Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Work Wednesday: Social Media

Last night I attended a social media seminar called the Destructo Tour.  Amber Osborne, aka Miss Destructo, as well  as the other panelists, gave great tips for businesses that use social media.  Here's a breakdown of what I gathered:
  • Telling stories and creating an emotional connection captures readers
  • Find the heart and soul of the company and share with readers
  • Find what we're passionate about and we'll discover content to share with audience
  • Be fun, open, authentic, and transparent
  • Do less, do it better (blog content)
  • Twitter speaks a different language than Facebook.  Don't connect the two accounts.
  • Don't be a "pitch", share interesting content, focus on conversations and building relationships
There are some things we're doing right, and other things we're not.  This was an interesting opportunity to connect with experienced people as well as people learning, like me.  I gleaned information not only from the panelists, but the attendees as well.

What type of content do you prefer to see on a band's blog, Facebook or Twitter page?  

    Monday, June 27, 2011

    Music Monday: Louisiana Music Radio

    Hello Music Monday!

    Today's topic is Louisiana Music Radio.  If you don't want to wait until the next "Chubby Party" to get a zydeco fix, today's post will help.  Tune into KBON or KRVS to listen live and enjoy the music of Southwest Louisiana.  These are local radio stations right here in Acadiana that play a variety of Louisiana music.  Another option is to create a Chubby Carrier channel on Pandora and other online radio sites.

    So while you're waiting for your next "Chubby fix" you can tune in and enjoy a variety of Louisiana music.

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    Inspiration Sunday

    Inspiration Sunday

    Today, for Inspiration Sunday, I want to share something that I read in "The Everyday Life Bible".
    The Everyday Life Bible: The Power of God's Word for Everyday Living 

    Enjoy God's Handiwork

    God speaks to everyone through His handiwork. Even people living outside the will of God perceive right from wrong and the reality of God, because Psalm 19:1-4 tells us that nature itself testifies of God's power and divine plan.
    I encourage you to take time to look at what God has created. The main message God speaks to us through nature is the He is.  This is an important revelation because the Bible says that before we can get anywhere with God, we must first believe He is."But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him.  For whoever would come near to God must (necessarily) believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him (out)" (Hebrews 11:6).  We can believe God because the Bible says He has given every person a measure of faith to believe in Him (see Romans 12:3).
    The very first words of the Bible give our first lesson of faith.  "In the beginning God..."  Many people acknowledge that God exists, but they have not learned to relate to Him on a day-to-day level.  Through grace, God tries to reach us every day, and He places reminders of Himself everywhere.  He leaves clues of Himself all around us, clues that bellow out clearly.  "I am here.  You do not have to live in fear; you do not have to worry, I am here."  God wants to be involved in every aspect of your life.  If He has taken time to keep all your tears in a bottle and count the very hairs on your head, then surely He cares about everything else.
    Jesus said to consider the lilies of the field (see Matthew 6:28) and the birds of the air (see Luke 12:24). Meditating on how God adorns the fields and provides for the birds can remind us that He cares even more for us.  A nice walk outdoors is a great opportunity to take a short vacation from the pressures of daily living and look at the trees, the birds, the flowers, and the children playing.  Let me encourage you to take time to appreciate God's awesome handiwork today and to thank Him that He is.
    Life if sometimes very complicated, but we can purposely learn to enjoy the simple yet powerful and beautiful things God has Created!"

    A simple flower...
    A sunset... 
    A rolling countryside...
    A peaked mountain top...
    A sandy beach... 
    A cool breeze...
    We've seen some amazing places, especially when Chubby traveled ALL the time.  I don't know if I could pick just one that is my favorite.  Can you?  Tell us about it.

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Freedom Friday: Who's the most important person to ensure a great show?

    Who is the most important person to ensure that my shows go according to plan?
    Is it the person that booked me?
    Is it the sound guy?
    Could it be the backbone of the band, the drummer and bass guitarist?
    Is it the turnout of the crowd?
    Is it the shredding guitar man or the high energy rub board player?
    Who would you guess?
    Wait for it.....Wait for it.....
    This may come as a surprise, but it's my mechanic!  If my mechanic doesn't do his job, I can't do mine.  And with a van with as many miles as mine has, he has to be on top of his game.
    I truly believe that the life of the engine is in the oil changes.  I baby my old van and she's been good to me.  I'm so glad that I have a trusted mechanic that is as dedicated to his job as I am mine.
    Now, aren't you wondering how many miles my van actually has?  I've had out-of-town mechanics ask me if they were reading the the odometer correctly.
    If you want to see for yourself, I made a little video for your viewing pleasure.

