Friday, January 3, 2014

13 for 2013


2013 was an amazing year with quite a great amount of very favorable listenable music - quite an amazing fact is that most of the "boys" couldn't hold up with the "girls" - so my year end list - 13 for 2013 is mostly female dominated.
Check all the video links out, go buy these artist's product and enjoy a great variety of Americana, Folk, Country, Roots Music that made my last year in a musical sense very enjoyable. All the artists below are listed alphabetically as I spent almost as equal time to listen to all them.

Amanda Pearcy - Royal Street - "Better On My Own"


Ashley Monroe - Like A Rose - "Like A Rose"


Brandy Clark - 12 Stories - "What'll Keep Me Out Of Heaven"


Brennen Leigh & Noel McKay - Before The World Was Made - "Let's Go To Lubbock On Vacation"


Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis - Cheater's Game - "Long Way Home"


Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell - Old Yellow Moon - "Hanging Up My Heart"


Holly Williams - The Highway - "Drinkin'"


Kacey Musgrave - "Same Trailer Different Park" - "Merry Go 'Round"


Lindi Ortega - Tin Star - "Tin Star"


The Mavericks - In Time - Back In Your Arms Again


Norah Jones & Billie Joe Armstrong - Foreverly - "Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine"


Patty Griffin (w/Robert Plant) - The American Kid - "Ohio"


Sturgill Simpson - High Top Mountain - "You Can Have The Crown" / "Some Days"


Other honorable mentions this year include - Wink Keziah, Delbert McClinton & Glen Clark, Guy Clark, Dayna Kurtz, Jaida Dreyer, Dale Watson, Neko Case, Son Volt, Milk Carton Kids, Shiny Ribs and Jason Isbell plus a ton of amazing live shows I've seen in 2013. Please go out and see live music as often as you can.

If you may want to be featured on this list next year, please let me listen and review your releases - you find all my contact information right here: www.facebook.com/amucommunications.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dys-fun-ctional Christmas

Not always is Christmas happy and merry.



Conflicts with the law, broken relationships, loneliness or simply dysfunctional families can put a burden on these holy Holidays.

Good part about it is, that they also inspire songwriters to tell about it. It's basically a reality show wrapped in the soothing sounds of Christmas music. So in this third part of a "Honky Tonk Christmas" let's put the fun back into dysfunctional (my Saloon ornament is hanging) and listen to some tunes, that aren't your standards accompanying "Silent Night," "Oh Tannenbaum" or more secular ditties like "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer," "Frosty The Snowman," "White Christmas," "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow." "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" or even "Feliz Navidad."



First in my list of a half dozen not so PC-friendly, dysfunctional songs is an over 25-year old classic done by Irish punkers The Pogues together with Kirsty MacColl (who passed away in 2000) called "Fairytale Of New York." Even though the song only reached #2 in the British Charts during it's initial release in 1987, it's this season (2013) most downloaded Christmas song in the UK.  Though the protagonist of the song is in the drunk tank on Christmas Eve to sober up, he sees quite a rosy future with his loved one.









And what you may have realized is that my definition of Honky Tonk music is quite wide and yes it includes Tom Waits. According to Wikipedia - even though the quote can't be traced anymore - he was quoted about "Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minnepolis" as follows:

"I was in Minneapolis - it was 200 degrees below zero - I know - you think I'm bullshitting, no, I swear to God, I was wearing just a bra and a slip and a kind of dead squirrel around my neck - he was colder than I was. The police cars would go by and they'd wave... Merry Xmas, Merry Xmas, Merry Xmas - anyway - I got caught in the middle of a pimp war between 2 kids in Chinchilla coats, they couldn't have been more than 13 years old - they're throwing knives and forks and spoons out into the street - it was deep - so I grabbed a ladle - and Dinah Washington was singing "Our Day Will Come" and I knew that was it."

I can't say it much better, besides mentioning, that we are all looking for Valentine's day coming up.












I knew that John Prine had a song called "Christmas In Prison" of his 1994 Holiday album "A John Prine Christmas" but after re-listening to the whole album, I decided to use a the only (at least that I know of) song that cynically compares a broken up relationship with a decaying Christmas tree and how bittersweet it is to wish the former lover
"All The Best." Definitely a Christmas song, no department store would use as elevator music.



Alcohol also can be (is) a specific Christmas problem and leads to a crossroad of possibilities:

- a) drinking out of joy and celebrating (for some reason the most kids in the US are born roughly nine months after the Holidays - http://www.labnol.org/internet/most-popular-birthday-months/21283/ - longer, darker nights may be playing a role too)

- b) others may indulge due to dysfunctional relationships, insane family ties and trying to cope with that in a buzzed or even drunk state of mind

- c) and finally all the people who are alone and don't have anybody to celebrate the festivities with



In 1973, John Denver released "Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk This Christmas," a song written by husband and then-wife team, Bill Danoff and Mary "Taffy" Nivert. The couple was quite successful and had other hits with "Take Me Home, Country Roads - Denver," "Boulder To Birmingham - Emmylou Harris" and their self-recorded, as the Starland Vocal Band, #1 hit "Afternoon Delight."

