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He sees you there at your table with your girlfriend, Mr. Authentic Country, and despite Brad’s creative shortcomings, he knows your story. You got dragged out to drink $18 cocktails and listen to music you consider beneath you by your attractive but basic love interest, but hey, you don’t have to take it out on him. He doesn’t come to your haberdashery or horse barn or whatever and talk shit about your work.
Brad just wants to play Thomas Rhett and Cole Swindell and Russell Tenpenny.. hell, he gets them mixed up too, but anyway, just let him and his band play selections from the 50 popular songs they know in peace and chill out, dude. Zach Bryan? Do you mean Luke? And who the hell is Colter Wall? You’re just making stuff up now.
You in your vintage Waylon Jennings t-shirt sitting there all high and mighty, drinking a Pabst. What did you expect? That they were going to crank out some Highway Troubadours, or Colby Jinks, or whatever depressing stuff you listen to? Get real man, Dem Broadway Boyz are here to sell beer, Fireball, and overpriced chicken tenders. For the love of God, no they won’t play “Feathered Indians.”
Brad leans over to his bassist during a rendition of Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” and whispers “watch this guy, be ready to take him down” as you saunter to the side stage with a smirk on your face.
At press time, Brad was singing lyrics read off his phone as the band worked through a poor version of “Whiskey River” after you tipped them $30 to play it. But he’s still pissed.
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Stars of mixed martial arts’ premiere promotion will again come out Saturday night, so that means Kevin Broughton & Jeremy Pinnell are back to hold forth on a grab-bag of topics. And our Kentucky troubadour is feeling his oats. Let’s mix it up.
KB: Let's do the pop culture stuff first. We recently posted a video of Tyler Childers fronting Bobby Weir's band, doing one of my favorite Dead songs, "The Greatest Story Ever Told." Not sure I would have pegged Tyler as a Dead Head, but you never know. (I myself saw the Dead for the first time in the Bluegrass State; Freedom Hall, 1989.) Pick one living artist or band you'd love to step on stage and jam with, and the song. (And why?)
JP: How many hippies does it take to screw in a light bulb? None. They just sit around and watch it burn out then they follow it for 30 years. Never understood The Dead or the fascination. Especially when there are people like Freddie King or Albert King. I don’t know, crucify me I guess but you know I’m right.
My pick for a dream performance would probably be with one of the last greatest songwriters, Mr. Willie Nelson himself. Most of my favorites have passed, sadly, but he might be the GOAT?
KB: Hmm. I’ll put you down as “undecided” on the Grateful Dead. You do share a sentiment with a fellow pop-culture icon, though:
Moving along, at your suggestion, I've started watching Tokyo Drift, er, Vice. Tokyo Vice, on HBO. It's grabbed my interest; it's well-written and -acted, and based on a true story. I haven't researched anything, to avoid spoilers. What drew you to this series? Is the "yakuza" thing just a different flavor of the classic American mob tale?
JP: I really dig stories of the underworld. It’s just such a fascinating subject. Japanese culture is fascinating by itself, but add some criminal activity and you’ve got my attention.
KB: One of the things that’s impressed me about it is that with few exceptions, all the characters – even the criminals – have some endearing or sympathetic qualities. That’s a mark of good storytelling.
If you can listen to only three albums the rest of your life, what are they?
JP: I can do this one, Kevin. Waylon Jennings, Honky Tonk Heroes; Guy Clark, Texas Cookin’; and Danzig, Lucifuge.
KB: One of these things is not like the other. Nice.
Let's get to the main course, because UFC 274 is the best card -- on paper, anyway -- I've eyeballed in more than a year. At the bottom of the main card, there's a career-sunset bout between Cowboy Cerrone and Joe Lauzon. Next up, it's 40-year-old Shogun Rua (he lost the 205 belt to Jonny Bones in 2011) vs. OSP -- probably a "loser retires" match. Then there's Michael Chandler against Tony Ferguson -- a once-great fighter on a 3-bout losing streak.
My favorite UFC fighter, Thug Rose Namajunas, looks to cement her claim to greatest strawweight fighter of all time against Carla Esparza. And in the main event, Justin Gaethje is a slight underdog to champion Charles Oliveira. A fine menu; let's take it in chunks:
(a) Who do you like in the main event? Based on the recent history of both guys, I'll go out on a limb and say this one doesn't go the distance.
JP: Aaaaaaaannnnd IT’S TIME!!!! I’m a Gaethje fan although I like Oliviera. But Justin is a banger! He will give Charles a hard time and give us a great show.
(b) Does Cowboy make it out of the first round? Hate to put it like that, but he's lost five of his last six, and it hasn't been pretty. He's a betting favorite, but Lauzon is a smart fighter.
JP: Dang, man. I like Cowboy so much so he’s my pick whether it’s a good one or not.
(c) Chandler won his UFC debut against Dan Hooker, then ran into the buzz saws who'll fight in the main event Saturday. Two guys really needing a win here. Does Ferguson have a shot? He’s a 4:1 dog.
JP: I’m not a Chandler fan, but I think he gets the win. But a Ferguson victory could turn things around for him and really make things interesting.
(d) Thug Rose: She seems to be cleaning out the straw-weight division with two wins each over Joanna and that bad ass Chinese chick. Does Esparza have a shot?
JP: I’m not sure why Carla is fighting Rose who has the belt right now, but whatevs.
Jeremy Pinnell is touring his ass off. Catch a show, but don’t request “Uncle John’s Band.”
Kevin’s plays for UFC 274, which are worth exactly what you’re paying for them:
Rose Namajunas (via decision) - +165
Joe Lauzon over Cowboy Cerrone - +150
Lauzon via submission - +700
Charles Oliveira over Gaethje - -172
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RIP Bad Guy.