A seven-figure funding package for The Cornish Bakery could create up to 180 jobs and eight new stores “by spring 2016”.The funding package, from Clydesdale Bank, has introduced new branding to stores across the UK, including Gloucester, Newquay and Bath. The funding has already contributed to two new stores, at the NEC, Birmingham and Tintagel in Cornwall, with an additional eight stores planned by spring 2016. The new stores could see up to 180 jobs created.Initial results have shown that the changes have been positive, with the company achieving an increase in turnover in excess of 10% for the last financial year.Steve Grocutt, owner of The Cornish Bakery, said: “With the bank providing the essential funding to grow the business, we have taken The Cornish Bakery to new heights.”Gold award winnerFormerly known as Pasty Presto, the bakery opened its original shop in Mevagissey, Cornwall in 1994. It now employs over 200 people.The redesign of the outlets has seen The Cornish Bakery recognised as a Gold award winner at the 2016 DBA Design Effectiveness Awards.
Bob Burns, founder of Glastonbury bakery Burns the Bread, is to be awarded an MBE for his services to charity and the community he lives in.Daughter Terri told British Baker that the family was waiting for the invitation to Buckingham Palace to arrive, after hearing that the honour was to be awarded a couple of months ago.She commented: “My father does not blow his own trumpet; he has not been telling people about this. But I have been telling everyone!”She explained that two separate friends of her father, from charities he supports, had coincidentally decided to nominate him about 18 months ago, and had spoken to her. The group then went through the process of nomination and gathering letters of support without his knowledge.Bob Burns’ charity baking classes have helped raise tens of thousands of pounds for a wide range of charities over the years, including the local St Margaret’s Hospice.He is also involved in the Rotary Club, three local schools – including one where he is a governor, the Children’s Society and Guide Dogs charity.Terri added: “He also does lots of other things which he never even mentions to help people.”In 2012 Bob Burns also took the title of Baker of the Year at British Baker’s Baking Industry Awards.Bob Burns started his career in the baking industry as a delivery boy. At the age of 21, Burns and his then wife Sandra went into partnership with her father in a bakery in Honiton, Devon.In 1983 he and Sandra took on a bakery in Glastonbury High Street, Janes, moving there with daughters Terri, Rebekah and Nadine. There has been a bakery on the site for more than 200 years.Burns the Bread steadily expanded, opening four new shops. It also acquired two industrial units on the outskirts of Glastonbury, to set up a school of baking, and as a backup-base in case the bakery was hit by a disaster such as a fire.Burns the Bread continues to be a family company, with two grandchildren Max and Casey working in the business.
Assets – current assets like cash and inventory; and long-term assets like property you own and long-term investment.Liabilities – these are current liabilities like accounts payable and taxes; and long-term liabilities such as payable bonds and mortgage.Equity – the difference between total assets and total liabilities. Writing a business planWhile there are many approaches to writing a business plan, the Federation of Small Businesses recommends it should have seven sections, and an appendix, including information such as your CV. The seven sections are:Executive summarySummarising your business and what you’re trying to achieve, it should include: its current stage of development; where you want to take your company; why your business idea will be successful; strengths of your business plan.Business descriptionDescribing your company and detailing its different elements. Include: how your business operates; its target market; your products and services and how they will meet market needs; customers your company will serve; what will make it a success.Market strategiesShowing you know your market, this should include: description of the industry including trends and future outlook; size and forecast growth of market; characteristics of your customers such as demographics, needs, location, and purchasing trends; market share you can gain; your pricing structure and gross margin targets.Competitive analysisExplaining how you will differ from your competitors and issues that can help or hinder you, such as: current and potential competition; your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, strategies that will give you an advantage; barriers to market such as lack of investment or experienced personnel.Design and development planDescribing your products or services and including: details of your products’ design and development; how you will market your products or services; what budget you will have to achieve development goals.Operations/management planShowing how the business will function, including: management team responsibilities; organisational structure; tasks of each part of your company; capital and overhead expenses such as rent, supplies and leases.Financial factorsProviding an accurate picture of your company’s current value, and showing your ability to pay bills and earn a profit. It should include three key areas:Income statement – How your business will generate money each year, including income generated by your business, cost of goods, gross profit margin, operating costs, net profit before and after taxes, and total expenses.Cash-flow statement – How much money will be needed to meet your business obligations, when it will be needed and from where you will access it, including information such as cash sales, receivables, total income, and costs for research and manufacturing, overheads, and marketing and sales salaries.Balance sheet – A summary of all the preceding financial information, given on an annual basis, and split into three areas: Welcome to the first feature in The Bakery Project, a new series that explores some of the ways to start or expand a bakery business, giving British Baker readers the chance to learn from those who have already done itBaking a fantastic loaf or making a show-stopping cake takes different skills and knowledge than running and building a successful business – but it is possible to do both.And if you fancy turning baking into your bread and butter, the first step is taking a leap of faith.Dissatisfaction with work, a passion for bakery, identifying a market opportunity or the desire to be challenged are just some of the reasons people have made the jump from office jobs to self-employed business owners.“I had spent 25 years in financial services in central London and after the financial crash in 2008, I became disillusioned with my industry,” explains Glenn Stephens, owner of Rex Bakery in Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire.But it would take time before his vision of running a business would become reality.