Whoa, dude, get over yourself.

September 2, 2014

My gut reaction to this:

“Wow, Brad Paisley is a whiny little bitch.”

My more thoughtful reaction:

This is really quite unbecoming of…well, anyone in Paisley’s position. It’s as if he thinks he has the right to make shit music but no one has the right to call him out on it. Three things, before I go any further:

A. I realize this sort of thing (shit music vs. good music) is highly subjective.

B. I don’t have any particular love for critics on any level, as I’ve said before, and

C. Paisley may be right that “the fans know better,” as ultimately they’re the ones who decide whether the artists get to keep making records.

All of that so stipulated, what Brad Paisley is saying here is not really something one should want to say out loud, because it makes one look very, very petty and insecure. And it really doesn’t say much about Paisley’s position — or at least what he perceives as his position — in country music right now. It just comes off as him thinking the time is at hand for his career and that he’s lashing out because of that. But no matter his reasoning, did it ever occur to him that he’s held to a higher standard because critics and fans alike (but to a large extent anymore I am repeating myself — see below for more on that) perceive him as capable of better than what he’s doing anymore? I mean, he was no George Strait even on his best day, but he had at least a decent ear for good songs (“Who Needs Pictures,” “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive,” “Whiskey Lullaby,” “Too Country”) even if said songs seemed to get fewer and further between as his career progressed. But it all went to shit between his increasing penchant for joke songs, his taking himself so seriously, and trying to be “progressive,” “pushing the boundaries,” etc., etc., etc. His chickens are coming home to roost.

And here’s what I am talking about when I allude to the critics and fans more and more becoming one and the same: I find it…interesting…that Paisley chose to tweet a review from a blog as opposed to a review from a newspaper or magazine critic. All of this is my completely uninformed observation, but this suggests quite an interesting shift in perceptions — if only in the music world. Once upon a time it seemed that the only opinions people deemed worth taking seriously were those of the Authorized Critics from “official” media sources as opposed to bloggers offering their observations as fans of particular artists and genres.

Such may well be another part of Paisley’s frustration — a few of these so-called “critics” are actually fans of his who are disappointed with the direction he’s chosen to take since…well….I don’t know. That depends on who you ask. 2003’s Mud on the Tires had its moments, but I wasn’t big on the albums I heard after that. Looking back I don’t even remember why I bought that album, to be honest. It wasn’t as good as I thought Part II was then, to be sure. I used to think Paisley was decent, but his shtick has been tiresome for some time.

At any rate, it’d be interesting to see how at least the blog reviews correlate to the album sales, and why, if the reviews don’t matter, Paisley is so up in arms about them — other than his anxiety over being on the backside of his career. It certainly goes to show that he’s not the A-level artist that he thought he was. I mean, I thought Tracy Lawrence’s and Clay Walker’s respective takes on their artistry in relation to their continued relevance left a lot to be desired, but Paisley is making them look like dignified elder statesmen of the genre in comparison.

Tuesday music musings, 26.8.14

August 26, 2014

Blake Shelton, on his new single:

The song, the melody, the chorus is so George Jones or George Strait. It really is. Of course, I’m always going to have the haters and critics out there that say it’s not. But then, kiss my ass! I know more about those records than a lot of people.

No, Blake. How about you come to Texas and kiss my ass, you arrogant motherfucker?

As I said at Saving Country Music, after about a minute and a half of the song…

I really don’t give a shit what Blake Shelton likes to make everyone think he knows about George Strait, or Jones, for that matter. Can’t really speak as to the Possum, although I have heard a ton of his music, but I have George Strait’s entire catalogue. And I can tell you that if this song showed up on a George Strait album it would rank at or toward the bottom if I ranked my favorite songs on said album. I would also be incredibly disappointed in him for more or less completely giving in to the trends of the moment. I’ll admit I like Strait’s earlier stuff better, but even as of late he’s still miles above this sort of thing. “Neon Light” doesn’t even sound like something George Strait would do even on his most adventurous day. And there’s not enough Shiner Bock in the Spoetzl brewery to make that pablum sound anything like George Jones.

