David Lowry was the guest on Nashville Today with Devon O’Day and Karlin Evins. David discussed the state of board games today, Freedom The Underground Railroad and 1775 Rebellion by Academy Games, Castle Panic by Fireside Games, Lords of Rock by Solarflare Games, and the upcoming Christian trivia game Thank Heaven by Zvago Games. David also talked about the upcoming live event series The Nashville Guitar Club staring up in the month of April.
Nashville Today is a Lifestyle and Entertainment talk show providing listeners with an appealing and informative look at all things Nashville. Nashville Today connects listeners with the great vibe and energetic lifestyle of Music City! Devon and special guests will cover everything from new music to new restaurants, things to do in Nashville, the Grand Ole Opry, and all things in between!
Club Fantasci Around the Web:
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David Lowry will be a guest on the radio show Nashville Today hosted by Devon O’Day and Nan Kelley on 650 AM WSM, August 8th at 3:30 pm CST. WSM is the most famed country music station in the world and is also broadcast out of the Opryland Hotel Resort and Convention Center.
David Lowry will be talking about board games, specifically about companies he presents like Academy Games, Smirk & Dagger Games and Cheapass Games. He will also talk about the rise of the board game industry, it’s impact on Nashville and his projects with the music industry to include board games, and the hot releases at GenCon 2016.
Monday – Friday, 3 – 6 pm
Join Nan Kelley and Devon O’Day from 3-6 PM/CT each weekday for Nashville Today, a lifestyle and entertainment talk show providing listeners with an appealing and informative look at all things Nashville. Nashville Today connects listeners with the great vibe and energetic lifestyle of Music City! Nan and Devon will cover everything from new music to new restaurants, things to do in Nashville, the Grand Ole Opry, and all things in between!
To listen in to the radio show, simply to go to www.wsmonline.com to hear the stream. You can also listen for free on the official WSM Official listening app.
Giveaways from the following sponsors: (Click on the image for more information about each game)
Click Clack Lumberjack
Chopsticks Dexterity Mega Challenge 3000
Fremont, OH—July 19, 2016. Academy Games (http://www.academygames.com) has announced the hiring of David Lowry of The Lowry Agency (http://www.thelowryagency.com) and Club Fantasci (http://www.clubfantasci.com) as their new Director of Marketing
David will be responsible for marketing their award winning line of games.
Academy Games publishes fun and engaging games that also impart social and historical learning. They specialize in historical board games for gaming enthusiasts, schools, museums, universities and military personnel, with products ranging from family games to tactical training games that are quick to learn and fun to play.
“Academy Games is excited to be working with David. We look forward to bringing his creativity and expertise to the team and achieving great things in the future.” says Uwe Eickert, CEO at Academy Games.
David Lowry started in the board game industry working with LnL Publishing and Common Man Games. David has developed marketing strategies and video production for several companies in the industry such as Arcane Wonders, Greenbrier Games, Smirk & Dagger Games, Fireside Games and Momentum Volsk.
“I am extremely excited to be joining the team at Academy Games. I am dedicated to bringing top-notch marketing tools, skills and opportunities to the table. It is my hope to expose Academy Games to a much broader market and increase sales and awareness.” says Lowry.
David Lowry is a former touring musician and has been in the music business for over 20 years, doing management, PR, marketing and promotions with former Billboard Top 10 artists such as Brother Cane, Damon Johnson and the Juno award–winning Sass Jordan. David has also done PR and marketing in the board game industry with various publishers for over 3 years now. Playing board games since he was a child, David understands both sides of the medium inside and out.
For more information on Academy Games, please contact David Lowry at david@AcademyGames.com
This is our latest video that we did for Arcane Wonders and their amazing game Mage Wars. If you have any questions about how we can help you with your video product, voice over, music production or any other type of media please contact us here: Contact
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Last Friday night I was privileged to finally meet a guitar hero of mine, Neil Zaza. Granted, I have interviewed him and spoken with him a number of times and obviously I have been listening to his music for years, but it’s completely another thing to hear the brilliance of a musician live. Neil has a reputation of being one of the world’s finest guitar players and not just because he is a technically proficient player, but because he is an amazing song writer on top of it. Neil has the very rare ability to make his guitar “sing” as if a vocalist was always there and you never miss the vocalist. He is truly one of the most melodic players on the planet, especially in his guitar instrumentalist genre.