“Around 2012, circumstance meant I was going to leave my employer, so I decided to change career. However, I was really bad at making bread so, with hindsight, I guess I also fancied the challenge.”Despite having no bakery experience, Stephens identified a business opportunity – his local bakery had shut down, leaving a gap in the market. So then it was a matter of working on his baking skills (see box out, p27).%%Quote_20%%The recession was seen as an opportunity by Duncan Glendinning, who opened the Thoughtful Bakery in Bath in 2009.“Most of my friends and family were worried I was picking the most uncertain times to give up a well-established and well-paid freelance career to gamble on starting up my own business,” says Glendinning. He saw things differently.“In the baking industry, those who mean business can often come up against stiff competition from lots of smaller cottage industries, or hobbiest bakers. I knew the recession would discourage all but the most hardened and committed entrepreneur bakers, so that gave me a clear sense of what the playing field was looking like and whom I was in competition with.”For Oxford-based Modern Baker, founded by Melissa Sharp and Leo Campbell in 2015, “it wasn’t about baking, it was about healthy”.“We wanted to get into the healthy food business and the longer we pondered we realised there was no point doing (and I don’t want to be disrespectful) nut butters or birch water,” says Campbell. “We wanted to go straight into the biggest food group in the UK, which is dietary carbohydrates.”Once an opportunity has been identified, how do you take advantage of it? Like most things in life, it comes down to money, but perhaps not as much as some would think.“If you have a garage for production, like I did, there are no rental costs and if you use mainly second-hand kit, you can build a decent bakery for about £20,000,” notes Stephens.Rent or a mortgage on a property could add significantly to these costs but this, and the cost of equipment, will vary depending on your prospective output and scope of operation. And beware of the common pitfall of under-budgeting.There are many avenues to be explored for entrepreneurs seeking a cash injection, from the more traditional self-financing and bank loans to the relatively new idea of online crowdfunding (see box out, p28). Deciding what is right for you, and your investors, depends on your financial situation and market knowledge as well as experience.The first step is likely to be approaching a bank or more traditional lender. A credible financial plan is needed – that means detailing what you are trying to achieve, short and medium-term goals, what it will cost to get started, including necessary cash flow and production costs, and how you will generate income once the business is up and running. Interest rates vary depending on the size and length of borrowing, as well as your individual circumstances.Online specialist Money Supermarket suggests investigating business account overdrafts, usually available for 12 months, or credit cards or cash flow finance that enables companies to borrow against the value of their unpaid invoices and against assets, such as property or equipment.Dan Nemeth, owner of Seasons Cakes in Ingleton, North Yorkshire, says his bank manager “just didn’t see” his vision, so he opted instead for a £12,000 loan from Cumbria Asset Finance. Nemeth started his business as a sandwich production company, but struggled to get the quality of bread he wanted from local suppliers – and took the decision to remodel his business to fill that gap in the market.But for some, traditional financial routes are off the table.“If you apply Dragons’ Den logic, nobody is going to invest in a guy with no experience in the food industry, of food production, retail sales or making bread who wants to open a bakery,” adds Stephens. “I didn’t ask a bank to lend directly against my business idea. Being a novice meant I had to take the risk entirely on my shoulders.”Modern Baker was also self-financed and while neither Campbell nor Sharp had commercial baking experience, they had the business know-how from previous ventures.“I’m not inexperienced in starting businesses, but we still knew it was going to be very, very hard,” Campbell recalls. “If you have the right idea, the right insight and the right experience, you will always get funding and the truth is investment money is relatively easy to find. However, we decided to self-fund to start with and, when we had proved our concept, we would then talk to investors.”For those who don’t have the personal finance to back a project, crowdfunding offers an alternative. It’s a platform many bakeries have had success with, including Biscuiteers and Stoneham Bakehouse.The latter raised £23,455 in just two weeks, opening its doors in March 2017. As a social enterprise – it’s a community-supported bakery in the Poets Corner area of Hove – it was also able to apply to the Santander Changemaker Match Fund, which provided £10,000 towards its target.There are a host of crowdfunding sites from Crowdfunder to Crowdcube, Seedrs and Funding Circle UK.Crowdfunder, for example, sees backers from the general public pledge money towards your project. Those seeking money can do this via two methods – ‘all or nothing’ which means you only receive pledges if the target is hit, or ‘flexible funding’ allowing you to keep all pledges.%%Quote_21%%Platforms often charge a fee, which might be a percentage of funds raised.Thoughtful Bakery also found crowdfunding to be lucrative, raising £55,000 in less than nine days in order to move the business from a relatively inexpensive countryside production unit into a city centre retail space.“Crowdfunding isn’t free money and it doesn’t come easily. That said, for smaller businesses with a short trading history, poor credit rating or covenant strength, it may be a more accessible route to funding than conventional ones,” Glendinning says. “The benefits are that, if done correctly, you don’t just welcome the investment funds of the backers, you also welcome a new pool of experience, contacts and more that you can tap into to help grow your business.”Growing is great, but be sure to do so at a manageable pace – taking on too much too soon could lead to problems down the line.“People underestimate what it takes. It’s not just a loaf of bread – you need to be doing 200 loaves a day minimum, plus baps, pastries and everything else,” warns Nemeth. “The scariest thing for any bakery is to say no to a customer, but you can’t do everything.”One way to keep on top of things, he suggests, is to bring in bakery consultants. “There are so many aspects of baking that people don’t realise. You might be mad busy and you might have loads of customers, but at the end of the day it comes down to the bottom line.” Do you need to be an experienced baker to open a bakery?Becoming the owner of a successful bakery business takes hard work, close monitoring of finances and passion – what it doesn’t necessarily take is years of hands-on baking experience.Sure, a more traditional path of studying at bakery school followed by employment in bakeries big and small would be advantageous. But some take a different route.