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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??

(Click the “Music Reviews” tag in the lower right corner to see more music reviews on BearMountainBooks!)

Posted: September 22, 2017
Filed in Music
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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
Filed in Music
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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
Filed in Music
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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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Music Review: Dwight Yoakam and Opening Acts

(Click for larger picture).


It’s the year of concerts for us! Two music events in one year! Last night we went to see Dwight Yoakam at the Nutty Brown Cafe. As with the last music review I posted, these places seem to cater to the young set, but attract an older crowd–you pay extra to sit in the one raised seating area or, for general admission, you stand from when the opening act starts at 6:30 until 11:00. The standing area is mostly a flat, broad concrete area that isn’t sloped enough so that people in the back areas see well around the heads in front of them. This place did sell food, so it would have been possible to eat before the show or during the opening acts. It’s too crowded for them to allow you to bring your own chairs–standing room only, especially once the bands get going.

Two Tons of Steel


The opening, opening act was Two Tons of Steel from San Antonio. This band was more heavy rock than I prefer, but their lead guitarist, Will Owen Gage, could play like nobody’s business. He’s the Blues Brothers looking dude with the guitar. He even had a few Blues Brothers type poses while he played. I do believe you could pit his playing against anyone–Including the devil in Georgia–and Will would come out the winner. The band did a good job of getting the crowd interested and focused. The songs were a bit rogue and hell raising. There wasn’t a lot of harmony and at times when the bass player was singing harmony (Jake Marchese), he was too far back from the mic for it to work well (the side mics didn’t seem to be set up that great for any of the acts, but we were in front so the mix of sounds was not going to be perfect!) All the guys did a good job–they knew the songs and played well. The drummer (Rich Alcorta) looked and played with the suave comfort of a mafia dude that belongs in One Good Eclair.



Derailers


The next opening act was more of a mix of swing, country, rockabilly–a nice mixture to keep my attention because it kept changing. Like the South Austin Moonlighters, The Derailers has more than one singer (Brian Hofeldt and Bracken Hale.) This sort of talent always makes things more interesting because the sound and style varies! Even better, The Derailers had both a steel player and a keyboard player. The keyboard (Basil McJagger) player was hilarious. I’ve never seen anyone bounce in their chair so much while playing. The guy was skilled enough to dance in his seat while playing, he did backup harmonies, a couple of rebel yells and played nicely complex parts to really give the songs an extra edge.

I have to admit that the steel player (Marty Muse) added a lot to the songs. Additional instruments can take an ordinary song and give it another layer and both the steel player and the keyboards lifted a typical honky tonk song into a great performance. The steel player was great at adding those extra little riffs, melodies, and extra touches. It was nice that he was positioned near the front–what a gorgeous bird’s eye wood!

The Derailers didn’t get enough stage time in comparison to the earlier group. I’d have liked to hear a few more of their songs. They had a nice, easy-to-listen to style that mixed it up enough I was never bored. I especially enjoyed All the Rage in Paris sung by Bracken Hale. Wonderful voice!

Dwight Yoakam
(Click for larger picture).

Of course the shining star of the night was Dwight Yoakam and his band. Dwight performs with the most deadpan expression I’ve ever seen on a musician. He gets down to business without even a greeting, lofting out his fabulous signature tunes, one after the other. I thought he could have been more generous with his charming smile; but then, if I wore my pants that tight, I might not feel like smiling very often either!

His lead guitarist was Eugene Edwards–talent piled upon talent. He obviously didn’t do all of the original recordings, but he knew all the important riffs and worked like only a pro can to bring each song into its own. He had to sling his guitar around behind him on more than one occasion to play mandolin for the ever important sound in Turn it On, Turn it Up, Turn Me Loose (Great song!) and at least one other song. Kudos to him for a truly terrific performance.

Like Mark Knopfler, Dwight has recorded an inordinate amount of music, and he’s savvy and talented enough to have included a litany of instruments to bring out the perfect ambiance in those songs. That meant another musician had to play multi-talent–the guy in the back played more instruments than you’ll find in your average music store: he played keyboards, accordion, steel, fiddle, mandolin, tambourine and maracas. That man didn’t have time to breathe back there! Several times, like a magician with a bag of tricks, he played three instruments during one song! It was something to see. He’d be holding the violin with one hand, while pounding out melodies on the keyboard. Switching from steel to violin seemed a bit harder for him–he’d be sitting, have to stand, grab the violin and find his place in the music. I was dizzy just watching him! If Dwight had a guy for each of those instruments, they’d not fit on the stage (and the tickets would have cost 100 dollars or more instead of 35.)

Mitch Marine was on drums. We saw him on a Dwight Yoakum documentary. Well-spoken, nice guy and of course, he can play! You can’t have a performance without the drummer, and he never missed a beat! I don’t know the name of the bass player–if you know, please tell us in the comments! He worked hard all night, even when his equipment gave him problems! He just kept right on playing while someone came from the back to help him out. In fact, there was a lot of help from the crew–switching out instruments and keeping everything running as smoothly as possible.

You’ll be pleased to know that Dwight’s dancing has improved. I’ve only seen videos and older concert performances on tv before, but it always looked as though he was about to fall over while dancing. I think I’ve detected the problem. His pants are so long, they actually go down and under the heels of his boots. If I tried dancing with my pants wrapped around heels, I’d fall over too! I think the pants were worn and torn enough around the heels that he did a nice job with his signature dances. The crowd certainly cheered him on.

I’d have liked to have heard Dwight play longer too–start at 9 instead of 9:30 and play a few more of those great songs! He definitely played our favorites–thanks for that, Dwight!!!! (Thousand Miles from Nowhere, It Only Hurts When I Cry (BRILLIANT lyrics), and the aforementioned Turn it On, Turn it Up, Turn Me Loose. ) I own a lot of Dwight’s CDs, but I never realized that a lot of the guitar talent on the CDs is his own. He’s quite skilled on the guitar and it was very cool to watch him play.

It was a great performance by all three bands. I’m not so sure I liked the venue for it, but we had a great place to stand so no complaints there. The ground was not sloped though so those behind us were not going to have anywhere near as good a view. We were basically second row standing-room-only (yes, that was me waving at the steel player–Hi Marty! He doesn’t know me from Adam, but I’m weird that way.) There were no indoor toilets–port-a-potty all the way and it was reported by those near me that they ran out of toilet paper halfway through the night. They also charged for parking on top of the ticket prices (this should have been noted on the tickets so that people could be prepared). I wasn’t too pleased about that until the end when I forgave them partially because they hired several people to direct traffic and crowds. With the extra help, we were able to exit the parking lot quickly, rather than be stuck in a mass of honking horns and angry people.

To see more music reviews, click the music reviews tag in the lower right corner of this post.

Posted: October 1, 2017
Filed in Music
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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
Filed in Music
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