Tag Archives: Austin

Last night I pushed the bounds of parental responsibility!

Last night I pushed the bounds of parental responsibility.  I took my oldest son (14) to a State Radio concert at House of Blues in Dallas.  It was not the show that pushed the boundaries; it was the time at which he returned home.  And that time, dear, sweet, gentle reader was, after midnight.  Can you hear Eric Clapton playing as you read?  Why? You might ask.  Well, he had a song called, wait for it….. After Midnight!

And I digress!

So, back to the point, Cade and I have always shared a special musical bond.  As a baby, I would always have music playing and to get him to sleep, I would have to stand and rock him to R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts”.  As he got older, he became fascinated with the cadence and delivery of the Beastie Boys and Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Also, much like me, he would connect to certain lyrics and relate them to certain things in his life.  Most of what he shared, with me, was songs about fathers and sons, family, etc…. 

So, for the last fourteen years, I have had the pleasure of expanding his musical horizons and forming this unique bond.  I have taken proper measures to not, intentionally, prematurely expose him to inappropriate lyrics or subject matters.  At fourteen, he has yet to listen to any of my old school rap CD’s. 

Over the years, we have acquired quite a soundtrack to our lives.  He is open enough to initially listen to anything I play and independent enough to make his own informed decision of good or bad music.  Oddly enough, we tend to agree more than not.  The one glaring difference is the current radio friendly Pop and R&B music that he likes.  The difference there is more of an age and experience thing.  I’ve got Milli Vanilli to live down and he, too, will have his musical regrets.

Here is where I really get to the point!

The concert began at 8:00 and the Austin, Texas band Full Service, relatively promptly, took the stage and played an interesting 30 min. set.  Their sound was a combination of bombastic rock and quirky, yet endearing, stage personality.  After the first few songs, I warmed up to their sound.  However, 30 minutes was just enough time.  The kazoo song was funny and interactive with the crowd.

The same thing cannot be said for the second opening act, American Fang.  This band, out of Houston, Texas was torturous at best.  The lead singer pranced around and screamed while the skinny leg jean guitarist struck customary rock posses and feigned indifference to the crowd.  The music was redundant and lacked creative merit. 

State Radio was great and played about an hour and fifteen minutes and did a commendable job of offering tracks from each of their three full length albums.  Cade knew the words to every song and sang along while taking pictures and recording video with his phone.  This was our second time to see State Radio and Cade’s second concert.  You might recall, from a previous blog, that I took him to Austin City Limits Music Festival a few months back. 

So, last night, I kept my son out late, on a school night, and then, fed him McDonald’s at midnight.  Not exactly a Father Knows Best type move, but for one more day, I was still cool and relevant to him.  We shared an experience that I won’t forget and hope that he, too, holds dear. 

And, yes, he got another State Radio T shirt and a CD.  I might be totally irresponsible, but I’m not a jerk.

Great music awaits!


You should partake in Austin City Limits Music Festival!

Austin City Limits Music Festival is a three day music festival that takes place in Austin, Texas at Zilker Park and unites 65,000 people (music lovers, drunks, stoners, hippies, college kids who don’t own shirts, middle aged men and their 20 something mid life crisis, middle aged women wearing their mid life crisis, etc…) and showcases 130 bands that range from established acts, up and coming artists, and cult bands.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I am a huge fan of Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL) and have attended each year since 2005.  In addition to being a fan of the event, Austin is my favorite city in Texas and ranks in the top five in the country.  Shout out to San Francisco and Chicago as well.

Each year is special and I recall fondly my time spent with the mass of people who endure a new environmental nemesis while responding to the siren sound of the multi staged musical extravaganza.  In five wonderful years, I have seen fire (burning trailers while Pete Yorn performed and burning speaker while Bjork performed) and I’ve seen rain (thanks James Taylor), I’ve seen dust (Foo Fighters were absolutely worth the 2 weeks of brown soot seeping from my nose) and I’ve seen what some thought was mud (Eddie Vedder became one with the crowd and slid in it) but smelled a bit more pungent and was actually some animal fecal matter. 

