Issue 022 // August 2018
Enunciation, in regards to musical performance, can be a tedious enterprise.
Singing along to Elton John in the backseat of the family woody station wagon at the top of one's lungs "Hold me closer Tony Danza!" or, better yet, during the chorus of Rocketman - "Turning up his juice and pheromones" can make a song even more relatable and "owned" by those that misunderstand the lyrics. It's a blast, really. Way more fun than trying to figure out how to say "Burning out his fuse up here alone".
For the 90's kids, Pearl Jam is a constant offender. In fact, I dare you to figure out the lyrics to "Yellow Ledbetter". YouTube has tried hilariously to figure them out. I urge you to look it up. "Potato Wave" is a classic.
Sure, it can get messy when our intentions aren't clear. Misunderstanding is a real hindrance to progress in society. Yet, in an artistic sense, where's the fun in perfection? Slurring words is an art form in itself. Jim Morrison knew a thing or two, though I'm not sure he could have enunciated if he tried. RIP.
Anyway, I'll still sing "What a Fool Believes" wrong every time.
Issue 021 // August 2018
Nothing feels quite as surprisingly invigorating as a fresh coat of paint.
It almost seems too simple; change the color of your walls and you can live in a different frame of mind. Around casa de la Ross this week we're doing exactly that, and my does it get the ole' wheels turning. Until this point, we've lived in a mostly beige world. No longer!
Do you find yourself listening to the same type/genre of music? Do you automatically seek out bands that are directly adjacent to those you already know and love? Here's my polite invitation to put on some fresh tracks and try out a new artist or two outside of your preferred genre. You don't have to go with bold changes like going from chamber pop to thrash metal, but you can subtly get into other forms.
You never know. You just might like it.
WHAT I TALK ABOUT
WHEN I TALK ABOUT MUSIC.
Issue 020 // July 2018
Today, I'd like to share a bit of insight with you, dear reader.
When faced with the subjectivity that is performance art, there is a handy shortcut I use to determine which acts rise above the rest. I use four metrics (though you could break them down into many more if you're feeling precise). The following metrics define what is music, to me:
Tone. Dynamics. Rhythm. Atmosphere.
Picture four dials. Each dial has one of these four words written below them. From one (bad) to ten (perfect), where would you point each dial to define what you're hearing, based solely on these four metrics? If all the dials are placed at 7 and above, they get into the Roasting Room. Below that, they do not. Is this subjective and arbitrary? Of course. Does it work? Yes.
I invite you to come hear for yourself, and bring your dials with you.
Mood and Music.
Issue 019 // July 2018
How do you respond to the question, "What do you like to listen to?" To me, it's a loaded question. The asker, if it's a stranger, may be wanting to know where you fall on the spectrum of music adoration. If you say you listen to mainstream music, will the asker judge you for not digging deeper into the vast world of "underground" or "under-represented" music? If you say you listen to certain period of music, will the listener judge you based on your nostalgia? As a musician, I get asked this question quite a lot, and my stock answer is this: "Wherever my mood happens to be at a particular time."
Mood and music, at least in my opinion, are inextricably linked. I enjoy listening to music that reflects my mood, and feel, in some sense, that the music understands me like an old friend. Furthermore, I can come closer to understand what the artist was going through as the piece was being written. I'm not saying it's necessarily a cosmic connection, but nevertheless an important one for me. Genres can broadly reflect mood. For instance, bluegrass is mostly happy music, even when the lyrics are gut-wrenchingly heartbreaking. Jazz is a powerful motivator to move, think deeply, and connect on a deeper level with others. Country wants to tell a relatable story, bringing the song and the listener closer together.
July's music selections feature these genres, and will be upbeat and bright. I can't think of a better description of a summertime mood than that.
LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY.
Issue 018 // June 2018
To what extent to do trust the accuracy of your memories? I'd like to think mine is a steel trap, but I couldn't be any further from the truth, according to major studies on the fallacy of memory.
Thinking back to details of "memorable" experiences, I find fault/lapses/time shifts in my recall. Do you? For instance, I DISTINCTLY remember getting lost at Sea World when I was about 6 years old. But...Do I really?
I mean, there's a photo of me eating ice cream in my Cubs hat on that day, so I was there. Without that photo priming my memory, though, I *probably* wouldn't remember the event. At least, that's the conclusion to which researchers have come. We need a primer to jumpstart our memories, and insodoing we create a narrative around that primer. But, there's more to it than that.
