Monthly Archives: March 2010

2010 Music Festivals (a partial list)!

Spring has sprung and the concert season is nigh upon us!  SXSW kicked of the festivals and the summer concert series is just weeks away.  Here is a list of the music fests that will draw a litany of artists and hordes of people.  This list highlights the main( in my humbly superior opinion) music festivals that take place in the continental U.S.  Most festivals are three days long and I’ve highlighted some of the featured (great) artists.

Festival Date Partial Line Up
Coachellawww.coachella.com Apr. 16-18
  • Jay Z
  • Them Crooked Vultures
  • Gorillaz
  • Pavement
  • Thom Yorke
  • MGMT
New Orleans Jazzwww.nojazzfest.com Apr. 23-25
  • Lionel Richie
  • Simon & Garfunkel
  • Black Crowes
  • My Morning Jacket
  • Jonny Lang
  • Darius Rucker
New Orleans Jazz Week 2www.nojazzfest.com Apr. 29-May 2
  • Pearl Jam
  • Aretha Franklin
  • B.B. King
  • Van Morrison
  • The Dead Weather
  • Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Summer Campwww.summercampfestival.com May 28-30
  • Gov’t Mule
  • Avett Brothers
  • ALO
  • Yonder Mountain String Band
  • Umphrey’s McGee
Sasquatchwww.sasquatchfestival.com May 29-31
  • Band of Horses
  • Vampire Weekend
  • The National
  • Public Enemy
  • She & Him
  • Massive Attack
Wakarusawww.wakarusa.com June 3-6
  • The Black Keys
  • Slightly Stoopid
  • Widespread Panic
  • John Butler Trio
  • Blues Traveler
  • State Radio
Bonnaroowww.bonnaroo.com June 10-13
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • Kings of Leon
  • Jay Z
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Nora Jones
  • The Flaming Lips
Lollapaloozawww.lollapalooza.com Aug. 6-8 Not yet released but always a stellar lineup
Austin City Limitswww.aclfestival.com Oct. 8-10 Not yet released but always a stellar lineup

 The cool thing about the festivals is that if one takes place geographically close to you, you might catch some really good shows on both sides of the festival dates.

If you have attended any of the above or one not listed, let me know what was great about it and who you saw.

As mentioned in previous blogs I am a ACL acolyte and would strongly recommend that if you have the time and disposable income, you need to check itout.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Lucinda Williams!

Lucinda William’s is everyone’s collaborating darling who released her first album Ramblin’ in 1978.  In her thirty plus years in the music business, she has released nine studio albums.  Some might consider her a bit methodical or even a perfectionist based on the span of years between album releases.  She started out in the country genre that was occasionally tinged with the blues. 

She is a genre shifting chanteuse who has been nominated for ten Grammys in the following musical categories: 

  • Americana
  • Rock
  • Country
  • Folk
  • Pop

Williams received early critical recognition and the respect of her musical peers, but it took considerably longer for her to raise public awareness.  This was due, in large part, to her renowned fastidiousness and the sporadic release of her albums.  The pendulum swung with the release of her 1998 album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road.  She has received three Grammy’s.

Lucinda Williams Discography:

  • Ramblin’
  • Happy Woman Blues
  • Lucinda Williams
  • Sweet Old World
  • Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
  • Essence
  • World Without Tears
  • West
  • Little Honey

Williams is a prolific songwriter whose music has been covered by Tom Petty, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Emmylou Harris. In addition to covering her songs, many artist have saught her out to record with them.  She has an unbelievable list of guest appearances.  Below are just a few of the over sixty artists that Williams has collaborated or guest appeared on their album. 

Willie Nelson Steve Earle Elvis Costello
North Mississippi All Stars Flogging Molly M. Ward
Graham Parker John Prine Ray Wylie Hubbard

Top five Lucinda Williams Songs:

  1. Are You Alright (West)
  2. Right In Time (Car Wheels on a Gravel Road)
  3. Real Love (Little Honey)
  4. Get Right with God (Essence)
  5. Still I Long for Your Kiss (Car Wheels on a Gravel Road)

Check out Lucinda Williams at www.lucindawilliams.com

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oPgZoXZ1Z0

www.youtube.com/watch?v=10rdtk6Vixw&feature=related

www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiKk9PCcTgY

Great music awaits!


