Posts Tagged ‘music’

Well. I was not expecting this.

January 25, 2022

I’m not a terribly big fan of Christmas music. I’ve seen the argument made here and there that Die Hard is a Christmas movie. And not long ago some intrepid Redditor made the observation that if that were so, Sabaton’s “Screaming Eagles” and “No Bullets Fly” were Christmas songs. And I thought, oh, now I can DEFINITELY get behind that.

Well, some time after that, leave it up to Sabaton to release an actual Christmas song…

…and have it be freaking spectacular.

I mean…wow. This song and its accompanying video are just on a completely different level than anything they’ve ever done before. I just don’t have words for it. It’s one of the most beautiful and moving things I have ever seen in my entire life. I can honestly say it’s been a very long time since a piece of music elicited the reaction from me that this did. (I blubbered like a fool, why do you ask?)

Pretty damn impressive for a band that’s been at it for as long as they have. Both Joakim Bròden and Pär Sundström said it was the most-requested topic from the fans for a long time, but they wanted to get it just right. Well, they absolutely did that, with both the song and the video. The new album The War To End All Wars comes out March 4th, and I absolutely cannot wait.

Friday music musings, 07.05.2021

May 7, 2021

On modern mainstream country music, stolen from an away game, revised and extended:

“It isn’t just the electronic music and vacuous lyrics or pop sound, it has no soul anymore. I don’t think I’m being nostalgic here: the music itself has no roots in anything meritorious. I happened upon an old Dolly Parton record the other day and I had forgotten just how much her voice and the instruments spoke to me. It was like you could feel the mountains in the music. The only thing modern country makes me feel is used.”

I thought all of that was pretty much on the money. It’s just all good-time party music and more lately, vacuous, cliched Hallmark greeting-card odes to significant others, and that’s meaningless almost by definition. As I heard it put before, it’s about what happens on weekends instead of weekdays anymore. And so much of it is backed by programmed snap tracks and whatnot, which, in my own opinion, is necessarily going to suck the soul right out of it. This is all way beyond “get off my lawn, the music was better in my day.” Used to, at least more than now, country music was music played with real instruments by real people with real talent; just as an example, take that killer Bruce Bouton steel guitar bit in Ricky Skaggs’ “Highway 40 Blues.”

You can’t recreate that with some machine, at least not credibly. It takes a real person with real talent. Lyrically speaking…well, they all say, “we write and sing what we know.” That may be, but it’s still a copout; after all, Curly Putman didn’t dream of home and sweet Mary the night before his execution. Roy Clark didn’t look back extremely regretfully on his youth as far as anyone knows. Jimmy Webb was never a phone line technician, and neither was Glen Campbell. But I don’t even want to think about how much poorer the country music canon — indeed, the American music canon — would be for the lack of “Green, Green Grass of Home,” “Yesterday, When I Was Young,” or “Wichita Lineman.”


Wow, this is really good.

And a cover, to boot. It definitely sounds like something Sabaton would have written themselves.

Really, listening to all those Sabaton songs got me to thinking. You’d think after the Attack of the Dead Men

the Germans would’ve learned not to screw with the Russians. But sure enough they did, at places like Stalingrad

…and Kursk.

Funny thing about Kursk: that was where the German Panther, which came to be one of the most feared tanks of the war, made its rather ignominious debut. 200 Panthers had debuted at the Battle of Kursk. After five days of action, wear, and tear, only 10 remained operational….

Oh, Geoff, no.

March 22, 2021


In a new interview with Tom Leu of the “Sound Matters” show, former QUEENSRŸCHE frontman Geoff Tate was asked which album from his career he thinks is the best representation of who he is as a singer, songwriter and an overall artist. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Wow, that’s a tough one. I’m really, really partial to the last album that QUEENSRŸCHE did together with me [2011’s ‘Dedicated To Chaos’]. That album had something incredibly special about it. It was an album that everybody in the band contributed so much to, and we were really in a high-level writing mode at the time. And I love the way the album sounds. I think Kelly Gray did an amazing job on the production on that record. And I think it’s a well-rounded record; it has a lot of different kinds of songs on it. It shows the depth of the writing of the band, and really where we were at that point.”

