The world could not have known what was about to hit them, until 1969 rolled around with Woodstock and all its glorious musical heroes. And out of the naked bodies, shared love and a whole lot of other shared intimacies – rose David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.

The Smash of Crosby, Stills and Nash

Famous Bands

Before becoming the famous CSN (and sometimes Young when joined by Neil Young), each member had a role in another famous band.

Stephen Stills – Buffalo Springfield (vocalist, songwriter, keyboardist, guitarist)

David Crosby – The Byrds (guitar, singer, song writer)

Graham Nash – The Hollies (guitarist, singer, songwriter)

Neil Young – Buffalo Springfield

Each member had left their previous bands for a variety of reasons including frustration and a difference of opinion, but at a party in 1968 at Joni Mitchell’s house – they suddenly became the vocal legends they are today. A simple song, harmonized in 3 parts, made the three founding members of CSN shiver with anticipation – their voices simply worked together with a chemistry that they had not previously experienced.

The Smash of Crosby, Stills and Nash

Failed Auditions

The first record company, however, did not feel the same chemical explosion, and decided not to sign the band. It was at that point that they decided to call themselves Crosby, Stills and Nash, thereby giving themselves an irreplaceable spot in a band that they knew would make the big times.

Signed eventually by Atlantic Records, they released their first album in 1969 and reached two Top 40 Hits. Neil Young soon came in as a part time keyboardist, who maintained his place in his band Crazy Horse.


By the time this fresh faced group got to Woodstock later in 1969, they had only played live once – the day before. Nervously stepping out on to the stage, they fondly refer to themselves as being “scared shitless.” They however, won a few hearts and grew a fan base that was eager for their 1970 album release.

Solo Careers

The relationships of the band members however, had always been tumultuous and this lead to a stint where they no longer were together as a band. Each one embarked on a solo career, and each had a top 15 entry on the Billboard 200. Continuing into 1972, the individual members were faring well – but 1973 was not a pretty year for any of them, and led to a meeting at Neil Young’s house where they decided to record a new album. It was the unsolved issues between them that caused them to fall apart again by 1974. It was the likes of their original agent from Atlantic (Elliot Roberts), that saw the commercial potential of this band, and in his hands he molded the CSN&Y that has become a favourite in many folk rock homes. In 2014, CSN&Y celebrated their 40 year touring anniversary.

How to make a Demo?

To make a self-recording is to literally make a recording of your voice. Why would you do this? Well for some, the ideas of recording their songs and voices in a music studio are either farfetched or far off the budget for the month. Unless you find some low charging music studio, it can be incredibly expensive. There is a whole bunch of home gear that you can also purchase, but for a novice recording, there are a few easier options.

How to make a Demo?

Where to start

The first step is to obviously have your piece of song perfected, so that it is ready to be recorded. Luckily, there are a few apps available that can help you with this.


  • GarageBand: This is an easy to use app that offers many people the chance to record their music, as well as to fine tune and mix the songs.
  • Music Studio: It may take a little bit of time to become comfortable with this apps interface, but it offers a myriad of recording options as well as instruments to use in your songs via a few strokes on the keys of your device.


Unfortunately Android devices do not have any serious competition when it comes to the Apple Apps and recording music, but there are a few notable apps available.

  • Recording Studio Lite: Designed to be easy to use, quick and uncomplicated – Recording Lite is a good entry level option. Offering you 2 track recording opportunities, one can upgrade to 24 tracks with the top version. The Lite version does offer a piano to accompany your song, whereas the Pro version offers a wide selection of instruments.

Once your track is complete and you know you are happy with it, it is time to either save it as an MP3, upload it to YouTube or to send it off to that record label you believe will be interested in your music. Best of luck!

How to make a Demo?

Favorite Android Apps for Muso’s

In the days of modern technology, air guitar and digital devices – you won’t often see many of the modern musicians using a metronome or a pitch pipe. Most musicians simply find it more convenient to carry around one Android Device, which offers a myriad of options.

Luckily the Google Play Store is full of fun and handy apps that will tickle the fancy of any musician. From the well tuned player, to the beginner and the groupie – the digital age is here to benefit us all.



  • This Android App is a great tool to have when it comes to tuning a string instrument. Far easier and more reliable than a pitch pipe, if allows the user to tune according to a measurement of Megahertz. This instantly allows you to see if you have tuned to sharp or too flat.

Chromatic Tuner

  • This app uses a wheel that spins either towards your instrument being too sharp, or towards it being too flat. It also tells you the exact note your strings are set to, which is great if you want to tune down to DADGAD.

