Carlock: Lubeck knows how to advance career

Published 9:33 am Saturday, August 4, 2012

Latin guitarist Bryan Lubeck had his CD-release party last Saturday night for his newest album “Tuscan Sky” at the Box Factory For The Arts in St. Joseph. This year marks 22 years since Lubeck and I first recorded together in my first incarnation of a recording studio in my upper apartment at the corner of Michigan and Niles Avenue. Bryan’s fourth full-length release marks the third I’ve contributed to in one manner or another, continuing a musical relationship that was only put on hold during my time on the West Coast.

Lubeck and I first crossed paths at the college graduation ceremony of a mutual friend at Aquinas College. Noelle’s words to me were, “you two will definitely hit it off,” and we did, in a post ceremony, no-name Big Boy restaurant knockoff. The wisecracks bounced back and forth off the curve-seated, padded booths while Noelle’s rafter-filling laugh encouraged us.

Little did I know that day that Lubeck wanted to be a recording artist. Over the next year, he contacted me and began traveling from Florida to work with me on his first demo, a song called “All Because Of You.” The song featured wave sound effects behind acoustic guitars, my bass guitar playing and coins shaken in our hands for percussion. Like an earlier Jack Johnson-type, Lubeck officially began his musical path acoustically with vocals, but with jazzier chords. A few years later, I connected Lubeck with a friend who was selling a beautiful home in the Sodus countryside, and he moved here, and we began producing songs in earnest for him to included on his first full-length, “Mysterious Woman.”

Before the album was finished, I moved to New York, but Lubeck never stopped. As of 2012, Lubeck has established himself as a live performer in southwest Michigan and northern Indiana, appearing regularly at “Smooth Jazz” events in the region. He’s aligned his brand with Tabor Hill and Hobby Lobby, allowing him to put out albums with regularity.

His sales numbers are numbers any indie artist would die for. One factor working in his favor is that instrumental music allows him to avoid lyrical conflicts with his corporate sponsors.

Lubeck’s success is a great lesson for any indie artist. His teams are built of the best and most experienced, and each release defines his style better and better. “Tuscan Sky” may well be his best and most focused instrumental album to date.

But I think the real story is the way Lubeck continually took action toward his goal. He met a stranger in a strange diner in a strange town and used that one speck of an opportunity to start doing something. That something turned out to be a great collaboration and he kept building on it, which led to where his artistry is today. He found ways to fund his records and sell them. He developed a sound financial plan.

I meet people with regularity that have the raw talent to make it in an entertainment career, but lack financial support, lack a plan to secure that support and lack a great team to enact that absent plan. Some surround themselves with the wrong people and wonder why things aren’t moving the way they want. There’s nothing more tragic than seeing great talent and potential left behind, bitter and unwilling to make decisions or compromises that could lead to success.

It’s a humbling feeling to know that my energy and talents helped Lubeck get started along his self-forged path. His story continually inspires me, as I hope it inspires you. “We’ve come a long way baby,” Lubeck recently told me. Ain’t it the truth!

Dave Carlock is a 25-year veteran of the entertainment business whose work as a recording engineer and producer, touring musician, and songwriter made him Googleable. His continuing work as an Independent Content Creator of Sound and Image has earned him a Grammy Award certificate, two Platinum Record Awards, and a Paragon Award in advertising. Currently, he brings national and international artists to make records and music videos at his production studio in the Benton Harbor Arts District.