An album that everybody in the band contributed to? That’s not the way I remember it from reading all the court documents in the wake of Tate getting fired from Queensryche. I don’t know where all the guys’ declarations could be found on the Internet anymore, but they all spelled out quite clearly that by that point Queensryche was pretty much the Geoff Tate Show. I remember reading that Michael Wilton interview in Guitar World and being quite flabbergasted, and that was before I had a clue of the discord in the band at the time (although that interview certainly hinted at it as far as he was concerned). I don’t even know why Tate’s saying all thmis, or what he thinks he has to gain by doing so.  I don’t know to what extent he’s rehabilitated himself in recent years — but I for one will give him credit for having made an absolutely stunning turnaround as a singer, at least, and I talked as much shit about him as anyone. And I can’t be the only one. Does he really want to squander that goodwill to try to rewrite history?

Friday music musings, 19.03.2021

March 19, 2021

Oh hey, I knew I had more to say the other day but was drawing a blank.

Boy, Eddie Trunk sure was pissed at NARAS over the Grammys…


And I’m over here like, “he seems surprised, and damn if I know why.” I mean, yeah, a Grammy isn’t all that. Hell, all you need to know about the Grammys is that Tenacious D won more of them than Ronnie James Dio, and they won theirs for a cover of a Dio song. 

But see, the thing is, the Grammys have always been behind the curve when it comes to hard rock and metal in general. Everybody remembers Jethro Tull’s Crest of a Knave winning the Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance in 1989 over Metallica’s …And Justice for All. And yeah, that was something. But the bigger thing about that was, 1989 was the inaugural year for that award. So there had been a good 20 years of genre-defining stuff that had already gone unrecognized. And NARAS can’t do like Rolling Stone did (with their re-reviews of all the metal albums they gave shitty reviews to the first time around) and go back and retroactively recognize all the music for which the awards didn’t exist back then. I have said before that I don’t put much stock in awards in general anymore, but this sort of thing is why I don’t do it for the Grammys in particular. It’s just so emblematic of what’s wrong with them.


Charley Crockett’s James Hand tribute album, 10 for Slim, is pretty killer.  I’ll have to listen to it more, but upon first listen, this song here is my favorite.

Tuesday music musings, 16.3.21

March 16, 2021

Oh, hey, it’s been a while!

Every so often I have to see if a given artist is as bad as one or more of my favorite music bloggers makes them out to be.

SPOILER ALERT: Niko Moon is every bit as bad as Farce the Music makes him out to be.

Song: “Yeah we pickin’ on them guitars just right, everybody singin’ ‘Dixieland Delight’…”

My literal reaction: “Oh, AS FUCKING IF.”

What really burns my ass about this, though, is that East Coast pop music writers will talk about country music being racist, but they won’t say anything about country radio driving this bullshit white-boy R&B to No. 1 (and they’ll talk about “country music’s ‘Next Emo-Rap Star,'” who is — SURPRISE! — yet another suburban rich white kid) while the likes of Charley Crockett, who in addition to his illustrious catalog to date just released a tribute album of the songs of stone-country Texas troubadour James Hand, continue to go ignored.


This, on the other hand, is pretty spectacular.

I heard “Unbreakable” from this same album (2013’s Nemesis) on one of my Spotify daily mixes some time ago and decided to take the album for a spin, and I was not disappointed. You really can’t go wrong with any kind of power/symphonic metal from that side of the pond. What makes this even more remarkable is the current lineup of the band — the lineup that recorded this album — comprises none of its original members.

Damn 2020, really?

October 28, 2020

Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver passing literally within days of each other? That’s cold.

It’s pretty safe to say that Texas music wouldn’t have been what it was without either of them. Robert Earl Keen was my first proper introduction to Texas music, but Jerry Jeff wasn’t far behind. First place I ever heard Jerry Jeff was on the radio, believe it or not, on Rowdy Yates’ classic country show that was then called Solid Gold Sunday on KILT 100.3 FM.

