Perfect hair is an unattainable goal for many Americans. Forget about genetics for a moment, and just think about the wide varying humidity and barometric pressure that we can experience here in the United States. It can wreak havoc on even the most ideal head of God given locks. And then all those hair products, my goodness. Shampoos, conditioners, gels and sprays now can take up over an aisle and a half at your local retailer.
And don’t get me started with trying to hunt down a good stylist. Every time you find a good one they move, retire, go back to graduate school, whatever, and then your left fending for yourself. And don’t even try asking your friends, oh no. They guard that secret like the babysitter that will work on Saturday nights for only $15 and a bag of Newman O’s, and won’t go rifling through your closet looking for your porn collection.
But despite all of this, I am so happy to report that at the Hank III show at Emo’s in Austin last night (3-16-10), the opening band, Kyle Turley had a bass player with the most perfect head of curly golden strands. It had that “just stepped out of the shower” sheen, without being clumpy or greasy looking. And the way he thrashed it around in rhythm with the music, just about made me want to start playing for the wrong team.
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Seriously, I’m having a little fun at the expense of a guy that did a fine job last night, but I think the bass player’s hair, and how he thrashed it around, was a good microcosm of the Kyle Turley set. I know the hip thing to do would be to come on here and trash it, but in truth, it wasn’t that bad, it was just out of place.
Kyle Turley was like the one sports card dealer at a horror comic convention. But he did a good job. The performance was tight, and the music was decent. Listen, if you had walked into some random bar and saw a former famous football player up there with a full band doing his thing, you would’ve been impressed. Kyle Turley is doing what he wants to do and following his dreams. And if every American did that, we’d probably be living in a much better world, though our hair style may be a little worse for the wear.
Some people have called his music pop country. Last night he said: “I’d like to discuss it with anyone out on the street.” I honestly don’t hear the very quickly identifiable pop country formula in his music. He calls it “power country,” which a critic might say is southern stoner metal without the balls, or country without the soul. But it fits into some sort of hard rock, southern-fried category that I could see being very successful for him in the hands of the right audience, I just don’t know that the Hank III audience was the right one.
There were a few boos, but mostly people were receptive, or at least tolerant. My guess the boos were from hardcore Hank III fans, and your average walk-up ticket attendee dealt with Turley’s fairly catchy, but never too involved songs just fine. His song “Flying Helmets” kind of plays right into his critic’s hands, and I’m wondering how his remark about Jerry Jones being an asshole, and all Dallas Cowboys being crooks is going to go over in Ft. Worth tonight, but I guess they say sing about what you know about.
His song “I’m With the Devil,” though it breaks down to a tribute song to his music mentor Hank III, I really think is a good song and shows a lot of songwriting promise and prowess that might pay off for Kyle eventually. His band was solid, but simple and straightforward. The lead guitar mainly played varying rhythm more than anything, and the keyboards had their moments, but were average. I can definitely say that what Turley did last night was much better than anything YouTube has to offer of his work (at least at the moment), and I wouldn’t go drawing hard conclusions from amateur videos.
A lot of people will take this as a negative review, but honestly would give him an A- if I was just walking into a random bar and saw him. But as the opener for Hank III, I’ll eek out a C+. But please, someone should tell Turley’s bass player to tame the hair situation; not the hair itself, but the way he tries to steal the show with it. He’s not doing himself or Kyle and favors. This is not an 80’s Poison routine, this is country music. There’s a reason Hank III ties his hair back during the country set.
And one of the reasons Hank III has become the biggest act in underground country is by knowing who his people are. Sure, in the last few years he’s alienated the hippie and alt-country crowd as he’s moved more towards the metal heads, but the trade off in numbers has been tit for tat at the worst. But this fit, for Hank III AND Kyle, seemed a little forced.
I hope the best for Kyle Turley, and hope he continues to follow his dreams and desires.
Interviews with Kyle Turley can be heard on Outlaw Radio Episode 83, and White Trash Revival Episode 33.