Shot Of Rhythm

[ Friday, November 18, 2005 ]



I just posted a response on, to the following thread:

Steve Earle. Left-wing country music.
You probably think country/bluegrass musicians who live in the South are all foaming-at-the-mouth wingers, right? Nope, you're not even close. Check out Steve Earle. He's profane, passionate, funny, and very political.

-"Country music is the heart of darkness."- thecodewarrior (Homepage)

-"Country music consists of a large group of people trying to prove that they are great musicians to make up for the fact that they have absolutely no music"-conspiracyDUH

-"I hate country music, except where people rise above it, like Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson."-Bit NOLA

-"All country music is evil...well perhaps not the man in black."-DSM

As you might imagine, I took exception to these remarks. To be fair, there were some defenses of the twang, but the overall tone of the thread has an infuriating (and all-too-common) air of country-bashing that drives me up the fuckin' wall. (I didn't post my own comment here, but it is available on the Crooks and Liars website.)

Long and short of it is that I told anybody who wanted to argue with me to visit this blog. (And, since I used words like "ignorant assholes" and "get off your fuckin' high horses," I won't be surprised if somebody gets pissed off.) So, there may or may not be some guests here in the near future, looking to tangle. I welcome debate and discussion, so this is just a recommendation to keep your eyes open...

On the box right now: Waylon Jennings, GREATEST HITS.


Dove With Claws [1:17 PM]

[ Thursday, November 17, 2005 ]


Must we be so freaky?

I was listening to Big & Rich's new album, COMIN' TO YOUR CITY, last night. I like some of it quite a bit, and think those guys (along with Montgomery Gentry) might just bring back country-harmony singing as a commercially viable practice. Still, though, we have a problem. Even more than their first album, which I thought was quite good (except for "Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy," which I hated from the first and have infinitely more hostility for now), COMIN' TO YOUR CITY's fuckin' weird. There are several songs that clearly exist primarily to prove to the audience, other artists, and probably B&R themselves just how crazy/eclectic Big Kenny and John Rich are. I kinda dug the rapping-in-Spanish and superhero-hard-rock of the first album, but here the bad ZZ Top rip-offs like "Jalapeno" and "Soul Shaker" or drunk-bluegrass of "20 Margaritas" do not have a similar comfortable place under my umbrella. Then there's this bizarre bonus track called "Our America," where B&R, Gretchen Wilson and the hapless Cowboy Troy mash together bits of speeches and songs in a combination that is either completely stupid, totally jingoistic, or strangely subversive in a kind of postmodern sense.

That being said, there are some really nice songs on here, including a couple of ballads that almost sound like Poco, The Eagles, or Firefall. These guys are clearly really talented, and I like anything that shakes up the often static dynamics of popular country music (so I'm down with B&R/Wilson/Troy and the MuzikMafia), but I'm not that likely to turn to this album that often. Regardless of what they say on the song of the same name, I don't know that Big & Rich are the ones "to lead the freak parade." Maybe they are, and maybe they're not...

On the box right now: Irma Thomas, TIME IS ON MY SIDE. Glorious...


Dove With Claws [8:24 AM]

[ Tuesday, November 15, 2005 ]



It literally rained all day today (and now it's turning to snow, which is even more annoying). It was also one of those skies seemingly infinite in its greyness, almost like perpetual twilight. Strange how the whole world seems different on days like this; made me feel like I was in a French noir film.

Of course, the day was not without its bright spots, including the release of the 30th Anniversary BORN TO RUN set (which is fantastic), and the fact that today I got an interview with the single most important source I could possibly have for my current writing project, which is gonna start as my Master's Thesis and almost assuredly end up bigger/better. It doesn't hurt that this source is one of my very favorite songwriters in the entire world, somebody who I think is a fair competitor for the very highest echelon of 20th century songwriters. Seriously. I'm not gonna publicly say who this interview's with, but anybody who's really interested can e-mail me off list for info. (And maybe I'll give it to you...hee hee.)

On the box right now: Bruce Springsteen, BORN TO RUN. The improved sound on this reissue is staggering...


Dove With Claws [8:36 PM]

[ Sunday, November 13, 2005 ]


T for Texas

I'm currently listening to the best Texas songwriter record that I've ever heard from anywhere besides Texas. Ronny Elliott, who's pretty obscure outside of the Tampa, Florida area, has created something that sounds so much like Butch Hancock, Terry Allen and Townes Van Zandt that I wouldn't have doubted if I'd have been told that one of those three greats had recorded this. Really good songwriting, nicely ragged singing, and atmospheres that perfectly capture that "Lubbock Lights" spacey shit that The Flatlanders perfected. If you at all like Texas country-folk songwriting (and, really, why wouldn't you?), you'll want to check out Elliott's new record, VALENTINE ROADKILL. Damn good stuff, perfect for rainy twilights when nothing quite seems settled into anything.

Now, I'm off to watch the second episode of BOONDOCKS. And you should be too...

On the box right now: Ronny Elliott, VALENTINE ROADKILL.


Dove With Claws [7:08 PM]