Donovan Tucker Mike Gladstone’s Yellow King

Donovan Tucker Mike Gladstone‘s Yellow King

Review by Roy Elkins

This is one of those reviews that I am going to struggle writing as I can find almost nothing to improve upon in this song. When a person has so much respect for the two songwriters who wrote it, it is hard to give them constructive input. Donovan Tucker Mike Gladstone‘s Yellow King made my day and is why I started Broadjam – to get the opportunity to hear songs like this.

Donovan Tucker Mike Gladstone Roy Elkins

Donovan Tucker

This is an instrumental that begins with an “outlaw surf” guitar sound reminiscent of Eddy, Orbison, etc. It is played so tastefully that I could have stopped the song at 25 seconds and been completely happy with it. Behind the incredible guitar tone, percussion filled the spaces. A ratchet-like sound, along with some other effects, were strategically placed to support the snare landing on 4 (if you count like I do.) Brilliant use of simple instrumentation to make a great piece of music. I don’t know if I have ever listened to an instrumental ballad that was produced to this level of quality.

Donovan Tucker Mike Gladstone Roy Elkins

Mike Gladstone

The first guitar continues with a beautiful melody until approximately 47 seconds and then a classy flamenco guitar sound enters and tears it up. The feel of the performance and the tone of this guitar sound and performance is inspiring. As I am listening, many guitar gods are going through my head, Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Mark Knopfler, Lee Ritenour, Joe Walsh, Jon McLaughlin, maybe a little Hendrix, etc. One can always tell when a player has put their 10,000 hours in…..because they know when NOT to play. The spaces between the notes in this piece are as strong as the notes that are played. If this is the same person playing both of these parts, I am blown away. This is some of the best and tasteful work I’ve have ever heard.

Ok, now on to the song. This could easily find a place in a film. When one closes their eyes and listens to this, the scenery just flies by in your head. Instrumentals need to invoke an emotion or vision to be good, this does both. This made my personal playlist immediately within one minute and will be heard by many of my friends.

It is so hard to find anything constructive to say when a piece is done this well. So I will preface my comments with, “don’t change a thing.” But I also know that writers of this caliber want that detailed input to make their next project better.

If this was my song, there are just a couple of things that I might consider tweaking (if I was totally bored and didn’t have anything else to do.) 1.) The bridge comes in around 1:32 and a backup up synth pad is behind it. (Sounds like an old M1.) Since the tone of the patch is similar to the frequency range of the guitar, I might play a couple inversions up on the keyboard, or an entire octave. 2.) At 2:13 when the song and melody return to the verse, the ratchet-like sound and guitar are slightly off each other – the first time through I thought it might be distortion. So in a re-mix, I would edit these to begin at same time and bring the percussion slightly down in the mix for that first hit. Again, I emphasize that I find myself digging to really find something that I would improve. I am not sure either of these suggestions would advance the song or it would just sound more appealing to my own ears.

Mike GladstoneDonovan Tucker are both great songwriters on their own. Working together they have produced a home run and certainly captured my attention. Great work to both of these writers and I hope they continue working together.

Donovan Tucker Mike Gladston‘s Yellow King

Additional links & good organizations

Press & educational links Hangout June 6, 2014, “Blanket” Music Licensing, Industry Projections, Celebrating Sonic Foundry, A Music Platform, Project Famous – Great Photographer, Models of Opportunity: How Entrepreneurs Design Firms

JD Dohnal – Beatles Without John review by Roy Elkins

JD Dohnal – Beatles without John review by Roy Elkins

If you are a Beatles fan and like country or folk music, there is no better song for you. This song composed by JD Dohnal is one of the best ever posted on Broadjam. Here are my thoughts on this song crafted by an incredibly gifted songwriter. Roy Elkins

Beatles without John Written by JD Dohnal

Review by Roy Elkins


I listen to an average of 30 – 40 songs a day and every once in a while I hear something that I say, “Damn, I wish I would have written that.” This is one of

JD Dohnal Roy Elkins Broadjam

JD Dohnal

those songs. It is brilliantly crafted and I am really curious as to how long it took him to write and complete. My guess is there were many, many iterations of this and lots of trial and error.

