January brings renewal, Steamboat and 12 months of high hopes. The spirit of rebirth and change permeates every aspect of one’s life this time of year. This is especially true in our little corner of the music industry. Album releases, festival plans, touring routes and everything feels fresh. Oftentimes, as with most things in life, despite best laid plans, things don’t turn out quite as tidy as you’d like and there are always some curveballs thrown at you along the way.
As I sat back this week and watched the events of MusicFest unfold from afar I was proudly reminded of what makes this scene special. It’s the camaraderie and unique moments that set us apart from everything else. The fantastic Dixie Chicks tribute, the Bruce Robison hour, the collaborations, Next Waltz’s and more. It made me want to look back through the archives at how we covered it before. While scrolling through our articles from way back, I came across this ditty from this month 9 years ago in this space. (ed. note–I almost went with what was in this space 15 years ago, but refrained).
As we embark on a new year and decade of music and life, I was in a reflective mood as I sat down to write January’s piece. But, after several drafts and pausing to soak in the magic of Steamboat from afar, I finally found what I was trying to get out. Over the past few months, I’ve taken a sabbatical from live music due to being burnt out on it. I found myself less and less captivated by the songs, sounds and musicians my ears were encountering. Everything sounded the same and looked the same. Only the most remarkable musical events made an imprint on me…and they were fewer and farther between than ever before. I needed to cleanse the soul and musical palette.
With a refreshed approach and virgin ears, I’m ready to tackle 2010’s musical adventures.
But, what will those adventures be?
I’m not really sure yet.
There are new albums in the pipeline from old favorites and new names I don’t yet know. Will they deliver for me? Not sure, but I’ll know it when it hits me.
I’m yearning for something that speaks to my soul, but what will it say if it reaches that far down? I don’t know because it’s been so long and rare these days that anything has done that.
I firmly realize that I’m in the minority in wanting some depth in my music. But, we are a strong, vocal minority and I foresee good things in store for us here in 2010 and beyond. Here are some of the things I hope keep happening:
I hope guys like Sean McConnell keep infiltrating our scene of music to grace it with their talent. It trickles over to the other artists and fosters a healthy creative environment. Kudos for guys like Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen reaching out to Sean a couple years ago and broadening the reach of our scene to bring Sean into our family.
I hope we are able to continually support the great venues who are dedicated to supporting the music, while letting the joints that are just places that host music not survive on our dollars by bringing in our favorite artists.
I hope the bands that have been plugging away for many years and haven’t gotten that big break but deserve it, find things breaking their way. On the flip side, I hope the lazy placeholders scrounging up dates and money from the harder working young kids get out of the way.
I hope that the handful artists who have grown large egos due to success in our scene remember they aren’t the Beatles or Stones and get off their high horse. Taylor Swift wants that white horse back anyway.
I hope teenagers continue to be influenced by things like Rock Band and Guitar Hero to pick up guitars and discover actual music as opposed to auto-tuned, warmed over hip-hop that sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks on acid.
I hope Ryan Bingham wins an Oscar or at the very minimum gets to perform on the telecast.
I hope country music continues opening the door just enough to let guys and gals like Jamey Johnson and Miranda Lambert crash their market research driven sippy cup party.
I hope gritty, blues based AC/DC rock n’ roll continues its comeback and some new bands come along that fit the bill.
I hope LJTs expands their artist roster to include some of the newer generation of songwriters that may not sell out City Limits, but may deliver the best sets they have all weekend at the acoustic stage.
I hope Stoney LaRue and Pat Green drop good records.
I hope Paul Worley’s touch lifts the Randy Rogers Band to the national consciousness their talent deserves.
I hope Wade Bowen continues his ascent to the top.
I hope many things come along and catch my ear that I can’t even fathom right now. I mean ten years ago think of all the things that weren’t around that we have today: ITunes/IPods, YouTube, sites like Galleywinter and tons of bands we didn’t know were just around the corner.
What say you? What are some things you hope to see, musically speaking, in the next few years?
-Texas Music’s year is always kicked off by Steamboat. From what I’ve read, seen and heard, this was one of the best years yet. I know that the aforementioned Sean McConnell continued to blow people away. He and anyone with the last name Welch seemed to get most of the love from what I heard. Well deserved. And, our friends at MusicFog captured tons of cool videos that they haven’t uploaded all of yet. Hit up their site in the coming days to see what they got!
-Bitter loss for UT/Big 12 in the title game. As of deadline, the Cowboys still haven’t won a playoff game since Notorious BIG was alive. I hope and expect that to change.