And yes, it is better than the likes of “Boys ‘Round Here” and “Doin’ What She Likes,” but that’s an incredibly low bar.

On another note, as I’ve put it here before, Marty Stuart has probably forgotten more about country music than Blake Shelton will ever know, but you don’t see him being a cocky asshole to his detractors, assuming he even has any. So who’s the better representative of country music? I know my answer. I bet you do too.

===

Chase Rice:

I think the reason women are looked at in that way — and it’s not in a negative way at all — I don’t think it’s degrading to tell a girl to get in my truck and let’s drive around. I think that’s just what we’re doing. I’ve got an ’85 Chevy Silverado, and I have a bench seat where the girl can sit right next to me. She can slide on over. That’s literally why we’re singing about it.

I suppose I could just repost most of what I said here, but really, this is the perfect rebuttal to that:

The replacement of traditional narrative songs in favor of “lifestyle songs,” once characteristic of commercial hip hop rather than country, made the objectification of the opposite sex in country songs inevitable.

Narrative songs feature characters with desires and intentions. “Lifestyle” songs list artifacts: bonfires, jeans, moonshine, country mixtape, girl, ecetera. Yes, the “girl” in the bro-country song is literally just another artifact.

On the other hand, when one is writing narrative songs about relationships, it is difficult to avoid alluding to the fact that the opposite sex are human beings that posses individual thoughts and feelings and the agency to make decisions. In fact, the existence of both love songs and heartbreak songs are completely contingent upon the fact that it takes two to tango. Even Hank Williams could never have been so lonesome he could cry if his woman hadn’t had the freedom of choice to dump his ass in the first place. The woman in a bro-country song doesn’t seem to have much of a choice at all.

“Git yer little fine ass over here, girl.”

I mean, sure, Rice might act like the girl in a bro-country song might have the choice not to “get (her) little fine ass on the step shimmy up inside,” but it’s certainly never come off like that. I mean, really…

“Slide that little sugar shaker over here!”

“Waiting on you to look my way and scoot your little hot self over here. Girl hand me another beer, yeah!”

“You’re shakin’ that money maker, like a heartbreaker! Yeah, gotta get me some of that!”

I mean, it’s like the alpha and the omega of objectification. And that’s far from the only thing wrong with this particular strain of virus “country” “music.” Not that I’d expect the likes of Chase Rice to grasp that, what with his limited brain wattage, but there you go.

(h/t Country California)

Well, that was fun.

August 23, 2014

Hey, did you know that circling around to the back of your trailer park so you can dump your trash is probable cause to get pulled over in the trailer park?

Well, a few minutes ago I learned that apparently it is. TWO fucking Bexar County sheriff’s Tahoes with four deputies pulled me over in the trailer park (read: not on the public roadway) and gave me the third degree, because I was “driving around in an area known for high drug dealing” or some such nonsense, and they had never seen our van in this trailer park before, even though we’ve been here for just shy of two months and the damn thing has been in our driveway every Saturday night before this one except for one. I also got asked when the last time was that I used methamphetamine or any other kind of drug, why I was sweating, AND why my hands are shaking.

Respectively, NO, it’s August in South Texas, and neuromuscular diseases that make people’s hands shake are totally a thing!

(I really, REALLY need to learn to assert myself better.)

Like Sabra said, it’s a good thing I’m not black, or I’d have gotten myself shot. Yay for the War On Some Drugs, amirite?

Wow, they’re not wasting any time.

August 21, 2014

From the San Antonio Express-News:

Even if you weren’t one of the 105,000 or so George Strait fans packed into the AT&T Stadium in Arlington in June for the final stop of the “Cowboy Rides Away” tour, you can still grab a souvenir of that landmark concert.

On Sept. 16, Strait will release a 20-track live album, “The Cowboy Rides Away: Live from AT&T Stadium,” featuring almost a dozen of the country stars who joined him onstage that day.

