Memphis International Rockabilly Festival

I was born in MEMPHIS just a few blocks from a little recording studio owned by Sam Phillips. About 6 weeks later a 19 year old Elvis Presley would record THAT'S ALRIGHT MAMA in this studio and the world would never be the same. Over the next couple of years artists like Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Elvis took this "Rockabilly" music all over the Southland and beyond. So I was thrilled  to be asked to provide the voice-over and production for the: 1st Annual MEMPHIS INTERNATIONAL ROCKABILLY FESTIVAL.

Keith Cadwallader at Lenz Crack Productions did a great job with animating the video.

God Bless America TV AD

Ok, so its a week late. But considering my posting history... better late than.... I am grateful for founding fathers like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams... and even Alexander Hamilton. And I am grateful to live in a country where more than one point of view is allowed. And for those who think that theirs is the only acceptable POV, I'm sure the Bolshevists  thought similarly about theirs. As my Nanny used to say, "there's two sides to every pie crust".

Be well, do good work and may...God Bless America!

Give to the Kids at St. Jude

So, it is official. I won’t be able to run the St. Jude Half Marathon that I had been training for all summer. My physical therapist says my knee injury is not healed yet. I know that injuries are part and parcel with most athletic sports, especially for those of “a certain age”, but dang! Molly_StJude

This makes the second St. Jude event that I have not been able to take part in. Last year’s marathon was canceled at the 11th hour due to icy streets.

Then I am reminded of why I was participating in the 1st place, to raise much needed funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital that is making a life or death difference in so many kid’s lives.

While our family has not needed the services of St. Jude, we do know the importance of having specialized treatment available for childhood diseases. My sweet grand baby, Molly, was born with a vascular condition that is being treated at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.

Every good marketer knows that your message should have a Call To Action – so CLICK THE LINK, and, as Marlo Thomas says, “Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life and give to those who are not.” 

You are awesome! Thanks!


St. Jude Memphis Marathon

Tyler_Alyssa_StJude They say that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. It appears that in my steps towards this year’s St. Jude Memphis Marathon event… I have stumbled.

You may recall that last year’s Marathon was canceled due to icy roads, bridges and overpasses. Some of us went ahead and ran the course anyway. And like the old Elvis songs says, “I Slipped, I Stumbled, I Fell”! But all was not lost. Collectively the event raised over $ 8 Million for the children at St. Jude.

So this year, as soon as the cold weather abated, I laced up my Brooks and hit the asphalt again. By August I was running about 3 miles every couple of days and I had actually shaved 2 minutes off my average mile from last year. So I guess I was feeling pretty jiggy when the 1st St. Jude group training event rolled around. That is when I forgot to heed the cautionary words of Coach Kevin, “run your own race at your own pace.”

That’s right. I thought I could keep up with the faster kids in the class, and I did… sort of… until about mile #3 of our 4 mile outing. That’s when something in my left knee decided the gig was up! OUCH!!

Since then I’ve been applying ice, bandaging, cold laser treatments and getting chiropractic adjustments. But my running has been reduced to walking. I confess I’ve been a bit whiney but then I think about the kids who have a real fight on their hands, the kids at St. Jude. It’s hard to imagine having to endure surgery, chemo and radiation therapy, while other kids are just being kids.

So we run the race. (Some of us will walk) We remind folks that we are fortunate to have a place like St. Jude to turn to when our kids are sick and we are scared.

Thanks for helping keep St. Jude a happy refuge for families who have children fighting cancer..

Be well,


My Thanksgiving List

I am thankful that I was born in America. (Being born in Tennessee was an added bonus.) I am grateful to live, work, play and worship in the U.S.A. I read today of the killing of my brothers and sisters in Christ that is going on in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and other Islamic states. We’re not talking about centuries old martyrdom here. This is happening right now. I can hardly fathom what that must be like. So I pray for them while I thank God that I live here. VEgan-thanksgiving-624x624I am so grateful to be a grandfather. I have two grandsons plus Miss Molly. My little Molly loves me in a way that I cannot explain. When she runs towards me with her arms open wide and throws those arms around my neck and says, “awwwwww”. It feels like she is saying, “I love you so much and I think you’re the greatest Pops alive.” I’m not sure how long I can keep her bamboozled this way, but I’m working it as long as I can.