Friday night only confirmed what I already knew. Not only did Neil player flawlessly and effortlessly this night, but his songs take you away as the melodies sweep out from his fingers and take flight through the room and astound you that anyone can be so good at playing an instrument and writing music or songs that are so strong that you are literally transported to a soundscape of rich, melodic musings from an un assuming genius that unfortunately, not enough people have heard of. Neil epitomizes what it is to be an instrumental songwriter. I dare you to find one song that isn’t absolutely gorgeous in its composition and melodic content. He is surely up there in the echelons of Vai, Satriana, Timmons and Johnson in his composition, technical and performance skills.
Granted, Douglas Corner isn’t the venue I would have preferred to see Neil in for my first time. The sound check was half a song, the sound system was adequate but not amazing but mostly, the mix was a bit on the poor side. The drums were over powering in the small venue and Neil was a bit lost in the mix sometimes, but that being said, it was still an amazing and brilliant performance that can’t be wiped away but minor issues. Neil captivated from the stage as I sat there and watched audience reaction. One person in particular was literally getting the chills Neil would rip through a fast solo and cap it of with some melodic ending that brought shivers to the fan. I was a bit shocked actually at how well Neil owned the stage and really brought a strong and mesmerizing performance to Douglas Corner considering the small stage, lack of a decent sound check and quite honestly, most guitar instrumentalists put me to sleep while they perform on stage as they stare at their feet and hand but put on no show at all. Neil did not disappoint here. It was a truly awesome performance that Neil should be proud of.
This performance was almost a homecoming in a way even though Neil had never played there before. The place was full of friends and family or “framily” as Neil calls them. They rated his performance with smart phone rating cards, many times garnering a “10” from the locals. Neil was busy before and after the show greeting, sitting and talking with each and every person who came to see him play. He gets it. There was no aura of ego. No “rockstar” persona that acted like an ass. He was gracious, very appreciate of every person who came out and acknowledged it from the stage and in person. Neil Zaza is the real deal.
The one sad thing was the lack of local musicians who always go around complaining about supporting live music. For some reason when a talent like Neil comes to town, which is not often in Nashville, the musicians don’t show up to support let alone, learn anything or be inspired by a brilliant musician. I guess it’s just much easier to sit and complain on Facebook than actually put your money where your mouth is. Luckily, the place was full of Zazaniacs (my made up word) where more than happy to soak it all in and shower Neil with love and praise for his music.
At the end of the show Matthew and Gunnar Nelson of “Nelson” fame came up to perform with Neil. First was Gunner performing “I’m Alright,” a Zaza show piece as well as the National Anthem. Then the brothers played “Love and Affection with Neil on guitar, Matthew on bass, Gunner on drums and country singer Theresa Rose on bgv’s. Unfortunately, the drum microphone was having major issues so some of the harmonies or other vocal parts could not be heard. But it was still very cool none the less.
All in all, I came away with more respect, admiration and inspired by Neil Zaza. He is a very rare, very brilliant and talented musician and songwriter. He is exactly what this genre needs more of and hopefully those reading this review, will take a moment to check him out both on his site and a venue near you.
The opening spot was filled by an Italian artist named Marco Pinna who performed acoustically with his a brand of latin/mediterranean/gypsy jazz that was fun, hip and lively. Marco was joined on stage by Sean O’Bryan Smith on bass, drummer Glenn Williams (both played for Zaza as well,) Lee Shines on percussion and Kyle Natchtigal on acoustic guitar. It was a nice refreshing change to the Nashville norm and this town sorely needs more of this kind of music to be performed live all over. Marco just release a brand new CD named “Amigus” which you can get on his site and I recommend you do.
I can’t tell you how many bands I have been a part of or worked where people would show up for rehearsal and someone (usually more than one) hadn’t practiced the material to be gone over in our rehearsal time. This is extremely bad when it is music that has been played for years within the band and the members can’t remember their parts or are just involved in to many other projects to take one seriously enough for it to be viable. In my experience it tends to be the same people over and over again. Always with some excuse whether it be work, family etc… but mostly it’s just people who don’t have the drive and discipline to take it serious. They would rather watch their favorite shows on T.V. or go out partying with their friends. This is a major problem within a band and needs to be dealt with immediately.