Photos are decent primers, but music is by far a stronger primer, along with smell. When I hear Field Division's "Faultlines", I immediately flash back to tiling the bathroom in 2015. I'm standing in the tub, covered in grout. When I hear Gabe Dixon's "All Will Be Well", I'm sitting at table F-43 in the Roasting Room with my son at my side, wondering what is going through his mind at his very first concert. Then turning to my wife and smiling, knowing she's thinking the same thing.
Music, whether lyric or instrumental, is a jotting down of an artist's memory of a feeling, a melody, a turn of phrase. We're in the memory-making business, and for that reason I'll always be involved. Memories may be fallible, but they're all we have to cling to a place/time/feeling that we had. A world without music is a world without my most vivid and cherished memories.
I'm glad I don't have to worry about that.
STRIATIONS AND ALL.
Issue 017 // June 2018
These are the days. The ones that we've been looking forward to with great anticipation. The days that we think of when we long for our childhood. These are the days of legend. Of course, I'm talking about watermelon season. Sweet pink/red glory wrapped in a striped green shell. The greener the better, then the redder the better. I can hear it all now.....
"Look for the striations. Are they dark green? if they aren't in a good straight(ish) line, the melon won't be as sweet!" "What color is the underbelly? Yellow?" "Knock on them a few times. Does it really thud or is it a higher pitch?" "Don't swallow the seeds!" "Seedless-ness is next to Godliness."
The sounds of childhood. Get me a knife and we'll just get to work on one, crooked striations and all.
Jordan, what does this have to do with music? Watermelons, like artists, are judged first by their appearance then by their music. In fact, the premise of NBC's The Voice was built around the objectivity of the voice coming from behind the judges, who are in rotating chairs facing away from the performer. It's the same reason orchestras and operas do blind auditions. An artist's appearance and pedigree can be deceiving, so we here at the Roasting Room pay close attention to the quality of music coming from the artists. If an artist looks good doing it, then bonus all around. I'll leave that judgement up to you.
Happy watermelon season.
Taken For Granted.
Issue 016 // May 2018
Oh, how we take for granted the extraordinary things around us. From our phones to our cars, we live in a world that is full of high quality goods. Yet, sometimes they seem to let us down...
I'm speaking, of course, about Autocorrect. The premise is astonishing: An algorithm can understand what you're trying to type, and will make a suggestion for you based on the best fit for the sentence the word in questions is being placed. The idea is pure sorcery to anyone not living in the age of smartphones, but it still gets it wrong; hilariously in some instances. We then blame it for it's blunder, and feel a sense of superiority over the machine. Yet, that machine was built to extraordinary specs that has taken countless software engineers their entire careers to perfect.
I've stumbled upon a great podcast*, and recently listened to an interview with Seth Godin about this very topic. How do we define excellence in an age of high quality manufacturing? How can something that is, at its core, trivial seem almost magical when put into the right context? Case in point: When someone cares enough to create a thing/item/good/art/etc for someone else, it transcends the spec by which it's measured and becomes truly excellent. It explains why family cooking tastes better, or your favorite artist sounds better. Love. Caring. Shared Meaning. In a highly technological age, the simple acts of humanity become truly excellent because only humans can care and love. I firmly believe listening to live music is a form of seeking out humanity in all its glory, flaws, highs, lows, and in-betweens.
We've got the live music part covered.
Issue 015 // May 2018
For those wondering what has been going on at Roasting Room HQ in the last 7 days, I can tell you it's been MADNESS! Well, that's a bit of hyperbole.
I've been working on pre-show videos, and thanks to the great folks at AIC (hiltonheadhometheater.com) who providing us with a 4K projector, automatic dropdown screen, and an Elon app-based workflow, I'm finally able to present videos in a way that works for our room.
Upon launching our pre-show videos this past Thursday, I was overwhelmed with both anxiety and excitement. I think it's the feeling that overcomes those that know that they're stepping into a new phase of professional development (well, that's a bit overarching, but stay with me). I can see the usefulness of the stage projector for not only pre-show videos, but for groups needing multimedia for a meeting, an event that would like to feature a slideshow, or someone that would like to screen a movie for their friends.
Upon your next visit, enjoy the video offerings prior to the show, and let me know what you'd like to see for the next set of videos. It's fun to try new things (particularly video), and if you've got an idea, I'm all ears.
Coming In For A Landing.
Issue 014 // April 2018
Did you know that the Roasting Room has other functions beside offering fantastic music? Hard to believe, I know. The venue owners, Josh & Kali Cooke, use the space for catered parties and business gatherings when there is no scheduled music events. To showcase the other happenings, I'm considering a slight website redesign.