“Many will laugh, but when I started, while I had bucketloads of passion and enthusiasm, I lacked any commercial baking or catering experience. I hadn’t even stepped foot in a bakery production space prior to kitting out my own,” says Duncan Glendinning, owner of Thoughtful Bakery (pictured above).“If I had the chance to do it again, I would take the opportunity to visit bakeries, do unpaid work expe-rience and gain as much insider knowledge as possible.”On the plus side, he says the bad decisions and mistakes he’s made are lessons that can be handed down to those just starting out.Glenn Stephens from Rex Bakery also set out into the bakery world without any prior experience.“I was a total novice so needed help,” he says.To rectify this he undertook an Advanced Bread Making Course at the School of Artisan Food that was run by Wayne Caddy. This, Stephens says, assured him that he was on the right path.%%Quote_19%%Stephens was put in contact with a local baker through Caddy to gain more experience. “I offered free labour for washing-up duties,” he explains.“They agreed to one night and I ended staying for three months through to March 2012, working three nights a week and learning the processes to manufacture on a small scale.”Dan Nemeth, of Seasons Cakes, trained as a furniture maker and designer. During college he had worked as a bakery assistant in Asda, and taken part in agricultural shows and competitions when he was younger, but an accidentin which he chopped off his finger saw him revisit his passion for baking.“I set up a business making sandwiches and that evolved into baking again,” Nemeth says. “It’s all about practising and making mistakes. But looking back now, I wish I had paid somebody to teach me how to make the basics.”Show me the money: funding a new businessThere is a wide variety of ways to fund a new business venture, but some of the most common are:Personal savingsYou could fund the beginnings of your business using personal savings to help pay for equipment or support you financially as you shift into self-employment. But it is important to note this could leave you at financial risk if something goes wrong.InvestorsThis is where people can buy a stake in your business in return for funding and, hopefully, a return on that investment in the future. Investment can come from sources including friends or family, investment bankers, and fund managers.LoansMany banks offer small business loans to start-ups to help get them off the ground. These loans can often be repaid simply, with repayments tied to transactions or as a direct debit each month.Government fundingThe government provides new businesses with access to start-up funding. Start-up loans range from £500 to £25,000 and can help a business get established, covering the initial costs of purchasing equipment and preparing to trade.Government grantsStart-up grants are non-repayable lump sums made available to businesses. These grants have to be applied for, so it isn’t guaranteed that a firm will receive the funding they provide. Grants range from schemes to encourage businesses to take on apprentices or fund training, to helping with building repair or promoting growth.CrowdfundingWebsites such as GoFundMe or Kickstarter allow members of the public to donate or back a project in return for early access or specialised rewards. It’s important to note that if a crowdfunding event doesn’t reach its goal, such as raising a set amount of money in a month, you will receive none of the funding. [Editor’s note: with the exception of ‘flexible funding’ – see main story.]Source: Federation of Small Businesses
Frozen food distributor Central Foods has officially become a Living Wage Employer.The Northamptonshire-based company, which distributes a range of baked goods including flatbreads, crumpets and pizzas, has joined thousands of UK businesses that have gained accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation.The Living Wage commitment will see all staff members working at Central Foods, regardless of whether they are direct employees or third-party contracted staff, receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.75 in the UK or £10.20 in London. Both rates are significantly higher than the statutory minimum for over 25s of £7.50 per hour introduced in April 2017, the company said.“We believe that staff deserve a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work and are delighted to have completed the official process to be recognised as a Living Wage Employer,” said Gordon Lauder, managing director at Central Foods.“As a responsible employer of more than 21 years, it seemed only right for Central Foods to examine our wages policy, ensure that it was fair, and go one step further to gain official accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation.”Earlier this year, Central Foods appointed Richard Clegg as business development manager.
Bako North Western Group has appointed David Armstrong as group commercial director.Armstrong has spent the past seven years as head of trading at Spar UK, where he was responsible for the retailer’s own-label ranges. He has also worked in retail and wholesale at Marks & Spencer, Safeway and Asda, as well as having a stint at Bako UK between 2007 and 2009.“I’m very happy to be back at Bako and I am really excited about the opportunities ahead. While these are undoubtedly challenging times for many, Bako is really leading the way in developing innovative solutions and finding inventive new ways to support the industry as a whole,” he said.The bakery products distributor launched a website in May, called Bakers.Market, that enabled consumers to order, pay for and arrange delivery or collection of treats from their local bakery.Armstrong added that Bako was in a “really good position” to help spearhead the independent bakery sector’s recovery.Bako Group CEO Mike Tully said: “I’m delighted that David has rejoined the business and I am looking forward to working with him and his team to drive the business to new levels over the next few years.”The appointment comes a week after Bako North Western Group announced that former Poundstretcher boss and Premier Foods sales director Ian York had joined the company as managing director.Established for over 50 years, Bako North Western Group distributes bakery products to customers across the UK from three national depots. It comprises Bako North Western, Bako Northern and Scotland and Bako South Eastern.
