashville from the UK a few years back -- he seems to be doing ok for himself by the way !!! Very Happy

If you really want to do it, give it a go - you won't die wondering ...!! and you might just get lucky
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Tyler Hall


From:
Nashville, TN
Post Posted 13 Jul 2017 9:44 pm     Reply with quote

There's work. It all comes down to attitude. There's always a better player but do people enjoy working with you? Are you easy to get along with and will you learn the material? I don't do any utility work and I stay busy as I want to be just playing steel. It's hard to say what'll happen but you never know till you try.
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Chris Bauer


From:
Nashville, TN USA
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 12:21 am     Reply with quote

You're getting a ton of ideas and information here that sound contradictory but, in fact, are simply different pieces of the same puzzle.

This town has a truckload of stunningly great steel players. Some of them are working all they want and some are barely getting by or not getting by at all. This town also has multiple truckloads of extremely average (or, like me, sub-average) steel players. Some of us are working all we want to and some are barely getting by or not getting by at all.

At the end of the day, whether you make it or not is not much different than in many any other large towns. The harder you're willing to work and the easier you are to get along with, the better the chances that you'll work more and at the better-paying gigs. Also like in any other place, though - though possibly more than in many places because of the sheer number of musicians here - like it or not, a whole lot of it simply comes down to garden variety luck. Who do you happen to meet at a time when they can use you and how well does fate parlay those chance meetings into other chance opportunities that happen to work out well for you.

Once fate hands you a few of those opportunities, though, if you can cover the parts and are an easy, enjoyable hang, word gets around and other work comes in. (Of course the opposite is true as well...)

As for the money to be made here, a lot of the negative comments you hear are correct, unfortunately. Most music work pays alarmingly poorly compared to many other parts of the country. It's not that there aren't jobs that pay well here, there certainly are - it's just that there are few of them compared to the number of players in town so the competition for them isn't always a thrill for the faint of heart.

Here's the bottom line, though. No one but you can decide if what you can find here is worth the hustle and possible hassle of scraping together a large number of low-paying music jobs or playing only part-time till you see if Nashville is for you musically, culturally, and financially.

What's certain is that there are few other places you're likely to hear or easily get to play with so many high caliber musicians who, for the most part, are really in it together.

Is that worth the risk or the possible struggle? There's not a soul in the world who can answer that but you. (But, as Mike said and others here have echoed, if you're at a time in your life when you can afford the various risks involved, why risk, instead, never knowing what would have happened if you'd tried?)
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 3:07 am     Reply with quote

A friend of mine, just about my age, just moved to Nashville, maybe a month or two ago, of course he wasn't looking to make a career of it,but thats not the point. He has already played several gigs and has opportunity for a steady gig at one of the major Broadway clubs. We didn't talk money because it's not about supporting his life, but he wasn't there a week and he sent me a photo of him playing Steel at a club. HIS Steel, not a sit in. He sings, plays good country guitar and plays Steel. He has also landed a steady day job downtown which he really likes. He is also connecting socially with many players, and that right there is "premo" important , far exceeds any playing ability.

IF we are going there because we feel we can land a gig because we are a premium player, we should probably stay home. Every town has many great players that can't find a gig or keep a gig.

It doesn't matter how good we are or how good we think we are. Thats not even on the job requirement list in Nashville, thats a given or we wouldn't be there.

If we are able to be self supporting and are wanting to experience the ride, it would be well worth the journey.

I have thought about it several times over the last few years but quite frankly I don't have the energy. My luck I would end up playing back to back 6 to 10 and 10 to 2 shows a couple of times each week ! That doesn't sit well for someone who's typical bed time is 9:30 PM ! Smile

It's not my calling
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Karen Sarkisian


From:
Boston, MA, USA
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 6:11 am     Reply with quote

thanks for all the replies. sadly I am not young Laughing at 53. cost of living in Boston is my biggest issue. I have to work a 9-5 just to pay my mortgage. I could sell my condo here and have enough money to buy something in Nash or Austin and have zero mortgage. I have never considered my 9-5 a "career", i do it for the money and health insurance. But change is hard and I've been here my whole life. I have lots of regrets. had a few decent opportunities with music that I didnt pursue here. Its fear of change that holds me back but I'm tire of working my 9 to 5 just to live paycheck to paycheck.
oh, and what do others have who are making a living playing music in Boston that I dont have ?....
usually a husband or wife with a high paying day job, or a trust fund hahhahaha Laughing
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Charley Hill


From:
South Carolina
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 10:21 am     Reply with quote

It is an evolutionary concept, essentially.

But, I think if you can make the move without the expense of a mortgage and NOT having to rely on your passion to support you....then you should do it!

Like the previous post indicated....making memories.

We all love you Karen, regardless of location!

It's all a vacuous process unless you are happy and content!

"Focus on what makes you HAPPY".

