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{Brad's Corner} April 2010: Filtering the Lifeblood

{Brad�s Corner}

An innocent comment made onstage by Adam Hood at the Galleywinter Spring Acoustic Show 2010 really struck a chord with me.
It was something to the effect of (and I’m paraphrasing), “We four guys up here play a lot of gigs in a lot of places for a lot of people. Thank you guys for sincerely digging music and letting us play what we want to play…covers, songs we wrote yesterday and everything else. The freedom and inspiration you provide is outstanding.” He then launched into his song, “Play Something We Know” which is a tongue-in-cheek ripping of people who repeatedly and non-ironically yell for “Freebird” at shows…or for that matter “Carney Man”.

While the sound of Hood’s declaration hit my ears, I began to truly process the larger scale of what he meant. Similar thoughts had crossed my mind before and I’ve talked to scores of musicians who credit Texas audiences with being more welcoming to original material. When paired with the Bob Lefsetz article that Tank posted on the Galleywinter homepage talking about how in this wide digital age, it helps us all when music comes with filters. Not meaning the editing of any content or restriction of any genre. Rather, meaning that there are far too many options and avenues available to music fans today. I’m often on sensory overload between live shows, MySpace, Facebook, word of mouth, Twitter, blogs and radio. This overwhelming impact on my senses is often accompanied by my adult-onset ADD and ever-shrinking attention span.

So, what is one to do?

We listen.

I take music seriously…very seriously…my wife would probably say sometimes too seriously. It permeates my being. And, there are thousands upon thousands like me. We need music as critically as we need food. We are the lifeblood.

But, how do we know what is healthy and good for us? How do we avoid driving through the drive-thru only to find out that something from the order is missing and our cholesterol is jumping?

We listen.

As much as I love music, I don’t have the time to check it all out. I do my level best, but it’s just not in the cards to hit everything. I, like other musical lifebloods, rely on outside sources to turn us onto new bands or songs. We listen to people we respect. We trust our guts (and ears). We have the fat filtered out and are told things like “download this song because it sounds just like Ryan Adams before he went crazy and deaf, got married and started a heavy metal band.” We immediately download that song.

Each person’s filter is unique to them and is constantly evolving. The 21 year old filter is going to let in songs about drinking and partying at a much higher ratio than say a 42 year old mother is.

Personally speaking, my filter has evolved from that of a child that loved nothing more than screaming “Born in the USA” on my Fischer-Price cassette player, listening to George Strait in my dad’s truck, and rocking out to Def Leppard or Prince in my sister’s car…

…to that of a teenager who loved Metallica and Pantera blasting my eardrums, Tupac, Biggie and Master P allowing me to live the stereotypical middle-class white suburban thug life or Gary Stewart and Hank Williams, Jr. out on a backroad…

…to a young college student enamored with Robert Earl Keen and Jerry Jeff…

…to an older college student who realized guys like Pat Green and Jack Ingram were doing modern Keen and Jerry Jeff…

…to an adult who enjoyed blowing steam off on the weekends to the sounds of Randy Rogers Band and Cross Canadian Ragweed…

…to a 30 year old adult who dove head first into the roots of soul and blues and now digs into Freddie King as hard as I do the latest Wade Bowen album.

My filters throughout that growth have evolved with me. From my father and sister to college buddies to bloggers like Bob Lefsetz, to fellow musical lifebloods like Tank and Hogleg, and even musicians themselves.

So, that leaves me with one question on this filtered journey…who are your filters?

MINOR CHORDS:

-April always seems to be the time of the year when things start coming in rapid-fire succession, be it shows, festivals and album releases. 2010 is no different. Lots of cool stuff on the horizon…I hope it’s the harbinger of a solid year to come.

-LJTs is a couple weeks away…year umpteen for our group…each year is magical and different. Can’t wait to be out in the fields of Melody Mountain Ranch and leaving the world behind for a few days. Although, it won’t be the same without Rusty Wier’s Saturday afternoon crowning performance.

-Play ball! Can’t wait to count the number of times my Rangers have to endure Clapton’s “Cocaine” or the Dead’s “Casey Jones” while on roadtrips this year as Ron Washington marches out to do a pitching change. My bet is until the All-Star break when he is replaced by new hitting coach, Clint Hurdle.

-Rita Ballou marches on. I’ve been accused of being her a couple times now…as have Dave Lytle, Shannon Canada, Drew Kennedy, Kelly Peterson and others. I’m not sure who she is exactly, and I’ll re-state that I don’t think it really matters. The comments are where the real action seems to be taking place. I even got put on blast the other day when I finally made my first comment on there. Apparently, I’m a horn-tooting brown noser. I’ll take it. And, I actually enjoyed the lyrics vs music debate happening on the latest post. I’m a lyrics guy for what it’s worth. However, I’ve been known to shake my rear and fist pump to tragically unhip and simplistic lyrics as long as it rocked or bounced. After all, I love AC/DC and have been known to extol the virtues of KiSS Alive III. Not a ton of depth there!

-Went to the Corpus area for Easter and ended up in Port A. It had been a while since I’d been down that way. I spent most of the time there looking for Port B and contemplating how to host a songwriters festival on the beach. Sadly, I was interrupted by a hippie playing bad Sublime and Marley covers on his beat up Martin.

-It’s morbid, but isn’t Lindsay Lohan the number one draft pick in any “dead pool draft” right now? Sad situation. Went from being a talented young actress who was hot enough at 19 to be sent to me on a poster as a White Elephant Christmas gift from Erica aka SharpShiver to being a punchline just a few years later.

-I love Pawn Stars on the History Channel. I had a buddy who worked at a pawn shop in college…not that glamorous or interesting. Something about dudes bringing in gold chains and weed eaters isn’t as exciting as Mickey Mantle baseball cards and Civil War weaponry.

-The loop around Austin is a God-send.

-Glad Shayne Hollinger is back on the airwaves.

-Pick up Drew Kennedy’s free album if you haven’t. It’s free AND good…two things that don’t normally go hand in hand.

-This month’s recommended film: Hot Tub Time Machine. Hysterical…extremely silly, yet extremely hysterical.

-This month’s recommended album: Among a slew of albums hitting shelves and iTunes this month, Walt Wilkins-Agave stands out to me. Walt returns with his Mystiqueros to deliver another dose of intellectual country-rock soul. This is music for people who like to boogie but don’t mind also having to think. Walt’s laid a blueprint in Texas and his hands are all over this scene due to his production and writing influences. Check this album out to hear where it all comes from. Others to check out are: Brison Bursey-Expectations and Parking Lots, Fred Andrews & Honeybrowne-Indie Till We Sell Out, Wade Bowen-Live at Billy Bob’s, Sean McConnell-Saints, Thieves, Liars, and Jason Boland & the Stragglers-High in the Rockies.

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

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