Showing posts with label Jack White. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jack White. Show all posts

Apr 20, 2018

Just My .02 on Coachella


On Coachella Culture and the "Death of Rock n' Roll"

by Robert Dean

I keep seeing these op/ed’s that all reek of the same lingo: “Rock and Roll is Dead! Bury it next to the family dog and tell all of your friends to burn their acoustic guitars, because beats are the future.” 

Repeat this tired headline, and you’ve got what’s been commented on, shared countless times across social media. Well, almost as much as people endlessly blabbering over BeyoncĂ©’s dance-off with her sister. 

Here’s the deal about Coachella: no one who likes rock and roll in any of its various forms gives a shit about Coachella. Coachella is a festival dedicated to false idealism, ultra-PC bullshit that’s so extreme no one believes it. Look, I’m Liberal as Fuck, but what pops off at the fashion fest for people who don’t actually like music is not what the rest of the world would consider as normal – avocado toast and all.

Back in the day, the desert festival was a unique mixture of all styles of music. Now that that pop culture isn’t aligned with anything holding a guitar, all things exciting are some nerds singing over music that sounds like it was created in a Gap bathroom. Hey, that’s fine and well, but know what scene you’re trying to sell to. Someone in a flower crown typically doesn’t have their finger on the pulse of what Turnstile is up to. 

Rock and Roll needs to move back into the recesses of popular culture and rethink what it’s been doing for the last twenty years. Since Grunge, we’ve had some pretty terrible trends that spawned stuff like Creed, System of A Down, Incubus, and 21 Pilots. Nothing has guts, and all of it is wack. Given the political and social climate of the country, you’d think there has to be a few bands brewing that are capable of capturing the masses once again. It’s possible, but we have to let certain sub-sects of the genre weed themselves out. 

Besides, who wants rock music to be super popular anyhow? Do you remember when wearing a leather jacket meant you didn’t give a shit and would fight a nun over the last beer? Or when having a face tattoo meant 'stay far away?' Now your barista has a face tattoo. Rock and Roll needs to get dangerous, get mean again. Don’t worry if David Byrne or the Flaming Lips aren’t drawing what they used to. All that means is the herd is thinning, and the die-hards will get better spots at the bar. 

Riot Fest is thriving because it celebrates the diversity of the music, not relying on cheap trends. There are festivals all over the country that are as good, too. Don’t worry that Rock and Roll is ringing the death bell; it’s just going back underground where it belongs. As long as guys like JD McPherson, Dale Watson, The Shack Shakers, and Jack White are still kicking, I think we’re ok.

Jun 16, 2016

Killers, Open Country, and Gun Smoke: Robert Dean’s The Red Seven Playlist

Farce the Music contributor Robert Dean is not only our resident gonzo reviewer of all things punk, hardcore, and Americana, he's also an author. His novel The Red Seven (which I'm about to start reading) is a "Southern Gothic western" full of violence, revenge, and intrigue. Here, he provides a soundtrack (and a Spotify playlist!) for his book. -Trailer

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When you write a book, you’re alone, like all the time. You spend so many hours locked away; it’s just you, your thoughts and many times, the music. Music is central to my creative process. It means the world to me. I’m always thinking about music, about what a song means, how it feels, the texture of the song to the moment.

When I wrote The Red Seven, I tried to capture a spirit. I wanted the main hombre, The Ghost to be ruthless, but I wanted to give him gravitas – a sense that he thrived in chaos. I listened to music that had guts, soul – stuff that held weight in its hands.

The Ghost, along with the villains of the book aren’t paper tigers, they’re layered characters. Music helped visualize and give flaws to some of them. Maybe it was a nod to Keith Richards, or a twang of Otis Rush – all of it’s in there, in the words. 

The Red Seven isn’t just about revenge and killing; it’s about the human experience and what loss does to someone. It’s about how losing someone you love in senseless was changes how you function, how you feel. That’s at the heart of The Red Seven. Is it a fast paced page turner? Hell yeah, it is. But, it’s all got moments of reality that even though they’re from back in the day, those moments never change – they’re everlasting because we’re human, and the animalistic spirit never leaves us. Whether fucking or fighting, we revert; it’s in our DNA. That’s a symbolic way to look at The Ghost – stalking with purpose. 

This playlist I’ve created reflects my moods when creating the book when creating this world. I’m not wild about contemporary music invading a time and place in the past. But, this playlist represents what the book feels like. What the scenes feel like. What bars, what sex, what violence sounds like. I wanted to take a musical journey and take the readers of the book along for the ride. So, if you’ve got an ache for a new book to read, pick up a copy of The Red Seven and pop on this playlist. Maybe you’ll see some shades you’d never imagined while driving deep into a vicious world.

Please check out my Spotify playlist. I spent a shitload of time on this.