For those of you not keeping track, that’s barely more than three months after the actual concert. That’s probably the fastest turnaround on a live album that I’ve ever seen, and definitely the fastest for a live George Strait collection; For The Last Time: Live from the Astrodome came out a little more than a year after the actual concert, and Live At Texas Stadium (from the show with Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett on Memorial Day weekend in 2004) came out almost three years after that show.

Not that I think that’s a bad thing, mind you. I remember not long after the Texas Stadium show hearing rumors that a live recording of that show was going to be made available at some point and waiting with bated breath. Got an email in June ’06 about it, but it was a false alarm; it finally hit the stores the first week of April 2007. As far as this recording goes, it looks pretty cool. I am not sure about some of the guests, but I bet it’ll still be more than worth the money. It’d take a LOT to sour me on anything with George.

(I do still long for the video to be released from the 1999 tour that CMT aired as An Evening with George Strait. Of all the Strait tours I saw, I think that one was probably my favorite between getting to see the Dixie Chicks and Asleep at the Wheel with their then-new fiddler Jason Roberts. And George’s SET LIST. “There Stands the Glass,” “Cherokee Maiden,” and “Linda On My Mind,” along with all the great Strait originals up to that point….)

Well, this is interesting.

August 18, 2014

From the San Antonio Express-News:

A Southeast Texas father accused of killing a drunk driver in a fit of rage after his two sons were fatally struck on a rural road near their home is set to have his day in court.

Jury selection in the murder trial of David Barajas was to begin Monday afternoon in Angleton….

Prosecutors face various difficulties at trial. No weapon was recovered and no witnesses have identified Barajas as the shooter.

“No witnesses have identified Barajas as the shooter.” Is thaaat right? I would be quite interested to know how many people were in the area when Jose Banda got shot. I can only imagine what they all said.

“Wha? Some dude a few feet away from me got shot after he plowed his truck into a guy getting his broken down truck off the road? And he killed that guy’s two kids? Huh. How ’bout that. Bad deal, yo. Oh, the guy who crashed the truck was drunk?! No, no. I didn’t see nothin’. Didn’t hear nothin’ either. No sirree Bob. Scout’s honor.”

That doesn’t sound quite right.

August 15, 2014

From a comment at Saving Country Music:

I can’t tell you how many people discount the opinions of younger listeners just because they had the misfortune of being born after everything supposedly went to hell for music. This, I’d say, is the crux of the “country music must evolve” argument from the mainstream: acting like the only “real” country music available stopped getting made 30 years ago in the mainstream is what causes people to backpedal the other way.

Do those younger people’s opinions get dismissed just because of their age? Or do they get dismissed because they think that everything before Garth and Shania is just “tired old stuff” (as one Hot New Country station in Houston put it back in the late 1990s) and thus no good? Based on what I’ve seen, I can’t help but think it’s the latter; you can look at Farce the Music’s recurring “Country Twitterfail” feature for perfect examples of this.

And why should these people be taken seriously? One of the defining features of country music is its reverence for its roots and heritage — respect for those who came before, if you want to put it like that. You listen to the likes of Florida-Georgia Line and Luke Bryan and none of that reverence is evident in their music; country’s just a label to them, not a genre with a history that commands and deserves respect.

And sure, country music has to evolve. If it didn’t it would become more or less a historical artifact of American culture, much like, say, jazz music. But how does that argument justify, for example, Jason Aldean being the mainstream star and getting the radio airplay instead of Jason Boland? Which song is the better representation of country music — “Burnin’ it Down” or “Ludlow”? I know my answer, and I bet you know my answer too.

Well, buh-bye, KZEP. It’s been fun.

August 9, 2014

So, yesterday afternoon I was checking Facebook and something came across my news feed about KZEP 104.5 changing to 93.3. Google yielded nothing most of the day, but later in the evening this popped up on mysanantonio.com:

After too many years to count at 104.5 on the FM dial, San Antonio’s once-esteemed classic rock station KZEP has been moved to FM 93.3, which used to be used for a relatively weak simulcast of country station KRPT (92.5 K-BUC).

