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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Eric Church, Dwight Yoakam and......Halestorm?

I'm not a huge Eric Church fan. However, I don't dislike his music. In fact, some of it I quite like.

Eric Church has released tour dates, along with opening acts/special guests. It is interesting enough that the entire tour will be with Dwight Yoakam. Props to the Eric Church camp on this pairing. But what is even more curious is the opening special guests.

Part of the tour will feature Brandy Clark. She deserves it. Very talented. Traditional-like country. Female artist. (And we could discuss the dearth of female artists on country music radio all day, but not here, not now).

Part of the tour will include the Brothers Osborne. I'm not familiar with them, but from what I've read, they are good.

The last leg of the tour intrigues me the most. The special guest/opening act is Halestorm. If you're not familiar with Halestorm, they won the most recent Grammy for Hard Rock/Heavy Metal (although cool for them, the Grammy's are clueless). Here's a sample of their music.

Before the total wasteland that country music became in 2013 and early 2014 with all the auto-tuned, vapid, hick-hop bro-country, devoid of anything of substance or female voices, country was much closer to classic rock and 80's hair metal than anything else.

I actually think this is a good pairing and would love to attend a show, if for nothing else than to judge the reaction.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Chicks That Rock: Lita Ford

Lita Ford was a member of the iconic all-girl band The Runaways along with Joan Jett and Cherie Currie.. She enjoyed a fair amount of success in the Hair Band era with moderate hits "Kiss Me Deadly" and "Shot of Poison" and here career was bolstered by "Close Your Eyes Forever", a duet with Ozzy Osbourne.

I've always felt Lita was underrated as a vocalist and not given anywhere near the credit she deserves as a guitarist. Always over shadowed by Joan Jett, Lita managed to carve out a very nice career.

Lita definitely knew how to play up the glam fantasy as the following video will attest. That may have led somewhat to her being overlooked as a serious guitarist/musician.

But you can't deny the heartfelt passion is this next song, released in 2013. There's a backstory there, but I won't go into it. If you're here, you know how to run the google machine.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Why the Texans Should Not Draft a QB First Overall

If you listen to all the "experts" on the NFL, it's a quarterback league. You cannot win it all without an elite quarterback.

If you look at recent history, not so much.

I believe it's all fantasy driven and because the marquee QB's are the ones who put up the best fantasy stats. The reality of the last ten years spells out a different narrative.

Let's take a look, shall we?

The quarterbacks for the Super Bowl winning teams for the past 10 years are:
Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Russell Wilson.

Arguably, the best two quarterbacks of this generation (Brady and P. Manning) have won a combined two Super Bowls in the past ten years. A step below, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees have one each.

The two QB's with multiple championships in the past ten years (Roethlisberger and E. Manning) along with the other two, Flacco and Wilson, are not elite.

But what do every single one of those QB's have in common? Their counterparts on defense were excellent. The old adage that defense wins championships has seemed to fall on deaf ears in the media. It's a quarterback league. We hear that all the time. But look at the last two Super Bowls.

The only "elite" quarterback among the four teams was Peyton Manning. Denver's defense was suspect. The Broncos got blown out.

Does Houston need a QB? Yep. Should they draft one with the first overall pick? Nope. Get one the elite defensive guys to pair with JJ Watt. Seattle and San Francisco have shown you can win with a middling QB if your defense is great. So did the Bears, Ravens and  Buccaneers of years past.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chicks That Rock: Lizzy Hale, Halestorm

With "Chicks That Rock" we've covered old school with Heart, middle school with Grace Pottter, so now it's time to go new school.

I present Lizzy Hale and Halestorm.  Along with brother Arejay Hale on drums, Joe Hottinger on guitar and Josh Smith on bass, Halestorm's 2nd full length album The Strange Case of..... is probably the most listenable hard rock albums from start to finish since Appetite for Destruction.

It runs the gamut form full throttle rockers like "Freak Like Me" to tender ballads like "Break In". But throughout it all, Lzzy Hale's voice shines.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Interesting Cover Songs: Gabbie Rae and Patrick Kennison

I had a conversation with a friend not too awful long ago regarding cover songs. We fairly well agreed that, with exceptions of course, most covers are not better than the original. Very few are even as good.

That being said, different and interesting covers get my attention. Not that they are better, just different. And interesting.

I stumbled upon 15-year old Gabbie Rae on YouTube doing some very interesting covers along with Patrick Kennison accompanying on guitar and backing vocals.  I don't know much about either other than they make some interesting music together, taking songs of different genres and putting their own spin on them.

Here is a very stripped down acoustic version of Ronnie James Dio's "Rainbow in the Dark":

And here is a cool version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean":

They have also done covers ranging from Iron Maiden to Stevie Nicks to Curtis Mayfield

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Chicks That Rock: Grace Potter

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals have been around for a decade. But I just recently found them, so I'm a little late to the game.

A bit eclectic in the catalog, but the rockers are there and they so do rock.

And, she's an accomplished guitarist and keyboard player as well.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Texas Rangers, Ian Kinsler and Laundry

A lot of people are up in arms over the comments of Ian Kinsler in a recent edition of ESPN the Magazine. He called Rangers general manager a sleazeball and said he hopes the Rangers go 0-162 for the season.

Kinsler later backtracked a bit and said the comments were taken out of context, etc., etc.  Whatever.

There was much consternation over Josh Hamilton's parting comments a couple of years ago saying Arlington was not a baseball town.

Here's the deal. Kinsler and Hamilton are no longer Texas Rangers. They don't wear the laundry of my favorite team.

Baseball is a business. Don't get too attached to the players. In this day and age of free agency, chances are your favorite player is going to change teams. Get over it.

Whatever roving band of bat-wielding mercenaries is currently wearing my favorite team's laundry, that's who I'm rooting for.

We welcomed back a Nelson Cruz after his suspension. No longer wearing the home team's colors? Goodbye and good riddance or good luck, depending on your perspective.

The way things are today, I root for laundry. For better, or for worse, that's the way it is. And it's a lot less messy that way.