My review of Dale Watson’s new CD posts to Elmore

6 Dec

Dale Watson – Elmore MagazineHonky tonk singer, songwriter, guitarist and Lone Star beer aficionado Dale Watson provides a stout and tasty remix of 12 country music classics with his newest CD, Under the Influence. Watson covers his favorite artists’ songs that span more than 50 years – from Bob Wills’ 1939, “That’s What I Like About the South,” to Merle Haggard’s last top 40 hit of 1989, “If You Want to be My Woman.” Watson intoxicates listeners with Mel Tillis’ (Wine) Pretty Red Wine and Ronnie Milsap’s 1974 hit, “Pure Love.” The silver-haired crooner with an Elvis pompadour charms with dizzying abandon on Conway Twitty’s 1960 hit, “Lonely Blue Boy.” With earnest, he performs Lefty Frizzell’s 1958, “You’re Humbuggin’ Me,” and Little Richard’s “Lucille,” last recorded by Waylon Jennings in 1977.

The Lone Stars– Don Pawlak on pedal steel, Mike Bernal on drums and percussion and Chris Crepps on upright bass and background vocals– join him on the album, along with Earl Poole Ball on piano and T. Jarod Bonta on piano. Watson rose to international fame with his 2013 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman and breakout hit single, “I Lie When I Drink.” The founder of Ameripolitan music tours 300 days per year, and often plays Austin’s Broken Spoke or the Big T Roadhouse near San Antonio.

Also please see my review posted on Elmore magazine’s website at:

http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2016/12/reviews/albums/dale-watson-3

My review of Honky Tonk Heaven posts to Elmore magazine

15 Nov

Honky Tonk Heaven: The Legend of the Broken Spoke – Elmore MagHonky Tonky Heaven: The Legend of the Broken Spoke both enchants and mesmerizes with 75 minutes of true stories from co-founders James and Annetta White and friends about Austin’s 52-year-old state treasure.

The Wild Blue Yonder Films crew, including directors Brenda Mitchell and Sam Wainwright Douglas, and directors of photography Lee Daniel and David Layton, worked behind the scenes for more than two years to capture the story of the Broken Spoke in interviews and in intimate details.

Cast and crew, together with producers Jenny Holm and Michelle Randolph Faires, celebrated on November 9th with a DVD screening and release party inside the Broken Spoke. About 200 people attended the event, including executive producers Scott Mitchell and Maria J. McDonald and contributors to the $62,000 Kickstarter campaign.

In the film, James White describes how, beginning in 1964, he booked Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, Kitty Wells, Roy Acuff, Willie Nelson and George Strait. He expanded the Broken Spoke’s list of entertainers in the 1970s to include Jerry Jeff Walker, Gary P. Nunn, Ray Benson and Alvin Crow. By the 1990s, Cornell Hurd, Dale Watson and Jesse Dayton joined the scene. Meanwhile, Annetta White has regularly cooked up batches of her famous chicken fried steak and cream gravy.

Together, the Whites and their daughters, Ginny White-Peacock and Terri White, discuss how they have managed to keep the family business afloat for half a century. The roof leaked, at one time a tour bus drove through the back bar and a neighboring multi-use commercial multi-million dollar development threatened its future, but still the Broken Spoke survives.

Terri teaches dance lessons, while Ginny acts as business manager and sews “bling” onto her father’s vintage western shirts. James White’s colorful, Gene Autry-style costumes with wide roped yolks and five-snap button cuffs have become his trademark at the dance hall door as he greets visitors with a smile and a handshake.

Footage of live performances, one-of-a-kind country music memorabilia and the best dancers anywhere shine beneath its neon lights to make this visual story unforgettable. The documentary won the “Audience Award” at the 2016 SXSW Film, Music and Interactive Festival. Worldwide Broken Spoke fans and newcomers alike may now experience the thrill of a real Texas honky-tonk from the comfort of their own homes.

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Please also see my review posted on Elmore magazine’s website at:

http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2016/11/reviews/films/honky-tonk-heaven-the-legend-of-the-broken-spoke

My Dolly Parton feature about her tour posts to Elmore

14 Nov

dp_puresimple_0Dolly Parton, with 25 certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum Recording Industry Association of America awards, has sold more than 100 million albums, but prefers her life “Pure & Simple”… which happens to be the title of her latest album and a 60-city tour — her first in 25 years — that ends December 10th in Thackerville, OK.