Good music from unexpected places!

Ever have one of those days where good music followed you everywhere you went?  Yesterday was one of those days.  Got up early, courtesy of 4 dogs, and went to the Cowtown Diner in downtown Fort Worth.  This was a first time experience and well worth the trip both musically and culinarally (not really sure if that is a word but I’m going with it).  As we are walking to the table, I notice the siren song of the Cowboy Junkies emanating from the speakers then, James Taylor, Ray LaMontange, Josh Ritter, Shawn Colvin, Whiskeytown, Patti Griffin, Grant Lee Phillips and a litany of other great artists and songs for the duration of breakfast.  In case you are wondering, the breakfast tacos (1 bacon, 1 sausage) were my choice of the morning and more than I could eat in one sitting.  The biscuits and sausage gravy looked pretty good and I was told that the cheese grits were the highlight of the meal.

The next unexpected musical nirvana was Lowes, yes the home improvement store.  Williams Fitzsimmons was the first song I heard and it was followed up by Josh Rouse and then Brendan James.  After that, I was out in the garden center and out of the musical range.

The day culminated with watching a few episodes of House M.D.  If you are not a fan, you need to check it out.  Not only is it great television, there is some fine music wrapped in each episode.  Yesterday was Lucinda Williams and Brett Dennen. 

Unexpected great music is always one of those things that make the daily grind seem more tolerable or make the fun times that much better.

So, the questions of the day are:

Where have you found unexpected musical greatness?

What store or restaurant has consistently good music reverberating between their walls?

Thanks for playing!

Great music awaits!


The Drive-By Truckers The Big To-Do!

The Big To-Do is the highly anticipated, recently released album by Drive-By Truckers.  The album is solid and Trucker fans will not be disappointed.  However, there were a few surprise on this album that seem a bit of a departure from their previous work.

The absence of Mike Cooley was the first thing I noticed when I listened to the album.  Mike Cooley covers lead vocals on three songs and is sorely missed on the album.  This is not a shot at the album but merely noted in deference to the greatness of Cooley’s calm, self assured vocals and considerable songwriting skills.  His voice is as recognizable as Hood’s but is diametrically opposed in cadence, timbre, and texture.  He contributes three songs and on Birthday Boy, he is a layer or two behind the music.  Not the norm for his work and a little disappointing for all of the Cooley fans out there.

This is the first release since the departure of guitarist Jason Isbell.  While the Trucker’s still have their three axe attack, John Neff does not contribute at the level of Jason Isbell.  In addition to being one of three guitarists, Isbell was a strong contributor to the songwriting; he wrote and sang quite a few of the stand out songs from their catalog in the 00’s.  Musically they are still exceptionally tight but just not breaking new ground with this album.

Shonna Tucker, the Trucker’s bassist, contributes two solid tracks.  Her playing has always been extremely competent.  This is her second album where she contributes lead vocals for tracks that she wrote.  I think that Tucker’s contributions are an exceptional high light of the album.  Her songs tend to be bathed a bit with a stylized country sound.  You can almost picture her in a small, local bar singing to the swaying, two stepping couples after last call.

This album is heavy on Patterson Hood’s musical and vocal offerings.  Of the thirteen tracks, he wrote the lyrics and covers lead vocals on seven.  I am a huge Patterson Hood fan and I find his satirical writing style to be a refreshing escape from some of the worn out topics of other current musical acts.

Stand out Tracks:

  • The Wig He Made Her Wear
  • The Fourth Night of My Drinking
  • Eyes Like Glue
  • You Got Another
  • Drag the Lake Charlie

 Great music awaits!


Missed and Must See Concerts!

So, this week has focused on music in a variety of, genres, decades, degrees of greatness and what some might call an assault to the auditory senses.  To wrap up this fine week of blogging, I am going to take my writing cue from some of the responses to the Concert Blog.

Over the course of my musical life, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to see all of the shows I’ve seen.  In addition to that, I’ve had the ability to create a personal library of considerable size in both CD and digital format.  However, being a music devotee, I want more.  I want more CD’s, more digital files, and more opportunity to catch live acts.  I look back at the missed opportunities to see some amazing shows and kick myself for being too lazy, too late, or at times even too responsible to attend certain shows.