Peace!
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Johnny Cox


From:
Lives in Nashville, Missin Texas
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 10:23 am     Reply with quote

Karen, I would suggest Austin. I loved it there.
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Karen Sarkisian


From:
Boston, MA, USA
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 11:28 am     Reply with quote

Johnny Cox wrote:
Karen, I would suggest Austin. I loved it there.


thanks Johnny, I will be speaking to Herb S soon and hope to plan a trip to Austin to visit.. I would definitely need to get my chops up but life is short and my regrets are growing Laughing Laughing
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 12:01 pm     Reply with quote

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.
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Karen Sarkisian


From:
Boston, MA, USA
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 12:08 pm     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.


Whoa! Whoa!

I'm going to plan a trip
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Bill Ladd


From:
Wilmington, NC, USA
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 1:11 pm     Reply with quote

Karen Sarkisian wrote:
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.


Whoa! Whoa!

I'm going to plan a trip


Cool. With two good folks like Bob and Herb willing to lend a hand - sounds like the place to go to me!
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 6:42 pm     Reply with quote

When calculating housing costs look very carefully at property taxes. It is a serious issue in Austin. It has made it prohibitive for the music community to stay here.
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Karen Sarkisian


From:
Boston, MA, USA
Post Posted 14 Jul 2017 6:47 pm     Reply with quote

Bob Hoffnar wrote:
When calculating housing costs look very carefully at property taxes. It is a serious issue in Austin. It has made it prohibitive for the music community to stay here.


Could it be worse than where I am now ? $500/month in prop taxes for 1000 sq ft condo. Insane !! Taxechussetts
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Bob Watson


From:
Champaign, Illinois, U.S.
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 12:43 am     Reply with quote

Karen, IMHO, if you decide to move to any new city to get involved in the music scene, give it at least a year, preferably two. I think it takes that long to really get established. Best of luck to you.
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Bob Ricker


From:
Nashville Tn
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 9:38 am     Reply with quote

Karen, the thing is you are at least considering your dream. It is up to you, as you know your situation. There are smaller towns available to live in on the perimeter of Nashville that may be less expensive. Plus, the overall job market seems pretty good.

As far as opportunity, in Nashville you never know who you may meet eating lunch, or sitting next to at a club that may present situations/opportunities you may never find any where else. I experience countless situations of people wanting to put something together and explaining ideas and dreams.

I've met someone at a hot dog stand on Music Row getting started, that today is a mega star. So there is also some luck involved. Right place at the right time, and all that.

Like any other career move, do some research and use good common sense. Good Luck.
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Ron Hogan


From:
Nashville, TN, usa
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 9:56 am     Reply with quote

There was an article here in Nashville the last year of research. The average Nashville Musician makes a range of 28k to 34k let year. Middle class starts at 35k up.

Plus a musician doesn't get healthcare and 401k contribution as regular jobs offers. No vacation pay, when the act takes off, most don't get paid till the act comes back.

My wife is a Realtor and has helped several Steelers with places to buy/stay. Nashville is a sellers market right now as there are not enough houses and they are selling much higher then they are worth.

Something I have noticed over years, players that work the club's in town, drink alcohol almost every night. Don't get trapped in that as the rest.

Yes you have much fun, get notoriety. Many great players stay here and are respected but never really bump up in class, money wise and get in a catch 30.

When I use to get Hal Rugg to fill in for me, I would ask him first, "are you booked for any gigs". He would laugh and say "there are gigs?".

Ron


Last edited by Ron Hogan on 15 Jul 2017 3:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Damir Besic


From:
Nashville,TN.
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 10:50 am     Reply with quote

what do you call musician in Nashville without a girlfriend...? homeless
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Ron Hogan


From:
Nashville, TN, usa
Post Posted 15 Jul 2017 3:23 pm     Reply with quote

Damir, lol! I see you know all about it.

Come have coffee with me in my cardboard box under Jefferson st.

Ron
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Rich Upright


From:
Florida, USA
Post Posted 16 Jul 2017 12:38 am     Reply with quote

How do you make a Nashville musician's car go faster?

Take the Pizza Hut sign off the roof.
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Tony Prior


From:
Charlotte NC..
Post Posted 16 Jul 2017 1:24 am     Reply with quote

wherever we seek a gig, be it local , big stage or downtown Broadway, just keep in mind, what worked or didn't work for the last guy may not be what works for us, we are all individuals.

Before we even play ONE note , our own personalities are first and foremost. No different than playing in the local Legions band or trying to get a gig in the local Legions band.
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Damir Besic


From:
Nashville,TN.
Post Posted 16 Jul 2017 2:56 am     Reply with quote

Ron Hogan wrote:
Damir, lol! I see you know all about it.

Come have coffee with me in my cardboard box under Jefferson st.

Ron


lol... where we gonna get cash for coffe?
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G Strout


From:
Carabelle, Florida
Post Posted 16 Jul 2017 5:32 am     Reply with quote

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