“…this song is by Ray Wylie Hubbard…”

Honestly, I think if I was asked to introduce Texas music to someone, I would recommend Viva Terlingua to them and tell them to go from there.

And what to say about Billy Joe Shaver that doesn’t come up woefully short? He was one of the greatest, most authentic songwriters of our time. Hawking the tables at Green Gables, his grandma’s old-age pension being the reason he’s standing here today, shooting a man in Waco but not being able to talk much about it…all of that stuff came straight from his life. That’s really about as authentic as it gets, and we’ll never see the likes of him again.

But much like the songs he leaves behind him, he’s gonna live forever now.

…fkin’ really, dude?

August 20, 2020

Kane Brown meme from Farce the Music…


Maybe those “Red Dirt country people” just think Kane Brown sucks. As I have pointed out before, Jason Boland cut his musical teeth on Judas Priest and Iron Maiden in addition to Hag and Cash, and Cody Canada is a pretty big fan of Pantera and its associated bands. Now, I know all of those aren’t exactly newer bands, but we all know what Kane Brown is getting at, which is that all those people who have less than positive things to say about him don’t appreciate any other kind of music, which is a bit ignorant, really.

And even if they didn’t like other kinds of music, if they only listened to one kind of music, so what? As I have also I it before, the more kind of music you claim to like, the less time you have to really dig into a particular genre or whatever, and you’re liable to miss out on good stuff from that genre if you’re listening to so much other stuff. There are only so many hours in the day.

In the latest installment of “they’ll call anything ‘country’ these days…”

August 9, 2020

Earlier today, after spinning some old Ray Price, just for shits and grins, I figured I’d browse the “country” section on Spotify. In the New Releases section I saw an album titled Chris Tomlin and Friends. Again, just for shits and grins, I clicked on it…

…and suffice it to say, the list of guest vocalists is just as jam-packed with suck and fail as I thought it would be, to say nothing of the songwriters. On one hand, you’d have thought a Texas boy like Tomlin would have known better — but then, I guess, on the other hand, if he did know better he wouldn’t have been doing contemporary Christian in the first place.

On the gripping hand…ponder, if you will, the rich, oh-so-flavorful irony of an allegedly Christian artist partnering up with people who sing songs with lyrics such as:

And all I wanna do is lace my J’s and lace some Jack in my Coke…I sit you up on a kitchen sink, and stick the pink umbrella in your drink…


You’re shakin’ that money maker, like a heart breaker, like your college major was twistin’ and tearin’ up Friday nights, love the way you’re wearin’ those jeans so tight…

Now, granted, I’m no prude, but it just makes Tomlin look a bit, shall we say, hollow and fake as an artist given the genre in which he made his name. (And given the reputation of that genre with so many people, you could say he’s already behind the eight-ball to begin with.) No doubt the sound is scarcely better. A musician friend of mine had this to say about Tomlin:

Tomlin’s music is pretty terrible, repetitive & unimaginative. Played a few of his songs in the church band many years ago, and even my guitar playin’ couldn’t get all the “suck” out of it.

To which my reply was:

It’s pretty impressive that someone could suck for that long and still have a career these many years later. Although I guess “going country” would be the perfect move for him with as low as Nashville’s standards have sunk in the last decade or so.

“I hear down there it’s changed, you see. Well, they’re not as backward as they used to be.”

“PREPARE FOR NUCLEAR ATTACK! Warned but did not heed…”

August 6, 2020

75 years ago this week….

World War II had been raging on for not quite 6 years. The Germans had surrendered and the war in Europe had ended three months before — but the war in the Pacific was still grinding on, even after the low-level bombing raids starting back in March 1945 that left most of Japan’s major cities in ruins and the cockpits of the American B-29s redolent of burning flesh. Plans had already been drawn up for an invasion of Japan, codenamed Operation: Downfall, to commence in November. It was expected to make Overlord look like a fun day at the beach; so many Purple Hearts were minted preparing for Downfall that we’re still handing them out.