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Things to do Thursday: Cafe Des Amis

    This "Things to do Thursday" pairs food and music, hence the Zydeco Breakfast at Cafe Des Amis in Breaux Bridge, LA. Anytime we have out of town guests, we try to fit this in our schedule. A trip to Southwest Louisiana would not be complete without it!

    Keep in mind, when you're viewing the above video, this is at 8 in the morning, every Saturday. People love to party and "pass a good time" in Acadiana.

    Go here to visit Cafe Des Amis website and view their menu.

    So in true Louisiana fashion, happy dancing and eating!

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Work Wednesday; Networking

    Here we are at another "Work Wednesday".  For me, it feels like "Spin Your Wheels Wednesday".  Yes, we have days where we have so many things pop up out of the blue, we don't make it to our to-do list.  Today is one of those days.  You know, Chubby and I run the whole "behind the scenes" part of the business, and we stay very busy!  Okay, enough whining, I think I hear a violin playing in the background....(smile)  Let's move on.


    How does the small business owner (who's already up to his/her eyeballs in work) network? 

    Social networking is a great way to connect with people right from your home/office.  Although, we haven't created a consistent networking campaign to date, I know it will happen soon.  So far, we are only able to post the bare minimum, and reply to messages.  More on this in upcoming "Work Wednesday" posts.

    Good old face-to-face networking just can't be beat in my book.  We attend luncheons, seminars, conventions, and are involved in causes we support.  Because of this, we meet a lot of people in our area, and in our industry.  If you are interested in reading more about this, I found a nice little blog post about this topic here for more ideas to grow our businesses even with busy lives.

    How do you network?  What ideas work for you?

    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Music Monday

    Happy Monday!  Hope you had a great weekend.  Here's something to brighten your Monday morning. 
    I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this.  Great song, played on the accordion by an extremely intense musician.  Check it out!

    Sunday, June 19, 2011

    Inspiration Sunday

    Think about it...Think long and hard...When was the last time you were quiet?  No TV, no radio, no phone, no book. 

    Just you and your thoughts. 

    What if you could shut your thoughts off for a few minutes, and just be.  

    I think in today's fast paced society, we often times forget just to be.  I encourage you to try it.  Brew some tea or coffee, head outside and just enjoy being you.

    You don't know what you might actually hear. 

    Let us know about your experience.... 

    Saturday, June 18, 2011

    Snapshot Saturday

    Chubby here....Happy Saturday! I have several photo albums that I got out of storage last week that I need to go through and share. But in the meantime, I wanted to share, what is probably my favorite Grammy Party shot. AJ and I were standing there trying our best to look "serious"....Well, that lasted about 3 seconds, we couldn't hold it. We tried, but it just didn't happen. Before we knew it we busted out, so glad Kenny caught it!

    Have a great weekend!

    Posted by Picasa

    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Freedom Friday

    Are you ready for the weekend?  Chubby is heading to the Cherokee Casino in West Siloam Springs, OK, Friday and Saturday.  Then he'll finish up at Shady Gators at the Lake of the Ozarks, MO.  Here's the Zydeco Junkie Music Video to get your weekend jump started.
    What are your plans for the weekend?

    Thursday, June 16, 2011

    Things to do Thursday: Kids Bowl Free All Summer Long!

    For our first "Things to do Thursday"  we are sharing a program that our family has participated in for two summers.  It's called "Kids Bowl Free" a nationwide program, so no matter where you are located, you should be able to participate.  We get Maya's friends together, they bowl, the mom's visit. You get two free games every day for the duration of the summer, you only pay for shoe rental.  See the video below for more information. 
    Have Fun!

