Wednesday, August 27, 2008

LDS Musicians Festival 2008

Getting our peculiar groove on.

As I write this I’m recovering from six months of planning, organizing, and near stomach ulcers from helping put together this year’s LDS Musicians Festival for 2008 sponsored in part by and and several other great sponsors.

Our group, of die-hard internet musician friends at, has been together and growing since 1999 when folk singer and founder Brad Thompson first put out a call to the World Wide Web in search of other LDS Musicians. The first to answer the call was LDS hard rocker Mark Hansen. Since 2000 there has been a yearly gathering of some of our members to share music amongst ourselves and the community almost every year.

This year, with the help of and many other great sponsors like, a few of my favorite online music friends were able to meet face to face and share an inspiring weekend of music at the Springville Arts Park and at Showtime Utah,, in Pleasant Grove Utah. Everything from rap to soft Sunday sounds was heard as we came together for our annual fest. Most arrived in spirit though since our members, nearly five-hundred, are spread around the world via the internet and getting to Utah to attend is expensive.

Friday night was dedicated to the youth, a first for our group, and while the numbers were small (note…text messaging among teens is the best advertising…try it next year) we showed the teens of the Springville community that came that you can rock hard, like Mark Hansen, with positive songs or dance to great beats and clean lyrics with the help of DJ Shawn Phillips of Movin’ fm 100.7 in Utah and hip-hop artist Arythmatik from Arizona.

Arythmatik is a Mormon hiphop/rapper who focuses on positive and clean living messages for the youth with his very urban sound. My teenage son and nephew totally loved his style and had a great time when he performed, especially when he had my nephew get on stage to show off his break dancing skills.

My nephew also loved break dancing on stage with Alex Boye Saturday night at the end of our headliner concert featuring the great folk/jazz/singer/musician Sam Payne and Alex Boye fabulous pop artist and Mormon tab choir member. The concert opened Saturday night with power house singer Jen Marco Handy and her group “Shine” and blues man Neil Bradley Owen. It was a great concert on a gorgeous summer evening with only a few crazy sound blips due to wind. Thanks to the support and efforts of the sound engineers with London Sound we were able to have the best sound, overall, our fest has ever had.

Saturday, during the day, was filled with a chance to meet and hear the music from new and old friends of our group like children’s songwriter Annie Bailey, members of the beautiful harmony group “Musically Inclined”, Mark Hansen, Sam Payne, Steve Brown (this year’s Fest President), Neil Bradley Owen, and many more including some we’d never heard of. They came in from the community to hear the music and wound up sharing their own during our open mic.

This year we celebrated one more first that everyone agreed was great fun…The “Green Jell-O Awards”. A clear plastic fancy swirled trophy with a picture of a bowl of green Jell-O in the middle and a little green plaque below telling what the award was for. A homage to the early fest’s days when a few bigwigs of the LDS music industry referred to the fest gathering as a ward talent show on steroids and a “Green Jell-O” event. Our founder took that as a complement as we are the music of the people…but hey, as they say “We’ve come a long way baby”. And as Greg Hansen, of Sounds of Zion noted when he joined us this year “I can’t believe how much talent is in your group?”…Yup, indeed we’ve got that covered. Our awards were few but fun with such areas of achievement as “Longest Poster”, “Most Encouraging Member”, “Farthest Traveled”, etc. with our first “Life Time Achievement” going to Mark Hansen.

Since I had been so busy preparing the fest behind the scenes, and taking care of my family over the last few months, I had only briefly noticed that I had been put on the “Songwriter’s in the round segment” for Saturday afternoon. Songwriting rounds, often seen in Nashville bars and clubs, are where a few selected songwriters share the stage and take turns sharing the songs (often well known ones) they’ve written. The songwriters generally don’t make them famous, the singers do, but there’s nothing like listening to the heart of a songwriter as they sing a popular radio tune the way they first played it out on their acoustic guitar.

So when it was time for me to get up there I wound up on stage in between two very well seasoned performers Sam Payne and Neil Bradley Owen (who not only write their songs, but make them popular by singing them in concerts often) along with Mark Hansen who’s usually heard singing his songs to a rockin’ minus track. I felt so unworthy, especially considering I’d hardly had time to practice and was the only one up there of the four of us without an album. But it was a blast to perform again, nervous as I was, and be the one who could be counted on to humor the crowd with my inability to remember my own lyrics.

