Following Careers of Independent Artists Leads to Meet-and-Greets
There were distinct advantages to being a music critic at a daily newspaper prior to the advent of the internet.
I was always getting stuff in the mail. Granted. A lot of it was junk, similar to what we now call spam.
But, I occasionally received some really neat stuff.
Back in the day, small, independent labels would often send me samples of their client's latest releases on compact disc.
More often than not, they were the artist's debut recordings, so I'd never even heard of them before.
And, chances were good that my readers hadn't, either.
Their publicists were simply hoping that I'd give their artist a listen and, if they were lucky, publish a favorable review of the album. I was fine with that.
I never saw much sense in trashing the work of these budding artists.
The vast majority of these recordings weren't available at the local record store, anyway.
You'd have to order them direct from the label and receive them via snail mail.
If it wasn't my cup of tea, I'd just add it to my collection and move on to the next one.
None of the artists I was introduced to by these independent labels ever hit it big. But, there were some that I took a liking to, resulting in a favorable review, and a clipping of it sent back to the publicist with a thank you note.
Oftentimes, the recordings were released in conjunction with an upcoming tour.
Unfortunately, attending even the closet shows often required a lengthy road trip that I was unwilling or unable to make.
I did, however, seize the opportunity to interview a couple of the artists over the telephone. They were usually at home, with barking dogs in the background.
All I had to do was contact the publicist and an interview would be scheduled. They were always ecstatic to hear from a critic who showed interest in their artists. It meant their promotional material was getting noticed and not just disposed of in a circular file (trash bi