The good, the sad, and the pretty…


JON DURHAM Roots and Wings (2008), Half Fast Music

Jon DurhamI was so pleased to find this in my mailbox one day. The cover art and the song titles are so pretty. Inside are words of wisdom – “Remember your roots and use your wings”, “Wings can unfold at a moment’s notice.”


In the first song, Jon revisits the small town he remembers. It’s true, man. I grew up that way, too.

“Courtesy” follows and brushes up against a question that’s been on my mind lately –  Are we growing more patient because so many things take so much longer due to the lack of courtesy, customer service, thoughtfulness and general efficiency in our day to day activities? Or, is it just driving us crazier? Continue reading

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Donna Dean


I wanna hang out with this band.  Check it out.  They look like they are having fun.  I love music when it’s fun.  

No Depression rocks.  Still.  They interviewed our boy Ronnie Fauss, then Shady from the New Zealand radio station, Radioactive-FM,  interviewed him.  Now they have introduced Donna Dean to the masses and about time, I’d say, because it’s clear that they have been practicing for a while….uh, duh…..where has she been?  where have I been?  Thanks for the alert on this, Shady, because I am richer for having heard it this morning.  

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Ronnie Fauss’s “Mulligan”

Why the heck would Ronnie Fauss call his new album  “Mulligan”?  In golf, a mulligan means a do-over.  It means you screwed up so bad people feel sorry for you.   I don’t feel sorry for him and this ain’t no do-over.

Fauss’s first EP, New Songs for The Old Frontier, was damn good (see my review).  But his new stuff is nothing like his old stuff was. It’s better.  Rocks more.  Rougher voice.  I like that.  Got a fiddle on some of it.  I like that too.

I can’t get the first song, To Ease My Mind,  out of my head.  Very catchy tune.  And It’s a Long Long Way is a funny talking blues song (think Todd Snider’s Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues) explaining the direction, or lack thereof, of a guy growing up in the post-Nixon era.  I’m pretty sure that anyone who rhymes “riches” with “bitches” is headed in the right direction.

Wish had me fooled.  I thought it was a  sweet little love song but then I really listened to the lyrics.  It’s more like a hate song.  There’s a lot of bitterness packed in that one, with amusing lyrics to boot.  And the mandolin and harmonica just make it that much better.

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We Got Mail

We don’t get all that much mail, ‘cause we’re slackers and all, but The Philistines, Jr. band sent me a free listen to their new album “If A Band Plays in the Woods…” Hmm.

Maybe I was just in a mood this morning like I felt like I needed a nudge in a new direction. Maybe I just love innovation supported by well-written, thought-tickling lyrics and a we-are-all-in-the-same-boat-together attitude.

This is NOT my kind of music. At all. Is it? Sounds like some weird combination of electronica and a toy-store xylophone. It’s sure not raging southern guitar rock, folky Americana or banjos and mandolins. So, why did they send this to me? Did it leak that I’m a closet ABBA and Boy George fan? Did someone catch me listening to that danged White Stripes stuff? I don’t know.

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How Big Is The Big To-Do?

Drive-By Truckers' "The Big To-Do"The new Drive By Truckers’ album was released on March 16th and I was pretty excited about this one.  It’s a full-blown PRODUCTION kind of album.  How big is Big To-Do?  Well, that depends on whether you bought the vinyl or the CD, see?  (“Girls Who Smoke” was only released on the vinyl.) Wait, what?  Why?

I’m a big Drive By Truckers fanatic and I can never wait for the next show or the next album.  A live Trucker show is like a shot in the arm, and not in that bad way . . . The new CD is like reading a good book.  Lots of story-songs on this one.  Patterson tells smutty tales of some bad-ass characters and Cooley sings about hookers and being jobless.  You know, everyday life stuff.

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Hayes Carll at the Walnut Room

Denver, Colorado – February 3, 2010

On a cold winter Wednesday night in a small room in downtown Denver, with a warm fuzzy warm up from the beautiful Angie Stevens, Hayes Carll thrilled a focused crowd.  This was not your typical shit-stirring, body-bumping audience.  These fans mostly knew the words, sang along or silently stood in ‘rapt-attention’ mode.  I know I did, anyway.

Hayes just seems like the kind of guy you wind up on a barstool beside and surprisingly find yourself as relaxed and at ease as you would with someone you’d known and conversed with for years.


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Top Ten for 2009?

(or What I Spent My Grocery Money On)

You all know by now my penchant for owning the physical disc.  Even when times are hard.  I’d love to tell you it’s because my high morals won’t allow me to copy OPD’s (other people’s discs) but, well, I just really like to peel off the wrappers and pop out the pretty inserts and stuff. 

And, I do like to cuss the postal system when it’s late, cuss the state of our society because there are no independent music stores – you know, get myself a little worked up.  Then, when I finally get my hands on the actual item, I run my fingers over the lyrics booklet, read the dedication and thank yous and all before I listen from track one to the very end.

From the moment I sussed out the info that Steve Earle was releasing "Townes", I knew I’d have to have that one.  It’s a forever keeper.  And, Guy Clark’s "Sometimes the Song Writes You" was getting multiple rave reviews before I’d ever heard of it, so I internet-ordered that.  Kris Kristofferson’s "Closer to the Bone" kept me camped out by the mailbox for a while.  Well worth the frostbite, though. 

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