Sunday was the culmination with our music devotional held at the Showtime Utah theatre in Pleasant Grove. Joan Peterson, who is known in Utah for hosting the “Sounds of the Sabbath” on KOSY 106.5 every Sunday, graciously allowed us to use her theatre for free. It had a great sound system and we were able to hear from such terrific singers as Jen Marco Handy, Lindy Kerby, Musically Inclined, songs by Annie Bailey with her young guest artists Hannah Ford, Natalie Gale, as well as Jen Marco Handy singing with her sweet daughter. Award winning songwriter Steve Brown endeared the crowd to his wonderfully funny folk style when he sang his hilarious song “Sister Hathaway’s casserole”. Nicole Sheahan with her beautifully unique vocals, Mike Weingarten, Jen Marco Handy and Lisa Harris with the group “Shine” also shared some amazing songs. The evening ended with the powerful and soulful vocals of Hope Goshurn and Kavita King singing “When You Believe” from the musical “Prince of Egypt”. Punch and cookies were served afterwards in true Mormon style.

So now, that months of planning are done and my life is slowing down again, I’m left with the wonderful memories of another fest, ideas on how to make it better next year, and plenty of leftover pop and snacks that didn’t sell…a near year supply of junk food which are making great fillers in my kid’s lunches.

Take care, till I write again and I hope you will join our LDS Musicians fest next year and discover some great new artists in person.

Julie Keyser

Return to the Neighborhood.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

You're Invited to the LDS Musicians Festival

To all my Musically inclined Friends, family and associates,

Your friends at LDSMusicians would like to invite you to attend the annual LDS Musicians Festival, sponsored in part by yourLDSNeighborhood.

I'm excited to let you know of a three day music festival coming up August 15-17 in Springville, Utah. I've been helping with the committee for the LDS Musicians festival over the last several months and we're so excited with the entire weekend's programs . . . and it's this next weekend.

Friday night will be a youth dance for ages 18 with DJ Shawn Phillips of FM 100.7 and a fashion show put on by Modest by Design as well as live entertainment.

Saturday is the main portion of the LDS Musicians Festival with opportunities for all kinds of musicians, singers and songwriters to share their stuff, and,

Saturday night, will be hosting Sam Payne and Alex Boye in a fabulous concert. Saturday night is a music devotional that will be held at the Showtime Utah Theatre in Pleasant Grove.

Both Friday night's dance and Saturday's concert are paid events. Everything else is free.

Please check out Arhytmatik, LDS Fest 2008 or Showtime Utah for more details.

Also, for those of you living in Utah you can catch one of two interviews that Sam Payne, Lindy Kerby, along with me, are doing to promote the fest on KOSY 106.5 with Joan Peterson.

Monday, August 11th at 9:00 am on KJZZ TV(channel 14) we'll be interviewed by Julie De Azevedo about the festival and using the internet for music in general. Hope you can catch one of those shows and hear Sam Payne's music, since the first portion of Joan's interview with us has already taken place and they played Lindy's gorgeous song already.

Also, if you can, please spread this invitation across the internet and to all family and friends. Since we are a group of musicians who meet via the internet we rely on sponsors and word-of -mouth to help us spread the word for this event every year.

If you have youth ages 14-18 who would like to attend the youth dance we would love for them to text the details to their friends . . . with your permission of course.

Thanks so much,
Julie Keyser
Co-Coodinator for the LDS Musicians Festival 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

yourLDSNeighborhood Wins Rights to 2008 Especially for Youth Music wins distribution rights to 2008 Especially for Youth™ music CD; The disc will be available for sale starting August 23; Popular artists include Jessie Clark Funk, Dan Beck and Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band

Salt Lake City, Utah (August 5, 2008)

The 2008 Especially for Youth™ CD, featuring the songs of local recording artists such as Jessie Clark Funk, Daniel Beck and Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band, will be available for commercial sale beginning August 16.

yourLDSneighborhood, which was awarded distribution rights to the popular CD, announced that the disc will be sold through its web site and at retail music stores along the Wasatch Front. The CD is a compilation of songs chosen to support the theme and focus of this year’s program “Steady and Sure” and has become a vital part of the EFY™ tradition. EFY™ is a summer program sponsored by the Church Educational System of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and held in locations through the U.S. and Canada.