    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    Work Wednesday; iPhone apps

    Happy Work Wednesday!  Today's post is about iPhone apps.  It's hard to imagine how we kept up with our work prior to having iPhones.  Now Chubby can do business whether he's here at home, or on the road.  Gotta love it!
    Go here for the 50 Best iPhone Apps 2011 according to Time Magazine.  I would also like to add our personal preferences.
    Dragon is a voice command app that allows Chubby to send texts without typing.  It's sensitive to background noise, and he has to speak slowly, but when he's driving all over the country, it's a good thing to keep his eyes on the road.
    Have you seen the new QR codes like this?
    You can install the QR Scanner or Tag Reader and scan codes similar to this and automatically receive a video or pertinent information back on your phone.  I've seen these codes on business cards, in books, real estate "For Sale" signs.  You can get your message across to anybody, instantly, with these little buggers.  Maybe one day we'll add one to Chubby's business card and when it's scanned, will send their "Zydeco Junkie" music video as well as contact information.

    For the CD/Merchandise selling folks, or anybody really, we have a Square Card Reader  to accept credit/debit card payments at our shows.  It's easy and FREE!  No reason to spend a pretty penny at the bank to swipe credit cards with a machine, do it right from your iPhone.  Sign up at their site, install the app, a few days later you get the reader that attaches to your phone, set up your bank account, and your ready to get paid.

    Constant Contact is our email marketing provider for our monthly newsletter.  Their app allows me to view stats of any given email, anywhere.

    And last but certainly not least, the Bible app.  Don't leave home without it!

    I hope this list turns you on to some new apps that's helpful in your daily lives.  What are some of your favorite apps?

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    Tasty Tuesday: How to make a Fig Cake

    Today is Tuesday, so it must mean FOOD!  Our first Tasty Tuesday...I'm so excited!  We put together a little video.  We hope you enjoy...

    Here's the link to the recipe

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Music Monday

    Misty here, with our first installment of the new blog plan, Music Monday. 
    One of my favorite songs right now is a simple, down-to-earth song by Joey + Rory, a husband/wife country music duet.  I'm a lyrics person, I let the song take me away, and see if I can relate to the story.  In this particular song, I can relate completely. 
    I grew up in a very simple way, on a farm in Southwest Missouri.  Some of my best memories are riding my horse, training our coon dogs, breaking the ice on the pond in winter, picking fresh produce from our large garden in summer, re-roofing the old farm house, canning, and fishing.  This song takes me back to my childhood and makes me think about all the things that my grandpa taught me.  I hope you enjoy the lyrics.  This song describes just a few things that are important to me, what other things are important to you?
    That's Important To Me
    That's Important To Me 
    Not planning our day around a TV set
    Paying our bills and staying out of debt
    That’s important to me
    That’s important to me
    Openin’ the windows and lettin’ in air
    Holding hands when we’re saying a prayer
    That’s important to me
    Yea, that’s important to me
    Having somebody to share my life
    Loving my husband, and being a wife
    And the very best mother I can be
    That’s important to me

    Telling the truth, and being real

    Feeding my family a home cooked meal
    That’s important to me
    That’s important to me
    Planting a garden and watching it grow
    Keeping it country on the radio
    That’s important to me
    Yea, that’s important to me
    Always having you to hold,
    Being beside you when we grow old
    And they plant us ‘neath that big old tree
    That’s important to me
    Always having you to hold

    Being beside you when we grow old

    And they plant us ‘neath that big old tree

    Believing our dreams will take us somewhere

    Still bein' ourselves if we ever get there
    That’s important to me
    That’s important to me
    Yea, that’s important to me
    That’s important to me

    That’s important to me

    That’s important to me

    New and Improved Blog

    I know, I know, I haven't posted in ages. This blogging thing has been difficult to keep up with.  So I have decided to make some changes.  First of all, I am bringing Misty on board to help with posting.  So maybe with both of us working on this, we'll be able to keep up.  We've also changed the name, layout, and copied all the other posts to this new blog. 
    We have been thinking about topics, subjects, and ideas to blog about.  We needed a plan instead of just pulling things out of thin air. And this is what we came up with, for now:
    Music Mondays:  We'll share what we're listening to, fave songs, new songs, etc....
    Tasty Tuesdays:  You know Louisiana is known for its tasty cuisine, so we'll share recipes, methods, maybe even a cooking video or two, by yours truly.
    Work Wednesdays: This can be anything related to music industry, web, marketing, business tips, etc...Perfect for self employed musicians...
    Things to do Thursdays:  We will share posts and the occasional video of things to do in Acadiana.  Come on down to Louisiana!
    Freedom Fridays:  On Friday, anything goes.  We're free to post about anything
    Snapshot Saturdays:  I cleaned out our storage unit and found a bunch of old photos, so I'd like to share them with you. Lots of great memories. 
    Spiritual Sundays:  Inspirational quotes, ideas, thoughts

