VIRTUE RECORDS TEN YEARS AND COUNTING
The year 2001 marks the ten year milestone for Virtue Records, and what a wild ride it’s been. My first album “Night Birds” was released in 1987 on a label called Reckless (and on vinyl to boot) after failed attempts to get a contract from other labels. Little did I realize what a blessing being turned down was. Nearly all the record labels I shopped my project to are out of business. Reckless was a very small collaborative label that was never well organized. Distributors paid us very infrequently if at all, and nobody had bothered to trademark the name “Reckless.” Another label ( a heavy metal label, I believe) began legally using the name so we were out of luck. At that point my wife Kelli and I decided to pull out of Reckless and start our own endeavor; thus Virtue Records was born. The first project to come out on Virtue was my “Christmas” album, followed shortly by the rerelease of “Night Birds” on CD. Since then every album I’ve done has been on Virtue and I’ve never given a second thought to shopping any project to another label. We’ve endured the near collapse of independent distribution, domination of the marketplace by the “major” labels, shrinking radio playlists and more. Despite all this, Virtue Records has grown, and every year has been better than the last. The staff at Virtue and I thank you very much for your continued support.
It’s been a great year for me. I’ve had the chance to stay home a lot this year and it’s really allowed me to rest up and recharge (and catch lots of trout).
I’ve also been writing lots of music and arranging tunes for my next two albums. I did hit the road in 2000 for some short trips, though.
In July I returned to Nashville for the summer NAMM show. It was great to see some of my old friends, and had a wonderful night playing at Cafe Milano, my favorite place to play in Nashville. Also spent a week at the National Summer Guitar Workshop in Connecticut. This year’s workshop was particularly grueling but intensely rewarding. I love the opportunity to spend a week with all the students and my fellow instructors. I always come away exhausted and inspired. The coming year promises to be a very active road year for me and I look forward to seeing all of you again soon.
People have been asking us to bring back the recommended recordings… so here they are. Lately the CDs that almost never leave my CD player are two from guitarist Bill Frisell, “Gone, Just Like a Train” and “Good Dog, Happy Man.” Frisell has a great way of keeping things off center; the melodies, structure and even the pitch of his guitars keep you guessing. Jim Keltner’s drumming and percussion are, as always, perfect. Also check out Charlie Haden and Pat Metheney’s “Beyond the Missouri Sky.” Their rendition of Jimmy Webb’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” will change your day. Metheney’s playing is always a great inspiration to me. All these records are a year or two old or so, but remain consistent favorites of mine. Hope you’ll check out these great recordings.
I’m grateful to have the support of several fine companies whose products and
friendship make my job an absolute pleasure: Breedlove Guitars, Fishman Transducers, D’Addario Strings, Mackie Designs, Emu/Ensoniq, Hammertone Guitars, Dana Bourgeois Guitars, Neumann USA and Calton Cases. Check my website for links that will connect you with these fine folks. Thanks also to all at SharpeWorks for their excellent design work, my friend Yoshi Imamura for his wonderful paintings and friendship, Kathy Monahan for all her great work with radio
promotion, and James Jensen at Acoustic Music Resource (www.AcousticMusicResource.com) for his friendship and support. Thanks to the many radio stations all over the world who have played my records over the years. Special thanks to Kelli Bertram, who keeps the whole operation together somehow. Extra special thanks to all of you who’ve come out to the shows and workshops, bought my records, and have written such warm and encouraging letters. It means an awful lot to me to be able to share music with such a wonderful group of friends. I’m inspired by you all.
Wishing you love and music,