Oct 28, 2011

YouTube Gems: The Damn Quails

From my favorite new musical addiction, Down the Hatch, here's The Damn Quails with "Dollars." This band is HIGHLY recommended to fans of The Band, The Black Crowes, Band of Heathens, Zac Brown Band and possibly even Restless Heart. Excellent!

Oct 26, 2011

Country Horror Movie Posters #1

With Halloween coming up Monday, what's better than settling into your La-z-boy with some popcorn and a good horror movie? With that in mind, FTM came up with some country music-related horror movie posters for your enjoyment (?). Here's the first one.

You Suck as a Music Fan Vol. 4

As always, thanks to some of my Twitter followers for providing their own #yousuckasamusicfanif ideas. I won't sign off my support on a couple of them, but I do appreciate the responses!


• You're over 22 and a Brantley Gilbert fan

• You prefer Weezer's recent output to their first 2 albums

• You make a comment on this post arguing that it's okay to be over 22 and a Brantley Gilbert fan

• you have a Brantley Gilbert tattoo
- @IanKEvans

• The only legally purchased music you get is at Christmas and birthdays

• You're only into "old school" rap like "Master P and Nelly"

• you don't know who James McMurtry is...
– @theblakeolson

• You wear a giant cowboy hat to a concert where there's assigned seating

• if you don't listen to @buckcherry
- @_Linda1

• You love Godsmack, but you think Alice in Chains is just the title of a porn movie

• You've ever passed out at the concert of your "like, favorite band ever"

• you don't know who Bruce Robison, Billy Joe Shaver or Guy Clark are.
- @slingblade322

• You have dreadlocks …but are not of Jamaican descent

• you don't like @TaylorRHicks! The man is all soul-whoohoo!
- @indigo81067

• You think Jimmy Wayne would be pretty good if he didn't have such a country twang

• you think Widespread Panic is awesome
- @imakehits2

• You've said "Hunter Hayes is the future of country music" without a frown on your face

• You have any respect whatsoever for Curb Records

• You have ever defended Chris Brown's honor

• the biggest factor in you liking a band is whether they're from Texas or not. - @ryandatkinson

• if you Tweeted this: @geereynolds "Chris Brown is god."

• you don't throw up in your mouth a little every time you see or hear the name Clear Channel
- @slingblade322

Oct 25, 2011

Relative Size Chart #24

(Click for a closer view)

2 Steps Back - Lovers and Fighters

2 Steps Back is a terrible name for a band that isn't a group of similarly dressed pretty boys with bad hairstyles dancing to pop songs. The members of 2 Steps Back have the bad hairstyles, but none of the other boy band details apply.

2SB is a red dirt band who plays a blend of country and rock that isn't far removed from the likes of Reckless Kelly and Cross Canadian Ragweed. What sets them apart from that crew is their youthful energy. There's also a larger portion of their sound that draws from alternative rock, giving them a more driving aesthetic.

Given the baby-faced appearance of the group, one might expect them to play a bunch of songs about love and partying. One would be partially correct in that assumption, but on Lovers and Fighters, 2 Steps Back goes a little deeper than that. Their song-crafting is mature, from the well-developed lyrics to the strong melodic component of their writing.

There's a worldly coolness to the sound of songs like the mid-tempo leaving tune "205" that melts back over multiple listens to reveal a resigned sadness. In fact, there's a whole lot of leaving on Lovers and Fighters. "Can't Change You" is another song of broken romance that wonders "why do we keep wishing on the same old stars" as the singer leaves the unshakeable girl he desires behind.

"When I Was King" looks back on the carefree years of adolescence with a wistful affection that belies the fact that these guys can't be far removed from those easier times. It's a stripped down moment that ends the album on a much lower key note than the bulk of the album. It also reveals that somewhere in between the "lovers and fighters" lies the true man, one who's a little of both and is still trying to figure out his place in the early years of being on his own in the world.

Lovers and Fighters is highly recommended to fans of Turnpike Troubadours, Reckless Kelly and others of that ilk (in fact, it's much better than Reckless Kelly's recent release). It's a catchy album that surely gets the live crowds pumped but also provides a soundtrack for quieter moments alone, reflecting on the comforts of youth and looking towards the unsure travels ahead.

Check out the band's YouTube Channel here.

You can listen to samples or purchase the album here.

It's also available on iTunes.

Awkward Gary Levox Photo of the Week

Oct 21, 2011

YouTube Gems: The Grateful Dead

Here's The Grateful Dead live at Woodstock with a cover of Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried."

Oct 19, 2011

Drew Kennedy - The FTM Interview 2

Friend of Farce, Drew Kennedy has returned to the scene with not only a new album, but also an accompanying novel. We're impressed a New Braunfels resident could string together more than 2 sentences! Anyway, you can pre-order the album (which will be officially released November 1st) by clicking here. A paperback version of the book is available for pre-order here. iPad and Kindle versions are also options.


