20th Annual Texas Western Swing Showcase


Here is an article I had the opportunity to write on the 20th Annual Texas Western Swing Showcase that was published this spring in the Belton Journal:

Photo Credit: C.A. Cash at Shot-in-Texas

Photo Caption: Krysten Harris plays live onstage with Bobby Flores

Just a Swingin’ at the 20th Annual Texas Western Swing Showcase

Texas heritage came alive as feet shuffled on the dance floor while performers entertained at the 20th annual Texas Western Swing Showcase at the Bell County Expo Center on Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4. Bobby Flores and Judy Rountree co-produced the event for the first time this year. The musical lineup featured Jeff Woolsey & the Dancehall Kings, Bobby Flores & the Yellow Rose Band, Future Stars of Tomorrow Showcase and Coby Carter & 5 Miles West.  

“If we are going to preserve the music, we have to get young people involved,” said Judy Rountree, the Marketing, Promotions and Publicity contact for Bobby Flores and co-organizer of the 20th Annual Texas Western Swing Showcase. “We don’t want to lose it. It’s a part of history. We need to preserve the history of music as well. This music is jazz on cornbread.”

The Future Stars of Tomorrow showcase on Saturday afternoon featured young musicians ranging from age 11 to 30.  They hailed from various locations across the state of Texas. All but one of the young performers in the showcase has attended Bobby Flores’s Annual Summer Music Camp Retreat for traditional country & western swing music held in Eastland, Texas. This camp is connected to his music school, the Bulverde Academy of Music.

“Most of it’s upbeat and it’s just the type of music you wanna dance to,” said Caroline Grace Wiseman, guitar student, performer and singer, 11 years old.

Another future star of tomorrow was Krysten Harris, the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Awards Western Swing Female Artist of the year.  Krysten was also named 2016 Western Music Association Entertainer of the Year, Two time Western Music Association Female Performer of the Year in 2014 and 2015 and the 2015 Western Music Association Western Album of the Year for “Down the Trail.” She currently performs in the United States and abroad.

“I love Western Swing, and it’s a sound not everybody is doing,” said Krysten Harris backstage a few acts before her set.

Photo Credit: C.A. Cash at Shot-in-Texas

Photo Caption:R.J. Smith, fiddler in the Bobby Flores and the
Yellow Rose Band, coaches and mentors Max Ryan Cook before he goes
onstage at the 20th Annual Texas Western Swing Showcase

Vendors included musician merchandise tables and Wildorado Silverworks, a jewelry company based in Amarillo, Texas.

“This whole Western Swing is like a big family,” said Norma Jean Leigh, co-owner of Wilderado Silverworks. “Everybody looks out for everybody.  We all pray for everybody.”

Texas Western Swing is the official music of Texas. Not only did the event showcase the official music of Texas, but attendees frequented the dance floor to partake in Texas dance favorites including the two-step, waltz and more. One highlight of the event included a drawing for a cabin for two on the 8th Annual Bobby Flores’ Western Swing Caribbean Cruise.  Lorenda Baldwin of Angleton, Texas, was the winner for the cruise setting sail on January 13, 2018, for seven days from San Juan, Puerto Rico to five ports in the Virgin Islands on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

Bobby Flores, a 47 year veteran of the music industry, is a 2002 Grammy Award winning musician.  He is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, producer, arranger, composer and first call session musician.  Bobby has been featured on over four hundred albums, singles and CDs, including performances with numerous, major label artists.  Bobby also composes music for radio and television commercials airing throughout the U.S., Australia and Europe.
To learn more about the Texas Western Swing Showcase as well as performers and upcoming events, feel free to visit www.texaswesternswingshowcase.com.  To learn more about Bobby’s Bulverde Academy of Music and other events, visit the school’s website at www.bulverdeacademyofmusic.com, and visit Bobby’s band site at www.bobbyfloresband.com.

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Observations and Music Merchandise


DeathtoStock_NotStock10Photo Credit: Death to Stock Photos

I had the privilege of working the merchandise booth recently for a friend, and I observed some aspects that made me a think a little deeper about the realm of sales and the point of purchase. I wanted to share what I was able to procure from this experience:

