Archive for December, 2013

Tuesday music musings, 10.12.13

December 10, 2013

So, did you know Huey Lewis was a country music fan? Yeah, me neither. I can hardly wait to see what certain people have to say about this:

Is country music something you’ve ever been into? Have people approached you about doing a country album?

Yes, I’ve had people approach me about it. But I don’t sing country music very good. I sing soul music….

You say you don’t have a traditional country voice, but you could say the same thing about Lionel Richie or Darius Rucker or any of these other pop or rock artists who’ve moved on to do country.

Yeah, I don’t like that stuff, though. That’s not country to me. I love Darius Rucker, he’s a great guy, I know him a little bit, we play golf. But that’s … eh. I need Merle, the real old-school stuff. I’m a purist that way. (laughs) Modern country leaves me cold. It all sounds like bad arena rock to me.

I could always take or leave most of Huey Lewis’ stuff, but I gotta respect him for that. Seems like so many stars past their heyday are “going country” anymore, with varying results. But here we are with Lewis, who seems to have more respect for country music than most of the artists who claim to make it anymore, not going for it. I wish more artists had that kind of integrity. (And major props to him for referencing a rather obscure Merle Haggard song!)

Speaking of integrity, or the lack thereof, we have this, from Clay Walker:

From a mainstream recording perspective, traditional country music is dead. If you’re going to be part of the industry, then you have to adapt to the new world, or be born into it. I’ve realized the music I’m going to make in the future is not going to be the music I’ve made in the past, and that’s the way you survive.

Well, what to say to this? I really don’t know. Is traditional country music dead in the mainstream? I didn’t really think it was; I figured what we were dealing with was one of those periodic swings of popularity. I remember seeing the same thing in the late 1990s, with the popularity of artists like Shania Twain and Faith Hill. Granted, no one was saying traditional country music was dead then, but there was quite a bit of angst in the country music community about that. And then, a few years later, Alan Jackson was hitting the top of the Billboard 200, and George Strait did the same thing on multiple occasions through the 2000s. But then there are those who say that we’re dealing with a sea change in the way the music sounds. That may well be true, but even so, saying that “traditional country music is dead from a mainstream recording perspective” strikes me as a copout. Looks like Clay Walker may well be taking the path trod by Tracy Lawrence, and that’s just really disheartening…

(h/t Country California)


Well, this raises an interesting question.

December 6, 2013

Gloria Padilla, in the San Antonio Express-News:

Over the last several years, some of San Antonio’s larger school district police departments have been quietly adding assault weapons, often referred to as long rifles by law enforcement officials, to their weaponry, and now some of the smaller school districts are doing it too….

The growing number of assault weapons in school police arsenals is alarming. Regrettably, there are few safeguards to ensure officers who handle these high-powered rifles get the training they need to handle them or that the school districts have implemented strict policies on their use, especially in some dysfunctional school districts.

And that question is: What exactly is to be feared here? It strikes me that this is an offshoot of the same argument that is used whenever the discussion of armed individuals in schools comes up. Dysfunctional school districts? What exactly is Padilla afraid is going to happen here — that the police in said districts might use their weapons to subdue generally unruly kids? If they’re going to do that then maybe they shouldn’t be police officers in the first place. And you’d think people like that would get screened out of the process anyway. If they’re not, well, that’s an indictment on police procedures in general — which is a lot bigger problem than cops merely having access to semiautomatic rifles on the job. And in that case, focusing on the guns is a fool’s errand.

But then, it usually is. And that would explain so much about why people do it.

Yep, that makes total sense.

December 5, 2013

One Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, writing in Esquire:

We crossed the line some time ago, it has just taken me a while to get around to the topic. Sadly, that topic is now so brutally evident that I feel shame. Shame that I have not spoken out about before now — shame for my country, shame that we have come to this point. One story tripped me.

A woman charged with killing a fellow Alabama fan after the end of last weekend’s Iron Bowl football game was angry that the victim and others didn’t seem upset over the Crimson Tide’s loss to archrival Auburn, said the sister of the slain woman.People, it is time to talk about guns.