“Relatively weak” is putting it mildly. To put things in perspective, the transmitter on 93.3 is 250 watts. By way of comparison, the transmitter on 104.5 was a full 100,000 watts — the most powerful transmitter allowed for an FM radio station in the United States. Now, what does that mean, practically speaking?

Well, theoretically, you could pick up KZEP as far out as south Austin. Now you’ll be lucky to get it in New Braunfels. Theoretically, anyway.

But I can tell you it’s not going to work like that. Before today, 93.3 was home to a simulcast of 92.5 K-BUC out of Devine. Sabra and I listened to that a lot and liked it pretty well; it and KKYX on 104.9 were the FM stations we listened to more than anything in the truck. But it didn’t come in worth a damn on a consistent basis pretty much anywhere in San Antonio. It didn’t even show up in the ratings in San Antonio, most likely for just that reason. Hell, they’ll be lucky to get it in Schertz on a clear night now. Between that and firing morning host John Lisle (poor dude, can’t keep a job for shit in this town anymore), it’s hard to argue that KZEP isn’t deader than a doornail now. I found this comment from the station’s Facebook page to be rather funny, in a graveyard-humor sort of way:

“X106.7 (SA’s other classic rock station-ed.) is telling people y’all are off the air!”

Weeeeell, for all practical intents and purposes, the good folks at X106.7 are exactly right.

There’s a reason for that.

August 8, 2014

Reason for what, you ask?

A reason for a lot of us calling New Jersey a “dark and fascist state”:

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Shaneen Allen, a single mother from Philadelphia who was arrested for driving through New Jersey with a handgun. Allen had a permit for her gun in Pennsylvania, but New Jersey doesn’t recognize Pennsylvania gun permits. Despite the fact that Allen volunteered that she was in possession of the gun during her traffic stop, she was still arrested and charged with a felony. According to her attorney, she is eligible for a diversion program for first-time offenders that would avoid a felony conviction and mandatory 42 months in prison. But for reasons he has yet to articulate, New Jersey District Attorney Jim McClain has refused to allow her to take advantage of that program.

Now, New Jersey Judge Michael Donio has denied Allen’s request to have the charge dismissed.

“Fortunately, the notoriety of this case will make it less likely Pennsylvanians will carry concealed and loaded handguns in New Jersey, thereby making them and the Garden State safer from gun violence,” said Bryan Miller, executive director of Heeding God’s Call, a faith-based movement to prevent gun violence.

Really makes you want to throw shit, doesn’t it? And as if that wasn’t bad enough

Ray Rice is a famous football player.  Rice was not prosecuted after he knocked his fiancée unconscious in an Atlantic City casino earlier this year.  Instead, Rice received a two game suspension from the NFL.

After their arrest, both Rice and Allen qualified for a diversion program for first time offenders.  Rice would take classes on domestic violence and have a clean record if he stayed out of trouble.  Maybe Allen would take classes on New Jersey’s crazy concealed carry laws.  Though both were accepted into the program, the prosecuting attorney accepted Rice’s diversion but rejected Allen’s diversion.  The prosecutor allowed a violent multi-millionaire to clear his record but prosecuted a single mom working two jobs.  They kept Shaneen Allen in jail for 46 days until she could make bail.  Because they kept her in jail, she nearly lost her jobs, her home and her children.  That is a real war on a real woman.  In contrast, Ray Rice received a two game suspension from the NFL.

Yup, there’s your War On Women, all right. But I guess Shaneen Allen doesn’t count to NOW or the NAACP because she had a gun.

As far as Bryan Miller goes…dear God, I really could sputter profanity about that sociopathic asshole all day long, but some kind soul at the Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association forum summed it quite nicely for me:

All you need to know about Bryan Miller is that he wants all of us to be helpless against criminals, and trust our protection to people like his dead brother, an FBI agent who couldn’t even protect himself while sitting inside a police station.