Parton plans to sing many of her number one hits from Billboard’s Hot Country chart – including “Applejack,” “9 to 5,” “Here You Come Again,” “I Will Always Love You,” “Islands in the Stream,” “Jolene” and “Coat of Many Colors.”

Her concerts often draw lots of “Dollies,” cross-dressers, “who look more like me than I do,” she said during her November 3rd virtual press conference, which Elmore Magazine took part in.

The singer/songwriter/screenwriter/movie producer and business leader performs December 6th in Austin, a place she fondly remembers from 1991, when she wrote and starred in Wild Texas Wind, a made-for-TV movie with scenes filmed at famed venue, the Broken Spoke. Gary Busey co-starred, with cameos by James White, Ray Benson and Willie Nelson. Her friendship with Nelson spans more than 50 years, and Parton described him as “one of the sweetest, most generous people I know.” She received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award 
on November 2nd at the 50th Country Music Awards.

Now, at 70 years old, Parton still has dreams of creating a new line of makeup, clothing lines, more movies and lots more music. “I am just now gettin’ started good,” she says.

Parton has written 3,000 songs, including “Only Dreaming,” her personal favorite a cappella track off her 43rd studio CD, Pure & Simple. The fourth of 12 children created Dollywood, a $300 million theme park located in the Knoxville-Smokey Mountains of Tennessee, as a place for her family and friends. She also founded the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, with 100 million free books donated to children across America and Canada.

Parton grew up singing gospel music and admiring the great Kitty Wells and Rose Maddox; at just 10 years old, she first performed at the Grand Ole Opry. Parton’s career truly began on The Porter Wagoner Show in 1967. “It makes me feel proud that I’ve done something to inspire and to influence other people,” she said. Today, Parton refers to herself as “the goodwill ambassador of country music.”

Please also see my article posted on Elmore magazine’s website at: http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2016/11/music-news/hello-dolly

Also See Dolly Parton’s tour schedule:

http://dollyparton.com/tour-schedule-upcoming-events

 

My review of Kevin Fowler’s new CD posts to Elmore magazine

7 Nov

Kevin Fowler – Elmore MagazineKevin Fowler sings a catchy new Lone Star State anthem with “Texas Forever” on his eighth studio album, Coming to a Honky Tonk Near You. No offense to the ghosts of William J. Marsh and Gladys Yoakum Wright, the 1929 authors of the state’s official song “Texas, Our Texas,” but Fowler’s lyrics may resonate more for today’s Texans:

“It’s a single star wavin’ so proud and tall/it’s the smell of gunpowder on the Alamo walls, a red Corpus sunset, hill country bluebonnets, brisket at Cooper’s, Joe T’s enchiladas./It’s Floatin’ the Frio, cold beer in hand/it’s a couple two steppin’ to a twin fiddle band./It’s a Saturday rodeo, Friday Night Lights, the prettiest girls you’ve ever seen in your life./It flows through the mud of The Brazos and red rivers run through our blood;/let the world know we’ll fight to the death for the land and the people we love…”

Fowler’s unique hook phrases and outstanding musicianship by Scotty Sanders on steel and J.T. Corenflos on electric guitar deliver another potential number one hit, “He Ain’t No Cowboy.” However, a comical take on hip hop music– “Sellout Song”– co-written by Fowler and Zane Williams, promises to be a fan favorite.

Please also see my review posted on Elmore magazine’s website at:http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2016/11/reviews/albums/kevin-fowler

 

My review of Dennis Jay’s album posted to Elmore

25 Oct

Dennis Jay – Elmore MagazineSan Antonio native singer/songwriter Dennis Jay collaborates with some well known Austin musicians including multi-instrumentalist and music producer, Lloyd Maines, on his newest CD, Western & Country. While Jay’s high tenor vocals and yodeling deliver some emotional lyrics, Maines’ superb performances on steel guitar, as well as bass, percussion and spoons make the album memorable. Kudos too to locals Terri Hendrix on harmonica, Bukka Allen on piano and accordion, drummer William Mansell, Jimmie Scott Calhoun on upright bass, Howard T. Levine on lead guitar and Richard Bowden on fiddle and trumpet.

