Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Oh, God, Authorized Journalism everywhere…

December 16, 2015

not just when it comes to guns!

(Chris) Stapleton’s sweep didn’t leave much room for Sam Hunt to shine on CMA night, and that’s a shame. He’s far and away country’s most forward-thinking stylist, and he deserves to be recognized as such.

Huh, so that’s what they’re calling it now. Forward thinking. And, of course, more mentions of the same old mainstream “country” artists that everyone else has been talking about.

Maybe that isn’t quite fair. Maybe Eric Church’s surprise album ended up being good. But there was so much other good stuff that came out this year that was just as worthy of being talked about as Eric Church’s album, a hell of a lot more worthy of discussion than Sam Hunt’s album that wasn’t even released this year. I suppose I could give Chris Richards credit for pointing out Stapleton’s questionable mainstream oeuvre, but for the fact that Richards didn’t think that was of any use beyond pointing out the ostensible hypocrisy and double standards of CMA voters. And that’s something that does deserve to be commented on, but not for the benefit of somebody like Sam Hunt, not least of all because at the end of the day — in the context of country music — Hunt’s music is little more than a different flavor of crap than what the bros are serving up. Sam Hunt’s music is not progressive. It’s not forward thinking. It’s out and out fraud and deserves to be called out as such, loudly and repeatedly.

Of course, this little tidbit from one of Richards’ earlier columns provides quite the insight:

Hunt didn’t really listen to a lot of music growing up. “I had a couple CDs,” he confesses. “But I never had that first concert experience, that first record thing.”…

A career in professional football started to seem like an actual possibility for Hunt after a strong season his senior year, and after graduation, he was invited to a free-agent training camp hosted by the Kansas City Chiefs. But he didn’t make it past the first week. So he settled on an even more far-fetched career path. He packed up his car for Nashville.

So, in other words, music was Sam Hunt’s Plan B. That explains, so, so much, at least as far as why his music is so boring and soulless….

Tuesday music musings, 8.12.15

December 8, 2015

I was all ready to give Rolling Stone Country credit for their 40 Best Country Albums of 2015…

…but Taylor Swift knockoff Kelsea Ballerini AND Bruno Mars wannabe Thomas Rhett ahead of George Strait, the Turnpike Troubadours, and Jason Boland? You have got to be fucking kidding me. As disappointing as Boland’s album was, at least it was, you know, country.

What’s that, you say? A Jason Boland album disappointing?

Comparatively speaking, yeah. In fact, and it pains me to say this, Squelch was, for us, the year’s biggest disappointment, hands down. Sabra described it as Jason Boland’s “old man yelling at the clouds” album, and that’s as good a description as any. He had been damned good up to that point, and even a subpar Boland album beats many other artists’ magnum opuses, but there’s not a song on there to my ears that measures up to “Devil Pays in Gold,” “Shot Full of Holes,” “Mary,” “Sons and Daughters of Dixie,” “False Accuser’s Lament,” or “Ludlow.”

I mean, I get the acerbic commentary, but I think there’s a right and wrong way to do that. For example, I mean, I loved “Sons and Daughters…,” “Farmer’s Luck,” “They Took It Away,” and “Christmas in Huntsville,” but “It’s Alright to be an Asshole” and “Fuck, Fight & Rodeo,” not so much. That talk-singing bit on the latter annoys the living shit out of me, and that may well be my least favorite Jason Boland song ever for just that reason. It’s a fun little country jam instrumentally, though. I don’t know. Maybe the whole thing will grow on me with repeated listens. We shall see.

It’s still better than the Chris Stapleton album though. No offense, but Traveller has to be the most overhyped country album at least since Garth Brooks’ Ropin’ the Wind. It would’ve been one thing if that album had lived up to the hype, but it didn’t. And that comparison is apt on a couple of different levels to me, because (as I have said elsewhere)  the fawning over this guy in some circles is frighteningly reminiscent of the fawning over Garth Brooks in mainstream circles in the early 1990s, even if that’s as far as the similarities go.

I’ve heard some gripes about the Turnpike Troubadours album that I can’t say I get, namely that they re-recorded a couple of songs from Bossier City, their first album (“Easton and Main” and the title track), and covered a song from another band (the Old 97s’ “Doreen”) as opposed to giving us an album of all-new self-penned songs. But even if you take out those songs that leaves 9 all-new self-penned songs, and Diamonds and Gasoline had only 10 songs. And as great as all those new songs are, the new recording of “Easton and Main” is arguably the best song on the album.

