Tag Archives: Steve Earle

Joe Pug: Musical Gem of 2010

Joe Pug is a singer/songwriter who originally hails from Maryland but began his unique musical career in Chicago.  He has toured at length since 2008, has opened for Steve Earle, M. Ward, and Josh Ritter and has also played the New Port Folk Festival and Lollapalooza.  Nothing in the short career of Joe Pug has followed the normal trajectory of a musician. 

His path to music was not as direct as other artists; he began playing guitar in grade school and formed a band in the 6th grade.   Firmly believing the mark of a band was original writing, he began writing songs. This was coupled with early ambitions of being a playwright. He left home and attended the University of North Carolina for several years and abruptly left to continue his pursuit of music.  His ideas for a play ultimately were flushed out in his first EP “Nation of Heat”.  The songs were surreptitiously recorded in a Chicago studio with the aid of a friend who permitted him late night access to the cancelled studio sessions of other musicians.

His first headlining show in Chicago’s hallowed venue, Schuba’s Tavern, was sold out which further established the praise that was surrounding the EP “Nation of Heat” and the artist. 

Early on, he struck upon the idea of giving his music to his fans free of charge.  In his mind, his fans already dig him and they have friends who would likely dig him too.  They just needed the chance to hear him.  The offer is posted on his web site www.joepugmusic.com. To date, he has sent out over 15,000 copies of his poignant tunes to all 50 states and 14 countries.  He covers all of the cost associated with this magnanimous offer. 

Joe Pug Discography:

  • Nation of Heat (EP)
  • In the Meantime (EP)
  • The Messenger

In 2010 he released his full length debut “The Messenger” which consists of ten tracks of guitar driven tunes with the occasional backing of harmonica.  This is one of those albums that can be enjoyed from start to finish and leaves you wanting more.  His modest approach allows you to breath in the beauty of his lyrics and the connectivity of his voice.

His amazingly beautiful lyrics are wrapped in poetry and grace that confound the listener and belie his age.  Oh, and did I mention that Joe is in his early twenties?  How does someone so young find the muse of years and experiences he has not lived?  Is it possible to have lived the wearied tales of love and loss, the eternal quest of belonging, and channel the emotional depth of the musical greats before him like Dylan and Guthrie at such a young age? 

I don’t know the answer to the questions asked but if you listen to him for any length, you too will hear the detailed stories being told.  You too will be struck by how well they connect.  You too will become a fan of Joe Pug.  More importantly, you have nothing to lose by trying.  Joe has taken out the roadblocks to becoming a fan.  He is giving you the window of opportunity, at his cost, to listen, learn, and love his music.

Check out Joe Pug at www.joepugmusic.com

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

 www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0hArN7ngtk&feature=related

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to the Randy Rogers Band!

The Randy Rogers Band is a country band that hales from the great state of Texas.  Yes, I realize that this Texas kick I’m on is stretching in to its second week and, well, I don’t care. Their debut album was a live album recorded at a bar in San Marcos, Texas in 2000.  By 2002 they had signed with an independent label and released their first studio album Like It Used To Be

Rand Rogers Band Discography:

  • Live at the Cheatum Street Warehouse (2000)
  • Like It Used To Be (2002)
  • Rollercoaster (2004)
  • Live at Billy Bob’s Texas (2005)
  • Just a Matter of Time (2006)
  • The Randy Rogers Band (2008)
  • Burning the Day (Set to release Aug. 2010)

They have come a long way since the bar scene of San Marcos.  They have opened for artists such as the Eagles, Willie Nelson, Gary Allan, and Dierks Bentley.  Their music fits the college scene with its good time party vibe but also digs a little deeper with each new release.  It is an interesting fusion of country and a rugged swagger that comes across as the musical love child of Waylon Jennings and Steve Earle.

Top 5 Rand Rogers Band Songs:

  • Tommy Jackson (Like It Used To Be)
  • Love Must Follow You Around (Rollercoaster)
  • This Is Goodbye (Randy Rogers Band)
  • Wicked Ways (Randy Rogers Band)
  • Somebody Take Me Home (Rollercoaster)

Rogers is the main songwriter in the band Kenny Chesney covered “Somebody Take Me Home” on his album The Road and the Radio.  Through constant touring and a record release schedule of about every two years, the band has built a solid fan base and Rolling Stone magazine listed them as a Top 10 Must See Artist in the summer of 2007.

Check out the Randy Rogers Band at www.randyrogersband.com

 Great music awaits!


Mixed Tape Monday: People’s Names Part Deux!

Welcome to another installment of Mixed Tape Monday, where I will WOW you with my wonderful compilation of music. Do to the overwhelming response of last week’s Name blog, here is a second helping of songs with names in the title.

