Aug 26, 2022
Jun 10, 2022
By Kevin Broughton & Jeremy Pinnell
Let's do the fight stuff first, with a look back before we look ahead. UFC 274 featured the worst title fight of all time, where my gal Thug Rose lost the belt in five rounds of bizarre inactivity. What's worse, her boyfriend/coach/groomer, Pat Barry, told her after every round she was doing just fine. What in the heck can we make of this?
Was she protecting her belt? People hate her boyfriend. It’s really just a bummer. Bad coaching? Probably. I believe I was traveling and I heard how bad the fight was so I didn’t even go back and watch.
Moving on, the company is taking its show to Singapore for UFC 275, which will feature a couple of title fights. Jiri Prochazka -- from the Czech Republic -- is one of the two or three scariest guys in all of MMA. He faces 40-year-old (brand new champ) Glover Teixeira for the light heavyweight belt. My prediction: lots of blood and an early stoppage. Jiri is a 2-1 favorite for a reason; what say you?
I’m not predicting anyone anymore; my picks are terrible! I like Glover because his Jiu Jitsu is strong, but yeah, Jiri is a scary dude. I believe I have a pull with the universe. I lose at gambling, so may the best man win, Kevin.
The co-main event is a battle for the women's flyweight strap. No one has seriously challenged Valentina Shevchenko in her title reign, and she's a nearly 6-1 favorite here. Taila Santos has an impressive 19-1 record, but as Daniel Cormier once said, "There are levels to this game." Any chance for an upset?
There’s always a chance for an upset. It’s a fucking war. But Shevchenko is such a killer. This might be a solid challenge.
Finally, there's an enticing rematch of 115-pound ladies. Weili Zhang and Joanna (I'm too lazy to try & spell her last name -- it's the Polish lady) had one of the most epic UFC fights ever. Joanna got her head temporarily reshaped. Vegas has these odds the closest. Each of these ladies, interestingly, has lost to Thug Rose twice. Who gets her hand raised?
Joanna might be past it? I’ve always like Weili, so I’ll say her -- and we’ll see what the universe does -- and then I’ll know if I have a say or not. Also, don’t be lazy, Kevin.
Fine. It’s Jędrzejczyk. Neither of us can pronounce it, though.
As we pivot to music, it turns out you and I are both big Lyle Lovett fans -- though you more than I if body art is any indication. He recently released his first album in a decade, The Twelfth Of June. I was going to love this album unconditionally, and the jazz/big (or, "Large") band vibes remind me a lot of my favorite record of his, Joshua Judges Ruth. Have you broken your recent musical celibacy long enough to give a listen? Your thoughts?
I am a huge Lyle fan and I obviously listened to his new record the day it came out. But we were in a tour van, and it was drowned out by highway noise so I didn’t get a good read. And no, I haven’t broken my music celibacy. I’m just bored. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
Closing things out, for this edition: A good writer I know recently did a review of Blackberry Smoke's EP of Rolling Stones covers. Assume you have a week of free studio time and any set of players you could ask for. What five songs -- regardless of artist or genre -- would you most like to put on a J.P. EP?
That’s a tough one. Maybe I’d go with… George Jones, “The Grand Tour”; Merle Haggard, “Misery and Gin”; Billy Joe Shaver, “Ragged Old Truck”; Mel Street, “Lovin’ on Backstreets”; and Bob Wills, “Faded Love.”
How’s that? You wanna pay for it? I’ll give you a co-producer credit.
Hmm. Maybe we can crowd-fund, but I still get a credit for the awesome idea. And geez, a Mel Street reference! What a great way to end this edition.
Kev’s barely over .500 on UFC bets here lately, but his value plays for UFC 275:
Jiri Prochazka, -200;
Jiri by second round stoppage, +450
May 16, 2022
May 14, 2022
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Feb 26, 2022
Mar 9, 2021
Nov 6, 2019
Aug 23, 2019
|Photo by Sean Rosenthal|
Jul 2, 2019
Jun 22, 2019
Mar 27, 2019
(RIP KRH. Leaving this because she 'liked' it on Twitter)
May 25, 2016
Mar 2, 2015
By Kevin Broughton
“Honey, don’t you be yellin’ at me when
I’m cleanin’ my gun,
I’ll wash the blood off the tailgate
when deer season’s done.
We got one more weekend to go,
And I’d like to kill one more doe.”
[Note: It’s come to the author’s attention that a goodly number of FTM readers are consumers of mainstream “country” music. The couplets above are the opening lines of James McMurtry’s Complicated Game. On paper, it’s as “bro-country” as you can get, right? But he ain’t pretty, and he don’t shake his ass. Here’s your chance to learn something.]
James McMurtry hasn’t made a studio album in six years. And a quarter-century after Lonesome Dove author Larry’s son hung out his Texas songwriter’s shingle with Too Long in the Wasteland, he may have come full-circle. There are some constants, at least.
Wry humor. Desperation. Anger, sometimes the fist-shaking, political kind. Characters on the margins, and love just out of reach. These are what McMurtry fans have come to expect. But it’s always poignant. Funny or sad, you’re getting touched in the stomach. The new one turns it up a notch, and sets a new standard.
Complicated Game, on a label that bears the same name, is a stripped-down departure from Childish Things and a slew of records on the Sugar Hill label. McMurtry came into his own in the 2000s, combining sharp – and often overtly political – lyrics with top-flight rock musicianship and arrangements.
This time, there’s arrangement-muscle in only a couple of cuts. “Deaver’s Crossing” and “How’m I Gonna Find You Now” (the latter a happy little speed-freak/stalker tune) are the only songs where discerning McMurtry fans will recognize the layering he’s subtly made his recent trademark. “How’m I Gonna Find You” is reminiscent of his frenetic, borderline hip-hop rants “Choctaw Bingo” and “Airline Agent;” just a little more desperate and a tad more funny.
But it’s the longing that sets this album apart. Longing for a different, better time, or a just-missed love. The comfortable love that peppers a couple songs is still looking for a little something better, whether it’s one more doe or a way to cash out before the Wal-Mart’s built.
Oh, there’s wisdom and reflection in every cut. The kind that makes you nod, smile and say, “Fuck. Of course. This.” There’s a trio of love songs that tie the thing together, though.
“Copper Canteen” opens the record, and we’re left with a good sense of middle-aged contentment. As borderline-rough as things might be, they’ll still be okay. And hell yes, I’ll wash the blood off the tailgate. (I imagine I’d have said that more than once, had I ever been married. ‘Nuff said.)
“These Things I’ve Come to Know” is the most romantic cut on the record, and with the most common touch. Who among us doesn’t know a hot-mess bartender who somehow keeps it together? And who among us hasn’t had that crush from a familiar barstool. You just…know. (Author’s speculation: She’s the same gal who said “Sit your drunk ass down" in another song.)
Any displaced Southerners among us who envisioned different lives for ourselves, long before we became middle aged? “Long Island Sound” will induce tears for a while. And it’ll be a while before you realize why…if you listen.
Which brings us back to you, Mainstream Country Fan. Do you have the stones to be emotionally challenged? Can you shake off the visual template of Nashville, long enough to listen in a discerning way?
This is McMurtry’s best record, and it ain’t close. And that was a high bar. He could put his pen and guitar down now, and his name will forever belong beside those of Lovett, Clark, Earle, and yes, Van Zandt. If you know those names, you know what the comparison implies.
If you don’t, listen to Complicated Game, and get a frame of reference. This one’s a crowning moment for one of the true and elite Texas craftsmen.
Complicated Game is available at iTunes, Amazon, Lone Star Music, and all the usual spots (but probably not Wal-mart).