This Meme popped on my Facebook stream yesterday and it is of course an ageless problem within the entertainment community especially music. I consider it one of the major roadblocks for entertainers to overcome in order to have a decent shot at making it in the business. It is extremely important to deal with this sort of behavior immediately. How can a band or entertainer make it if the people involved are dead set on making it happen. That means putting forth every effort to be prepared. I for the life of me can’t figure out why so many musicians struggle with being professional or understand how completely critical it is for them to be prepared at all times for anything that might pop up. I quit trying to help bands get booked because they were never ready for a last minute gig. Their set lists weren’t done because they only knew so many songs and what was usually the reason? Someone in the band wasn’t learning the material or just didn’t think it was necessary to have a nice set list to draw from.
This eats away at the core of a band. People start to get irritated with each other and stop trusting each other. People will start to develop a “why should I bother” attitude because they get tired of working harder than everyone else but the people who keep letting the band down, expect to be equal partners and get paid the same while doing almost none of the work or having the work ethic it takes to succeed. This is about the most disrespectful behavior you can have in a band. Many of the other members are sacrificing time with family, friends or other things they love to have a real shot at it, but there is always some asshat that just doesn’t get it.
This isn’t a business that pays you for showing up. This is a business that pays you for hard work, work ethic, being prepared and having the ability to act at a moments notice if you are needed to fulfill a last minute opening. This also plays into people working with you. I make it abundantly clear from the get go before working withy any artist that we won’t work bust our ass for an artist that isn’t busting theirs. If this is a problem, they get cut. How can you expect anyone to bust their ass and do all the grunt work you don’t want to do, when you can’t even do the one thing you are brought into do. Learn your songs and put on the best show possible. You can’t do that if you spend all your rehearsal time learning songs that should have already been learned before the rehearsal at home. Rehearsals are for working on song structure, correcting small mistakes, developing set lists and most importantly performance. NOT LEARNING SONGS!
This of course is not a new revelation by any stretch of the imagination but yet things never change. The business is constantly changing, but musicians don’t. Same old story, same old song and dance. It’s a new business kids, gone are the deals, the money and now the people willing to working for nothing to bust their ass for a bunch of lazy musicians. Get with the program or get out.
To all bands and entertainers out there. Deal with this now or you will get absolutely nowhere. If it is a repetitive problem, fire them. Find band members that are willing to give 100% to make it happen or prepare to sit in anonymity for a very long time if not forever.
Title got your attention right? Good. In this ever changing landscape that is the entertainment industry, you have to decide what success means to you and go for it. You have to learn to be happy with what you have achieved and as long as you have given it everything that you have, you have to be okay with the results. What does this mean?
Let’s look at an Olympic level athlete for example. Most American Olympic level athletes are no different than entertainers. They make no money from their profession. Very few athletes make any money and have work a regular job, scrimp, save and try to find endorsement dollars just like any entertainer. The great old United States of America doesn’t pay for or provide anything for it’s athlete’s like most other countries so it is completely upon the athletes to make do with what they have. They have to become the very best at what they do in the same harsh environment that any entertainer does. They have no money, huge bills to pay for coaches, fees, travel etc… We are talking at least tens of thousands every year just to train and compete only a few times a year to achieve the world wide platform they are looking to get to.
The difference is Olympic level athletes are completely and utterly dedicated to achieving their goals. They get up at ungodly hours, put their bodies through absolute hell training 6 to 8 hours a day usually at minimum, work, have families and all the issues in life everyone else has. They have to pay someone a fee to coach them. They have to pay for all their gear, all their costs just like any entertainer does. “Their families tell them many times, why don’t you just give this up and focus on a career? There is no money in this.” However, you never hear them complain about it. You don’t hear them whining about how hard it is or how no one pays them for being the best at what they do. Ever. Yet every entertainer, most of which are not even close to the best at what they do always complain about not being paid while bringing nothing special to the table.
You see, the special people have a dream. A goal they know is almost impossible to achieve as so very few ever do. They accept it, plan for it and actually put the plan into motion to achieve their end goal. Every day of their lives. No exceptions, no excuses. They put their bodies, families and careers through hell for that 15 minutes of standing on a podium, hearing their national anthem and knowing at least for that little bit of time, they are the very best at what they do and that is all they need.
