INTERVIEW – @JOHNCRAIGIE

This interview first appeared on www.musicnews360.com .

Credit: Bradley Cox

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Tour Dates

Discography

Live Studio
Capricorn in Retrograde… Just Kidding… Live in Portland (2016) No Rain, No Rose (2017)
Make Your Own Legend (2011) Working on My Farewell (2015)
Live in the Living Room (2008) The Apocalypse is Over (2013)
October is the Kindest Month (2011)
Montana Tale (2009)

 

@MusicNews360 caught up with @JohnCraigie between two nights of recording a forthcoming live album in Portland, OR (@MississippiStud & @DougFirLounge). We talked about the apocalypse, fractals, astrology, and hanging out with @JackJohnson. Below are excerpts from our conversation.

 

MN360° – Your performance is both song and narrative. How did storytelling become part of your act?

JC – The storytelling was around way before the music. Growing up, I was the class clown. I was the guy who would tell the stories. So that’s older than the music and came way more naturally. The music was a lot harder for me.

“Growing up, I was the class clown. I was the guy who would tell the stories.”

– @JohnCraigie

MN360° – What sparked your interest in music?

JC – One of my friends, a dear friend who I credit for having a huge influence on me. He was a little out of the box, really artistic. He had a different way about him. He wasn’t buying into the normal, suburban way, you know?

So he got a guitar when we were about 15 years old. He was really talented, playing the guitar a lot…I looked up to him. One day, he showed me…He was like, ‘It’s not that hard!’ He showed me some chords. That was the pivotal moment for me. The moment I knew it was possible. It changed everything.

I think that a lot of times you just need someone to be like, ‘Yeah, you can do this!’

“I think that a lot of times you just need someone to be like, ‘Yeah, you can do this!’”

– @JohnCraigie

 

 

Credit: @littlegreeneyes

Also, in the early 90s, Bob Dylan was not cool. I knew Dylan in the sense of a historical figure, but I had not heard his music. It wasn’t until someone gave me a copy of Freewheelin’ … that was the catalyst for my songwriting.

“It wasn’t until someone gave me a copy of Freewheelin’ … that was the catalyst for my songwriting. 

– @JohnCraigie

MN360° – You have been quoted as saying, “I know that the purpose of music is not to make people feel better, but to make them feel like they are not alone.” Can you elaborate?

JC – People listen to sad songs when they are sad. Why do we do that? It doesn’t cheer us up, but that’s not the point. The point is…What we are really seeking with art is connection. To feel like, ‘Oh, they get it.’

If you’re bummed out, ‘Walking On Sunshine’ is not going to work for you. That doesn’t do it, and we all know that… It’s funny that we disregard that reality.

The best music is relatable, it makes us feel like we are not alone. That’s what I have always thought the purpose of music is… on all levels, whether it is a happy song or a funny song or a sad song.

“People listen to sad songs when they are sad. Why do we do that? It doesn’t cheer us up, but that’s not the point. The point is…What we are really seeking with art is connection. To feel like, ‘Oh, they get it.’”

– @JohnCraigie

MN360° – You studied math in college. How does math influence your creative process?

JC – I was at UC Santa Cruz, so it was more of a hippie kind of math. Lot of fractals. Lot of looking at pineapples, you know, getting high. Lot of looking at ferns…Storytelling is somewhat mathematical. Not so much in what we think about as math, like algebra. More so in putting things together–structure.

“Storytelling is somewhat mathematical. Not so much in what we think about as math, like algebra. More so in putting things together–structure.”

– @JohnCraigie

On structure, songwriting and architecture…How crazy is it to visualize how a building is going to look before you make it? Songwriting is similar in that you hear the general vibe you want before laying the foundation.

MN360° – Is the Apocalypse over?

JC – That was a metaphor for all the hippies who were talking about 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar. Remember that? They were like, “Cool, Babylon will crumble! I won’t have to work my stupid job anymore.” So the lyric is a reference to that. I guess I should have put quotes around “Apocalypse.”

Credit: @danielnjohnson

“I guess I should have put quotes around ‘Apocalypse.’”

– @JohnCraigie

MN360° – What is the most uncomfortable place you have slept while on tour?

JC – Many years ago, I was playing in this town called Winter Park, Colorado, up in the mountains. I finished the gig and was going to sleep in my Astrovan. Then, I looked at my phone, and the app said it was 1° outside…fahrenheit. I was like, “I’ll die…I’m from California. I’ll die sleeping outside.”

Went back to the bartender and said, ‘Hey man, I don’t mean to seem pushy, but do you have a couch I could crash on? It’s 1° outside, and I’m afraid I’ll die if I sleep outside tonight.’ Luckily, he said, ‘Sure, I’ve got to close up the bar. It’s going to be another few hours. Here’s the address. The door is unlocked. You can sleep in the guest room.’

‘Awesome!’