  1. Presentation is important. People are drawn to things that look good. That’s just a pretty obvious point to most things in life in general. Attractive people, attractive homes, attractive clothing- you name it. So make it pleasing to the eye. Even small touches like how it’s arranged or the orderliness could go a long way.  So give some thought to placement and the “how” behind it all.
  2. Sales can be low, so make it easy for people to purchase. People seem to be purchasing more online these days, so music merchandise tables are no different. With comments like “oh yeah, I can just buy this online,” there’s a definite sign that the times of purchasing have changed. With the ability to purchase later online, there’s no sense of urgency. I mean, I can worry about this later so no need to whip out cash or card now, right? Another thing to consider is making your price points visible. People who might be willing to give 5 or 25 should all be made to feel welcome. Create a legible sign. Let your sign show that this is the 5 dollar price point, this is the 10, this is the 20 and on to the package deal at 25-30. Oftentimes, people already have their spending limit in their mind. If you had something at their particular price level, they could purchase on the spot. Whether it’s an online store or a brick and mortar, make pricing easy to read and available. There’s nothing more unsettling than not knowing price and having to ask. No one likes to think- If I have to ask, then I must not be able to afford it. That’s isolating and arrogant on the part of the seller. Be proud of your product and be confident enough to know that it’s worth every penny.  
  3. Interaction is imperative. Be friendly and engage with all people who may come your way. Ask people how they are doing and engage them. People may want to chat for a bit. If so, they may linger and purchase something. It is important that you have someone work your merchandise table while you play. If people decide to purchase any merchandise during your set and your table is vacant, they may move on and not come back later in the evening. If your music is strictly online, then make yourself accessible somehow. People sometimes need help, so be around when they need it.  

So, consider the details, because they are important. Don’t minimize the preparation and attention you give to your merchandise and your merchandise table. If you actually take care about the tiny things, the larger things in your career and life may just take of themselves.

Be faithful in the small things 🙂

~lme

Touring in Tulsa


 

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I recently returned from such an incredible first tour in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area.  I wanted to detail a little about our travels for that weekend of shows.  I would love to give a shout-out to the absolute greatest Airbnb hosts out in Tulsa.  If you’re ever in Tulsa, check out staying with Heather and her sweet family.  They were so supportive and kind to us.  Check out their listing here.

Our first day we set out West and drove through the Arkansas country.  Nikia Burns, my talented violinist, my best friend and jack-of-all-trades, Kayla Bogs made a fabulous team.   We arrived in town on a Thursday evening and got to catch the tail end of Jared Tyler’s show.  He recently played on the John Moreland album, so that’s pretty cool!  He also co-owns a violin shop in town called

Bright and early on Friday morning, we had the pleasure of playing Lakes Country 102.1 with Lou, Blake and Faith.  They were so welcoming, and we enjoyed playing live.  To hear the entire broadcast, visit this link.  It was fun to play on live radio for the first time- you really have to be able to think on your feet.  Hopefully they enjoyed the Paradise donuts we picked up on the way for them 🙂

We spent Friday in Tahlequah visiting the Cherokee Prison Museum, a local coffee shop and a music studio.  We invited people around town to our show for Saturday night at the Branch.  It was a great experience to actually meet people in the area and feel like we got a little taste of the local culture.  We especially loved the fabulous silver and turquoise rings we drooled over at the Cherokee gift shop later that day.  We headed back to Tulsa that evening to get ready for our gig at the Campbell Hotel in downtown Tulsa.  This is such a neat hotel, and they have recently renovated it and invite people from the community on a certain Saturday of the month.  A new friend, Scott Ayecock, from Folk Salad Radio, came out to hear us play live.  It was great meeting him and his wife and chatting about music.

Saturday was a great field trip day.  We had brunch at Dilly Diner downtown Tulsa which was so yum!  After that, we headed to the Woodie Guthrie Center which I highly recommend to anyone visiting Tulsa.  It was a great place for some pre-gig inspiration as we walked through the exhibit, read inspiring quotes and learned a little about the man behind the music.  After this, we headed to our sweet friends house, the Jarrett’s, to get ready for our gig that evening in Tahlequah.

On Saturday evening, despite the rain, we had the pleasure of playing at the Branch in Tahlequah.  It was a nice restaurant and some old friends as well as new-found friends from Tahlequah came out to hear us play.  It was so great to have the support from them.

The people were the nicest souls ever and Tulsa was so receptive to music and opened their hearts to us.  They were super generous and hospitable, and I feel so blessed to have spent my first tour dates in Oklahoma.  Thanks Oklahoma for all you did to make us feel welcome!

~lme

Watch out World… Tour dates Booked!!


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Photo Courtesy: DeathtoStock

Hey guys,

Just wanted to share a few tour dates I’ve got booked for December!  While booking shows in creative and unconventional music venues, there’s a prevailing theme of the lodging spaces as performance spaces on this run of shows. I’ll be hitting the following venues December 10th- 12th out in Oklahoma!