Let's get on with it now. Here's the (as usual) highly enlightening interview:

FTM - Hey there Drew. A lot has changed in your life since last we spoke. You have another kid, you've toured the greater Austin/New Braunfels area multiple times, you've completed a new album and you've written an accompanying novel. How do you find the time?

D - Uh, I don't have any children.

FTM - Well, okay then. Sorry, this new job has left me very little time to make sure I have my facts right. I guess that was some other Drew Kennedy with the new rugrat.

Next question: Is this novel semi-autobiographical or is my Paxil just acting up?

D - The novel is about a fictional songwriter named Dan Murphy. There is nothing autobiographical about me as a songwriter writing a book about a songwriter with a D in his first name and an Irish last name. I don't know why people keep jumping to that conclusion. It's clearly a work of fiction. That's the beauty of fiction… you can write about someone who has a completely different worldview than you might.

FTM - Larry Lee Turnage has put you on his church's prayer list because of some of your language in "War With Myself." What do you have to say for yourself?

D - Sigh. Larry Lee's a bit of a stickler for that sort of thing, isn't he? I also saw that they're praying for a couple of big donations this Sunday to cover some of their medical supplies. It's funny, right? You just KNOW that snake isn't going to bite you, as a true believer, but no matter how often you try to explain that to OSHA, they just won't budge on their "Anti-Venom must be present and readily accessible" rule. I hope they get that donation, too. Word on the street is that they went through their entire supply last week. Accidents, or something. Wasn't nobody that done got bit in the actual service. Jokes aside, I appreciate Larry Lee's concern for the eternal resting place of my soul.

FTM - In "We've All Got Our Marks to Make," you name drop Hank Sr. What ground do you have to stand on when you speak out against the evils of Justin Moore and Eric Church now?

D - Yeah… the record isn't out yet so I've been working on coming up with a standard answer to that. No dice yet. You got me.

FTM - Does the title of this album/novel have anything to do with Val Kilmer?

D - Wait, why are you asking that? They didn't start shooting yet, did they? I got a letter saying they were looking for a script, so that's what I wrote for them.

FTM - The movie came out in 2002. It's called The Salton Sea

D - Ugh. F--ing postal service. I thought for a second something was weird about that letter. Then I figured they probably had a batch of old stamps lying around at the studio's office. Saving some money on postage... trying to fly under the radar.

FTM - Have you ever considered seeking out a corporation to back a tour? Wahl could sponsor you and hand out beard trimmers at your shows or something.

D - That's not a bad idea. I got a bunch of shirts from Affliction in the mail last year with an endorsement letter, but then they asked me to return it when they realized I wasn't the Drew Kennedy that's an MMA fighter. That's as close as I've gotten to buddying up to the bean counters.

FTM - This whole new project of yours reeks of pretense. How many sweater-vests are in your closet?

D - That's the only kind of sweater you can get away with wearing in south Texas. It stays pretty hot down here. I used to buy regular sweaters and then cut the sleeves off. Then I saw Jim Tressel coaching a game on television and I thought, "Of course! A sweater and a vest! A sweater vest! The answer is seven.

FTM - What do you hope the world (the 43 family members who purchase it and the 75 people who download it illegally) will glean from your artsy-fartsy novel and album?

D - Honestly, or are we talking big pie-in-the-sky-hopes-and-dreams here?

FTM- Both.

D- Okay. That I'm clearly, like, the next John Grisham.

FTM- Which one is that?

D- Both.

FTM - Your wife is quite an artist. Why did she ever see fit to hook up with a creative simpleton like yourself?

D - Kindred spirits. You know how artists are. We need to find people we can relate to. Boy, it sure was a shock to her when she realized that I was just as broke as she was.

FTM- How long did it take for her to find that out?

D- When I pulled up outside of a little B & B in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and said "This honeymoon is going to be awesome!"

FTM- Isn't that where you're both from?

D- You should have seen her face. It was priceless.

FTM - Your buddy Josh Grider recently moved to Nashville to sell his soul. Has he hooked you up with any autographs yet?

D - No. He's been keeping his decision to relocate afloat by selling them on ebay. I understand, of course. He sold a John Rich yesterday for $3.77.

FTM - What's your favorite salad dressing (and please don't say raspberry vinaigrette, that's so passé)?

D - It used to be ranch, but the buffet at the Ryan's Steakhouse here in town keeps watering it down. They think they're saving money, but I'm hip to their game. I can tell by the way it looks. A little more blue than usual… so I usually opt for the frozen custard machine. That's gotta cost them way more in the salad dressing department. Gotta teach them a lesson somehow.

FTM - What's the last good movie you saw, besides Port of C*ck, New Whoreleans?

D - I saw this really great French noir post-war drama last week at the local art theatre.

FTM- No you didn't.

D- No. Haha. It was Port of C*ck.

FTM - Can you bait a hook? Can you skin a buck? Do you know who Jack Daniels is?

