May 29, 2012

RIP Doc Watson

Please, 2012, stop taking musical heroes from us.

(clears up after start)

More Bad Luck for Brian

3 Up 3 Down: May '12

3 Up

Tim McGraw - Better Than I Used to Be

Sammy Kershaw did this song first, and at least slightly better, but a good song is a good song. It fits the singer, the singer performs the song more than adequately and the song has some weight and a memorable melody. That might be a low standard, but given the context of today's country charts, this is a modern classic. And honestly, I can't turn the station if it's on.

Easton Corbin - Lovin' You is Fun

George Strait v. 2.0 delivers yet another earworm. This guy has a great voice and seems to have a great ear for songs. Lyrically, this would be completely cheesy sung by someone else, but it works with Easton. Catchy, melodious and accessible to anyone who'd still be caught dead listening to Top 40 radio. I'm hoping his album tackles some weightier subject matter and songwriting, but I can't deny this is a good tune.

Chris Young - Neon

The best real country song getting airplay nowadays. It's rising verrrrry slowly up the charts. Hopefully it will follow the success of Alan Jackson's "So You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore" and prove just too damn good not to play…. even though country radio secretly wishes songs of this ilk would disappear forever. It's poetic, catchy and sung with all the baritone country soul Chris Young possesses ….and it mentions Johnny Lee. Can't ask for much more than that on the airwaves these days.

3 Down

Chris Cagle - Got My Country On

I already reviewed this months ago, and hoped it would die a slow death. Unfortunately, here it is in the top 15 and still rising. You know the script by now: trucks, boots, "what I'm made of" sentiment, cowboy hats, Johnny Cash. Bullshit. Chris Cagle has a decent voice and has released some pretty good songs throughout his choppy career, but this isn't one of them. It's a transparent swipe at getting back to relevance, and it's working. Pure, undiluted garbage.

Andy Gibson - Wanna Make You Love Me

I'll make fun of the pretty Andy Gibson at any given chance. "Old people make me cry" is the opening line. 'nuff said. As listing songs go, this is as vague a thread as possible. He lists what certain people and things make him want to do. Seriously. And it's so Lifetime-reality show ready, it's not even funny. I'm a romantic for the most part, and have even been called whipped by friends at times… but this goes beyond the call of duty in pledging love. Give me a break, Andy. This song makes Chuck Wicks sound like Waylon Jennings. Claim your sack back, Andy.

Hunter Hayes - Wanted

Maybe I'm too old, or too far gone from enjoying most pop-country, but this is nearly unlistenable. Maybe it's just that he sounds so much like Gary Levox, you know… Pavlov's dog and all. Some people say there's no denying Hunter Hayes' talent. Is his talent sucking? Just because one is "proficient" at playing instruments and sings in a voice that is pleasing to young girls, that doesn't mean one possesses a universally appreciated skill-set. I'm pretty funny and I do the Photoshop okay, and I can write a decent review at times, but that doesn't mean I'm the most talented blogger in the blogosphere (far from it). Different strokes for different folks and this stroke ain't for me.

Country Scumbag Brain

Based on this.

May 28, 2012

A Song for Memorial Day

While you enjoy your fermented beverages and grilled meats, make sure to remember those who died to keep us free.

May 25, 2012

10 Best Songs of 2012 So Far

Arliss Nancy - 40's (I can't find anywhere for you to listen to this yet, but trust me... it's about drinking 40's by the shore... it's awesome)

Country Conspiracy Guy #3

Lucero Family Picnic: To the Best of My Recollection

I can't give an entirely accurate or journalistic report of my trip to the Lucero Family Picnic this past weekend. I went as a fan, not a blogger, so I didn't bother taking note of every song each band played or how well they played it. Also, some beverages (drank from an Arkansas Razorbacks tumbler because it's a dry county and a long story…) may have come between me and clear memories of the evening. What I can say that it was a lot of fun and an experience I'll never forget.


First of all, I got to hang out with Shooter Jennings. I don't just mean that I got to meet him for a few minutes or shake his hand after the show. My buddy Chad and I got to spend basically the entire evening with Shooter and his band. To the man, they were all extremely cool and friendly. Shooter was a gracious host, despite FTM's history of general unpleasantness towards him (up until recently). I'm guessing Brantley Gilbert wouldn't be as welcoming.