    I hope you'll enjoy our new and improved blog.  Let us know what you think and don't forget to subscribe.  We hope having a strategy like this will work out a little better.  If not, we will be ordering:
    Blogging For Dummies
    Blogging For Dummies

    53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards Pre-Telecast - Cajun Music Album |

    53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards Pre-Telecast - Cajun Music Album |

    The Grammy Nomination

    Jumping up and down, yelling, and  laughing one minute then crying the next.  That's what my wife, daughter and I was doing the night "Zydeco Junkie" was nominated for a Grammy.  What a sight we must have been.  I'm not sure if I write well enough to convey our emotions, but I will try.
    It seemed as though Wednesday lasted an eternity.  I didn't think 9pm would ever arrive so I could watch the nomination show.  As I sat in my chair, with my wife and daughter at my side, I had butterflies like never before.  My wife had queued on her laptop and started checking for the full list of all the nominees as soon as the announcement was made.  For 40 minutes, 40 long minutes, I pressed the refresh button waiting for the list to appear.
    At 10:30 we decided it would be best to put Maya to bed.  They had barely walked in Maya's bedroom and there it was!  The list we had been waiting for.  I called to the girls to come back to the living room.  As I opened the file, I couldn't get to category 72 soon enough.  When it finally appeared on the screen, everything went into slow motion.  My eyes couldn't focus fast enough, it seemed as though I could not read my own name.  When I heard my wife yell "Zydeco Junkie", I jumped like I was shot!  Maya started screaming, Misty started screaming, I started yelling.  I couldn't believe it!
    All those years on the road.  All the shows.  All the driving.  All the CD's that were recorded throughout my career.  All the people who were instrumental in bringing zydeco to the world.  The fact that Terrance and Cynthia Simien, and all others that were involved in the creation of the Cajun and Zydeco category, worked relentlessly, and I got to reap the benefits.  All the people who went before me that helped pave the road and the ones that will follow to keep the "zydeco road" spreading this wonderful music.  So many thoughts were running through my head.
    Before I knew it, my phone was ringing over and over again.  Herman Fuselier called to get some quotes for the Daily Advertiser but I was so excited, I didn't know what to say.  I couldn't think.  All I wanted to do was run around and shout from the rooftops.
    As soon as I hung up with Herman, I couldn't take it anymore and the joy quickly turned bittersweet.  I wanted to call  my daddy.  I wanted to share this moment with him, but I couldn't.  So my wife and I cried, holding one another, in the middle of the kitchen.  She understands, she wanted to tell her grandpa and dad, too.
    I want to sincerely thank everybody that has believed in me, supported me, and voted for me.  You don't know how much I appreciate you.  Thank you , thank you, thank you.  To all the musicians that helped put zydeco on the map (I know it wasn't all me, even though the article said so) I admire you.  I admire my dad and I'm honoring him with this nomination.
    In James 1:17 it says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father".  What a perfect gift this is.  So I couldn't end this post without thanking the One that gave me this awesome gift.  All the glory to God!

    Dreaming about....Sleep

    5 am..yes..5 am this morning my eyes popped open.  Just like every other morning after five hours of sleep.  I rarely get six.  Oh, how I long for for 8 hours of sleep, but my body just won't let me.  I toss, I turn, I squeeze my eyes shut, then after fighting  for some time, I give up and crawl out of bed.  Off to my office I go for some quiet time, then I start to work.
    I remember my daddy told me when I was a boy, that as he got older, his body didn't require as much sleep.    He would get up at 5 am every morning, the only difference, he didn't do it quietly. He would wake the whole house.  First thing he would do was turn on the TV to watch "Passe Partout" (pas pahtoo), then he would start clanking around in the kitchen to make breakfast.  Sometimes he would go so far as to get out his accordion.  Mind you, it's 5 am!
    Passe Partout is the morning news and they feature local musicians.  I would wake up to the sounds of Clifton Chenier in the mornings along with many other great musicians.  I would lay in my bed as long as I could, but when I heard the music start, I had to get up.  I found it captivating to watch our Louisiana music on TV, even if it was a local station.  So I would watch, with sleep in my eyes, until the music was over.  Then it was time for chores and school.
    So many great memories, and so many changes over the last 35 years.  But, it was hard to get up at 5 am then, too.  Maybe things haven't changed that much afterall.    I just need to get a little "Passe" in my "Partout" ...

