Music News

Vail Nonprofit Debuts New Music Label

From left: Scott Rednor, Kory Montgomery, Mark Levy, Kramer Kelling, Bill McKay perform at the Shakedown Bar.
From left: Scott Rednor, Kory Montgomery, Mark Levy, Kramer Kelling, Bill McKay perform at the Shakedown Bar. John Ryan Lockman
Mr. Anonymous Philanthropic Society (MAPS), a nonprofit music organization born at the height of the pandemic, has launched a record label called Go MAPS Music.

MAPS creative director Scott Rednor is the owner of Vail music venue Shakedown Bar and a member of the band Brothers Keeper. When the pandemic struck and shut down live music, he and his friends began to throw impromptu shows outside the bar to scratch their collective live-music itch.

“We got the bug going that we just wanted to play,” says Rednor. “We ended up moving out on the sidewalk in front of our place and playing on the street.”

The nascent label’s first official release, “Name Song,” by Kory Montgomery, debuted on Friday, May 20. More releases by various musicians are planned on a bi-monthly basis.

“We’ve got about thirty songs we recorded the past couple of years,” Rednor says. “We’ve got about 28 ready to roll.”

To create the label, MAPS has partnered with Color Red, the Colorado music platform and record label founded by New Mastersounds guitarist Eddie Roberts. Rednor is excited about the partnership, because recording music is one thing, but getting it distributed properly is another.

“[Color Red] set up a whole distribution chain,” Rednor says. “Those guys have proven their way. They’ve released a lot of music...so we are really glad to get in the trenches with those boys, because they are doing it.”

Rednor says that the impromptu concerts at Shakedown Bar led to a contract with the town of Vail to do pop-up concerts. “I think we did 72 shows during the COVID summer of 2020,” he recalls. “We did another fifty last year.”

He says he was approached in 2021 by someone who attended those shows about starting a project to help artists with the ins and outs of the music business; the nonprofit eventually sprang from that. MAPS pays homage to the father of a boardmember who used to give money anonymously to various causes, including funding for teaching hospitals and for putting people through medical school, according to Rednor.

“We paid all of these artists to come into Shakedown, which we turned into a recording studio,” Rednor recalls. “We paid all the artists to help them out by creating all our promotional material to launch the nonprofit. That’s how we started helping artists.”

Those who recorded sessions with Go MAPS Music include Brothers Keeper as well as Nicki Bluhm, Ross James, Rob Eaton Jr., Tyler Grant, Keith Moseley of the String Cheese Incident and a “whole slew of artists,” he adds.

The organization's primary interests are community, artist development, youth music education and mentoring programs.

“In our first year of MAPS, we raised over a half-million dollars,” Rednor says. “We got a lot of money into artists' pockets to help them through the pandemic and formed our recording studio. We did about seventy sessions to raise money.”

He adds that MAPS will hold a Youth Music Showcase in August and is currently taking applications from musicians between the ages of ten and twenty who want to participate. With regard to youth mentoring, Rednor envisions the community of local artists helping younger ones not only with their performance skills, but also with the nuts and bolts of being a musician, such as the right way to string a guitar and how to set up pedals.

“It takes a village, man — not just to raise a baby, but to raise a bunch of musicians and successful artists,” Rednor says.

MAPS wants to help artists learn music business operations, as well, such as how to manage a business checking account and how to streamline freelance projects so they can operate efficiently in their chosen profession. Rednor points out the label's nonprofit status and says that it's not looking to make money off the artists.

“We give artists the fairest share you can get from a record deal,” he says. “The rest of it pumps back into the machine — not for profit, but to find new artists and keep helping developing artists. So it’s kind of an all-in family affair.”

As for the label, Rednor says it isn’t focused on any one genre but will likely be recording primarily rock-and-roll and Americana artists.

“There’s a lot of heart and soul going into the lyric writing,” he says. “No one is taking any shortcuts. Everyone takes the songwriting seriously.”

Montgomery says that the songwriting he’s heard among the artists is incredible. “There’s a strong emphasis on writing songs that’s encouraged by MAPS,” he adds. “The industry has kind of gone away from that.”

In fact, Montgomery's "Name Song," which he wrote for the debut release, is about songwriting.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for me as an independent artist,” he says. “At the time of COVID, just the fact of them investing in us at a time when the world kind of shut down is just incredible. Scott has believed in me and helped me believe in myself and my songs.”

“Name Song” is available on all streaming platforms. MAPS is accepting applications for its youth music showcase through July 15. For more information, visit gomapsmusic.com or color-red.com.
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