Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dave Grohl - South by Southwest Keynote Address

I have watched this a lot since I found it.  I had to share it with you.  Dave makes some great points.  It is up to each of us individually to decide what is good or bad.  Music is an art.  An art that should be treated with respect. I hope everyone takes something away from what Dave has to say here.  

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Reckless Ways - CD Release Party

It is here boys and girls! The Southern Stranger boys have released their sophomore cd.  Saturday night brought about a cd release party the likes of which this little side of the world hadn't seen around these parts.  A trucked in stage, lighting rig, camera crew, and professional sound dudes.  I am going to venture to say I am not alone in the fact that at that first cd release show these guys did at Rolling Oaks I don't remember much.  This time around I wanted to take it a little more seriously...seeing as how I now have an audience of readers and for your sake I better remember what the hell I saw. Luckily though for the few that couldn't make it out there for whatever reason the night was filmed for a DVD and CD combo that will be available soon.  When I have an exact date, I will let you know.  Taking part in the celebration was Broseph, Roadside Libby and Kyle Reed Band. 
As I sit here typing this I was thinking about what I wanted to say about the night. It was just one of those fun nights that you don't have very often.  When I say that I mean, people came out to celebrate these hometown boys and the hard work they put into this cd.  I have said it before, this cd was a big step away from the first. The writing is better, the production is better.  What Saturday night was about, was celebrating the hard work that went into what is the final product.  The hard work that most people don't see or really ever think about. The songwriting, the studio time, the rehearsal time that made this cd, Reckless Ways possible.   The opening and closing bands sounded great. The crowd loved them. Plus, people who hadn't previously gotten to hear Broseph, Roadside, and Kyle were given the opportunity to see why Southern Strangers love those guys so much too. It was one of those nights that will hold a special place in my little Grinch like heart.  The best part is that all of us that were there will have that one night on March 23rd when we all got together in Adkins, TX to listen to a great night of music.  I know it is a little sentimental, but how often do you get the chance to relive nights like that on a dvd or cd.  A big thanks goes out to Kevin Brown the owner of Kicaster's and to his staff as well for making the night what it was. 
I as say this as a friend now and not so much as a "blogger/writer"...I have watched the Southern Strangers grow through the years.  From playing small shows, to seeing them open for some of their heroes along the way, and now to another cd.  You have a lot of people that believe you in ya'll.  Me being one of them.  Thank you to the band for being a supporter of me and my dreams, for including me to be a part of Reckless Ways, and as well for making me feel like member of the southern strangers family.  It has been a fun and wild five years.  I look forward to another many years of friendship, fun, and music.    
To conclude if you don't have the new cd. You can get it pretty much everywhere.  ITunes, Amazon, Spotify.  It is well worth it.  I put my stamp of approval on it and I hope you do the same. 

Picture credit to this photo below goes to Jacob Bondesen and Something Clever Productions.




Sunday, March 24, 2013

Will Hoge Q and A

Another Fabulous weekend is coming to an end.  It was a weekend of musical inspiration.  One that I needed badly.  I feel like I constantly question whether I am on the right track or if my writing is even any good.  I don't mean it in a fishing for compliments sort of way.  I just mean that everything I write comes from some little piece of me that is kind of like you reading my diary.  Music is such a passion and creative outlet that when I write this I really want it to mean something to the reader as well. I read somewhere...ok it was on pinterest but still I liked what it said.
"If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist? Chances are, you are.  The counterfeit innovator is wildly self confident.  The real one is scared to death" - Steven Pressfield "The War of Art"

I say that because I have such a respect for songwriters.  I have always been a weird music kid since I was little and for some reason I always was fascinated with where the inspiration comes from and the emotions behind the lyrics.  It wasn't till I was older that I realized the people who were singing the songs didn't always write them.  At a certain point I found myself looking up to the songwriters instead of the singers.  I remember the day I first heard Will Hoge on the radio.  I was in New Braunfels on the loop leaving work.  This song Silver and Gold came on.  I was blown away before the it even got to the chorus.  It was like a little bolt of lightning struck me.  I knew I had to hear more from whoever this person was. I didn't care that I was driving, if Mattson didn't announce who was playing that song I was gonna google it as soon as I could.  When I found out it was Will Hoge I became obsessed with hearing everything I could from him.  I am pretty sure I was telling anyone who would listen to me about him.  That was sometime around 2009 maybe 2010...It never worked out for me to see him till this weekend.  Boy am I glad that I didn't miss my chance Friday.  That was one of the best shows I have seen in a long time.  I have never seen Bruce Springsteen before...I hope one day I will get to but see Will is what I imagine it would be to see the boss.  It was high energy and he gave it his all.  I had the chance to ask Will some questions.  It was intended for this interview to come out before the show but I just really wasn't sure about it so after seeing him this weekend and feeling like I had been revitalized by the music I decided to put it out now.  For those of you who have no idea who Will Hoge is he is the songwriter of Even if it Breaks Your Heart.  No Eli Young Band didn't write it...So here you go my interview from one of my favorite songwriters and some pics from Friday night.

