One year ago, in tbt*'s Ultimate Local Music Guide 2008, I wrote the following about the Tampa band Brer:
There's a lot of brotherly love in Brer's catchy, sparkly folk-pop. ... The songs are uplifting and polished enough to pop up on Grey's Anatomy.
This February, it actually happened. Brer singer-songwriter Matt Hires landed a song on Grey's Anatomy. A song called Turn the Page, from his upcoming solo album, due in June.
Not that we're taking credit or anything.
Believe it or not, success really can happen just that fast. One day you're a part-time band gigging for fun at bars around Central Florida. The next day you're getting a call — or, in Hires' case, a MySpace message — from an A&R rep who discovered your music online.
This is why our Ultimate Local Music Guide, now in its third year, is such a big deal to us. We know there's talent in Tampa Bay. You know it, too. We profiled some 300 bands, artists, rappers and DJs in our first two guides, and another 150 in these pages — and we know there are probably just as many out there we've never even heard of.
But we want to change that. So this week, we're thrilled to launch a new blog devoted to the local music scene: Soundcheck, named after tbt*'s weekly concert-preview column. (Today's Soundcheck is on Page 55.) Every day, we'll feature an Artist of the Day and a Concert of the Day. We'll post mp3s and pictures from local bands, give you the scoop on cool below-the-radar acts coming to town, and offer plenty of concert pics and reviews.
Go to tbt.com for a link to the blog. And while you're there, cast a vote in our 2009 Ultimate Local Band Contest.
Once again, we've pulled together 10 of the best artists in Tampa Bay, from feel-good Tampa institution Bluegrass Parlor Band to genre-smashing rappers the Basiqs to mesmerizing indie chanteuse Geri X. We think they accurately represent the best of what the Tampa music scene has to offer, as did previous contest winners Tribal Style (2007) and Win Win Winter (2008).
Visit our Soundcheck blog at tbt.com, and click on the checkmark to vote. The winning artist will receive prizes including a Dean Hardtail guitar, a music video shoot and an opportunity to perform on the Plaza before a concert at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Plus, if you cast a vote, you'll have a chance to win tickets to this year's Ultimate Local Music Showcase May 2 at Skipper's Smokehouse, featuring several of this year's top 10 bands. Trust me, you want these tickets. Last year's Showcase was — and I believe I'm being unbiased here — the most awesome concert in the history of music. (Think about it — did the Beatles at Shea offer barbecued gator ribs? No. Case closed.)
One more thing: If you make music, we want to hear from you. Send your links, your gigs, your pictures, your mp3s, your demos, your anything to [email protected] Not only do we want to discover new music, but we want you to discover new music as well.
And if someone from Grey's Anatomy should happen to hear it, well, just send the royalty check our way. — [email protected]