Over the course of my attendance, I have seen some pretty amazing shows.  Listed below are just some of the high lights: 

Ben Harper Tom Petty Foo Fighters Pearl Jam
Beck Robert Plant & Allison Krause The Raconteurs Drive-By Truckers
Son Volt Donavon Frankenreiter State Radio Brett Dennen
The Dead Weather Damien Rice Cross Canadian Ragweed Arcade Fire
Amos Lee Robert Earl Keen Iron & Wine Mason Jennings
Van Morrison John Mayer Ray LaMontagne Wilco
G Love & Special Sauce The Toadies The Shins B-52’s
Slightly Stoopid Eli Young Band The Black Keys Okkervil River
Queens of the Stone Age Bjork The Killers Steve Earle
Bob Dylan Lucinda Williams The Tragically Hip Willie Nelson

Over the last few years, it has become a tradition for me and my long term, heterosexual, significant other, life partner to attend.  We eagerly anticipate the sale of the early bird tickets and the unveiling of the lineup.  She too is a huge fan of the festival and city.  Which makes the trip all the better.  While our musical tastes are similar, with the variety of acts available at the festival, we have a ritual of mapping out the days and comparing our schedules and see how close they match.  There is usually some slight difference with the day shows but most of the evening shows are fairly in-line

Last year was particularly memorable because we took our oldest children (her daughter, my son). It was my son’s first concert, he is fifteen and we share a pretty strong bond over music.  Several of his favorite bands were playing and I surprised him by waking him up early Sunday morning and driving to Austin and living vicariously through him as he excitedly took in the whole seen.  His first concert consisted of Brett Dennen, The Toadies, State Radio (his favorite), Ben Harper, and Pearl Jam.  Not a bad first concert.  As if this were not enough, he got to meet State Radio, get a picture with the band and their brand new CD “Let It Go” signed. The look on his face was priceless as he posed for a picture and the band talked to him for a few minutes.   Add to this day, Home Slice Pizza, two concert shirts, and the use of port-a-pots on the last day of a three day festival.  It was indeed a day to remember.

All this, is to say, if you have not attended ACL, I strongly suggest you take the time and attend a day or two if the thought of three days is too grueling.  I am a fan of the three days and love every minute of the music and the experience.  However, I recognize it is not for everyone and as I have gotten older I have come to realize that the recovery time is just a bit longer with each passing year.  My days include less beer, more water, sunscreen, comfortable shoes, and a chair.

So, if you have some time and disposable income, check out www.aclfestival.com.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to James McMurtry!

James McMurtry is a Texas, born in Fort Worth, singer/songwriter who just happens to be the son of acclaimed novelist Larry McMurtry.  James is backed by his long time rhythm section “The Heartless Bastards”.  Through a serious of fortuitous events, James released his debut album “Too Long in the Wasteland” in 1989.  What might the fortuitous events have been, you ask?  Well, here they are:

  1. John Mellencamp staring in a film based on a script by Larry McMurtry.
  2. James was conveniently able to give Mellencamp a demo tape
  3. Mellencamp served as co-producer on McMurtry’s debut album.
  4. McMurtry appeared on the soundtrack of the film “Falling from Grace” as part of the group “Buzzin Cousins” which included John Mellencamp, John Prine, and Dwight Yoakam.  The song, “Sweet Suzanne” is a long time favorite of mine.

McMurty’s music has always been fairly well received critically and with the release of his 2005 album “Childish Things” he won song of the year (We Can’t Make It Here) and album of the year at the Americana Awards in Nashville Tennessee.  He has gained a loyal fan base through his touring and accessibility.  He currently resides in Austin, Texas and when home, he has a standing midnight set at the Continental Club each Wednesday. 

Not one to shy away from politics, he upped his game on his albums “Childish Things” and “Just Us Kids” with the direct and scathing attack of then President George W. Bush in the songs “We Can’t Make it Here” and “Cheney’s Toy” respectively. 

James McMurty Discography

  • Too Long in the Wasteland
  • Candyland
  • Where’d  You Hide the Body
  • It Had to Happen
  • Walk Between the Raindrops
  • Saint Mary of the Woods
  • Live in Aught-Three
  • Childish Things
  • Best of the Sugar Hill Years
  • Just Us Kids
  • Live In Europe

Top Five James McMurtry Songs

  1. We Can’t Make It Here (Childish Things)
  2. Levelland (Where’d You Hide the Body)
  3. Cheney’s Toy (Just Us Kids)
  4. Where’d You Hide the Body (Where’d You Hide the Body)
  5. Sweet Suzanne (Falling From Grace Soundtrack)

Check out James McMurtry and let me know what you think.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbWRfBZY-ng

James McMurtry’s music is available at iTunes, record stores, and www.jamesmcmurtry.com

Great music awaits!


