Archive for June, 2016

Tuesday music musings, 21.6.16

June 21, 2016

Brad Paisley’s “Without a Fight” feat. Demi Lovato, eh?

Sigh. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I miss the Brad Paisley who did songs “feat. George Jones and Bill Anderson” or “feat. Alison Krauss.” No doubt he’d tell us all that country music in general and he in particular have “evolved beyond that.” And that is…well, it’s not fine, for sure. It sucks. But it is what it is. Personally, I’d make the observation that not a few of us who had any modicum of respect for him have evolved beyond that, too.

As for the song itself, the best that can be said for it is that it isn’t bad. At least it’s not bad on the level of Florida-Georgia Line or Sam Hunt. My expectations were pretty low, though, as I was expecting some overblown pop ballad a la Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson’s “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” as opposed to a mid-tempo sort of rockish song. But, yet again, it’s not something I’d turn off Jason Boland or Reckless Kelly for. It’s just…there, as Brad Paisley even at his best seems to be anymore.

Beyond that, though, it’ll be interesting to see what those beating the drum about the lack of airplay on country radio for females will have to say about this, if indeed they have anything to say at all. Yet again, all the females in country music getting ignored, and Brad chooses to sing a song with…a pop star? OK then.

(A not-Beyoncé pop star, at that! No doubt Amy McCarthy at the Houston Press will be all over that pretty soon….)

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A couple of weeks ago, I bought a Hank Thompson box set with his version of “Dance With Me Molly,” which took me to Keith Whitley’s version, which took me down the rabbit hole…

It strikes me that, like many other artists in myriad genres, Keith Whitley’s greatness was to be truly found beyond the singles that were released for radio airplay. I suppose that this might be blasphemy to admit, but I never was really keen on any his stuff that was played on the radio beyond maybe “Homecoming ’63.”

But songs like, “Honky Tonk Heart,” “Talk To Me Texas,” “Brother Jukebox,” “I Never Go Around Mirrors”…man, that’s the good stuff, right there. I was screwing around on Spotify this weekend and decided to dig into that, and I’m pretty glad I did. Come to find out Whitley actually recorded “I Never Go Around Mirrors” twice. The older version originally appeared on 1982’s Somewhere Between as a mid-tempo shuffle, and it’s great — but there was another version that appeared on 1988’s Don’t Close Your Eyes that more approximates the Lefty Frizzell original, and it’s absolutely stunning. If Wikipedia is to be believed, that later version was supposed to have been released as a single but the chairman of the record company wanted something more upbeat, which resulted in the recording of the song “I Wonder Do You Think Of Me” (which, like “I Never Go…,” was also written by Sanger D. “Whitey” Shafer). The more things change…

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And now I know what you’re thinking: “Spotify? What kind of music fan are you?”

Weeeell….I’ll own it. According to Saving Country Music, none other than Aaron Lewis has gotten into the protest song game with a song called “That Ain’t Country,” and the only way to hear the whole thing was via Spotify. I liked the snippet of it I heard, and as it turns out the whole thing was pretty good — a nice little country shuffle sonically reminiscent of Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen’s “Standards.”

Was it lyrically as good as that song? Well…no. Just one thing really spoiled it for me, though, and that was all the name-drops. Yes, we know that Willie, Merle and all the rest are country. Not really sure that particular bit needed to be pointed out. But other than that they nailed it, with both the instrumentation and his voice. I’d be interested to hear what the rest of the album sounds like, though I doubt he’ll be able to top either Bruce Robison’s or the Dixie Chicks’ versions of “Travelin’ Soldier.”

(I did like what I heard from Lewis’ previous album The Road, though. I probably should have bought that instead of the Chris Stapleton album with my birthday Amazon credit last year…)

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Random political musings, 18.6.16

June 18, 2016

Kermit1A2A

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Rosanne Cash, in Billboard:

We can…prevent the sale and possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Prevent the possession. So, in other words, “Mr. and Mrs. America, come and get them.”

Of course, it’s not like Rosanne Cash is going to be leading those SWAT confiscation raids. She’ll be perfectly content to send other people’s sons and daughters (and mothers and fathers) to do it for her. Which makes her “for the children” mewling ever so hollow and hypocritical.

But then, on the other hand, let her and those like her talk like this, and let us all bring as much attention to it as we can, because it exposes the anti-gunners’ assurance that “no one wants to take your guns” as the foul and malicious lie that it has always been.

Sunday morning commentary: Orlando.

June 12, 2016

I hear there are people saying on the wake of this morning’s Orlando shootings, “More gun control! How many more have to die?”

Well, that’s a perfectly legitimate question, but for the fact that it presupposes yet more laws are going to stop this sort of thing. Registration, licensing, and all that.

Yeah, no.

Even if we ignore the historical fact of registration leading to confiscation EACH AND EVERY SINGLE TIME, there is the fact that these laws face massive noncompliance right here in the United States. According to the New York Daily News, hardly a bastion of pro-gun sentiment, fewer than 44,000 semiautomatic rifles were registered with the state after the SAFE Act introduced such a requirement into law after the Sandy Hook shootings. Not only that, but several New York county sheriffs have gone on record as saying they won’t help enforce the laws in the SAFE legislation. And New York is one of the bluest states in the country. The same played out in another blue state, Colorado, after that state’s passing laws outlawing normal-capacity magazines, according to a report from the CBS affiliate in Denver. Also, in Connecticut itself, according to the Hartford Courant, some 50,000 semiautomatic rifles were registered after Sandy Hook, but with as many as 350,000 semi auto rifles in civilian hands in Connecticut…well, there you go.

How do they think such is going to play out in Alabama, or Oklahoma, or Texas?

And how are these laws not going to stop such?

Well, in case you forgot, even if we stopped making and selling new ones, the guns are already out there. A whole fucking lot of them. While it’s hard to nail down an exact number, there are probably enough semiautomatic rifles in American civilian hands and ammunition to feed them to outfit the armies of several small countries. And that number has only increased in recent years as after every shooting just like the one in Orlando, control freaks like Hillary Clinton never fail to rush to the mikes and scream to the rooftops for more laws punishing the people who didn’t shoot anyone.

So the guns are already out there, and there are more going out the doors of gun shops in this fair land every single day. Are you going to go door-to-door, or rather, send other people’s sons and daughters to go door-to-door? (Because let’s be frank, very few if any of the people actually screaming for more gun control are actually going to put their own skin in the game here.) If that’s what you’re suggesting, perhaps you should google “4th generation warfare” sometime, or perhaps give Mike Vanderboegh’s essay “Kill All They Send” a read:

“And it would be a WAR, make no mistake, not the sanitary “police action”…. And how would the big bad boys of the ATF and FBI fare against committed freedom fighters? Even well-paid federal police bureaucrats just want to live until retirement. How long do you think they would last when team after team of them are shot down like dogs in the street, garroted in their sleep, poisoned in their mess halls, or found with their throats slit in guardposts, restrooms and bordellos?”

And even if we did manage to pull it off, in the complete vacuum of moral issues, logistics and all that…there’s still the matter of that porous southern border. I think it’s probably safe to say that narcotics aren’t the only thing coming across them. If you know what I mean. And I think you do.

In short: the guns are here. And they are not going away, no matter how you might wish they would. So what now?