Well, we’ve survived our opening bow in time for the sophomore slump.
First “issues” are like debut albums. We developed ours quietly over months, from the initial website construction in June to our first list of story ideas to, naturally, ordering wearable merchandise. (I own a Mid Valley Noise hat and jacket [very rare, for true bon vivants], and cool-kid stickers should be notebook- and power-pole-ready by Christmas.) I’d written most of the content in July but sat on it until I felt we had enough to go live. Despite their vintage, the stories kept, and because my production schedule is a firm whenever, I could add more pieces as new events landed, making Mid Valley Noise elastic and adaptable. The Whiteside could suddenly schedule a film and I could formulate a written companion piece over a morning walk, weave it at home, then fire it into the ether before lunchtime.
Now I must plot for real, consistently, every week or so. Secure (and design) a cover. Truly contemplate direction. Worry about marketing. It’s The E all over again, albeit without the static presentation. I’m no longer slaving over four locked-in pages with ad stacks, fretting to death over space, which is very liberating. The only downside: I gotta fill the sucker. I gotta chase stories. And I gotta write them with a promotional buffer in mind between publication and event. Sometimes we’ll be forced to cut it close. But at least we have that luxury, taxing as it may be.
This time we began with a bye week (damn COVID) and ended with a mad scramble. Two events came together quickly, with barely enough room for a turnaround. Such acrobatics for The E would have been impossible. Here we could pull it off (hopefully, bloodlessly), and I felt it had to be done. Issue No. 2, here it comes.
I’m exhausted but excited. Our second offering contains, as its cover, an interview with three-time Grammy® winner Sarah Jarosz, an ample name beyond this zip code. Traditionally, Mid Valley Noise devotes itself to local cacophonies. But if forces attract marquee headliners into our midst, it’s our duty to pursue and feature those voices with credibility and affection. For that opportunity I thank Erin Sneller at Oregon State University, Katie Benson at Public Emily Artist Management, and Sarah herself for surrendering a perfectly agreeable Friday afternoon to swap anecdotes with an ancient dimwit in Oregon.
And we’ve got local too. Bob Shade has helmed The Deep Woods Band for 20 years now — straight out of Nashville, Oregon, in Lincoln County (tons of great music bursting from those parts: Nashville, Summit, Burnt Woods, Blodgett; must be woven in the water) — and he was kind enough to interrupt a Saturday to jaw about his group as it prepared to stun Whiteside Theatre audiences three nights later in both physical and online realms. It’s destined to be a fantastic stroll through an estimable songbook of new and old favorites.
Whew. What a rush. Somewhere in that frenzy, I transcribed audio, wrote, ate dinner, and slept.
I’m learning a lot in this capacity. Like, when you don’t have the benefit of a newspaper behind your pitches, you’re forced to sell yourself that much harder: “You’ve probably never heard of me, but I’m totes legit. Here I am 10 years ago, rapping with Michael Ian Black. I’ve also spoken with the Indigo Girls; everyone survived. Have I told you about the time I interviewed Joe Ely?”
It plants me in an interesting pickle: a veteran journalist and editor fronting an upstart, no-name, no-reputation enterprise. I’m new, but I’m old. I’m nobody, yet I’m somebody. For the most part, I’ve lived anonymously in this quadruple-horse town for the better part of 30 years. However, strangers do recognize me sometimes, even under this corona mask: “You’re Cory Frye. You wrote that book. You wrote those columns. You wrote such-and-such about so-and-so.” And now y’all have something else to kinda maybe sorta know me for.
As always, send us your stuff. Our ears are willing, our hearts are bursting.