Entertainment is ruining music!

Ok, I am wrapping up my first full month of blogging about music that I think is worth listening to.  I have written about people that I have seen in concert and music that I listen to on a daily basis.  I write about artists.  The question that I often ponder when making my musical choices is this:  What is the line that divides music between art and entertainment?  Is the latest boy/girl band that sings over recorded beats art or entertainment?  Personally, I consider it neither and closer to the eighth ring of hell.  No offense to those kids who were new on the block, the boys of the backstreet, or the menagerie of boys that danced in sync because at 18-20, I would have probably sold my soul for the money and chicks as well.

As you look at the various music award shows (Grammy’s, MTV, VMA, CMA, etc…) it is clear that the entertainment value is high and artistic merit, not so much.  With the dance ensembles, the pyrotechnics, and wardrobe malfunctions, it is clear that the late, great Kurt Cobain was right when he unknowingly wrote the anthem of the 90’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and I quote “With the lights out, it’s less dangerous, here we are, now entertain us, I feel stupid and contagious, here we are, now entertain us”. 

Have we, as a society, placed less value on the art of music?  Are we more concerned with our own need for entertainment that we willfully let the radio and record sales dictate what is good and acceptable in music?  It appears that the frantic pace of life has kept us from noticing the utter and complete garbage that pervades the airwaves and stocks the shelves of big box retailers who can change your oil while you shop for your groceries, clothes, and electronics.

As a general rule, I do not listen to the radio other than 1310 The Ticket (any P1’s reading my blog?)  On the rare occasion, when, I am trapped in my car without my IPod or a smattering of CD’s, and the Ticket has a commercial break, I will peruse the radio for some music.  This always reaffirms my initial position of not listening to the radio and makes me long for the radio waves of Austin, Texas.  One of the many great things about the lovely city of Austin but yet I digress. The noise that passes for music on the radio is an abomination to auditory senses.  It is either a sugary confection of beats and over produced voices or it is violently vibrating bass with grammatically incorrect boasts of carnal conquests.  Whatever happened to three chords and the truth?

We have grown accustomed to the immediacy of the world.  We impatiently wait in lines in our car to eat, we stare at our phone waiting to connect to the World Wide Web, and we hover around the microwave savoring the chemically engineered buttery smell of popcorn.  So, it is not surprising that the aspiring entertainers of the world want their fifteen minutes now and are not willing to work at their craft and learn how to write music, play an instrument, and in some cases, even learn to sing. 

Artistry is not dead, it is out there but it is not immediate.  It is not radio friendly, vapidly redundant three minute jingles.  It is on the road, in the bars and coffee shops across the country.  It is toiling in the years of past, present and future one note at a time. 

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Arc Angels!

Arc Angels are the phenomenal but short lived blues/rock band that formed in Austin, Texas in the early 90’s.  The band was a virtual who’s who of the Texas music scene and was comprised of two home grown guitar talents Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton as well as drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon both of whom played in the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band Double Trouble.  The ARC in the band name is a reference to the Austin Rehearsal Complex where the band members first got together and jammed prior to releasing their self titled debut album.

Due to creative differences, egos, and issues with Bramhall’s substance abuse, the members of the band went their separate ways in late 1993.  Both Sexton and Bramhall went on to release several solo albums as well as touring with rock royalty.  Bramhall toured with Eric Clapton and Roger Waters while Sexton toured with Bob Dylan.  They have also backed artists such as John Mayer, Buddy Guy, and Kenny Wayne Sheppard. 

Since 2002, Arc Angels have occasionally reunited for a rare live performance one of which was headlining Austin City Limits Music Festival.  In early 2009, members of Arc Angels, except Tommy Shannon, made reunion announcements, prepared a DVD from concert footage taken in 2005, and have begun working on their sophomore album.

The second coming of their new music and live tour will be at Austin’s annual South by Southwest Music Festival in March 2009. Following that, they will open for Eric Clapton on his European tour in May, and then embark on their own U.S. tour this summer.

 Key tracks from Arc Angels:

  • Too Many Ways to Fall
  • Living In a Dream
  • See What Tomorrow Brings
  • Sent By Angels

 Check out the Arc Angels and let me know what you think.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPWdLpnKknc&feature=related 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iA4o7-vVfg&feature=related

Arc Angel’s music is available on iTunes, record stores, and www.arcangelsmusic.com.