That’s right, super specially trained FBI Agent Miller was gunned down at his desk inside a busy police station, despite the presence of dozens of armed cops and his own issue weapon. But when we little people face threats, we should dial 911, wait on hold a bit, then convince an operator that we really, really need help, then provide our full street address, name, date of birth, and then wait on the line while we’re killed, to give those super specially trained cops and FBI guys time to set up a perimeter, decide who’s in charge of the scene, order donuts, pick the best seats in the Command Van, and vote on who gets blamed for the bodies. Oh, and the drugged-up illegal alien with the knife, you can just ask him to wait, say “por favor no me maten antes de que llegue la policía”. 

The surviving Miller (not the one killed while relying on cops to protect him) is like some weasel trying to get everyone to smoke cigarettes, and whining that it’s what his dead brother would have wanted if he hadn’t died of lung cancer from his 2 pack a day habit. His dead brother couldn’t react fast enough to shoot the maniac who was shooting up the PD, the fraction of a second he had just didn’t provide the means of survival. But scum like us can just wait 10 minutes for help, for the official Government Men With Guns to come rescue us. Like they did at Columbine, where they saved zero lives. Or Virginia Tech, where they saved zero lives. Or that poor bastard in Connecticut whose wife told the bank teller that her family was being held hostage, and the cops showed up and the entire family (except for the dad) was raped and slaughtered while the cops set up the perimeter and played rock-paper-scissors to decide who was Site Commander and ordered donuts, so they saved zero lives. 

Some people overcome tragedy and move forward. Others just go obsessively nuts. Laws against citizens with guns would have saved his brother exactly as effectively as laws against shooting cops and FBI agents inside police stations; which is to say, not at all. 

This prick never misses an opportunity to spin a tragedy in favor of unilateral disarmament, so fuck him and his dead brother. He put his “personal tragedy” into play in the gun control debate, I’m going to point out that his dead brother doesn’t translate into a compelling need for more helpless citizens.

And here we are, ten years later….

August 5, 2014

The musical protest song has a long and storied history in country music, as the traditional-pop cycles have gone on through the years, going back at least to 1975 and “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way.” They come about every few years still, even now as new duo Maddie and Tae are making a splash with their debut single “Girl In A Country Song.” While songs like “Girl…” have their place (and make no mistake, lyrically speaking, the tune is absolutely brilliant), I’ve always thought a protest song works a lot better when it decries what seem to be longer-term trends. “Murder on Music Row” was one, and the song featured below is another.

“Hank Williams Wouldn’t Make It Now In Nashville, Tennessee” was written by Aaron Wynne, steel guitar player for Texas country band Eleven Hundred Springs, and originally recorded by that band on their 2004 album Bandwagon:

“What happened to the music I loved so long ago? It seems it’s been forgotten on our country radio, where steel guitar and fiddle have become a novelty. What I’d give to make things like the way they used to be.”

The song also showed up later that year as the opening song on Jason Boland and the Stragglers’ Somewhere in the Middle; it was Boland’s version that I first heard, but both of them are great:

To hear that song, you’d never guess that it had been recorded when it was. Seems even more timely and relevant now, and that really is a damned shame.

You knew this sort of thing was bound to happen sooner or later…

August 3, 2014

didn’t you?

Long story short: Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies get into a gunfight with a wanted parolee and mistakenly shoot an innocent man. According to Los Cerritos News, “Detectives have learned that the suspect, 24-year-old, Cedric Ramirez, a resident of Pico Rivera, was a parolee at large, wanted for two felony warrants, Ex-felon In Possession of a Firearm and Taking a Vehicle Without the Owner’s Consent.”

Felon in possession of a firearm, eh? Those Cali gun laws worked like a charm yet again!

I’m going to guess Cedric Ramirez wasn’t exactly a choir boy, as from pretty much every news account I’ve seen he was wanted for numerous parole violations and was a gang member before he went to prison, and I’m going to bet based on his actions immediately before his demise he had more than proved himself to be a danger to society before then.

So, why was Cedric Ramirez let out of jail in the first place?


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