Archive for May, 2014

Thursday music musings, 8.5.14

May 8, 2014

…Nope, still don’t like Bonnie Tyler. I’d be interested to know if that scratchy voice was part of her technique and if she could ever sing a clean note. I could see that style working for other genres of music, but for what she was doing it didn’t work worth a damn.

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Same for pretty much any version of “Unchained Melody.” I think the first version of that song I ever heard was from Ronnie McDowell, rather than the Righteous Brothers original. The original was only marginally tolerable, but pretty much every other version I’ve heard was just horrid. I think the absolute worst was LeAnn Rimes’ cover. Talk about cranking up the bombast. Every time I heard it I thought, “Lord, deliver me,” much like I do when hear anything from Carrie Underwood anymore.

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And just when you think Jerrod Niemann couldn’t set the bar any lower for himself, he goes off and does it.  I think of that song, and I think of a song like Jason Boland and the Stragglers’ “Sons and Daughters of Dixie,” and I have to ask myself — why is Jerrod Niemann the hitmaker while Jason Boland and the Stragglers languish in relative obscurity? That says so much about the mainstream “country” audience anymore, and absolutely none of it is good.

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Monday music musings, 5.5.14

May 5, 2014

Oh, boy, here we go again…

Brian Kelley, also known as the other guy in Florida-Georgia Line, the one who plays electric guitar without plugging it in:

We’ve heard the term ‘bro country’, and I don’t really know what it means. People like to label things I guess these days. What’s country? What’s not country?

Just…wow. Where do you even start with the inanity of such a quote? I mean, I know the dude’s so dumb that he makes a fence post look like Albert Einstein, but it isn’t as if the term “bro-country” isn’t ever used without any context. Hell, it’s even gotten to be used as a positive term. And if you don’t know what’s country and what isn’t, how can you call your music country?

As far as labels go, it’s not even that this crap is mislabeled that’s the most irksome. What’s most irksome is that it’s completely devoid of any musical value outside the context of labels. It doesn’t just suck as country music; it sucks as music, period. And that makes Dallas Davidson look even more small-minded than he comes off here:

When you’re in a country songwriting dynamic you can only do so much. You’re pigeonholed, and I hate that. You can’t do this, you can’t say that.

It’s as if he has absolutely no sense of country music history. And really, if he finds country music to be so restrictive, then there’s a really simple solution to that. No doubt that’s completely beyond his ken, too.

And speaking of things completely beyond one’s ken, we have this from Luke Bryan:

Well, I do lean toward party music on some records, but even on Crash My Party I’ve got a song like Drink A Beer that’s quite a deep song. It talks about loss. You can’t have 12 songs about partying on every album. You need an ebb and flow of emotions. […] Look at George Strait — he’s been around for four decades. And if you really want, you can pick out five goofy songs like (George Jones’) Love Bug that you can claim are what he’s all about. But it’s not true. He’s got so many hit songs to choose from. It makes more sense to look at the range of the career.

Whaaaaat? People are looking at the entirety of Bryan’s career when they ridicule him. I mean, sure George Jones had clunkers like “I’m A People,” “The Ceremony,” and all that rockabilly stuff, the latter of which he himself later disavowed, calling it “a bunch of shit.” But it was the vast majority of what was later chosen to be released for radio airplay  — “When The Grass Grows Over Me,” “A Good Year For the Roses,” “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” — that made him so revered. Now, whether George Jones’ rockabilly records were really a bunch of shit I couldn’t say, as I haven’t heard any of ’em. But it just goes to show you the lofty standards the man had as an artist. Same goes for George Strait; in fact, Strait had such a problem with pop-sounding records that he parted ways with producer Blake Mevis over the latter’s insistence on Strait taking a more pop direction as they were finding songs for the follow-up to 1982’s Strait from the Heart.

Luke Bryan, on the other hand, more or less sold out right after his first album. I don’t know what he’s bitching and moaning about. One song like “Drink A Beer” doesn’t make up for 5 songs like “That’s My Kind of Night.”

(h/t Country California)

Sunday morning radio musings, 4.5.14

May 4, 2014

Yesterday, listening to Sirius, I heard Floyd Cramer’s “Last Date,” a song I’ve always liked. I thought about something and went off to Google to confirm it, and it was indeed true.

What’s that, you say? Well, Cramer was indeed born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and part of his career was as a pianist on the Louisiana Hayride, the radio show on Shreveport’s legendary KWKH-AM 1130 that launched the careers of so many country greats including Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, and Faron Young (who, incidentally, was discovered by Webb Pierce). The Hayride was also reportedly where the famous phrase “Elvis has left the building” originated. For a long time KWKH also had a presence on FM, up until late 1996; KWKH-AM soldiered on as a country station. I was thinking it was still that way, but alas…

As of May 31, 2012, KWKH had changed to a sports format and ceased producing the classic country music format reminiscent of the Hayride era.

Because that’s exactly what we need, yet another damned sports station, amirite? That is but one thing that shows just how out of the loop I’ve been; yet another is that KVOO-AM in Tulsa, where Bob Wills got his own catapult into country music stardom and history, has been a news/talk station with different call letters since 2001. So much heritage went down the drain, between those stations. and it’s such a shame.

I don’t really have anything to support the thought other than the flipping of KWKH, at least, but I do wonder how true the thought is that this is what happens when you cater to people who don’t give a shit about anything that came out more than six months ago — they just turn off the radio, period….

A tip for Andy Raymond.

May 2, 2014

When you have to set up straw men this big to defend your position, that might be a sign that your position is untenable:

Earlier, Raymond had said he’s on the “right-wing vanguard of gun rights” but is vehemently opposed to gun rights activists arguing against the idea of a smart gun — or any gun.

“To me that is so fricking hypocritical,” Raymond had said. “That’s the antithesis of everything that we pro-gun, pro-Second Amendment people should be. You are not supposed to say a gun should be prohibited. Then you are being no different than the anti-gun people who say an AR-15 should be prohibited.”

Not supposed to say a gun should be prohibited, whaaaat? As David Codrea pointed out, no one’s saying smart guns should prohibited — just that they shouldn’t be mandated, as they’re now going to be in New Jersey. There’s a not-insubstantial difference between those two positions.

And ultra-safe gun? I’m really not sure what that means, because if you know and follow your Four Rules, your gun is as safe as an ink pen.

As far as arguing against smart guns —well, that is actually a pretty smart thing to do, because the last thing a self-defense tool needs is yet another failure point, let alone an entire new set of failure points within failure points. And this does bring up another interesting question for discussion: Let’s just say somebody has one of those “smart guns” and it fails them in a critical self-defense situation and they end up dead. And let’s say the investigation showed that the gun failed specifically because of the “smart” components. Would that allow for a lawsuit by the dead person’s family against the  dealer and/or the manufacturer? After all, while the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act did by and large put a stop to frivolous lawsuits against the gun manufacturers for alleged “negligence,” it does still allow for lawsuits against manufacturers for defective products. Something for Mr. Raymond to think about, for sure…