The lead character in this story is traveling south and listening to the radio when an all Beatles show comes on the radio. The singer has recently broken up with his significant other and the writer is weaving Beatle titles into his thoughts about the break-up. Generally, when I hear a song like this that encompasses lyrics and/or elements from previous band or event, it is usually tasteless and gimmicky…..and being a Beatles freak, I figured this is just going to be another one of those. I have learned not to have pre-conceived ideas as JD Dohnal nailed it with this song.

The lyric is poignant, the delivery is docile and the supporting chords are sad, but somehow there is still a glimpse of “feel good” as I listen. Although he uses many Beatles titles, they all could be just “regular” lyrics if they weren’t affiliated with the most famous band in history.

A very tasteful production, simple melody, nice movin’ groove with no real bells and whistles. The producer did this justice. It could have been very easy to take this over the top and add Beatle-like sounds, but they let the lyric shine and the instrumentation is in a supportive role….right where it should be.

Although JD Dohnal has written many good songs and I have listened to many of them, this is one of those that define a writer, like Yesterday for McCartney, Imagine for Lennon and Something for Harrison. He may never write a song better than this and many others may never write a song as good as this either.

Additional links & good organizations

Press & educational links Hangout June 6, 2014, “Blanket” Music Licensing, Industry Projections, Celebrating Sonic Foundry, A Music Platform, Project Famous – Great Photographer, Models of Opportunity: How Entrepreneurs Design Firms


Deep Down Damned by Christie Leigh Review Roy Elkins

Deep Down Damned by Christie Leigh  Review by Roy Elkins

Christie Leigh is a very good singer, her tone is unique, pitch is excellent and her delivery is good. I first heard her several years ago as I believe a manager friend of mine handed me a recording of hers. I was as impressed then as I am now. She hits the word “away” a couple of times in this song, Deep Down Damned, and it really makes the song soar. Lots of good moments in this piece. Great work!

Deep Down Damned by Christie Leigh  Review by Roy Elkins

Christie Leigh Roy Elkins Broadjam

Deep Down Damned by Christie Leigh

This song grew on me and the ¾ time signature was a good choice. As I listened, I was wondering if it was written in a different time signature and later changed. It felt as if it may have been changed after the initial writing…..The first time I listened to the song, I struggled with it and wasn’t sure what I didn’t like about it. After I wrote the initial review of Deep Down Damned, I found myself hearing the hook in my head all day. I have gotten in the habit of writing reviews and waiting a day or so before posting as my opinion sometimes changes after I write down my thoughts. I am glad I waited as it definitely happened with this song. This is a good hook and performed very well.

Lyrics: The opening line is one of the best I’ve heard in a long time, “Your teeth in my side and my hands in your hair.” Opening lines are supposed to set the tone. It sure does in this song…..I’m not sure I would change the lyric much, but if this was my song, I might tweak the lyrics a little. Let me explain. The first verse does a great job implying that the song is going in a “suggestive” direction, then the chorus implies that she’s not giving him away. These are two different concepts. And I say this with a little bit of caution as I don’t want the writer to think that I believe she is way off the mark. I just think that there could be a slight disconnect between the verse and the chorus. If it was my song, I would tweak a word or two in the verses to suggest she might be afraid he will get away. This will set-up the chorus a little better with more support from the verses.

From a production perspective, I do like the arrangement and production as it is well done. I love thick and rich productions and the producer on this nails it. With that said, I would like to hear a more traditional country version of this as her voice and the lyric are perfect for the genre.

I have listened to Christie Leigh’s entire list on  For her, it’s not a matter of “what she knows,” it’s a matter of knowing the right people. Her day is coming.

Additional links & good organizations

Press & educational links Hangout June 6, 2014, “Blanket” Music Licensing, Industry Projections, Celebrating Sonic Foundry, A Music Platform, Project Famous – Great Photographer, Models of Opportunity: How Entrepreneurs Design Firms

Crosseyed Miles Eternity reviewed by Roy Elkins

Crosseyed Miles Eternity reviewed by Roy Elkins.

Crosseyed Miles Roy Elkins Broadjam

Crosseyed Miles

Here are my thoughts on Eternity.