CHESTERVILLE – Mark your calendar for Saturday, August 11, when Chesterville Family Fun Day will return, due to popular demand. This year’s festivities will include fun for all ages, music, and plenty of food.Last year Fun Day was organized by a small group committed to bringing the town together to foster the sense of community that was seeming to flag with the modern trends toward isolation and stay-at-home entertainment. The result?“People had a really good time,” concluded Kim Lessard, “We were really pleased with the turn-out, and we hear that everyone is looking forward to an even bigger day this year.”Last year’s event revived a tradition that had taken a break for several years. A Fourth of July parade and festivities were held in Chesterville during the mid-20th century, and throughout the 90’s, but planning efforts waned and new blood was needed. New blood has arrived, and the event is back.Fun Day festivities will begin with a free 5K Walk/Run, registration at 7:30 a.m. and race at 8:00 a.m. Registration will be at the Town Hall. The race will head up the Valley Road to North Chesterville, turn around and return to the start,.Line-up for the parade, the theme of which will be “Movies,” will also take place in North Chesterville, at 9 a.m. Participation is wide open, and anyone wishing to enter a float, do something creative while walking 1.5 miles, or simply march is welcome to join the line-up. There is no registration required, and addressing the movie theme is not necessary. Questions can be addressed to Greg Soule at 897-5907.Following the parade, which ends at the Chesterville Town Hall, there will be a flag raising with town veterans presiding.At approximately 11 a.m. the day’s festivities will begin. All-day entertainment for children will include water balloon fun and numerous large inflatable amusements such as a bounce house, giant slide, obstacle course and dunk tank. Also for children is a petting corral that promises ponies, a calf, chickens, and possibly goats and/or rabbits. Sandy River Farm’s “Cow Train” will be providing rides, and, weather permitting, Kendrick Charles will offer horse-drawn wagon rides from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.For adults, field events should offer a challenge for everyone, with a skillet toss, a hammer toss, and a tug-of-war. At 11:30 a.m., a horseshoe tournament will begin, and will continue for as long as it takes.This year’s food contest will be “Anything Blueberry,” celebrating the in-season local delicacy.“We think this will be a lot of fun,” said organizers, “since we expect people will be creative with the opportunity.”Anyone of any age may enter a dish in the competition. Prizes will be offered for best tasting and most unique. The town’s 5 Selectmen will be the judges. The contest will begin at 1 p.m. and winners will be announced at 2 p.m.Food for sale will include barbequed chicken by the Extension Homemakers; hot dogs and hamburgers by the Chesterville Heritage Society; slush puppies, popcorn, cotton candy and snowcones by the Fun Day Committee, and possibly others. Vendors of crafts and other items will be inside the Town Hall. Music will be provided outside by L & D Country Band.To help with the planning of the day, or to volunteer to supervise an event or just provide support to the committee during Fun Day, please call Kim at 713-8489. Anyone is welcome to attend one of the planning meetings, weekly at 6:30 at the Chesterville Town Hall.After all, it takes a village to run a Fun Day!Chesterville Fun Day ScheduleLocation: Chesterville Town Hall Grounds, Dutch Gap Road7:30 a.m. Registration for 5K Run/Walk8 a.m. 5K Run/Walk9 a.m. Parade Line-up10 a.m. Parade begins10:45 a.m. Flag Raising at Town Hall11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Fun Day Festivities:Chicken Barbeque, Hot Dogs, HamburgersL&D Country BandChildren’s Inflatable AmusementsPetting CorralCow TrainWater Balloon Fun11 a.m. to 1 p.m. WEATHER CONDITIONS PERMITTING – Wagon Rides11:30 a.m. Horse Shoe Tournament12:30 p.m. Field Events:Skillet Toss, Hammer Toss, Tug-of-War1 p.m. to 2 p.m. “Anything Blueberry” Food Contest3 p.m. Fun Day Concludes
Everybody knows the iconic television music series Austin City Limits. For the last forty plus years, the show has hosted some of the most legendary musicians, including Willie Nelson, Beck, Radiohead, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Vedder, Ray Charles, and so many more.To highlight those years, the show is hoping to finish production of a new documentary A Song For You: The Austin City Limits Story. The documentary, which was directed by Keith Maitland, had its world premier at this year’s SXSW Film Festival, and received incredible reviews. In order to release the documentary publicly, however, the documentary creators have made a Kickstarter page, as they need our help fundraising $125,000 in the next 30 days to secure music rights for the 70 songs that make an appearance in the 96-minute documentary.The funds from the campaign will go towards paying for the music rights, finishing the film, the use of