Friday, June 20, 2008

Kid Rock is a funny mother fucker

"I'm fucking rich." I can't stop laughing at that line.

Monday, June 16, 2008

City Stages, day three

Whew, what a weekend. Three days of booze and loud music and I am spent.

Yesterday I closed to City Stages with a couple of superb sets, first from The Wailers and then from my man Shooter Jennings.

I got there in the late afternoon and saw some local acts and The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker. They were pretty groovy, a real good funk band -- plus the bassist had a bitchin' afro.

Then came The Wailers, who were absolutely amazing. "No Woman No Cry" is an incredibly beautiful song on its own, but live it is just euphoric. The crowd was really into it, and that always makes a concert better. The only problem was that it took the sound crew a good 20 minutes to get everything right. Well, that and the usual festival downside: short sets.

We then switched stages and saw Shooter Jennings and his fabulous band, The .357s. As per usual, Shooter brought the noise and blew me away. His set was incredibly varied, he dipped into all three of his CDs and had a nice variety to his track selection. He even broke out the keyboard for a few tunes.

All in all, City Stages '08 was a resounding success.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

City Stages, day two

It's not often you can go to a festival type concert, only see two acts all day, and still consider it a great time. But, yesterday was exactly that for me.

I arrived at about 2:30 p.m. and caught the end of Jon Black's set, which didn't do much for me until he busted out his electric guitar and did a little "Rockin' in the Free World" -- and he did Neil Young justice.

But what I really came for was The Dexateens at 3 p.m. And man, did they rock. Their set was fast-paced, loud and just plain fun. Yesterday marked the first official set as guitarist for Lee Bains, and he did not disappoint. The band was in-sync, and you could tell they themselves were just having fun up there.

After that, myself and a few friends with nice little backstage passes ventured around and enjoyed some free beers in the VIP section, and then got backstage for the one and only Rev. Al Green. This was the second time I have seen Green, and once again he was amazing. So amazing, in fact, that I decided to abort my original plan of leaving his set early to see Buddy Guy. Hey man, sometimes you just go with what's good.

So, what did I learn from yesterday? One, it's good to know people. And two, I am shitty photographer... or maybe I should just remember to bring my real camera instead of my cell phone.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

City Stages, day one

Just got in from day one of City Stages, and had a blast.

Started off the evening by catching the tail end of the Carolina Chocolate Drops (MySpace) set. They are an African-American string band, and they were pretty damn cool. Very talented musicians and great showmen.

Then came Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit. Isbell of course is famous for his years spent as one of the front men for the Drive-By Truckers, but his solo work doesn't miss a beat. He puts on a very entertaining show, and the 400 Unit can rock. He even threw in a couple of my favorite DBT tunes, "Outfit" and "Goddamn Lonely Love."

After that was my personal highlight for the evening, Old Crow Medicine Show. This was the second time I've seen OCMS in action, and once again they blew me away. This time around, they were much more upbeat and energetic than the first time I saw them. A lot of quicker, faster tempo songs, audience participation, and just good-time havin'.

Lastly, we stopped by to catch a glimpse of The Roots set, and naturally they were wicked. Talk about some boys with talent. And after a late night snack with one Lee Bains -- lead man of Arkadelphia -- we headed back to Tuscaloosa. Tomorrow I will journey back into the Magic City to catch, among others, the Dexateens (with Lee Bains making his debut on guitar for the band), Blind Melon, Al Green, Buddy Guy, and Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. Should be a blast.

"So while you sit and whistle Dixie with your money and your power, I can hear the flowers a-growin in the rubble of the towers."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Turn the radio dial to "Southern"

I wouldn't say I've gone through any musical "awakenings" recently, but I certainly have noticed a slight shift in my listening habits.

Most notably, since moving back to the South I've been listening to more Southern-skewed artists. While I've always had an affinity for Southern Rock and country, the new music I've discovered has always leaned towards the harder side of rock.

But, in the past few months I've discovered bands both new and old that are more Southern-influenced. The songwriting just appeals to me more. The lyrical content, melodies and song structures have just struck a chord with my ears. I can't really explain why, maybe I just hear more of it in the bars or something, but these are some guys I'm really into now:

Drive-By Truckers
Not a new discovery by any means, but new to me. I don't really know how I never got into them before, because they're right up my alley.

Another band that has been around the block, they're Tuscaloosa boys who deserve more recognition than they have.

I was introduced to these guys by my buddy Caleb, who is good pals with lead man Lee Bains. Lee is an extraordinary musical talent, and one hell of a guy who I've been lucky enough to befriend. Hopefully, you'll know his name well in the coming years.
You can follow Lee's thoughts on recording and his music at his blog, The Great Wall of Birmingham

Blaine Duncan and the Lookers
Another Tuscaloosa-based band, their songs have great variety to them, something not seen enough nowadays. Not to mention the fact these guys can just flat out play.

Some other notes...

Going to City Stages this weekend, and although it's a replacement for the original trip to Bonnaroo I wanted, the lineup is still pretty solid and I'm stoked. Artists I'm looking forward to: Al Green, Ben Harper, Buddy Guy, Dexateens, Old Crow Medicine Show, Robert Earl Keen, Shooter Jennings, The Roots and The Wailers.

I've started to play my guitar again, after a few years hiatus. More notably, I'm writing songs again, so that's pretty cool.

Two more things before I go: some new links over there on the right, namely two of my good friends. Caleb "C.R." Johnson talks music over at Sounds of Life, and Aaron Suttles spews about sports and over things of note at On Deadline.

Peace out, I'll try to post more.

"Rock & roll means well but it can't help telling young boys lies."