Things appear to be “all about the music” these days with Asheville photographer David Simchock. No sooner has he been awarded top honors for concert photography for the second year running in the Independent Music Awards, and he breaks the news that he has launched his own on-line music magazine, Front Row Focus (www.FrontRowFocus.com). If that wasn’t enough, since going live with his new endeavor, Simchock has also been invited by AshevilleGrit.com (WNC Magazine) to be a contributing blogger covering the Asheville music scene. It looks like the man behind the camera, and behind the pen, is on a mission, and is certainly on to something special with his latest ambitions.
Based in Asheville, Front Row Focus provides world-class music imagery complemented by colorful commentary of the region’s vibrant and diverse music scene. Front Row Focus regular features include concert and festival previews and reviews, CD/album reviews, artist interviews, specialtiy topics and more. The “magazine” is the brainchild of Simchock and his partner, Beth Baldino, who is an active writer / editor for the publication. With so much happening in and around Asheville music-wise, the couple will bring in other contributors as needed to handle to content workload.
It wasn’t long ago that Front Row Focus was just a distant idea in the heads of the co-founders. Though David and Beth have been covering live music events together for other publications for two or three years, it was only recently that they seriously entertained the idea of publishing their own e-magazine.
Says Simchock, “Being in such a vibrant music city as Asheville, it has become easier and easier for me to convince myself that having my own publishing gig was the most logical way to further my creative career in the music photography sector, while at the same time Beth and I could do our part in further elevating the profile of the region’s music scene, and the many artists, venues and support services that make it what it is today. We are off to a fantastic start, and couldn’t be happier with the warm welcome that the local music community has given Front Row Focus. The opportunity to extend the Front Row Focus reach by blogging for AshevilleGrit.com is also a fantastic boost to my musical aspirations. Of course, being able to do all of this with the collaboration and support of Beth is icing on the cake.
The Front Row Focus website officially went live in early May, and it is quickly grabbing the attention of music fans and artists in the area. Event coverage to date ranges from the LEAF Festival, to the All Go West Festival, to numerous concerts at local venues, including the Orange Peel, Isis Restaurant & Music Hall, the Grey Eagle and The Millroom. Simchock and Baldino hope to build on their early success, with plans to cover the Biltmore Concert Series, FloydFest (Virginia), and several concerts and music events across Western North Carolina (and beyond). Once Front Row Focus becomes part of the fabric of the region’s music scene, they hope to attract on-line advertisers, and are exploring other avenues to financially sustain their efforts.