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{Off The Cuff} Purposeful Beach Rendezvous


The late summer sun is setting on the southeast Texas peninsula beach getaway known as Crystal Beach.  Famously detailed in Hayes Carll’s early work and vividly in Guy Clark’s “South Coast of Texas”, it is a rough patch of land with a rough patch of characters attempting to alter its image.  Post-last hurricane, it is cleaning things up and attempting to go (somewhat) upscale.  It hasn’t lost all of its white trash charm yet though.  For example, one observation I noted while spending time on the public beaches where they allow parking and cruising right on the water, was that seemingly every confederate flag that had been removed in South Carolina had relocated to the surprisingly clean sand of Crystal Beach.  In the shadows of multi-million dollar and $500,000 beach condos it was an odd, continual sight.  Not saying it’s right or wrong…just odd.

Upon arrival at our weekend lodging, I found it flooded it out due to a cleaning mishap and the harried, white haired owner covered in soaked clothes scrambling to clean it up.  As I parked and exited my car, he hollered at me, “You the one ‘sposed to stay here?”  After an uneasy affirmative reply, he shouted over the sound of shopvacs and chaos that it was going to be unusable and that I should immediately head to the property management office to see if they could help me out.  I rambled up to the office, down the road in the nicest strip mall on … Keep Reading

{Review} Statesboro Revue-Jukehouse Revival

album artworkStewart Mann and his brother Garrett have been fronting the southern rock outfit Statesboro Revue for a number of years now.  Stewart’s voice is evocative, versatile, powerful and soulful.  Garrett’s guitar playing is drenched in the traditions of Allman and Betts.  It has always provided a groovy, rollicking signature sound.  With their newest studio release, Jukehouse Revival, the Mann brothers have pushed their Revue in a more countrified direction.  It’s like a swampy honky-tonk sound that’s hard to describe exactly until you hear it.  It has elements of Willie Nelson, Allman Brothers, Skynyrd and Willie Nelson…all the while remaining entirely Statesboro.  Their set at #GF15 was a highlight. It seems as though the band has finally landed upon its true, signature sound.  It’s a potent mix of the southern rock they’ve always cranked out, but the raw, authentic elements of the best type of country music is now prevalent as well.  It’s a potent hybrid that makes the title of this record feel entirely apporporiate.  Stewart’s vocals have always been a calling card for the band, and here he is using that instrument at its most effective.  “Bedroom Floor” and “Count On Me” show a restraint he hasn’t previously mastered.  Yet, make no mistake, he can still let it fly and he does on tracks such as the Adam Hood co-write “Tallahassee” and “Like the Sound of That”.  This is the sound of a band reaching an apex.  Sit back and enjoy it.  In a crowded field of standout … Keep Reading

{Brad's Corner} July 2015: Friends and Family

{Brads Corner}

The old saying that “friends are the family you choose,” is so very true.  When you go through hard times you discover this via a very unscientific mix of flakiness and sturdiness.  You find out who you can count on and who you can’t.  Another favorite saying of mine related to this is, “no friends like old friends.”  The amigos you’ve known the longest are like tall oaks in a forest of weeping willow trees.  They stand tall and proud alongside you.  They don’t cowotow to your weaknesses and the accentuate your strengths.

Many years ago I was adopted by a musical family of friends.  We shared a common passion and a common workday timewaste on the old PatGreen.com message boards. Pre social media, this was about as high tech as it got.  Some of the greatest friends I have, I met via this scenario.  We may only see each other occasionally throughout the year, and when our annual family reunion rolls around some of us may be so busy organizing things that we can’t sit down and catch up as we’d like…but I know they’re that tall oak in the forest for me.  They’ve got my back. During the recent hard times, many have reached out to help reaffirm my foundation and assure me that things will be okay.  Their advice has been indispensable and well-timed.  This crazy, musical family of friends is bonded together through thick and thin.  Marriages and divorces.  Births and deaths.  Good times and bad … Keep Reading

Music’s a Garden…Dig It

Much has been made about the salad/tomato female country singer comments.  It’s a sad, brutal reality for female artists, these guys just delivered the facts coldly, directly and oddly.  The good news for fans of our kind of music is that country radio doesn’t really impact or dictate what we listen to or dig.  We don’t discriminate where it comes from or whom it comes from as long as it meets our lofty expectations.  As fans of this scene of music we long ago gave up the bastion of country radio as our sole source of discovering new music. We migrated to web and social channels years before that was common.  Word of mouth and a few tweets from people you respect are generally all it takes for you to check out an album or artist.

Texas is currently blessed with an amazing crop of talented female artists.

At the forefront of the current trends in Texas are artists that redefine what Texas music is.  What country music is for that matter.  They push forward, invent and reinvent.  Chief among these artists are:

Jamie Wilson.  Jamie’s latest record, Holidays and Wedding Rings, is the best collection of tunes that have ever surrounded her achingly beautiful vocals.  That’s truly saying something when she has a catalog of solo, Trishas and Gougers material that would make a solid career for most songwriters.  The music is a bit more lively here and the songs a bit more lived in.  This … Keep Reading

{Brad's Corner} June 2015: Comfortably Numb No More

{Brads Corner}

The past few years I’ve drifted, almost subconsciously, away from focusing as intently as usual on lyrics.  Melodies and guitars began to overshadow the words of the songs I dug.  I attribute this to my children coming in to my life and a bit of boredom and complacency with much of the music I’ve been hearing.   Sure, I still heard lyrics and even reveled in them from time to time…but they weren’t hitting home like they were previously.  Recent life events have caused lyrics to find their way back home into my heart and soul.  It’s funny how the circumstances in which you hear a song can have such a gigantic impact on your interpretation of the song.

Songs that once meant nothing more to you other than you knew they were good, now find a place in your psyche.  They say the things that your brain or heart are  unable to get out on its own.  Other instances are kind of like reuniting with an old friend.  Music is magical in that way.  It’s cliche, but it truly is the soundtrack to our lives.  Triumphant at times, mellow at others, somber when needed and grounded assurance when required.  Thanks to modern technology we are easily able to make a playlist to fit any mood without having to swap out records, cassettes or cd’s.

This ease of listening makes at times makes our listening habits less intenful.  The simplicity and overwhelming volume of media at our fingertips can be a … Keep Reading

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