With the recent success from Even If It Breaks your Heart, do you feel like now there are more eyes on what you are doing?  Does that effect the way you approach songwriting?
It's certainly changed the way folks perceive me as a songwriter. It hasn't changed the process at all for me though. 

I recently did an interview with Adam Hood.  He mentioned ya'll are going to be doing some co-writing.  Are there any other co-writes that you are really excited about and want to share?Writing with Don Schlitz a bunch and that's fantastic. I've got some stuff coming up with Chris Stapleton. He's a friend but we've never written. I'm excited about that. You have the Texas run coming up in March.  Most notably for the readers March 22nd you will be at Texas Music Theater in San Marcos.  As someone who has played to many different audiences is there a difference in coming to Texas versus other states you have played?
We love Texas. It's an incredibly supportive music community. I'm flattered at how much it's opened it's arms to me over the last couple years. 

Another Song Nobody Will Hear is a really great song. Unfortunately there isn't enough truth in the music be released on the radio.  There seems to be a trend of songs about being country, having big trucks and tractors, and all the other generic stereotypes.  Do you think this trend will just keep on going?  Is there an end in sight?
Thanks. I'm proud of that song. I think even the powers that be in Nashville are starting to get tractor and trucked out. I think you'll see that change fairly soon. 

What made you want to be a songwriter?
There were no GPA requirements.

Who do you listen to when you aren't playing?
Too many to name.

Where does your inspiration come from?
 Just daily life

The first song I ever heard from you was Silver and Gold.  It is my favorite from your catalogue of songs.  If there is a favorite song of yours that you wrote, what would it be?  Why?
Thanks. I like that one too. I don't really have a favorite

If there was a song that you wish you could have written, what would it be?  Why?
There's a bunch. 'Before These Walls Were Blue' by Wade Bowen comes to mind right off the too of my head. Just fantastic imagery that one and as a father of two sons it really resonates. 

What does 2013 hold in store for you?  
Release of a new studio album and lots more touring

Monday, March 18, 2013

Moody Monday Songs...

I need to write but I am a little at a loss for words today...So instead I decided to post some videos of songs running through my head today...I have stuff I need to work on for this week.  I will hopefully get that out soon.  Here are some videos from Sean McConnell, Folk Family Revival, Will Hoge, Copper and Glass, Austin Collins, and Josh Grider...Just a little sampling of what I have been listening to.


Monday, March 11, 2013

The Real World - The Palace, Seguin, TX

All photo credit to Tonya Hill Photography.
This is the true story of what happens when you get four front men, a fiddle player, and lead guitar player; Toss them on stage and ask them to warm up the stage for Jason Boland.  You get lots of off stage laughs, onsite catering…not sure how many green room backstage areas have a crawfish boil, fun opening set, and possibly some roadside assistance at the end of the night.  All told from the perspective of yours truly who watched this all from behind the behind the stage…I could get used to that view.

The Palace in Seguin is an old movie theater that has now been turned into what will hopefully be a venue that will bring many other acts to town.  As someone who believes in the power of what good music can bring, it is great to see someone else who wants to run a place in a way that will benefit everyone.  The musicians, fans, and itself.  They have already brought in Cory Morrow.  This past Thursday they hosted Boland.  Look for other big name acts to come through also.  Friday the 15th, they will host Cody Canada and The Departed with special guests Hillbilly Jug Band and Roadside Libby. I really did like the setup, friendly staff, and the plans they have for the place.   It is one of those fun little old school places to see an intimate show with great sound.  Plus I love that you can sit anywhere in this place and have a good seat.  Really though let’s be honest, we are about to get into summer and the big concert season.  I don’t know about you but I am not the biggest fan of sitting outside sweating my nonexistent balls off.  I mean, I will for a show but I look terrible during concert season…totally ruins my good looks... This place will be air conditioned and you will still get to see a great show.  I am sorry the diva in me likes the AC during summer. 

