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Marketing survey, I want yer opinions ya flithy animals


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So it's becoming increasingly clear that 2021 and beyond is going to be gigging as a solo acoustic blues act. Ive been doing it more and more and am really enjoying it and it suits my voice well. I play things in the Robert Johnson style as well as sort of a lean rednone vibe w more emphasis on a tin pan alley style than a SRV thing. I'm coming up w a marketing plan including photos and all ,so with that in mind I do think this is the most savvy board on the net and I want your input in these area 

1) physical appearance/image  

does a period style outfit/suit make it seem better or more appealing or less appealing trying to hard? Does some old looking meetin legba jack white shit look cool or trying to hard or does it just depend on how good the actual image is?

Conversely does a guy who looks like Mitch Hedburg put you off in a trad genre?

2) Name 

does a "blues name" seem dumb or not? frankly they seem to work and its frightening 

3) period correct instruments or facsimile

do you fund that in the acoustic blues world you give more creedance to someone playing an old resonator ( or fake, back uo maam ) or would give less to a guy w a Taylor?

4) Name dropping in the bio/about section, frankly I gots an assload, like big ones Joe B and Trucks, Toy, Haynes , Herring ect. Does this help, hurt or what?

 

so trying to come at this as pro as possible in that I can sort of see the upside to all of these questions but they are counter intuitive to me, I mean I can grab some shoes and use HHB and be just fine but I want your opinion on how sort of overt "blues" marketing hits you

 

thanks fuckers ( for Brooks )

 

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When I did the solo thing I used my initials “JD’s Jug Band”  

Use all the legit hype you can!

I would bring my guitar into a bar in when they would open, managers usually there then. Ask if I could play a few songs and after that ask if they’d be interested in any bookings. This worked pretty darn good! 
Good Luck, Solo’s a tough road, hecklers can be a bitch! Just ignore them and if they don’t pipe down ask them to play a few songs!! That alway’s shut’s them up!!

The great thing about solo gigging is you can play anywhere! So hit the tin can alley places! And know how to unplug the jukebox!

Edited by Dutchman
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If you are going to dress in period clothing you need to have the hair and facial expression to go with it.  There was an entire demeanor that went with the clothing styles of the past. 

If you have not had a blues name through this point, just keep your name as is.  Cool names like Bleeding Gums Murphy have their place.  Hard Hearted Bill still works.  It actually makes one wonder what experiences made you hard hearted. 

If you want to play a resonator or a modern guitar to play old music, it is OK.  Leon Redbone was playing a 50s Gibson to play his 10s, 20s, 30s music.  While I would rather see a vintage instrument to give me an idea of what someone might sound like, there are a lot of players using old instruments to make modern music. 

Overload on the resume (name dropping) turns me off.  It might work with some people.  There are a lot of bands that get to open for touring bands at local clubs, but they never went out on tour with those bands.  Doing studio work is good, but only give the highlights.  There are too many people who drop big names, but have managed to remain unknown.  If someone played with "Joe Big Name" was it for a couple of shows as a substitute band member or a regular band member for years?  Tell me what you did to be asked by the famous guy to play with him instead of telling me to look at the other player. 

 

Here is a photo that got my attention.  I never heard of Aubrey Logan, but she was booked for a show in Spindale, NC.  It looked interesting.  I looked her up.  I was hooked, and had to buy a ticket. 

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The photo was so different from all the other photos advertising other acts that it just stood out.  So, do you know a creative photographer who can take you beyond the standard entertainer photo without turning you into Billy Squier in an aerobics outfit?

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Ok, I'll give you my take (for what it's worth):

1) Respectfully dressed, not looking like a slob in a CBGB's or Grateful Dead t-shirt; yes. I think it says something about being more serious about what you're doing. Period correct? I would ask "which period?" All the way back or kind of the overall vibe? -- NOTE: I am the slob in the CBGBs shirt by the way.  😉

2) It's just you so a name, I don't know, something fun and cool if you have it but it that can cut both ways. Broke Down HHB, I was going to say HHB and his Minstrels but I thought I might be pushing it a bit too far. 

3) Most people wouldn't know the difference, guitarists would. Except for resonators, I think everyone sees one of these and thinks "...oh, ole' timey geetar, bright and shiny, cool." So, maybe play a few songs on one, have it up on stage with you? Borrow and try it out maybe? Or an axe along these lines perhaps.

4) You played with these guys, Haynes, Trucks and crew? Or you play their stuff? If you played with them, them I'm impressed and THAT would draw me in because I know this guy will really know how to play, I need to check this out! If you're just covering their tunes then I would vote no.

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I agree with Steve that if you're going the old look, it almost needs to be like a character as Leon did.   The name dropping, I'd say one or two that are in the style you're looking at and similar audience would be the way to go.  

As far as the instrument(s), I say anything goes unless you're thinking about using a Scepter or a BC Rich Warlock or something like that.  Just use whatever is right to you.  

As far as look, if you're not going to do the period/character thing, then I'd say be yourself but look like you're supposed to be onstage and not just a member of the audience, like Drew said. 

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By and large, yes to all. You need a brand... when I lecture on branding, I define it as "The expectations and experiences associated with your product or service."

If you're a scruffy nondescript dude named John Smith doing vaguely Chicago blues, you're a commodity. If you have a look, a name, a hustle, you are now a brand. Bill Wharton was The Sauce Boss, because he sold homemade BBQ sauce at his shows. It should be authentic like Wharton, but take your own loves and qualities and make them big, distinctive, and consistent.

Edited by polara
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I remember working a Bill Wharton and The Ingredients show.  He had a giant pot of gumbo cooking from the start to finish.  At the end of the show everyone in the audience got a cup of gumbo.  The music was good, and the cooking put the show over the top. 

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I don't know if I'm qualified to respond based on talent level, marketing experience, etc. but I do have opinions on this. I feel that marketing, hype, period correctness and the like are ephemeral. In the end talent wins out and humility puts it over the top. Good marketing is subtle not in your face. If you're good, you're good and you (or anyone in this circumstance) with the help of some marketing (strategic, subtle) will succeed and prosper.

We all remember shtick acts like Paul Revere and the Raiders, Kiss, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, Los Straight Jackets, etc. They all had talent but didn't need all that nonsense. Elton John I can listen to but can't watch. Similarly, I completely agree with @scottcald concerning the appropriateness of the guitar to the style and milieu of the music one plays.

Be true to yourself, live and breathe the genre of music that you wish to play, be honest, and all of that other Boy Scout mumbo jumbo.

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Two words:  Snakeskin Jacket.

 

 

 

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1.) Really depends on the look your going for.  Your avatar make s great look, minus being a dog and all.  Its like the three little bears, shoot for just right.

2.) Again, so depends on the name.  Also depends on your actual name.  But a stage name can work.

3.) If I'm seeing old timey music a Taylor isn't going to cut it, and I'd definitely prick my ears up if I say a slotted headstock.

4.) I really have no opinion on name dropping, unless its huge, otherwise it comes across as boasting, which you shouldn't have to do if your at is the real deal.

 

With all that said, rock on!  It takes balls to play out solo.  

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