Industry Feature Friday: Tyson Goodvin (Session Bass Player/Musician)
Welcome to Industry Feature Friday, putting the spotlight on the people behind the music! From producers, radio DJ's and radio trackers, to photographers, managers and everything in between. These are the music business professionals who work hard to help put your favourite artists (emerging, independent and hit makers) on the charts, DSP's, radio and on the map through their work behind the scenes!
It was requested by a couple of performers that mention a few more session musicians and I LOVED that idea!
This week it's my absolute pleasure to put the spotlight on Tyson Goodvin!
Born into a music loving family, Tyson naturally had the the beat of the music in his heart from an early age. At ten years old, he learned his first chord on the guitar around a campfire at his family reunion. At 18, he left his hometown of Grovedale, Alberta to pursue his dreams and cut his teeth in the country music industry. Since that time, Tyson has played bass for many artists such as: Aaron Goodvin, Kalsey Kulyk, Duane Steele, Eric Ethridge, Dylan Gillette, Julian Austin and Mandy McMillan to names a few. While Tyson currently resides in Edmonton, AB his main gig is with Nashville based Canadian artist Ben Chase.
In the country scene, Tyson is emerging as one of western Canada’s in demand players. His positive vibe, business sense, drive and passion for music, ensures he’s in it for the long haul.
(Thank you to Tyson for sending that to me!)
Also, just for fun - so you can get to know this incredible musician a little better, here's his Global Country bio from the 2010's!
"Tyson Goodvin… Music runs through Tyson's veins. Like most in his musical family, he learned how to play guitar at a very young age. At the age 14, Tyson decided to enter a local singing competition and was pleasantly surprised to place second. He has always had a passion for music. He believes that he has a chance now to do what he had dreamed of his whole life. He hopes in the future to become a songwriter as he enjoys writing (by himself and co-writing with others). This young man's musical journey has just begun!" - Global Country.
Tyson is multi-faceted! When you hire him, you will be blessed with a huge explosion of diverse talent! Although, I don't believe I have seen Tyson perform, but from what I have heard and with his experience as a performer, guitar player and coming from a musical family - I know he has a sense of rhythm (with his bass) that you will find very appealing and will want to work with and connect with!
In all honesty, Tyson is a good hang too! I just met him in person this past CCMA Week in Calgary and I was like - he's a good hang! That's one of the many reasons you will read about today on why and how he is becoming one of the most coveted bass players in Canada!
He is someone you NEED to know!
Thank you, Tyson, for being a part of IFF!
Get to know more about Tyson Goodvin here:
Sarah Scott (SS): The best question! So this is your first time on a Studio B platform and it's awesome, thank you for joining me! You are a very talented session musician, you play(ed) bass for Aaron Goodvin, Kasley Kulyk, Eric Ethridge, Ben Chase, Brad Lynch Band, Dylan Gillett and of course others. But tell us, how did you get into bass guitar and into music, and tell me more about yourself and who else you've played with!
Tyson Goodvin (TG): Hey Sarah, First off, thank you for everything you do to support and promote Canadian country music! Also, thank you so much for asking me to be part of this week's "Industry Feature Friday"!
I have always loved country music. There are pictures of me with a guitar in my hands from such a young age, but my first 'real' interest in music was when I was ten years old. That's when I learnt my first chord on the guitar. I remember watching my family play around the campfire. I held that D chord until I saw the other guitar players switch to D, then I'd strum like hell hahaha. From that point on, I was never too far from a guitar. Into my teens years, I remember my mom coming down stairs most nights, telling me "It's time for bed. You have school tomorrow." To which I would reply, "Just one more song please?". And bless her heart, she usually allowed it.
I started joining talent shows and singing competitions which in 2008 brought me down to Edmonton, AB for The Global Country Star Search. I made the final 5 and got the chance to perform at the beautiful Winspear Centre with an all star band. That was the moment everything changed for me. I knew that music was what I wanted to do. I moved down to Edmonton a couple of months later and started playing guitar in my cousin Aaron's band. Weird right, why does this bass player keep talking about being a guitar player haha. Well, I was a guitar player when I started out as a "player", until one day, we had a gig and the bass player never showed up! Luckily it was a festival style gig and another guitar player sat in with us and I played bass. And so began my transition from guitar to bass.
Turns out, I was a better bass player than guitar player. I began freelancing, taking on gigs with other artists.
Since then, I have had the pleasure of backing up many different artists. You definitely named some of my favourites above. They are all amazing people. Two more that I would like to give special mention, is Duane Steele and Julian Austin. Two of Canadian country music's finest. I remember growing up in Grovedale, AB (just south of Grande Prairie) and hearing Duane and Julian on the radio. I knew every one of their songs. So when the calls came in, it was a dream come true to play for a couple of artists that I grew up idolizing. Not only are they both still incredible singers, but they are two of the nicest dudes I've met in the business. I look forward to sharing the stage with them every chance I get.
SS: What does a practice session look like for you? You're playing with multiple artists on a regular basis and having to learn new songs/bass lines all the time. How do balance, organize and set yourself up for success?
