Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hot new americana folkie soul

About the only New Year's Resolutions I manage to keep is finding some new music to love. This first one is a band from Canada and Chicago, and are newly formed about a year ago. I missed them last year at SXSW but I see a mid-March gap in their tour so I've got high hopes of seeing them this year. Birds of Chicago. Here's how they describe themselves:
ALLISON RUSSELL'S clarion voice wraps around the broken country-soul croon of JT NERO, delivering their tales of hope, despair and... seahorses. Echoes of mountain gospel, doo wop, and classic soul, with back porch instrumentation.

Sounds about right. I just got their album on iTunes and it is all good.

Here's a band I find out about due to the ravings of
Paste Magazine
and NPR among others. The Lone Bellow. In the video below, their amazing vocal harmonies just tear up the place. There's more at the Paste and NPR links. Looks like there's a chance they might be breezing back this way in mid-March too (on tour with Ivan & Alyosha, another awesome 'discovery' band we found last SXSW).
Their album just came out this week, but I don't have it yet.

John Fullbright is an amazing singer and songwriter - so much heart and soul. He's one we discovered last year, saw him at a small acoustic venue and it was stunning. His album from 2012, "From the Ground Up," is his first studio album and it got a Grammy nomination. A lot of the songs on it are dealing with some religious conflicts - and don't we all know how that stuff can turn your head every which way but loose?!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Just in the past couple of weeks, there have been a couple of high-profile Austinites in the news, and first of all, I must say... I apologize. Please don't judge the rest of us based on a few big-time stinkers.

The first embarrassment is Alex Jones. You may have heard some of his bad crazy on the topic of guns via the rant on Piers Morgan. The Young Turks provide the highlight reel below. This is some really far out craziness:

Alex Jones is an Austin-based conspiracy theorist of THE most wild-eyed over-the-top variety. His website is InfoWars and his shows are called Prison Planet TV. His product is massive paranoia, and a lot of people are buying that nowadays.

The other local chaff is Lance Armstrong. He lives not even a mile from my commuter road. The level of excitement, admiration and inspiration that he brought to people with his amazing performance on the bike - coupled with being a cancer survivor who established a force for good such as the Livestrong Foundation - it was amazing. There have been plenty of athletes disgraced by steroids before, and we are all getting used to that kind of disappointment. I went through that whole Mark McGwire roller coaster when I lived in St. Louis, same kind of thing, but the added cancer-related part of the story elevated Lance to a much higher place in the public's eyes.
Some Livestrong participant/supporter postcards displayed.

Plus, he was just so damned convincing in the lies that most people refused to even entertain the accusations as anything more than mean-spirited jealousy... until they just wouldn't go away, the wheels started to come off. Trouble is, he didn't just wreck himself, his fall injures so many more - folks who really don't need anything else beating down their hopes and dreams.

This is being written the night before the 2-part Oprah confession is revealed, and I am interested in what he is going to say. My prediction is that along with his confession he will point the finger at everything else possible, and I do believe that professional sports are highly poisoned by power, money, cheating, and absolutely wrong-headed priorities. Truly.