My Complicated Relationship With Our Contact Page

Contact Us

Sure, us deleting our contact page isn’t exactly new or anything. Heck, we deleted ours again about a week and a half ago, and we’re just getting to writing about it now. But why?

Truth be told, in my quest to determine the big overall goal I have for this blog (and in my quest to be myself and talk about music the way I know how), it’s something that needs to go. Again though, why? Honestly, it sort of goes back to that whole discussion I’ve brought up regarding being a machine when listening to and writing about music. As a human, I’ve sought out lots of great artists on my own that I’ve been happy to share with all of you on this platform. That list includes but is not limited to acts like The Royal Hounds, Taylor Alexander, Jim and Lynna Woolsey, the Darrell Webb Band, Tyller Gummersall, Joey McGee, and Tony Jackson (again, only to name a few).

As a machine, I’ve had people contact me here and ask me to review their music (or if it’s a publicist, ask me to review their artist’s music), and that’s led to some cool discoveries as well like Caleb Keith and the Calaveras as well as The Coal Flowers. You notice which list is longer though, right?

I’m not arrogant enough to tell you that we’ve had a boatload of submissions here before, because we haven’t. We have had quite a few though, and I’m always asked the same question, “Would you be interested in covering this” (usually followed by some unnecessary press release)?

“I don’t know” is the answer I usually have to give. Sure, I’m always happy to give something a listen, but I can’t promise I’ll ever write about it right then and there (no matter how much I love or hate it). Writing about music is hard, and to say I can ever come up with enough to say for a however long “review” (I hate using that word but bear with me) is not something I can predict. You’d be surprised, but more often than not I answer “no” rather than “yes”.

Well, actually if it’s “no” I usually just ignore the artist or publicist. It’s horrible I know, but what the hell am I supposed to do? There’s no polite way tell someone you don’t care for what they’re doing. I’m not someone looking to bubble everyone up with happy, positive thoughts in hope this blog explodes. I’m just looking for a place to share my thoughts.

And before we go any further, I want to absolutely stress that I have worked with wonderful people before. Heck, I am right now. This isn’t meant to be seen as me punishing anyone. It’s just my way of continuing to make my writing feel more natural instead of forced.

Sure, it’s admittedly nice sometimes getting access to music early. I’m listening to an album right now due for release in May that I’ve truthfully been enjoying a lot. Still though, it conflicts with the informal atmosphere I’ve tried to establish here at Country Music Minds. I’m one of you, a listener who loves hearing music and sharing it with others rather than someone who dangles it in front of you as if I’m holding a steak in front of a puppy.

And that leads to another question, one that I’m honestly not sure of the answer to, “what do people mean when they say they want you to “review” something?” Yeah sure, make jokes about how the press is press and that of course what they’re truly looking for is juicy one-liners about awesome an artist is. Sure, it’s one possibility, but is it the only possibility?

I’d say no. I do believe there are artists out there looking on how to improve themselves, but you see even that’s a problem for me as well. I can’t help artists get “better”. What the hell do I know about music that isn’t just as important as what you have to say? We all have opinions on music. Heck, I can buy myself a brand new phone and then complain to the company online that made the phone about what a piece of crap it is (or conversely, praise it). Either way, it doesn’t mean I know anything about how to program the damn thing, and it doesn’t mean I know every single minute detail either.

Again though, I have an opinion, and much like my example with a phone, I can tell you what I like and dislike about music. I’m one person who likes and dislikes things for different reasons than you might though. People sometimes turn to blogs to see what music they should check out, and that’s a little scary. Sure, there are acts that I’ve helped to gain exposure here (like the ones listed before), but still, to place so much trust into someone’s opinion online…it really brings up more questions than answers.

