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Music

Brilliant Story Telling

Every now and then I find a song or album that I just have to mention. In this case, it’s both, but especially the song: There Goes My Life – on the album: When the Sun Goes Down by Kenny Chesney

(Also on GooglePlay)

The song was written by Neil Thrasher and Wendell Mobley. Very clever story telling. Love it.

The second song on the album, “I Go Back” — there will be a line or two in that song that takes you back. Guaranteed. Even the melody might do it. Beautiful and fun listen. For even more nostalgia “Anything but Mine” is danged good too–bands, endless summer, romance–the line “we both laugh because we know it isn’t true” is just classic.

If I understand Try Amazon Music Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial” target=”_blank”>Amazon’s subscription to music right, you can try the whole album (and anything else for a month during the trial). You don’t have to be a prime member to do the trial or subscription.

Posted: April 11, 2017
Filed in Music

Knopfler – Getting Old Ain’t For Wimps

savingA LOVELY interview with Mark Knopfler out this weekend. In some of his older interviews, he didn’t take a lot of time to express himself or talk about where songs came from or what they meant. I found this one more revealing and awesome because of it. It’s fascinating to get a glimpse into how other writers create. The thought-process and the evolution are very compelling. Knopfler, to me, is one of the great storytellers out there; he just chose to write songs instead of novels. A formidable skill, indeed.

Getting Older Ain’t for Wimps

He does a few interviews each time a new album comes out. I reviewed his latest in a post below.

*It should be noted that in the interview, the interviewer has the name of the poem incorrect. The poem by Basil Bunting is ‘Briggflatts’ not Break Flats.

A few Knopfler songs on iTunes:

Posted: March 30, 2015
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Late Nights and Changing Times

(As always, click for larger pictures).

So we found out at the last minute that Daryle Singletary was going to be playing in a local bar/dance hall near us last night. The tickets were cheap. The only info on them was that doors open at 8. We showed up at 8. While waiting in line to show our tickets, we overheard a lady in front of us ask about when the show started. Answer: 10:30. TEN-THIRTY??? TEN-THIRTY? I didn’t even know there was a 10:30 at night! My night ends about 9 or 9:30. Past that, I don’t know what happens until 5 or 6 in the morning. Who in the heck thought 10:30 was a valid time for a great show? And on a Thursday night, no less?

We had a lot of sitting to do waiting for the show to start. Our bar days are far, far behind us. I haven’t been in a bar in over twenty-five years. The crowd was generally our age, but times hadn’t changed much. There were still the same old stereotypes. Geek guy who should have showered in search of a friend, walking around with two drinks so people don’t think he’s alone, dude who drinks too much and then two-steps by himself around the dance floor, show-off couple who thinks they are dancing with the stars, and gropey family guys that hug all the women as they arrive with their ‘hands on” technique that would get them decked in my family. Well, at least by me.

The good news is that Daryle Singletary and his band was so talented, I immediately forgot it was 10:45 when he started playing. What a great show! The crowd was sparse (take a hint here, venue. Schedule these things at 7 and you’ll pack the place and blow the roof off) but we made a lot of noise. We were able to get very close to the stage so it was like the band came over and played just for us in our living room. 🙂 Daryle has enough talent to carry the show himself, but luckily he brought along a band that brought out the best in every song. To show off the fiddle player’s talent (Andy Varner), they played “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” (and stuck a little “Orange Blossom Special” in the middle, just for fun) and man, the guy nearly burned off his strings. He could sing too–wonderful harmonies with every song. The drummer sang harmonies too. Very awesome.

Ricky Land was superb on lead guitar. Nice interactions back and forth with Daryle. Phil Frye was the bass player. I loved his natural finish guitar and the way he played. The drummer was introduced as Elmer Fudd. I’m pretty sure that isn’t his real name, so he must have been incognito for the night. He was quite brilliant on the drums, so no need to hide behind a pseudonym!

The band played for a couple of fun filled hours. Based on the songs, I decided my favorite album is That’s Why I Sing This Way. HIGHLY recommended. If you like music, you need this album.

But wait! There’s Still a Little Country Left is…even better. At least as good. The title song (There’s Still a Little Country Left) is full of hope, nostalgia and a little humor. LOVED it!!! Wanna Be That Feeling is one great romance. What a wonderful song.

Before the show started, we were able to sneak over and meet Tyler Hall, the steel player. He was a very cool and collected dude. When he played, he was so casual, it was like he didn’t even know he was on stage. He did a few solo parts and one was so good (in “I Never Go Around Mirrors“), Daryle stopped and said, “that is the best steel solo you’ll hear all night. It was so good, I’m going to ask him to play it again.” And, of course, he did! Wonderful stuff. Gets the feet tapping and the dancers out on the floor.