archival footage, and cost of distribution. For those that help support funding of the documentary, the perks include “the chance to play the infamous Studio 6A piano immortalized by the likes of Ray Charles, Norah Jones, and Leon Russell, or to sign the exclusive Graffiti Wall, colorfully autographed by many of the music giants who have performed on the show, including Dave Grohl, Kings of Leon and Eddie Vedder. Other “thank you” gifts include pieces of the original wooden stage, graced by legends of music from Willie Nelson to Beck, and Stevie Ray Vaughan to the late Merle Haggard.” Pledges also include commemorative stickers, guitar picks, koozies, t-shirts, DVD’s, etc.Check out the ACL Documentary Kickstarter campaign here.Watch “Not Fade Away” from ACL’s 40th Anniversary celebration below:
Jimi Hendrix fans have a lot to look forward to this fall, as a new live album has been announced from his first show with his short-lived Band of Gypsys trio. The album, called Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/69, will be released on September 30th.The show, recorded on December 31st, 1969, comes shortly on the heels of Hendrix’s peak as a performer. The virtuosic guitarist wanted to switch gears from his Jimi Hendrix Experience-era band and catalog, and, after the explosion of fame that followed him after his legendary performance at that summer’s Woodstock festival, turned to bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles to create a new set of songs. All of the songs performed at the show came from this new material, and it was filled with songs that would go on to be Hendrix classics like “Machine Gun” and “Power of Soul”.You can watch the footage of the set-opening “Power Of Soul” below, courtesy of Rolling Stone.Tracklisting for Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/691. Power of Soul2. Lover Man3. Hear My Train a Comin’4. Changes5. Izabella6. Machine Gun7. Stop8. Ezy Ryder9. Bleeding Heart10. Earth Blues11. Burning Desire
Fans of Phish keyboardist Page McConnell are sure to recall his work with The Meter Men, performing the funk catalog of The Meters with three of their founding members – George Porter Jr., Zigaboo Modeliste, and Leo Nocentelli. Consider last night’s performance a “Meter Men” light, as McConnell sat in with George Porter Jr. & The Runnin’ Pardners last night at the Burlington, VT club Nectar’s.McConnell has kept himself busy in Vermont, recently making a rare guest appearance with Twiddle on their song “When It Rains It Poors” at Waterfront Park. You can watch the exclusive video of that sit-in by following this link.The Phish keyboardist joined Porter Jr. for two songs, Meters original “Just Kissed My Baby” and the Allen Toussaint classic, “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley.” It’s a safe bet that Leo killed it, though only one sideways video has surfaced thusfar. Watch that clip, which was discovered by JamBase, below.[Cover photo via dennislemoine//Instagram]
On October 7th & 8th, electronic pioneer Pretty Lights will take over Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium for two nights of musical mayhem in Music City. We’re giving away a trip for two to Nashville, including flights, hotels and VIP tickets to the shows!Winner Receives:Round-Trip Airfare for Two (Continental US Only)(2) Nights of Hotel Accommodations for Two in Nashville, TN(2) VIP Tickets to October 7th & 8th at Municipal Auditorium Invitation to pre-party with complimentary food and cash barEarly entry into the venueTwo (2) limited edition event postersTwo (2) limited edition Pretty Lights merchandise giftsOn site concert conciergeTickets to Pretty Lights in Nashville are available for purchase here.Contest will end on Monday October 3rd at 11:59pm CDT. Enter to win below, then follow the instructions for sharing to increase your chances of winning! Good luck! VIP Tickets Include:
You can watch the band rehearse for the themed Halloween run and get the low down on the Mixtape from vocalist Lyle Divinsky in the video below:The Motet have also assembled a special Mixtape 1979 playlist to get fans prepared for the second half of their Halloween run, which hits Suwannee Hulaween and Asheville, NC’s The Orange Peel after tonight’s performance in New Orleans. Listen to the sounds of 1979 below, courtesy of The Motet:And if all that isn’t enough to get you excited for Mixtape 1979, check out some videos of the band’s Mixtape performance at Dallas, TX’s Gas Monkey from Wednesday night:Tickets for The Motet’s Mixtape 1979 run finale in Asheville on Monday night are available now via the band’s website. You can also enter to win tickets to their Halloween blowout via their Facebook page: Colorado funk force The Motet is off and running on their Mixtape 1979 Halloween run. After smokin’ shows in Dallas, Houston, and Austin the last three nights, the band will continue to spin Mixtape 1979 tonight along with a monstrous supergroup featuring Bernard Purdie, Leo Nocentelli, Ivan Neville, Oteil Burbridge & The Dirty Dozen Brass Band horns as part of Monsters Of Funk at New Orleans’ Joy Theater.