Almost every entertainer I have met isn’t like this. They whine and complain how no one takes them serious. They say things like “if only I could get someone to….” In other words, they want other people to do the real work. The booking, the planing, the social media, the PR…. everything and pay them almost nothing for it. Heck most don’t even know what they average pay is anymore, they still think it’s 1985. This is the most infuriating thing about the entertainment business.
You see for years the entertainers complained about other people making all the money, but the reality is, they were doing all the hard work. They did the work no one else wanted to do and usually fronted all the money. Now we live in a different dynamic. The money isn’t there any more. The entertainers got what they wanted, control of their careers. But that comes with actually having to adapt and learning how to run a business. Doing the things they bitched about having to pay so much money to have other people do. Just like any other business. You have to pay people to work for you and you pay a much higher price for experts in their field. Entertainers haven’t adapted to this new dynamic yet. They still think that people will work extremely hard for no or very little money which I am afraid isn’t going to happen.
You see, entertainers first of all need to do what they love just for the love of it just like the athletes do. Secondly, they have to dedicate themselves to the process of achieving your dreams just like the athletes do. What does this mean? It means getting your ass out of bed early and working. It means, put your money in your dreams not in your local bar or vice of choice. It means figuring out a way to pay for all the help you are going to need because you know you can’t do it on your own and quit hoping that someone is just going to “discover” you. That doesn’t ever happen normally especially now. The entertainment business is like any sports field, only about 2% of the people actually make it to the top. The rest have to learn to be happy with what they did achieve.
So this is my question to all you entertainers out there because in my experience your actions don’t match up with your words. How serious are you? Are you serious enough about your career and goals to dedicate your self with the focus it takes an Olympic level athlete? Or are you just another person with dreams but not the drive to actually back up your words?
Think about this before you pester people for help, before you tell everyone that you are the next big thing and if they would only just take a chance on you that you would prove it. Because, reality says 98% of you aren’t that dedicated to your dreams and goals. Which percentage do you want to belong in?
I wish you the best and I hope this lights a fire! To do anything in life takes and immense amount of work, money, trial and error but most importantly drive. Without this, you have no chance at making it.
Look at your goals and career like your are training for that gold medal and make it happen. You are the only one that can and no one else will put that kind of effort to back you, if you won’t do if for yourself.
One of the great lies I hear from bands that haven’t made in the music business is that promoters don’t promote enough for their shows. Really? A PROMOTER whom by title and definitions job it is to promote isn’t promoting enough? I call a serious BS to this excuse that musicians use to not be accountable for their poor numbers. I have yet to meet either as a musician or a business person a promoter that didn’t promote. We are talking 30 years of playing or working in the business and I have never seen this. Even the small promoters work their fingers to the bone, pay the bands with what little came in and always go home with nothing while the bands bitch and complain and pretty much did no promotion what so ever.
It is my contention that most musicians don’t know what promotion truly is and wouldn’t recognize it if they saw it and they have no idea what is going on in the background. Is this harsh? Yes, but it is my experience dealing with musicians.
So let’s get this out of the way early. Yes, there are exceptions where maybe a promoter is new or doesn’t know what they are doing or maybe doesn’t have a budget but this is not what you normally deal with. Even still people who are promoting an event are usually very excited about their event and will promote it the hilt to the best of their ability which I can not say about musicians. Yes there are a few musicians out there that get it, but the majority don’t and they make excuses as to why they there are no people at their shows.
First and foremost, promoters are not in the business of losing money. Promoters are in the business of making money. They aren’t into taking chances and throwing away hard earned dollars by throwing an event and not promoting it. That is just plain stupid and not even close to reality. If you as a musician have met a promoter that is into throwing money away and you worked with them, then that is your fault for making a bad business decision. Hopefully you have learned form it and know what questions to ask next time.
As far as promoters taking advantage of local bands again a load of BS. If you are a local band, and you were lucky enough to get a spot on an event that has money behind it, you are already getting more than you are worth in advertising and promotion alone. It builds your brand, your credibility and if you actually drew in the minimum of 30 paid tickets you should be drawing in, then you will be remembered and brought in again and again as long as your work your butt off and keep brining in numbers. This does lead to getting paid and much better opportunities for you. If you are a local band opening for a A level or B level band, you are getting paid by getting in front of the audience that paid to see the headliner not you. This is a crowd that would never normally come see you. Understand the opportunity that it is, the opportunity you couldn’t normally afford to pay for yourself and make the most of it.
