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Good Premonitions

by:  Cody Starr

January’s kick off to 2018 is about over and music-wise, I’m pumped about what’s in store for the year. My personal trifecta of favorites – the Randy Rogers Band, Cody Canada and The Departed, and Wade Bowen are all putting out records this year. Past those heavy hitters, we have many a big name giving us new music in 2018. The spring in particular looks to be chock-full of great stuff to keep our ears busy. So here’s a rundown:

  • Of the aforementioned, Wade Bowen’s Solid Ground drops first (February 9th) and based on the tracks out there thus far, looks to be an homage to Texas life in both subject and sound.
  • The last word at Christmas was The Departed’s new offering is a slated for spring. In 2017 the band pared down to a three-piece outfit of Cody Canada, long time partner-in-crime Jeremy Plato (bass) and Eric Hansen (drums). I have no idea what Cody and company have in store, but I’m hoping we get a sneak peek at Mile 0 Fest.
  • The back-fence talk on the Dave Cobb produced RRB record is that it’s thick in Tom Petty influence. I know the guys in the band are pumped and let’s hope we see a single or two in the summer months. Expect the record to arrive in the fall.
  • If you were at Steamboat you got to hear William Clark Green’s new Hebert Island in its entirety, the rest will see it this spring.
  • Red Shahan finished Culberson County months ago and he we heard some of those new tunes back in July at River Jam. Can’t wait to see if Shahan follows up strong to Men and Coyotes, which as good of an initial offering as we’ve seen around here in recent years. This also hits everyone’s ears in the spring.
  • Mike and the Moon Pies Steak Night at the Prairie Rose will be a big winner this year. I can’t think of anybody who has mastered the steel heavy honky-tonk sound better than this Austin based group. The Adam Odor produced record is nostalgic and genuine, complete with boot burners, beer criers, waltzes and swing that might cause Jerry Reed and Don Williams to pay us a visit from the grave. You’ll be able to get your hands on it February 2nd.
  • Cody Jinks’ new record is out “very soon” and all we know is the cryptic title: _ _ _ _ R _
  • Johnny Chops and The Razors’ has a self-titled album arriving at the end of March. It’s the Chops’ brand of rockin’ blues he introduced us to with 2013’s Stick and Stones, but with a heavy nod to his Delta Blues influences. We’ve got an extensive interview with Chops in the bag so you’ll be hearing all about this one in the coming weeks.
  • Dan Johnson – Hemingway. The writing and ambiance of Dan Johnson’s new project could propel him to the next level in this scene. It’s indeed a project, with a full narrative that envelopes the music. There are Quentin Tarantino-esqe scenes to the Hemingway story, giving us characters who have to make some soul-selling decisions that have lifelong repercussions on them and their loved ones. Check it out in early April.
  • American Aquarium – Things Change: BJ Barham has retooled his band after it disbanded in April last year and apparently we are going to see lots of harmonies on this new record which is slated for late spring.

Rounding out the release rumor mill, scene darlings Flatland Cavalry, 2017 phenom Koe Wetzel, and Cody Johnson all have new stuff expected to see light in 2018.

So there you go, keep in mind the list isn’t exhaustive and we’ll likely hear about many more as the year progresses. 2018 is looking good!

Quick Riffs:

    • Dierks Canada looks to have had a pretty good 2017. The oldest son of Cody and Shannon Canada continues to hone his chops on the axe and capped off 2017 playing with Ray Wylie Hubbard on the Gruene Hall stage in front of a packed house. Gruene Hall at age 12? Not bad kid.
    • I all but checked out of the NFL once the Cowboys got eliminated and I got my butt handed to me in my fantasy football playoffs. The “Minneapolis Miracle” was something to see even though I didn’t catch the replay until later in the evening after Twitter blew up. I have a love/hate relationship with SuperBowl Sunday. Love the game, the parties, and the commercials but it’s the final nail in the coffin of the holiday season. It’s the low point in the sports calendar and next to the frying heat of August, probably my least favorite time of year. To steal from Junior Miller’s Top 5/Bottom 5 – February sits behind August and July as my least favorite months. The good news is that this year I’m going to Key Westand soon after, pitchers and catcher report for spring training.
    • Speaking of Key West, Mile 0 Fest is just a couple of weeks away and I’m looking forward some beach time R&R and a ton of great music. If Kyle Carter and Kimberly Brian do a good job of pulling this thing off I’m thinking Steamboat could take a hit. I’m not predicting its demise, but if I’m an artist would I rather be breaking my fingers off in subzero weather or nursing margaritas on a 75-degree beach? Same goes for the festival goers. These trips aren’t cheap and if I had to budget for one festival, the argument of comfortably watching my favorite artist on a Duval street pub crawl versus freezing my junk off in a crowded tent (or worse, breaking my collarbone on a mountain) is pretty compelling.
    • In October I got to sit in on some sessions with Tahlequah based red dirt outfit, DocFell & Co. who were working on their latest album Heaven, Hell, or Oklahoma. I’ve finally heard some early mixes and it’s cool to hear Dave Percefull work his magic at the production helm. These guys haven’t bled into Texas quite yet but they may make a push with this one in 2018.
    • For Christmas, my awesome brother bought us tickets to see The Eagles and Chris Stapleton in Dallas this June. That’s a bucket list worthy show for sure.

 

{Brad's Corner} January 2018: Spectrum

{Brad�s Corner}

As Steamboat wraps up for another year, we are on the cusp of another year of Texas Music pandemonium…or something.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Watching the events of MusicFest unfold from Texas I was reminded of the old Mike McClure lyric from The Great Divide’s “Yesterday Road”.

