This is ghastly.

September 24, 2017

An article from the Huffington Post, whose author — miracle of miracles! — seems to be just as aghast about this as I am:

 Handicapped children cost money, so parents: abort or face a fine.’

Quoted Dr. Stefan Paas on twitter. ‘We haven’t come this close to Nazi before.’ The quote was taken from a letter published in a National newspaper. It stated that the freedom to birth disabled children should be limited by the ‘financial burden’ to society. Declining to abort, argues letter-writer Michael van der Lubbe, despite the availability of prenatal technology like Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT), should have financial consequences for parents. His letter followed a stream of articles in the media with suggestive titles as ‘Better of without Down’.

Well then. You know what this means, yes?

It means, kids, that if you choose not to kill your baby, and the Almighty State decrees that you should kill your baby, for whatever reason, some people (such as this Michael van der Lubbe creature) are perfectly okay with armed agents of said State breaking down your door and killing you deader than shit.

(And yes, I know. SLIPPERY SLOPE FALLACY RABBLERABBLERABBLE. But the fact is this — if the fine is not paid, and the citizen resists, at some point he or she WILL go down in a hail of State-supplied gunfire. That’s how the enforcement of every single law ends, whether people want to admit it or not.)

But PLEASE, TELL ME MORE ABOUT HOW DONALD TRUMP IS THE NAZI HERE.

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Damn it.

September 10, 2017

I can’t explain exactly why, but this one hurts, worse than I thought it would, almost as bad as losing George Jones.

Country Music Hall of Famer Don Williams died Friday after a short illness. He was 78 years old.

Standing over 6 feet tall, with a smooth baritone and soft-spoken nature, Williams was known as the “Gentle Giant” of country music. He was a staple of country radio in the 1970s and ’80s, releasing 16 No. 1 songs between 1974 and 1985.

Don Williams once sang, “what’ll you do, with good ole boys like me?”

As I put it elsewhere, the more pressing question now is — what will we do without good ole boys like him?

Maybe that’s why it hits so hard: he was a simple and honest man, without an ounce of arrogance or pretension, if not the last of a dying breed, pretty close to it.

Paying it forward, for Mark.

September 4, 2017

People have helped us out when we were in dire straits, and so it is time to return the favor.

Mark L. Anderson is a good guy, a kind and generous soul…

who has lost everything practically at Ground Zero of Hurricane Harvey.

As one who has survived two hurricanes, I can vouch for the fact that pictures don’t really do this sort of thing justice. He has a PayPal link on his page; please donate what you can.

Harvey didn’t stop at the county line…

September 2, 2017

It looks like we’re seeing the same dynamic at work after Hurricane Harvey that we saw after Hurricane Katrina and, to a lesser extent, Hurricane Ike: big city gets most if not all of the attention while the smaller metros and towns get ignored.

Granted, it IS understandable. Major American city under water, tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people displaced, and all that not-so-good stuff. But the flooding and devastation didn’t stop at the Houston city limits, nor at the Harris County line. I saw a graphic that outlined the area that was affected, ironically enough just to show the size of the affected area…and it completely excluded the area east and northeast of Winnie.

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Interstate 10 just northeast of Winnie, Texas, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Photo seen on Dade Phelan Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/DadePhelan/status/902683973696065536/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fnews%2Fdr-gridlock%2Fwp%2F2017%2F08%2F30%2Fharvey-turned-part-of-interstate-10-into-a-roaring-river-with-actual-waves%2F

For those who don’t know the geography of Texas, that’s the Beaumont-Port Arthur-Orange metropolitan area, aka the Golden Triangle, which (as defined by the Census Bureau) is home to just shy of 390,000 people. A pretty good bit of that area got flooded too…

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Ninth Avenue in Port Arthur, Texas, after Harvey. When I lived in Port Arthur, from August 2001 to February 2009, I lived less than a mile from where this photo was taken. Source: https://www.facebook.com/richard.hudson.718/posts/10211580283801856?pnref=story

…and while it’s not Houston, it’s not exactly insignificant either. They’re about to get even more water coming down both the already-swollen Neches and Sabine rivers with the impending releases of water from the Steinhagen and Toledo Bend reservoirs. And then there are the small towns all up and down the coast, from Liberty to Loyola Beach, that were affected to varying degrees, some catastrophically.I don’t know. I remember having much the same thoughts after Katrina, and Rita too. Maybe I just take it more personally this time because I could been right in the middle of this all had things been different. Maybe I just feel a special bond to that place and the people I knew when I was there, many of whom I keep in touch with here on Facebook. Since I left Texarkana, I’ve lived in several different places around Texas, and so far I lived in the Golden Triangle longer than I lived anywhere except for Texarkana.

(That won’t be true for much longer, though!)

Southeast Texas, a lot of us are thinking about and pulling for y’all, even if we’re not there.

Random hits, 28.8.17

August 28, 2017

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My first thought on seeing this was “Singer of watered-down ‘country’ music shills for watered-down beer. Seems legit.”

Now that I think about it, though, that’s rather an unfair insult to Bud, because Bud is closer to actual beer than Thomas Rhett is to actual country music.