Austin Lucas backed by Glossary
We talked music for the vast majority of the night. Shooter is very knowledgable about both the past and present of the career he's chosen. I heard some great tales about Jamey Johnson, Hank Jr and Toby Keith. He played me some of the new Fifth on the Floor album he's producing and some rough cuts of the new Hellbound Glory he's working on. Great stuff. 

The tour bus was a busy place. Band members came and went, bringing back boiled shrimp and autographed pics with "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart who was announcing some wrestling matches across the park. Somebody brought Shooter a cool "Outlaw Country" cake for his 33rd birthday and then worked on him to get him to do an upcoming show. Alcohol and music flowed. Members of other bands strolled around nearby. It was all very surreal, to be honest. Chad and I both felt like the experience was somewhere between being on a reality show and the movie Almost Famous.

We watched the first act, John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives from backstage. He put on a great show for the small early crowd. His rockabilly meets roots-rock sound should bring him and his band a bigger name in coming years.

Hanging out w/Lee Bains III
Lee Bains III and The Glory Fires were up next. They tore up their short set with their ragged brand of southern rock/punk/soul. I wish there'd been a larger crowd to hear them play tunes like "Dirt Track," "Ain't No Stranger" and "Everything You Took," but this was a late arriving audience. Still, the band played like they were in front of 20,000. I got to meet Lee and a couple of the other members after their show. They were all good guys. Lee came off as a regular guy (with a killer voice) who's thankful to be doing what he loves and eager to get his music out there. You can't help but root for folks like that.

Austin Lucas took the stage after Bains, with Glossary in tow as his backing band. I finally took my lazy self to the front of the stage so I could hear better and wasn't disappointed. Austin sounds great live. His voice is so unique and powerful. There's no doubt about authenticity when you're listening to him. The highlight of his set for me was the charging "Thunder Rail," but it was all excellent. I got to meet Austin and talked with him for quite a while. While the tattoos and on-stage fire might make one think he'd be a forceful, aggressive personality, he was such a laid back dude. We talked music, touring, Brantley Gilbert and Lee Brice (whom he toured with on the Willie Nelson tour last year) and he was more than happy to talk my ear off. I didn't mind it a bit. Such a cool, nice guy… I'd love to hang out with him any time.

I caught 90% of Glossary's show from the front of the stage next. They were bad ass. I've heard that you have to hear Glossary live to truly appreciate them, and it's true. They were intense. I talked to a few people who'd come to the picnic just to see them. They played tunes like "Little Caney" and "Save Your Money for the Weekend" and generally just blew me away. Happily, the picnic grounds had filled up with people a good deal by now.

Photo by Jamie Darling
Shooter Jennings came on next and played for an hour and a half. It was a great performance, with his Brooklyn-ite band sounding every bit like they were born and raised in the town where they stood. Shooter and the boys played old favorites like "Fourth of July" and "Some Rowdy Women" along with some Waylon covers and tunes from Family Man. He also played 2 new songs from his Fall '12 album The Other Side that sounded as good or better than anything on Family Man. If I hadn't already been converted to a Shooter fan, this show probably would have done the job. 

Farce the Music's unofficial house band, Lucero, finished the night with a blazing 2 hour+ set that had the entire crowd singing along. There's really no point in saying how good they were; I've never seen them play a bad show, or even heard of it …and this felt like a particularly passionate performance. Their current album Women & Work along with the album Tennessee got the most action, but they played a little something from their entire catalogue. Even if we'd only driven through the boonies of Arkansas just to see them, it would have been worth it.

Lucero rocks the Lucero Family Picnic
After the final note played, we hung out a while longer with the bands. I met Joey Kneiser of Glossary, but I think I unnerved him a bit for some reason - I can be a bit socially awkward at times so that's probably it. Also met John C. and Roy of Lucero and they were both very cool, and very drunk. Glossary pulled out their mascot fake skeleton for some jokes and pictures. I believe Shooter shared a passionate kiss with it (don't tell Drea!). Shortly later, I met Lucero lead singer Ben Nichols. I'm a man-fan and probably acted as such, but he took it in stride and was funny and friendly.

All in all, the Lucero Family Picnic was a winning experience. Saw some great bands, heard some awesome tunes, met some really good folks. I couldn't have asked for a better time. A special thanks goes out to Shooter Jennings for welcoming us with open arms and being such a cool guy to hang out with!

That's not very nice, Shooter.

May 24, 2012

Scumbag Brantley

Based on this.

*FTM in no way asserts that Brantley Gilbert has ever put the "date rape" drug in anyone's drink. But someone who looks like him surely has.


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