Since the 1980s, Jay has performed throughout Central Texas in honky-tonks and beer gardens, solo or with his Lonesome Town band. Together Jay and Maines co-wrote “Texas Skies Shining in a Cowgirl’s Eyes,” a lyrically sparse song that instrumentally conjures up the spirit of the late great Western Swing bandleader Bob Wills. Vocally, Jay performs best solo on banjo for a version of the folk music standard, “Streets of Laredo,” also known as “The Cowboy’s Lament.” Fans of classic country may enjoy Jay’s album infused with Mexican language and reminiscent of the late great crooners Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb and Lefty Frizzell.

Please also see my review posted on Elmore magazine’s website at: http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2016/10/reviews/albums/dennis-jay

 

My review of Luke Whittemore’s debut CD posts to Elmore magazine

26 Sep

Luke Whittemore – Elmore MagazineUK folk singer/songwriter Luke Whittemore leaves listeners wanting more with his debut release, Northern Town. Across the board, these six originals feature rhythmic nuances, skilled acoustics and mournful lyrics reminiscent of Bruce Springsteen’s atmospheric 1982 Nebraska record, complete with metaphors about rain, wishing wells, oceans, creeks and tears.

On the other hand, “Have Mercy” speaks with dry authority: “There’s trouble in these waters that a young girl just don’t understand/’Cause what these eyes have seen I’ve done my best to hide/There’s a dusty trail of misery where the devil just don’t hide.” In another example of Whittemore’s lyricism, “Cold On The Hills” defines loneliness as four bare walls inside an empty house while outside against the windows a blue northern wind blows frigid gusts.

Elsewhere, the only up-tempo tune, “If It Weren’t For The Rain,” places bright guitar picking alongside a man’s drunken yearnings for a lover: “There’s a picture in the hallway of an old friend she says/And every now and then I catch a glance of her staring right at him…”

More and more fans will no doubt soon discover Whittemore’s rock-solid vintage American sound.

Also please read my review of Luke Whittemore’s CD on Elmore magazine’s website at:

http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2016/09/reviews/albums/luke-whittemore

My review of Dallas Wayne’s new CD posts to Elmore

13 Sep

elmore-magazine-dallas-wayne-1

Singer, songwriter, Sirius Satellite Radio on-air personality and actor Dallas Wayne, together with nine famous friends, perform 14 country classics on his newest album, Songs the Jukebox Taught Me on Heart of Texas Records. Wayne sings famous songs about heartbreak, regret and loneliness with old school music hit makers: Amber Digby, Bobby Flores, Randy Lindley, Darrell and Mona McCall, Paula Nelson, Willie Nelson, Jeannie Seely and Kevin Smith. Those familiar with Faron Young’s 1970 hit, “Your Time’s Comin’,” will enjoy Wayne’s and Willie Nelson’s duet. Wayne also revisits Henson Cargill’s successful 1967 single, “Skip A Rope,” without diluting its controversial message. With unmistakable twang, Wayne best performs Ernest Tubb’s 1968 hit “A Dime at a Time.” Kudos also to musicians: T Jarrod Bonta on piano, Tommy Detamore on steel guitar, dobro, organ and percussion, Bobby Flores on fiddle and viola, Tom Lewis on drums, Hank Singer on fiddle, Kevin Smith on upright and electric bass and Redd Volkaert on guitars. Those who need schoolin’ in the classics of country music will find some lessons not offered in Nashville here; as for fans of the genre, the song list rings like our alma mater.

Please also see my review posted to Elmore magazine’s website at: http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2016/09/reviews/albums/dallas-wayne

 

My Alan Jackson review posts to Elmore

22 Aug

Elmore Magazine | Alan Jackson-1In his newly released DVD, Keepin’ It Country: Live at Red Rocks, Alan Jackson spins tales and sings hit songs he or others have written that topped the country music charts over the past three decades. Simply dressed in a pair of boots, jeans, western shirt, and a white five-gallon hat, the country traditionalist recorded the last concert of his tour in May of 2015 before a huge crowd at Colorado’s Red Rocks amphitheater. The Georgia native was one of seven siblings and worked various blue-collar jobs before marrying at 19 and starting his music career at Arista Records in 1989. Those experiences reveal themselves in songs such as “Here in the Real World,” the title track off his 1990 debut album, and “Livin’ on Love” which was released in 1994 on Who I Am. Jackson blends honky-tonk and contemporary mainstream country music with “Chasin’ that Neon Rainbow” and “Drive,” both stories about his dad. He also covers: “Little Bitty,” “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere,” and “Pop a Top” complete with that unmistakable sound made by pulling the tab on a full can of beer. Jackson fans and first timers alike will feel inspired to dance in their living rooms and sing along to his lyrical tunes.

