Word Wise Publishing is a multi-purpose company designed to fulfill your music and media needs.
Word Wise Publishing first appeared in Murfreesboro, TN,1988. While a student at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) Rick Jennings earned extra cash writing resumes and bio’s. Happy customers breed referrals and soon business evolved to freelance writing and creating music flyers/promos. Business expanded: first business cards, letterhead, more equipment, d.b.a. bank account, occupational license and the taxes that come along with a growing venture. It was then officially a job.
Hand in hand with writing was photography. I worked as a reporter, photographer and news editor for the MTSU Sidelines student newspaper. Several of my music pics were published, literally A to Z: America, Guess Who, and ZZ Top. Then in 1994 I was taking freelance photos backstage, of local guitar hero Jack Pearson, at an Allman Brothers concert. I met artist Steve Lowery and he mentioned the upcoming NAMM show and ask if I was going. Steve landed me a photographer gig, and NAMM pass, with Dean Markley Music. I pawned my 1978 Gibson ES175, purchased some new camera gear, a Domke vest, and went to work. (Damn, I miss that guitar).
The next three years... my focus was photography and photojournalism. My first paying customer was Doug Dillard, of the Darlings band, from the Andy Griffin show. He purchased a picture of himself, with friend Earl Scruggs, from the NAMM show. I called him when it was ready, met him at Barbara’s in Printer’s Alley, to exchange photos for cash. Tanya Tucker was there. Doug says, “hey Rick, get a picture of me and this pretty young lady.” I thought, “cha ching, another $30.” Two weeks later I call Doug to deliver that photo. He says, “Meet us at Tootsies, It’s Bill’s birthday. You can take pictures.” I spent the day at Toostie’s with Doug and friends celebrating the birthday of Mr. Bill Monroe, the father of Bluegrass music, and a truly wonderful gentleman.
After the Tootsie’s party, several of us went to Jack’s for BBQ, Mr. Monroe’s Bluegrass show (backstage) at the Ryman, then on to the Station Inn where Mr. Monroe joined in with the band. It was a delightful experience. Mr. Monroe became my second photography customer. I delivered his photo album to his home on Allen Road at the “official Birthday Bash.” Soon added to the photo lineup were: Porter Wagner, Emmy Lou Harris, Mark O’Connor, Sam Bush, John Hartford, Ranger Doug, Peter Rowand, Jeanne Pruitt, Rob Pearcy and many more.
That’s really where the freelance photography got it’s start. It was more challenging, and expensive, but also more rewarding money wise.
Interning at Ronnie Milsap (Lodge Hall) Music Publishing gave me a great insight about the song writing/recording aspect of the biz. The other musical side, marketing and promotion, were expressed when I interned at Billboard International Magazine. Wow, that was an eye opening learning experience. I would like to tip my hat, and say thanks to Jimmy Buffet, for encouraging me to write for Billboard while I was there. He too, earlier in his career, had worked for them at their sister, AB magazine.
After years of playing music, on air radio personality, and newspaper jobs I found my calling: To photograph and write about that which I love... the music biz.
© Word Wise Publishing 2013. All rights reserved. | Site design: Rick Jennings