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#1135564 - 01/25/18 02:40 PM You Sound Like This Or That.  
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Barry David Butler (D) Offline
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Barry David Butler (D)  Offline
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If people say you sound like or write songs like somebody else maybe it's time to change directions.

Last edited by Barry David Butler; 01/25/18 03:15 PM.
#1135567 - 01/25/18 04:01 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Most people who listen say that to us because they mistakenly think they are giving us a compliment. Sometimes people say, you kinda sound like....somebody I never listened to before in my life.

You'll find that anytime you play your music to somebody you know, it's always warm and fuzzy, and always reminds them of somebody famous....

Just roll with it....

#1135568 - 01/25/18 04:10 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Fdemetrio]  
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Barry David Butler (D) Offline
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I'm ok with it but I think the best thing we can all do is try and sound and write like ourselves. So many try and write like this guy or that. Be an Original.

#1135571 - 01/25/18 05:05 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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RonnieDean Online content
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Nevermind.

Last edited by RonnieDean; 01/25/18 05:18 PM.
#1135605 - 01/26/18 10:57 AM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Hi Barry:

Developing a "style" or "sound" usually takes years for most of us. (Present company excepted!) ...LOL! Most of us will not survive the music world long enough to ever develop a style... and 90% of us are not performers. I do my best to "have my way with my miserable vocals" and "shoehorn" them into the song demo I am attempting to create. It does not always work... but every now and then, there is a "glimmer of hope."

Lately, I've realized that having a real vocalist do demos of my songs is a great way to let others hear what I had in mind when I wrote the darn thing in the first place. Zaneski has filled that void admirably for me.

I never perform. I am a "writer and seller of songs" in my own perception... and, if monetary reward is the real measure of success... I have failed miserably. No matter... it has been a fun ride and when you think of all the interesting personalities ya' get to rub elbows with... it can really be an enjoyable experience... while attempting to develop a style.

You were probably born with "style" my friend. I wonder what I might have been able to do with a voice like yours? ----Dave

#1135611 - 01/26/18 12:43 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Dave Rice]  
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Barry David Butler (D) Offline
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I like your voice Dave. Originality and Passion in a voice is what the world could really use right about now. It's only been 8 years since I got my first computer and have written and sung over 400 songs on my youtube page since then. SO now me and my songs are being heard all over the world especially through my platform at my facebook page. I have fans that have commented on my songs in over 10 countries and it's amazing. Quick Story.....When I was a young Buck in NYC in 1967 I started on my Singer Songwriter Journey with my 12 String Martin and Ovation Guitars. I played a million hours in Central Park and ever wrote a song about it called " I Was A Star in Central Park" lol Back then I tried to really sing like a singer really kind of smooth etc. One day on a great acid trip I was in the park with my music buddies and I was singing one of my songs called "I Love My Generation" and let the real authentic voice within my Soul come raging out. I remember my friends being shocked as I let it fly. It took awhile longer to find the voice I have now but it all started on an acid trip.....

#1135636 - 01/26/18 09:07 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Hi Barry:

Interesting story about Central Park and your time spent there. I've never felt the urge to try pot or "recreational" drugs... but I don't doubt it may have released your inhibitions and allowed your "inner voice" to come out.

Our parent company bought an apartment with a very large patio overlooking Central Park. It was about two or three doors east of the Plaza Hotel. When unscheduled for company events or dignitaries, it was booked for visiting executives when we were in town on business. I had the opportunity to stay there at least twice during non-winter months when it was pleasant enough to sit outside and watch what went on below. I always regretted not having my wife along to enjoy the scenery and the wonder of the "Big Apple."

#1135692 - 01/27/18 12:59 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Depending on what you're doing as "original", it can be a catch 22.

Don't mistake being original as being something that is always awesome for everyone else to hear.


Jody Whitesides
A Funky Audio Lap Dance For Your Ears!
www.jodywhitesides.com
#1135695 - 01/27/18 01:25 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Dave Rice]  
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Barry David Butler (D) Offline
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What kind of company did you work for?

#1135710 - 01/27/18 07:29 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Sage advice, Jody:

From my limited perspective, after writing and recording 1000 (or more) songs... not all of them worth the paper wasted... I'm beginning to get the idea that doing anything music related can be a massive waste of time. I suppose the "driving force" behind all of this is nothing more than "hope." LOL! I hope you are having a great weekend. ----Dave

#1135711 - 01/27/18 07:32 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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Hi Barry:

The parent company of Dutch Boy Paint... now called NL Industries. ----Dave

#1135714 - 01/27/18 09:02 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Jody Whitesides]  
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RonnieDean Online content
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Originally Posted by Jody Whitesides
Depending on what you're doing as "original", it can be a catch 22.