Daryle Singletary plays country music, but we all know that really means he plays music that touches the heart and soul. If you ever have a chance to hear him perform, it’s worth staying up late!!!

Which artist that you love deserves more recognition??

Posted: September 22, 2017
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Mark Knopfler – New Album

saving Mark Knopfler’s Album is out today! WOOT. I like the cover on this one. I wonder what in the world he is doing out in that empty field. Must be there for inspiration. I think nature provides the best inspiration there is.

I’m a HUGE Mark Knopfler fan. I can’t really pick a favorite album, but here is one possibility: Roadrunning (Mark with Emmylou Harris)

VERY awesome. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!


Here’s some selections on iTunes:

Posted: March 17, 2015
Filed in Music

Mark Knopfler and Band 2015

saving Mark Knopfler in Austin – Sept 25, 2015 The Tracker Tour

The Moody Theatre is small enough that it felt like the band was playing in my living room. Mark Knopfler’s charisma could be felt all the way across that theatre. From the moment he stepped on the stage with his guitar, the air became charged with energy, warmth and soul. The band is at such ease, there is a personal feeling to every song. By all rights the place should now be roofless because the talent on that stage built into a near explosion. Knopfler and his band always take music to a whole new level.

I’m pretty sure John McCusker is either an elf or a leprechaun the way he dances and plays that fiddle. He can’t possibly be a mere human to play like that. His talent all by itself was enough to cause the entire theatre to hold its breath hoping to somehow cling to each flawless note.

And the Irish bagpipes!!! Is there anything Michael McGoldrick can’t do??? When he played the pipes on Father and Son it resonated like droplets of water against your skin. McCusker and McGoldrick together on various wind instruments just made those whistles scream.

It was wonderful to hear Guy Fletcher singing background and harmonies and see him play the guitar. I knew he played, but had never had the chance to witness it. Told husband I fully expected him to emulate Guy Fletcher and start playing guitar and then reach over to play the keyboard when needed. WOW. (Husband does not need to wear shirts like Guy. I mean, sure, they are colorful, but they look like Guy took them out of the bin from that lady at the end of the block, the one who wears housecoats out on the porch.)

Ian Thomas never missed a beat. Worked those drums like he was part of them. He played so fast and hard one of the sticks went flying–one-handed the guy can still outplay entire bands.

I didn’t know Jim Cox played accordion and wished I’d figured it out much sooner. And background singing too! His piano playing is the stuff of legends.

Who knew the sound of a sax could be so haunting? Nigel Hitchcock’s was simply divine with a sound that went right through you, came back, hit you again and left you on fire.

Glenn Worf and Mark play together like they’ve been playing together their entire lives. I couldn’t believe the size of that upright bass. I’ve never been that close to one. Glenn wears a cool facade as if he is an undercover agent on stage with instructions to make sure every single person stays in perfect rhythm. Nerves of steel; the coolest of the cool dudes. He and McCusker did a bass/violin duet during Marbletown that gave creativity a whole new name.

I thought the guy sitting next to me was going to cry during Romeo and Juliet. Left us completely slack-jawed. If we’d had socks on, the music would have blown them right off.

Richard Bennett on guitar and every other stringed instrument– he often refers to himself as a second banana, but the guy is an entire fruit salad doused in rich chocolate and caramel.

Mark Knopfler and the entire band didn’t just play, they wove a magic so special it is now permanently in our hearts. The soul of music came alive and danced. Mark writes great stories and then lets the music take over and become so much more every time he and his special band plays.

Thanks for a great night! Every man put on an incredibly amazing show.

Posted: September 27, 2015
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Mark Knopfler Collaborations – Chet Atkins

BMHusband here. I know music might be a little off topic for this blog, but every now and then I come across some nice music, and I feel like I should tell somebody about it! Hope Maria doesn’t mind me knocking things off topic for a little while. If she does, I’ll bet it’ll be the last time…ahhh, she’ll get over it, don’t you think?

Mark Knopfler is a tremendous talent, and made a pretty big impression on the world with his band Dire Straits. He’s also done great solo work and movie soundtracks. But I’ve found a couple of his collaborations with other musicians to be something pretty special, and I’d like to do a couple of posts to highlight them.

First off…

In 1990, Mark (a tremendous guitarist himself!) got together with another legendary guitarist, the late great Chet Atkins, for 10 tracks of fun and frolic they cleverly titled, “Neck And Neck”.

The album actually reminded me quite a bit of another team-up that Chet Atkins did with the late Les Paul, “Chester and Lester”, only this one has a little more country twang to it.

And like just about anything with Mark Knopfler’s name anywhere near it, the recording and production are superb.

