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My review of the documentary about Stevie Ray Vaughan posts to Elmore magazine

5 Apr

The DVD documentary, Lonestar: Stevie Ray Vaughan 1984-1989, delivers in 108 minutes a roller coaster of emotions about Texas’ beloved late blues guitarist, Stevie Ray Vaughan, beginning with his debut, Texas Flood, and ending with his death at 35 years old in a helicopter crash August 27, 1990 outside East Troy, Wisconsin. The disc features photos and rare film footage recorded during concerts and behind-the-scenes interviews with friends, former band members, and those within Vaughan’s inner circle including his last girlfriend, Janna Lapidus LeBlanc. In archival videos, Vaughan himself gives a painful testimony about how he overcame an addiction to drugs and alcohol and began to live a sober lifestyle.

Following the success of his Grammy-award-winning album, In Step, Vaughan began his fateful final tour on May 4, 1989, performing 147 shows over 18 months. This writer had the privilege to see Vaughan perform live along the shore of Mountain Shadow Lakes in El Paso on May 29, 1989. That desert hot day, without a spot of shade to be found anywhere within a 20-mile radius, fans responded to Vaughan and his musical entourage with near hysteria. The Dallas native opened with his first mainstream hit single, nominated in 1984 as the best song of the year, “Cold Shot,” off his Couldn’t Stand the Weather album.

Vaughan and his band, Double Trouble, recorded three studio and several live albums, earning them a controversial mix of both praise and criticism over a tumultuous five-year career. In Austin, his legacy continues. At Auditorium Shores Park in 1994 the Austin Parks and Recreation Department erected a life-size bronze statue created by artist Ralph Helmick in the musician’s likeness, complete with his signature hat and trench coat created. Most often Vaughan performed on his hybrid 1962-63 Stratocaster nicknamed “Number One,” also referred to as “First Wife.” Those who remember the bluesmaster, will weep in sorrow at his tribute; newcomers may find inspiration. This film, the sister to Sexy Intellectual’s documentary, Rise of a Texas Bluesman—Stevie Ray Vaughan 1954-1983, makes widows of us all anew through archive songs and images. 

Please also see my article as it appears on Elmore magazine’s website at: 

http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2017/04/reviews/films/lonestar-stevie-ray-vaughan-1984-1989

 

My review of ’50 Years with Peter, Paul, and Mary’ posts to Elmore

16 Jan

50 Years with Peter, Paul and Mary, DVD – Elmore MagazineFor more than half a century, the musical entity known as Peter, Paul and Mary, beginning in the early 1960s, turned the world upside down with their activism against war, nuclear energy, and inequality. The recently re-released 2014 DVD, 50 Years with Peter, Paul and Mary, traces their extraordinary journey far beyond “Five Hundred Miles” from where it began in Greenwich Village, NY in 1961 to a 2009 memorial for their female member in 78 minutes.

Producer/director Jim Brown juxtaposes intimate interviews with Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey, and Mary Travers, family members and friends between live action concert recordings of their most beloved songs. Brown also adds vintage film footage from historic events. Most memorable scenes include those from the 1965 Montgomery Civil Rights March in Selma, AL led by the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the 1969 March on Washington with Pete Seeger to protest the Vietnam War Draft, and the 1978 “Survival Sunday,” held at the Hollywood Bowl.

Delivering a potent mix of intelligence, sexual edginess and social consciousness, the trio emotes sorrowfully: “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” “Early Mornin’ Rain,” “If I Had a Hammer,” “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “The Times They Are a Changin’” “Give Peace a Chance,” “There But For Fortune, (Go You or Go I,)” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” “Puff The Magic Dragon” and more. Audiences of all ages participate in rare sing-alongs and testify to their enduring legacy.

These authentic and empathetic human beings sang songs and lived lives that made a real difference in American history, and, still today, they extend an invitation to join their social causes.

Please see this post on Elmore magazine’s website at:

http://www.elmoremagazine.com/2017/01/reviews/albums/50-years-with-peter-paul-and-mary-dvd

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 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

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