Don't mistake being original as being something that is always awesome for everyone else to hear.


Church.

#1135715 - 01/27/18 09:10 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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maccharles Online content
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If one does something completely original, that means that one has not taken anything from past works at all....

Meaning that it is in fact "completely" original.

Therefore sounds/looks completely original and has zero familiarity.

By that terminology, it is completely alien to audience eyes/ears.....therefore comes across as tantamount to white noise in any medium.

Best to have hints of SOMETHING that came before or lose all.

Last edited by maccharles; 01/27/18 09:12 PM.
#1135716 - 01/27/18 10:29 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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RonnieDean Online content
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The same but different as is said.

#1135717 - 01/27/18 11:40 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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That's why learning structure is important in songwriting, because listeners have structures imbedded in their brains, we all do.

People internally know whatever song they hear is gonna have a chorus, and they will be expecting some sort of break, or bridge, if they don't get it, they tune out and can't follow it.

That's a basic example, but if music was so different all the time, it wouldn't work.

Need to throw a wrench in there, once in a while to keep it interesting

Story telling needs certain components so people can process it

I think styles change more than music. You listen to singers of the 80's, they have a different sounding voice than singers of the 90's, and so on

You don't need to reinvent the wheel, all music is derivative

Who was really different? Errrrr

Eddie Van Halen, nobody was playing like him before him. You might see it show up in songs before him, but he made it almost a genre of music, and not just a passing thing.

Prince, yeah a bit James Brown and Sly, but really nobody ever sounded like him.

You need new ideas, new sounds, new arrangements and techniques maybe, but music hasn't changed much since the Beatles. It's just in my opinion, not as good.

#1135718 - 01/27/18 11:47 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Fdemetrio]  
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Barry David Butler (D) Offline
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It's about a story, a melody and math & form.

#1135719 - 01/27/18 11:51 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Fdemetrio Offline
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Yessir!

#1135769 - 01/29/18 10:19 AM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Dave Rice Online content
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This implies I have a brain... LOL! Silly me... I thought it was all about lots of money and a little bit of talent!

#1135786 - 01/29/18 11:47 AM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Your brain is tuned to the frequency of the Universe, measured in Metrics. I think I read that somewhere. Sometimes I hear the buzzing of the Universe. Drives me nuts. Unfortunately deciphering those songs is murder!


Ray E. Strode
#1135788 - 01/29/18 11:56 AM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Fdemetrio Offline
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People say I sound like Ray E. Strode

#1135840 - 01/30/18 04:39 AM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Dave Rice]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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Originally Posted by Dave Rice
Sage advice, Jody:

From my limited perspective, after writing and recording 1000 (or more) songs... not all of them worth the paper wasted... I'm beginning to get the idea that doing anything music related can be a massive waste of time. I suppose the "driving force" behind all of this is nothing more than "hope." LOL! I hope you are having a great weekend. ----Dave


I see it as simply having fun. That's usually not a waste of time. If you like to paint, the process is rewarding, and whether it hangs in a museum someday is irrelevant.


Brian Austin Whitney
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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..."

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#1135887 - 01/30/18 01:21 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Originally Posted by Barry David Butler
If people say you sound like or write songs like somebody else maybe it's time to change directions.


Barry,

I've been reading the replies to your original post and find it interesting that more people are not saying that it's not a big issue. If I'm reading your post different than what you were trying to express, then just take this as another angle on the "sounds like" comments people give.

I get music submissions from songwriters, musicians, publishers, labels, etc, etc, everyday and in almost all of the emails someone is say either they "sound like so and so" or their representatives are pitching their artists with they "sound like so and so."

Here are a few examples of how they describe themselves or how they are being described in the emails that I receive.

  • "Sound like Lorde meets 80s elecrtonica."
  • "Sound like Ludovico Einaudi for example."
  • "Sound like Nirvana/Muse"
  • "Sounds like Two Steps From Hell, Mark Petrie, Buddha Bar, Gramatik."
  • "Melanie's songs are in the same vein as melancholic artists like Damien Rice, Tori Amos, Alanis Morrisette, Regina Spector and Adele."


I see this so much that I don't see it as a negative. Just because you might sound or write like someone else, doesn't take away from who you are AND they know you are not who they say you sound like.

I would just continue writing and sounding exactly as you are.

#1135894 - 01/30/18 02:00 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Dominique H. Preyer]  
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Barry David Butler (D) Offline
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I want to sound like ME because I'm a singer songwriter. IF I was just writing songs for particular artists I'd try and write songs like they seem to like. I was referring to SINGER Songwriters having a distinct voice and a distinct style to their writing....

#1135897 - 01/30/18 02:17 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Thankfully, there aren't any artists out there that sound like me (ha!).