Simply put, I love this song and the production. The sound selection around your vocal tone is just perfect. And speaking of vocal tone, it is unique and great. Kudos to you and the producer. One of the best songs I have heard in a while. It is difficult to provide feedback as I am not sure I can add much. Here goes; Roy Elkins

Song begins with a perfectly tuned acoustic guitar. A very tasteful “swell” enters at 12 seconds. Good vocal on top of the acoustic in the first verse, band begins to enter tastefully at 38 seconds. Backing tracks make the vocal shine and build nicely to 1:18, then back to the verse with the ag pulled back in the mix until later in the verse. Build begins and the listener can feel the subtle energy in the song. Really nice production…….

The lyric would be a great piece of poetry on it’s own. Love the line, “Like helicopters fall in fall from the maple trees.” I live on a farm and my yard is filled with helicopters at the moment.

I had to dig and listen several times to give any constructive feedback. If it was my song, I may start it right at 12 seconds when the swell begins or bring the acoustic back in at the very end of the song to resolve it…. I am not sure the opening line is as strong as the rest of the song. In a song of this caliber, the opening line is extremely important, but I don’t feel it sets up the song as well as it could….Guitar lead enters at 2:52, possibly a little too up front in the mix….The bridge is a little weaker than the rest of the song, but still strong….One last thought. Although I love the vocal phrasing, I am not sure the rhythm of the vocal is ideal for the current pop market. Do the following – Listen to your song without the vocal track and tap the rhythm of the current vocal as you are listening. I am sure you will hear some conflict with the rhythm of the band. If you feel inclined, try and sing the vocal a little more rhythmically with the tracks and see what you come up with. This also might bring melodic hooks more to the forefront. For my taste, it’s perfect the way it is and it has already made it into my playlists. But my tastes are not at all in line with what’s on the radio.

With your permission, I am going to send this to a few other people.

Great work….It’s a great tribute to your wife. I bet she is thrilled with this.

Hope this helps.


Crosseyed Miles

Additional links & good organizations

Press & educational links Hangout June 6, 2014, “Blanket” Music Licensing, Industry Projections, Celebrating Sonic Foundry, A Music Platform, Project Famous – Great Photographer, Models of Opportunity: How Entrepreneurs Design Firms

Hank Thomas David Charles’s Lil’ Dobro

Hank Thomas David Charles‘s Lil’ Dobro reviewed by Roy Elkins.

I seem to be on roll where I am picking really good stuff to review and it is difficult to find anything that I would change.  This song, Lil’ Dobro, was submitted by two of the great writers on Broadjam, Hank Thomas David Charles.  Both of these guys know how to write a good song and collaborated on this one.  Songs like this are hard to improve upon, but I’ll try and provide my two cents.  By the way, If you want to hear some of their other work, just listen to either of these playlists. Roy Elkins Broadjam

Hank Thomas David Charles

Hank Thomas and David Charles Roy Elkins Broadjam

David Charles

Hank Thomas and David Charles Roy Elkins Broadjam

Hank Thomas






Here are my thoughts on Lil’ Dobro:

Love the intro to this, pulled me in right away. I immediately thought of the Allman Brothers Band as the vocal was reminiscent of an early Johnny Neel.  When ABB reunited in the late 90s, Johnny was the keyboardist opposite Gregg and has a simliar tone to his voice.  I was also thinking this might be a good song for a Charlie Daniels type of an act.

Very nice groove to this, great players, especially the rhythm section.  Love the rhythm of the singer as he has got a natural traditional country groove to his delivery….. and he breaks it tastefully into a statement at a couple of points, like at 1:59. He knows how to interpret a song. I’d love to know who this is as I would highly recommend him.

I love the line, I ain’t got no money, but I do have a little dobro.  This is the hook of the song and clearly one of the most memorable I have heard recently.  Very inventive and skillfully witty.

My guess is that this was recorded by a session producer as it was very well done.  It sounds like a demo mix and not necessarily a final recording as the vocal is slightly louder than it might be if it was on a record, especially in the earlier parts of the song. Many demo producers do this as they want the melody and vocal to stand out when pitching.

Since the song was about a dobro, I expected some inspired dobro playing.  However, these are clearly session players who are knocking out song after song, they probably didn’t have much time to write a unique musical hook that is as strong as the lyrical and melodic hook. Very rarely will you get their “A” game as their best stuff ends up on a record.  And in their defense, this is a demo and that’s probably how it should be. While I will remember the song and the clever hook about a dobro, I probably will not remember the musical hook.

