What is most dangerous here about Rolling Stone Country‘s assertions is this mindset that either you actively speak out and engage in political discourse, or somehow you are a party to the worst offenses of either Donald Trump or his supporters. In other words, you could have voted for Hillary Clinton, a third party candidate, or not voted at all. Yet if you don’t come out in vehement opposition to Donald Trump as an official stance as part of your pop country celebrity franchise, then you are complicit with racism, homophobia, lies, and environmental destruction. Even though Rolling Stone Country‘s Joseph Hudak at times tries to tell readers that if they disagree, the can feel free to stop reading, he also states, “You either accept that lying is wrong or you do not. You accept that mocking the disabled is wrong or you do not. And you accept that sexual assault is wrong or you do not. There is no middle ground.”
No middle ground, eh? Do you want a Donald Trump re-election? Because that’s how you get a Donald Trump re-election.
Seriously, this “all politics all the time” in every single thing is going to destroy us. You kinda should expect political commentary from Steve Earle or maybe (to a lesser extent) Jason Boland, but why should a George Strait or Randy Rogers be condemned for not going on anti-Donald Trump tirades in studio or on stage, or, fuck, anywhere else for that matter? It is grossly unfair to them as artists and to their fans, and as Americans they don’t deserve to be called out for bigotry they’ve never expressed by Progressive assholes who are all pissy about everyone not falling in line with their agenda.
Speaking of Rolling Stone Country, and I know I’m late on this, what the hell was with their best of 2016 list? Maren Morris’ Hero at No. 1? I know the pickings were slim compared to 2015, but, “Oh, honey, no.”
I say that, but there was some good stuff there, among them the latest albums from the Randy Rogers Band, Sturgill Simpson, and Hayes Carll. But none of those albums really struck me on a level that all the great stuff from 2015 did. Not that they weren’t good — maybe I just need to go listen to them all again a few more times — but the only new albums I got that I liked right off the bat were Robert Earl Keen’s Live Dinner Reunion and William Clark Green’s Live At Gruene Hall.
Both of those are great, but if I had to pick a favorite it’d have to be the William Clark Green album, for the extended “Wishing Well” jam all by itself. That song just flat fucking rocks live.
Funny thing about that song: it was off his first album, that I didn’t even know existed for a long time. I had thought for a while that Green’s first album was 2013’s Rose Queen. I really like the original version of it too. “Still Think About You” was surprisingly moving live; it was presented as a tribute to Kent Finlay, the longtime proprietor of the Cheatham Street Warehouse, who died last year. He did leave an indelible mark on Texas music — indeed, all of American music — and Green was one of his last proteges.
But then, there’s something just really magical, that I can’t quite explain, about Joe Ely singing “The Road Goes On Forever.” Maybe it’s the fact that it’s a legendary Texas artist singing a legendary Texas song. Yeaaaaaah, that’s gotta be it.
Live Dinner Reunion was a really pleasant surprise, to be honest. I initially thought that it was just going to be a re-recording of Keen’s 1996 classic No. 2 Live Dinner, which would have been borderline blasphemous; as it turned out, it was a celebration of the 20th anniversary of that album’s release (like N2LD, it was also recorded at Floore’s Country Store), with a bunch of special musical guests, some of them doing duets and some of them singing lead. Good stuff, though it would have been insanely cool to have another Cody Canada version of “Shades of Gray.”
What? Cody Canada recorded that song once already?
Yeah, he did, and it was freaking AWESOME. From 2008’s Undone: A Musicfest Tribute to Robert Earl Keen:
2017 looks pretty good so far, though, with new releases on the way from, among others, Aaron Watson and Deryl Dodd. Really looking forward to that DD disc; it’ll be a celebration of his 20 years in the music, and the track listing on it looks promising indeed.
Seriously, “That’s How I Got to Memphis” with Radney Foster? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!