 Today’s topic is People’s Names Part Deux!:

Song:              Kylie

Artist:              William Fitzsimmons

Album:            Until When We Are Ghosts

Song:              Johnny 99

Artist:              Bruce Springsteen

Album:            Nebraska

Song:              The Ballad of Carol Lynn

Artist:              Whiskeytown

Album:            Pneumonia

Song:              Jonathon Fisk

Artist:              Spoon

Album:            Kill the Moonlight

Song:              Billy Breathes

Artist:              Phish

Album:            Billy Breathes

Song:              Regular John

Artist:              Queens of the Stone Age

Album:            Queens of the Stone Age

Song:              Dani California

Artist:              Red Hot Chili Peppers

Album:            Stadium Arcadium

Song:              Mariano

Artist:              Robert Earl Keen

Album:            West Textures

Song:              Camilo

Artist:              State Radio

Album:            Us Against the Crown

Song:              Anna Begins

Artist:              Counting Crowes

Album:            August and Everything After

Song:              Roderigo

Artists:            Seven Mary Three

Album:            American Standard

Song:              Tommy Jackson

Artist:              Randy Rogers Band

Album:            Like It Used To Be

Song:              Ava Adore

Artist:              Smashing Pumpkins

Album:            Adore

Song:              Eric’s Trip

Artist:              Sonic Youth

Album:            Daydream Nation

Song:              Billy and Bonnie

Artist:              Steve Earle

Album:            I Feel Alright

Song:              Courage (For Hugh Maclennan)

Artist:              The Tragically Hip

Album:            Fully Completely

Song:              Tweeter and the Monkey Man

Artist:              Traveling Wilburys

Album:            Traveling Wilburys

Song:              Madame George

Artist:              Van Morrison

Album:            Astral Weeks

Song:              My Name is Jonas

Artist:              Weezer

Album:            Weezer (The Green Album)

Song:              Suzy Lee

Artist:              The White Stripes

Album:            The White Stripes

Great music awaits!


Tune In Tuesday: 4/20/10

Today is Tune In Tuesday.  As you might have guessed, I listen to a lot of music.  I listen at work, while I drive, while I drive to work, in the house, driving home, doing yard work, just about anywhere and anything I’m doing involves music. 

Driving is where most of my listening happens during the day and sometimes night.  My vehicle of choice and necessity, I have a brood of kids and 3 dogs, is a Chevy Tahoe, affectionately referred to as the “Ho”.  Aside from the ample space needed for carting afore mentioned brood and dogs, the Ho has a great Bose stereo with a six disc changers.  Six slots of pure musical pleasure. 

Each week starts out with me selecting six random discs from my imposing musical collection.  Once selected, they are inserted into the musical pleasure slots and then I hit the random button. 

The thought behind Tune In Tuesday is that I will tell you what is in the changer for the week and give you a little background on the album, artist and key tracks.

This week, here is what is in the changer:

 1.      Drive-By Truckers: The Fine Print (a collection of oddities and rarities 2003-2008)

This album is a collection of covers, alternate versions of songs from already released albums, and a few odds and ends.  The cover to Tom Petty’s “Rebels” is pretty cool as is their cover of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”.  Patterson Hood handles the majority of the vocals on the album.  For me, the stand out cover is Warren Zevon’s “Play it all Night Long”. 

 2.      Steve Earle: Townes

This album is a complete cover of Townes Van Zandt.  “Lungs” is the standout track for me.  Tom Morello (the Nightwatchman, Rage Against the Machine, Street Sweeper Social Club) plays on the album as does Steve’s son Justin. 

 3.      Amos Lee: Last Days at the Lodge

This is the third album by the Philadelphia singer/songwriter.  He has got a voice that just captivates you.  “What’s Been Going On”, “Street Corner Preacher”, and “Baby I Want You” are three really solid songs. 

 4.      Slaid Cleaves: Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away…

This Austin based singer/songwriter has a way with the words.  Lyrically superior to the vast majority of artist out there, his voice is calm and inviting in a way that brings it all together.  “Beautiful Thing: is by far the best track while “Hard To Believe” and “Dreams” are right up there.  This is an album that can easily be listened to start to finish several times.

 5.      Bob Schneider: Lovely Creatures

Another Austin icon, Bob really runs the musical gamut on this one.  “40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet)” is a great song and the most Bob like song on the album.  He gets pretty musically diverse as the album progresses.  “Tarantula” is just pure fun that will have you moving wherever you are.

 6.      State Radio: Let It Go

 This is the third full length album for the Boston based sociopolitical trio.  I’m a huge fan and love all of the music that they have done to date.  Their music is a bond between my oldest son and I can’t ever here it without thinking about him and the trips we have taken to see them live.  “Calling All Crows”,” Knights of Bostonia”, and “Blood Escaping Man” are great but then again, so is the whole album.

So, check them out and let me know what you think.

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!


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!


50 Artists you should be listening to and own at least one album!

Ok, I thought yesterday’s blog was fun and elicited some reaction from you, the sweet , gentle reader  and a few David Cassidy fans( ITILY ladies and possibly gentlemen) and also caused a bit of a stir on facebook as well.  So, let’s go and reverse the whip.

I will attempt to continue to WOW you with my vast musical knowledge and then silently judge you if you are not impressed with my musical prowess.  Just kidding, I would never judge you or your poor musical taste. 