    Firing and quitting: Are they similar?

    What do you think or feel about the words "You're being let go"  or "Your position is being terminated" or "You're fired"?  For most people I think it brings panic, upset, turmoil, and rejection.  Thoughts wander inside your mind thinking that you're not good enough.  You didn't measure up.  You could have done better.  What did I do wrong?  What am I going to do now?
     Then those same thoughts can turn angry.  "What's his/her problem?" or " They didn't know what they had".  It's all part of the grieving process and somehow I think the "firee" feels better to blame the "firer".
    I've had to do my share of hiring and firing over the years.  It's never easy.  And as I think back, the way I go about it has changed drastically.  When I was young I would fly off the handle.  Now I'm more mellow, and it's so much better for everybody.
    The parting of ways, whether by firing or quitting, is just that.  Parting ways.  When my bass player of 15 years told me he was quitting, I was shocked, panicked, upset, and most of all sad.  He and I had spent more time together than we spent with our own families.  We were like brothers, joked like brothers, fought like brothers, knew each other as well as we knew ourselves. We both shed a lot of tears when he told me and especially on his last day.  I still miss him terribly but we have a great friendship.  One that will never cease.  Nonetheless, I had thoughts going through my  head too, "What am I going to do now?" "Will my fans stick with me?"  "Will promoters hire me?"  "Who will I get to fill his place?"  "I sure hope I treated him well." And yes eventually, my thoughts turned angry, not toward him, but toward the music business itself.  I blamed the music industry for being too difficult.  I thought "Do I really want to continue?"  "This is too hard, too much"  "I don't think I can keep doing this".
    And if it weren't for my faith in God, I wouldn't have improved and changed.  I would have thrown in the towel.  That was one of the lowest points in my musical career.  But eventually things started to look up.  It wasn't easy and it took a lot of work.  But I did find another bass player.
    Like anyone who has heard those words "You're fired" things will eventually look up.  Just like when I heard the words, "I'm quitting".  I went through the same grieving process as someone who was fired.  So please be mindful that it's a two- way street and parting ways is never easy no matter which side of the street you may be on.

    Where I've been the last 22 years and where I'm going

    For the past 22 years I have headed up Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band.  I’ve been all over the world spreading the Louisiana zydeco love.  When I started my band back in 1989, I worked an asbestos job during the week and traveled on the weekends.  When I finally had enough of the hot suit and mesothelioma testing, I decided to make music my full-time job.
    I don’t know if I really knew what I was getting myself into.  Even though I had helped my dad with contracts and playing behind him on drums.  It was my turn to take the bull by the horns. 
    Agents booking me on the west coast on Saturday and then on the east coast two days later.  Driving countless hours, all day and night.  I don’t think there is an interstate I haven’t been on. Buying an RV to try to make 3 month tours more comfortable.  RV’s weren’t meant to tour that much, so the cost of repairs were astronomical.  All the “people in the business” that said they would advance my career, but instead just took my money.  Training musicians and just when the band got tight, another member would quit.  It seems to be an endless cycle still today.  We didn’t have email or cell phones back then.  Eventually I got a pager and a bag phone.  Man, how times have changed.
    When I was a little boy, we would have house dances.  We would move the furniture out of the family room to make room to dance and get out the instruments.  Throw something in the pot, and you’ve got a party.  It was pure fun.  Sometimes I think it would be so nice if being a professional musician was as easy as moving furniture, making some grub, and getting paid.  Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way.  So many people think I have the best job in the world.  They just see the party.  They didn’t see the furniture being moved outside, or the food preparation so to speak.  They just saw the end result.
    The music industry can be a tough cookie.  But I know this is the only job for me.  Being a third generation zydeco musician, I was born to make this music.  This music is part of me, my heritage, culture and history.
    Although a lot has changed during my career, I know one thing will stay the same.  I will continue to play this music, teach people about my culture through the music, and continue to press forward.  There are so many advantages now that we didn’t have in years past.  There are opportunities to show the world about my music just with a click of a button.  Technology to help me work smarter and not harder.  To continue to prosper in the music business doing something I love is what it’s all about.