Gaylen Rust, president and founder of, said the commercial release edition will contain an additional track not available on the CD distributed to EFY™ participants and feature more robust instrumental accompaniments.
“Music is an integral part of a young person’s life and the songs on this CD really speak to the everyday challenges and exhilarating experiences that youth encounter. It’s uplifting and inspiring but also the kind of music that’s fun to listen to anytime. It’s also a way for teens unable to attend EFY™ to catch the spirit and joy of the whole EFY™ event.”
The “Steady and Sure” CD features 12 tracks including
  • “Steady and Sure” – the title track on the disc by Jessie Clark Funk, as well as
  • “Amazing Grace,” by Daniel Beck,
  • “A Woman’s Heart,” by Felicia Wolf,
  • “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee,” by Mindy Gledhill and “
  • Dream Big,” by Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band
Other artists include Ben Truman, Megan Flinders, Greg Simpson, Hilary Weeks, Terry White, Tim Gates, and a group song “Hurrah for Israel,” by Daniel Beck, Megan Flinders, Jessie Clark Funk and Dan Kartchner. is a new virtual neighborhood launched in November, 2007 where a wide variety of goods and services are sold from clothing and jewelry to sports, scrapbooking, travel, and things of interest to home and family. Visitors can stroll through the neighborhood, stop and browse at retail stores, purchase merchandise, or stop at newsstands to chat with more than a dozen bloggers, read timely articles or listen to audio interviews with newsmakers and hometown heroes.

At the Neighborhood Jukebox, a new music feature in the neighborhood, visitors can listen to hundreds of new tunes and download them. A music directory lists dozens of musicians who are available for family reunions, concerts, weddings and other occasions.

Besides the virtual neighborhood, produces an informative lifestyle newsletter four times a week delivering thought-provoking and inspiring ideas, and offers special marketing opportunities for artists, musicians and authors – as well as those interested in buying artistic works.

Return to the Neighborhood.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sam Payne: Father to Son

The 1970’s was probably the best all around era for the singer/songwriter and out of that came some amazing greats. Like Don McLean , Jim Croche, David Gates of Bread, Carly Simon , and the list just goes on and on. The gift each of these amazing artists shared was not just their voices, but their lyrical artistry, some of the best the 20th Century produced.

Out of this same era of music sprang another great, but lesser known singer/songwriter named Marvin Payne and from him was born, what I truly believe to be, the greatest poetic lyricist of the 21st century thus far…Sam Payne!

From his website, we learn a little more about him:
Sam Payne was born in Provo, Utah and raised in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains. The son of folk singer and actor Marvin Payne, he grew up to serve a mission to Argentina, after which he returned to marry Kristie Lott, his high school sweetheart. He studied jazz and theater in college, which took him to stages from West Coast Universities to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Brother Payne served as a full-time Seminary teacher from 1995 to 2006, teaching most recently at Tuacahn (pronounced “TOO-uh-con”) High School for the Performing Arts. He holds a degree in English from Weber State University, and a Masters of Education degree from Southern Utah University. Brother Payne writes books for elementary school students, and has recorded a growing catalog of original music, which he performs before audiences large and small. Brother Payne hosts “the Sounds of Sunday,” a popular weekly inspirational radio program, and clients of his radio writing include Glenn Beck, the popular syndicated radio and television host. He and Kristie, together with their four boys, live in Lindon, Utah.
“Like father like son” in so many ways musically yet, there is something about Sam that is entirely different and has made him completely unique. Is it his incredibly cool rectangle shaped glasses or his amazing ability to “scat?” Only you can decide, but there is no doubt in my mind Sam is the ultimate contemporary Jazz musician, singer/songwriter, entertainer…bar none!

Not since Ella Fitzgerald, in my humble opinion, has there been a better scat artist and it’s this truly unique vocal ability of his that Sam fans love to hear the most. Well that, and of course, his terrific voice melded into his incredibly rich poetic lyrics that weave tales of adventure, heartache, triumph, and the joy of our human journey.

Maybe that’s why so many of his fans were begging him for the album with “the stories on it”. So now the totally cool album “Father to Son” is found for sale on his website …a compilation of song, Sam’s musical followers will rejoice over. This album is Sam; with his band the Sam Payne Project, singing to an intimate audience while filling in the blanks between songs with his remarkable story-telling. I invite you to find out for yourself why so many have become “Sam Fans.” Two men in dark suites and white shirts will not try to knock on your door and convert you to his music, but…your I-Pod might!

While you're at Sam's website, check out his upcoming concerts. We, at your yourLDSNeighborhood especially invite you to join us on Saturday, Aug. 16th at the Springville Arts Park, in Utah Co., as Sam Payne and Alex Boye headline this year’s LDS Music Fest put on by, and yourLDSNeighborhood, Find more information about the weekend fest at LDSFest 2008.

Enjoy discovering yet another great LDS artist till I write again…or we meet up at the LDS fest in August. (hint, hint)

Until next time,
Julie Keyser

© July 2008 by Julie Keyser