Favorite Android Apps for Musicians



  • In music it is imperative to have a sense of rhythm and timing. However, if you are not so great at keeping a beat, then download the Android App called Metronome. Quirky and user friendly, this is definitely a good tool to store on your device.

Metronome Widget

  • This easy and simple app has been designed by the same creators of gTuner, and happens to be just as useful. Metronome Widget allows for you to keep time, without the hassle of being complicated or overcrowded by other functionalities.

Song writing:

The Rhyme Maker

  • The reason this app is so great, is that it rhymes according to the phonetic sound of the word and not to the spelling. It is as simple as typing in your word, and receiving a vast amount of choices to select from.

Rhyme Zone

  • One of the choice apps that do not require consistent internet access, Rhyme-Zone allows its user to find words that rhyme, or are similar or plainly could just somehow fit. It even allows you to be specific enough to choose how many letters your rhyming word can be made up of. It even gives you a definition to words that you may not recognize.

Favorite Android Apps for Musicians

Chords and Sheet Music:

Guitar Jam Session

  • An all encompassing app that allows for its user to not only view the chords or music they are playing, but also to transpose keys and view other chord or sheet music websites via its in-built web service.

With your Android Device in hand, there really is never an excuse for any musician to say that they lack the resources to play like a professional.

The rebirth of the uke

Stay around long enough, and as the saying goes, what was once fashionable, and then unfashionable, becomes fashionable once more.

This is certainly the case with the ukulele. This humble member of the lute family came out of Hawaii, having mutated from the Portuguese machete, a four-stringed instrument that originated in Madeira and was taken to the Hawaiian Islands by Portuguese immigrants who landed there in 1879.

Jazz and country

The ukulele became big in the US in 1915, after it had been demonstrated on the Hawaiian Pavilion at the Panama Pacific International Expo in San Francisco.

The instrument was taken up by vaudeville performers and then by jazz players, before making inroads into country music with performers such as Jimmie Rodgers and Cowan Powers.



After that the uke declined in popularity, its four strings and small body seeming rather feeble compared to the guitar sounds of rock ‘n’ roll and country music.

Further, although a good ukulele should be as well crafted as a guitar, there had been an influx of cheap models including a good many made of plastic, and the instrument suffered from an image problem.

Nervous Norvus, aka Jimmy Drake, who wrote and performed the 1956 smash Transfusion, famously played a king-sized uke, properly known as a baritone ukulele, but as Drake was a recluse who never made personal appearances, the only exposure the instrument ever had through him was on record sleeves and trade ads.


Apart from Tiny Tim, the ukulele was practically missing in action for the next 30 years.

During the 1990s the instrument made its comeback.

One of the prime movers has been the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. Here in Nashville we have the Nashville Ukulele Society, and a great number of ukulele events.


Sales of ukes are skyrocketing, and manufacturers have been falling over themselves to introduce new models. This is a good time to become a uke player, and the music shops around town naturally have just about anything you could desire. There are four main sizes: soprano, concert, tenor and baritone. Soprano, being the smallest, is probably the easiest for beginners.


The echo sound

Although it was the Echoplex tape delay unit that defined much of the rockabilly sound throughout the 1960s, it wasn’t the first tape echo machine on the market.


Sound engineers had begun to experiment in the late 1940s with units that could be used in recording studios and which were portable enough to be used during live appearances.





It was Ray Butts who in 1953 made the breakthrough with his EchoSonic, a portable guitar amplifier that had a built-in tape echo effect.


Butts owned a music store in Cairo, Illinois, and started experimenting when a local guitar player named Bill Gwaltney asked him how he could replicate some of the studio sounds that Les Paul was creating.


Using the new plastic recording tape that had been introduced by 3M, Butts built the first EchoSonic amp, which was duly bought by Gwaltney.



Butts next took himself off to Nashville, where he looked up Chet Atkins in the phone book and introduced himself. Atkins bought the second EchoSonic, using it to memorable effect on his 1954 recording of Mr Sandman.


Listening in on the radio to Chet Atkins was a young guitar player named Scotty Moore, who decided he wanted to achieve a similar sound.


Sun Studio


Moore was doing studio work for Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Studio, which was equipped for a slapback echo sound, achieved with two Ampex 350 recorders.


Sun had been recording a young hopeful named Elvis Presley, and Moore thought the EchoSonic effect would complement the sound Phillips was achieving with Presley’s voice.


Moore therefore became either the third or the eighth customer for Butts’ ingenious machine, depending on which version of the story you hear.


Mystery Train


What is for sure is that Scotty used the EchoSonic on Mystery Train, and on every subsequent recording he made with Elvis, coupling it with his Gibson Super 400.