I can’t tell you how many times I stood in front of Bridgestone arena during a big concert by myself handing out promo cards while not one of the band members helped or how many times I was out ever day hanging posters and no help from the bands. 3 times I had a tiny bit of help hanging posters from 1 musician who did one small area of town with me and 2 others where a model and a friend helped me to 2 square blocks. Everything else was me every day hanging posters and hitting a previous area again every third day. The bands always had an excuse as to why they couldn’t help.
Promoters have their events listed on all the known event websites. They get their events in all the local entertainment rags. They set up radio interviews and advertising. They do email blasts over and over again. They have social media accounts that they promote on. They hang posters all over town over and over again because posters are always pulled down. This more promotion per event then most bands will do in a year for themselves let alone for just one event. What do musicians do? Maybe a couple Facebook posts or tweets and call that promotion.
In a perfect world, each event will be promoted to the hilt by the promoter, venue and bands. Will this happen? Maybe, maybe not. The reality is this. Each musician or band is responsible for their success and the success of each event no matter what anyone else does. You can never rely on someone else’s promotion for your business. YOU have to kill it each and every time. YOU cannot let excuses creep into your thought process. People pay to see bands that are good, the pay to see an experience. If they aren’t paying to see you, it’s not because of a lack of promotion by the venue or promoter. It’s because you aren’t giving them what they want yet. They don’t see anything worth paying for. YOU as a band have to learn how to separate people from their money. YOU have to learn how the become the EVENT that makes them put other things off and come see you instead of a movie or handing with friends.
As a promoter we have to do the same thing however, promoters learn quickly usually and bands seem to languish in poor work ethic and lack of creativity.
Bottom line is this. YOU have to toot your own horn and not expect anyone else to. YOU have to learn the skills to make this happen. YOU have to have a band that is dedicated to putting together a strategy to promote effectively. This means everyone in the band has to participate and quit using the “that just isn’t my thing” excuse. If you are in a band and you find that you don’t have the drive or the time to make this happen, then it is time re-evaluate your business and maybe step aside or just be comfortable with being a local band. There is nothing wrong with that. Getting up and playing music for any number of people is it’s own reward.
The music business isn’t the same as it was 20 years ago. There is very little money it, especially for bands that haven’t made it. Musicians wanted control of their careers so they could make more money and not get screwed. Well guess what, you got it. Now it is all your responsibility. The real work, the hard work is now up to you and you live and die by the sword.
Now you know why, bands had contracts that paid other people so much. They were the ones making you successful. They did all the hard work, the grunt work. They were the ones taking the risk and fronting the money so you could be a rock star.
Time to make a decision. Either you want it and will do everything as a unit possible to make it or you won’t, but quit blaming others for what you are not willing to do for yourself.
To all the bands that are doing it, keep it up! Never give up! Take the reigns of your business and do your best to dictate your success!
The entertainment business is incredibly tough to be in. We all think we are amazing talents and think we should be paid for all of our hard work and what it takes to put on a show of any kind but that isn’t the reality. The reality is it’s hard to separate people from their hard earned income and with all the entertainment being thrown at them from every angle now days, it’s very hard to capture their attention.
This is why is so incredibly critical that word of mouth spreads about your show the entice people to your future shows. It almost always takes lots and lots of shows before you start to see the crowds you want but there is a strategy to doing it and most importantly, it has to be an experience they will remember and always talk about.
The other day, Dana White of the promotions company UFC came out and said “If you want to get paid, you don’t want people doing the wave during your fight.You want them talking about you on Monday and Tuesday and that isn’t going to happen if they aren’t paying attention to your fight” (paraphrased.) This is completely true of any form of entertainment. If you can’t get people to talk about how completely amazing your show or performance was, you are not giving the audience the experience they are paying for and hence, you don’t deserve to get paid no matter how hard you worked nor should you expect them to. This isn’t an hourly paying gig based on the hours you put in. Lot’s of people work hard (most likely in the wrong areas) but may not be talented enough, visionary enough or a good enough producer to put on the entertainment experience of a life time.
