A Remark You Made: Words that Shaped Our Lives









Ever notice there will occasionally be something someone has said that resonates for you? It could have been a critical remark, a compliment, or even a cruel put-down. It also may have been a general observation that “hit home” in a way that you remember for the rest of your life. Or perhaps you read or saw something that sent your mind on a new journey.  If we open ourselves to “collecting” these nuggets, we can learn and grow. I have left most of them anonymous in order to avoid any hint of “name dropping.” This isn’t really about me anyway! 😉

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How Self-Labeling Holds us Back













Happy New Year! 

In the spirit of resolutions and goals, let’s discuss how we can move forward this year (and beyond.)

In general, we find it irritating when others put a label on us; we rightly want to break free from the restrictions of such things. Yet, we are more than happy to constantly put labels on ourselves, and to staunchly defend those self-determined limitations.  Let’s look at some common ones, both in our music and in our overall existence.

These often begin with “I’m a person who…”  and become gospel to us. Below, let’s identify some of these, translate them into what they really mean, and look at ways to challenge them.

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Happy Holidays!









Here is a bunch of Christmas music for your holiday enjoyment! We did these recordings from ’94-99 just for fun. Alesis ADAT tape machines! Tracks 1,3, 7 and 8 were recorded on Fostex 1/2 inch analog 16 track. (you may notice some slight hiss) Hope you enjoy!

The musicians:

Randy Hoexter: arrangements, keyboards, BG vocals
Chip Lunsford: Drums
Joe Reda: Bass (1,3,7,8)
Bryan Lopes: Saxophone (1,3,7,8)
Alfreda Gerald: Vocals
Angie Driscoll: Vocals (5)
Carl Culpepper: Guitar (5)

How are Grammy Awards Chosen? Part I













Every year, people watch the Grammy Awards and wonder about the process, and how certain artists win, some over and over. In the process of submitting my material to this competition, I learned a lot about how this and other merit-based awards are chosen, and about our industry in general. Continue Reading…

How Knowing the Rules Can Set Us Free









A few years back while giving a class on basic harmony, I was explaining the major scale in terms of whole and half-steps. A student raised his hand and said:

“That’s too many rules.”

Needless to say I was taken aback by this comment, since I never really thought of that as a rule, more like an observation. Nor have I ever felt particularly held back by the structure of a major key. But this did cause me to consider an issue in music and creativity that rears its head more and more often: Not wanting to know.

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The Tyranny of the Click Track










Like many musicians, over the decades I have worked very hard on my “time” and accuracy, seeking to play “perfect” time. There are legends of virtuoso studio drummers listening to a metronome, leaving, walking around the block, and returning without losing a beat. What is perfect time? Is it better?

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What Ever Happened to Arranging?









Recently I have been reading up on big band writing, with the intent of composing some new music. What struck me in my studies is the deliberation and reverence for the art found throughout these books. There is something about doing it right. Art can have details, and somebody needs to care about those nuances if we are to take it seriously. Continue Reading…

What is Your Greatest Weakness?









As musicians and humans in general, we can have a tendency to “favor” our weaknesses and character flaws. Much like a broken down pickup truck or appliance in our yard that we mow around (I do live in the South, after all,) these things don’t go away. One answer is to look hard at our least-favorable traits, identify them and make a change.  Continue Reading…

11 Ways to Feel Better









As musicians (and humans in general) we have a lot of stress and anxiety; this is inevitable. Perhaps we dream of a “stress-free” environment where we can relax and unwind… yet when we actually arrive there, we are just as keyed-up as ever. This is because we carry the stress everywhere we go, and any escape seems like loss of control, like letting go of the steering wheel of a speeding car. Needless to say, we won’t do our best work or enjoy life if we don’t have some ways to learn to handle the unavoidable. While I am no expert on this (though I do play one on TV) I do have some suggestions. Continue Reading…

How to Get More Work









Getting enough jobs to make ends meet is always a challenge for a musician. It entails marketing, personal relations, investment, preparation and a dash of psychology. How do we get the ball rolling, and what can we do to avoid problems?

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