December 10th- Chapparal Bed and Breakfast in Watonga, Oklahoma, time TBA

December 11th- Campbell Hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma from 6- 8 pm

December 12th- The Branch in Tahlequah, Oklahoma from 8-10 pm

Please feel free to check out the links to these sites, and if you happen to be in or live in the Tulsa area, come out to listen and say hey!  If you have any great places we should eat or things we should know while in Tulsa, please feel free to hit us up in the contact form below! And thanks so much for your support in my touring endeavors 🙂  And also, a special thanks to Sarah Malone, who works for Nashville Yelp, for recent images she created!

~leah marie

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Creatively clear


Leah Edwards_logo_JPEG

Drum roll please….. Wanted to share my new logo. SO EXCITING!  Thank you to the talented, Jason Hill who worked for a good, long time helping me figure out this whole identity thing.  To check out his stuff, click here. I hope you guys like it, and look for new merchandise soon! On a different note, I wanted to share a few thoughts should you feel stumped in your creative process.  We want to create something meaningful, beautiful and that will resonate with others. We want to change the world around us and not just be here as a meaningless vapor. Whether we use art or music or film as our medium, we have a need to make something with weight,value and significance. I know the feeling of being stuck in a rut, writing the same song, painting the same piece or making the same film. Here are some things I’m brainstorming for ways to get out of the rut, so I thought I would share…

  1. To get out of the rut, get out of the routine. Go to a movie on a Monday night or meet up with someone you hardly ever see. Drive a new way home from work or listen to a totally different genre of music. Giving your system a little shake can cause some things to get dislodged and tumble out.
  2. To get out of the rut, let yourself play.  Instead of writing a song, just play with some chords on the piano or write a funny poem to loosen up those muscles.  Sometimes creative play can help you relax and not make you feel so bent on writing the next big hit, the next great American novel or being the next Picasso.
  3. To get out of the rut, think of a different process you have not yet tried. For example, maybe as a songwriter, I could take all the best lines fro my last 10 songs written and see what kind of song I might create from that. Or instead of sitting down at the piano, maybe I could just take a walk and start singing a melody to create something.  By doing things another way, you might get a different or even better result.
  4. To get out of the rut, get out of yourself. A great way to have some ideas come to you might be actually “not” thinking about it. Go try some new with a different group, get involved with others, socialize, volunteer or host a gathering. By thinking about something other than yourself and your creative “problem,” you might actually solve that pesky thing.

So, go on creative ones or even those who often claim they just “aren’t really creative,” and try one of these four options to get the creative juices flowing.  You might be pleasantly surprised and impressed at what spills out. If you have other things that have worked for your creation process in the past, feel free to share them below!

~lme

Sofar Sounds is Sofabulous!


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Last night I had the pleasure of attending a fabulous new thing happening in cities all around the world.  It’s called Sofar Sounds, and it’s a really cool new concept.  It has a similar vibe to a house show, but the venues are rooms or spaces in different areas of a city.  They pick pop-up locations all over the city where you are, and they host a music concert in a room.  For example, last night, the show put on by Sofar Sounds Nashville was hosted at ClimbNashville East location.  It was great to be somewhere laid back, meet some new people and hear some new artists I had never heard before.  They have someone introduce each performer and talk to them a bit, the performers play 4 songs for a healthy taste of their music, and then they break and set up the next act.  It reminded me of one of the SXSW parties I had been to while living in Austin where they rotated several artists in and out for a day of music.  Last night, the artists were Sasha Daniel, HR_Lexy, and Little Raven.

It has this great vibe of being a fun, hip and exclusive evening without being snotty and “too cool for you.”  The people at the show seemed friendly and welcoming, and we were even chatting with the people who were running/volunteering at the show.  If you want a cool show vibe where you can actually hear the music and it not be about anything but the music, I think you should definitely check out Sofar Sounds.  You will enjoy yourself, get a taste of some new music and not feel drained from people trying to talk above the noise of downtown crazy establishments.  Thank you Sofar for creating something great, and check out a Sofar show in a city near you!

~lme

Songstress Night at the Bluebird!


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Last week I had the pleasure of playing the Bluebird Cafe alongside several other talented female singer, songwriters at Chick Singer Night hosted by Jaclyn Brown.  I played alongside such talented ladies as Sam Hatmaker, Rhetta Jane and Peyton Parker.  It was so nice to be featured along with these ladies at one of the greatest intimate venues in Nashville.  It was great to have my mom in town for the show and then to pull my sister up onstage to sing my final song, Pilgrim, that my brother and I wrote together back in Texas years ago.