Have a look at our proposed landing page:
It's nothing crazy, but I think will help steer people in the right direction based on their needs/use for our room.
If you love it, great. If you hate it, tell me why. We're all in this one together!
A Noble Pursuit.
Issue 013 // April 2018
I think it's a noble pursuit to support a touring artist by allowing them a place to perform their music to an attentive and caring group of individuals. That noble cause has propelled me forward through the times that I've said "Enough! I can't look at another spreadsheet/email/poster design/booking inquiry!" The artists have been incredibly gracious after a Roasting Room show, and I have you to thank for that.
Yet there are other types of noble pursuits, and that brings me to the point of this particular email: What we love to do here more than host music is to host charity events that involve music. We've done a few in the past, and it's something that I'd like to continue to do more often. There's no better feeling than knowing that a segment of the community is made better through our contribution.
Here's your challenge - If you know of/represent/can make a case for a noble pursuit (charity), I'm all ears. We won't do anything halfway, mind you. When we do a charity event, its an EVENT. If we believe it in, we'll get behind it 100%.
Let's get some on the books before 2018 gets away from us all.
Out On A Limb.
Issue 012 // March 2018
Oh April, you have potential.
I planned this particular month in a way that I haven't normally planned in a 30 day window. I went out on a limb this time around. You see, I typically like to spread the awesome out a bit so that you fine listeners have time to catch your breath. Not this time around. Oh no. April is STACKED.
Here's a breakdown: First, you get an award-winning author (Sylvie Simmons) on April 5, followed by a world-renowned Blues band (Slam Allen) April 6, then the winner of Australia's Got Talent (Joe Robinson) April 7, A platinum selling artist (Dan Layus of Augustana) April 13, A Beck & Avett Brothers influencer (Paleface) April 14, A headlined-with-Toby-Keith-&-Shania-Twain country artist (John Brannen) April 21, A Songwriter's songwriter (Jeff Black) April 27, and a TV Celebrity/Songwriter (Hayley Orrantia) April 28.
I mean, what was I thinking?
I think we should see how much fun we can have in 30 days listening to incredible acts.
Issue 011 // March 2018
How would you describe the Roasting Room to a random person on the street? How would you sum up what it is we do here in 5 words or less? My version:
Community-owned Listening Room.
We exist to allow musicians a voice, and we thrive on the support of the community around us. YOU are that community. Yes, you. Not some unknowable entity or group of "others"; You. The Mikes and Steves and Carols and Lories. This place is your place. You have ownership in it, whether you know it or not. How? Well, you vote with your attendance. You make decisions for me based on your wants. I'm here to catch those wants and put them on the stage. So far so good, I'd say!
Keep those wants coming. We're in the midst of a truly amazing year.
Issue 010 // February 2018
I'd love to have a long-winded and clever thing to say to all you beautiful music-lovers, but all I can think to write at the moment is WHOA. What a difference a year makes.
On Feb 16, 2017, we brought in a nationally-touring act on a Thursday and 7 people came. On Feb 19, 2018, we brought in a nationally touring act on a MONDAY and it sold out. Something is happening, and I'm psyched.
Unrelated, but still...I received quite a bit of artist requests following the previous Roast email, and I can happily say that a couple of bands that were requested are under contract. Crowdsourcing is fun! Keep the requests coming. You just never know who may be traveling down I-95 looking for a place to play.
One more thing; I have a small, somewhat-secret favor. If you're interested, scroll down to the very bottom of this email (just below Morgan Wade) for a link to this somewhat-secret favor.
2018 rules so far, all thanks to you.
Issue 009 // February 2018
I've not been formally trained in business or marketing. It's not that I didn't want to know more about how businesses worked or how I could get an edge in the world of entrepreneurship, it's just that I didn't know any better. Instead, I hold a degree in social psychology. Over the years, it hasn't been lost on me how similar and interchangeable these two fields can be; after all, the focus of both is the behavior of humans.
We want more. What's the harm in it? I mean, if something is buy one get one free, you pick up two, right? How can businesses even stay afloat when they give their products away!? Yet, at the same time we're willing to drop extraordinary amounts of money on other activities. Time for a meta Roasting Room
I'm no stranger to a good deal, yet I'm willing to drive 4 hours and spend $135 on a ticket to see a band that I could just watch on YouTube. Why in the world would I do such a ridiculous thing? Why, the value of shared and sacred space, of course. The experience, the ritual, the visceral experience of seeing a band react to one another while being in the same room is such a powerful feeling to a music fan, and we can tell them how great we think they were by making noises at any appropriate time!
