The music business has changed greatly in the last two decades. Where once record labels roamed the Earth, pouring resources onto seeking radio airplay and, occasionally, striking gold with popular releases, new records (to use the older vernacular) have become marketing platforms, vehicles to support an artist’s touring and live performance. That’s where the real money (if any) is these days. Music is now increasingly consumed as commodity, through streaming. In 2014, music sales dipped over 7 percent, whilst there were 164 billion music streams during the year. Like the record companies before them, streaming services filter a small percentage of revenues to the artists, and the money is split among composers and performers for tiny slices of the revenue pie.
What’s an artist to do? Get on the road. Play venues that will put money in your pocket, and hope that sales of physical CD’s and other merch will pay your gas money to the next venue. Or, go small and deal direct with your audience.
Jeremy Garrett is a world-class fiddle player; he has anchored The Infamous Stringdusters for years and continues to be a central element of their distinctive jamgrass sound.
”RV Sessions” is Garrett, alone, mostly, and, literally, at home—in his RV. The Stringdusters are certified road warriors. They’ve been known to play festivals on both coasts on the same weekend, and spend the rest of the year ripping all ‘round the country. Garrett sold his Nashville home a year or so ago, and travels with his family in an RV. The “RV Sessions” reflect the home-grown nature of his multi-wheeled living room.
“RV Sessions” was recorded by Garrett on the road. Since the music is so strong, and the costs spare, Garrett was able to produce a work of clarity and share it directly with his following. It’s an ambitious effort, and successful.
With production and mixing help from the Infamous Stringdusters’ estimable sound man, Drew Becker, Garrett spins a tale or two, and plays sharp and sure fiddle throughout. “Lucky Guy”, which leads off the collection, sets the tone. Garrett’s wife Connie offers sweet harmony on “Just Hold Hands For A Little While”. Here and there, arrett puts down the fiddle and shows that he could hold his own with guitar and mandolin licks. Check out his mando runs on “Will You Find A Way?”
“The RV Sessions” more than holds its own against slickly-produced, multi-tracked competition. Jeremy Garret has found a way to directly share his vision with his fans, and he’ll be able to buy a lot of gas from the proceeds.