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Monday, October 8, 2012

Darrell Coyle: Singer-Songwriter from the Far Side of the Pond

Oran O’Carroll and ‘Glee’ star Damian McGinty founded the company Audio Booth this year, and signed Darrell Coyle as their first artist, under their new label Walled City Records. Darrell Coyle is a fairly new singer-songwriter from the British Isles, in other words very far from Fort Collins, and no, he's not coming to Fort Collins any time soon to perform. And, there are singer-songwriter types in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado, so why bring in someone from 'outside' anyway? Darrell's career is linked now to Damian McGinty's, which is really why I even know Darrell exists, of course. I love the idea that Damien and his friend Oran started up their own company, of course, and wish them the best, but if they picked a crappy first artist for their label I'd not be writing much more than a brief 'good luck'. But, besides luck, Damian and Oran have pretty decent taste. Darrell's music reminds me of some of the better contemporary singer-songwriters I've heard recently, only Darrell sings with a cuter accent.

Darrell's new album, My My My, is all of 4 songs long, so just a teaser really, enough music to build a bit of a following and to get folks addicted in time for a full length album sometime down the road. This new album's tracks are all pretty cool- I just wish there were more of them, because 4 songs isn't a very long playlist. Initially I had added My My My into the same spotify playlist with Neil Byrne's Sensitive Souls and his Pale Blue Jak album, Faces. I also have Keith Harkin's new album, and Ryan Kelly's In Time, Barry Kerr's The Three Sisters, and Paul Byrom's This Is the Moment on the same playlist. The drawback to this is that all of the other albums on this list are among my favorite albums already, and the men who created them are among my favorite musicians. Darrell's music is easily good enough to compete with these other albums, but it was just impossible to not get distracted.

So, as of tonight, I have Darrell on a new playlist, along with some Brooks Williams, Patrick Dethlefs, Paolo Nutini, and other great singers who go great together on one playlist. "My My My" has a nice bluesy feel in the vocals, but with an overall sound that could fit in well with a variety of different contemporary music charts and local radio playlists. "Everybody Breaks" could fit nicely with the songs on Patrick Dethlefs' albums, and all 4 tracks have a professional polish that let them blend seamlessly into playlists with such artists as Eddi Reader, Paul Simon and Brandi Carlile.

If Internet makes their overhead more manageable, contemporary musicians like Darrell can play small venues at affordable ticket prices, doing only as much touring as they can comfortably manage, while selling merchandise and music online to pay the rest of the bills. Yes, this is a very simplistic model of the future of the music industry, and once you add in enough layers of producers, managers, marketers, promoters, etc., the future music world becomes a bit more like what we have already. Still, it may be quite possible to work successfully outside the dominant giant music companies that monopolize the global music industry, and if so, companies like Audio Booth may be one of the keys to making music outside the "Big 3" music companies. The fans Damian McGinty brings with him to support his label's artists are modern fans, who grew up downloading music and sharing it via youtube and tumblr and services like spotify. This large fan-base makes promoting Darrell a bit easier, because Damian's fans can just adopt Darrell as an extension of Damian, but this also means Audio Booth and Walled City Records have to start out marketing music to the modern fans they already have.

Where facebook, reverbnation, youtube and twitter are afterthoughts for many artists from earlier eras, Damian and Oran and their artists will have to keep social media at the forefront of their public relations planning. The fans Darrell has inherited from Damian are not in England or Ireland, or even in Europe- Damian's fans are all over the US, Australia and the world in general, and if Darrell wants to adopt these fans, no doubt we'll be seeing plenty of him via the live chats, facebook postings, random tweets and youtube videos that keep those thousands of fans engaged. As my friends and regular readers will recognize, I'm sure, there's a lot that would be of interest to me regarding Audio Booth and Walled City Records, and I look forward to watching how things unfold for Damian and Oran and their artists. I've already been enjoying watching how Damian and the rest of the Celtic Thunder folks use social media, and already Damian and Oran are both very clearly dedicated to staying in touch with fans using Internet media.

It's a welcome bonus, though, that their first artist is someone whose music I enjoy, so that I can be a bit more of an actual fan, not just an interested outside observer. The more I meet musicians in the course of my photography and blogging, the harder it is for me to be just a 'fan' of anyone- at this rate, I'm not sure even meeting Ryan Kelly could make me react like a normal 'fan'. But I'm sure Darrell will have plenty of fans, without adding me to that number. Hopefully he'll be content with having me as a sympathetic and supportive music blogger from far away. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll even have the chance sometime to see one of Darrell's live shows with my pink camera in hand, so I can add a few dozen photos of Darrell Coyle to my growing photo collection. :)

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