Here are just a few of the highlights – hope you like ’em!!

 

“Just One Time” – some nifty guitar lines, a little slide thrown in for fun, and some nice harmonies from (I think!) Vince Gill:

 

 

“There’ll Be Some Changes Made” – ok, Chet didn’t gain his fame with his singing voice, but the back and forth banter – and battling guitar licks! – between him and Mark on this one are classic (“You’re pretty good, but you’re no Mark Knopfler…”):

 

 

“Next Time I’m In Town” – a catchy tune, and probably my favorite on the album, with more great harmonies:

 

 

Another Mark Knopfler collaboration coming soon…

Posted: July 22, 2012
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Mark Knopfler Collaborations – Emmylou Harris

BMHusband here again, taking up space on Maria’s site. Don’t tell her or I might get in trouble. As I threatened promised, I’m back for the second of my posts on Mark Knopfler’s work with other artists (if you missed the first one, click here).

Is Mark Knopfler a great guitarist? Obviously. A great songwriter? Most definitely. A great singer? Well, he can certainly carry his own, but you probably won’t find him on any lists next to Pavarotti.

I really didn’t know that much about Emmylou Harris. I mean, I knew who she was and heard her name quite a bit, but hadn’t heard that much of her music. My experience with her didn’t go much farther than seeing her rendition of “Evangeline” with The Band in “The Last Waltz”, which I thought was one of the highlights of the film. Then again, I haven’t listened to all that much music at all in, say, the last 15-20 years, and before that hadn’t listened to a lot of what I might call ‘country’ (I was a rock ‘n roller when I was younger). But there is no doubt she has had a very successful career, and has a very unique and distinctive voice.

When you put these two voices together, combined with some great songwriting and superb musicianship (many Knopfler-style guitar licks!), wonderful things happen. And Mark recognized that years ago. Apparently, the original plan was for Emmylou to contribute to a couple of cuts on Mark’s second solo effort, “Sailing To Philadelphia”. But when he heard how well their voices worked together, he decided that maybe those songs should become part of a larger project.

That ‘project’ took a number of years to complete. But the result, “All The Roadrunning” is, in my opinion, pure magic.

Some of the songs are available on iTunes:

I’ve only had the CD a short time, but it has quickly risen to the level of being on my ‘desert island’ list. Hopefully you’ll like it too.

A few samples:

 

Beachcombing – I just love the ‘feel’ of this song…

 

 

This Is Us – This song really gets the album moving…

 

 

Red Staggerwing – one of the cuts that was originally going to be on “Sailing To Philadelphia”…

 

 

Love and Happiness – just a beautiful song, written by Emmylou with Kimmie Rhodes. As she describes it, “a prayer for your children.”

 

Posted: July 29, 2012
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My Favorite Western: Prairie Wedding

Not all excellent stories are novels. Some songwriters have an incredible talent to tell a complete story with only a few lyrics. Mark Knopfler is one of the best story tellers out there. He wrote this awesome Western, a song that reminds me of New Mexico. He captures the scenes so perfectly, I can smell the dust and see it settling on her beautiful dress.

Prairie Wedding

We only knew each other by letter
When I met her off of the train.
When the smoke had cleared and the dust was still
She was standing there and speaking my name
Guaranteed she looked like an angel
I couldn’t think of what I should say
When Adam saw Eve in the garden
I believe he felt the same way

I handed her up on the wagon
And I loaded up her trunk behind
She was sitting up there with the gold in her hair
And I tried to get a hold of my mind.

Think you could love me Mary
Think we got a chance of life
Do you think you could love me Mary
Now you oughta be my wife

We finally headed out of the station
And we drove up the home trail
And when we came on the farm she laid a hand on my arm
I thought my resolution would fail
And I froze as she stepped in the doorway
Stood there as still as could be
I said ‘I know it ain’t much, it needs a woman’s touch’
Lord she turned around and looked at me

Think you could love me Mary
Think we got a chance of life
Do you think you could love me Mary
Now you oughta be my wife

We had a prairie wedding
There was a preacher and a neighbor or two
I gave my golden thing an gold wedding ring
And the both of us said I do
When the sun’s going down on the prairie,
And the gold in her hair is a flame
I say Do you really love me Mary and
I hold her and I whisper her name.

Think you could love me Mary
Think we got a chance of life
Do you think you could love me Mary
Now you oughta be my wife

It’s available by itself on Amazon or as part of the Sailing to Philadelphia album.

Posted: September 6, 2013
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Remember the Banjo

I don’t hear much banjo music anymore. When I used to hear it, back on shows like The Beverly Hillbillies, I’m not even sure it registered as banjo music. When husband decided to learn to play the banjo, one of the sites he found was The Bix Mix Boys, a bluegrass band in Canada. I’m not even sure it’s legal to play bluegrass in Canada! Isn’t that something that is restricted to Southern States???? Do they first have to visit Alabama or Tennessee before getting a license to play banjo tunes???