I have a feeling that there are many receiving this particular newsletter that understand exactly what I'm saying. In fact, YOU may be among them. Who's a long-shot artist that you'd be willing to shell out to see at your favorite small venue with a big heart?
I'm all ears, and I'm not afraid to shoot for the moon. More or less.
Issue 008 // Januray 2018
We all like to try new things; A new pair of socks, a new movie, a new recipe. Sometimes, new things bring challenges to our everyday life; A new houseguest, a new boss, a new diagnosis. We at the Roasting Room are in a constant state of thinking of new things. Different things. Amazing things.
Recently, we've been approached about a new type of entertainment offering. We're very excited to tell you all about it...but not just yet. Look for an announcement here soon.
Sure, we love music and feel we put on a great show. We also know there are entire worlds or performance art out there that we haven't touched. Yet.
We're now in the exciting process of branching out.
You have a front-row seat.
Band Names Are Crucial...Sort of.
Issue 007 // January 2018
"Have you heard of this band?" A friend of mine begins our conversation. "They're called We Were Promised Jetpacks. You'll love them." ...We Were Promised Jetpacks?! What an amazingly cast-off name. And no, I've not heard of them*.
I'll admit, it's a fun name. The fact that I'm writing to you about them makes it impactful. Imagery began swirling in my mind of a group of futurist emo punks dancing rather deliberately in arthouse space helmets.
What does a band name matter these days, anyway? As you look through the January and February schedule, you'll no doubt see a group of names you've not heard before. However, there is one that stands out as a "good" band name: Fireside Collective.
Fireside Collective is a new-grass band, and is a perfect example of a band naming themselves as closely to their sound as possible. Their music fits right along side a campfire. It's a newer form of bluegrass fusion, but the feel remains intact. It should go without saying that that particular show will be special.
Anyway, band names can be hard to come up with and still be "cool" and "hip" and "meaningful", but in some cases they're an afterthought that turns into a mistake. Just ask the Goo Goo Dolls.
2 out of 10
Issue 006 // December 2017
"I'd like our band to play at the Roasting Room." begins the email I received on New Year's Eve. The band's agent sent me links to their music, bio, pictures, videos, and tour schedule in the hope that I'll accept the band and send them an offer sheet. The choice is mine alone. Do I accept? Will the people of Bluffton enjoy the band? Is the band marketable to our demographic? For me, this process is a balance between the music and the marketability of an act. From the musician's perspective, this process can be VERY subjective and I don't take it lightly.
Just like a designer meticulously scraping clay from the full-sized model car to make the form just right, I'm trimming the master schedule to make sure your 2018 Roasting Room listening experience is the absolute best. It's amazing how many bands have asked to play at the Roasting Room, and I find myself having to accept 2 out of 10 for schedule sake. In other words, the bands on stage have been thought about, mulled over, crosschecked, matched up, and packaged delicately for your audial consumption.
I say all this to offer you a challenge. As an audience member at the Roasting Room, you know the room and the feel. Do you have a favorite act that you'd just love to see up here (within reason)? Let me know!
2017 was fun, and we learned a few things. Sure, it had its downs, but overall the music was fantastic. 2018 will be amazing. Stay tuned.
Our Claus O'Meter.
Issue 005 // December 2017
The movie Elf has become quite the classic in our household. It's light, ridiculous, and entirely human. One plot point in particular struck me recently, and I feel the need to unpack its meaning (and power).
First, a quick synopsis. Spoilers ahead for those haven't seen this particular classic. For those that have, you may skip the next paragraph.
Toward the end of the movie, Santa reveals that he had to install a rocket booster in his sleigh. His sleigh used to fly on belief only, but his Claus O'Meter (an instrument that measures belief) wasn't as full as it used to be because people's belief in him has been waning in recent years. His sleigh couldn't properly fly without some outside help. Yet, when everyone began to spread Christmas cheer by singing along to "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town", his Claus O'Meter filled to the brim and away he went without his rocket booster.
Who cares, right? It's just a kid show, right? It's deeper. It showed me that belief is all you need to make any idea fly. I'm sure you've seen the inspirational quote "She believe she could, so she did." The same idea applies here, and let me go a step further and apply it to the Roasting Room community of which you are a part. You, as a supporter of the arts by showing up to a live event, demonstrate a belief that music is important to you and it's survival is crucial part to your overall well-being. Your belief allows us to fly, in a sense. We see a full room of believers, and we get a sense of duty to continue providing you with high quality artistic expression.
