I Loved Being On The Scene with Rock Stars
My Dear John Letter to Music
My Sweet Music Community,
It is you. It has always been you! I have loved you my whole life! And for the past four years, I fell deeply in love with you, again! And I did so on a level I was expecting the first time I heard Big Jim Kohler’s guitar. It was Saturday, March 23, 2013. And I know it was God who opened the door for me, to walk into the lounge at The Icehouse Waterfront Restaurant. I was with my two girl pals Madonna and Sherri!
Dammit, Music! You remember it as much as I do! The day we met again!! You know as well as I do, that someone from above put three of the most hurting souls together in one room that night. I am grateful every day for the bond it created. We all walked on together and trudged through a lot of sludge in each of our personal lives. Each of us used you to work through our sorrows. And we did it too! And now we are at a point of rejoicing in your honor more often than ever before! Even right here in our town!
Don’t you remember the long sleepless nights of wondering? I do! I remember consciously choosing you over the urge of hormones and humanness! It was you that I picked for my relationship! I did so with intention. For the hopes of finding my soul again and healing my heart. We did that, which makes this even more painful!
As it turns out love is blind. I did a lot of dumb stuff, like work for free and let people tread on me. I wish I was wiser and it all worked out. Sorry that I failed in my attempts
Signed, a Broken Hearted Blogger!
Setting the Stage
I have had a love affair with music for as long as I have had a heartbeat. As a kid I played my records, sat on my bed and wrote in a pad anytime I was grounded. Sometimes it was songs and sometimes short stories. By the time I was 9, I was falling hard for a band that was popular long before my time.
My pen name was given to me by a childhood friend. It pays tribute to The Rolling Stones each time I write about music. I happened to fall in love with a band that gave me a long history to catch up on and I have been trying to do that for 40 years of my life. In getting to know their music, they brought me to the blues. That has been an educational trip that I am still happy to take any day! That is our country’s music history, with such awesome stories, offerings, and characters.
From the days of being grounded, I grew to be a paid intern and published writer who covered the local club scene in NJ. It was my dream job and I was living it as a paid intern at age 25. But even back in’94 it was not very lucrative. Local music and arts of any kind are sadly nonprofitable for most artists that don’t advance out of the local market. Nonetheless, we stick with it out of passion and love. I recognize how it is not always about money. However, real life and living require money! The reality behind this blog site is that so many people think is my hobby when it is not nor ever was that to me.
Business Woman, Boss, and Blessed Blogger
I signed up for WordPress in 2014 after I walked out of an unhealthy marriage. It was an intentional decision to invest in the cheap blog package after I got familiar with Blogger, a free blogging site.
I was ready to take it to a new level and use it to write a cathartic book about my divorce. And once I got some of the pain out in a few short stories, I basically signed off for a year but still paid the service fee to keep the site.
I read in a blog article, that if you made the commitment, the rest would come and in this case, I have to say, the tip proved true! Throughout 2014 and 2015, I was doing a lot more hanging out and chilling out around music again. After figuring out my first smartphone with the live app on Facebook, it was suddenly a brand new day! I have been recording raw live music footage of our local scene with pure passion and dedication for five years.
In 2015, I did a lot of personal soul-searching and found my heart was still most interested in music and music makers. I did a couple of stories about legendary local players, that captivated the music scene here in NC in the ’70s and ’80s. Before any of that, remember, I was well on my way back to the blues thanks and courtesy of Big Jim, who played and Dale Overbee who opened the doors of Bambooz.
When Opportunity Knocks
I came in at the end of that era but in time to meet Bill Lyerly, who was kind enough to offer me an interview. I dove into his long history on the road from Super Grit Cowboy days, to now being the Spanish darling of Spain’s music scene half the year! Not long after that, I got to see the reunion meeting of the once popular, Sutter’s Gold Streak Band. I felt excited and lucky to be given such an opportunity, which came thanks to Les Wetherington, singer, bass player, six-string songwriter, and an all-around great guy! Though he wanted to date, I knew I just really want to get to know myself and music again! Before long I made a commitment!
The Birth and Commitment to the Blog
At first, I offered the blog three days a week. I started this by offering you a bunch of Facebook events I found and shared them here. Then I packed up my camera bag and headed out the door to take pics, to see if I could re-create my life at 25 and create a viable product as I reinvented myself. I am an entrepreneur, so it is insulting to me when people ask me to consider getting a “real job.” Back in 1994, this was my real job! While thinking to myself, “What the hell are you talking about? Critic!”
Since then I lived a life. If you know anything about that, you know I walked away from music in 2005, moved to North Carolina and raised a son. I did it as a single mom with little to no financial support for my special needs child! He was 6 when we got here and I started my first real cleaning business. By 2006, I was employing people. In 2008 I sold my first business, got married and moved to Canada. The only thing I can say about that still is “What the hell was I thinking?”
History, We All Have It
In 2010, I moved to West Monroe Louisiana and upstarted my second business Tracey’s Clean Sweep, LLC.