Can’t really argue with their No. 1 pick, though, which was Jason Isbell’s Something More Than Free. I still find his voice kinda meh, especially compared to the other two Jasons we find ourselves listening to on a regular basis (Eady & Boland), but there’s some really top-notch songwriting on that album. “Children of Children,” “Speed Trap Town,” “Palmetto Rose,” “To A Band That I Loved,” all of those are great, great songs. It took a while for Southeastern to grow on me, but I took to Something More Than Free right awayI can hardly wait to see where he goes next.

How far does this go?

July 4, 2015

I have a few questions upon reading this, in order:

If we’re going to call The Dukes of Hazzard racist solely because of the name and imagery of the iconic Dodge Charger driven by the Duke boys in the series — even though said imagery and name had little if anything to do with the show’s theme — how far do we go with this? And why to that point and not before or after?

Was the cast racist for their very participation?

Was Waylon Jennings a racist for writing and singing the show’s theme song and for narrating the show?

Were the advertisers racist for buying time during the show?

Was the audience racist for watching?

I think we deserve clear, logical answers to this. It might be pedantic of me, but if racism is going to be acknowledged, it does need to be defined, at least to an extent. Why? Because with the definition of racism continuing to be so nebulous, then people will continue to be unjustly accused of racism when they’re not the slightest bit racist, and what’s that going to do? It’s just going to make people pay even less attention to actual racism.

(Speaking of actual racism, how about George Takei’s comments on Clarence Thomas? Clown in blackface? Well, all righty then. And Takei later doubled down on his bigotry by claiming that “blackface (was) a lesser-known theatrical term”? Really? Freaking everybody and their dog knows what “blackface” refers to! It’s like, “Hey, George, why didn’t you just call Justice Thomas the Supreme Court’s ‘house slave’ and be done with it? We all knew what that’s you were getting at!” But I digress…)

Now, if we want to talk about the soft racism of Hollywood making a show that was mostly white that was set in a region that had a sizable black population, then by all means let us do that. But if we’re going to do that, we need to talk about not just The Dukes of Hazzard, but everything that’s come out of Hollywood since that time. Otherwise this entire flap is exactly what so many people claim it is — yet another opportunity to dump on Southerners and Southern culture.

Something to remember today.

May 25, 2015

Back in 2009, I remember going to the big Memorial Day celebration in Orange. 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 Beaumont PGR chapter president Sandra Womack 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.

Random hits, 19.11.14

November 19, 2014

Ooh, big surprise here!

Some suburban St. Louis gun dealers have been doing brisk business, particularly among first-time buyers, as fearful residents await a grand jury’s decision on whether to indict the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown.

I am given to believe a certain group of activists released a list of “targets”in case the grand jury didn’t do what they wanted. I could be wrong, but such strikes me as not very smart. Why? ‘Cause it gives the people who staff those institutions time to arm up, that’s why. It’d be like shooting fish in a barrel. Never mind fourth-generation warfare; that’s just basic common sense!

===

I am really not sure this was a good idea. How many of those 5 in 6 were nontraditional students? From the comments:

“As a businessman hiring graduates would you rather have a four year graduate who never worked (most four year graduates ) or someone who worked their way through school and in some (if not most) cases worked in their field of study at a lower level. The answer is obvious to me.”

“What does it matter how long one takes to get a degree. Most peole are not trust fund kids who have their college tuition and living expenses paid for by Mom and Dad. Esp at schools like UTSA. I am a proud UTSA graduate (BSCE 1991) and it took me 8 calender years to work my way though school (took 18 months off in the middle for personal issues) – Not getting a penny from anyone else and rasing a family at the same time. I retired at 54 and no longer need to work so I used my education well IMO.”

Pretty much says it all, if you ask me. And from my own personal perspective, well, let me just put it like this:

The only thing worse than having a more or less useless degree, is having a useless degree that you don’t own free and clear. Which would have been the case had I not been working full time to pay for my education…

Something to remember today.

May 26, 2014

Back in 2009, I remember going to the big Memorial Day celebration in Orange. 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 Beaumont PGR chapter president Sandra Womack 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.