Because somebody shot somebody else over a college football game, we all need to have our guns taken away. Hokayyy, then…

Time to talk about guns? How many times has that been said? A LOT. How many times has the talk been had? A LOT. And every time, the conversation’s ended with, “We’re keeping our guns. If you try to take them bad things will happen. So you can just sit on it.”

The last bit was taken from the last sentence of Mr. Bateman’s screed: “As for the NRA, they can sit on it.” Surely I’m not the only one who finds this disturbing. A military officer basically telling millions of Americans to sit down and shut up just because they don’t agree with his proposed usurpation of natural rights and personal property. Because let’s face it, that’s what this boils down to. After all, what does Mr. Bateman think should happen if those guns aren’t turned in? I would guess he thinks that the local police should go around taking them at the point of their own guns. He’s just not man enough to come right out and say it.

And I’m sure some folks might say, “Since he’s a military officer, why didn’t you call him by his title?”

Well, he seems to have little to no respect for the Constitution he swore to protect and defend, so does he really deserve that, especially since he uses his authority as an Army officer to advocate things like this? I certainly don’t think so.

From his lips to God’s ears!

December 3, 2013

Eric Church:

I don’t think I could do it over and over, because how many times can you push the envelope? How many times can you grow? When I get to that point when we’re not doing that anymore, I don’t care to make records.

I could ask what’s wrong with not pushing the envelope, as when that seems to be your raison d’être as an artist, it really makes the artistry wear thin. I keep thinking of George Strait, who’s made a 30-year career — made himself a country music legend, practically synonymous with the term “country music” — pretty much by not “pushing the envelope.” You can say the same about the likes of Alan Jackson, even though his radio career might not have lasted as long, or Merle Haggard, or George Jones, and the list goes on. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with finding a style of music and sticking to it. In fact, such is far preferable to trying to reinvent oneself with each record, as the latter would imply that you’re not really sure of who you are as an artist. Not only that, there’s always the risk of alienating your core audience. God knows I’ve talked about “evolving” away from your core sound enough as far as heavy metal goes, but it happens in country, too, one of the perfect examples being Reba McEntire. I don’t know for sure that you could have called her the female version of George Strait back when she started, but she and he were both pretty close together as far as their styles went back in the day — but she slowly got away from that over the years, to the point that she was singing pop-country crap about texting and tweeting.

I suppose that may not be fair to Church — he might well have a keen sense of his artistry, and since he doesn’t seem to have a “core sound” he might well not have to worry about alienating anyone  — but considering everything he has said about what he wants to do with his music so far, even if he does have a keen sense of his artistry, it’s not exactly a ringing endorsement as far as his place in country music is concerned.

(h/t Country California)

Oh, my…

December 2, 2013

…you must see the butthurt here!

Yeah, the Beatles were overrated. Hipster hate? Hardly. I love a lot of popular music from the ’60s, from Motown to the Rolling Stones. I’d be perfectly willing to point to that decade as the golden age of American popular music for Motown all by itself. But I never understood the allure of the Beatles, let alone the frenzy some people get whipped into when it’s suggested they might not have been all they were cracked up to be. I’d be perfectly willing to give them their due as innovators when it came to things like recording techniques and whatnot — but the way some people talk you’d think they practically invented music itself. And it a way that’s rather insulting to pretty much everyone who came after them. So yeah, I can totally see where the hate comes from.

Could be worse, I suppose…

December 1, 2013

…we could be Britain.

The  tl/dr version: Pregnant woman has a panic attack because she forgot to take her meds and ultimately has her baby cut out of her womb by British butchers doctors at the behest of British social service workers. The kicker to it all?

The woman in question was not even a British citizen; she was an Italian citizen in Britain on business.

From what I understand this sort of thing isn’t the only aggression exhibited by British social services; if there’s anything to this bit from Daily Mail columnist Christopher Booker, their agents routinely jet off to foreign countries in pursuit of parents who have left the country to escape things like being harassed by social service agents after confiding in strangers that they were depressed about their jobs.

Really makes you wonder if they have an adoption racket going on under the table…