It's been a crazy two months for us here at ListenUp. Since launching the site in earnest Oct. 1 we've experienced a rollercoaster of a ride.
We've had overwhelming response from the music community which we've set out to cover and while still experiencing many of the growing pains that come along with starting a new publication. We've done our best to make our mark on the local music scene through interacting with as many of the folks as possible.
And we've had a great time getting to know the many amazing individuals who make up the heart of this scene and those who put their heart and soul, their blood, sweat and tears into making this crazy beach town we live in a great place to make and listen to music.
We know we've got a long way to go but — much like a band just starting out in a garage — we believe in what we're doing. We know that if we continue to work hard, put out great stuff and give people what they want, that with enough luck maybe we can make a difference.
But before we get back to any of the great content or other big things we have planned for the future, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the people who have helped us get this far. It may not be the most compelling read, but as a group dedicated to supporting local music and local people, I think it's infinitely important to recognize those who have supported us:
- First off, I must thank my family. I wouldn't be able to do any of this without your constant love, support, understanding and ridiculous ability to forgive the fact that I often spend 14 hours a day at a computer instead of with you all. To my wife Heidi, son Miles, my mother and father and all the in-laws that keep my child being raised right. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. I love you all.
- Paul Reynolds, Andre Pope, Jeremy Blanton, Thomas Cunningham and all the otherMBGeekout folks for making me believe this crazy idea could work. When I first met you guys, I thought you were all insane, juggling 10 projects at a time and thinking way bigger than I had ever thought. But without your experience, knowledge and overall support and cheerleading I would have never had the guts to try and make a difference or leave my cushy desk job to pursue something as crazy as a web-based business. Y'all are truly some of the most 1337 geeks a guy could ever hope to know.
- Kris Amendola and the folks at Drink! You folks are the ones on the front line making this scene happen every day. By providing a home away from home for many of this town's most amazing musicians and giving people a place to play you are making a huge difference in the lives of more people than you can imagine and helping drive the original music scene in this town at a time when it's not uncommon to hear folks complain about the lack of original music here. Trust me, folks, it's out there...you need look no further than downtown for proof of this. Thank you for making me feel like a part of your community instead of just a poser trying to bother bands for an interview between sets.
- In the same vein, thanks to Fletch and the folks at Island Bar Surfside for all of the same stuff I said above and for always being willing to talk shop and help turn me on to new acts. You guys have done a ton to make music happen in a place that many folks may not expect.
- Thanks also to Kevin and the folks at Fresh Brewed Coffeehouse. Even though we've just met a few times, I really appreciate what you guys have going on down there and I have a feeling we'll be seeing you alot more in coming weeks and months. And even though we haven't had a chance to get to really know the folks that run these other great venues, they still deserve some credit for doing their thing and bringing in great music: The Boathouse, Hot Fish Club, Dead Dog Saloon, Oceanfront Bar & Grill, Hard Rock Cafe, Surfside Live, Pat & Mike's Irish Pub, Pawleys Island Tavern and at least a dozen others I can't think of right now.
- The bands. You guys are the reason we're doing what we do. Without the music there'd be nothing to cover, so thank you so much for making amazing music. There's a ton of them, but a few I need to point out are Death of Paris (for continuing to support us), Ten Toes Up (for giving me a chance even when you had no clue who I was), Confliction (for including us with all the other media), and Brian Conner of Villanova (for being our first interview ever). Also there's Rabble N Rebellion, Charles Grace, Matt Parker of Pysch Ward, Brian Roessler and everyone else who's given us an interview or chance to cover them.
- Anne Marie Bailey at the House of Blues for continuing to help us line up interviews with some of the national acts coming through your awesome venue. Also to Monique Newton, Mona Prufer, Hatton Gravely and the other PR folks who have helped keep us in the know about what's happening locally.
- Michael James and the Musicians Network. For making me feel like I belong and for exposing me to the bevy of great musicians in your group. I look forward to working with you all more in the future.
- David Taylor and Sign-A-Rama for being there when we needed you and for making an awesome ListenUp banner that we need to remember to start picking up from bars around town.
- Michael Smith, Steve Robertson and Waccamaw Publishing for seeing the potential in providing a fresh take on entertainment coverage and for allowing me to still feel like a real journalist. Its really nice to deal with a group of open-minded people who really care about what they do and are willing to give folks the freedom to try new things — I think there will be some great opportunities to really make an impact together in the future. Plus, coming into an office to see people who actually seem to enjoy their jobs is a nice change.
- Tracy Thompkins and Myrtle Beach Alternatives for giving me another outlet to reach local music fans.
- Becky Billingsley for paving the way. Not only has she been kicking the rest of the town's butt with her food coverage for quite sometime, but she has created a basic blueprint for how independent journalists in this town should be doing their thing. Plus, some basic encouragement in those first weeks when I was truly clueless definitely helped keep me going.
- All our Facebook & Twitter friends. I can't say enough about how much your support and willingness to "like" us and share our links has meant. When we started we had no reputation, no promotion and no way to reach our audience except through social media and thus we thank all of you for coming along with us and reading the site. We will continue to try our best to grow our reach online and to bring you stuff you think is interesting. As always, if you have any thoughts on what we ought to be doing, please let us know.
- The Sun News. OK, well, not the actual organization since they really didn't give us much of a chance, but I know there are a lot of great people there who really care about doing good work. This inlcudes Steve Jessmore, Steve Palisin, Randall Hill, Carolyn Murray, Amanda Criswell, Dan Golden, Dawn Bryant, Claudia Lauer, Robert Morris, Aliana Ramos, Lisa Fleisher, Chris Tabakian and plenty of other great folks who I had the pleasure of working with and without whom I would have never learned the skills necessary to do this. I really do miss y'all.
I'm sure there are others who I'm forgetting, and I apologize for that, but it's just been such a whirlwind that somedays I can't even remember my own name. Yet, it's been the most exciting and rewarding experience of my professional life and I really hope that we can continue to bring you fun and interesting stories, and tons more behind-the-scenes stuff for a long time to come.
From talking to all these great minds and talents behind this music community, I really do think a renaissance of sorts is on the horizon and I only hope that ListenUp will be there to take it all in and be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
One more time, THANK YOU SO MUCH, to everyone who has visited and helped make this site go.
HOPE YOU ALL HAD A HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Editor/Founder, ListenUp Myrtle Beach