Today we are going to talk about concerts in both past and future terms.  Confused yet?  Good, me either.  I will keep this in a Top 10 format and will list the concerts that I missed or at least wished I had the opportunity to see and I will also list the concerts that I want to see before I am unceremoniously taken from this lovely thing some call life.

Top 10 missed opportunities:

  1. Pink Floyd Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour
  2. U2 Joshua Tree Tour
  3. Guns N Roses & Metallica (I realize that tour was plagued with problems but at long as I am dreaming, if I had attended, it would have been a flawless, musical love fest with duel encores)
  4. Bruce Springsteen Born in the USA Tour (I’ve seen Bruce on several occasions but this tour was sort of a revival and they went all out and played monster sets (3-4 hours).)
  5. Uncle Tupelo (This band was such a tinder box of musical genius that there was no conceivable way for it continue.  I’ve seen both bands from the former temperamental leaders (Jeff’s Wilco & Jay’s Son Volt) and would have loved to catch them early.)
  6. Led Zeppelin Reunion (This was never an option or an opportunity but man what a treat that would have been.)
  7. The Black Crowes (I had free tickets at Will Call for an early show they did in Dallas when they opened up for ZZ Top.  I never made it to the show for various and sundry reasons.  Looking back none of the reasons were reasonably worth what I missed.)
  8. 2002 Austin City Limits Music Festival (This was the inaugural musical voyage for ACL and it had a great lineup of bands on the rise as well as the ARC Angels reunion show.)
  9. Farm Aid 1 1985 (A great event with a stellar line up.  Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, Neil Young, Billy Joel, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, B.B. King, Waylon Jennings, to name a few.)
  10.  Nirvana (Just to be part of that bit of musical history.)

Top 10 Must See Acts:

  1. My Morning Jacket (Amazing live shows and wicked cool music)
  2. Red Hot Chili Peppers (I just dig them)
  3. Neil Young (Musical icon)
  4. U2 (They are awesome)
  5. John Mellencamp (Great catalog even when he was Johnny Cougar, John Cougar, and John Cougar Mellencamp)
  6. Phish (Ultimate Jam band that took the torch from the Grateful Dead)
  7. Paul McCartney (Come on, he is a friggin’ Beatle)
  8. Lyle Lovett (I like all his music even the song from the Stuart Little soundtrack and well, he was married to Julia Roberts!)
  9. Counting Crows (I realize that despite their latest release, they are in the twilight (or beyond) of their career but I really dig their live albums and think they would be fun to see live)
  10. The Eagles (I am a huge fan and begrudgingly have never seen them.  In my defense, their exorbitant ticket price is one key factor to this dilemma.)

So dear reader, who is on your concert list?

 Great music awaits!


Concerts

We hear a song, purchase/download some music; it raises our awareness of the band and then we become a fan.  The concert is the culmination of our musical inclinations.  It is the holy grail of the musical experience.  At least, in our mind, it is. 

The concert is the musical equivalent of craps (the game of chance, not Jack in the Box 2 for $1 greasy tacos passing through your bowels)

Some nights go like this:

You purchase your ticket with the expectation that it will be musical bliss and a night to remember.  You get there, fight the crowd, listen to the mediocre, at best, opening act, and wait impatiently for the headlining show.   After what seems like an eternity, out stumbles the drunk/high lead singer, forgets the words to your favorite song, becomes enraged at the crowds displeasure and walks of the stage giving you the double fisted one finger salute. 

While other nights go like this:

You show up at some little dive barbeque joint and begin to think the show has been canceled because there are only four cars in the parking lot.  You go in, order some food and a beer, take you pick of the abundantly available tables and notice two chairs on the stage and a couple of guitars.  You take a seat, sip your bear and out strolls the singer and his buddy and the play for several hours, come sit down and thank you for coming to the show and take your request and play it before the night is over.

I’ve regaled you with some stories of concerts from my past and touted the greatness of Austin City Limits Music Festival but today, I’m going to chronologically list the concerts, to the best of my recollection, I’ve attended over the years.