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The 'hard' is what makes it great."
Kevin @ bandcamp: Crows Say Vee-Eh (and Kevin @50/90 2019)
#1135909 - 01/30/18 03:28 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Well cd baby states that you should be willing to include yourself in sounds like lists, as it helps people find you.

To be honest I have dozens of songs that sound exactly like Springsteen, and I have gotten returns from publisher.s ..back when I did some light mailiings pitching stuff, and I got a lot of replies like " we already have a Springsteen" and people would say,.... wow they think you sound like Springsteen that's great...it is? They said we already got one very derogatively.

You're always gonna sound like the music you listen to, always throws me off when somebody says I sound like somebody I never even heard of

Depends who's doing the deciding. Some people want clients to ride the coattails of successful artists, others don't.


Last edited by Fdemetrio; 01/30/18 03:30 PM.
#1135914 - 01/30/18 05:24 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Rick Heenan Offline
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Inwardly, I cringe when being referenced to some one. It probably should be considered a compliment. I don't mind those kind of remarks when I do a cover tune. I was once told that I sang Neil Young better than Neil Young. Now I considered that a compliment at the time. On the other cringe worthy hand, I've been told that I sounded just like Leon Redbone. I don't, not in the least way. But you smile and thank them for the praise.

I also realize that a lot of venues want you to tell them who you sound like. Being honest and telling them I sound like Bowser from Sha Na Na, doesn't work for me either.

#1135917 - 01/30/18 05:55 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Dominique H. Preyer]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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I agree with Dominique and Mac and some others..

When I listen to a new piece of music..and I think this is true for most people..we need to lock in to aspects that are familiar to us, grounding us a bit in the process, and from there we can feel comfortable in the listening. Are there any completely original songs? Not really--everything stands on the shoulders of everything that has come before it..unless you're a Martian and are about to make your musical debut!

So it's all really just varying degrees of sounding like others or not. Some are obvious copycats, but folks that try TOO hard to be original can be as irritating, you know? In other words, I don't think being an artist should ever mean planting your "originality" flag as far removed from others' music as possible--I think it should mean being yourself.

Take this artist:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFe0NkpERkk

My first thought is, "this guy sounds a lot like Cat Stevens but not in a copycat way, it's just his voice" Now, since Cat Stevens' music was a beloved part of my musical growing-up, I think I respond to this piece more than if he sang it, say, like Frank Sinatra..and I think I'll persue more music by "The White Buffalo" cuz of that Cat Stevens connection. Would I ever tell him that? Nah..he's probably heard it all before..

We can enjoy artists that are more original than not, but we first need to deal with that unfamiliarity, and that takes time, and patience is not a particularly strong American attribute, in my opinion, whereas in Europe many free jazz and experimental musicians are able to eke out a meager existence doing what they love, far more than can here in the States.

I'm fine with being told I sound like someone else, that means the listener was able to find common ground between his/her experience and my music. smile

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 01/30/18 07:21 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1135937 - 01/31/18 03:36 AM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Fdemetrio Offline
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Fdemetrio  Offline
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To me Southside Johnny sounds very much like Bruce, or they both sound like each other, so much that most people listening who didn't k ow better would think they were the same artist. They come from same place, and sing very similarly

ome became a world wide star, one stayed a local star. I dig em both

This is one of my favorite songs of all time
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tRVkS6Owp9Q

Last edited by Fdemetrio; 01/31/18 03:38 AM.
#1135949 - 01/31/18 09:17 AM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
Hey folks, good topic.

It's sort of a two edged sword. First of all, it is UNAVOIDABLE. We ALL sound like somebody else. In fact, we are products of our influences, so we are going to take those various elements we grew up listening to and then hopefully develop into our OWN sound. But it is still going to have those elements in it. In most writers and artists there is a point where they develop their own sound, but those influences are still there. The Beatles were very influenced by Skiffle groups, then elements of Motown, and finally cut their own pathway. Same with Elvis, who originally sounded like Black R&B singers before him. Ray Charles was once called "A poor man's Nat King Cole."

So it is unavoidable.

And then, if you start dealing with the business side, publishers, labels, venue bookers, etc. you almost HAVE to use others to describe what you are doing. "It is a cross between...." helps to narrow the audience you are going for.
I used to (and still do) call my music, "IN YOUR FACE COUNTRY SOUL" I would say it is a cross between "The Eagles and Ray Charles." or, "A cross between professional wrestling and a tractor pull.." (They always loved that one.

But there is nothing wrong with having some basis to go on for people who don't know you at first.