~Robert Dean


Vengeance Gonna Be My Name – Slackeye Slim
Wayfaring Stranger - Jack White
Can the Circle be Unbroken – The Carter Family
Lungs - Townes Van Zandt
I Saw The Light- Hank Williams
Sins Of My Father – Tom Waits
Sleepwalk - Santo and Johnny
To be Treated Right - Terry Reid
A Whiter Shade Of Pale - Procol Harum
Midnight Rider – The Allman Brothers
Death Letter Blues -Son House
Loving Cup – Rolling Stones
‪I Can’t Quit you Baby - Otis Rush

‪It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels – Kitty Wells
Nights in White Satin – The Moody Blues
Loan Me A Dime - Boz Scaggs & Duane Allman
Rollin’ and Tumblin’ - Elmore James
First Time I Met The Blues – Buddy Guy
Machine Gun - Jimi Hendrix
Angel Flying Too Close to The Ground – Willie Nelson
Life By The Drop - Doyle Bramhall


Jan 9, 2013

FTM Top Albums of '12: Kelcy's 14


-by Kelcy Salisbury

This list is by no means exhaustive. 2012 has been an absolute banner year for good music. I’m sure there are several great albums released in 2012 that I haven’t even heard yet and will discover some time down the road & wish I’d included them. I tried doing a top 5 list, then I tried for 10 but in the end these were the albums I just couldn’t bring myself to cut off the list.

14) Corb Lund - Cabin Fever
The Canadian musician released some of his finer work with this album (get the deluxe edition with multiple acoustic versions of several songs.) Don’t miss Down On The Mountain, Drink It Like You Mean It, One Left In The Chamber & the hilarious Hayes Carll collaboration of Bible On The Dash (as a former rodeo cowboy who’s done his share of traveling I found this to be one of the most truthfully humorous compositions I’ve heard in years.)

13) Ray Wylie Hubbard - The Grifter’sHymnal
Texas music godfather reaches out to an under-served demographic. Grifters need hymnals too, right? Seriously, Coricidin Bottle & Lazarus are as good as any work he’s done. My favorite Ray Wylie Hubbard album since Delirium Tremolos.

12) Shooter Jennings - Family Man
The album is a touch uneven in places but songs like The Long Road Ahead, Summers Dreams and Daddy’s Hands are so good that they elevate the entire thing. There’s not a song on here I skip, but there are a few I look forward to more than others. Can’t wait to see what the next project sounds like.

11) The Trishas - High Wide And Handsome
Not sure I can really describe this one but to say that The Trishas are easily the best female duo or group in country music right now and it’s not even close (sorry Pistol Annies but you could take some notes from these ladies). I hate to distinguish them as a “female” act though. Isn’t it about time we just acknowledge that this is one incredibly good bunch of musicians? They can play, they can sing, and they can write…How they can write! I’d tell you what my favorite songs are on the album, but that changes every time through. Last time around it was Mother Of Invention, John Wayne & Gold&Silver. Listen for yourself, if you haven’t heard this album you’re missing something great.

10) Dwight Yoakam - 3 Pears
I’m a Dwight fan, I’ll admit that. I’ve also appreciated Pete Anderson’s production work, so when I heard that Dwight’s new album would not employ Pete as producer I was a little worried. I’m sure the folks who want to hear “Guitars, Cadillacs” re-made over and over won’t care for this. It’s unabashedly Dwight’s “rock” album, but it’s outstanding. Top songs are Waterfall, It’s Never Alright and Long Way To Go.

9) Jason Eady - AM Country Heaven
Probably the best pure country record of the year, this one saw Eady take a slight detour from his more folk oriented material and record a straight ahead country album that draws heavily on the Merle Haggard school of writing & playing. The end result is simply astoundingly good in its simplicity. Don’t miss the scathing songwriting of the title cut, the heartbreaking Wishful Drinking or the Patty Loveless duet of Man On A Mountain.

8) Dirty River Boys - The Science Of Flight
I have to thank Brad Rice (the drummer from Jason Boland & The Stragglers, not the one from Son Volt) for bringing this band to my attention. I was honestly getting a little burned out on “new” Texas/Red Dirt/Independent bands. I hadn’t heard a new one doing anything original in a few years & even with all the buzz about these guys I hadn’t paid a bit of attention. Brad told me they were “original” and “different” and was he ever right! I’d venture to say that this album would be top 3 material if I’d only picked it up a little sooner. I’ve only had time to listen to it twice but it absolutely blew me away and forced me to include it on this list. Dirty River Boys sound is a hard thing to describe, but I’ll try. Let’s imagine that the Black Crowes & Nick Cave had a baby that was raised by a group of Celtic musicians who also happened to be bluegrass fans & the baby ran away from home at age 14 to tour with Ray Wylie Hubbard & Gram Parsons. These guys aren’t scared to try a mixture of styles and influences and the end result is something amazing to hear. I can’t wait to get a chance to see them live. Best songs on the album (and there isn’t a bad one) are the title song & Six Riders, but you’d better get the whole thing.

