Seattle Roots Music Publication Introduces Unique Pain Reliever For The Stay-at-home Blues
Seattle--Heritage Music Review, a monthly guide to early rock, blues, folk, classic country, and traditional jazz, has been publishing a monthly performance calendar ever since its first issue in November 1981, but given the music-venue shutdown necessitated by the current pandemic, publisher Doug Bright is using one of his longtime musical passions to create a resource which, to his knowledge, isn't available anywhere else.
Blind since birth, American roots musician Doug Bright has been producing his newsletter for decades by means of assistive technology. He got his first cyber-spacecraft in 1983 when practically nobody was online: a ten-pound contraption called a VersaBraille that stored 200k of text on each side of a 60-minute audiocassette. "It sounds laughable today," he says with a grin, "but at the time, I felt like the king of cyberspace!"
It was the amazing potential of Internet radio that finally motivated Bright to get a "real" computer in 2007: a Mac Mini which, like all Apple devices, has a talking screenreader called VoiceOver built right into the operating system. As for the promise of Internet radio, he finds that the smorgasbord of offerings gets more exciting every year. "If you love country music," he enthuses, "it doesn't make any difference where in the world you are: you can catch The Grand Ole Opry live from Nashville every Saturday night. There's a guy with a Fifties rhythm-and-blues show at a station in New Orleans who plays stuff that's probably never even touched a turntable out here in Seattle!"
And then there's the seemingly endless emergence of tiny, low-power FM stations with signals so weak that they can't even get out of their own neighborhoods, but if they stream on the Internet, they can draw a worldwide audience provided they can get the word out, and getting the word out about the specialty roots-music shows offered by these stations has become Doug Bright's greatest journalistic crusade. With no live music to be heard anywhere these days, switching his monthly calendar to a radio focus seemed an obvious solution for his music-starved readers, and comments have been favorable. "Call it a new pain reliever for the stay-at-home blues," he says.
Heritage Music Review is still available in print at only $15 a year. Additionally, Bright publishes a Plain Text Electronic Edition which is free to email subscribers on request: firstname.lastname@example.org. His plan for monetizing this service is to enable subscribers to purchase virtually every album and book he's ever reviewed through Amazon's affiliate program, Amazon Associates. "It's still in the talking and planning stage," he confesses, "but eventually, if one of my reviews gets you excited, all you have to do is click the product link, buy the item, and I get rewarded. This new radio calendar just gives people one more good reason to subscribe."