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Just so everyone knows, we’re fine over here in San Antonio. Just got a little bit of wind and rain, and the power was out for about 45 minutes Saturday, but that was about it. I have friends down towards Rockport and Corpus, as well as over in Houston and the Golden Triangle, who of course aren’t faring so well, so keep them in your thoughts.

That’s pretty effed up.

August 12, 2017

Also, as if we needed a reminder of how, shall we say, out of whack things are…

On one hand we have supposed “country” act Florida Georgia Line doing a duet with the Backstreet Boys, and on the other hand, on her album that just dropped yesterday, we have pop star Kesha doing a duet with Dolly Parton on “Old Flames (Can’t Hold A Candle To You)” (a No. 1 country hit for Dolly back in 1980) — and a surprisingly good version of it, even.

Granted, Kesha actually has a somewhat personal connection to that song, as her mother co-wrote it, but even so, this is a disappointingly rare thing, and a pretty damning commentary on the state of affairs in Nashville. You hear people talking about country having to appeal to pop fans, and maybe that’s true to an extent, but I for one think this is a much better way of doing it — that is, pop stars putting their own spin on gems from country music just like this one. People are gonna hear this, and they’ll go hunting for the Dolly recording of it…

…and if they’re half as inquisitive as I am they’ll find the Merle Haggard version of that song…

…and from there, who knows? They might even come away fans of those artists in general. And there are a lot more great songs where that one came from, from dozens of artists.

You laugh, but do you think FGL and Luke Bryan doing their thing with their non-existent country/hip-hop mixtape is gonna get people turned on to George Strait, even?

In memory of Glen Campbell…

August 8, 2017

who died today at 81, and who showed us that pop country did not have to suck, and could, in fact, be very good, very good indeed…

Oh, this is nifty.

July 16, 2017

I’ve ranted in this space before about how so many people forgot about Rodney Crowell after Diamonds & Dirt

…but it deserves to be mentioned that he did some good stuff before that album, too. He recorded great versions of some of the songs he made his name with as a songwriter, including “Leavin’ Louisiana in the Broad Daylight” and “Stars on the Water.”

And then there was this, which I never knew existed before yesterday…

…which was originally recorded by Crowell’s fellow Texan Moon Mullican some years earlier.

…wait, what?

July 8, 2017

So, an anti-gun group, who ostensibly espouses peace and nonviolence…

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…uses a sign that evokes the Rising Sun flag used by the Japanese military in World War II. Oh, the irony!

Read the rest of this entry »

What happened to…what, now?

June 23, 2017

The proper question is, “What happened to honest music journalism?” Or “Who are the people quoted here and why in the hell do their opinions on Texas Music matter?” There’s so much bullshit here that it practically fisks itself, but what the hell.

A New York guy killed Texas Music. Yes, friends, the disintegration of this state’s edgy brand of country rock can be traced back to New York-born Texas-transplant Jerry Jeff Walker.

Uh…come again? There wouldn’t BE a Texas music to speak of if it wasn’t for Jerry Jeff Walker. But even so, whatever the objective state of Texas Music circa 2017, it strikes me as not quite fair, and more than a bit simplistic, to blame just him for it, because practically everyone in Texas Music 2.0, from Roger Creager to William Clark Green, was influenced by him. And all of that is assuming that we take the article’s central premise is true, and it just isn’t. Not by a long shot.

Robert Earl Keen Jr. followed in the 1980s, tapping into Walker’s party anthem vibe but with deeper writing (“Swerving in My Lane,” “The Road Goes on Forever”). The rowdies were inflamed.

Really. I’m going to guess these people have never heard “Mariano,” “Jesse with the Long Hair,” or “Shades of Gray,” or, hell, even the original version of “The Road Goes On Forever.” I remember hearing the latter and thinking it was anything but a party song; the one line in the song with the title is practically the only upbeat thing about it.

Then along from Oklahoma came Red Dirt, a similar type of rowdy country but with an even more Neanderthal approach.

Wait, what? Are we even listening to the same artists? Stoney LaRue, Jason Boland, Ragweed? These people don’t have a freaking clue.

And the bit about Maren Morris’ talent getting her noticed is utterly laughable. That’s not really a commentary on said talent, but rather…well…let’s just put it like this: If Maren Morris sounded like Lee Ann Womack or Courtney Patton, who are both every single bit as talented as she is, we all know that Nashville and country radio never would have given her the time of day.

I think my biggest problem with this article, though, is the fact that none of these people bother to actually call anyone out. Are there acts in Texas music who don’t measure up? Sure there are. And we all know who they are, more or less. But if you’re going to call the scene out for its quality or lack thereof, it’s incumbent upon you to point fingers and name names. Nobody hesitates to do that for Nashville, and we ought not to hesitate to do it for Texas/Red Dirt or any other scene. Not only should that be done to make the scene better, but also to differentiate between the good and the bad. Just like it’s wrong to say ’80s metal sucks because of Poison, it’s just as wrong to modern Texas music sucks because of Sam Riggs.

And, again, who the hell are any of these people quoted in this stupid article? If it was Ray Wylie Hubbard or Billy Joe Shaver or any of those guys saying all this that’d be one thing, but it’s just a bitter gaggle of nobodies with nothing more than axes to grind for reasons that only God Himself knows.