Monday music musings, 23.9.13

September 23, 2013

I apologize for the continuous beating of this particular horse, but this just had to be pointed out.

Point — Dallas Davidson:

I can’t write about things I don’t know about.

Counterpoint — Jason Isbell:

That’s something a songwriter needs to do: read. The best ones always do. Always. […] It just teaches you how to tell a story, as long as you’re reading good shit. I don’t know if it’s gonna help if you read Twilight and 50 Shades Of Grey, but if you’ve got a lot of good stuff coming in – movies, books, even TV shows like Mad Men, which can weave a story as well as any Scorsese film from the ’70s – then good stuff is gonna come back out. That’s just how it works. You get to the point where you just understand how a good story is told, and how the best storytellers do it.

Counterpoint No. 2 — Sabra:

Tolkien didn’t have personal experience with dragons when he wrote The Hobbit. Steve Earle didn’t have personal experience with flying planes in WWII when he wrote “Johnny Come Lately.” There is no evidence Johnny Cash ever shot a man in Reno. Dallas Davidson is a halfwit.

Yes, he certainly is, every bit as vapid as the crap he writes. And really, I defy anyone to tell me that either Jason Isbell or Sabra is off-base. Hell, look at Kris Kristofferson, one of the most revered songwriters in not just country music, but American music, period. He was a damn Rhodes Scholar who got a bachelor of philosophy degree in English Lit. You know he had to read a shite-ton of stuff to do that.

And you know what all this goes back to, right? It goes back to what I said earlier about these songs reflecting badly on the genre — not only the genre, but also its audience. People are going to get the idea that country music is nothing but a bunch of shallow, sexist, good-time party music — and they’re also going to get the idea that that those of us who listen to it are ignorant and aliterate. Davidson and his ilk play right into it, as you see him talking about the fact that the majority of his time is spent doing the clichéd activities he writes his songs around.

Don’t get me wrong. I mean, I love things like pork butts and beer as much as the next redneck. But there’s more to life than that, and there ought to be more to country music than that.

And then, as Trigger and his commenters were discussing all this over at Saving Country Music, this guy popped up:

After reading through some of these comments. You “real” country fans are some of the whinest people I’ve ever come across. You’re really going to cry that you’re “losing” real country? Cry me a river, please….I’m a die hard Metal fan.

A metal fan telling country fans to shut up. I must admit I thought that was pretty damn rich. Why?

Because metalheads still have their genre, and all its associated subgenres. In fact, they know exactly what real country music fans are going through — because they already had their genre hijacked for commercial gain, before they eventually took it back after all the commercial crap was rejected. Instead of trucks and beer, they just had bands singing about, oh, I don’t know, looking for nothing but a good time with girls who were their cherry pie but gave love a bad name. So you’d think they’d be a bit more empathetic.

At any rate, when I was reading that and responding, it struck me. You know what the music of  Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, et al. is, right? It’s country music’s version of glam metal — shallow, sexist music tailored for mass appeal. And you remember what happened when the commercial appeal of glam metal crashed, right? It took the rest of metal down with it. And yeah, the genre eventually came back, but it wasn’t nearly as successful as it was during its prime years during the late 1980s and early 1990s. It went back to being a niche genre at best, which it arguably was all along.

Will that happen with country music? That’s a really good question. It would certainly be preferable to the death of the genre that the Peach Pickers and the folks who keep recording their shit are doing their best to hasten.

Something to remember today.

May 27, 2013

Back in 2009, I remember going to the big Memorial Day celebration in Orange. The Patriot Guard Riders didn’t get to make their grand entrance as planned because of the torrential rains, but they still came. Beaumont PGR chapter president Sandra Womack 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.

Note to a certain commenter…

February 5, 2013

…if you’re still reading, of course…

Calling me a “brain-dead pathetic ball-washer” automatically gets your comment trashed, hmmkay?

No, they didn’t…

May 28, 2012

A few years ago, I remember going to the big Memorial Day celebration in Orange. The Patriot Guard Riders were part of the program, which had to be moved inside because it was raining to beat the band. So the riders didn’t get to make their grand entrance as planned. But they still came. That didn’t surprise me, but I almost lost it when their chapter president addressed the crowd and told them why the riders came in spite of the rain. 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.”

I don’t think I’ll ever forget that, for the rest of my days. None of us should.