As I write this list, I hear a jet plane flying overhead and it reminds me of how thankful I am that I don’t have to travel during the holidays. Our kids and their kids live within 4 miles of our house. I’m not bragging because I know how quickly that can change. But in this post 9-11 world where travel is often a less than positive experience I’m grateful that “over the river and through the woods” is but a hop, skip and a jump this year.

I am grateful to have two legs that work and that I am able to run in my first half-marathon event. I am glad to play a very small role in this year’s St. Jude Memphis Marathon. I am also thankful that St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is here and that our children have not needed their fine services.

I am grateful that, at the age of 15, I walked into a small town radio station and found my calling in life. For several years I roamed “town to town, up and down the dial” until I found my place in a recording studio. Then I found my calling again creating radio imaging, concert promos and syndicated radio shows. I even got to play “All Elvis All The Time” for a season. Today, as a freelance voice talent, even when I don’t have a paying gig I can narrate THE CAT IN THE HAT for my children’s children. How great is that?!

P.S. I’ve been told that listing family, friends and good health should “go without saying” but I will say it- for without the love of my wife and family, my friends ( you know who you are) and my health… this life would be like George Bailey's when he'd never been born. I am blessed.


Rick Tarrant Memphis, TN

Running For A Reason - Giving Voice To St. Jude Kids


This year I am doing something I have never done before.

I signed up to run in the St. Jude Memphis Marathon. Actually I signed up for the half-marathon. Maybe next year I can do the full enchilada.

I have been a supporter of St. Jude since I first moved to Memphis back in 1976. Only recently, however, have I made a monthly commitment. And only NOW have I endeavored to raise money for this wonderful work that Danny Thomas started in 1962.

In the years since St. Jude opened its doors we have seen some amazing progress in the fight against childhood cancers. St. Jude has developed protocols that have helped push overall survival rates from less than 20 percent then to 80 percent today!!!

I hope you will consider clicking the link and making a gift to the kids of St. Jude. It costs nearly $2 million a day to run this life saving hospital and every gift is appreciated.

Please feel free to pass this link along to others that you think might care.


 Rick Tarrant

Memphis, TN


ISDN Voiceover Session At Ardent Studios MEmphis

Most of my work through the years has been recorded in my home studio. Which is great until I need to connect with another studio via ISDN. That's what happened last week when  New York called to book a session. I suggested MEmphis' ARDENT STUDIOS because all of their studios have ISDN. Some amazing artists have recorded at ARDENT from B.B. King to Z.Z. Top. (Some of my faves would be James Taylor, Bob Dylan and  Led Zeppelin) So it was a thrill to breath some of that BIG STAR air in the vocal booth.

If you need an ISDN equipped facility in MEmphis give ARDENT a call. Booking manager Dan Russo can hook you up.

Rick Tarrant At MEmphis Ardent Studios

So why the picture of the old school recorder? When I was production director at WDIA (America's 1st all-black programmed radio station) that MCI 2 track was my daily work horse. I don't have room for one in my studio now but it's good to know that there is still one not far from me at Ardent.

The next time I'm over there I'll snap some shots of the Scully 4 track that I first learned how to produce on.

Time Warner Cable - Moments of Joy Holiday TWCChristmas came early for me this season when I was cast as the VO for Time-Warner Cable's holiday ad campaign. This is another example of the "less is more" approach to VO. During the session the director asked me to "dial it back" a few notches. It "felt" subdued in the studio but it works wonderfully well with the video. It's great when you get to work with pros.