In other words, you fill our Claus O'Meter through your belief in our mission, and we can fly. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity. Happy Holidays.
'Tis The Season.
Issue 004 // December 2017
We're working toward having a wonderful Christmas time, thanks to your friendship and generosity. Maybe you've noticed, but we've been selling out a string of shows recently. While I'd like to think it's because we're awesome, I know that it's indeed YOU who are awesome. Instead of staying in to watch College Football or Shark Tank, you decide instead to climb the stairs and take in a concert. You rock.
Know what also rocks? Merchandise. More specifically, Roasting Room-branded merchandise. That's right friends, we just got in a box of comfy t-shirts, a (small) box of art books, and some lovely coffee mugs and koozies to make your season bright. How does one procure such items? In person at a show of course. The only item we sell specifically on our site is the art book (roastingroomlounge.com/merch) and the rest is in-store only. So, the next time you find yourself at the front door ticket stand, ask about our tasty merch offerings. Chances are there is someone on your shopping list that could use a t-shirt or coffee mug emblazoned with their favorite venue's logo. Just maybe.
Giving Thanks to the Real Rock Stars.
Issue 003 // November 2017
Thank you. Thank you to the listener. Thank you the ones that took a chance on a hidden little room above a coffee shop. Thank you to the artists that have come from far and near to bring their stories and talents to our little room. Thank you to the spouses that roll their eyes when we have to head out the door on another Friday or Saturday night and produce a show that may or may not break even, but still show us the same love and affection that they would have if we would've just stayed home. Thank you to the couple on a date night that could have picked anywhere in this great little town to spend an evening and chose to spend it with us in our little corner of music heaven. Thank you to the business partners that have chosen to support us through the times that we didn't have a clue what we were doing (spoiler alert: we still don't!).
Above all, we thank you for showing up and putting a smile on the face of a stranger.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Making our Mark.
Issue 002 // November 2017
A handprint. A cave drawing. A swoosh. How is it that a seemingly innocuous image can immediately convey ambition, focus, belonging, and personality?
We don't know either, but our friend Trevor Harden of Harden Creative knows a thing or two about logo creation. He was tasked with designing the Roasting Room's first real attempt at a logo. Personally, I think he nailed it.
Why does this matter to you? Well, we've been thinking...
It's been almost two years since we've opened, and we haven't yet emblazoned anything with a logo. Not even a sticker! The time has come, my friends. You see, we're aware of the holiday season coming into focus for some of you (more than others), and we also know that we'd better get some tasty merchandise out before Big Mouth Billy Bass or the dancing saxophone Santa Claus gets chosen instead for uncle Stu. If only we had some way to get our fresh logo on some sweet gear, and allow for people to get one-of-a-kind experiences from some of the artists we're hosting the near future.
Enter: The Roasting Room Patronage Program
You all have supported us way more than we could have originally imagined (cliché, but true). We'd like to offer some of our biggest fans (and fair-weather casual fans) the opportunity to get even more out of a Roasting Room show experience. Follow the link above (or click here) to dive into the details.
Is it the ultimate gift for the guy (or gal) who has it all? You betcha. If you want to make your significant other an official Roasting Room Patron and keep it a secret for the holidays, simply let us know in the comments section and we'll take it from there.
You see, we love providing world-class entertainment for the town of Bluffton. We'd love to do it as often and as huge (HUGE!) as possible. Becoming a patron puts us all on the right path. We're focused on steering this ship toward a tomorrow of mind-blowing greatness. Join us!
BECOME A PATRON
Let's begin again...at the beginning.
Issue 001 // October 2017
As humans, we are in a constant state of re-invention. We long to be the best version of ourselves, all the while knowing that version is just out of reach. It drives us forward; molding and shaping our thoughts, actions, and interactions with others and the world around us.
We here at the Roasting Room share this sentiment. We want to be the best; to provide the best experience to you at the best price and with the best intentions. We may fall short in one or all of those areas from time to time, but with each new experience we want to get closer to that perfect version of ourself.
In the weeks to come we'll be rolling out a new vision for the future of the Roasting Room, and if the early indications are correct you will be in for a serious treat. It involves patronage, partnerships, and MERCH.
November is going to be a great month for music, and as we gear up for the holiday season, a great month for gift-planning. Stay tuned.