Chris Rizik: Giving Thanks For All of You

On Thanksgiving at my house, we’ll be doing what people in Detroit do: Go to America’s Parade (or watch it on TV), prepare to make a big meal for a crew of family and friends, take time out to watch the Lions (with fingers crossed), and – of course – listen to music around the house all day.

But on this day when Americans focus on our blessings, I also want to take a moment to give thanks to the folks who make what we do at SoulTracks so fun and who keep the soul music flame burning bright...

On Thanksgiving at my house, we’ll be doing what people in Detroit do: Go to America’s Parade (or watch it on TV), prepare to make a big meal for a crew of family and friends, take time out to watch the Lions (with fingers crossed), and – of course – listen to music around the house all day.

But on this day when Americans focus on our blessings, I also want to take a moment to give thanks to the folks who make what we do at SoulTracks so fun and who keep the soul music flame burning bright...

To the artists: It’s been a real education to see what you really go through in following your passion. We know the late nights, the long drives, the small clubs (and sometimes small audiences); Sleeping on friends’ couches or in your cars; Day jobs to pay the bills and night gigs to fill your soul; Times when you feel so tired and unappreciated that you just want to quit, and times of absolute triumph when you feel the love of the whole world. In the end, you’re the reason we write and the reason SoulTrackers listen. More than any other medium, music makes us feel, and you’re the ones with the unique gifts who deliver those feelings to us.

To the record labels and the music retailers: You are fighting the good fight. The music world has changed so quickly and the people who were in music industry for the wrong reasons were the first to pack up.  But a lot of your loyal peers are also gone, good people forced out by bad economics. Those of you who remain are a special breed who just love the music and are working smart and hard against strong headwinds.  Even in this changed musical world your importance is unchanged, and we’re thankful that you’re still in the game, helping those with talent find their song and their audiences.

To the managers, the publicists and the marketers: You are definitely unsung heroes, the ones who are constantly working, often unpaid, to help artists chase their musical dreams. You take big chances, betting on people and on your instincts, constantly trying to help your artists break through the noise and the malaise, and you rarely get thanks. Well you get it here.

To the radio people: There are iPods, Pandora, Spotify, YouTube and all other kinds of ways folks are finding music, but you are still the biggest sources of discovery for all of us. Whether you’re on a 50,000 watt megastation or on your own podcast, you continue to search through increasingly large piles of songs to find the gems for us. And we know so many of you are devoting late nights and weekends to make it happen. Thanks for being the pioneers who pave the way for music lovers.

These thanks wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the booking agents and club owners who bring us unmatchable live music in large cities and small towns, often taking a gamble on new, unknown artists.  Thanks also to our friends at the other soul music websites; we love seeing your creativity and your talent -- you provide an incredible service to music lovers around the world.

And I want to personally thank everyone who is part of the SoulTracks team, from our talented writers (read more about them here), to our editor Michael, to our web help, to our Awards team, to my silent “posse” of musical friends (you know who you are) who serve as a constant sounding board, to Colette and the kids, who both put up with my passion and help make SoulTracks, like life, come together (almost) seamlessly.

Most of all, thanks to all of you SoulTrackers. When I started this site almost 10 years ago, I never dreamed of what it would become or how many great, loyal friends we’d make. This year, you will visit SoulTracks almost 3 million times, and yet we are all amazingly connected despite miles and time zones. Thanks for always coming back to visit, for pushing us to do our best, for sending us scoops on news, for commenting (positively or negatively) on our articles and, most of all, for always being part of the conversation about soul music – keeping the music not just alive, but thriving.

So, on this day of gratitude, we’re thankful to all of you for all that you do. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Chris

 

 
Choice Cut - BluDazz feat. Michael J. Calhoun - "Chillax"
Album of the Month - Samuel Archer - "Soul Music Vineyard"
Song of the Month - Ty Causey - "Contagious"
Featured Album - The Fatback Band - "Funk'n Xmas Up!!"

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