The second part of the opening line is a little forced, :”fine spring afternoon”.  One other line that caught my critical ear me as I’m not sure what the intent was, “leave your money at the door.” When I first listened to the line, my initial thought was Old Man Whitford told them to “leave money at the door” and then they could “sit on the porch and play,” as the following line states.  Basically, they were paying him to play on his porch. Maybe it’s the second line that could be modified. I think there could be a little clarity here. I feel like I’m nitpicking as there is really nothing that “must” be changed.  If it was my song and I was going to re-cut, I might re-visit the aforementioned suggestions, but this song is ready to pitch right now and I would gladly put this in our publishing catalog.

Hank Thomas David Charles‘s Lil’ Dobro

Hope this helps,

Additional links & good organizations

Press & educational links Hangout June 6, 2014, “Blanket” Music Licensing, Industry Projections, Celebrating Sonic Foundry, A Music Platform, Project Famous – Great Photographer, Models of Opportunity: How Entrepreneurs Design Firms


Jamie Lynn Fletcher review by Roy Elkins

Jamie Lynn Fletcher Roy Elkins Broadjam

Jamie Lynn Fletcher

I’ll be honest, this review of Jamie Lynn Fletcher and her music is biased.  She is one of my favorite Wisconsin artists and is truly a talent to be reckoned with. If I was an A & R person at a label, she would be in our roster.  An incredible writer, arranger and performer who is in a league of her own.  Hope you enjoy this!  Roy Elkins.
Through the influence of my mother and her record collection, I grew up listening to a lot of great singers and songwriters. To this day, I find myself playing Hoagy and Gershwin a couple of times a week at the piano. But I am not sure one has to grow up on this type of music to connect with Jamie Lynn Fletcher and her songs. It helps, but her songs are so well written that the listener engages immediately. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point in the future, someone will be sitting at a piano playing her songs.
In songwriting circles, we talk about the lyric and the melody being “married” to each other. In this case, she has progressions, lyrics, melodies and a performance all standing at the altar together. She is clearly a veteran who has played hundreds, if not thousands of gigs and has perfected the delivery of her own songs. One is not born with this talent, this is an example of Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule at work.
Jamie Lynn Fletcher Roy Elkins Broadjam

Live Performance

Here are my thoughts on a few of the songs in her songlist, which can be found here:
The Fool – Just an awesome performance of an awesome song. Great vocal on this. Cons: Vocal is too hot on the mic. Distortion is present and any licensee would definitely ask to have it re-cut. In some ways the distortion adds an interesting quality to the song, but I do think it’s a showstopper.

Infatuation – Pros: Another strong vocal with great feel. Love it when the groove kicks in at 3:13. Cons:  Tough to place this kind in film & tv….Broadway producers would be a good target for this.

My Love For You – Pros: Good vibe, nice juxtaposition with the vocal and guitar.  A very visual song. You can watch the performers playing this while listening to it. Cons: Not really any serious problems with this track. There are some slight noises that could be edited out.

Proper You – Pros: Excellent lyric. Great marriage of lyric, melody and progression. Cons: Musically none…..slight noises in the tracks.

The eq’ing of the vocal is excellent and the mic choice was right on. Arrangements were as tasteful as I have heard in a long time. Her ability to “leave things out” is amazing.  I know what you’re thinking, “What the hell does he mean by that?”  These songs are so good, it would be so easy to add horns, strings, backup vocals, etc. and the writer/producer keeps them simple, sexy and clean. Great work.
Jamie Lynn Fletcher Roy Elkins Broadjam

At the piano

The only downside I see is that the vocal recording was a little hot on a couple of the songs and a few artifacts remain on the tracks throughout most of the songs. Sometimes you may want to leave things like a breath, vocal expression, etc., but noise in the process could easily be removed with an editor. If one is listening for enjoyment, these things don’t matter. However, when someone is considering the song for any type of broadcast, it needs to be free and clear of noisy artifacts. Anyone who listens to lots of music everyday will hear these immediately.

Although I have only included my notes on a few of the songs, her entire list is strong. If you are truly interested in supporting an artist that has worked extremely hard and perfected her craft, buy her songs.  You can do it here.

Additional links & good organizations

Press & educational links Hangout June 6, 2014, “Blanket” Music Licensing, Industry Projections, Celebrating Sonic Foundry, A Music Platform, Project Famous – Great Photographer, Models of Opportunity: How Entrepreneurs Design Firms