Publicity Photo Cody McCarver says social media has been a boon to his career, as fans devote their time to promoting him online.
Steven "The Disciple" Marshall, 40
Claim to fame: The Disciple is a local recording artist who records rap songs with a positive message for area youth on songs like "Black On Black" and "Money." His latest song is called "It Don't Make Any Sense."
Quote: "I would say (what I do) is mission work. It's a calling to try to reach these youth. The basic message that I am trying to say is 'can we all get along and stop this violence that is going around.' "
Brian Blaylock, 35
Claim to fame: Dobro and guitar player with the Dismembered Tennesseans, voted Best Folk or Bluegrass Instrumentalist at the 2009 FYI Music Awards, four-time winner junior division of the Smithville (Tenn.) Fiddler's Jamboree.
Quote: "I would like to be a sideman with a country group like Merle Haggard, George Strait or Alan Jackson."
Chris Thomas, 42
Claim to fame: Mr. Thomas is owner of Palo Duro Records, Palo Duros Presents and the chairman of the Chattanooga Market and the Thursday Plaza Party. His newest enterprise is the Chattanooga River Market, featuring live music and art and craft vendors at the Ross's Landing Plaza each Saturday.
Quote: "For 2010, we have booked approximately 200 local and regional acts for different events whether it be the market, the plaza party, Riverbend or the forthcoming River Market. "
To look at Dunlap, Tenn., native and country music artist Cody McCarver's career is to see how the music industry has changed.
He's gone from wide-eyed teenager learning chords on his guitar in his bedroom to a solo career that is being helped by an active fanbase taking advantage of social networking websites such as Facebook.
In May, McCarver's video for "White Trash With Money" was the most-requested video on CMTPure. It made it into the Top 20 on the Music Row Charts, as well. His other singles, "Red Flag," "Through God's Eyes" and a remake of Rod Stewart's "Tonight's the Night" also charted.
He credits his fans from around the country for his success. He has fans in Ohio, Florida, West Virginia and Kentucky running Facebook pages dedicated to his music.
"Social media has helped me because I have been out there playing, working and meeting people," he said. "They go and build these (web) pages and do a lot themselves."
He said they devote anywhere from 30 minutes to five hours a day updating the pages or calling local radio stations requesting McCarver songs.
"Facebook has been huge for me," he said.
McCarver is also active in promoting his own career, something he has learned to do over the years. He currently runs his own label called Peace Love and Coondogs and has signed a deal with Koch, which is distributing his first CD "Cody McCarver" internationally.
McCarver owns the rights to it through his deal with Koch, but is obligated to record two albums for them as part of the deal.
"The way I see it, you have a record company and they have multiple artists to care about," McCarver said. "No one will put more care into me than I would."
He said his experiences with his first label, which were stymied when the rep who signed him moved on, made him a smarter player in the music game.
"I learned enough to play," he said. "They like me at Koch because they are dealing with somebody who knows what they are doing. I don't waste their time."
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Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...