week I had the chance to examine our entertainment world at its core by
examining the pop culture phenomenon known as American Idol. The show
celebrated its fifth anniversary this week and the paper wanted to look into
how that show has made an impact on today’s culture.
It was a little fun to spend my day looking up facts and figures about Ruben
Studdard, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia Barrino and especially Chris Daughtry.
fan of the show. Well, let me rephrase: I am a fan of the first two weeks
and the last two weeks. I like seeing who is horrible, and I like seeing who
the best is. Everyone else can come or go, and I couldn't care less.
But, I buy into Idol fever in my own way.
One of my favorite Mother’s Days of all time was back in 2005.
I was driving back from picking up ice for the family dinner, and I called a
radio station, on a whim, to participate in a contest and scored two free
10th-row Kelly Clarkson tickets.
Yet, in a stark contrast to studying the media hype and glitz that follows a
television show averaging 30 million viewers a week, I also got to speak
with Mickey Rosenfeld, lead singer and songwriter for Stronghold, a band
that is breaking into the World Wide Web’s scene with their single, “I Know
That You Love Me.”
The song was uploaded to www.indieheaven.com, a Web site that allows artists
to put songs up for critique and public voting for an entire month before
discontinuing the song to allow for more variety on the site.
The single hit the Top Five on the site.
“It’s not a competition, but a testing field,” Rosenfeld said. “You have
some steady fans that are in your church and your family that go once a day
and vote for their favorite songs and then there’s a cross pollination with
artists voting for others’ songs. It’s a great melting pot where artists
from all over the country share ideas and experiences on what works and what
doesn’t. You get all sorts of help and ideas about how to market yourself.”
Rosenfeld formed his band because church members and friends had suggested
the idea after listening to him perform at church picnics and worship
Now, Stronghold, the band, has released its first CD, “A Cross and a Crown”
on Rosenfeld’s own record label, Salvation Rock Recording.
Now, the CD’s second single, “Be Still and Know” is climbing the charts on
the site and it already is number 19.
“It’s exciting to see how that works, we’re excited,” Rosenfeld said. “We’ve
got a lot of people (who know us) not because of it but in part of it. We’re
getting response from churches and coffee houses asking us to come and share
Rosenfeld said that to get such positive reinforcement from the site and its
listeners is an encouragement to the band’s work and music.
The band, which has undergone several changes, including the addition of
drummer and singer Scott Gouchnour, is traveling the area playing locally
for various events. On June 29, they will play at True Word Christian Church
in Franklin for the Summer Celebration for D.O.V.E.S., a youth group event
at 7 p.m. on August 18 they are playing at Providence United Methodist
Church in Suffolk. They will also be at The Suffolk Peanut Festival on
October 14, and Driver Days Fall Festival on October 28.
Granted, these gigs do not give the exposure that a television show on Fox
can provide; however, it does show that success is not defined by how many
text messages you can get on a given week or how many times Ryan Seacrest
says your name.
Stronghold helps show that people still want to hear music for the music’s
sake and not because we like someone’s style, look or overall package.
Wicks is a reporter for the News-Herald. Contact her at 934-9613 or