TG: Honestly these days, a lot of my "practice" is learning songs. I've been fortunate enough to be playing a lot, so I have my bass in my hands pretty much everyday. When I get a call from an artist that I haven't played with before, the first thing I'll ask for is the song list. From there I create a playlist. I like to listen to the songs once, determine what key it's in and get a feel for how it goes. When I have that figured out, I'll chart the songs so I have a structured road map.
Once I have my charts as detailed as I need them, I put them into my iPad. Then, it's just a matter of running the songs over and over. Sometimes I have weeks to learn them, sometimes it's days. Charting is crucial, especially for the gigs that pop up last minute, where there isn't a lot of time to prepare. For artists that I have played for previously, it is usually a little less work. At one point, they were someone I had never backed up before, so I already have charts and for the most part I know the songs.
It's just a matter of running over them a few times to make sure I have my parts nailed down. I'm not great with balance. If I am doing something, I'm going all in. Sometimes it involves very little sleep, but I've never regretted putting in too much work.
SS: Tell me about your favorite performance in your career and what has been your least favorite performance.
TG: Oh man! That's a tough one. I've got the opportunity to do some really awesome shows. Back in 2017, I played Cavendish Beach Music Festival in PEI, with Aaron Goodvin. We shot the music video for his now smash hit "Lonely Drum". It was really cool to be a part of that. CBMF is one of my favourite festivals I've played to date. The crowd was amazing! The Zac Brown Band was the headliner that night and I'm a huge ZZB fan! What I didn't expect was how much that song and video blew up. Last time I checked, the Lonely Drum video had something like 7.5 million views. That's a special memory that I will have forever.
To get to the good, you must go through some...let's say, not so good haha. Nowadays, I am very fortunate to play with some great players who are super pro. But there was definitely a point and time where I was taking every single gig that came my way. It didn't matter what the gig was, I would do my homework and try to "show up" the best I can. From time to time I'd show up and another player or two didn't put in quite as much time learning the songs. I won't name any particular shows, but they were more challenging to get through than I would've preferred to say the least.
SS: While many blogs have explored the topic of what an artist should be doing when looking to hire musicians for a live engagement, gigs, recordings and projects - it's not a widely talked about topic. There are obviously many situations when an indie/emerging artist might be looking to hire a musician such as yourself. This is kind of a two part-er question: This question may seem obvious, but what should an artist look for in a session player when they want them to play live? What should an artist look for in a session player for a studio recording/projects? I know some musicians who only do live or in studio sessions - but some do both of course.
TG: When an artist has a live show and needs to book players, they should be looking for many things. Reputation is everything for players. Ask around for referrals. Most people are going to refer players that, for a lack of a better saying, have their shit together. What does that mean? They are professional. They have a reputation of doing their homework. They play really well. They have proper and functioning gear. They show up on time. They have a good energy about them. They look presentable on stage.
When an artist is looking to hire a musician to go into the studio there are also many things to consider in their search. In the studio, time is money. In a "live off the floor" setting, you want someone who can nail the part in one or two takes ideally. You want someone who is versatile in their abilities to play whatever style serves the song. The musician should always leave the ego and the closed mind in the car. A big head and a bad energy will kill the whole vibe of the session that the artist is paying for. Nobody wants that. Also, how much experience does the studio player have? Live off the floor, you're going to want someone who has done that before. However, a lot of 'live' players ,like myself, are set up to record tracks from home. In today's world, a lot of songs are being pieced together. Meaning, the producer may just start with a scratch track with an acoustic guitar and/or a rough vocal. Sometimes they will add some sort of percussion or heaven forbid, program the drums...Then they will send the session to the bass player, guitar player, keys player, etc. At which point, the musician on the other end records their parts at home and sends it back to the producer. Producer works their magic, and you have a song. There are a few benefits to the artist if they are choosing to go this route. First off, the artist can pick almost any musician in the world to play on their project.
Secondly, you're not going to have the studio clock running, which should save the artist money, or at least give them a solid idea for budgeting the project. Third, the musician can spend more time polishing their parts, making the end result really solid.
SS: How can an artist make you, the session player, feel and be prepared for a gig? Like, what should an artist give you to prepare you for a live give or in studio to help make sure your time together on stage or in studio is successful and sounds amazing?
TG: Thank you for asking me this question, as this is probably the most important thing that an artist can overlook. Ultimately, the fate of the show or the session is going to land on the artist. I play for a handful of artists that are an absolute pleasure to work for. When they get the gig, they call right away to let us know there is a show as far in advance as possible. They pass on show details as soon as they have them (Date, Venue, Setlist, Backline, Pay, Accommodations, Travel arrangements, Meals, etc.) The more time and details you give your players, the better the show will be. Hands down.
Furthermore, if an artist is prepared and on their game like this, the players are going to want to play for them again and again. Reputation is everything in this industry. Just like if a player doesn't do their homework, word will get around that an artist is difficult to work for and it becomes challenging to find good players at that point. In closing, treat your players well, pay your players well, give them as much time and as many details as possible. Do this as an artist and you'll never have to worry about finding players that will make you sound great!
SS: Anything else you want to mention or talk about?
TG: Sarah, Always great chatting with you. Thank you once again for having me on Studio B Feature Friday. We just came from the CCMA's in Calgary this past weekend. There is a ridiculous amount of talent in our industry. Equal to the talent, there are so many good souls out there. Always stay humble and kind.
Follow Tyson on Instagram @therealtysongoodvin!