Tim Carbone is a busy, busy man. His band Railroad Earth is embarking on one of the busiest summer tour schedules they’ve seen. As one of the main producers for the LoHI record label, he’s constantly turning out stellar work on the knobs from established acts like Great American Taxi. Add to that his recent travels abroad, and it’s a wonder he ever has a chance to sit down, much less add anything else to his work slate. That said, Tim Carbone is diving right into the newest material from his all-star side band The Contribution. With members of The String Cheese Incident, Everyone Orchestra, New Monsoon, and more. The Contribution is readying their new album and releasing a new single “Passengers Of Darkness.” They are living up to their name by contributing to society, with all proceeds from the new single going to the voter registration non-profit HeadCount!With all these exciting things on the docket, we thought it might be a good time for our own Rex Thomson to sit down with Mr. Carbone and go in depth about his thoughts and designs. Check out the debut of The Contribution’s new single below, then read on for our chat with the prolific musician and producer, Tim Carbone, below.“Passengers Of Darkness”Live For Live Music: Railroad Earth just moved past their fifteenth anniversary. You guys not only survived, you seem to be thriving. When did you start to realize this was gonna be a thing that could very well be your life’s work?Tim Carbone: I kinda knew pretty much from the get go. I always saw that it was a good band, and after the first couple of tours it was obvious that people were enjoying it too, that we were going over. Once we had that, we started honing it. I guess I knew pretty much right away. Not instantly, but right away.L4LM: From those early days to now, Railroad Earth has developed a rather rabid and dedicated fan base. Does it make it easier playing for uber fans, as they may be more forgiving, or harder, as you really want to be sure and give them the best show?TC: For me, it has never been a problem. I learned a long time ago that I don’t have much of a choice about that. As a player, you, know . . . personally . . . I only have one gear that I am stuck in. I just play my ass off. Sure, I may have better days because of how I physically feel. I’m blessed though in that, even if I do feel sick or am fighting something off, when I play, all that seems to go away until I stop playing. For me, it’s all about letting go of everything. I have a pretty good facility with my instrument, so I just kinda let go and something kinda steps in. I’m never 100% sure that its all me. I never take full responsibility or credit for what I do. It’s like riding a third rail.L4LM: So if you encountered some sort of cosmic entity that could prove it was your muse, would you feel liable to kick part of your royalties their way?TC: “Hey, how much of no money would you like?” (Laughter)L4LM: Have you ever heard of the term “Stage Heath?” Stand-up comics describe it as the boost you get just from stepping on the stage.Tim Carbone: I’ve never heard it called that, but I am definitely aware of it. I’ve experienced it.L4LM: We just had a chat with Andrew Altman, and he mentioned there was some new Railroad Earth material on the way. Anything you want to share there?Tim Carbone: We’ve got six new songs, which is cool. One of them is mine, which is kinda cool, because I rarely get one in there. We’re going to be doing a video, which looks like it is gonna be interesting to a song Todd (Shaeffer) wrote called “Add My Voice.” It will have footage from some of the marches that have been happening since the election. We’re psyched about it, it looks like it is gonna be cool. That’s gonna be coming out sooner than I thought. Sometime in the next couple weeks actually. We also have one last song that we haven’t even played live yet. It’s called “Captain Nowhere,” and it’s pretty cool. The song has a very interesting melodic shape to it and hopefully people will dig it. We’re stoked.L4LM: Altman also mentioned that you folks were embracing the newer “single song at a time” constant-content way of doing things. How do you like this method?Tim Carbone: I’m torn a little bit. I’m such an old school guy. I still appreciate the concept of making a whole record that serves as a statement from the band. Maybe we need to find some combination of methods. I love the idea of putting out singles and eventually an LP of ten songs on it. Say an album is ten songs, so you set it up so you release five singles—every other song, basically. When you get done with that, you release the ten-song collection and say “Hey, if you liked those songs, here’s ten more.” Another cool concept would be to put out two EPs—five songs each, like a ten-inch record instead of a twelve. You could do two of those in a year, then put them out as a little box set with a cool package with some unique art work. Maybe there is more than one way to skin a cat.L4LM: Your touring schedule for the summer is jam packed. Are you looking forward to hitting the road so intensely?Tim Carbone: I always love to play. This upcoming summer is going to be maybe the busiest we ever have had. I prefer to work than to not work, but that’s just me.L4LM: You’re involved with a couple of really interesting side projects, like the LoHi record label. How is that going?Tim Carbone: Yeah, I’m still working with LoHi. We just put out a record from Great American Taxi, which is a fantastic record that’s doing well and high on the Americana charts.L4LM: You’ve had plenty of experience on the other side of the console. The list of artists you’ve had a hand in bringing to life in the studio is awe inspiring.Tim Carbone: I’m really lucky, blessed actually. I get to work with a lot of really talented people, and I love it. I get a lot of energy from it. It is a great pleasure to be in the room with so many creative minds. And to have them allow someone to have creative input, and they’re not actually in the band. . . That’s amazing. When you’re a producer, you have to wear a lot of different creative hats, and not the same ones all the time. With that Great American Taxi one, I almost felt like I was a member of the band.L4LM: Do you try and predetermine what sort of input you are going to have, or is it all on the fly?Tim Carbone: I’ve developed a sixth sense in my own way. I get the songs, and when I start on my production notes, I focus on how it sounds to me as a listener. I try and detach myself from my work role and focus on how the song makes me feel as a listener. I take notes on those kinds of things. Sometimes when you’re a songwriter, it’s easy to get caught up in things that may be similar thematically, that you have done before. Like say, come out of a verse and go into a chorus, or