Now the only thing
Around here’s changed
Is that those kids
They’ve all got different names
And the ones that used to hang around
Got a heavy work load
But their mind still goes drifting
Down Yesterday Road

The names change from Pat and Cory to Parker and Koe…but the beat goes on.  The kids raising hell on the mountain are a fresh crop replacing the ones that are now holding down heavy work loads. Dickson rolls out the most seamless and all-encompassing musical experience from this scene each year with the core group of musicians and a rotating support cast.  It speaks to the wisdom of Dickson…and it speaks to the loyalty of the fans of this music.  Getting to MusicFest isn’t easy or cheap.  You must want to get there, which makes those who make the trek that much more involved in the music once they arrive.  This is bucket list stuff they get to live each January. Dozens and dozens of their favorite artists all in one place.

Faces change, memories don’t.

Kids are doing the same thing they’ve always done.  Following the music they love with a reckless abandon.  The wily veterans content to sit back and have an extra water (or IV) or two; yet they all believe in the same thing.  This cross-generational draw is unique to our music.

Punk and metal fans are loyal, but at some point they abandon the head banging and cling to that which falls in their wheelhouse.  Hip-hop tastes generally stay in the rearview mirror.  But, country music stays with you.  Especially the raw, regional form we enjoy around here.  Does someone my age still drink Lone Star Bear in their cereal with Pat Green or have Koe Wetzel drive them to Taco Bell after a night of drinking?  No, but we once did and travel back there with each listen.  As we age, we gravitate to the more thoughtful, introspective side of this scene.  But, we never forget our roots.

Those roots being dancehalls, sawdust, beer joins, cold longnecks, backroads, empty cans, first dances, last kisses…you get the gist…but all with a regional twist.  When Koe Wetzel sings about the circumference of this damned ol’ town…he’s talking about our town.  Whereas when Luke Bryan sings about going to the river river to catch some catfish dinner, that’s a place we’ve actually been to and know he hasn’t.  He’s not catching catfish and no woman has ever wanted to get dressed up to go critter crawling next to a river before spending the night on a tailgate.  It’s not real.  But, a bleary eyed trip around town with a rowdy group of friends, neerdowells and hangers on…we’ve done that.  Some are still doing that.

Each Steamboat serves as a reminder of this.  It’s a demarcation.  A line in the sand.  A reaffirmation of what we believe in anew.  Each year transitions happen.  Bands fade, bands arrive and some remain.  Fans fade, fans arrive and fans remain.  Nobody ever leaves the show completely…it’s just varied degrees of passion and involvement.  Are you engaged?  Are you entertained?  Are you feeling it?  This goes for bands and fans alike.

A ski resort in the mountains reveals a lot.

MINOR CHORDS:

-Super, SUPER stoked for the inaugural Mile 0 Fest in Key West.  KW is a bucket list place for me and I’m excited to kick it over with my favorite music and people.  Planning to live like Buffett and Hemingway for a few days.  We’re going to be Galleywintering all over the place with interviews, photos, podcasts and the like.

-Speaking of pods, our official Podcast, The Co-Write, is back and raring to go for 2018 with new episodes.  One with Brandon Rhyder was released yesterday.  Dig in.

-This football season seemed to go by in a blur, no?

-Took my on to a Mavs-Warriors game over Christmas break. The crowd was split nearly 50-50.  In Dallas.  There was a decided ageist twist on things too.  Seemingly, anyone under the age of 25 was all Splash City.  Even in my day, when Jordan ruled and the Mavs were dreadful…I never wavered in my support of Popeye Jones and company.  Sad reality to see.  My son is all DFW for the other major sports…but Steph is just too cool to resist.

-This has been the bleariest, coldest winter I can recall.  Science may not back me up, but anecdotes will.  And honestly, aren’t anecdotes >> science.

-So, I got the flu over the break.  Or, at least I’m pretty sure I did.  Started feeling bad, went to urgent care…got the flu test…it was negative.  But my symptoms remained consistent with influenza.  Sent home with instructions and a follow-up appointment.  After 7 days of feeling awful, I finally started feeling better when the follow-up doc informed me “oh, those tests are only 40% accurate. You probably most definitely actually had the flu.”  Probably, most definitely actually….medicine.  See anecdotes>>science.

-River Jam 2018 plans are in motion.

-As anyone who has lost a parent can attest, there are days you still need them and talk to them.  I always talk to him…he’s there.

-This month’s recommended album:  Two years after the husband-wife duo Shovels & Rope bestowed Volume 1 and it’s inescapably cool Neil Young cover with Shakey Graves on the world, they are back with another covers collection Busted Jukebox: Volume 2 featuring guests Rhett Miller, Brandi Carlisle, John Moreland, Hayes Carll, John Fullbright and more!  Much like the first volume, it’s an uneven group with some pairings not living up to the hype…but the gems make the whole batch worth checking out and judging for yourself.

-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” – Mark Twain

Favorites of 2017

The albums, songs, people and places (in no particular order) that were our favorites in 2017.

ALBUMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Baumann – Proving Grounds
Baumann had already established himself as perhaps the finest writer of his class, and this album catapulted him to one of the finest writers period.… Read the rest

Favorite Tweets of 2017

by: Cody Starr

The circus that is social media conveys the zeitgeist of the day and occasionally the news feed gives you a gem worth stashing away for later. With 2017 coming to a close, we are in the midst of reflecting on our favorite music and saying our final goodbyes to the musical heroes we lost (looking at you Petty, Berry, Fats, etc.).… Read the rest

Visiting the yellow DOG

by: Cody Starr

The studio is a place where art and tech cross paths. Taking a song birthed from raw creativity and figuring out how to best capture its essence and onto a medium, whether it be vinyl or digital bits to be streamed over the ether, is an art form in and of itself.… Read the rest