It’s like 2016 all over again, only centralized in its grief in the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin, Texas. In a span of a few hours, the city, and music, lost two titans that may not rise to the recognition of household names across America, but were seminal to the sound and influence that Austin music is known for.
When I first caught wind that a movie written by legendary Texas songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard was in the works, and that it starred Kris Kristofferson and Dwight Yoakam, my ears perked to say the least. But as the movie neared release, it was clear something about Last Rites of Ransom Pride was off. Information about the film was sketchy at best, and despite my best efforts to obtain more, emails and phone calls weren’t returned.
Jayke Orvis isn’t just a songwriter and mandolin player, he is a composer. When I first heard the song “Raise the Moon” on .357 String Band’s first album, I knew this was more than mere throwing words and chords together. “Dreadful Sinner” from his new album Its All Been Said is in the same vein, with tight arrangements in a composition-based approach that is more like classical music than anything.
When “Dandy” Don Meredith died on Sunday, he was remembered as many things: Dallas Cowboys football player, commentator for Monday Night Football, actor in dozens of movies and TV shows. But one element you may not hear much about is his involvement with country music, and specifically, good Texas Outlaw country.
It would make life much easier for me if on Saturday night, Justin Townes Earle put on the performance of a lifetime. With all the negative publicity he has received here and other places, but especially here, it has characterized me as a madman on a mission to destroy him. From NPR stuff, to more NPR stuff, to breaking the story on his arrest, it has branded me a Justin Townes Earle adversary in a way that has adversely effected my standing with many people I respect.
Tonight is the maiden voyage for the dumb “American Country Awards,” Fox TV and Rupert Murdock’s own personal pop country infomercial, and before it even gets off the ground it’s littered with controversy. When they first announced the new awards show, they touted it as “The first and only country music awards show where fans determine all the winners by voting for their favorite nominees in music and video categories.”
Last night was an occasion I’d been looking forward to for a while: Justin Townes Earle sober (hopefully) return to Austin, TX, but in the traveling party as the support act was Catlin Rose, a Nashville-based singer/songwriter that I’ve been asked to give an opinion on many times, but for whom online music and videos had rendered my opinion inconclusive heretofore.
Everything seemed to be going right for Michelle, until she headed to Nashville to make the solo country album Everything Comes and Goes for Warner Music Nashville; “Nashville” being the optimum word. Suddenly a young woman who prided herself in writing her own songs and forging her own style had to become aware that country music works differently, much differently.
Mandolin maestro Jayke Orvis is hitting the road once again as his own man, with help from some familiar faces. The former .357 Sting Band member, and occasional member of The Goddamn Gallows has roped in the greatness of James Hunnicutt, along with Joe Perreze on banjo and Fishgutz (The Goddamn Gallows) on bass, aka ‘The Broken Band’ for a tour through the South and Midwest starting mid January.
But he insists other reported incidents from that night didn’t happen. Earlier this week Justin Townes Earle started out on his first tour after a rehab stint following an altercation in Indianapolis in September that ended in Earle being arrested for assault, public intoxication, and resisting arrest. Earle has insisted that some of the accounts of the incident that night have been false, a few of which recounted a drunken Earle publicly looking for drugs.
Following is my list for the essential albums for 2010, broken down into a few of categories.This is meant to compliment the Album of the Year candidates in this super-packed year for stellar music. Hopefully next year, Saving Country Music can branch out a bit and cover the more traditional mainstream acts, but it will always be on top of the smaller acts trying to get their music out there, not instead of them.
Joe Buck is the nexus of where punk and country meet. Former bass player for Hank III, former everything for Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, Joe Buck is now a one man wrecking crew, hell bent on pounding and screaming his message of a world gone mad to the masses. After years of touring and putting out low-fi homespun projects ripped in the back of his motorhome, Joe Buck hooked up with legendary producer Jack Endino to record his first serious project, Piss & Vinegar.
Tay-Swizzle may hate criticism, or my criticism specifically, but personally, I love criticism. And the better the criticism, the more thought out and researched it is, the more I love it. It keeps me on my toes. It makes me work harder to make sure my assertions are solid. Any artist or writer, or really anybody should embrace and encourage good criticism. Good criticism can breed conflict that can turn into resolution and understanding.