But what no one but a select few knew at the time was that the United States had been working feverishly to develop a new type of weapon based on nuclear fission, and tested it on July 16 in the New Mexico desert…and the test was, of course, a rousing success. Within hours of that test, the USS Indianapolis departed San Francisco with the components of the first bomb to be dropped, code-named “Little Boy,” and arrived at Tinian Island on July 26. (The components for the second bomb, “Fat Man,” were flown to Tinian from Albuquerque’s Kirtland Army Air Field the next week.)

The day that the Indianapolis arrived at Tinian, the Allies issued the Potsdam Declaration, outlining the terms of surrender for Japan. Two days later Japanese media reported said terms were rejected by the Japanese government.

And so, at 2:45 AM Tinian time on Aug. 6, the Enola Gay took off. 6 1/2 hours later, at 8:15 AM Hiroshima time, the first weapon exploded. It was 800 feet off its initial aiming point, with less than 2 percent of its material fissioning…

…and even with that, the destruction was horrendous. From Wikipedia:

“People on the ground reported a pika (ピカ)—a brilliant flash of light—followed by a don (ドン)—a loud booming sound. Some 70,000–80,000 people, around 30 percent of the population of Hiroshima at the time, were killed by the blast and resultant firestorm, and another 70,000 were injured. It is estimated that as many as 20,000 Japanese military personnel were killed. U.S. surveys estimated that 4.7 square miles (12 square kilometers) of the city were destroyed. Japanese officials determined that 69 percent of Hiroshima’s buildings were destroyed and another 6 to 7 percent damaged.“

The next day, several high-ranking Army Air Forces personnel met on Guam, deciding to drop another bomb since there was no indication that Japanese surrender was forthcoming.

Two days after that, at 3:47 AM on Aug. 9, Bock’s Car lifted off from Tinian headed for Kokura. Between a failed fuel pump and cloud cover over Kokura, they had to divert to the secondary target of Nagasaki; that bomb was dropped at 11:02, with similar results. From Wikipedia:

“The Fat Man weapon, containing a core of about 5 kg (11 lb) of plutonium, was dropped over the city’s industrial valley. It exploded 47 seconds later at 1,650 ± 33 ft (503 ± 10 m), above a tennis court, halfway between the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works in the south and the Nagasaki Arsenal in the north. This was nearly 3 km (1.9 mi) northwest of the planned hypocenter; the blast was confined to the Urakami Valley and a major portion of the city was protected by the intervening hills…

“Although the bomb was more powerful than the one used on Hiroshima, its effects were confined by hillsides to the narrow Urakami Valley. Of 7,500 Japanese employees who worked inside the Mitsubishi Munitions plant, including ‘mobilized’ students and regular workers, 6,200 were killed. Some 17,000–22,000 others who worked in other war plants and factories in the city died as well. Casualty estimates for immediate deaths vary widely, ranging from 22,000 to 75,000. At least 35,000–40,000 people were killed and 60,000 others injured.”

General Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project (so named because it was under the supervision of the Manhattan district of the Army Corps of Engineers) expected to have several more bombs readied for use over the next several months; as it happened, they turned out to be not needed, as the Japanese surrendered on August 14….

Another all-time favorite.

July 27, 2020

…or two…

Some time ago, I was listening to Daryle Singletary’s discography on Spotify. He recorded an album of cover songs back in 2002 titled That’s Why I Sing This Way. This was one of the songs from that album.

Now, that is a great version, but the original, to me, is just transcendent.

I first heard that song some 20 years ago on KORA 98.3 in Bryan-College Station and fell in love with it. Pretty sure that was the only terrestrial radio station I’d ever heard that song on. What makes it all the more amazing was that Ryles was only 17 years old when he recorded that song, and that album. I was reminded of the song when I was listening to the Singletary album a few weeks ago, and I thought, Oh hey, let’s see if the original is on here.

It sure was…along with the rest of the album.  And the album was also available on Amazon, albeit only on mp3. I had never been able to find it anywhere before, so you better believe I snapped it up. Really glad I did, too, as it has some great stuff on it, including a version of “Little Green Apples” that’s second only to Roger Miller’s, and a cover of “Wichita Lineman” that compares surprisingly well to the iconic Glen Campbell version. Not surprising, though, as they do have quite similar voices.

I was really quite pleased to find this one.