DownTown Blog – 2014 in Review: Part 1

DownTown Mystic Cover

2014 was some kind of a year for me personally & professionally. Where 2013 ended with the release of the DownTown Mystic CD in mid-October and breaking into the Top 100 on the Americana Music Association (AMA) Radio Airplay Chart at the end the year, 2014 would start with a few challenges.

While I was basking in the glow of finishing the year with 10 consecutive weeks on the AMA Chart and reaching our highest position at #82, I was already in uncharted waters as the New Year started. I had never been on the charts for more than 3 or 4 weeks previous to this release, so as far as I was concerned, I had already passed every conceivable goal. Kudos to my trusted team of Radio Promoters, Fred Boenig & Keith Parnell at AMP, for their stellar work.

As January started, I was losing a big supporter in Corpus Christi, TX. Daddy-D of KCCT had been our 1st big Add at Radio, giving us 15 spins a week and that really helped us break into the Top 100. Now he had to make room for the new releases coming in the New Year. This was something I never had to deal with before. With the loss of those spins, DownTown Mystic was knocked out of the Top 100.

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My radio man, Fred, said we just needed to add some new stations to replace Daddy-D and he was working on a few to come on board. Fred came through and the following week we broke back into the Top 100 and hit a new high at #78 on the AMA Chart, making for a nice birthday present. The following week DownTown Mystic moved up to #71 while I was getting a biopsy performed, thanks to a spike on my PSA test. 12 needles stuck up my-you-know-where…Happy New Year!!

Meanwhile, DownTown Mystic started 2014 at #14 on the Roots Music Report (RMR) Roots Rock Chart. This was very encouraging since the Roots Music Report claims to be the #1 Independent Music Chart in the world. In early February DownTown Mystic continued to hit new highs in spins, rising to #65 on the AMA Chart, breaking into the Top 50 in Total Spins. Meanwhile, the single Way To Know crossed over and debuted at #2 on the RMR Alt/Rock Song Chart. The DownTown Mystic album debuted at #7 on the RMR Alt/Rock Album Chart. This really was quite a surprise! But it was all a prelude to what would be the scariest and then probably the best day of the year for me. In just 24 hours I would go from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs!

On Feb. 22 I was at my oldest nephew David’s wedding. Having spent the previous night drinking a lot of wine at the Rehearsal Dinner, my stomach had paid the price during the day. The wedding was a huge affair but I only had a couple of drinks, still feeling the effects of the previous evening. Later in the night, as the Bride & Groom were cutting their cake and feeding it to each other, I was moving in close trying to get it all on video.

As I drew near I suddenly saw my nephew and his new bride’s faces rushing towards me. WTF?? It was at this point that something in my brain told me this was not good, as I managed to avoid crashing into them, and fall to my knees to avoid an oncoming table. Dazed and feeling the blood rushing from me, I somehow got up and reeled towards my table, where my brother-in-law grabbed me and sat me on a chair. Seeing that I was going out, they put me on the floor.

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The next thing I remember was people standing over me with my shirt ripped open, calling 911. It seems I had passed out and 2 young doctors attending the wedding in trying to get a pulse ripped my shirt open, popping off the buttons (that seems a bit dramatic, right?), in order to give me CPR. They thought I was dead. Luckily, my sister-in-law, the groom’s mom who’s a nurse, was familiar with me and told them my pulse was just very faint. Believe me, there was no white light and my life didn’t flash in front of me, so I was not dead. The EMTs arrived and carted me out to the ambulance. What a scene! 🙁

It turns out I had managed to dehydrate myself, mainly thanks to the night before. Too much alcohol, caffeine and chocolate are a bad combination when not drinking enough water. It caused a sudden drop in my blood pressure, which caused me to pass out and why they had such a hard time finding my pulse. What a major drag—I missed the dessert room, where everybody was going as I was being carted out!! If I hadn’t passed out I was surely going to OD on cannolis! 🙂

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When I got back home the next day, I went online to check the RMR charts that had come out the night of the wedding. Unbelievably, Way To Know was now at #1 on the RMR Alt/Rock Song Chart#1??!! WTF?? And that wasn’t all of it…the DownTown Mystic album was #3 on the RMR Alt/Rock Album Chart and Way To Know was also #6 on the RMR Rock Song Chart! In 2014, DownTown Mystic was on 7 different RMR Charts.

This was absolutely surreal! There’s got to be some kind of moral to the story here, no? On the same night, I was personally at my lowest and professionally at my highest…you can’t make this stuff up!! I guess the moral to the story is that “some things are just meant to be”…right? I mean, think about it…for an artist to drop dead at a huge party on the very same night his single goes to #1 and he never knows about it is incredibly ironic! It would also be quite sad, wouldn’t it? But that’s not how the story turned out. Nothing was going to stop that day from happening and I’m still here to talk about it. But is it believable?? 🙂

By the end of February DownTown Mystic was on the AMA charts for 20 straight weeks, and amazingly, this was only the halfway point! Thanks to the support of some great PDs like Dave Stratton/WQBR, Adam Phillips/WHAY, Ed Lang/WRRW, Cullen Kehoe/WFIV, Wildman Steve/WildmanSteve.com, and certainly our main man, Stan Edwards/CountryBear.com, the DownTown Mystic album had another 20 weeks to go!!

I want to acknowledge and thank these guys for putting us on the map. While DownTown Mystic only had a dozen or so stations officially add and play it, what really mattered was the amount of spins each one gave us. Many times I would see DownTown Mystic with more spins than other releases that had twice as many stations playing them. Certainly, every possible goal had been reached and surpassed by wide margins. The icing on the cake would be going over the 1000 spins mark on the AMA Charts!

2014 was only 2 months old and already off to a wild start. At this rate, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to survive the rest of the year! Stay tuned for Part 2…

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