Category Archives: music

Only In Nashville

Songwriter Gary Nicholson has written more hits for more superstars than most of today’s young whippersnappers could ever hope to write (you can check out his songwriting resume here). He also lives in my neighborhood, and last week showed up at a Metro Planning Commission meeting to voice opposition to a truly ridiculous subdivision that had been proposed — a teensy tiny lot big enough for a magnolia tree and some idiot wants to put a dang house on it. That’s such a Nashville thing these days. I like to say I pick up my dog poop on our daily walks because if I don’t some idiot developer will plant a 3-story condo on it.

Anyhoo, Nicholson voiced his opposition in song form, and it’s truly an “only in Nashville” moment:

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Filed under music, Nashville

RIP, Pete Seeger

Woops brain fart. Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land,” NOT Pete Seeger … ! Well, I got it right the first time.

Looks like I’ll have to do another photographic tribute.

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I did a photographic tribute to Pete Seeger Woody Guthrie a couple years ago. In honor of the passing of this great American, here it is again.

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Filed under music, music and politics, pop culture

Look What They’ve Done To My Song

Yeah, I’m old. I don’t care who knows it, either. I’m old and grumpy and when I see stuff like last night’s Grammy Awards it just makes me want to laugh at how ridiculous pop music is today. Offa my lawn, etc.

Daft Punk? WTF? Sorry, but this made me laugh:

daft-punk-grammy-2014

I saw the “robots” win two awards. They hugged each other and walked to the stage and stood there in their stupid helmets, not saying a word because they don’t speak but somehow won a musical award. I don’t get it. How fucking ridiculous. Is that supposed to be ironic or something? It’s crazy. We don’t even know who was inside those outfits. The Daft Punk guys could’ve been on a beach somewhere and sent understudies. [UPDATE: Ha! I was right!] We’d never know. Daft, indeed. Punk? Not so much. You kids today.

But honestly, the worst part of the show last night for me was supposed to be its best: the mass gay wedding presided over by Queen Latifah. Y’all know, I love the gays, I support gay marriage, but a mass wedding on an awards show televised on prime time? I mean, c’mon. Wow. That just trivialized the whole thing for me.

Our GLBT friends deserve to celebrate the many amazing victories — political and cultural — they’ve worked so hard for over the past few years. But a televised mass wedding on a music awards show sorta sends the opposite message of the fight for civil rights. You can’t frame your battle as having the same gravitas as the fight to overturn Jim Crow and then turn it into “razzle dazzle.” Fighting for rights is not showbiz. It was just tacky, tacky, tacky.

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Silver Bells

I thought we could use a break from all the downer news out of Connecticut. If you’ve never heard an angel sing, well here you go. Mindy Smith is a true treasure. Enjoy and peace out.

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Filed under Holidays, music

Friday Night Music Video

Enjoy. This chick is something of an internet sensation for her acid flashback videos. Some might say they are best enjoyed with the sound off.

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Filed under fun and games, music

This Land

Our ribbon of highway hit a few bumps ….

… so we roamed and rambled a road less traveled …

… from the Redwood Forest …

… to the Gulf Stream Waters … (well … almost! I’m still boycotting Florida!)

… the sun was shining …

.. and a voice came chanting …

This land was made for you and me!

And the final verse of that song which we didn’t sing in summer camp:

In the squares of the city – In the shadow of the steeple
Near the relief office – I see my people
And some are grumblin’ and some are wonderin’
If this land’s still made for you and me.

I always thought that Woody Guthrie wrote that song during the height of the Great Depression, but wikipedia tells me no, the lyrics were written in 1940 and the song recorded in 1944. That’s at the height of the World War II, a time when we’re all trained to believe the entire nation was uniformly pro-war, pro-America, the “greatest generation” of patriots sacrificing for the cause of freedom, etc. That Guthrie would record such a cynical message in 1944 (or be allowed to record it, I should say) is amazing to me.

It’s also interesting that the song went on to become such an iconic American tune, though I concede it’s primarily the first two politically correct verses which have been seared into the national consciousness and I suspect that all came later during the ’60s folk revival, anyway.

Still, this reminds me of the distorted view of history we all have.

More travels tomorrow ….

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Filed under music, music and politics, travel

Farewell Etta James

One of my biggest regrets is that I never got to see Etta James perform live. She played Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium five years ago, played Arrington Vineyards outside of Nashville two years ago, and I didn’t see either show.

I have a bunch of Etta James CDs, I think I loved every single song she did. Yes, Mr. Beale and I played “At Last” at our wedding. I don’t care if it’s cliche, it’s an amazing song and an amazing performance.

A lot of folks don’t know that James recorded a country album back in the 90s. It was, in my view, one of the finest recordings of her career. It’s called Love’s Been Rough On Me, and it contains one of my all-time favorite Etta James songs: “Cry Like A Rainy Day.” Oh, man. That song slays me every time. And I do mean every time.

That said, in this Rolling Stone interview from 1997, James didn’t seem to have the same high regard for her foray into Nashville as I did. She said:

Well … I’d been dying to make a country record. I love the women in country ‑ Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells ‑ and I wanted to be the first black woman to do the Grand Ole Opry, if just to say it’s the same fucking thing as rhythm & blues! So I did Love’s Been Rough on Me with Barry Beckett [James’ longtime producer], and when it was done, the label heard it and said, “You gotta pizazz this up or it won’t get played. [Growls) Needs some of that ass‑kicking shit.” Uh, OK. So they put all these horns on it and remixed it. Even the cover photo ‑ they wouldn’t use the one I wanted. That record has nothing to do with me ‑ looking like some old woman with a leopard scarf around my neck, getting ready to go make some spaghetti!

But I wasn’t gonna fight it, ’cause I wasn’t gonna win. Nowadays, when you get past 35, it seems like you can’t get a record going. I never hear my stuff played on the air, unless it’s an oldies station and somebody goes [mock DJ voice], “Now we’re gonna go waaaay back.” But I’ll make that country record yet. I’ll be on the cover standing by an old wagon wheel, with my foot propped up on a cactus or something, with a cowboy hat on and one of those shingle leather jackets. Etta Goes Country

God love her! RIP, Miss Etta. The world will miss your talent. I know I will, for sure.

Here’s “Cry Like A Rainy Day,” pulled off the YouTube. Don’t arrest me, internet police; I’m just sharing something I found on the internet. Go buy the record, peeps:

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