Tunes on the town

Rockers The Tunesmiths keep an active schedule, and their next gig is headlining a mini-festival Friday night. Guitarist Bryce Gill told us their story.

LEO: Tell me about what’s coming up.

Bryce Gill: On Feb. 15, we’re headlining the “Music is Love” showcase at Phoenix Hill Tavern … High Hat Entertainment has put a lot of effort into this show, and it’s been over a year in the making. They’re bringing in an army of great local bands, DJs and a photo booth.

LEO: How much do live shows help you sell CDs and build your fan base?

BG: We certainly sell a lot at our shows, but it isn’t enough for us to rely on in our budget. It is harder than ever for people to bring themselves to spend $10-$15 on any album. We sell our CD for $7, and even that price will have people grumbling as they walk by our merch table.

The magic recipe for selling albums at gigs hasn’t really changed: 1) Make sure the drinks are flowing. 2) Play your heart out onstage. 3) Talk to as many people as you can before and after the performance. Those steps will also help you build your audience, but it’s really only half the battle … The key is having some process of getting them active online and doing so without being too pushy about it. We meet so many great people at our shows, if we never got them online in some way, we would essentially lose them forever.

LEO: How do you feel about playing locally versus playing out of town?

BG: Playing Louisville is all we do. To give you an idea, we perform around 25-35 shows annually, and out of those, only one or two will be outside of Louisville. Our recent show at the Palace marked the 42nd venue that we’ve performed at in town … That really is an incredible number of live venues for any town to have, and there are still dozens more that we’ve yet to play. We all have full-time jobs and families here, and I don’t see any big rock ’n’ roll check on the horizon.

The Tunesmiths next play Gerstle’s on Feb. 23.