During my time in LA, I would land the Duck Dynasty contract, which only meant I cleaned up after the film crew that occupied the 20 units of a housing development. In 2012 I got very sick with pneumonia and then developed several blood clots in my lungs. I nearly died and that definitely makes ya think about life!
It took 9 months to heal and by the time I did I was living back in New Bern assessing my life and where it was going. I was pretty sure I didn’t want to clean anymore, but following a small house fire in 2013, I met the editor of this blog, Robert Walker and again, I found myself in the presence of someone who was put in my life on purpose! Someone who needed a good opportunity. The former Marine and I cleaned together for 5 years. We rocked it too! We were a power team and operated under the best business model I ever created! Not being one to settle, cleaning has been a task for me since our split in June!
Fact is, for all of these years, I have stayed in love with my editor and music! They both have breathed life into my broken heart! Walker is still my steadfast and true best friend. No part of dismantling the cleaning business was easy, but it was a part of a greater plan that was spoken out and talked about. Regardless of the fact that I looked forward to and enjoyed being with him every day! It was a split that came with careful timing! I sadly, haven’t spent a day with him since late last June! But life is full of heartache and pain and you have to keep pushing!
Current Day and Community
Steering clear of the relationship circuit has allowed me the opportunity to know an awesome community. It was our local music community! And I fell in love with them and their music.
Behind the scenes of this operation, I was not out there hobbying. But along the way, I was lobbying for live music! I always walked out of my door to find music, to promote it with professionalism and intent. The intent to promote it so others know about it! And as STUPID as it may sound, that is ALL I HAVE EVER WANTED TO DO WITH MY LIFE!!
I was always out here with the intention of creating a platform for musicians. It was my hope to set a stage where the lights burned after the amps were silenced! I was creating a product and a service!
It was always my intention to make something out of this project. Sadly, we don’t always get what we want. If we did I would have money backing my efforts and people supporting the idea. I am not scamming people or posing as a nonprofit. I am standing before everyone saying, I am trying to be a for-profit business that will benefit the music community in NC on a level it has never known.
Once I had the NC scene worked out i had ever intent of expanding! I was going to keep networking the idea throughout all 50 states and build the app for each music zone. I saw it as an opportunity to offer an outlet to the many freelance writers who are entrepreneurs in their own right.
Behind the Scenes of This Operation
Throughout most of these many months of development, I used the money I earned in one business to support the growth and birth of this business. You can call it what you want, but I call it music promotions and it is the single most important next step for anyone interested in the industry. Without promotions, you might as well save your money and not even buy that guitar or amp. Since setting out on this journey I have run into one opportunity after another.
The idea of every business is to make money. So when I registered Tracey Stones Productions, LLC as a legitimate business, I accepted several opportunities all in the hopes of creating revenue.
The first opportunity came in managing the calendar for the Harvey Mansion for one full year, a contract that was filled with great success for the venue and the bands. As that opportunity was drawing to a close the Double Tree reached out and we were in the process of doing the same.
Sadly 100% of the commission agreements I had with bands and venues was washed away in September as both venues remain closed. The other thing that was washed away in a day was nearly 70% of my cleaning revenue as well!
I am Not Interested In Being What You Want Me to Be
What I recognized one thing rather quickly about our local music scene and that is that there are many uneducated players that are clueless about how this business works and shockingly, most haven’t figure out my role on the scene either. Everyone wants me to get them gigs just because I name drop all of the clubs that support live music.
Sorry, I am not a booking agent. However, if I enter into an agreement as your agent for a gig or two, I do expect to be paid. When people twist or deny that agreement, I am not gonna lie, it pisses me off. Some players played and then played me! Not very nice players! When that came out on social media, people asked me to expose the bands. I refuse that urge time and again because my heart is very forgiving.
I can push past the anger created by ignorance and selfishness and pray for people to find education. Thing is, we are all human and make mistakes. We all have our shortcomings, so when that day comes for me, I don’t want someone tearing me down for my stupidity and imperfect human nature.
Some Realities Are Hard to Share!
Again, I am a businesswoman and have been for most of my working life. I try not to tread on people simply because of the trespasses that have been made against me. When you suffer through trauma in your life, it gives you great awareness and a level of sensitivity is very helpful in life. That being said, I want you all to recognize that I have been through a great deal of trauma and suffer from PTSD and depression. I do not fault myself for this condition. This is how my brain deals with the stresses that people have left me to cope with. I am not medicated for this condition and am not interested in dulling the pains of my real life!
I am in therapy with a skilled and competent therapist who helps me heal my relationship with God and the world. And I use music as my medication to calm my spirit and destress my life. When people recommend that I get a real job, what they don’t realize is my lack of people skills. This again is not because of some social disorder, but again trauma. It creates a lot of distrust and discomfort in my life. I would do anything to find a cure, but I sense my best hope comes in giving it to the Lord.
