In the summer of 2013, I took a freelance job as the special editor for the WNC Woman Music Guide. I assigned and edited all of the stories, and also wrote most of the short, uncredited content. Since the target demographic of the guide was women, and since the overwhelming majority of music journalism is done by men, I opted to make my own presence as light a possible. At the insistence of the publisher, however, I did put my name on the introduction article, which I co-wrote with very talented journalist Laura LaVoie.
This article was published on July 1, 2013.
As a freelance copywriter and ghost writer, I’ve penned a huge variety of marketing white papers, case studies, ebooks, brochures, email marketing chains, press releases and promotional blog posts and articles. Some of these have appeared in some fairly big-name business publications and websites, usually under the byline of a CFO or CEO I’ve never even spoken to. Combined with the non-disclosure agreements I signed when taking on the job, this means much of my most recent writing isn’t something I can share, or even own up to.
In the absence of that content, here are some fairly generic ebooks I wrote back in 2013 for a social media marketing company that no longer exists. They were originally intended to be giveaway marketing items, traded for a lead’s email address on a squeeze page. They’re a bit on the generic side, and there are hundreds of equally informative ebooks out there on the same topics, but they served their purpose well enough. As a demonstration of straight-up copywriting, however, they’re pretty good.
A Rough And Tumble Reunion
During my time as a music journalist in Asheville, circa 2002, I wrote several stories about a local band called DrugMoney. The band formed around the same time I began covering the local music scene, allowing me to follow them from the absolute obscurity of their early days to the drug-fueled aftermath of their last tour in the immediate aftermath of their being dropped by the major label that eventually signed them.
By 2006, the band had broken up and I’d moved on to another job. When the original lineup of the band reunited in 2011, however, I was asked by a colleague to contribute a short article about them. This is that story.
This article was published on July 26, 2011.
Most of my work in journalism has been in arts writing, not investigative work or other hard news. It’s not that I can’t write news, but more that the to-the-point nature of news writing doesn’t play to my strengths as a writer. From time to time, however, I’ve managed to knock out a decent news story.
That was the case here. As a favor, I was asked at the last minute to cover for a reporter who couldn’t make it to an Asheville City Council meeting. It turned out to be a marathon meeting — one of the longest Council sessions in years — and a much more involved story than expected.
This article was published on Oct. 20, 2010.
Up In Smoke: The Untimely Death Of Vincent’s Ear
Vincent’s Ear was a coffeehouse and bar in Asheville, NC, and an institution in the city’s arts culture. When the landmark gathering spot lost its lease in 2004, the public outcry was huge. Asheville was in the middle of a major wave of gentrification, but Vincent’s Ear was the first established, well-loved business to be pushed out by the trend.
I wrote this in-depth cover story about the legacy of the bar and the controversy around its demise for the Dec. 8 edition of the Mountain Xpress. The story was a nominee for a variety of longform journalism awards, including the AAN Award for Culture Reporting.
It remains one of my favorite stories.
Let’s Get It On: A Valentine’s Day Primer On Classic Sex Manuals
This light-hearted cover story for the 2007 Valentine’s Day issue of Mountain Xpress reviews classic and (at the time) modern sex manuals.
I write about a variety of them, from the Kama Sutra (in pop-up form) and the original Joy Of Sex to more modern works like The Big Bang: Nerve’s Guide to the New Sexual Universe and The Guide to Getting It On.
It’s goofy and a little cheeky, but by no means salacious.
It’s a good example of the kind of fun, entertaining content I rarely have the opportunity to do.
Songs For DrugMoney
Most of my early career was spent as a music journalist, and I wrote quite a lot about both national acts passing through the Asheville area, as well as local bands. One of the bands I wrote extensively about was DrugMoney, who would soon go from strangely popular bar act to being signed by a subsidiary of a major label. This article documents their last show before leaving town to record an album, imploding, reforming and then seeing the lead singer land in jail for a year, as later documented in the story A Rough And Tumble Reunion. It’s also one of the very few times I wrote from a personal perspective on a band, an it’s arguably the best music essay I ever wrote.
A Jam-Mas Carol: The Christmas Jam Comic
This three-page comic was the cover story and centerpiece of the Dec. 13, 2006, edition of the Mountain Xpress. It was one of several comics-related projects I created during my time as the paper’s Arts & Entertainment Editor, and was my first collaboration with artist Will Murray. The concept arose from the general disinterest I’d always felt about the Warren Haynes Christmas Jam, a truly star-studded annual benefit concert for the Asheville Habitat For Humanity.
After sketching the idea out with Will, the story wrote itself. It remains one of the most enjoyable collaborations I’ve ever had, and is easily one of my favorite published works. It was also the most popular downloaded content on the Mountain Xpress website for years, although Warren Haynes’ people evidently didn’t like it very much. To date, I have still never been to a Warren Haynes Christmas Jam.
Musician Bio: Crocker
Stephen Crocker was an iconic, deeply controversial performer in the South Carolina hip-hop scene. As smart as he was adversarial, his work directly addressed themes of racism, poverty, political corruption and religious intolerance. While this helped make him a truly dynamic performer, it was difficult to explain his appeal and talent in traditional music publicity terms.
After a chance meeting with Crocker outside a dive bar in his native Spartanburg in 2013, he asked me to take a crack at his bio in advance of his website relaunch. Although he had been written about in regional media due to the controversies surrounding his music, very little had actually been written about the performer and his work. This bio marks one of the very first times Crocker was written about in the context of his art, and he was thrilled at the results. Sadly, Crocker took his own life in 2014.