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  • Charlie Cheney

    by Mike Huberty
    April 2010

    Charlie Cheney, singer, songwriter, Fawmer and developer of Indie Band Manager software

    Charlie Cheney, singer, songwriter, Fawmer and developer of Indie Band Manager software

    As a solo Americana singer/songwriter, CHARLIE CHENEY has been traversing the country and delivering a brand of intelligent, moving and fun songs. This last winter, Charlie embarked on a 25 city tour where he played his solo acoustic show, gave music business seminars, and participated in the February Album Writing Month challenge (an internet songwriter community where people encourage each other to accomplish writing fourteen songs in twenty-eight days.) All the while also hosting a radio show every day of the tour which focused on other FAWM participants. Now, he’s back on the road and has several house and coffeeshop concerts in the Midwest in April.

    FAWM is such a cool event.”, Charlie says. “It’s just an interesting challenge, and at first it was sort of a lark… like a dare… But now that I’ve done it four years in a row its become a much different thing, a chance to really work the craft of songwriting in new and inventive ways each year, honing the craft, learning why songs make you feel a certain way, or why you write songs at all. And the community is just so incredibly positive and thoughtful and supportive… it inspires me to write songs that really mean something to me.”

    And writing great songs has always been one of his greatest goals because some of music’s best songwriters were his first influences. “My parents were very involved in politics”, he says, “so I saw Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger probably 10 times before I was 10 years old. Once I hit high school age it was the Rolling Stones… Mick Jagger is one of the most under-rated lyricists ever. When you talk about lyricists do you ever talk about Mick Jagger? Probably not, but I think he’s one of the best craftsman of all time.”

    For people that haven’t heard his music yet, he recommends “Giant Chicken” from his latest CD, but says his track “Palmer Johnson Yacht” (you can listen to both free on his website) gets the biggest response from “people who are listening closely”. And that song has a Wisconsin connection.  He wrote it during the Steel Bridge Songfest up in Sturgeon Bay in 2006. He played it on the stage there and Jackson Browne (yeah, that Jackson Browne) asked him to come up later to sing with him at the end of the set. It stands as one of his coolest performance memories (it’s not every day you get to share the stage with someone who’s dated Daryl Hannah!) but he saves his favorite stage experience for playing the Madison Memorial Union Terrace open mic when he was 19.“ I wrote three songs that day and sang them all that night” he says. “It was just magic. I pretty much of improvised the songs because they were so new, I had the lyrics in front of me, but I got this huge round of applause, particularly after the 3rd song. As I walked back to the table to sit down with my friends, one of them said to me ‘I wish all music was like that.’ And his eyes were almost welling up, you know? I’ll never forget that.”

    Charlie also gives music seminars on touring and promotion as well as being the creator of the Indie Band Manager software, a popular musicians’ database that helps musicians with the business, networking, and touring side of the industry.

    After the April tour, Charlie will be back out touring the country for the rest of the year and he plans on doing most of it via Amtrak. “I know, it sounds weird,” he says, “but it’s a pretty awesome way to travel because I never have to check my guitar, it’s cheaper than driving, I can sleep or work, and trains have electric outlets so I can plug-in my laptop and phone.”

    And if you’re going to see him at any of his upcoming Wisconsin appearances, you can expect a good time and a variety of music. “I play primarily up-tempo sing-alongs lately, which is very fun and can get pretty rowdy.” Charlie says. “I’m basically selling ‘feel good’ for 70% of my show. I sprinkle in a few down-tempo emotionally charged songs for flavor and to give folks a breather. It’s funny, during the shows everyone is yelling and laughing about the up-tempo numbers, but after the show the emails invariably mention the slower numbers, you know? People like both, life isn’t just one color, one emotion.”

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    Charlie Cheney
    CD: Giant Chicken Record Label: Self released

    Download Giant Chicken on Amazon