-I tried to avoid Jersey Shore on MTV. And, I really wanted to hate it. But, I caught one of the guys on SportsNation on ESPN the other day (best show on ESPN fwiw) and I wanted to see what all the buzz was about. It sucked me in. Sadly, it resembles a Jersey version of my central Texas bachelor pad/friends from 2002-2005. I’m eternally grateful that most of our exploits weren’t caught on film or video.
-Tank’s been working extremely hard on the next version of Galleywinter and we should be launching soon.
-What’s up with this weather? I didn’t go to Steamboat, but I assume Mother Nature decided I needed to attend as she ushered the coldest days of consecutive frigid weather I can recall. I suppose someone in Canada didn’t put the toilet seat down and here we are. Well, I’ll take 100 over 10 anyday. Now, to contemplate what this means for the LJT’s weather forecast. Yikes!
-This month’s recommended film: Crazy Heart. I have yet to see it, but I’m recommending it on the strength of the reviews I’ve heard from friends that have seen it and how awesome the soundtrack is. Jeff Bridges in his latest role of a lifetime and an Oscar-buzzworthy Bingham song. Say what!?
-This month’s recommended album: Brian Burns-American Junkyard. Burns has been under the radar his entire career except for a brief time when people got to know him for his “I’ve Been Everywhere” tweaked hit single. Well, he’s immensely talented and has quite a bit of wit and style at his arsenal. This collection is a nice mix of originals and some select covers that remind Burns is an often forgotten Texas treasure.
Reflecting on all that made me want to set some goals for 2019 in Texas Music.
-I’m hopeful a new artist will emerge that is transcendent and different from the status quo.
-I’m hopeful that bands try to emulate Tyler Childers as much as they do old PG/Ragweed.
-I hope we can make songwriting great again.
-I’d like a mainstream band to cover Austin Gilliam’s “Strawberry Lemonade” and make it the international smash it deserves to be.
-I want the new Dave Cobb produced RRB record to hit the streets.
-I want the onslaught of releases and content to slow and the cream to rise above the fray.
-I want Rita Ballou to write again.
-If the Dixie Chicks aren’t going to make records and tour much anymore, then the JLW, CP, KB, HS version from Steamboat needs to hit the road for select dates.
-I hope that Kevin Galloway and Coby Wier get their just due in the next 12 months.
-I’d like Wade Bowen to produce other people. Nobody has a better ear for songs, melody and arrangement.
-I want The Next Waltz stuff to be available digitally.
-I want more people to try things like the Next Waltz.
-I want Charlie Robison to start a no-holds barred podcast in the vein of Bad Truth…but covering all manner of topics from music biz to baseball.
-I want Chris Knight to co-write with Cody Jinks.
-I want Drew Kennedy to run for president…or wins an Oscar or Grammy. Or all 3.
– I want Zac Wilkerson and Adam Hood to tour together with Josh Weathers and a horn section.
-I want Koe Wetzel to use pedal steel onstage.
-I want young acts like Austin Meade, Jackie Darlene, and Garrett Bryan to hit that next level.
-I think Rhett Miller and Brandy Z’Dan should open up a consulting firm called COOL.
-I want Josh Grider to visit Top Chef.
-I want to move to Key West and open a bar called Galleywinter.
-How. Bout. Them. Cowboys.
-I have a condition known as Luka Fever.
-3 weeks to Mile 0. Previews and coverage plans on the way.
-River Jam plans announced soon.
-Our ongoing, never ending redesign is coming along.
-The only wall I’m building is to keep my queso from mixing with my salsa.
-I’ve been crossing off a lot of A list major acts from my musical bucket list. That continues in 2019. I’m seeing Timberlake, McCartney and more this year. This follows Springsteen, U2, Petty, Elton John, Bruno et al over the past couple years. It’s always interesting to take in those major productions and then hit up a dirty dive bar for some GCDC truth. Pros and cons. Cons and pros.
-I recently remembered my phone does more than text and scroll Twitter. It also has more capability than my NES did in 1988. Games ahoy lately. Tetris is as big a timewaste as it ever was. Good stuff.
-The Ticket turns 25 this month. P1 for life.
-This month’s recommended album: Flatland Cavalry – Homeland Insecurity. The Cleto Cordero outfit looks to build on their strong debut album that made national release week waves 3 years ago. Since that time the band has gone through a few lineup changes and risen in stature. The one thing that has remained consistent is Cordero’s clear-eyed narrative, even when the world is blurry around him. He has a knack for pairing imagery with melody that many of his peers lack. This should be one of the biggest records of the year.
-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” – Mark Twain