This is the truth. Hard work doesn’t determine getting paid. Buying gear doesn’t determine getting paid. Nothing determines getting paid other than your show putting butts in seats no matter how hard you work or talented you are. This can be a very long and arduous process for any entertainer but it is usually the most common road. Time, effort, talent and an amazing amount of patience are absolutely necessary in the entertainment business. If you aren’t giving the public something that makes them want to part with their money, then you have no one to blame but yourself. You don’t deserve to get paid just for showing up.
Along with talent, planning, intense amounts of practice and the vision to make your dream happen and to also deliver something the public finds value in comes the actual real work that most entertainers don’t want to do and hope others will do for them before they are big enough for anyone to want to. The promotion, booking and business end of things. Somehow the entertainers have to be able to do all of this. It’s obviously very hard and if it was easy, every one would be doing it but they aren’t. However it can be done and there are plenty of examples in the business to prove it. It comes down to will, determination and talent not only to perform but design a show that will provide and experience, not just another so-so show that the public usually gets. They deserve much better than average if they are going to spend money on a ticket plus any other expenses such as drinks, dinner, parking or babysitting etc.
I would estimate that about 95% of what entertainers are putting out there in their performances or shows is completely average or below, yet all I see are entertainers demanding that they should get paid. Paid for what? Mediocrity? I won’t pay you for that. When you send in your material and tell me how amazing you are then that is what I expect. If you aren’t that, if you don’t deliver on your words of your live show, if you don’t put butts in seats or increase your crowd on average over time, then you simply are not as good as you say you are. That is reality. That doesn’t mean give up though. It means you need to re-evaluate your show. Take the time to make adjustments, improve in the areas that need it and learn to put on the show that people wan’t to see. If you don’t, you can’t complain about people not wanting to pay ticket prices. You aren’t providing the value to make it worth the price to them.
You want to sell tickets? Provide the experience that people can’t stop talking about. This means the most well rehearsed, professional dedicated performance you can deliver and it must keep getting better. Until then, you will be mired in mediocrity and low ticket sales and letting the business jade you for your perceived slights. No one owes you a living. In this business, talent, hard work, creativity and vision are all you have. Bring it or go home. Don’t complain about people not coming to your shows when you aren’t giving the very best for them to see.
This is the reality that haunts us all. You and me alike.
Earlier I was looking at my numbers for this blog and was completely amazed at how well it was doing the last couple days based on one CD review for the band Maragold. Yesterday when I released it it was already doing double it’s average daily but then around 11:00pm CST the band posted it on Facebook and holy crap did it explode. It his had more views by 10 times the amount of any other CD review or musician spotlight I have written. Here is the key, each one posted it pretty much on their personal and band page on Facebook. Most bands don’t do this. They maybe post it once on their band page and not on their personal pages and they interacted with their fans about it. When I released it in the morning two of the band members and the band twitter account RT’d it once and that was it. For further reference on this please read my blog “Creating The “Buzz,” It’s Your Responsibility.”
What does this mean? It means that Maragold has found a way to reach it’s audience like no other band I have reviewed for or spotlighted. It means “true” fans not Facebook likes are extremely excited about them. It means they have actually offered up something the public wants. They did this in spite of having never released a CD and the only member of the band with a real name is was co-founder Greg Howe who is a well known guitar instrumentalist. Well known being relative in the world of music. Yes most guitar players know who he is, but the world doesn’t. Please note that Maragold didn’t ask me for a review. I just did it because when I listened to the CD it was so good I really had no choice.
Everyday on Facebook I see bands complaining about how hard it is or how the industry keeps people down etc… That is complete bunk. Is it hard yes but most bands don’t work hard enough, give the public something they want to buy or shoot themselves in the foot with poor promotion and bad social media skills. Is it anyone else’s fault you can’t make it? No. For whatever reason, Maragold has touched an audience with no prior CD, no real history of gigging, nothing but the past success of guitar player Greg Howe and each other individuals past endeavors. They made it happen without anything other than hard work, determination, incredible talent and most importantly at this stage knowing how to build up a release. Now because of this, hopefully with continued hard work, the songs which are amazing, will be the deciding factor in their long term success.
This audience interaction is what every band should be striving for, for without it, you have nothing.
Pre-order the Maragold CD here: http://www.maragoldband.com/