There's nothing more exciting as starting a new hobby and then watching it expand into something that can be shared with the community.
I'm talking about the Curry Coastal Pilot's new local music website and blog called http://www.coastalgrooves. com. It's a site featuring information, photos and podcasts about artists from the Southern Oregon and Northern California music scene. The site also includes free MP3s andndash; music files that visitors can listen to on their computers or download to their digital music players.
Coastal Grooves was based, in part, on a similar website created by the music writer at The Bulletin (the Curry Coastal Pilot's sister newspaper in Bend). While the Pilot covers the local, burgeoning music scene with words and pictures in the newspaper's print and online editions, readers can't hear the music to determine whether or not they like a certain artist. That's why I created Coastal Grooves.
Readers familiar with this column know I am a big fan of music, especially local music. I play percussion with the Stagelights House Band and sit in with other musicians as needed. Music is a big part of my life and I occasionally use this space to promote the many musicians and music events in our community.
The Coastal Grooves website began in January as a pet project, unrelated to anything I do with this newspaper. It provided me an opportunity, in my spare time, to learn Internet-related software applications for creating and maintaining a website for both local musicians and potential fans. (I received much-needed help from fellow musician and computer expert Perry Devine. Thanks, Perry!)
Today, after more than three months and many late-nights swearing at the computer, www.coastalgrooves.com is up and running. It was a labor of love and is now operating under the auspices of the Curry Coastal Pilot, which means music stories that appear in print will often direct readers to Coastal Grooves where they can view more photos and listen to music samples.
Currently, the Coastal Grooves website features photos and mp3s of Raguy and the Caveman, a duo that performed an impromptu concert of Middle Eastern-influenced world music in Harbor May 12. It also features mp3s and information about a rhythm and blues guitarist who performed in Brookings earlier this month, mp3s from the Gold Beach-based band Homemade Jam, the lineup for the American Music Festival concerts this summer at Azalea Park, MP3 from the most recent Stagelights fundraising concert, and numerous local music events.
There's also an occasional podcast that features several songs from a local band or artist, as well as music from beyond the community that I've discovered and want to share with others.
In other words, there's lots of music discoveries available at the click of mouse.
I encourage readers to check out www.coastalgrooves.com and let me know what you think. Also, I urge local artists and bands to contact me with information about themselves, their music, and samples of their music.
Together, musicians, listeners and I can use today's technology to promote and support the music scene along America's Wild Rivers Coast.