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Country music up north

A few months from now, local viewers of Country Music Television may see a familiar face on the cable station's video countdown.

Detroit Lakes native Terry Mackner was at Bonanzaville USA on Thursday to shoot a music video for his new single, "Idaho Rodeo."

The song, penned by Nashville songwriter Gabriel Farago, is Mackner's favorite on his new solo CD, "Jack Daniels," which was released independently on May 5.

"I like this song the best of any off the CD," he says. "Once you hear the guitar and drums, it just makes you want to start tapping your feet."

Mackner, a 1992 graduate of DL High School, has been building a career in the music industry ever since leaving high school behind.

And though he is currently not signed to a recording contract,

other up and coming independent artists have found to be an increasingly effective outlet for their music: The Internet.

"The Internet is powerful," he says. Mackner sent the first single off "Jack Daniels, a song called "A Part of Me," to a web-based radio outlet called American Country Radio Network ( on March 13.

"They played it at 7 p.m., then called me at 9 p.m. and said they had an overwhelming response," Mackner said. In fact, it became their No. 1 most requested song of the week.

Listeners at ACRN were asking where they could buy his CD -- "but I didn't have a CD out at that time, just a few singles."

That has now changed, of course. Mackner's solo debut release, "Jack Daniels," is currently available for purchase at both Mackner's official Web site,, and at Best Buy in Fargo.

"Idaho Rodeo" was released a couple of months later, and on May 23, it also hit No. 1 on the ACRN "most requested" chart. ("A Part of Me" has remained in the top 10 for seven weeks, and is now airing on the Fargo-based country station Froggy 99.9 FM as well.)

So popular has Mackner been with ACRN listeners that the station has made him its "Independent Artist of the Month" for both May and June.

Since its release in May, "Jack Daniels" has sold over 1,000 copies -- to customers in locations as far ranging as Juno, Alaska, and London, England.

"I'm not just a regional artist now -- I'm global," Mackner says with a laugh. And on Thursday, he began shooting his first-ever music video.

"It's my first music video, but not my last," he says confidently.

Mackner spent much of the afternoon working with a camera crew from Red Rope Productions, a burgeoning video company based in Fargo that has worked with a variety of other regional artists, including October Road.

"We work with a lot of bands in the Fargo-Moorhead area," says Cole Bernhardt, who started the company along with partner Josh Zimmerman.

Red Rope recently completed a DVD package for October Road that included a music video for the group's new single, "Sidewalks," a live performance video taped at Playmakers in Fargo, and a feature-length documentary of the group's recent trip to Nashville. It should be ready for release this week, according to Bernhardt.

"I've known Terry for a while," he says. "We work in conjunction with Bitzer Entertainment, which books a lot of bands around town.

"Whenever one of those bands needs a video promotion, they usually come to us."

Over the course of the afternoon, Bernhardt and Zimmerman shot about 10 different "takes" of Mackner's song, at various locations around Bonanzaville.

Once the video shoot is completed, it will be intercut with video from an earlier shoot that told more of the song's "storyline," Bernhardt explains.

"It should be a pretty cool video," he adds.

Once completed, the video will be "shopped" to country music video stations CMT and GAC (the latter, which caters more to independent artists, has already indicated its willingness to show the video, Mackner notes).

Though he was admittedly nervous at first, having very little prior experience in front of a camera, by the time they took their first break of the day, Mackner was saying, "I'm just getting warmed up now."

Indeed, as the afternoon progressed, he became much more at ease, and even started playing to the camera a little bit.

"It's been a wild ride, definitely," Mackner says. "But it's been fun."

For more information about Terry Mackner, visit his official web site, For more information about Red Rope Productions, you can visit

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454