As for the show, opening up for Jason was Chad Anderson of Southern Strangers, Jeremy Alvarez and Nate Thomas of Troubadour Junkies, and from Roadside Libby Andrew Van Winkle.  Providing some extra fun to the show, also from Roadside Libby was Chris Brady on lead guitar and Frank Martinez on fiddle.  Before I even left San Antonio for the road trip to Seguin I had received a picture of the nice crawfish boil the guys had to pass the time between sound check and showtime.  When I arrived to the scene there didn’t seem to be any nervousness.  Really though, why would there be?  These guys do this all the time.  When it was time to hit the stage they wasted no time get the crowd into it.  There was a mix of originals, covers, and good times had by all. The guys had fun with it.  The crowd was engaged and to be honest I would have rather they played all night. An Opinion I have heard from more than a few since the show.  It is not that I am not a Jason fan.  I love Jason and his music.  It was just that it almost seemed like he was just going through the motions on stage.  There was no heart.  I could have listened to his cd’s on speaker and gotten the same effect. 
Let me start this thought train by saying that what I am going to say is strictly my opinion and in no way reflects the opinion of the parties involved.  If anyone involved has something to say than by all means please comment or email me.  Jason Arrived not long after I did to the scene, immediately going to the bus.  Understandable, he probably wanted to check in with his crew to decide on events for the evening.  Now I know I am not in the music business or on any bus long enough to pretend I know what happens on them (other than the little vision I have in my head)…I just thought that maybe out of niceness, respect, or general curiosity he would have come out to hear the guys playing.  I have listened to Jason for the past ten or so years of my life.  I am pretty sure the other guys have too.  This is someone whose songs they have sung growing up on the stage.  Someone they have seen in concert. It was disappointing to see that he never came up and even talked to the guys.   I understand it is not what he is paid for. He is paid to do a show.  No more, no less.  Nobody ever said you have to mentor or offer advice to the young guys.  I see it more as a pay it forward kind of thing.  At one point Jason was just like the guys on stage.  I am sure he appreciated someone coming up and listening to what he had to say.  I guess at the end of the day one of things you learn in this business, is it is just that business.  It would be na├»ve of me to think that everyone is nice and as into music as some of us. It is one of those lessons I am learning as I move along in this endeavor.  I did go and observe Jason with the fans and I will tell you that he was having fun with them and signed autographs and took pics. 
Now no true story from hurricane highway would be complete without a little car drama.  I mean here I am traveling down the highways.  Cars are a tricky thing and I am no mechanic.  I am awesome, but I am no mechanic.  I have never changed a tire in my life…I think it is high time I learned.  Either way thanks to the guys from Roadside Libby.  They became my roadside assistance crew and came to the rescue big time when I managed to blow my tire.  So thank you to Andrew, Chris and Frank.  So there you go Frank.  You have officially been included in the blog and yes I did write about it. 

So there you have it.  I am looking forward to this Friday to see Roadside Libby open for The Departed. 


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Kickstarter Sunday

I have said it before, kickstarter campaigns are the new wave of the music industry.  I love what they mean to you and I as fans.  No longer does a band have to walk along music row to find a medium to put an album out.   Relatively unknown but equally deserving talent can make albums with the help of you and I.   As fans we go see shows, we buy merch, and we tell our friends about these shows.  Which is all well and good.  It helps the bands get down the road.  Why not contribute in a different way?  The first kickstarter I talked about was Jackson Parten.  His album was funded and will be coming out soon.  There are a few notable ones that I wanted to share with you today.  I am a fan of all three projects and want to see these be funded.   If you can spare some change please donate to these worthy artists.  I know they appreciate it! 

  • James Pardo and The Underestimated - I have spoken about him on here quite a bit.  When you come across something that is good, I find that the more you talk about it the more people will listen.  James is a songwriter that needs to be heard by more people.  Probably one of the best kept secrets in south Texas. If you haven't done so already go check out the new stuff he has been posting to his reverbnation page.  

  • Charlie Hagar and the Captain Legendary Band - This band is looking to fund their live double disc cd.  On stage this band is in their element.  I really wish more bands would release their live shows as cd's.  It allows you to feel the energy they bring to the songs and to their fans.  If you have the chance to see them near you soon go check them out. 

  • Jason Eady - Last year Jason came out with Am Country Heaven.  Probably one of the best COUNTRY albums to be released in the last five years.  I just saw him this past Friday and I will tell you it was an amazing show.  If you like the feel and sound of classic country like Haggard, Jones, and Jennings than you will like Jason.  I wish more of what was played on radio sounded like the songs he plays. Alas though that is why we are in FM country hell...There isn't a video on his kickstarter like the other two.  Here is a the link to his page for you to check it out.