Also, if you have a facebook page, you can become a fan of the blog.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/pages/Music-you-should-be-listening-to/261897107787?ref=ts

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Spoon!

Spoon is an indie rock band that hails from the great city of Austin, Texas.  Formed and co founded by Brit Daniels and Jim Eno in 1993.  Early musical comparisons to The Pixies and Sonic Youth quickly subsided as they began to define their own sound, a blend of sophisticated, guitar driven pop/post-punk that rocks.

Spoon’s career can be likened to that of a slow boil.  They have seven full length albums and an equal number of EP’s and received critical recognition for their work but have received little radio play along the way.  This might, in part, be related to the label issues that plagued them in the early years.  The irony of this is that there music has found it way on a smattering of television shows that include the following: The Simpsons Veronica Mars, Bones, The O.C., Scrubs, and How I Met Your Mother.  Spoon also appears in the movies 17 Again, Cloverfield, and I Love You Man.

Their music is inventive and ambitious yet accessible. Their albums are consistently tight, usually containing ten or twelve well crafted tracks and clocking in around the forty minute mark. 

Spoon Discography 

Albums EP
  • Telephono
  • A Series of Sneaks
  • Girls Can Tell
  • Kill the Moonlight
  • Gimme Fiction
  • Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
  • Transference

 

  • The Nefarious (EP)
  • Soft Effects (EP)
  • 30 Gallon Tank (EP)
  • Love Ways (EP)
  • Get Nice! (EP)
  • Don’t You Evah (EP)
  • Got Nuffin (EP)

 

Top 5 Spoon Songs according to Butler (Albums listed on right):

  1. I Turn My Camera On (Gimme Fiction)
  2. The Way We Get By (Kill the Moonlight)
  3. Don’t Make Me a Target (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
  4. All the Negatives Have Been Destroyed (Telephono)
  5. The Underdog (Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga)

Check out Spoon and let me know what you think.

Spoon’s music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.spoontheband.com.

Also, if you have a facebook page, you can become a fan of the blog.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/pages/Music-you-should-be-listening-to/261897107787?ref=ts

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Bob Schneider!

Bob Schneider is an Austin based singer/songwriter who has been in a smattering of bands before going solo in 1999.  He began his solo career under the name “Lonelyland” which he dropped as a performer but used as the title of his major label debut. 

 Bob’s musical catalog includes nearly twenty albums, eight of which are solo albums and several with his various bands, all of which are legendary in the Austin music scene of the 90’s, The Scabs, Joe Rockhead and The Ugly Americans.

 His musical style mixes funk, punk, country, rock, soul, and folk with quirky, witty, and at times, emotionally/sexually charged lyrics.  His solo work brought a bit more national attention and critical acclaim.  In 2006, he toured with the Dixie Chicks and gained some notoriety for dating Sandra Bullock.  His song, “Bullets”, was in the Kevin Smith film “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back” soundtrack.  Snoochie Boochie baby! 

 Bob Schneider Discography

  • Songs Sung and Played On the Guitar at the Same Time
  • Lonelyland
  • Galaxy Kings
  • I’ve Seen the World and It Looks Like This
  • I’m Good Now
  • The Californian
  • When the Sun Breaks Down the Moon
  • Lovely Creatures

 Top 5 Bob Schneider Songs according to Butler (Albums listed to right of song):

  1. Come With Me Tonight (I’m Good Now)
  2. 40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet) (Lovely Creatures)
  3. God Is My Friend (I’m Good Now)
  4. Holding In the World (The Californian)
  5. The Other Side (Songs Sung and Played On the Guitar at the Same Time)

 His quirky wordplay and catchy tunes keep the music appealing but not saccharine sweet.  Some of his songs have received moderate radio play but he is widely recognized for his live shows and that is how he has built up his considerable fan base.

 Bob tours nationwide but remains a pillar in the Austin music community with regular gigs at Antone’s and The Saxon Pub.  He has built his audience by touring relentlessly and over the years has opened for the Dixie Chicks, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews and the H.O.R.D.E Tour.

 Check out Bob Schneider and let me know what you think.

 Bob Schneider’s music is available is available on iTunes, record stores and www.bobschneider.com.

Also, if you have a facebook page, you can become a fan of the blog.

http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#/pages/Music-you-should-be-listening-to/261897107787?ref=ts

Great music awaits!