Something to remember today.

May 31, 2021

I remember going to the big Memorial Day celebration in Orange on Memorial Day 2009. The Patriot Guard Riders didn’t get to make their grand entrance as planned because of the torrential rains, but they still came. I remember that I just about lost it when the PGR chapter president told everyone why they still came. She said of the fallen soldiers, “They didn’t get an opportunity to choose the weather they fought in, or to choose whether or not to go.”

We should remember that, today and every day.

Friday music musings, 07.05.2021

May 7, 2021

On modern mainstream country music, stolen from an away game, revised and extended:

“It isn’t just the electronic music and vacuous lyrics or pop sound, it has no soul anymore. I don’t think I’m being nostalgic here: the music itself has no roots in anything meritorious. I happened upon an old Dolly Parton record the other day and I had forgotten just how much her voice and the instruments spoke to me. It was like you could feel the mountains in the music. The only thing modern country makes me feel is used.”

I thought all of that was pretty much on the money. It’s just all good-time party music and more lately, vacuous, cliched Hallmark greeting-card odes to significant others, and that’s meaningless almost by definition. As I heard it put before, it’s about what happens on weekends instead of weekdays anymore. And so much of it is backed by programmed snap tracks and whatnot, which, in my own opinion, is necessarily going to suck the soul right out of it. This is all way beyond “get off my lawn, the music was better in my day.” Used to, at least more than now, country music was music played with real instruments by real people with real talent; just as an example, take that killer Bruce Bouton steel guitar bit in Ricky Skaggs’ “Highway 40 Blues.”

You can’t recreate that with some machine, at least not credibly. It takes a real person with real talent. Lyrically speaking…well, they all say, “we write and sing what we know.” That may be, but it’s still a copout; after all, Curly Putman didn’t dream of home and sweet Mary the night before his execution. Roy Clark didn’t look back extremely regretfully on his youth as far as anyone knows. Jimmy Webb was never a phone line technician, and neither was Glen Campbell. But I don’t even want to think about how much poorer the country music canon — indeed, the American music canon — would be for the lack of “Green, Green Grass of Home,” “Yesterday, When I Was Young,” or “Wichita Lineman.”

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Wow, this is really good.

And a cover, to boot. It definitely sounds like something Sabaton would have written themselves.

Really, listening to all those Sabaton songs got me to thinking. You’d think after the Attack of the Dead Men

the Germans would’ve learned not to screw with the Russians. But sure enough they did, at places like Stalingrad

…and Kursk.

Funny thing about Kursk: that was where the German Panther, which came to be one of the most feared tanks of the war, made its rather ignominious debut. 200 Panthers had debuted at the Battle of Kursk. After five days of action, wear, and tear, only 10 remained operational….

Oh, Geoff, no.

March 22, 2021

From Blabbermouth.net:

In a new interview with Tom Leu of the “Sound Matters” show, former QUEENSRŸCHE frontman Geoff Tate was asked which album from his career he thinks is the best representation of who he is as a singer, songwriter and an overall artist. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Wow, that’s a tough one. I’m really, really partial to the last album that QUEENSRŸCHE did together with me [2011’s ‘Dedicated To Chaos’]. That album had something incredibly special about it. It was an album that everybody in the band contributed so much to, and we were really in a high-level writing mode at the time. And I love the way the album sounds. I think Kelly Gray did an amazing job on the production on that record. And I think it’s a well-rounded record; it has a lot of different kinds of songs on it. It shows the depth of the writing of the band, and really where we were at that point.”

An album that everybody in the band contributed to? That’s not the way I remember it from reading all the court documents in the wake of Tate getting fired from Queensryche. I don’t know where all the guys’ declarations could be found on the Internet anymore, but they all spelled out quite clearly that by that point Queensryche was pretty much the Geoff Tate Show. I remember reading that Michael Wilton interview in Guitar World and being quite flabbergasted, and that was before I had a clue of the discord in the band at the time (although that interview certainly hinted at it as far as he was concerned). I don’t even know why Tate’s saying all thmis, or what he thinks he has to gain by doing so.  I don’t know to what extent he’s rehabilitated himself in recent years — but I for one will give him credit for having made an absolutely stunning turnaround as a singer, at least, and I talked as much shit about him as anyone. And I can’t be the only one. Does he really want to squander that goodwill to try to rewrite history?

Friday music musings, 19.03.2021

March 19, 2021

Oh hey, I knew I had more to say the other day but was drawing a blank.

Boy, Eddie Trunk sure was pissed at NARAS over the Grammys…

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And I’m over here like, “he seems surprised, and damn if I know why.” I mean, yeah, a Grammy isn’t all that. Hell, all you need to know about the Grammys is that Tenacious D won more of them than Ronnie James Dio, and they won theirs for a cover of a Dio song. 

But see, the thing is, the Grammys have always been behind the curve when it comes to hard rock and metal in general. Everybody remembers Jethro Tull’s Crest of a Knave winning the Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance in 1989 over Metallica’s …And Justice for All. And yeah, that was something. But the bigger thing about that was, 1989 was the inaugural year for that award. So there had been a good 20 years of genre-defining stuff that had already gone unrecognized. And NARAS can’t do like Rolling Stone did (with their re-reviews of all the metal albums they gave shitty reviews to the first time around) and go back and retroactively recognize all the music for which the awards didn’t exist back then. I have said before that I don’t put much stock in awards in general anymore, but this sort of thing is why I don’t do it for the Grammys in particular. It’s just so emblematic of what’s wrong with them.