I get to the place, and it’s freezing in the guest room. Though, I was like, ‘It’s better than sleeping outside.’ Got in the bed, curled up, and went to sleep. Hours later, I woke up covered in snow–there was snow all over the bed. One of the windows…the blinds were down, but the window was open. Snow had been blowing in on me all night.

So I would have been better off sleeping in my car.Though, I just went over and closed the window.

That was a weird night, for sure…

MN360° – Do you follow astrology? Is there significance to your album titled ‘Capricorn in Retrograde… Just Kidding… Live in Portland’?

JC – I am into astrology because I lived in Santa Cruz for 5 years. Originally, the title was going to be ‘Mercury in Retrograde… Just kidding’. After talking to some friends, I thought it would be even funnier and maybe a little less intense if I made up something that doesn’t exist, ‘Capricorn in Retrograde’, which is not a thing, you know.

MN360° – What is your astrological sign?

JC – Gemini.

MN360° – How was the time you spent on tour with @JackJohnson?

JC – We had a lot of fun. Probably the funnest thing we did…we had a night off and went to see @JohnMayer perform at The Gorge. You know, I would not normally go to see John Mayer in concert, so it was a trip to go to that show with Jack, sitting there with these two elder statesmen of modern songwriting. That was a surreal night.

MN360° – What percentage of the time do you perform with your eyes open?

JC –  I’d say 2 percent–when I’m making a joke about having my eyes open.

(Referring to the song titled “I Wrote Mr. Tambourine Man”, featured on the Music News 360° – October 2017 Playlist).

Credit: @jayblakesberg

MN360° – If you could have a billboard with anything on it, what would it say?

JC – ‘Be nice to each other’. That’s probably cliche, but that’s what I would say.

“Be nice to each other.”

– @JohnCraigie

Credit: Maria Davey

 

Tom Kitty Oliver – Know Everybody You Meet

I’ve got a new single, ‘Know Everybody You Meet’. You can stream it now on @spotify , at the link above. The song is about discovering the divine within all: ‘God is Love, You are Love, We are Love, Love is Everything’. Special thanks to @matjownz who helped to bring it together, and channeled that ‘Kenny Buttrey’ feel. Also, I’m singing.

Targeting an Audience, Mapping a Tour: Luther Dickinson

In this post, we will map Luther Dickinson’s US twitter followers, by count and influence, and examine how these distributions match his band’s upcoming tour routing, with the intent to demonstrate the value of twitter data for targeting audiences and planning performances.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 10.37.43 PM

Luther Dickinson is the lead guitarist and vocalist for the North Mississippi Allstars. As of August 11, 2015, Luther has 1010 twitter followers. Of these 1010 followers, 483 identify their location as based in the US (not all followers identify location). The map below shows the concentrations of US followers, with the greatest numbers in darkest blue.

Followers

lutherdickinson follower map

Top 10 states by follower count (darkest blue):

State Followers
Tennessee 78
Mississippi 60
California 45
New York 35
Pennsylvania 25
Georgia 22
Colorado 20
Louisiana 18
Washington 17
Illinois 15


Now we will map Luther’s followers by influence, i.e. the followers of Luther’s followers. In other words, if each of Luther’s followers retweeted, how many individuals would see the retweet?

Influence

luterhdickinson_follower_influenceTop 10 states by influence (darkest blue):

State Influence
California 1137586
Tennessee 479783
New York 70690
Georgia 64776
Louisiana 63685
Mississippi 59011
Illinois 35373
Colorado 29206
Texas 26612
Rhode Island 23377

We see differences between followers and influence, with Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and Washington hosting greater concentrations of followers, who have less influence. Conversely, we see Rhode Island and Texas hosting lower concentrations of followers, who have more influence. California and Tennessee are strong points for both followers and influence.

Let’s see if this aligns with Luther’s plans for Fall 2015.

According to www.nmallstars.com, the band will tour the following cities in October 2015:

10.1 – San Francisco, CA
10.2 – San Francisco, CA
10.3 – Los Angeles, CA
10.4 – Anaheim, CA
10.5 – Solana Beach, CA
10.6 – Las Vegas, NV
10.9 – Boulder, CO
10.10 – Denver, CO
10.12 – Chicago, IL
10.13 – Pittsburgh, PA
10.14 – Washington D.C.
10.15. – Glenside, PA
10.16 – New York, NY
10.17 – Boston, MA
10.24 – Placerville, CA
10.25 – Placerville, CA

While we do not see a Tennessee performance during the stretch, all dates besides for two, in Las Vegas and Boston, match the list for top 10 states by followers. Furthermore, we see almost half of the performances, 44%, in California, a strong point for both followers and influence. We view this as strong support for the value of twitter data in targeting audiences and planning performances.

Luther’s map serves as a guide for up and coming artists within the genre. Using the raw data, one could target influencers within each state who would welcome the genre.

To this point, I envision developing a platform that leverages twitter data to help artists better identify audiences and geographic strong points within the genre. If you are an artist, manager, data scientist, or entrepreneur, and are interested in this work, contact me at andrewshamlet@gmail.com