And that brings us to you all. Why do you read country blogs? I’m not asking to be a jackass or anything, I’m just genuinely curious. Country Perspective asked this on Twitter a couple weeks ago (speaking of, they wrote a similar piece on this in 2015, albeit in a much harsher tone than what I’m saying today), and I have to say, the results were interesting. Most people clicked on the option “background & breakdown” meaning essentially, detailing what the album is about. Fair enough. I believe that’s why I started reading them as well. I also enjoyed discovering new acts as well, so that was probably the real reason – I can’t remember. It was only three years ago (really two and a half) and I forgot why…weird.

But anyway, back to the contact page. Again, it’s a tough situation. I don’t want to shut out artists looking to get their music featured on little blogs like this…it’s just such a weird relationship between writers and artists (and more importantly, writers and PR folks). There’s no easy, or even good solution here. I enjoy getting my hands dirty and doing some digging though, so perhaps if I explore more artists on my own the whole “discovery” aspect of CMM will thrive once again. If (by the small chance) you’re an artist reading this, it doesn’t mean “don’t contact me”, just be aware of the entire situation.

I have brought back a contact page here, but that option to contact us will only be available to those who are looking to say hi, pick our brains on a particular subject, or even offer suggestions on how to make this blog better. In other words, it’s for the readers. For example, we recently had a commenter named Bob suggest to us that we give the name of the songwriters whenever we review songs, so as to give them credit for their work (rare as it is that we cover songs, but still, it’s a great suggestion). It’s something I’ll of course implement here at CMM. See, that’s what I mean with suggestions.

Again, I’m one of you. Anyone of you can make a country music (or just plain “music”) blog, and all of you have just as good of a taste in music as I do (because of course, there really is no such thing as “taste” in music). If new music is to be discovered, we’ll do it together, and for me, I’ll do it in a way that’s comfortable. Again, if you’re a PR person or artist who reads this, I apologize, but it’s whats best for me and this blog. 


4 thoughts on “My Complicated Relationship With Our Contact Page

  1. Provocative thinkpiece, Leon. I’ve already given you my thoughts on the Contact page, but here are my reasons for reading country blogs:

    -To keep up with new releases and current events. If it weren’t for country blogs, I would probably have no idea what’s going on in the world of country music.

    -To get new recommendations. I wouldn’t say that blogs are the only place I find ideas on what to listen to next, but they’re definitely a huge factor.

    -For the social context it provides. I don’t know anyone in real life who cares anywhere near about country music as much as I do, so I pretty much need to rely on blogs to interact with like-minded people and know that I’m not alone out there. This is probably the biggest reason of all.

    Like

  2. Well, firstly, pretty much everything Andy said is why I read country blogs. Secondly, apparently I am a rude individual because I have definitely told publicists I wasn’t reviewing their artists lol. I mean, not anything rude, but for example, I have one publicist who sends me stuff fairly regularly, and I just told her I’d listen to everything, but if I didn’t like something, it wasn’t getting reviewed, because I wouldn’t do a review that wouldn’t help her artist. I think I’ve only reviewed one album she’s sent me so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, you know I don’t live in the country world exclusively. So I go to country blogs to find new stuff, mostly. Stuff that I don’t know about. I’m all over that map in what I like, but I have found a common thread in what does it for me. Swamp. It’s a term that is not easily explained, kinda like the infamous statement from a government official regarding pornography, but I know it when I hear it.

    I would rather artists or publicists or whatever contact me directly, much more receptive to that than the passive/aggressive twitter follow/unfollow/follow/unfollow. Hell, if you want me to listen to the music, be direct.

    In fact, when I’m in the mood, I’ve called out artists on twitter “Hope you enjoy the content consisting of music and sports inanity. Or did you just want me to listen to your stuff?”

    Of course, if you’re honest back, you may not get much more. But that’s OK. I write about what I like. I’m making no money, I do this for own amusement mostly. If people enjoy it, bonus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear you on Twitter. I get tons of artists following me all the damn time, and most of the time if they’re following an insane amount of people I don’t follow back. Instead I just wait for them to unfollow me. Always happens. I should try your method of asking them though. Not like they don’t deserve it

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