Tag Archives: Patsy Cline

My iPod Has Issues – One Bond is Better Than Another

13 Oct

I was watching James Bond. Actually, I was watching Sean Connery, the real James Bond. My wife thinks Daniel Craig is the real James Bond, but everyone knows that is not true. Anyway, she did not want to watch the real James Bond and changed the channel to Taken, the movie where Liam Neeson is tough but not as tough as James Bond.from-russia

Since there is nothing on television, I decided to get on the blog and type something. The only problem is that I do not know what to type. Maybe I will go to an old faithful and explore what is going on in my iPod.

To stay with the theme, I will start out with a classic James Bond song.

“Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey

“Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” by James Taylor

“Cheap Sunglasses” by ZZ Top

“Sumertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran

“Good Rockin’ Tonight” by Wynonie Harris

“Workin’ Man Blues” by Merle Haggard

“Crazy” by Patsy Cline

“The Twist” by Chubby Checker

“Fool To Cry” by The Rolling Stones

“Stand Back” by Stevie Nicks

“Walk This Way” by Run-DMC

“Hotel California” by The Eagles

“Behind Closed Doors” by Charlie Rich

“Pre 63” by Groove Armada

“Drops Of Jupiter” by Train

“Play Me” by Neil Diamond

“Tangled Up In Blue” by Bob Dylan

“Daddy Doesn’t Pray Anymore” by Chris Stapleton

“Atlantis” by Donovan

“Old Man Willis” by Tony Joe White

Rock Died When Guns N’ Roses Broke Up

11 Dec

The other night, my wife and I were riding down the interstate and having a conversation about music. I cannot remember the context, but, at some point, I said, “Rock died when Guns N’ Roses broke up.”

My wife said that I had to remember that line because it would make a great title for a blog post. I knew that she was right, but I had no idea what should go under that title. Now, I may have figured it out.

I am a fan of most musical genres, but Rock has always been my favorite. It is a genre that changed the musical landscape in the 1950s and found itself changed in the decades that followed. Rock and Roll. Psychedelic Rock. Prog Rock. Punk Rock. Glam Rock. Southern Rock. Heavy Metal. There are different styles. They are all Rock, and I like them all.

I could list many Rock Stars, but the list would go on and on. Instead, all the Rock Stars and Rock Bands, no matter the style, fit within the lines of an AC/DC song.

There was sound.

There was light.

There was drums.

There was guitar.

Using the past tense is fitting because Rock is dead.Rock Dead

Some people are going to argue that point and mention that Rock Bands still exist. That is true. However, Rock as the dominant genre is dead. In my opinion, current Rock Bands perform on the fringes of popular music. In the old days, Rock Bands were the leaders of popular music. They ruled the airwaves and the charts.

All of that ended when Guns N’ Roses broke up. This does not mean that it is the fault of Guns N’ Roses. Plenty of groups before them broke apart, and they were only following an established pattern. The difference is that there was, in my opinion, no Rock Band to replace them. They were replaced by Grunge. The flamboyant clothes were replaced by cardigan sweaters.

Rock Bands still tour and fill up arenas, but they are the bands of old playing for people reminiscing about their younger days. The Rock Stars are graying, and their fans are retiring. It is strange to hear someone who qualifies for AARP singing lyrics that relay the feelings and thoughts of their younger selves.

When I was in high school, there was an awesome Rock station in Nashville. 103.3 WKDF played all of the great stuff. I laid in my bed with headphones over my ears and listened to Metal Shop. Many years ago, that station changed to a Country format. It was a sad day, but it was a fitting and smart business decision.

At times, I lament that state of Country music. The genre should be a singer standing behind a microphone and singing about heartbreak and loss. Instead, it is a genre about partying and having a good time. A contemporary Country concert would be unfamiliar to Hank Snow, Patsy Cline, Roy Acuff and others. However, it is familiar to me because it has sound, light, drums and guitar.

Country has filled the void of Rock. Today’s Country fans would have been Rock fans in the past. A while back, we went to a Kenny Chesney concert, and Joe Walsh, a guitarist who epitomizes Rock music and its culture, was his special guest. At the time, I thought it strange. However, it was the only place for Joe Walsh to go.

