Saturday, September 20, 2014

Neon Lights, BS & Other Ramblings

When I heard that Bull Shiter aka Blake Shelton had a new single out, "Neon Light" from his upcoming album "Bringing Back The Sunshine," I was intrigued. Starting out the song with a light Hip Hop beat didn't really draw me into the song, but the lyrics (written by Andrew Dorff, Mark Irwin and Josh Kerr - a trio who had written hit-songs for other artists before) had a lovely retro feel - something I haven't heard quite in a while coming out of Trashville. The lyrics actually do tell a story and in the second verse actually get quite mean - even though the two last lines with the three word repetitive are contemporary stupid as the mentioned opening beat is required in 2014:

“I take a shot of I don’t care what you’re doing now
Chase that one with a cold screw you
When that’s done I just might wash it down with a big pitcher of someone new
That blonde, blonde, blonde at the bar, bar, bar
See if she wants to try an unbreak my heart, heart, heart”

The banjo, the slight guitar work, Shelton's vocal range during the choruses also speak for this single. The production by Scott Hendricks unfortunately does not. Even though there is cool, bluesy overtone to it, it's completely over-produced and over-compressed with several unnecessary layers, which lower the song almost past mediocracy.

But then once again, Blake simply couldn't shut up and the BS started flowing when he told Rolling Stone Country that "The song, the melody, the chorus is so George Jones or George Strait. It really is."
Nope, it's not, even though he also claimed to know the history of country music: "Of course, I’m always going to have the haters and critics out there that say it's not. But then, kiss my ass! I know more about those records than a lot of people."

Maybe he does to a certain degree, but then he would have had a good chance on being the leader to move some of the music back to it's more traditional roots. A song like this, with a late 80's early 90s feel to it would have sounded wonderfully. And producer Scott Hendricks should have known better. As the producer (with Keith Stegall) he not only engenieered Alan Jackson's debut album "Here In The Real World" which contained the lovely Honky Tonk anthem "Chasin' That Neon Rainbow" but also another ode to the legendary bar signs, in Brooks & Dunn's "Neon Moon" from their album "Brand New Man."

Even the James Stroud produced, two year old "Neon" by Chris Young, written by Texan master-songwriter Shane McAnally with Josh Osborne and Trevor Rosen which reached #23 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs sounds with it's leading steel guitar and fiddle more country as Blake's last outing. And if you want it really traditional just listen to Austin favorite Wayne "The Train" Hancock and his little ditty "Thunderstorms & Neon Lights" with the late great twangmaster Paul Skelton on guitar.

Blake Shelton - "Neon Lights"

Alan Jackson - "Chasin' That Neon Rainbow"

"Neon Monn" Brooks & Dunn

Chris Young - "Neon"

Wayne "The Train" Hancock - "Thunderstorms & Neon Signs"

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: