Monday, February 28, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
Anyway, on to the review. Pat Green was a Texas mainstay prior to finding success on a North American level with "Wave on Wave." While he charted several top 40 hits following the initial success of "Wave on Wave", none have managed to reach the success of that top 3 song. His last top 15 single was "Dixie Lullaby", which peaked at number 12. However, someone forgot to tell the 1,000 or so in attendance last night that chart success doesn't matter. Launching in to a string of Texas country-rockin-deep-in-the-south-heartland music, the crowd was rocking with Pat all the way. Such fiery tunes as "Cannonball" and one of his radio tunes "Baby Doll" had the crowd singing along as if they were on stage. With Pat and his very talented band in good spirits, they tore the place up with stunning guitar riffs, strong vocals and great interaction with each other on stage. It is clear that Pat Green and his young charges absolutely love what they do for a living. They're sheer enjoyment of playing "Texas music" and playing before large crowds are what they live for. I would wager to guess that the size of the crowd is irrelevant, I think these guys would rock out in a coffee shop if you gave them the opportunity.
One of the highlights of Pat's set was having Wade Bowen join him on stage for a performance of the top 40 hit "Don't Break My Heart Again." I have always been a fan of that song and it still escapes me to this day that it wasn't a bigger hit than it was. However, one thing I learned last night was that the song was a co-write between Pat Green and none other than Wade Bowen. Although, as Pat described that particular writing session last night "Really, I was all f**ked up, Wade just told me what to write and I wrote it down." It's a great song and it was a great performance from the guys, as I mentioned, one of the highlights of the night.
As mentioned, opening the show last night was another Texas singer-songwriter, Wade Bowen. I've written about Wade Bowen in this space before, as he opened up for Cross Canadian Ragweed at their final performance in Chicago last October. Wade has been on the road in Texas and beyond for 13 years now, and seems to finally be getting some traction beyond the borders of the Lone Star State. He's a solid performer and a strong writer. He too, has a solid, very talented band backing him up. Playing his brand of Texas country, the appreciative crowd was soon singing along to Bowen mainstay's "Trouble" and "Matches", the latter of which went to number 1 on the Texas music chart. Two highlights from Wade's set were the melancholy "Mood Ring", which has an entirely different take on the popular novelty, as well as his more than adequate cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run." Soon after this performance, Wade closed his set and made way for the evening's headliner, Pat Green. The only downside to Wade's show may not even be in his control. At this show and the Ragweed show, I found it difficult to hear Wade's vocals. I could hear him, but it was a struggle at times as I found his microphone was overpowered by the guitars. Having said that, it's a minor inconvenience. This guy is a talented singer-songwriter. He is the real deal.
The overall energy in the room last night was bright, frenetic and contagious both on stage and off. Perhaps it's the fact that today is Texas Independence Day, and playing the night before was the beginning of one huge party. Perhaps it's the fact that these guys all love what they're doing and thank the Lord every day that performing for the people is was they get to do for a living. Perhaps it's both. One thing is for sure though, if you're reading this in the metro New York City area today, do your best to get to Terminal 5 in Manhattan tonight, as they hold their 3rd Annual Texas Independence Day Celebration, with Pat Green, Wade Bowen, Jack Ingram and others. If tonights show is anything like last nights, it will be one helluva good time.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Well, if you've been wondering what I've been doing the last couple of days since the Grammy Awards were presented on February 13 and why I haven't posted anything since then, the answer is pretty simple -- it's pretty hard to type when you're using both hands to feed yourself some crow to eat.
Of course, this is with respect to my bold prediction (which I still stand by) that Willie Nelson would win the Best Americana Album award for his "Country Music" release. The winner was Mavis Staples for her ANTI- Records release "You Are Not Alone." Having heard the title track, I can see why Ms. Staples would receive this honor, and I wholeheartedly congratulate her. My only regret is that I did not have the opportunity to preview the album in this space prior to the awards presentation. If I were a voting member, Willie would have gotten my vote, but I will say this, Mavis Staples' album will be in my collection shortly. You can count on the review coming up in a future column. Congratulations Mavis, this is a well deserved Grammy.
I was quite thrilled when I noticed some of my other favorites and notables walked home with some hardware. Patty Loveless has long been one of my favorite female country artists, and she walked home with the Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album for her Sagauro Road Records release "Mountain Soul II." The Carolina Chocolate Drops won the Best Traditional Folk Album award for their release on Nonesuch Records, "Genuine Negro Jig." And, Marty Stuart walked home with the Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance for "Hummingbyrd", which you will find on his Sugar Hill Records release, "Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions" (read review here).
One this is for certain, if an album is nominated at the Grammy Awards, it is deserving of your time. The unique thing about the Grammy Awards versus other awards shows and organizations, is that it doesn't focus on the chart position of a song or album. It focuses on the art that is presented before them. Of course there's some politics involved, it's a tough thing to escape when it comes to awards. But I find, more often than not, the voting committee for the Grammy's get it right. While I may not agree with their choice of victors on a couple of their winners ("Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum over "Free" by the Zac Brown Band? ... not so sure about that one ... a debate for another day), I do respect their choices because all of the nominees are of such high calibre and high quality.
Now we have a whole year to look forward to new releases from exciting and creative artists who will give us something to talk about at length next year. Before the next Grammy's though, we have the Americana Music Association Awards at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee in October, so that will give us a nice debate in the fall. In the meantime, we have a lot of things to look forward too, including a spring, summer and fall filled with Americana music festivals all across North America and Europe. For more information on festivals, artists and all things Americana (and to purchase discounted tickets to the Americana Music Festival from October 12 to 15, 2011 in Nashville), check out the official web site of the Americana Music Association.
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