Vocal Exercise - Civil War Letter

A few months ago my friend Jack Parnell shared with me how he likes to record poetry and song lyrics as a vocal workout. This might explain why he sounds just as good and performs just as well today as he did 30 years ago. While I am fairly diligent with my physical exercise, I sheepishly admit that I have room for improvement when it comes to my vocal exercise.

So, I was watching Ken Burns: The Civil War on Netflix where I heard an excerpt from a letter written by a Union officer that captured my attention. I found the full letter on Wikipedia and thought I would try my hand at recording it.

Union Officer - Major Sullivan BallouIt was written by Major Sullivan Ballou at the very beginning of the War Between The States, or as some like to call it: The War of Northern Aggression!

Major Ballou's letter is all the more moving when you learn that he was killed one week later at the 1st Battle of Bull Run. (July 1861)

Thanks for listening.



The "Less Is More" Voice-over

A couple of years ago, while attending a Bob Bergen (aka Porky Pig) workshop, I was instructed to pull way back on my delivery in order to have stronger impact. It's sometimes easy to forget in a world of high energy car commercials. But here is a car ad which proves the point ... less is definitely more.

Okay so Michael C Hall is borderline creepy. Did I say "borderline"?

So, here's one that gets my MAN chromosomes revved up'

Remember, less is more... unless of course you're selling


Memphis Summer Sounds

Cicadas in MemphisUsually when you think of Memphis Sounds you think of the blues and rock riffs emanating from the clubs along Beale Street. But this morning I captured some Memphis sounds that you usually only hear in the dog days of summer. I'm not sure if these are cicadas, crickets or tree frogs. It maybe all of the above. They make quite a racket.  

Grab a Mint Julip and enjoy.

The Art Of Voice Acting

From time to time I am asked to give advice or pointers to someone who is interested in doing voice-over work. Sometimes I will have coffee or lunch with this person and give them my thoughts for an hour or so. I'm always happy to talk about something that I care about, namely radio production and voice work. The Art Of Voice Acting by James Alburger

The first thing I always recommend is that people purchase James Alburger's book The Art Of Voice Acting. In fact, I need to order the forth edition and take a refresher myself. If I ever start a voice class this will be my textbook of choice.

DISCLAIMER: You can order the book by clicking on the picture and I'll make parking meter money.

Last week I received an email from someone who is still in college and interested in doing voice-overs. I will withhold the person's name but here is the email along with my reply.



Currently I am in my last year of college at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. My major is Broadcast Media and I hope to obtain a job somewhere in television production. Recently, I have been attempting to explore the world of voice acting. I do not know where to start or what to look for as far as auditions, however. Most of the information I find online are for voice acting lessons and subscriptions to online talent companies. It is difficult to find reliable information. My friends all have told me that I had a great voice for cartoons or disney and I was wondering if you could advise me on where to start. I would greatly appreciate any words of wisdom you may give.

Thank You, ********** Hello (). Good to hear from you. I agree with you, there is so much stuff out there it is difficult to know who is shooting straight.

The first thing I would recommend is a book called The Art of Voice Acting. I have worked with the gentleman who wrote the book as well as attended conferences that he has produced and he is the real deal.

When it comes to cartoons and animation one name comes to mind... Bob Bergen. I have attended his animation workshops and while I haven't found much call for animation voices here in Memphis I did feel that I learned a lot from him. To my knowledge, he hasn't written any books but here is a link to his website.

There are good coaches and workshops but I would caution against throwing too much money around too quickly. Read the book, do the exercises, practice reading copy everyday. Get some honest feedback from people in the know. Don't put yourself out into the marketplace too early. At the same time don't wait years just going to classes. At some point you do have to put yourself out there.

I may have only confused you more but those are my initial thoughts.

Oh yes, one more thing...

Good luck.

~ Rick

"The one to call for voice-over / audio production" ~ Rick Tarrant Productions 714-VOX-RICK 714-869-7425