The year is coming to a close and a new year is upon us. Times as we all see, feel, and know in ways disquieting as they are exciting, they are ah-changing. SoulTracks will be changing in the new year as well (some of those changes we've already begun). We believe these changes are for the better. We certainly hope you think so, since you, as much as these historic times, have been the inspiration for change.
In 2009, SoulTracks is going back to doing what we do best, write about music. With wit, intelligence and a love of the music you love, we plan to write better and even more refined reviews about the latest in R&B, soul, jazz and gospel music. Discerning critique is what we're most known for and--based on where you spend your time when visiting us -- it's what you most appreciate about SoulTracks, so expect us to deliver more of it. We need good music to inspire, entertain and sometimes just cradle us now more than ever. Our goal is to help guide you to music that can do the job.
In the new year, we are retiring our forum experiment, but will continue to seek your comments on our music review pages. There will also no longer be any more straight Q and A interviews with artists, as we will be focusing more on the artist profiles on individual artist pages. You seem rather fond of our artists' pages, and we want to give you more of what you like. There will also be more thought pieces about music, some inclusive of artists' quotes to give you a sense of who the people are behind the music and what we think about the music. There will not be any more long reviews about artists that we think are just mediocre, though my column will include more quick fire reviews of artists we think are worth noting.
Speaking of my column, it won't come at you on a crazy, intermittent schedule anymore. Cornfed's Corner will now come at you once a month. More quality, less quantity is the goal. The TrackLove list and Intimate Moments on IM on my editor's page are coming to an end, and will be replaced with shorter, but richer critical analysis of music artists, trends and culture. If there are artists or albums I want to spotlight for the month, believe me you'll know who they are. I've also decided to retire the country Cornfed persona; it was a fun experiment and I thank my readers for indulging me - but you want to leave on a high note, before they're pushing you out the door. For those who liked my kooky humor, don't worry, I do still plan to make you laugh from time to time.
When SoulTracks first started over five years ago, there was an information gap about soul music and the artists who make it, particularly veterans and underground musicians. Then, we needed to be all things to all people. Today there are hundreds of blogs and websites that do a great job keeping music fans informed on a daily basis of the comings and goings of soul. Maybe we're getting old but it actually all just feels like information overload, making it difficult for soul music lovers to know who and where to focus their attention. We feel this information avalanche hurts those quality artists trying to be heard above all the noise about every new Johnny (or Joan) come lately out there. As a tastemaker, it's nice to know every emerging independent voice, but all voices are not equal and some deserve more of a shine. Rather than contribute to the clutter, we've decided to be a more discerning, discriminating and even exclusive space in terms of who we expend our ink on. We will cover more of the majors, per your request, but we will also spend more time strategically celebrating and highlighting those indie artists who move us and who we believe will move you too. And we'll continue to find new ways to introduce you to these great artists, including plenty of listening rooms and free music downloads.
Ah, yes, the times, they are ah-changing. We want to be a part of that change-the good part. In the spirit of these humble, more interactive days, we ask you to let us know what you think of the new SoulTracks as we progress. Tell us how you think we can do a better job bringing you information about the artists and music you love (chris(at)soultracks.com for our publisher and cornfedscorner(at)earthlink.net for the editor). Pluralizing the words of one of my favorite fictional characters, Frasier Crane, let me say: "We're listening." In 2009, we hope you'll be too. Happy New Year, SoulTracks Family.
-L. Michael Gipson, Editor