Fellow Sun artist Carl Perkins soon picked up on the sound, as did many other guitar players of the 1950s.

Butts however had neglected to patent his invention, and other manufacturers copied the design. The most successful of these was the Echoplex, which took over from EchoSonic as the 1960s dawned.


Marty Robbins was a country star who was propelled to super-stardom in both the country and the pop charts by what must rate as one of Nashville’s most significant productions.

El Paso however very nearly never got made.

Gunfighter ballads

Robbins had scored four number one country hits before he started to pressure his label, Columbia, to record an album of gunfighter ballads.

Columbia weren’t keen: they wanted him to stay as a country and pop singer. But when in 1959 Marty recorded The Hanging Tree, a western ballad that was used on the soundtrack of a film of the same name, and it went as a single to number 15 on the country charts, they changed their mind.



Robbins for several years had been making the commute between Nashville and his home in Phoenix, a route that took him through El Paso.

Liking the sound of the name, he thought it would make a good song title. It remained just a thought for a couple of years until, in 1958, with his wife Marizona at the wheel of their turquoise Cadillac and Marty in the back seat with his guitar, the inspiration came to him and he could barely write the words down fast enough.


Back in Studio 2 at Bradley Studios in Nashville on April 7, 1959, producer Don Law found himself confronting a 14-verse epic.

Grady Martin played lead guitar, using a 1952 BigsbyDoubleneck to create a delicate TexMex sound that interweaves with Marty’s subdued voice relating the tale of the hot headed gunfighter.

Jack Pruett strummed rhythm guitar, Bob Moore played stand-up bass, and Jim Glaser and Bobby Sykes supplied the harmony vocals.


When it was recorded, the track ran for 4 minutes and 38 seconds: too long, Columbia thought, for a single, as the DJs wouldn’t play it.

Somehow they managed to edit the track down to 2.58, but Marty persuaded them to put the full-length track on the B-side.

In the event, most DJs chose to play the full version. El Paso was the first number one single of the 1960s, and it ushered in the era of longer recordings.


Not many piano players have a statue dedicated to them, so the statue of Owen Bradley at Owen Bradley Park in Nashville is a significant landmark both in the city and its music.

Bradley, who was born in Westmore-land, Tennessee, had started out as a piano player but morphed into a music arranger and songwriter, taking a job with Decca Records in the late 1940s and becoming vice president of the label’s Nashville division in 1958.

Owen Bradley and the Quonset hut

Image change

His timing was impeccable. Nashville was attempting to shake off the folksy image of country music and develop a more pop-oriented sound. There was however little in the way of recording studios, and no A-Team.

One of the few recording facilities was Bradley’s own studio. Together with his brother Harold, a guitarist, he had in 1954 bought an old rooming house at 804 16th Avenue South, and built a studio in the basement.

Handpicked players

Outgrowing that, they added a military-issue Quonset hut to the back of the house, and turned it into a studio.

This was where the Nashville Sound began to coalesce, with Bradley’s crew of hand-picked musicians backing emerging artists and creating some of the biggest national and international hits of the day.

Shape changing

Not only did the Quonset hut change the shape of Nashville music, it changed the shape of Nashville, becoming center of the area now known as Music Row.

In 1962 the brothers sold the property to Columbia Records and bought a farm outside Nashville, where they built what was to become the equally legendary studio known as Bradley’s Barn.

The Quonset hut was used until 1982, when it was converted into office space until, in 2006, philanthropist Mike Curb bought the structure and had it restored.


Today, the hut serves as recording classroom for Belmont University, where bemused students get to see how valves and tubes helped to create magic.

Owen Bradley and the Quonset hut

As for Owen Bradley, he is not that far away, sitting in bronze at a bronze piano, and keeping a watchful eye open.

Recording Heartbreak Hotel

One of the sessions that really put Nashville on the map as a recording center was Heartbreak Hotel, cut during Elvis Presley’s first session for RCA Victor after he had left Sun.

There were very few recording facilities in Nashville at that time, and RCA didn’t have their own studio there.

Recording Heartbreak Hotel


Elvis arrived on January 10, 1956, two days after his 21st birthday, at a building at 1525 McGavock Street, where RCA was renting studio space from the owners, the Methodist Church’s Television, Radio and Film Commission.

Elvis had picked up the demo for Heartbreak Hotel at the Country Music Disc Jockey Convention in Nashville in November of the previous year, and he arrived at the studio without any authorisation from his new label to cut the track, who consequently had little idea how to record it.


The first track he recorded that day was I Got A Woman, a reasonable potboiler but not a single.

Second track in was Heartbreak Hotel.

