Local Rhythms – Twitter for music? I’m in.

picture-18I’ve come around to Twitter.

For the longest time, it just seemed frivolous.  So you’re stuck in the airport, or navigating the Starbucks latte line.  Who cares?

Then I learned how to use blip.fm to Tweet music to my peeps.

For the uninitiated, a tweet is Twitter’s hybrid of a Facebook status update and an instant message; peeps are recipients, your Twitter followers.

One of the big challenges of writing about music is finding ways for people to hear it.

Enter blip.fm, the web site that lets anyone program a radio station and tweet it to the world.

It’s not the first tool to do this.  But I’ve find imeem, i.Like and other music recommendation services a bit cumbersome.

Blip.fm does a good job with the basics.

Their large peer-to-peer database makes picking music a breeze, and “blipping” a song automatically generates a tweet.

My site (http://blip.fm/LocalRhythms) includes music covered in this space, by performers – Stonewall, Conniption Fits, Jenee Halstead, and others – that you likely won’t hear on the radio.

Here’s why.  The Future of Music Coalition recently published a study showing that around 80 percent of all material on radio playlists comes from major labels – worse yet, almost 50 percent was released before 1999.

The numbers haven’t changed in four years.

But while the public apparently recognizes this steady stream of one-hit wonders and golden oldies for the calculated gruel it is, neither a payola scandal nor a slump rivaled only by the auto industry has reversed this self-destructive trend.

Clear Channel, the largest owner of American radio stations, has shed 12 percent of its workforce since the start of this year.  Last week another big player, Cumulus, ordered employees to take 5 days of unpaid leave as a cost-saving measure.

But like Detroit, it’s doubtful they’ve learned any lessons.  Big Radio will probably do the safety dance of homogenization (their own SUV) right into the grave.

I don’t expect my humble Internet outpost to completely replace that, but at least it will offer a way for readers to judge with their ears some of the music I discuss each week.

Follow me on Twitter (account name: mwitthaus), to hear about songs as they’re added.  I’ll also tweet links to interesting articles and blog posts.

But if I ever share my sandwich order, or an opinion about my dentist’s waiting room, please cancel – and get me into treatment.  Meanwhile, here’s what’s happening:

Thursday: Jason Cann, Harpoon Brewery – If you haven’t been to the newly remodeled and expanded tavern at Harpoon’s Windsor location, the addition of the region’s best-kept singer-songwriter secret as a regular Thursday attraction should provide the impetus.  But the multitude of brews on tap should draw you in anyway, not to mention the food.

Friday: Roadhouse, Imperial Lounge – That axiom about a day job being “the gig that pays for the gig”?  This band embodies it and then some.  The members of Roadhouse are working class locals who’ve been playing in the area for years, mostly covering their favorites – Benetar, Seger, AC/DC are right in their wheelhouse – and mainly having a good time.

Saturday: DeVote Dance Party, White River Junction Elks – A techno benefit for Upper Valley Haven features four DJs – Shar4 and 1200 Terrorist of the Tronic Crew (VT and NH chapters respectively), Robot Ears and DJ Alchemic.  The event promises non-stop dance music played through a top-notch sound system, all for $5 and a non-perishable food item, gently used piece of clothing or a book.

Sunday: Ameranouche Trio, Grafton Old Tavern – This gypsy jazz trio’s music has been featured in movies, heard at last year’s Newport Jazz Festival and called a state “best of “ by New Hampshire Magazine.  They play intricate, jazzy and mostly instrumental tunes.  Listening to them reminded me of a day I spent in Montmarte, Paris.  The band’s second CD was just released, so the night (at one of the oldest venues in the U.S.) should be a happy one.

Monday: 200 Years of Vermont Popular Music, Woodstock Historical Society – Singer, researcher and recently retired teacher Linda Radtke dressed in period costume, is joined by pianist John Lincoln.  The program brings Vermont history to life with performances of, and commentary about, the songs found in the Vermont Historical Society’s collection of sheet music – mostly community-published songs.  It’s old school local music.

Tuesday: Billy Rosen/David Westphalen, Tip Top Café – Billy’s one of my favorite guitarists, with a soft touch on the fret board. Downtown White River Junction is jumping again, with the newly re-opened Elixir bringing the tunes 4-5 nights a week, but the Tip-Top, with regular live music (and its auxiliary bakery’s Friday night folk series) has kept the beat going. Good food, too.

Visit http://blip.fm/LocalRhythms to hear music mentioned in Local Rhythms

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