Well, legal or not, these guys are pretty good. 🙂 Like indie writers, many bands are taking their music indie. We bought one of The Bix Mix Boys CDs here. Some very fun stuff on this CD, bound to put a smile on your face. For some reason, banjo and fiddle music reminds me of old black and white TV shows, dancing and people laughing. At the first link above, there’s a you tube of the band performing. It’ll get your feet tapping!

Posted: August 12, 2015
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The South Austin Moonlighters

savingOver the fourth of July weekend we melted out into the heat to see a band. It takes a lot to get us out in the Texas summer, but a lifetime ago, Husband used to be in a band. He owned a Marshall amp that, one day last spring, he sold to a guy name Phil Hurley. Phil Hurley plays in a band called The South Austin Moonlighters.

We drove two hours south to a little town inside a town called Gruene, Texas (pronounced “green” for some reason). I was prepared to maybe like a song or two, but it turned out that The South Austin Moonlighters were really, REALLY good. The show was suitable for families; good music that wouldn’t insult anyone, but so good, it could turn a fly into a ballet dancer.

(Click picture below for a larger version).

SAM_GrueneTX_640

Every single one of the guys could sing. They all RULED on their respective instruments. Phil Hurley was not just competent on the guitar, he loved the thing. It was quite obvious from his playing that nothing makes him more at peace with the universe than making that guitar do his bidding. Chris Beall–what a voice. My favorite song of the night was his “Suburban Avenue” a kind of country rock song that is on their brand new album Ghost of a Small Town. Songs have to be more than just music; they have to tell a story because I love a good story. Chris Beall tells good stories. The great thing about the band was that every guy writes music AND lyrics. This meant there was a great variety of songs from soul, blues and rock to a mix of folk songs/country rock.

Lonnie Trevino Jr. played bass, and he sang the way Phil played his guitar. It was like he had twelve or thirteen voices ranging from a screaming falsetto down to a voice that reminded me of the preacher songs of the South. He looks like a normal guy until he starts singing. Then you’re wondering where all that fantastic sound comes from! Check out: “I’ll Be Coming Home” on the new album — a bit reminiscent of “The Band.” Or this one that totally showcased Lonnie’s powerful voice, the band’s ability to harmonize AND had some awesome guitar licks: “Jesus (Make Up My Dying Bed)” – A deep southern soul song that is absolutely Stunning.

One favorite they played isn’t on any of the albums, not even the new one. Oh, I pity you not being able to hear it right now. Phil Hurley’s “Something About a Girl from Texas” was being talked about outside during one of the breaks before we even heard it. Wow. Now this is another of those songs that is a terrific story with great heart and a guy singing it with enough passion that you know he’s dedicating it to a very special girl. You want to sing along AND dance because this might be a love song but it’s got the kick of a big Texas hairdo. His voice fit the song perfectly with that sincerity that is integral to folk songs and country music. On the new album, you can get an idea of his talent by listening to “You Love & Me” or “Movin’ On.” TERRIFIC STUFF. YOU GUYS ROCK.

The drummer, Phil Bass, tended towards what I call bayou music. Yes, I know that isn’t a category, but there’s this sort of “Devil Went Down to Georgia” feel, only with more drums and a kind of haunting fast melody that makes you want to look over your shoulder. Bayou music–because you don’t know what might be lurking there. Check out: “Hold On” on the new album Ghost from a Small Town. AWESOME.

The band did mostly their own music, but they threw in a tribute to the late Merle Haggard and a generous hat tip to some early Fleetwood Mac–the Peter Green bluesy stuff, rather than the later pop/rock’n’roll. Chris Beall did lead singing on a James Taylor tune called “Machine Gun Kelly,” and I must say, the band took a kind of an ordinary croon by Taylor and turned it into a rocking out gem. Now THAT’S an outlaw song!

There was at least one song where the two lead guitars did harmony parts. Not all bands bother with the extra work or have the talent to play harmonies, but it was just another example of excellence by The South Austin Moonlighters. Shoot, not all bands can even sing harmony, but these guys layered the music perfectly.

If you visit Texas and have a chance to see them live–GET THERE! If not, check out their albums. If I could only buy one album this year, Ghost from a Small Town is it.

Album Retailers:
Google Play
Amazon – The South Austin Moonlighters (Their latest is: Ghost of a Small Town.).
At CD Baby
Apple iTunes: Live At the Saxon Pub – The South Austin Moonlighters and Ghost of a Small Town

Posted: July 12, 2016
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