Along with his regular band of Scotty Moore, Bill Black and DJ Fontana, Elvis was joined by RCA players Chet Atkins on guitar and Floyd Cramer on piano.


Producer Steve Sholes wanted to recreate the slapback sound that Sam Phillips had achieved for Elvis at Sun, but he didn’t know how Sam had done it. Sam had in fact used two tape recorders with a slight time delay.

The acoustics at 1525 McGavock were not great. There was a curved ceiling that created low frequency problems for the bass notes, and curtains had to be hung to help deaden the room.


To achieve the clear-cut sound of Heartbreak Hotel, the engineers used wall-like baffles to prevent the sound from one instrument bleeding into another.

Finally, to isolate Elvis’s voiceand create the echo, engineer Bob Farris set up a speaker at one end of a long hallway and a microphone at the other end, recording the echo live.

Everyone at RCA hated Heartbreak Hotel. But it sold in millions.

In a supreme act of vandalism, the studio at 1525 McGavock was pulled down in 2006 and is now a parking lot.

Recording Heartbreak Hotel

Harmonicas and the real McCoy

Roy Orbison really hit it big with Crying, reaching number two on the national charts, but on the flip side was a song that was in sharp contrast to the Big O’s bolero style, a bluesy track that also made it up the charts, eventually hitting number 25.


What really set Candy Man apart was its wailing harmonica sound, novel at that time in the pop charts, for it was slightly before Bruce Channel’s Hey Baby, and the prolific use of the harmonica by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and other British beat groups.

Harmonicas and the real McCoy




The harmonica has its origins in the free reed instruments of East Asia. The instrument as we know it first appeared in Vienna in the 1820s, from where it made its way to Germany.


Matthias Hohner, a clockmaker in Trossingen was the first person to mass-produce the harmonica, in the 1850s, and he started shipping them to the German communities in the United States.




The easy portability of what was often called the mouth organ led to its popularity amongst soldiers during the Civil War, and pioneers on the western frontier.


During the first half of the 20th century, the harmonica migrated into the African American communities, and thereby into blues music.


Session musician


A session musician named Charlie McCoy provided the harmonica sound for Candy Man.

Charlie, who had been born in West Virginia and raised in Miami, was a guitarist, drummer, trumpet player and singer, in addition to being a harmonica player.

He had arrived in Nashville in 1960, at the age of 18, and set about looking for work as a session musician, initially taking anything he could find in a music scene that was only just coming together.


Chet Atkins heard one of his demo tapes and in the middle of 1961 hired him to play harmonica on an Ann-Margaret song, I Just Don’t Understand.

Fred Foster of Monument Records liked the way the bluesy sound contrasted with her voice, and hired Charlie for Candy Man.

After that, the harmonica formed part of the soundtrack of the Sixties and the Seventies.

As for Charlie McCoy, he’s still going strong and a few years ago was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Harmonicas and the real McCoy

Historians of music like to debate on which was the first record that heralded the Nashville Sound.

Some hold out for Jim Reeves’ Four Walls, recorded in February 1957. Chet Atkins, who was certainly in a position to know, backed his own production of Don Gibson’s Oh Lonesome Me, which was recorded later the same year.

Ferlin Husky

There is however considerable support for a slightly earlier recording, Ferlin Husky’sGone, which was recorded in November 1956.

This wasn’t the first time Husky had recorded Gone.

Using the stage name Terry Preston, in the belief that his own name was non-commercial, he had a number of country-style hits at the beginning of the 1950s.

The first of the Nashville Sound


He first recorded Gone, written by Smokey Rogers, in 1952. With a plaintive, melodic vocal and a subdued pedal steel guitar accompaniment by Speedy West, it had an undeniable country feel, but the record bombed.

Shortly after, at the urging of LA-based Capitol producer Ken Nelson, Husky reverted to his real name and they felt it might be time to revisit Gone, but this time Husky wanted to give it more of a pop presentation.


The recording took place in Nashville, at Owen Bradley’s studio.

Nelson, according to a later account by Husky, took fright at the number of people who were crowding into the studio.  Along with a large number of musicians, including Grady Martin on vibraphone, there were the Jordanaires and the soprano Millie Kirkham.

With each musician and singer on union rates, Nelson was seeing the dollar signs flickering up alarmingly quickly.

Husky used a more forceful approach with the vocal this time, and a primitive echo chamber effect was added.


The result was a love song that was also perfect for slow dancing, and Gone hit the top of the country charts early in 1957, crossing over to the pop charts where it reached number four.

This kind of success was what Nashville was waiting for, and Gone certainly has a credible claim to have started the Sound.

The first of the Nashville Sound