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Friday, April 22, 2011

The King of Rock-N-Roll

It almost came to fisticuffs the other night down at the local hamburger joint.  I overheard these two 'Jack Wagons' talking about how Elvis Presley changed the World of music and how Elvis did this and Elvis did that and how Elvis was the best thing since shirt pockets.  I'll give Elvis his due but I'm no huge fan.  I sat quietly examining how perfectly the salt and the ketchup was clinging to my crinkle cut fries, when I heard the phrase that always sends me over the edge, "Yep, Elvis Presley, The King of Rock-n-Roll".


That was it, I could stand no more of it.  I loudly stated in manner sure to be heard, "The only reason he's considered the King is because Buddy Holly died first".  The cafe went silent, all you could hear was me slurping Coca-Cola through my straw and the crackling of the near perfect combo of shaved and flaked ice in my cup.


"What did you say boy?" asked a fellow that by his looks, probably makes at least two Elvis Conventions a year.  "I said if Buddy Holly wouldn't have died he would have been the King of Rock-N-Roll."  The old fellows started grumbling and I could tell it was probably time to split.  I paid my tab and listened as they worked up a plan to jump me.  I won't go through the list of names I overheard them call me.  All I'll say is thanks Buddy, I'll always stick up for you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chris Whitley

There was an album released in 1991 that was like nothing I'd ever heard.  Chris Whitley's "Living with the Law" album blew my teenage mind.  The imagery that flooded my brain was partly religious and partly sexual as he sang about dark rooms, poison girls, carrion crows, piss ant desert towns, addiction and Jesus.  The sound that Whitley made come out of that national resonator guitar simply mesmerized me.  And his voice....I just knew this was a dude that had lived what he was singing about.  Whitley was a Houston native and lived for a while in New York City and a while in Belgium.  For the sake of my own self I know he always considered Texas home.  Chris Whitley died November 11, 2005 at the age of 45 in Houston Texas from lung cancer.  His impact and influence on my musical interests I can assure you will last forever.  I still listen to that album and it still fills me with images of dark rooms, poison girls, carrion crows, piss ant desert towns, addiction and Jesus.  Matter of fact I think I'm going to give it a listen tonight.  Thanks Chris Whitley!

Chris Whitley Living with the Law

Friday, April 1, 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Singer Songwriter

Tonight as I was driving, I was listening to the local NPR station out of Commerce Texas 88.9 KETR.  The show at the time was "Notably Texan" with Matt Meinke, he was spinning some tunes that were damn good!  Then he interviewed the guy, Graham Wilkinson was his name.  Come to find out Graham was born 30 miles to west of me in Denison Texas, the son of a Methodist Minister and also lived for some time 30 miles to the southeast of me in Commerce Texas.  This guy is good!!  He has that "it" factor, you know what I mean?  I'm not sure what it is, but I can assure you I'll be gettin some of his music.  Check him out!

http://www.grahamwilkinsonmusic.com/

Monday, March 28, 2011

True Outlaw's

The 60's and early 70's had a big influence on Texas Country; or it could be said that Texas Country had a big influence on the 60's and 70's.  Outlaw Country owes its existence to Texas, most notably Austin, Texas.  It was during this time that Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Billy Joe Shaver, Gary P. Nunn, David Allan Coe and others lived up to the name Outlaws'.  Brushes with the law for drinking, drugs, and just plain 'ol Hell Raising set these artists apart from their contemporaries.  Nashville couldn't control them and Austin welcomed them with open arms.

During this time period another style of Texas music took shape, "The Lubbock Sound".  Artists like Joe Ely, Lloyd Maines, Butch Hancock, Terry Allen and Jimmie Dale Gilmore had there own kind of sound.  While not making it has big as Willie and Waylon, they nonetheless, played a huge part into what is known today as "Texas Country".


Monday, March 21, 2011

Texas Country

Western Swing
When people think of Texas they generally think oil wells, cattle and Country Music.  Though Texas has a lot more to offer than just those three things, its Country Music is some of the most influential and timeless music that exists. 

You could pretty much say Texas Country started with Western Swing.  Pioneers like Bob Wills, Alvin Crow and others set the stage for the likes of Ernest Tubb, Lefty Frizell, Big Daddy Don Walser and Johnny Horton.

Texas Blues

















Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Texas Music



Texas Music is an anomaly unto itself as well as those who claim to love it.  I can't say how many times I've heard someone say with a certain bravado "Yeah, I mainly just listen to Texas Musicians".  To which I'll reply, "Really! me too, I'll really like Jim Reeves, Lightnin' Hopkins, Doug Sahm, and The Polyphonic Spree!"  That is usually followed by me being called a jackass, and the occasional argument sometimes ensues.

 Texas Music ebbs and flows from Tejano, to punk rock, to mariachi, to electronic, to blues, to gospel, to country, to rap, to R&B, to rock and every facet in between.  From mainstream, to Indie - if you like music, I mean real heart felt music, there's a place for you in Texas!



Texas Blues 



No sensible Texan or other knowledgeable person would claim that the Blues is genuinely Texas, BUT, Texans did put there own spin on the style which originated in the Mississippi Delta at the beginning of the 1900's.  Just like a good Mayhaw Jelly, Texas blues came out of East Texas, namely the timber camps and oilfields and then spread to Dallas, Houston and Galveston during the Great Depression.  By the 1970's Texas Blues had lost pretty much all of it's appeal.  Texas Rockers ZZ Top included some blues riffs in there styling but it wasn't until the emergence of the great Stevie Ray Vaughan in the 1980's that the term Texas Blues actually meant something again.  With the tragic and sudden death of Stevie Ray Vaughan in August of 1990 the Texas Blues scene crept back into a seemingly quite spot on the shelf.  Texas still has its fair share of great Texas Blues artist, most notably Tyler Bryant form Honey Grove, Texas.