"Um, pop rock."
End of conversation. Because if that's all we can offer as a description of our own sound, it must be pretty boring, right?
"What kind of music" should be an easy question to answer. We've spent the past five years rehearsing and performing and recording it. We're passionate about it. We're immersed in it. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe we're too close to it to easily devise an elevator pitch.
The issue has plagued us since we started playing out, and it rose to the surface again when I decided to design business cards for the band. We wanted to put a little tagline on the cards instead of our names, something that would make people intrigued enough to listen ... but what would the tagline say?
For fun, and for lack of any other ideas, I tried a description my boyfriend ad-libbed a few years ago:
As I guessed he would, Ron the Drummer vetoed "hard-driving soft rock" immediately. He thought it amusing, yes, but wanted to avoid any association of Cinder Bridge with soft rock, even as a joke. I couldn't really argue with his reasoning. Soft rock is what they play in grocery stores. Soft rock is safe. Our music might be largely acoustic, with a conspicuous absence of shredding guitars, but "safe" is not what we're going for.
I went to sivers.org for inspiration. Derek Sivers is the founder of CD Baby, and his site is full of great advice for musicians who are trying to make it on their own. He writes:
Get yourself a magic key phrase that describes what you sound like. Try out a few different ones, until you see which one always gets the best reaction from strangers. Use it. Have it ready at a moment’s notice.With that in mind ...
It doesn’t have to narrow what you do at all ... if you have a magic phrase that describes your music in curious but vague terms, you can make total strangers start wondering about you.
I tried "coffeehouse stadium rock" out on a couple of people who asked the dreaded question and got a laugh both times. Ron thought it was funny too. He did not, however, want to use it on our business cards. We've been trying to play bigger venues, he argued, trying not to limit ourselves to places where we're competing with the cappuccino machine. Why should we typecast ourselves?
So ... I'll throw the question out to you. Listen to a song or two if you haven't heard us before and tell us what you think. If you were Cinder Bridge, what would you tell people you sounded like?
If you come up with something Ron and I BOTH like enough to put on the card, we'll send you a free copy of our album, Highways and Hiking Shoes. If you've got the CD already, we'll send you the T-shirt. :)