Thursday, March 10, 2011

Song of the Week: "The Devil's Gotta Earn", Brett Detar

The landscape and dynamics of the music industry are changing faster than Lindsay Lohan's rap sheet. Records used to come with inner-sleeves that warned that "taping records is killing the music industry." Then vinyl gave way to Compact Discs which promised portability, high audio quality, and the ability to outlast a cockroach in a nuclear holocaust. But not long after that invention, people figured out how to easily digitize and duplicate CD's. Then came the digital download and the rise of Napster and iTunes. Music direct to your computer. No need to buy the whole album. No need to have the artwork or the higher quality audio of the CD. Heck, you don't even need to pay for it if you don't want. What's a poor record label to do? Most dropped the artist that couldn't move 1 million units in the first week of release. (See the documentary on Wilco, I Am Trying To Break Your Heart for a compelling look of a band without a label.) So, if that happens, then what's the artist to do?

Bands like Wilco and Radiohead embraced the winds of change, others like Metallica swung wildly at the wind that blew against them, and in so doing, appeared as greedy luddites. Non-established artists just looked for some footing in the hurricane. That brings us to today's SoTW artist, Brett Detar. Until November, I, like most of you, had never heard of him. But there was a little advertisement on Facebook that said something along the lines of "if you like the Dave Rawlings Machine you'll like Brett Detar. Download his album for free." Free. In this day and age, that is about what people will pay for music. Sad to say. I downloaded the album and gave up my email address in return. Clearly Mr. Detar had set his sail to tack with today's record economy, not against it. The reality is most people would not buy his record, Bird In The Tangle, because they would never run across it in a record bin. Never hear it playing in a record store, never hear it on the pre-programmed radio stations. You have to know what you want in iTunes, you don't just run across it. Mr. Detar, it would appear, had given up on making money on the album, and instead felt content to build a following for live shows and future albums. In this writer's estimation, a good gamble. Particularly when the product is as good as Brett Detar's.

Our song is the second song off of Brett Detar's free album, Bird In The Tangle. The song is the stomping and rollicking The Devil's Gotta Earn. It would seem an apropos title to describe the music industry and the way in which the song came to be featured here, which, ironically tries to promote good music, while offering it free to listeners.

The entirety of Brett Detar's album can still be downloaded for free from his site, We hope you will hear this song and follow through and give the whole album, not just one song, a chance. We think it is more than worth the price of the record, free. And keep an eye out for him on the road, I know us Rocky Mountain Flipsters will be watching our email announcements.


  1. "I'm drinkin' poison, hoping you get ill" Cool line. Perhaps a distillation of a Nelson Mandela quote that goes something like "Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies." Later in the song is another variation "You're eating fire, hoping I get burned."

    Have you heard the Dave Rawlings Machine album? A casual carpool ride to SF a couple weeks ago was playing it. A real stand-out was Hows About You, and pretty good over all.

    Thanks for the introduction to Brett Detar.

  2. Yeah, the Rawlings album is good. I don't have it though. :)

    This song from Detar is one of his more rocking numbers. Most are loping ballads with a generous amount of Pedal Steel.

  3. Brett's on the road doing a variety of solo shows. Check out his schedule at

    I know he would love to see you all out there.