Sandwiched between the two weekends of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is the Louisiana Music-New Orleans Pride LMNOP conference, which marks its third consecutive year in New Orleans April 25-28.
LMNOP organizers say several new features will make this year’s event particularly special, including a symposium on challenges that women in the music industry face and additional forums on the evolving role of the Internet.
Registration for the event — a multifaceted offering of live music showcases, networking opportunities and clinics to help artists learn more about the business end of the industry spectrum climbed from 300 in 1997 to 600 in 1998. LMNOP spokesman and managing director Scott Aiges says all indications point to a larger turnout this year than ever before.
“We’re hoping to see that trend continue, with registration continuing to double,” he says, adding that a goal in planning this year’s event was to emphasize quality over quantity. Though new panel discussions and forums were added to the daytime lineup, fewer clubs and bands will be participating in the nightly music showcases.
“We wanted to tighten the event to ensure that it stays focused,” Aiges adds. Around 120 artists and bands will perform at four evenings of music showcases. A $25 wristband allows listeners unlimited access to all the clubs and nightly LMNOP shows. New venues such as Storyville District on Bourbon Street and Levon Helm’s’ Classic American Cafe on Decatur Street have been added to the mix, replacing Uptown clubs. that hosted bands last year. “We’ve consolidated some, concentrating primarily in the French Quarter,” says Aiges.
Other participating clubs include Cafe Brasil, Checkpoint Charlie’s, Dream Palace, Kerry Irish Pub, O’Flaherty’s Irish Channel Pub and the Shim Sham Club. Helm’s club will’ host the opening night party from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. April 25.
One expected highlight of the conference is a panel with participation by Robert H. Kohn of Good Noise Records. Kohn has been spearheading the controversial MP3 revolution that’s all the buzz in the music media, as well as music business and Internet circles. With the new technology, high-quality music files can now be transferred through the internet, a largely unregulated communication conduit. Artists and record companies fear drastic sales losses will result if recordings are swapped around cyberspace with no oversight.
“MP3 is a very widely used digital download format that’s gotten a tremendous amount of attention as it’s transforming the music business as we know it,” Aiges explains. “There are a number of different formats, but MP3 is different than others because it compresses files in such a way that they transmit a lot quicker and still have near-CD quality.
It’s caused a lot of commotion in the music business because record companies can’t control it. It’s taking a lot of merchandising away from the record companies and another issue that comes up is how royalties will be distributed to the songwriters.”
As in the past, several panels and workshops are designed to help artists understand the ins and outs of the music industry, providing perspectives on marketing, booking, publishing and distribution. Forums on songwriting also are scheduled.
The event’s registration fee is $70 before April 15 and $100 afterward. There are separate costs for singular events, such as the Women-In-Music Symposium and Continuing Legal Education workshops. LMNOP’s executive director is Louis Jay Meyers, co-founder of the popular South by Southwest conference in Austin.
Some of LMNOP’s 1999 sponsors are: OffBeat Magazine, Loyola University College of Music and College of Law, WWOZ, the Louisiana Department of Economic Development and the American Federation of Musicians-New Orleans Local 174-496.
Wit’s Inn, 14 J N. Carrollton Ave.has expanded its musical offerings to three nights a week. Club employee Erin Bowers, who has been coordinating live music for the venue, says a Sunday songwriters evening and a Tuesday night blues summit are the two weekly additions; the club traditionally has featured bands only on Saturdays.
Lee Oskar, original harmonica player for War, will be spotlighted at the club on April 27 with fellow harpist John Carey, who has been hosting the recent blues summits. “We’re getting a lot of good people in for songwriter’s night,” Bowers mentions, pointing out recent bookings of Kim Carson and Sarah Kramer. Don Williams, bassist for The Revealers, will host a “songwriter’s afternoon” April 25 that will be followed by a special night jam largely consisting of musicians performing on Jazz Fest’s first weekend.
A flurry of new recordings are set for release between now and the second weekend of Jazz Fest, but one local artist aims to capitalize on summer’s musical lull with his debut CD.
Eric Green, a local singer-guitarist whose music runs the gamut of folkish blues to uptempo rock, says early summer is the target period to unveil Lau Thing I Do, recorded late last year at Noiselab Studios in the Carrollton area. Produced by Noiselab’s Dave Reynolds, the CD consists of more than a dozen songs penned by Green. His voice and guitar were backed by Reynolds on keyboard, drummer Tim Ward and bassist Matt Hodge, another budding singer songwriter who is working on a CD project with Noiselab.
The recording also will feature cameos by Smilin’ Nick Nolfe on harmonica and 80-year-old bluesman Pops Carter of Denton, Texas, who has some nice vocal fills on the track “City of Sin.” Green is soloing on Sundays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Bulldog. 3236 Magazine St.
A former Silo appliance chain warehouse and showroom reportedly will be the site of a new country music club with capacity for 4,000 patrons. Two partners, John Satzman and Dale Catalanotto, have inked a lease for a 72,000-square-foot building at 1501 S. Clearview Parkway. Finalization of the contract hinges on approval of building permits from Jefferson Parish.
The club, to be named Pure Country, would include a large stage for local and national bands, as well as several large bar areas. Plans also call for a 30,000-square-foot valet parking garage and a large mezzanine overlooking the bars, stage and dance floor. Silo went bankrupt in June 1995.