Archive for the ‘Media Watch’ Category

The Greg Bell Rant…

Monday, May 11th, 2015


Last Thursday (May 7), veteran Local 518 concert promoter and uber music fan Greg Bell posted the following on his Facebook page:

before i start my rant, i want to say that sawyer fredericks is a very talented singer who deserves all of the support and attention that he has been getting locally and nationally. my problem is that in just the capital district alone, there are hundreds of talented musicians who are as good, if not better than sawyer. where are the cameras and media support for them. sadly, if this kid was not on national television, he would be playing open mics to fifteen people. the local media such as channel 13 news and the times union should be doing a weekly series on talented local musicians and give them the same exposure that they gave sawyer. help them become known, don’t wait for someone else to discover them and then jump on the bandwagon. be the bandwagon.

The comments came pretty fast and furious, mostly commending Bell for his opinions. I’m a longtime friend and fan (and former roommate) of Bell’s, and I understand where he’s coming from. I feel his frustration. But what he’s hoping for is not likely to happen. I’ve been covering the Local 518 music scene for more than 35 years – from fanzines to mainstream newspapers to the website and everything in between – as a musician, a critic and most of all as a fan. Here are a few observations…

1.) There are not “hundreds of talented musicians who are as good, if not better than Sawyer” in the Capital Region. There may be a handful, but certainly not hundreds. Fredericks is a major talent, and I’m thankful that he found a platform from which he can showcase his considerable talents to the widest possible audience.

2.) Mainstream media has never been on the forefront of “music discovery.” Never. Not here in the Capital Region or pretty much anywhere else. That’s why websites like Nippertown, alt-weeklies like Metroland or non-commercial radio stations like WEXT-FM exist. Commercial television stations like WNYT-TV and major newspapers like The Times Union have traditionally always been “bandwagon jumpers.”

3.) WNYT-TV (Channel 13) is not covering Sawyer Fredericks because he’s a major break-out musician on the Local 518 music scene. They’re covering him because they’re an NBC-TV affiliate, and it’s promotion for a TV show that airs on their television station. It’s a commercial for “The Voice.” Let’s not pretend otherwise…

4.) The Times Union is not likely to go out and “discover” new Local 518 musicians because they simply don’t have the manpower (or womanpower) to do so since the recession forced them into cutting back staff. Newspapers all around the country have taken MAJOR economic hits during the past decade, and print sales figures have been sliding downhill faster than Tiger Woods’ ex-girlfriend, Lindsey Vonn. The Times Union, for example, has an arts staff that consists of just two writers.

5.) “Be the Bandwagon” is great slogan. A really great slogan. But it doesn’t just apply to the media. It should also be the rallying cry for fans, venues and the bands themselves. Don’t wait for the media to “discover” you. Get out there and aggressively promote your music or the music you love.

Feel free to chime in with your own opinions. That’s what Nippertown is here for. Let’s hear ya…


Other Voices, Other Rooms…

Friday, April 17th, 2015

From Hudson Valley Magazine: Just in time for Record Store Day on Saturday (April 18), Jackie Eisenberg rounds up a list of record shops throughout the Hudson Valley. Not complete, by any means, but a good place to start hunting…

From CRUMBS Blog: Andy Gregory has once again compiled the 2015 Q1 Local Music Report, a list of Local 518 recordings and videos released during the first quarter of the year.

From The New York Times: Dom Flemons – American songster and co-founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops – weighs in on musical copyright reform in the wake of the Marvin Gaye/”Blurred Lines” verdict.

From the Rogovoy Report: Seth Rogovoy reviews Nellie McKay’s concert at Club Helsinki in Hudson on Sunday, April 5.

From Cuepoint: Vocals? Who needs vocals? Here’s a very cool round-up of every Top 10 instrumental hit of the past 50 years.

A Great Big THANK YOU to Metroland Readers

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Mine. All. Mine. CEO (Canine Executive Officer) Shelby offers a big smile and an even bigger THANK YOU!

Ah, yes, we’ve uncorked the champagne, and the bubbly is flowing in celebration of the results of the annual Metroland Readers’ Poll in this week’s issue of our fave weekly.

For the fifth consecutive year, Metroland readers bestowed top honors on, voting us as the Best Local Arts Website. And for the fourth time in five years, was also named Best Local Music Website. As the folks at Metroland wrote, “Breaking concert news, reviews, photos… Nippertown is On It.”

We’re just as proud of the results in the Best Local Arts Coverage category, where we were competing against the Big Boys of Print – Metroland, The Daily Gazette, The Times Union, etc. – and grabbed second place, just behind our friends at Metroland.

And also grabbed a bronze medal in the Best Local Community Website category, snagging a third place finish behind our pals at All Over Albany and Keep Albany Boring.

So thank you, all of you astute and discerning Metroland readers, for showing us some big love. And we promise to do all that we can to continue to make your go-to click-through for all area music, arts and entertainment info.

Now back to the party…

PS: Metroland’s website is still broken (it’s stuck in 2012), but you can view the complete results at the Metroland Blog. Or, of course, you can also grab a hard copy…

Other Voices, Other Rooms…

Friday, March 27th, 2015

From The Times Union Arts Talk: There’s an old saying that goes, “Any publicity is good publicity.” But don’t try telling that to street artist Patrick Picou Harrington, whose work was profiled in an Amy Griffin cover story in The Times Union’s Preview pull-out last Thursday. As Amy Biancolli writes, National Grid shut him down the next day…

From Metroland: Yes, Metroland’s website has been broken for a looong time, but it’s back up now… if you want to know what’s going on around town in 2012.