Twenty years later, Alan Jackson spiffed that little ditty a bit up, made it with a shuffle beat a lot more giddy and the steel guitar replacing the dobro made it more jukebox friendly.



Alan Jackson - Please Daddy Don't Get Drunk On Christmas




John Rich, Jimmy Fallon - Drunk On Christmas





Boxcar Willie - Hee Haw Honey




How can I pass up lyrics like "I need some Christmas spirit, and by spirit I mean booze; I'm getting drunk, drunk, drunk on Christmas." This song was written by Late Night TV host Jimmy Fallon and a writer of the show, Gerard Bradford and premiered three years ago, with special guest John Rich (Big & Rich) sitting in with Fallon and back-up band, The Roots.



"Hee Haw" Host Roy Clark With Some Of The Honeys
Lecil Travis Martin aka Boxcar Willie, even though only remotely popular in the United States was a superstar overseas and is believed to have sold more than 100 million albums. His carnal wish was infused by the beautiful Southern ladies in the TV show "Hee Haw" and Hugh Hefner's playboy bunnies - and yes that simply is all he wanted under his Christmas tree.



One of my all-time favorite

dysfunctional Christmas songs is "Merry Christmas From The  Family" penned by Texan Robert Earl Keen. With a sharp wit, he describes the Christmas needs and family relationships as it would be part of a reality show. The parents are getting drunk, the sister shows up with a new Mexican boyfriend, who woos everybody with "Feliz Navidad," brother Ken who arrives with wife #3 brings his five kids out of two earlier relationships. And it's Turkey, football and more booze - trips to the convenient store to restock with cigarettes, diapers, tampons and whatever you need in the 24/7 world that America is.



And with this - I can only wish everybody of you - Merry Christmas Y'All



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This blog was orginally published here.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Darryl Worley: Back from Afghanistan, Recording, On the Opry and Chatting


Darryl Worley is a busy man these days. He just flew back to the States, after again visting US troops in the Middle East, making stops in Kuwait and Afghanistan. Back in the studio, he's working on his new, 7th album. Today (5/4/2012) he will grace the stage of the Grand Ole Opry as a guest. On Monday, he will appear in "Country Music Chat" on Twitter. 

I haven't heard any buzz this big about Darryl Worley for awhile, so I had to do some fact checking for the artist who had 3 number-one hits in his early career, "I Miss My Friend" (2002), "Have You Forgotten" a year later and "Awful Beautiful Life" in 2005, the last two ones co-written by him, with Wynn Varble and Harley Allen respectively. I always considered Worley being one of the more traditional artists in these modern times, liked his sonwriting, as well as his traditional-tinged baritone delivery, in line with artists like Aaron Tippin, Keith Whitley or even Lefty Frizzell. 

After that most of the labels the Tennessean, who grew up in Hardin county, signed with, were short-lived. Country singer Neal McCoy-owned 903 Music ran out of money. So he joined his former DreamWorks producer, James Stroud on Stroudivarious Records. An album later, "Sounds Like Life" the label changed name and Darryl was looking for a new home again. 

He is now signed with Tenacity records, and is supposed to release a new album "One Time Around" in June of this year. A first song from this album, a co-write with Brett James, "You Still Got It" peaked low at #52 in the country singles chart. Too bad, the good-feel, B3-soaked song about reaffirming an existing relationship, "Baby you still got it, and I still want it" deserves better than this, but what do you expect from today's radio stations. 



You can buy his current single "You Still Got It" on itunes. 



I think "I Need A Breather" should have a chance on becoming a huge summer hit, with it's easy-living groove:
"I need a breather, a sweet senorita,
Writin' my name in the sand,
I need a break from this job and this angry boss man."

According to the weekly indie country news channel "Inside Music Row," Darryl feels confident, that his new album "One Time Around" has no fillers and that every song could actually be a single, he also lauds a bigger sense of creative freedom and more of an organic way in recording as a hope for the success of his 7th album.



After his return from overseas, Darryl also re-posted his video "I Just Came Back From War," another co-write with Wynn Varble, on his own video channel on YouTube. a strong song dealing with the aftermath of war, and pleading for some patience for service personnel's readjustment into society. The song was originally released on the 2006 album "Here and Now."




If you want to twitter-chat with Darryl, you can do it, this coming Monday (5/7/2012) at 8pm (CST) on Jessica Northey's "Country Music Chat" (#CMChat). If you can't wait till then, here's another video of Darryl "Tennessee River Run" (Darryl Worley/Steve Leslie) and here's a link for tonight's Grand Ole Opry on WSM-AM show. 



Sources: http://www.darrylworley.com, @DarrylWorley, Grand Ole Opry, http://www.facebook.com/CountryMusicChat