After my show, I had a moment to reflect on one aspect of the gig experience that I really enjoy.  It’s the post-show conversations.  Of course the music and the performing and selling merch go into it, but connecting with people is enjoyable to me.  Those conversations with new musician friends, visitors from other states, someone celebrating a birthday, sisters from New York, a couple from Gulf Shores and three gals from Scotland who were traveling around America for several weeks make it worthwhile.  It’s those moments with people that really bring me to a good place as an artist.  Take away the drama and the makeup and the stage and the lights and I really love the opportunities I have to connect with humanity.  I love to see the similarities in the human race as we are bonded through our shared love of music.  Despite the fact that there is a lot of bad out there, I continually meet people who redeem my view of humankind.  I realize there kind souls who want the same things for their families and just want to make a good life for themselves.  Human connection resonates with me just as much as the chords I play on my instruments.  As I begin booking my first tour for this fall, I hope I will make new friends, share stories with those on the road and come back richer from my experiences while sharing music in the great, big, wonderful, frightening, humbling and rad world we live in.

~lme

Who ya doing it for?


bluebirdAs I am hours away from playing my first slot at the famous Bluebird Cafe (which is sold out!!!),  I am going to ask myself, and my musician readers, a really important question.  Who are we doing this for? Why do we make music and when we are performing, where is our head?  I believe when performing and marketing and anything musical, our fans should be kept in mind.  But I want to pose a thought to each performing artist out there.  And I realized this while watching a talented man with just himself and his guitar perform last week.  You have to come to the point as an artist where you don’t wholeheartedly “do what you do” for other people.  While the two girls in front of me rattled on about their lives and people were laughing it up during a contemplative song by the artist, I had this realization.  He was in his zone, living in the moment, because he does it for himself and seemed to exude a genuine love for what he did.  It’s almost as you have to forget what the other people are doing, saying, thinking or that they may not even like what you sing and play.  Deep down, it has to be in you to perform the best that you can whether there are 2 people listening or thousands of screaming fans.

The music should be sewn inside your heart and the will to find joy no matter the setting.  Come to think of it, performing onstage is a lot like life.  Despite the storms, the frustrations, the struggles or what it took to get you there, joy can’t be based on circumstances.  So as we live our lives, may we carry our fire inside, and find joy in the beauty of the gift as opposed to seeking the recognition that may come along with the gift.

Keep giving it your all and putting your heart into it 🙂

~lme

Fanswell!


uke in mountainsSo there’s this great new tool out there for musicians.  I know, I know- there are a million tools.  But Fanswell is super helpful because it takes the music straight from the artist directly to the people wanting to hear it on tour!  Graham Colton, one of my earliest musical loves, created this for artists.  He saw a need for many independent artists trying to do their own tour booking.  He realized we get stuck when there are only so many venues and a huge amount of people clamoring to play the same venues.  I love that it can help me manage my own touring and booking directly with my fans as I begin managing my own tour logistics.

So here is the page if you’re interested in me coming to your home, your porch or somewhere else near where you live.

Leah’s Fanswell Page

Feel free to share this with others through social media outlets.  This fall, I’ll set out to come play for all of you lovely listeners eager to hear some earthy music.  We are starting with surrounding states and also those surrounding my home state of Texas.  Thanks Graham for creating this and thanks to all who are supporting me on this exciting entrepreneurial and creative journey 🙂

~lme

 

 

Adoption Benefit Show this Saturday, November 15th


I have the pleasure of playing the Sacred Selections Adoption Benefit Dinner this Saturday from 4-5!  It will be a great cause supporting a particular family in adopting a little girl who is yet to be born.

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Here are the event details for anyone interested in attending:

Dinner & Auction from 4:00-7:00pm Saturday Nov. 15th

Location: Indian Hills Country Club in Bowling Green

Dinner Buffet provided by Home Cafe

Tickets: $30 for adults $17 for children

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/sacred-selections-bowling-green-tickets-14028279963

Sacred Selections is a 501c3 Non-Profit organization. Tax forms are available upon request.

Contact Caleb Hastings at chastings@edmontonstatebank.com with any questions.

A little information about this adoption agency… Since 2006, Sacred Selections has assisted financially in the adoption of children into Christian homes. In just 8 years, they have helped to fund the adoptions of more than 100 children. In Bowling Green, we are inspired by the work of these individuals striving to fulfill the Lord’s plan. The local committee of Sacred Selections families and volunteers have arranged an opportunity to assist in their efforts to raise funds to help even more families in adopting children into loving homes.