I know the history of music from the 1990s until now. I know the bands and the singers. However, I still think Guns N’ Roses was the last great Rock Band. When they broke up, Rock as I knew it died.

 

Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry

19 Nov

Living near Nashville has many perks but being around a lot of great music is at the top of the list. You can go almost anywhere and hear talented people. However, there is one place that stands above the rest. The Ryman Auditorium sits downtown and was, for many years, home of the Grand Ole Opry, the radio show that put the music into Music City. I have been to the “Mother Church” many times for many types of concerts, but Friday night brought a completely different experience. Necole and I were able to go backstage at the Ryman for the Grand Ole Opry, which moves back to its home during the offseason.

Our hosts were Dr. Bob and Leslin, his daughter. Leslin was one of my students and has a great blog. They were able to get us in because Dr. Bob is the doctor who many stars see when they have issues with their voice. He knows a lot of performers and was able to provide us with this special experience.

We started the evening with a great meal at Sperry’s, one of Nashville’s dining institutions. Then, we headed to the Ryman. I was worried about getting a parking space because Justin Timberlake was performing across the street, but Dr. Bob and Leslin had that taken care of. We parked in the lot reserved for the Opry performers.

We walked through the alley between the Ryman and Nashville’s famous honky tonks. We made it to the backstage entrance, and the history began to hit me. Country legends had climbed those same steps to perform for a packed house and countless people listening across the nation on WSM radio. When their set was finished, they would walk back down the steps to the bars across the alley. That’s where they would kill time until the second show.

Up the stairs was a man at a desk with a list of names. Once we got past him, we walk through the door and were on the stage. The show had already started. Music was playing, and the crowd was clapping. Immediately, one of the backup singers hugged Dr. Bob and told us to come on up. We ended up standing next to the backup singers. Everyone in the audience could see us. In front of us was the announcer who introduces the acts and reads the commercials. Eventually, he walked over and talked to us.

At the first break in the action, I took a picture of what was going on behind the curtain.Opry 1

Necole and I were amazed at the casual atmosphere. As the music played, people were talking and joking around. It was like a big family reunion. The hallways were small, and people couldn’t help but bump into each other. At one point, Dr. Bob wanted to introduce us to someone. We walked over and had a good conversation about music and life in Middle Tennessee. He asked about our jobs, and we asked about his. Around the corner, Riders in the Sky were practicing, and Necole became more interested in them than the conversation. She had to have a picture, and I took it. I am not great a picture-taking, so the blurriness is the fault of the photographer.Opry 2

Later, the accordion player asked me what I did for a living. When I told him that I was a historian who researched the American West, he nearly fell out. He wanted to talk all about the history of cowboys and their music. That’s when I told him about the magazine I had that listed them as one of the top 50 artists of the Western music genre. He acted like he didn’t know it.

We went back to the stage in time to see an elderly lady perform. The crowd was cheering enough for us to know that she was a major star, but we couldn’t tell who she was. Dr. Bob found out that it was Jean Shephard. None of my group recognized the name, so I got to show them some of my knowledge of music history. She was a big star in the 50s and 60s but faced terrible tragedy. Hawkshaw Hawkins, her husband, died in the same plane crash that killed Patsy Cline.

Eventually, it was time for the last segment, and the host walked into the wings. At first, all we could see was his red coat. When he turned around, we saw that it was Jim Ed Brown, another great star of the past. He sang a few songs before introducing the band that we had come to see – Old Crow Medicine Show. The newest members of the Opry brought down the house with an energetic performance that included “Wagon Wheel“, which was their song before it was Darius Rucker’s.

That’s when Necole and I realized that the guy we talked to earlier (back when Riders in the Sky was practicing) was the lead singer of Old Crow Medicine Show. Everyone around us was taking pictures. This is one that I took.Opry 3

That’s Jim Ed in the red coat, and the announcer standing next to him. The crowd loved Old Crow Medicine Show to the point that Jim Ed gave up his last song for them to be able to sing another one.

After the show, we walked back down the steps and into the alley. People were lined up to get into the honky tonks, and music could be heard coming from all of them. That’s when I realized that the alley is only a few feet across, but there is a long way from those stages to the one we just stood on.