D - (silence)

FTM - When is your pal Austin Collins going to put out a new album? Is he waiting till your album is out a while so there aren't too many tall, overly-serious singer-songwriters from Texas on the market at the same time?

D - Yeah. Once this one is out he has to wait at least eight months to release something of his own. We figured out that people get really tired of all of that angst-ridden, intentionally obtuse crap so we have to pace ourselves.

FTM - Good, nobody likes to have their dirt road and tractor songs interrupted by all that authentic emotion.

Next question: I spent a couple of months unemployed earlier this year. What's it like to be eternally unemployed?

D - You actually get pretty good at it after a while. All these people are talking about struggling in a down economy. They ask me how I'm coping. Like I've even noticed. I've been in my own personal recession for about ten years now. I'm pretty much a pro.

FTM - Lightning round time!

Self-deprecating humor or self-defecating humor and why?

D - How could I dare pick the second choice in the presence of a master self-defecator?

FTM - If I had nuts on the wall, would those be walnuts?

D - You'll always have sunflower seeds, no matter where you put them you pervert.

FTM - Drive-by Truckers or Lady Antebellum?

D - Oh man… do I hate my geometry teacher for giving me a D in 10th grade, or do I just hate myself? Can't decide.

FTM - Are grits groceries?

D - To quote the late great Titus Turner, "If I don't love you baby / grits ain't grocery / eggs ain't poultry / And Mona Lisa was a man." That's a great answer, isn't it? Unless, of course, you subscribe to the theory that di Vinci painted it as some sort of jokes-on-you self portrait. That really throws a kink into ol' Titus's overtures, doesn't it? Unless he was a subscriber to the self portrait theory. I bet he did. Ol' Titus, that sly dog… pulling one over on the ladies again.

FTM - Erasure or The Pet Shop Boys?

D - The pet shop only has two workers in our town, and they're both women. Schwarzenegger killed it in Erasure, though, didn't he? I'm going to go with that one.

FTM - How many times have you been arrested?

D - 5.

FTM - Really? 5?

D- Wait, did I say that wrong? I can never remember how you do this. I meant to say I plead to five. Plead the five? Whatever. No comment.

FTM - Does your concert rider include brisket and facial hair grooming products?

D - I'm not sure what passes for brisket in Mississippi, though this gives me a pretty good idea. We don't have to ask for hairless brisket in Texas.

FTM - What kind of truck do you drive?

D - I don't drive a truck.

FTM- No, seriously.

D- I don't.

FTM- What do you drive then?

D- A Prius.

FTM- Haha, you got me. That was funny.

D- I do. Seriously.

FTM- I said you got me. Don't overdo it.

Have you ever gotten Jason Isbell and Jason Aldean confused?

D - Nah, it's easy to tell them apart. Aldean is the one that wears earrings like my grandma used to.

FTM - Do you like Waffle House patty melts?

D - Is grits groceries?

FTM - List the current contents of your murse.

D - My library card. And I bought an iPhone just so I could get that Sing Like T-Pain app. The one that does instant auto tune? I got it just incase this record bombs… practicing so I can fit in better in Nashville if I have to try and make it up there instead. Always got to have a plan B. A plan that's perfectly, robotically tuned to B.

FTM - If they came out with beard bump-its, would you try one?

D - They'd better get in touch with me about one of those sponsorship deals we were talking about if they do, I'll tell you that much.

FTM - You're a funny guy, Mr. Prius-driver. I'm still snickering over that one. Well, I hope people who read this will run out and buy your album and novel. Neither one of them sucks!

Country TwitterFAIL - Oct. 19, 2011

Oct 18, 2011

Justin Moore says...

Matt Stillwell Live

I inadvertently attended a Matt Stillwell concert this past weekend, but I'm happy I did. I was in Knoxville doing promotions for my workplace (McAlister's Deli - go eat some tonight!) and our pals at Threds put on a tailgate party that included Stillwell and band. The event raised money for Buddy's Race Against Cancer.

Matt and the guys sang some of their better known shoulda-been-hits like "Shine" and "Dirt Road Dancing." They performed some great covers like "Wagon Wheel" and "Oh My Sweet Carolina" (which was on the Shine album) with our party's host on accompanying acoustic guitar. From their upcoming January album, they played "Smoke 'em if You Got 'em" and the first single "Ignition." They also did a killer cover of "Wonderwall" which seemed to draw from Ryan Adam's cover of the same song before evolving into an Allman Brothers-style southern rocker. Really excellent.

I got to meet Matt after the show and was happy I hadn't said anything bad about him on the blog before. He's a little bigger than me and had tipped a little 'shine during the show. Nice guy and despite being on Colt Ford's music label, is a FTM-approved talent. For the record, he said you won't hear him rapping any time soon.

The band's music probably skews a little too rock to be considered neo-traditional by any stretch but they sound much more country than most of what's on the radio and Matt can actually sing sans autotune. Also, anybody who digs Ryan Adams can't be all bad.


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