Please see my article as it appears on Elmore magazine’s website by following this link:

http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2016/08/reviews/films/alan-jackson-2

My review of Kienzle’s book posts to Elmore magazine

27 Jul

Elmore Magazine | The Grand Tour: The Life and Music of George JVeteran music journalist and country historian Rich Kienzle has written the definitive biography about a man possessed by worldly demons, alcohol, cocaine, and marital discord. In his new book he explores the life of the late and legendary Texas native singer/songwriter George Jones. At his worst, Jones skipped concerts, ultimately earning the nickname “No Show Jones.” Kienzle’s dozens of in-depth interviews tell stories about Jones’ fistfights with Mel Tillis, Faron Young and Buck Owens, and reveal Jones’ Jekyll and Hyde personality among friends like Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. From his late 1950’s Quonset Hut studio recordings in Nashville until his death in 2013 Jones vocalized a disdain for rock-pop-derived country music. Still he won the love from many of rock music’s biggest names with his voice and dramatic acting methods. Ironically, Kienzle chronicles the troubadour’s fall from Nashville’s A-Team to the CMAs and its desire to escape a “hillbilly stigma.” Kienzle describes Jones’ dramatic personal life, giving the reader a window into his complicated past. The artist’s “goofy, ornery sense of humor “ comes from growing up in Saratoga. Jones’ domestic life languished with multiple marriages to Dorothy Bonvillion in 1950, Shirley Ann Corley in 1954, to country starlet Tammy Wynette in 1969, before finding redemption with Nancy Sepulveda in 1983. Jones’ signature song, a number one hit on Billboard’s charts on July 5, 1980, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” also fits posthumously as his tribute. Kienzle’s book is perfect not just for fans of Jones or country music lovers, but music fans alike.

Please also see my review posted on Elmore’s website at: http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2016/07/reviews/albums/the-grand-tour-the-life-and-music-of-george-jones

My James Taylor review posts to Elmore magazine

29 Jun

Elmore Magazine | James TaylorFive-time Grammy award-winner James Taylor showered the people of Austin with his music and lyrics for nearly three hours and two encores inside the Frank Erwin Center June 22. At 69 years old, Taylor entertained a full house with his ageless voice and unique phrasing by singing songs from his hit song catalog that stretches back more than half a century. Favorites included: “Fire and Rain,” “You’ve Got A Friend,” “Carolina in My Mind,” “How Sweet It Is,” “Your Smiling Face” and “Shower the People,” which he performed with his 15-year-old teenage son, Henry Taylor. His dad also sang the title track, “Sweet Baby James,” off his 1970 breakthrough album, complete with a moving artistic visual slideshow. For 20 minutes between his two sets, the singer and songwriting star signed all kinds of fan memorabilia, one of which was an authentic 1977 vinyl JT featuring Taylor’s boyish profile photo.

Throughout his set, he performed solo on his acoustic guitar and on an electric along with his All Star Band. The band included drummer Steve Gadd, bass player Jimmy Johnson, keyboardist Larry Goldings, saxophone player Lou Marini, percussionist Luis Conte, electric guitarist Michael Landau, fiddle player and vocalist Andrea Zonn and multi-instrumentalist Walt Fowler. Arnold McCuller, and Kate Markowitz provided background vocals.

Taylor closed the evening with a romantic tribute to his third wife Kim Smedvig, performing “You and I Again,” a song from his 17th full-length studio release titled Before This World, his first No. 1 album on Billboard’s 200 Chart. The die-hard Red Sox fan with a life-long love for Boston will end his 2016 tour at Fenway Park on August 3rd.

Please also see the review and my photos on Elmore’s website by following this link:

http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2016/06/reviews/shows/james-taylor-3

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