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

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!


show

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

Upcoming Gig at Evins Mill


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Photo Courtesy: Marie Ellen Photography

Hello friends,

Wanted to let you know that I will be performing at the new music series, Music at the Mill, at Evins Mill Bed and Breakfast in Smithville, TN on February 21st at 8 pm.  The talented guitarist, Luke Metzger, will be joining me onstage for the evening.   Here is a write-up about the event for you to check out:

http://evinsmillevents.blogspot.com/2014/12/music-at-mill-sat-feb-21-2015.html

In addition to the concert, the “Music at the Mill” package includes hors d’oeuvres, four-course dinner and a hearty gourmet breakfast and is $295 to $360 per couple depending on the room reserved. Reservations for dinner & concert only are also available at $120 per couple. Call 615.269.3740 (Nashville) or 615.286.2090 (Smithville) for reservations.

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.

dinner

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. 

Historic Rock Castle this past Saturday


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This past Saturday I had the pleasure of playing outside at Historic Rock Castle in Hendersonville, Tennessee.  It was a lovely Saturday evening and a delightful and attentive crowd.  There were various other talented songwriters who played throughout the night to a welcoming crowd.  Sara Beth Gideon, the Executive Director was welcoming and wonderful to all the artists while her fiance worked awesome sound for all of us.  It is much appreciated by artists when the sound system is up and running and ready for the artists.  Many thanks for that Rock Castle!  At one point during my set, I was told that 8 or more deer were bouncing through the brush in the field behind me as well as some bucks who stopped to listen for awhile.  Let’s hope they liked what they heard- just call me the deer whisperer.  Ohhh, new band name?  Anyways, it was a nice gig to welcome the month of August in Tennessee!

Feel free to visit here and read more about Rock Castle and all the great events they host!  Have a lovely Monday and get outside with yourselves!

~leah

Thanks for a great show at PorchFest!


Wanted to say thanks to PorchFest in the Westhaven area in Franklin for letting me play this past Saturday.  Here are some photos from the event.  It was such a great event to play and meander the neighborhoods to see live music on the porches of homeowners.  I had the opportunity to enjoy musical acts like Boy named Banjo and Alyssa Bonagura.  Everyone should come out to next year’s PorchFest in crowdprofileWesthaven!porch performance

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Here a show, there a show…


 

I’m excited to announphotoce that I’m participating in the 3rd Annual Westhaven Porchfest. Come on down for this free event June 21st for some great music & food trucks. Swing by 1120 Westhaven around 4 pm to hear me play the stage with several other great acts.  Lightning 100 will also be broadcasting with some great bands throughout the afternoon and evening!

 Click the link for the complete schedule. http://www.westhaventn.com/Porchfest_Schedule_and_Map.php