Year Band
1983 Quiet Riot
Interesting Facts
7th grade, first concert to attend and broke my ankle that afternoon after being chased by a large classmate who took off his belt and began swinging it at me.  I left the hospital on crutches and planned on going to concert while my mother drove along beside me screaming at me to get in the car.  Being 12 and disabled, mom won and I missed the concert.  I did, however, get the t shirt as a consolation prize from my buddy who I gave the ticket to.
1985 Def Leppard
Interesting Facts
My first official concert that I actually got to attend.  Reunion Arena in Dallas, TX.  Oddly enough, I do not remember much about the concert other than it kicked much 14 year old musical butt.
1985-1989 Tom Petty

Stevie Nicks

Elton John

Don Henley

White Snake

Tesla

The Cult

Metallica

Interesting Facts
This period was the high school years and while there are funny stories, time has blurred the lines a bit.

  • One concert I went to with a group of girls and as soon as we got to Starplex Amphitheater, they all had to go to the rest room.  So, they opened the passenger door and all took turns squatting in the parking lot under the shroud of secrecy that was the afore mentioned door.  Don’t worry ladies; your identity is safe with me.
  • Another concert had some of the above mentioned girls and on the way home we got lost and drove around through an amazing fog which we likened to the moors, a Sherlock Holmes reference at the time, and eventually made it home.  Some of attendees were really upset with the turn of events.
  • White Snake concert we bought tickets from scalpers and got totally ripped off but thought we were so cool because we were seeing White Snake.
  • Metallica was an amazing show and the first time I had seen mosh pits and thoroughly enjoyed the frantic pace of the music.  Some fans really enjoyed the show and started lighting the lawn on fire and once security came out, the fire just seemed to move to another location.

 

1989-1992 Travis Tritt

Shenandoah

Various country acts at Billy Bobs

Interesting Facts
Some of my buddies were really in to country music and I would often tag along because I had nothing else to do and wanted to make some new female acquaintances. The Shenandoah concert was particularly memorable, not because the concert was good, in fact, I never actually saw them.  I got kicked out of the bar because I was 18 and using a fake ID to buy beer.  My buddies, of course, stayed and watched the show.  The crushing event of the night was that the girl I took to the show also stayed inside and I sat alone in the back of my friend’s truck for several hours.  The night was not a total loss, because I drank all of the beer in the cooler while sitting in the parking lot of Billy Bob’s.
1993-1995 Lots of local acts in the musical mecca of Denton, TX

Rush

Interesting Facts
The Rush show stands out for two reasons:To procure the tickets for this concert, my buddy and I left Denton very, very early on a Saturday morning after a very, very, late Friday night to go to Lewisville Mall to get tickets.  We arrived way too early and drove to Braums and got a double order of biscuits and gravy.  While this might not read as funny as it was, we were way hung over and those biscuits and gravy were the magic elixir that restored our health. Night of the concert we pick up our dates, have dinner and head to Dallas.  There is mild drinking, as colleges kids are known to do, and before you know it, we are on the floor of Reunion Arena basking in the glory of Rush.  On the way home there is some conversation of the concert and the girl that I took begins to nod off a bit and then suddenly hurls into and on the door.  We stop and ask if she is ok and she looks at us as if nothing happened and denies what is clearly on her chin, clothes, seat, floor, and of course door.  We get home she gets out like nothing happened.
1995-2005 The Dave Matthews BandMetallica

Linkin Park

Beastie Boys

Pat Green

Willie Nelson

Jack Johnson

Bob Dylan

Bruce Springsteen

Beck

G. Love & Special Sauce

Merle Haggard

Tori Amos

Korn

Chevelle

Robert Earl Keen

Interesting Facts
All pretty good shows and some artist like Dave Matthews and Pat Green I’ve seen multiple times.  The one stand out concert story is this:A group of folks went to see Willie Nelson at Lone Star Park which is an outdoor horse track.  His stage was set back a bit and there were risers and bleachers that elevated the fans to better see the stage.  I am walking up, wearing loose cargo shorts and minding my own business, when I feel something moving up my leg and heading north central.  I look down and there is an older woman with her hand up my shorts grabbing my junk.  I jump up and swat at her as if she is some form of annoying insect and she looks up, smiles with what teeth she has left and says “Oh, excuse me” as if she had accidently bumped into me as were passing on a sidewalk.  She then turned and walked away as if nothing had happened.
2006-Present Pearl JamBen Harper