From The New York Times: C.J. Hughes writes about Troy in the Travel Section: “A Town on New York’s Hudson River Reinvents Itself.”

From the Rogovoy Report: Seth Rogovoy reviews the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus Cabaret at Hudson’s Club Helsinki last month. BFC are back at Club Helsinki for their adult-oriented show at 9pm on Saturday (March 28) and a family-friendly performance at 3pm on Sunday.

Other Voices, Other Rooms…

Friday, March 20th, 2015

From On Tuesday night (March 17), the long-haired teenage Fultonville farmboy and super singer-guitarist Sawyer Fredericks advanced to the third round – the Knockout Round – on NBC-TV’s popular singing competition “The Voice.” NewsChannel 13 executive producer Jeff Wernick conducted a five-minute interview with him via Skype…

From The New York Post: UAlbany hoops hero Peter Hooley tells his tale of heartbreak and triumph in his own words…

From Michael Janairo: The Tang Museum’s Michael Janairo writes at length about the recently broadcast Season 4, Episode 15 of the CBS-TV drama “Persons of Interest.” Why? Because the artwork of Deborah Zlotsky – award-winning Delmar artist, former faculty member of the College of St. Rose and current Rhode Island School of Design instructor (who is also Janairo’s spouse) – is featured throughout the show.

From Saratoga Wire: Thomas Dimopoulos reports that “Games of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin won’t be making a return trip to the Saratoga Comic Con on Saturday, April 25, as originally anticipated.

From All Over Albany: The one-night-only Streetfilms mini-festival is headed into Albany’s Madison Theater on Monday, April 13. Admission is free.

From The Wall Street Journal: Neil Shah’s revealing story, “Roadies: Unlikely Survivors in the Music Business”

Other Voices, Other Rooms…

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

From Death and Taxes: Cher Martinetti awarded Albany a tie for the Silver Medal with Dayton, Ohio as one of “The Five Douchiest Cities to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day,” thanks to the infamous Kegs & Eggs brawl of 2011.

From The New York Times: Zachary Woofle’s “EMPAC Shrugs Popularity to Promote Creative Liberty in Troy, N.Y.”

From Take It Over: The Daily Gazette’s Mark McGuire remembers beloved local radio icon Don Weeks, who died last week.

From the Rogovoy Report: Seth Rogovoy reviews last Saturday’s concert by the Pine Hill Project at Club Helsinki in Hudson.

From the Times Union Movies Blog: Mike Spring interviews actor Ethan Embry (of such rock movie gems as “Empire Records” and “That Thing You Do”) about his upcoming film, “Late Phases: Night of the Lone Wolf.”

Let the Madness Begin! NYS Music’s March Madness, That Is…

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Have you filled out your brackets yet?

No, not your NCAA Basketball Championship brackets. No, we mean NYS Music’s March Madness brackets, which finds 64 bands from Upstate New York battling for supremacy. And the winners are determined by your online votes.

The competitors are broken down into four “regions” based on genres of music – Funk/Jam/Reggae, Metal/Rock, Bluegrass/Folk/Americana and Indie/EDM/Other. Each region finds 16 Upstate New York bands battling it out to reach the Final Four and ultimately claim this year’s title. Bands were selected by NYS Music’s editors and writers based on their popularity in their respective genres.

Not surprisingly, the Local 518 is well represented in the brackets – including such faves as Hard Soul, Conehead Buddha, Blotto, Mirk, the Sea the Sea, Stigmata, North & South Dakotas, Formula 5, Titanics, Sean Rowe, Eastbound Jesus, Jesus Christ & the Hallucinogenic Allstars, Northern Faces, Lucky Jukebox Brigade and lots more.

In fact, Nippertown-based bands are sometimes battling against each other in the brackets, as is the case with Phantogram vs. Stockade Kids; Lucid vs. Mister F; Skinless vs. Wild Adriatic.

Voting for the first round is now open. Deadline for Round One voting is 12midnight on Thursday (March 19). Round two begins on Friday (March 20).

Let your voice be heard…

Other Voices, Other Rooms…

Friday, March 6th, 2015

From the Albany Special Events Blog: The fine folks who bring you the annual Tulip Festival in Albany’s Washington Park have launched the Tulip Mania Music Project. Apparently, sheet music of the official Tulip Festival song (“When Tulips Bloom Again”) has recently been found, and they’re seeking Local 518 musicians to record it…

From The Daily Gazette: The rest of us are desperately thinking spring, but that’s not so for the folks at Albany’s former PopCrush radio station. Ned Campbell informs us of the new Capital Region radio station 105.7 Santa-FM, which is playing all Christmas music, all the time… for the time being.

From The Times Herald-Record: James Nani reports that there will be no second annual Hudson Project rock fest at Winston Farms in Saugerties this summer, after a mud-bogged ending to last year’s inaugural bash.

From AARP: You can read Robert Love’s uncut interview with Bob Dylan, a condensed version of which appears in AARP The Magazine.

From the Rogovoy Report: Seth Rogovoy reviews the recent standing-room-only concert by soul queen Mavis Staples at Club Helsinki in Hudson…

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