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Inventing New Ways to Showcase Local Indie Music

Downtown Sacramento

Technology has moved indie music forward, but it’s still a big puzzle how to make indie music relevant to an online audience. Then again, if you let the music tell the story, much of the mystery is solved. I believe that music with lyrical value that adds insight to people’s lives can make indie music more popular. I also believe that combining regional imagery with unique regional music creates timeless local videos.

That’s why over the past several months I’ve been producing "drive videos" and "river videos" for SacTV.com. While the drive videos highlight Sacramento’s streets and highways, the river videos highlight scenes of the American River. Both types of scenery work well with local music.

Some people may wonder why the radio isn’t full of local music. Why does it have to be all national music? I think we are gradually moving into an era where regional music has the power to overshadow national music. People are always looking for certain messages to post on Facebook and other social networks. When music videos can deliver that message, it makes life much easier. Even though it’s unlikely regular music videos of national hits can deliver deep messages, it’s possible for websites like SacTV.com to bring together local scenery, local music and powerful messages. 

The song "Wake Up" by James Israel deals with one of the most relevant topics today: how greed betrays people. Greed was certainly the catalyst for the recession, which is interesting since James wrote the song several years before the financial crash of 2008. The song provides a conscious step for people to work together more closely as a community. I set the song to scenes of Downtown and Old Sacramento. The familiar scenery combined with deep lyrics gives Sacramento a more familiar, deeper profile. 

"Spiritual Zoo" by Harrison Price was a fun drive video to make because it brought back the 1980s club scene. There was a sense you could express yourself however you wanted at that point. The song promotes that spirit of local community. That spirit is still felt where the video was shot on J Street with scenes of Harlow’s.  The song captures the technology and dance vibe of the era. "Spiritual Zoo," along with the other songs I chose to showcase the streets of Sacramento, represents a time frame and a frame of mind.

The same thing could be said about the dreamy modern song "Voyeur" by Cinema, featuring none other than local radio legend Brad Adams. Another local radio musician, David Conley, provided a hit sounding rocker called "You Can’t Go." Last century’s radio stars are becoming this century’s internet stars. That’s partly why I picked them for this project. Another reason is I think they both understand music that attracts an audience. 

When I think of the San Francisco Bay Area, in terms of local music, one of the first artists that comes to my mind is Morrisson. He was making music in the Sacramento local scene in the 80s and 90s then in the Bay since the 2000s. His music has the positive juice that feels like progressive elevation. Once the over-crowded indie world figures out its best artists on regional levels, more people will know about Morrisson. His track "Funky Thing" is a fun driving song. 

Road 88 is one of Sacramento’s hottest country/rock bands, emerging from the Elk Grove area. The name of the band alone sounds like driving music, especially for long road trips. Their song "Not Gonna Happen" has a lot of bouncy melodic energy. It’s the exact type of song you would be hearing on the radio if the radio were about the best local music. If you wonder why there isn’t a radio station that plays all local music, it’s because there needs to be a lot longer playlist of local songs that are this good. Other melodically powerful songs I found for this project included "Shining Through" by Bret Bingham, "Down the Road" by Ken Koenig and "Girls Night Out" by Becca Danielsen. 

"Almost Perfect BBQ" by The Kimberly Trip is another fun drive video, capturing scenes of the Sunrise and 50 area. Each of these drive videos unleashes a creative dimension, showing that Sacramento is the home of diverse driving talent. My dream is to keep finding hundreds of songs this great that come from the Sacramento region and bring them all together for the local community. 

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