Tag Archives: Fort Worth

Last night I witnessed greatness!

Well, dear, sweet, gentle blog readers, last night I witnessed greatness.  Not once, mind you, but twice.  I saw Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson at the Bass Performance Hall in lovely Fort Worth, Texas.  The show was sold out and had been for weeks, as it should have been. 

I realize that the genre, musicianship, and singing style may not be in line with the musical palette of everyone, but there is no denying the impact and influence these legends have had on the musical landscape.  Both men have had commercial and critical success, survived the business for more than forty years and, most importantly, are still relevant.

The brilliant musical pairing began in 2009 when Merle and Kris performed a few shows in California, which was the first time these icons shared the same stage at the same time in their storied and illustrious careers.  The fan reaction was enough for them to contemplate the continuation of the shows.  As of this blog, last night’s show was just one of six dates that the boys are doing in 2010.

Kristofferson, who is a much better songwriter than singer, covered his hits such as “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, “Me and Bobby McGee”, “Help Me Make It Through the Night”, and “Why Me” to name a few.  His voice was grainy, and gruff with just enough of a whisky stain to remind you of the hard living that he crafted in his songs.

Merle played some of his staples such as “Okie from Muskogee”, “The Fightin’ Side of Me”, “Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Star”, “Silver Wings” and “I Think I’ll just Stay Here and Drink”. His voice was just beautiful, the tenor and pitch might have lost a little something over the years, but Father Time takes a little from each of us every day. 

It was evident that the two had not rehearsed much; at times they were out of sync, out of tune, and even off key.  The sound was raw, gritty, authentic and perfectly fitting for two legends in their seventies who played and sang for two hours. 

I can’t imagine that anyone left the show disappointed.  For two hours last night, I shared a lifetime of music and history with two musical icons.  They have certainly earned the right to be human and less than perfect in their performance.  And yet, they were perfect for all of the right and wrong reasons.  Last night, I witnessed greatness.

 Great music awaits!


iTunes might be the anti-Christ!

iTunes might be the anti-Christ to the music industry. Now, before I get too far into this blog, let me go on record and say, I have drank the Kool-Aid from the crimson stained iTunes cup and I am a fan of all the flavors. I just don’t always feel good about it!   

 While it seems to be a natural progression of the evolution in the turbulent union of the music industry and technology, it dilutes the bond between artist and fan as the fan has the ability to purchase single song selections.  The flip side to the artist is that in this technology heavy day and age, the need for a label or some form of representation is not as important as it was in years past.   It also requires the artist to have a smaller arsenal of material for release. 

Growing up in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I had five or six CD local independent shops I would hit on a weekly basis to peruse the used racks and see what I would find.  Several shops had the five CD’s for $20 rack and it felt like Christmas.  The anticipation of what I might find and the pure bliss of driving home with new tunes was complete euphoria.  It was an all day venture that I looked forward to and continued well into my 30’s.  Now, all but two are out of business. 

So cloaked in the mask of a user friendly interface and accessibility, the digital download has insidiously wrapped itself around the neck of the local music retailer and squeezed the life out of many.  Gone are the days of wooden racks and the providential score of a hard to find CD.    Now it is point, click and wait impatiently as it streams over the miracle of the World Wide Web.

I’m an old school music guy who likes to read the liner notes, see what musicians played on the album, who, if not the artist, wrote the songs, etc….  However, I do find myself pouring through iTunes looking for new music that is similar to artist that I like.  The Genius function is well, genius.  It follows the same musical logic of Pandora and finds music that is similar in cadence, vocal range, and instrumentation of artist you currently have.  So, at times it seems like iTunes is your friend, always willing to help out and scour the musical countryside to find you new music and then charge you $1.29 to download a song. 

I’m not sure how to end this blog and I fully realize that by purging myself of this, was really just a way of mitigating the crushing guilt of the duality of my musical proclivities.  Salvation is not likely.

Great music awaits on iTunes and some local retailers near you!


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!


You should be listening to Wade Bowen!

Wade Bowen is a Waco, Texas born singer/songwriter who has become a staple of the Texas music scene.  He self released his debut album “Try Not To Listen” in 2002.  Early on, he was tearing up the road playing over 250 shows per year.  In 2006, he released “Live at the Blue Light” and his studio follow up “Lost Hotel” both of which helped him expand his audience outside of Texas.  In 2008, Bowen released “If We Ever Make It Home” and in 2009 he recorded his 2nd live album at the famous Fort Worth, Texas honky tonk Billy Bob’s Texas.  It is scheduled to be released in early 2010.

He has collaborated with Pat Green, Randy Rogers, Cody Canada (Cross Canadian Ragweed), Radney Foster, and Ray Wylie Hubbard. 

What’s appealing about Bowen’s voice, is the emotive tenor that’s just smoke filled and raspy enough to convey the world-weariness and hard living of traditional country music. He approaches his songs with restraint and reflection.  Bowen writes with zeal and passionate assurance about the issues that color life. He achieves this with depth of thought and plain emotion that connects with his fans.

Wade Bowen Discography

  • Try Not To Listen
  • Live At the Blue Light
  • Lost Hotel
  • If We Ever Make it Home

Top 5 Wade Bowen Songs according to Butler (Albums listed to right of song): 

  1. Broken Reflection (Troubadour’s Prayer) (Lost Hotel)
  2. Man Out of Myself (Try Not To Listen)
  3. Daddy and the Devil (If We Ever Make It Home)
  4. Perfect Silence (Lost Hotel)
  5. From Bad To Good (If We Ever Make It Home)

Check out Wade Bowen at www.wadebowen.com and let me know what you think.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwlXHumrGHk

Wade Bowen’s music is available on iTunes and record stores.

Great music awaits!