tend to accent a note after this point or that.I open myself to shaping a song so that it gets to the point a little bit faster, if that makes any sense. Not to take away from it, but to try and help make everything clearer. How could you utilize the instrumentation to make things more expressive? What could you strip away to make the message clearer? These are the things I think about.I am a big fan of reductive production, reductive mixing. I am not about adding more. I want to distill it to what is the most unique and good, and find ways to make the point be heard. And sometimes that means taking something away that might be distracting from that. I’ve found that eight times out of ten, I am going with my original production notes. I’ve learned to trust my instincts, and I’ve found that those seem to resonate with the artists the most as well.L4LM: Do you ever want to try and work with wildly outside of your comfort zone artists just to see what would happen? Like, produce a hip hop album or something?Tim Carbone: I haven’t produced a hip-hop album, but I just finished recording an album with a woman named Daniella Katzir, and she used some really interesting material. I really enjoyed working with a keyboard player named Borham Lee, who is part of Break Science. He brought a whole new skill set to the mix. I’m getting some opportunities to bring some other sonic and tonal elements to the project. Borham has been a real pleasure to work with there. He is so creative beyond just the actual keys. And I am working with some different horn arrangers and getting different feels to the songs. Daniella kinda reminds me of Sia, and some of it has an EDM edge. Some of it is even kinda singer-songwriter-y, kinda girly. Her diversity is actually one of the things that is easy to struggle with, bringing all the things she can do together cohesively.Actually, I have recorded a lot of different stuff over the course of my career. The Americana and other “jam band-y” stuff is the reality I live in now, but before I joined Railroad Earth, I recorded blues albums, jazz albums, Christian music, lot of folk and singer-songwriter stuff, even a classical orchestra. I’ve been doing this a while now. Daniella’s record is my sixtieth album production wise.L4LM: Most impressive! How much more difficult would working as a producer for RRE be than working for a band you aren’t in?TC: I would never do that. I “co-produce” in that I will always want to have some say, but there isn’t enough money. There would need to be a dump truck full of money to do it. Mostly it’s because the band already has enough producers.L4LM: Makes sense that everyone would want a say in it. Besides, how tempting would it be to just go “I think the fiddle should be turned up here…”TC: Exactly. The fiddle always should be louder. Self-interest is only natural, and it is better, I think, to come at it from the outside. When I mix a record and the band wants to be there, I always say, “Just one or two people. Preferably one.”L4LM: Let’s talk about your newest work with your side project The Contribution? Who have you got working with you in this iteration of the band?TC: Originally we had Jeff Miller and Phil Ferino from New Monsoon. Our bass and drums were Keith Mosely and Jason Haan from The String Cheese Incident. I used the vocal trio The Black Swan Singers, and they joined a few of the limited amount of live shows we did in promotion of the first record, Which Way World. During those shows, one of the Swans, Sheryl Renee, and the band hit it off, and she asked about joining. I started writing songs with her in mind, and here we are five years later.We’ve had to switch out drummers a couple of times. We used two different ones on this one. On seven of them we have Matt Butler from the Everyone Orchestra, and the other three have Duane Trucks from Widespread Panic. The Monsoon guys, Sheryl, and I are the core that will be going out on the road, but for the live shows, we will probably be using the rhythm section from a band called Fruition. Jeff Leonard and Tyler Thompson are great guys, and I love that band.L4LM: When I was looking at the instrument attribution, I noticed that the entire band was listed as “The clappers.” I’ve always been a huge fan of the hand clap, and it has always bugged me not knowing who was responsible. So thanks for that.Tim Carbone: I have a way of recording claps where I have folks clap on their finger, then I get them switch to the meaty part of their hands. I want the full range of claps!L4LM: You’re partnering up with HeadCount to release the first single from The Contribution with the sales going towards that organization. Can we assume the current political tumult was behind this decision?TC: People have been assuming that, but we started working on this record seriously at the start of last year, way before the election. Besides, I have been working with HeadCount for like thirteen or fourteen years now. It was always on my mind that we wanted to work with this charitable group first. We want to continue to work with groups and causes like this that we believe in. The song itself is one about truth and transparency. Our publicist Erin Scholze, however, pointed out how perfectly the song worked well as a metaphor for the recent election.L4LM: HeadCount does a lot of good work in the area of getting folks involved with politics. Their work, out of necessity, is non-partisan. Do you worry about possibly alienating a segment of your fan base by picking a side?TC: In my comments about “Passengers Of Darkness,” I try to focus on the general, things like lack of transparency and such, which can lead to chaos wherever it is. I tried not to be specific, but it isn’t to hard for people to know exactly what the hell I am talking about. As far as being concerned about it, I suppose I am the most likely person in Railroad Earth to just bluntly speak my mind. Not sure who reads my various social media posts, but I try and keep my discussions and opinions wide open. I won’t ban anyone or anything like that unless they get too out there or just nasty.In Railroad Earth, we try and keep things a bit more general. We are a band, and as humans, we generally agree, but people come to the table with different thoughts. With The Contribution, things are a bit more lyrically based in a Buddhist vibe, so they are even a bit more opaque. But on my social media accounts, that is all me. I like to say what I feel and mean what I say.L4LM: Sounds like you have ten thousand plates spinning at once right now between the new album, new music and tour with Railroad Earth, and all the production work. Thanks for squeezing in a few minutes to talk to us about all you impressive doings!Tim Carbone: Hey man, thanks for spreading the word. Much appreciated!
