Hyperbole (part two)
by Mary-Ann Brandon
Following is my own cautionary tale of press release hyperbole… Early in my career, someone wrote a bio about my accomplishments. The writer asked me to tell about anyone I had sung back-up with or opened for etc… I told of singing back-up with Dennis Locorriere (lead singer of Dr. Hook) when we opened a concert for Jethro Tull. That translated on the bio to “shared the stage with Jethro Tull.” Later when I secured my first recording contract and went on an extensive tour of Italy, I found myself in Rome faced with an audience of several hundred people who were just not moved by my music. At the end of the concert dozens of people came up to me at the merchandise table and shoved Jethro Tull records in my face, demanding to know which album I sang on. Seems a major newspaper in Rome had run a front page story telling how a “former member of Jethro Tull” would be performing that night. How they got a hold of that early bio and ran with it, we’ll never know. It was a terrible night for the poor folks who paid roughly $50 a head to see some broad perform music that bore no resemblance to what they came for. When someone finally told me what had happened I made a vow to make certain that in the future, facts were to be accurately reported to the press and also that I erred on the side of modesty rather than braggadocio. My musical history is of public record. There is no reason to exaggerate and potentially disappoint or confuse the very people I seek to reach with my music.
The question is begged, how does one separate the truth from the hype? Why should you believe me and what I tell you weekly about the music that is going on around here?
I write and offer my take on a lot of artists who may or may not be my cup of tea. I have a job to tell you about music related to Huerfano County, not a job telling you about my favorite music. I do hours of research before writing any of my columns. I listen to sound clips, read bios, study history and when writing about artists who are legends from the past, I search until I find current music so as to represent best what listeners are liable to encounter. I have a fairly strict policy that if I can’t say something nice I won’t say anything. This makes my job more difficult because music that doesn’t move me personally might be the thing that rings your bell. I try to be fair, impartial and honest and tell you what I hear that might help you to determine if it’s right for you, without exaggeration Still, I encourage you to do your own research before laying down your greenbacks for a recording or concert, especially if it’s someone you’ve never heard of.
I must ask the question again, why should you believe me? You should believe me because I stand to gain nothing by lying to you. I write this column for you and for all the hard working musicians who struggle to make a living in this ever increasingly hostile music business, plain and simple.
Mary-Ann Brandon is a singer/songwriter/recording artist who splits her time between La Veta, CO and Nashville, TN. To read more about her visit her website at www.blueslandproductions.com