Then it can get into the "negative." A lot of times when I give that designation "Sounds like..." It really means it. "The song SOUNDS JUST LIKE...." because so many writers simply recycle things that are major hit songs. It is funny sometimes that they can't see it.
I once had a client in Canada who was writing with me. She had this entire melody, lyrics and was singing it accapella. She had had it in her mind for five years and was just waiting for someone to help her put the music to her lyrics. She was so into it, she was closing her eyes and wailing. And she was pretty cute, so I didn't want to stop her, LOL!
As she was going on and on in this song, I very quietly pulled up YOU TUBE on my lap top, and found what I was looking for. When she finished (she really did the whole song) I said "Does it sound like this? Then I hit play.

The song was "BAD TIME TO BE IN LOVE" by the 70's group GRAND FUNK RAILROAD. She had gotten the entire melody, the lyrics (except where they were talking about "I'm in love with a GIRL...." she had "I'm in love with a GUY...." and she HAD NOT EVEN REALIZED IT. She was shocked and crestfallen. She realized she had taken the whole thing and in her mind she had written it She was FIVE YEARS OLD when that song was out, but since has heard it insesstantly heard it on radio. television, movies, commercials, etc.

"Hey, it sounds like...."

This happens a lot. Has happened to me as well. Having a song that was new and I was VERY excited about, only to realize I had subconciously lifted the melody from a song from a friend of mine. That actually happened one night IN THE ROUND at the BLUEBIRD. I was playing with one of my favorite writers, and about to debut my brand new song, till I realize the feel, structure and melody was almost identical to one of his. Stopped that one right off. And I had written with another friend of mine who was a big time hit writer, and after we finished our "New big upcoming hit", he called me saying we had to stop it because there was another song on the radio that was the same song. He had heard it and picked it up himself.

It happens.

So you embrace where you come from, then find your own identity. Can't help sounding like other people, songs, etc. but you can recognize it and be willing to make changes or adaptations.

MAB

#1135950 - 01/31/18 10:08 AM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Ray E. Strode Offline
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Ray E. Strode  Offline
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Brunswick, Ga. USA
Humm,
I remember a story about George Jones. George was good at sounding like other people. Finally somebody asked him, can you just sound like yourself George? There were a lot of "Copycat" writers in Nashville. If one Artist had a huge hit everybody was trying to write something in the same vein.


Ray E. Strode
#1135981 - 01/31/18 01:51 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Nashville, Tn.
Yeah, at first George was trying to sound too much like Faron Young. He finally became the BEST GEORGE JONES there was.

I don't know if I told you this story, but I do a pretty good George Jones impression. Have actually been hired to sing demos to pitch to him. I have one song that I'm pretty well known by called "TOO MUCH BLOOD IN MY ALCOHOL LEVEL." It was cut on DAVID BALL, and is one of my favorite cuts. But I always wanted a George Jones cut. He was and is my favorite country singer.

We used to have this bar in town called THE BROKEN SPOKE CAFE'. It was in a Ramada Inn, just North of Town and for about ten years was one of THE SONGWRITER HANG OUTS where everyone went. It actually had two bars. One in the front where a cover band played all the country hits for dancing, drinking and dinner crowd.
Then in back there was a totally different one that was a songwriter cafe'.
That's where I was playing one night, when someone came up to me while I was onstage saying "George was in the next room. And they were trying to get him in.

I was getting to the end of my set, and saw him standing in the door out in the hall. He had a couple people I knew standing next to him, so I went into my schpeil "Well I always wanted to hear THE POSSUM do this song... and launched into my George impression. I just do the last chorus that way and it is always a pretty funny moment. George laughed, and waved as he walked on back after the song.

About ten minutes later I went in the other room and he was surrounded by several people but waved me over. He said "SON, YA SOUND JUST LIKE ME THERE!!!!"
That was pretty cool. I saw him one other time at Manuels, the clothier, and we talked for a short minute. Never saw him after that but was always a very nice guy.

Loved me some George.
MAB

#1135982 - 01/31/18 02:18 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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John Lawrence Schick  Offline
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PA
We're all influenced by what we hear. Early Beethoven sounds like Mozart, Mozart sounds like Haydn, Haydn sounds like Scarlatti, etc.... That doesn't mean we can't be original. I compose original Beethoven pieces all the time. laugh

John smile

#1135983 - 01/31/18 02:37 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Barry David Butler (D) Offline
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Barry David Butler (D)  Offline
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Sebring, Florida USA
Tribute Bands and Singers are making a good living doing this.

#1136058 - 02/01/18 02:07 PM Re: You Sound Like This Or That. [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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RonnieDean Online content
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RonnieDean  Online Content
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Keystone, CO USA
I wish I didn't sound like Ron, but I do.
I can write, play guitar, drums, bass, (dink around on the keyboard) but have been given the most dorky nasely singing voice ever. Pitchy to boot.

Powerful sux.


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