Foo Fighters

Tom Petty

Beck

G. Love & Special Sauce

Wilco

Son Volt

Drive-By Truckers

State Radio

Brett Dennen

Bruce Springsteen

B-52’s

Robert Plant & Allison Krause

Joe Purdy

Cross Canadian Ragweed

The Killers

The Tragically Hip

The Eli Young Band

Pete Yorn

Bob Schneider

James McMurtry

Kris Kristofferson

Merle Haggard

Damien RiceDonovan Frankenreiter

Arcade Fire

The Shins

Okkervil River

Mason Jennings

The Black Keys

Ray LaMontagne

Queens of the Stone Age

Bob Dylan

Willie Nelson

Van Morrison

The Toadies

The Killers

John Mayer

Steve Earle

Bjork

Iron & Wine

Walt Wilkins

The Dead Weather

The Raconteurs

Lucinda Williams

Erin Ivey

Amos Lee

Interesting Facts
The majority of these artists have been seen at the Austin City Limits Music Festival which is an annual pilgrimage for me.  Some artist I have seen both at ACL and their own headlining tour.

So, there you have it, a little stroll down concert memory lane.  Let me know about some of your favorite or at least memorable concert experiences and who is a must see when they roll through town.

Great music awaits!


Guilty Pleasures!

Today we are going to talk about guilty pleasures.  Musically, that is.  Monday’s blog got a lot of great reaction and so today we are going to bare our soul and let loose our dirty little musical secrets.  Clearly, we have some love for David Cassidy and Howard Jones. 

Several people readily admitted that they did/do listen to some of the music that resides on the list of music you should not listen to.  The majority of those people also admitted that they listened to it when it was new and fresh and did not have the open disdain that might be associated with it today. 

However, we all have hidden secrets that we keep hidden deep on our iPod or tucked away on an unmarked CD.  There are also songs that we are connected to that we will roll the windows down, open the sun roof, or drop the rag top and crank up the tunes.  What are the songs that you will sit in the car, risk being late, and listen/sing until it is over?  What are the songs that you clandestinely listen to but do not or would not openly lay claim to? 

For today’s blog, we will have three; count them, 1, 2, 3 categories:

  1. Top(car, not clothing) down & loud
  2. Sit in car and be late
  3. Guilty & A Little Ashamed

Below are some of my guilty musical pleasures:

Artist Song Category Own CD
R.E.M. It’s the End of the World As We Know It (and I Feel Fine) Top Down & Loud & Sit in Car Yes
Bon Jovi Blaze of Glory Guilty & A Little Ashamed No
Elton John Little Jeanie Sit In Car Yes
Cinderella Don’t Know What You Got Tell It’s Gone Sit In Car No
Corey Hart Sunglasses at Night Guilty & A Little Ashamed No
Tom Petty Break Down Top Down & Loud Yes
Violent Femmes Blister In the Sun Top Down & Loud Yes
Van Halen Right Now Sit In Car & Guilty & A Little Ashamed Yes
Stevie Nicks & Don Henley Leather & Lace Sit In Car & Guilty & A Little Ashamed Yes
Styx Renegade Top Down & Loud Yes
Foreigner Juke Box Hero Guilty & A Little Ashamed Yes
Journey Wheel In the Sky Top Down & Loud Yes
Beck Loser Top Down & Loud Yes
Butthole Surfers Pepper Top Down & Loud Yes
The Cult She Sells Sanctuary Top Down & Loud Yes
Elton John Tiny Dancer Top Down & Loud & Sit in Car Yes
Faith No More Epic Top Down & Loud Yes
Fine Young Cannibals Good Thing Guilty & A Little Ashamed Yes
Five For Fighting Superman (It’s Not Easy) Sit In Car & Guilty & A Little Ashamed Yes
Gin Blossoms Hey Jealousy Top Down & Loud Yes
Grateful Dead Touch of Grey Top Down & Loud & Sit in Car Yes
David & David Welcome to the Boomtown Sit in Car Yes
Billy Squier The Stroke Guilty & A Little Ashamed Yes
Charlie Sexton Beat’s So Lonely Guilty & A Little Ashamed No
The Moody Blues The Voice Guilty & A Little Ashamed No
Glenn Frey Smuggler’s Blues Guilty & A Little Ashamed No
REO Speedwagon Time for Me To Fly Guilty & A Little Ashamed No
Night Ranger Sister Christian Guilty & A Little Ashamed No

Great music awaits!