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Charley Crockett’s James Hand tribute album, 10 for Slim, is pretty killer.  I’ll have to listen to it more, but upon first listen, this song here is my favorite.

Tuesday music musings, 16.3.21

March 16, 2021

Oh, hey, it’s been a while!

Every so often I have to see if a given artist is as bad as one or more of my favorite music bloggers makes them out to be.

SPOILER ALERT: Niko Moon is every bit as bad as Farce the Music makes him out to be.

Song: “Yeah we pickin’ on them guitars just right, everybody singin’ ‘Dixieland Delight’…”

My literal reaction: “Oh, AS FUCKING IF.”

What really burns my ass about this, though, is that East Coast pop music writers will talk about country music being racist, but they won’t say anything about country radio driving this bullshit white-boy R&B to No. 1 (and they’ll talk about “country music’s ‘Next Emo-Rap Star,'” who is — SURPRISE! — yet another suburban rich white kid) while the likes of Charley Crockett, who in addition to his illustrious catalog to date just released a tribute album of the songs of stone-country Texas troubadour James Hand, continue to go ignored.

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This, on the other hand, is pretty spectacular.

I heard “Unbreakable” from this same album (2013’s Nemesis) on one of my Spotify daily mixes some time ago and decided to take the album for a spin, and I was not disappointed. You really can’t go wrong with any kind of power/symphonic metal from that side of the pond. What makes this even more remarkable is the current lineup of the band — the lineup that recorded this album — comprises none of its original members.

Damn 2020, really?

October 28, 2020

Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver passing literally within days of each other? That’s cold.

It’s pretty safe to say that Texas music wouldn’t have been what it was without either of them. Robert Earl Keen was my first proper introduction to Texas music, but Jerry Jeff wasn’t far behind. First place I ever heard Jerry Jeff was on the radio, believe it or not, on Rowdy Yates’ classic country show that was then called Solid Gold Sunday on KILT 100.3 FM.

“…this song is by Ray Wylie Hubbard…”

Honestly, I think if I was asked to introduce Texas music to someone, I would recommend Viva Terlingua to them and tell them to go from there.

And what to say about Billy Joe Shaver that doesn’t come up woefully short? He was one of the greatest, most authentic songwriters of our time. Hawking the tables at Green Gables, his grandma’s old-age pension being the reason he’s standing here today, shooting a man in Waco but not being able to talk much about it…all of that stuff came straight from his life. That’s really about as authentic as it gets, and we’ll never see the likes of him again.

But much like the songs he leaves behind him, he’s gonna live forever now.

Just an observation…

October 23, 2020

Sigh.

Look. Jason Aldean’s “Got What I Got” has precisely fuck-all to do with anything George Strait, Merle Haggard, Bill Monroe, or Hank Williams EVER did, and I would tell him that to his PUDGY ASS FACE given the opportunity. Really, I don’t know where people get off associating mainstream country music with NASCAR anymore, because if NASCAR had “evolved” as country music had, they’d be racing electric go-carts or something.

Oh, this is long, long overdue.

October 5, 2020

So a few weeks ago, Kevin over at Country Universe reviewed a greatest-hits album from Roy Clark. I didn’t think anything of it until this morning, when I went on one of my periodic Roy Clark searches on Spotify…

…and found this.

Oh, huh. Are these all original recordings?

Yes. Yes they are!

More research yielded this:

Country Hero Roy Clark’s ‘Greatest Hits’ Gets CD And Digital Release

The Craft Recordings set revisits the native Virginian’s definitive retrospective and the only one currently in print.

This is long, long overdue. Too many people only know Roy Clark for Hee Haw (a show I loved, by the way), but he was a great singer and a fantastic instrumentalist in his own right.

One of the greatest songs in country and pop music history, and this is probably the definitive version of it.

I’m sure he’ll fit right in.

August 24, 2020

From today’s San Antonio Express-News:

Report: Nets will reportedly pursue Spurs’ Gregg Popovich to be next head coach

Sure, OK. They’ll love him up there.

For the record, I wouldn’t care about Popovich being so vocal with his leftist opinions if the Spurs were actually winning games; as things are, though, with the Spurs missing the playoffs for the first time in more than 2 decades it just comes off as a distraction from the fact that they aren’t.

Yeah, I know. Five championships. We keep this up and we’re going to start sounding like Dallas Cowboys fans.

“Five championships? Well that’s all fine and good, but considering the latest one is old enough to drink…”

I know it’d be a while before the Spurs got to that point, but still, as I noted elsewhere, y’all know what he and Steve Kerr (the other “most woke coach in the NBA”) have in common, right?

Both of their teams sucked this season. Golden State’s record was even worse than that of the Spurs.

I was all ready to give Kerr credit, too.

And I don’t even like Donald Trump.

…fkin’ really, dude?

August 20, 2020

Kane Brown meme from Farce the Music…

kanedirt

Maybe those “Red Dirt country people” just think Kane Brown sucks. As I have pointed out before, Jason Boland cut his musical teeth on Judas Priest and Iron Maiden in addition to Hag and Cash, and Cody Canada is a pretty big fan of Pantera and its associated bands. Now, I know all of those aren’t exactly newer bands, but we all know what Kane Brown is getting at, which is that all those people who have less than positive things to say about him don’t appreciate any other kind of music, which is a bit ignorant, really.

And even if they didn’t like other kinds of music, if they only listened to one kind of music, so what? As I have also I it before, the more kind of music you claim to like, the less time you have to really dig into a particular genre or whatever, and you’re liable to miss out on good stuff from that genre if you’re listening to so much other stuff. There are only so many hours in the day.