THEN, I get a letter from somebody claiming to be the programming director (Ms. Billie Joe Braiburne) saying that she has played one of my songs for a man named “Charlie Ray” who is a professional song plugger. This letter goes on to praise Mr. Ray’s astounding accomplishments, which include placing Achy Breaky Heart with Billy Ray Cyrus and “promoting” Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. Supposedly, the Tennessee State Legislature has even issued a proclamation acknowledging his “contributions to the entertainment industry.” The programming director tells me that Mr. Ray was VERY impressed with one of my songs from the CD and thinks that he would be “willing to work with me.” Hmm.
When you go to the guy’s website, it is about as crude an example of webpage design as I’ve ever seen. You would have to go back to the very earliest days of the internet to see something as appallingly bad. It looks like it was designed by an autistic ten year old. It’s got some photos of various albums that are framed with little plaques praising him for various things. He has a picture of the alleged proclamation from the Tennessee State legislature. A web search uncovers NO legitimate, credible web sites that acknowledge any of his supposed accomplishments. Some of the claims, of course, can’t even BE checked out. For example, I don’t know how to find out if he actually placed Achy Breaky Heart, but even if he DID, that was in 1992 – two decades ago - and it is a totally different industry today. Most of the albums/plaques that he has hanging on the wall are from decades ago. (Not to mention the fact that ANYBODY could easily put a display like this together.)
The website looks nothing but sleazy. There is NO evidence that he has any industry contacts of any significance today, if he truly ever DID have any. There is NO evidence substantiating ANY of his claims by any credible, third-party, at least not that I have been able to find. (“Billie Joe” is, of course, a third party, but appears to be part of the scheme.) Finally, if you Google his name, you find that a whole bunch of people have received letters EXACTLY like the one that I received, except the name of the song that attracted Billie Joe & Charlie Ray’s attention is changed. It certainly doesn’t sounds legit to me.
Apparently, this all started simply because I had a ReverbNation page. After I mailed the CD off to NBRN, I took another look at my RN page. I had thrown it together in a hurry and then promptly forgot about it. It had been totally neglected for AT LEAST 18 months. I had a request from somebody asking to be a fan from 2009. (These days, you don’t have to “request” to become a fan, you just click a button.) And when I approved it, that fan disappeared. Obviously, I haven’t done a good job of promoting my RN page! HA!
The one song that was posted on the RN site was a rather mediocre song that was recorded very, very badly. (I’ve since added a couple of better songs.) However, after sending the CD off, they quickly zeroed in on one song that was much better written - and much better recorded. It was this song that, supposedly, got Charlie Ray’s attention. It wasn’t even the best song on the CD, but it was probably the best one that would fit the format on a country music radio station without being re-recorded.
So, has anybody come across this? Apparently, all you have to do is have a ReverbNation page and identify yourself as being a “country” artist (in addition to whatever other style you are identifying yourself with) and you will, sooner or later be contacted by Billie Joe. Then, the show will soon begin.