Greensky Bluegrass and friends delivered a weekend for the ages at their 2017 Hoxeyville Music Festival headlining gig, and the lucky fans in attendance are still reeling from almost-seven hours of high-energy bluegrass mayhem across Greensky’s four sets. Luckily for the boys in the band, Greensky had some friends on the lineup—like jamgrass pioneer Sam Bush, flat-picking superhero Larry Keel, Fruition‘s own Jay Cobb Anderson, and the enigmatic Mr. Jimmy—to help fight exhaustion.After a last-minute cancellation from soulful superstar Charles Bradley due to health concerns, Greensky managed to sneak a fourth set onto their Saturday schedule this past weekend. That simple gesture was a perfect example of how Greensky has come to own Hoxeyville in the eyes of most everyone on the grounds, though that ownership was never truly in question, mind you. After eleven appearances over the fifteen years of Hoxeyville’s existence, Greensky Bluegrass has risen to the exalted rank of “Festival Ambassadors,” with their shows at this humble Michigan farm becoming the stuff of legend for followers and supporters of the band.We’re hard at work making videos and writing the tales of the weekend, but we thought we would go ahead and put together a collection of Greensky Bluegrass’s wonderful set of guest stars from the Hoxeyville Music Festival to tide you over. First up, Sam Bush helped Anders Beck with eight words he really loves saying.“The Four” > “Bringing In The Georgia Mail” The skies opened up during Friday night’s Greensky set as Larry Keel sat in and wrecked things. When the rains came, the band didn’t stop—even when their various pedal boards were getting drenched. After their tune ended and they stepped out of the onslaught, Dave Bruzza, Larry, and the Sam Bush Band banjo wizard Stephen Mojen kept the party going almost acoustic style. Check out the fun below!“Guitarmageddon”Fruition and Greensky Bluegrass have a mutual love affair going that spilled over to the Greensky set on Saturday night. Guitarist Jay Cobb Anderson joined Greensky for a couple of passionate covers, including a rocking take on the Roling Stones’ classic “Jumpin’ Jack Flash!”“Fixin’ To Ruin”“Jumpin’ Jack Flash”Rayland Baxter and his trio brought a strong rock sensibility to the primarily Americana and roots line up at Hoxeyville on Saturday. After touring with Greensky multiple times Paul Hoffman and Baxter’s keyboardist realized a connection both had totally forgotten. Check out the story and the fun take on a snarky Greensky classic below:“I’d Probably Kill You”After all the fun of the sit-ins, we thought we would sneak in one song that waas just plain fun. Check out Greensky’s take on the Rod Stewart’s ode to youth, “Young Turks”, below.“Young Turks”
Photo: Dave Vann Photo: Dave Vann Photo: Dave Vann Photo: Dave Vann Photo: Dave Vann Photo: Photo: Dave Vann Photo: Dave Vann Photo: Dave Vann Photo: Dave Vann Load remaining images Photo: Dave Vann P Photo: Dave Vann Jam Cruise 16 was one for the books, offering up one of the best editions of the music cruise since its start in 2004. Aboard a new boat, the Norwegian Jade, fans and musicians alike embarked on a loop around the Carribean after leaving port from Miami, on January 17th, 2018. Two music-packed days at sea bookended the five-night voyage in between stops at Roatan, Honduras, and the Grand Cayman Islands before Jam Cruise returned to Miami on the morning of January 22nd.The stacked lineup featured a huge range of artists, including Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood, Galactic, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Maceo Parker, Lotus, Electron, Lettuce, Steel Pulse, Keller Williams, Voodoo Dead (Steve Kimock, Anders Osborne, Jeff Chimenti, George Porter Jr., John Kimock), The New Mastersounds, Dumpstaphunk, Antibalas, Turkuaz, The Marcus King Band, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Con Brio, The Main Squeeze, Naughty Professor feat. Chali 2na, Andy Frasco & The U.N., Aqueous, and more.Jam Cruise 16 also hosted a number of all-time super jams, ranging from Robert Randolph’s super jam on the final night on the main stage, to a fan-favorite performance by Everyone Orchestra in the Stardust Theater, to late-night (into the early morning) sets in the Jam Room hosted by George Porter Jr., Jennifer Hartswick, Roosevelt Collier, Dan Lebowitz, and Michelangelo Carruba. Outside of these, the event also saw nightly jazz jams curated by the likes of Shira Elias, Eddie Roberts, Skerik, DJ Logic, and Mike Dillon, though these performances frequently took on a life of their own and ranged outside the constraints of typical “jazz” performances.Of course, while the music stands out, as Jam Cruise frequently hosts some of the greatest musical moments of the year, the main draw and beauty of the event is the close community it draws together. Jam Cruise offers fans the chance to connect with their favorite musicians on a more personal level, through events like a poker tournament (hosted by Ivan Neville), ping pong tournament (hosted by Pigeons Playing Ping Pong), curry “jam” (hosted by chef Archna Malhotra and featuring a number of artists onboard), and more. However, outside of these curated events, considering that everyone onboard calls the boat home for the better part of a week, there is a unique sense of camaraderie that is exceptional for any musical event—new friends are made, new bands discovered, and magical moments created.You can relive some of these special moments below, with an extensive photo gallery from Jam Cruise provided by Dave Vann. Enjoy, and see you next year! Photo: Dave Vann Jam Cruise 16 | Photos: Dave Vann Photo: Dave Vann
The Oregon Country Fair is set to return for its 50th anniversary this summer on July 12th, 13th, and 14th. The annual three-day festival in Veneta, Oregon–about 15 miles west of Eugene–offers the finest in entertainment, hand-made crafts, delectable food, and information sharing.The festival recently announced its 2019 musical lineup, with Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Jim James (Solo), and The Polish Ambassador sitting at the top of the bill. OCF will also see performances by ALO, The Dandy Warhols, Zero with Melvin Seals, Wildlight, Everyone Orchestra, MarchFourth, Ace of Cups, Swatkins and the Positive Agenda, Midnight North, Scott Law, and many more.Started in 1969 as a benefit for an alternative school, the OCF has a rich and varied history of alternative arts and performance promotion, educational opportunities, land stewardship, and philanthropy.Fans can head here for a variety of various ticketing options.For more information on the Oregon Country Fair, head to the festival’s website.
Created in 2001, Mariachi Véritas de Harvard is a student-run group that focuses exclusively on the mariachi musical tradition. While many members have strong backgrounds in jazz and classical music, most have had little or no prior exposure to this Mexican musical form. They rely largely on learning techniques from each generation of members, and on YouTube videos of the mariachi style.