I do think that there are some artists that transcend genres and have universal appeal.  Others have a loyal following and then have that one album that regales the masses and they are beloved for generations.  Some of us grew up on music and we think it is greatness based solely on the nostalgia for the time and place in which we first heard it.  And then there are music purist who likes a band /artist because they respect the lineage and the impact that they had on music.

I tend to be a bit of all of the above.  There are some artists that I like because there is some form of connectivity that I really can’t explain, while others are truly a moment in time that has endeared me to an artist, and then there is the whole musical heritage piece.  I am intrigued by the evolution of music and the artists that find themselves compelled to play.  As mentioned previously in a blog, I have no musical talent.  I do not play and instrument, I do not sing close to well, and I’ve never had aspirations to do either.  I simply love to listen to music. 

As much as I have a propensity to scorn/judge, in my humble opinion, awful music, I really respect the fact that those dreadful musicians had the nerve to attempt to play, at some point get signed, and were able to release an album or at the very least a single.  When it comes down to it, I don’t judge the horrific musicians as mercilessly as I judge the faction who listens and procures the music.

So, below is a listing of artists/bands that you should be listening to and would be in any reputable music collection.  

  • Ryan Adams
  • The Band
  • The Beastie Boys
  • The Beatles
  • Beck
  • The Black Crowes
  • Jimmy Buffet (with love to Gwendolyn)
  • Johnny Cash
  • Eric Clapton
  • Credence Clearwater Revival
  • Drive-By Truckers
  • Bob Dylan
  • The Eagles
  • Steve Earle
  • Foo Fighters
  • Pat Green
  • Merle Haggard
  • Ben Harper
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Robert Earl Keen
  • Led Zeppelin
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Dave Matthews Band
  • John Mellencamp
  • Metallica
  • Willie Nelson
  • Nirvana
  • Pearl Jam
  • Tom Petty
  • Pink Floyd
  • The Pixies
  • Joe Purdy
  • Radiohead
  • R.E.M
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Rush
  • Paul Simon
  • Sonic Youth
  • Sound Garden
  • Bruce Springsteen
  • James Taylor
  • Traveling Wilburys
  • U2
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Wilco
  • Whiskeytown
  • The Who
  • Neil Young
  • ZZ Top

I just listed the artist and not the album or albums that you should be listening to and really own by said artist.  Also, I stopped at 50 and that took a considerable amount of restraint.

This is fundamentally meant to light the candle of thought and get you to think about your 50 artists.  If you only had 50 artists that you could listen to, who would they be?  Think of yourself as Tom Hanks in Cast Away and instead of Wilson the volleyball, you have an iPod with 50 artists and their entire catalog. 

So take some time, peruse the list and let me know who you would have added or deleted from the list or send me you complete list.

Great music awaits!


You should be listening to Robert Earl Keen!

Robert Earl Keen is a Texas born singer/songwriter who has built a cult following of both fans and musicians alike.  He is a better writer than singer but that is not meant to damn with faint praise.  After all, he was journalism major in college.  Many of the musicians from in and around Texas credit Keen with being the grandfather of the Texas music scene.

In 1984 Keen self financed the release of his debut album No Kind of Dancer features The Front Porch Song, which he wrote in college with Lyle Lovett. In 1986 he made the trek to Nashville but was unable to score a recording deal.  In 1989, Keen released his national debut West Textures contains his now signature song, The Road Goes On Forever.  With the release of 1993’s A Bigger Piece of Sky, Keen gained a larger fan base and some critical acclaim which in large part can be attributed to his rigorous touring schedule of almost 200 dates per year that he kept up in the 90’s.

Keen’s music is bathed in humor, the hills and landscape of Texas as well as the cast of characters he has met along the way.  His 1994 album Gringo Honeymoon has Keen covering the great Steve Earle’s Tom Ames’ Prayer.  His 1997 release Picnic features the duet Then Came Lo Mein with Cowboy Junkies’ Margo Timmins as well as his cover of James McMurtry’s Levelland

Robert Earl Keen Discography:

  • No Kind of Dancer
  • The Live Album
  • West Textures
  • A Bigger Piece of Sky
  • Gringo Honeymoon
  • No. 2 Live Diner
  • Picnic
  • Walking Distance
  • Gravitational Forces
  • Farm Fresh Onions
  • The Party Never Ends
  • Live from Austin
  • What I Really Mean
  • Live at the Ryman
  • Best
  • Marfa After Dark
  • The Rose Hotel

Top Five Robert Earl Keen Songs:

  1. Mariano (West Textures)
  2. Lynnville Train (Gringo Honeymoon)
  3. Rolling By (No Kind of Dancer)
  4. Shades of Grey (Picnic)
  5. Road to No Return/Carolina, New Life in Old Mexico, Still Without You (Walking Distance)  This is actually a trilogy(Tracks 7-9) of songs and perhaps the finest work he has ever done

Keen began an annual music fest, Texas Uprising that showcased local talent and took place in a variety of locations around Texas.  I believe that this, in addition to his great music, is why so many of the bands that have been lumped in the Texas music scene feel such reverence for Keen and his music. 

Check out Robert Earl Keen at www.robertearlkeen.com

Robert Earl Keen’s music is available at iTunes, record stores, and www.robertearlkeen.com.

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!