7) Soundgarden - King Animal
The best voice in 90s rock is back where he belongs as Chris Cornell has reunited with Soundgarden & put out an album that sounds like a worthy follow-up to Superunknown, not the album that showed up a decade plus after Down On The Upside. There’s no Get On The Snake, Blow Up The Outside World or Fell On Black Days (my 3 personal favorite Soundgarden songs) here but what there is, is more than enough to be the hard rock album of the year. Soundgarden was somewhat unfairly labeled as “just another grunge band” in the 90s & were never completely able to break free from that. They may never break away from it completely but hopefully this album will earn them a whole new generation of fans as well as reminding their legions of Gen X fans (how’d we all get so old anyway?) that Soundgarden are still kings of the rock universe.

6) Jack White - Blunderbuss
Jack White may be the direct spiritual descendant of Keith Richards & Led Zeppelin. Nobody in mainstream music is doing anything remotely close to his sound. Just great rootsy rock 'n roll that comes straight from the heart. This album, along with most of his output is proof that 3 chords and the truth are really all you need.

5) Turnpike Troubadors - Goodbye Normal Street
Turnpike Troubadours are one of the finest live bands to come out of the rich musical scene of eastern Oklahoma in the past several years. Their first two albums showed tremendous promise due to the great songwriting and musicianship. What sets this album apart is the addition of backing vocals of Jamie Wilson of The Trishas. Like most of the albums near the top of this list, there simply is not a single throwaway track. The album needs to be heard in it’s entirety. The musicianship has actually improved over their first two albums (Bossier City & Diamonds and Gasoline) if that is even possible. Either this or Eady’s album are the best true country albums of this year, if not the best of the past 2-3 years. The only country album I’ve heard in the past couple of years that can stand on the same level is Jason Boland & The Stragglers Rancho Alto.

4) The Departed - Adventus
After This Is Indian Land came out last year I was intrigued to see what this band could do with their original material. I’m happy to report that they exceeded all my expectations. This isn’t a country album, it’s a bluesy, rootsy, gospel influenced trip through the prodigious talents of a band that (while made up of an all-star cast of players) is truly much more than the sum of it’s parts.
3) Chris Knight: Little Victories
Mr Knight (I feel like I should refer to him as Mr., just because I’m pretty sure anybody with the kind of body count usually exhibited in his songs might stab me if I don’t call him Mr.) has released the finest album of his remarkable career. It’s not quite a protest album, but there is a theme of social commentary running through the entire thing. In almost any other year this would be my album of the year. I’ve only had the album since early October, but all the songs are among my most played for the entire year. I can’t hear Jack Loved Jessie, Nothing On Me or The Lonesome Way while driving without risking a speeding ticket.

2) Matt King - Apples & Orphans
First a bit of background: I am such a fan of Matt’s 2005 album “Rube” (right down to the Marilyn Manson sounding drums, and other industrial sounding touches) that I have worn out two CD copies, and it’s been one of the top 2 most played albums on my iPod every year since I got the digital copy, something like 5 years running now. I liked the Matt King & The Cutters EP. I loved the bare bones approach of Raw, which is also an album that’s been in heavy rotation for the past couple of years. (I’ll admit to not being a huge fan of Matt’s mid 90s Nashville country output, but hopefully Matt will forgive me for that…) Point is, I had very high expectations for this album even though I didn’t really know quite what to expect. If you’re looking for real stories of real life Matt is one of the three songwriters I’d point you toward to start with (Chris Knight & Javi Garcia would be the other two.) I’d be doing this album and the listener a disservice to point out one song over another as the “must have” tracks on this album. It’s an album that’s meant to be heard from start to finish. It’s clearly a labor of love, care was paid to the sequencing of songs - so get the album and listen to it the way it was meant to be heard, start to finish. My brother once asked me what Matt King sounded like and I told him that if Trent Reznor & Loretta Lynn had a child who was raised in the Appalachians by Woody Guthrie, he would be Matt King. That was meant as a compliment & hopefully it’ll be taken that way.

1) Lincoln Durham - The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones
This one came out early in the year, February I believe.  Anyway, the first time I heard Drifting Wood I was hooked.  This album is proof that you don’t need “top of the line” equipment or fancy production to make a great album.  The pure soul of the vocals, the simple blues influenced music suits each song perfectly.  There’s great variety here.  Clementine & Truckers Love Song are simple yet beautiful (if somewhat unconventional) love songs.  Mud Puddles, Drifting Wood, Living This Hard and Reckoning Lament are haunting rootsy slices of goodness.  I had the privilege of catching Lincoln opening for Billy Joe Shaver last fall in San Marcos,TX and he blew me away.  The most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in terms of a single person making sounds that one person shouldn’t be able to.  Lincoln is a young man with an old soul and a clear appreciation for the traditions of such influential acts as Robert Johnson and Ray Wylie Hubbard.  If you’ve somehow missed the greatness that is The Shovel VS The Howling Bones, go pick it up today.  You can thank me later.

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Albums I’m looking forward to in 2013:
New music from Jason Boland & The Stragglers: The best traditional country band going has a new album (produced by Shooter Jennings) on the way early in '13.

Javi Garcia & The Cold Cold Ground are finally coming with a follow up to A Southern Horror.  March is the targeted release date.

Tyler McCumber (he’s a star in Italy of all places) plans to release some new music in '13.  In an interesting side note, Javi Garcia was a member of Tyler’s first band.

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