When Resources Run Dry
After I returned home from the evacuation order issued in September, life was not only different for me but everyone around me. When your home town makes national news and gets Presidential attention, it is never in good glory. It is mostly always something that happens after devastating circumstances. Florence made a mess out of lives in this area. Being an empath I can honestly tell you my heart bleeds for my city. I still sit and ponder ways to heal the whole city. Of course, it’s my greatest wish to do it with music.
Back at the beginning of September, I was actually positioned to sell off my cleaning contracts, so to invest a lump sum of money into the true development of this site. I remember talking about it often and planned it out as best I could. But I have learned is that sometimes God has other plans for us and in this case, there was little left for working and nothing left for a substantial sale.
Where I am and Why I Feel I Should Sign Off
For all of these posts and throughout the years, whether anyone knew it or not, I was pouring money and time into this dream every week because I believe in keeping the live music scene alive.
I truly would do the unthinkable, if I had my way with this town and its housing department!! After the devastation I saw around here, I would level all of Trent Court, take back Craven Terrace and build a town amphitheater and a parking garage on the site. I would use a % of each event to create the revenue needed to build better safer housing for all of our citizens. I would also host an annual weekend fundraising festival with 100% of the proceeds going to the towns’ home and homeless needs until all the needs were!
In my quest of healing the world, however, I lost sight of my own situation. Today I am just another day older and deeper in debt. For three years, I invested 10-15 K of my own earnings annually to make this work. Now that I don’t have any money to invest, I am turned around in life and struggling tremendously! It finally led to a meltdown this week. Truth is I have put more than 200,000 uncompensated miles on my truck chasing music and turning it into the news! Now she has more than 400K on her engine and I have zero dollars to fix her or buy a new one.
My credit sucks and it’s been that way since the divorce. I have managed to always get by and today I am running simply on faith and hoping that the kindness of others might keep me on the road and reporting.
A Proud Woman Takes A Bow
For the last four years, I have been logging on here to report about local music. It is something I am passionate about because I love music and the people that make it! My greatest purpose has always remained the same. I was sharing stories and info about the players and venues on our scene so that other people would head out to support the mission of music. What might not have been known until today is that I was pouring a lot of my own money and time into it while knowing I would need a considerable amount more to really make it happen.
When I started out people told me to go to the paper, get a real job. Geez, we sure live in a world of conformists. Sorry to disappoint you but I am not one of those. I was never interested in making money for people. With an innovative spirit, I decided in good consciousness, that I was going to build my own tech company that would support live music. That, in a nutshell, is what was happening here and anytime you saw me out there!
My Greatest Needs
Instead of looking forward to the days ahead, today I am exiting stage left in need of a new car and with more debt then I know what to do with! I am deflated and turned around on everything.
This week alone I am facing my phone being turned off, the internet being cut and as we sit here today, I already owe people money I accrued trying to keep my head above water.
In all reality, this is something that one corporate sponsor could help me turn around. That kind of commitment would also open up more opportunity to the local players I am supporting in my work, as I would have more backing to do my job and build a team. Teamwork makes the dream work!
The Big Dream
I have always wished to attract the money that is needed to make my dreams of building an online music information source! I am a hard and dedicated worker with a long history in this business that speaks for itself. This community has benefitted greatly from my efforts and I feel that they could have signed up to advertise, sponsor this site or become a partner with me. Maybe now that I have to stop my good work they will consider my request.
As I leave it here, just know I am praying that I can come back and continue this valuable work with community commitment and support. If you want to help in my quest for the immediate needs I am facing, there is a link for offering a donation below! For those interested in mailing a check you can send it to Tracey Stones Productions, 911 Muirfield Pl, New Bern, NC, 28560 Thank you!
I am blessed to have met you all and hope you remember me like I will remember you, in a loving and positive light. Rock on and go easy with Love and Light Tracey
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
I know my work mattered because week after week I would ask you, players, where to go for music and you always showed up to help me spread the news. I loved you always for that so I will leave here and hope I can ask you yet again!
Answering the Call
Checking things out around the rest of the region, I ask my Facebook followers each week where we can go to hear them play. This is what they said this week.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
Do you like live music videos? Check out my Live Stream Page on Facebook.
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Thank You for Reading!
PLEASE, Please go out and support live music tonight! Always call the club in advance to confirm what you read here is true. Many times events change without anyone updating the changes publicly.
I am dedicated to making sure you know where to go to find live music. If you like this blog please sign up and you will get an email each time we publish.
I appreciate my readers, the musicians and the venues who all do a part in keeping live music alive! Give us a like and tell your friends about our mission by sharing this page on your social media pages.
Thanks to the many bands and clubs, thanks for keeping me informed!
When you walk out the door tonight, take kindness with you. Be sure to tip those that serve you and don’t forget the music makers that rock you!
Hug people often and share the love. Make sure you take time to enjoy the dance. Please party safely sweet people! We love having you here with us! Rely on your sober friends, call a cab or sign up to Uber around town tonight!
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
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Tracey Stones at work live streaming
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~Tracey Stones, Writer~