Saturday, February 26, 2011

Drive By Trucker - Go Go Boots Review

I meant to post a blog late last night but I made the mistake of putting on some Dax Riggs music and I almost lost the will to live. After hiding the razor blades and a good night of sleep I have finally gotten off my lazy butt to blog....well sort of. I had two I am behind on and I knew there was no way I was doing two today so I had to make the choice between the reviewing the Jamey Johnson/Kid Rock concert or the new Drive By Trucker CD. DBT wins.

Those of you that know me well know that I am a huge Drive By Trucker nutswinger so it is logical to question if I can write an unbiased review of their music. Short The band could release a CD of Patterson, Cooley and Shonna farting and I would probably compare it to Crosby, Stills and Nash or Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers when they were all in their prime. I also am not going to give a Rolling Stone type review that is so full of hot air and big words that mean nothing that it leaves the reader still wondering if the music is good or not. If you are like me, all you need to know is if it sucks or not. I am going to do a track by track breakdown and rate it on a scale of five.

1. I Do Believe - This is my least favorite song on the CD and they open with it so my initial hopes for the CD were grim. I would classify it as filler but Patterson must really like it to make it track 1. I give it a 2.5/5

2. Go Go Boots - Give Patterson a news story containing some preaching and some killing and he is going to make a great song out of it. He did it on "The Big To Do" with The Wig He Made Her Wear, which I loved (I went to high school in Selmer, TN, which is where that story occurred), and I think he topped it with Go Go Boots. As the song unfolds you are taking in every line wanting to see what happened next. Very strong track. 4/5

3. Dancin' Ricky - This is Shonna's first track on the CD and I am going to label this one a grower. The first couple of plays I didn't like it at all but after about 15 plays, I am starting to like it. I much prefer her other track on the CD but this one is okay. 3/5

4. Cartoon Gold - Finally we got a Cooley track. Cooley is the most consistent writer of the band. It is rare that you get a track from him that is not solid and he delivers big time on Go Go Boots. Cooley's lyrics are not always clear when it comes to their meanings but he can work phrases and words like no one else. Cartoon Gold falls into that category. 5/5

5. Ray's Automatic Weapon - This is my 2nd favorite Patterson song on the CD. They opened the last two Nashville shows with it and at the time I was unfamiliar with the song but after getting the studio version I cannot stop playing it. In typical DBT fashion the song has some rather dark lyrics yet I think it is one of the more catchy tunes on the CD. 4.5/5

6. Everybody Needs Love - This is the first of the Eddie Hinton songs they cover and I had heard them do it live several months before the CD release. The song is very well done and it opens up the music of Eddie Hinton to a new fan base. I was unaware of who he was until DBT were praising him. Eddie died in 1995 but thanks to DBT they are helping keep his music alive. I really like this song and give it a 4/5

7. Assholes - I am not sure who Patterson wrote this song for but I think the title pretty well sums up how he was feeling. It has a nice sing along feel to it, despite the anger in the lyrics. I like it. 4/5

8. The Weakest Man - Cooley, acoustic guitar, need I say more. I love this song and give him another 5/5

9. Used To Be A Cop - This song I didn't like at first but once I listened to the lyrics it told a great story and it has grown on me a lot. I think as you listen to the song you will think of someone you know. 3.5/5 (might become a 4 at some point)

10. The Fireplace Poker - Preachers and killin'. This one is much more brutal as you get a lot of the details of the murder. A truly tragic story. Patterson must be a habitual viewer of TruTV and I can see him grabbing a notepad every time one of these stories are spotlighted. 4/5

11. Where's Eddie - This is another Eddie Hinton track and Shonna does a great job on this song. I have seen a video of this being performed at a soundcheck and the live version is better but that is not to take away anything from the studio version. 4/5

12. The Thanksgiving Filter - I love this song. It makes me think of all of those holiday movies with the crazy family members and then you have the people arguing over politics, etc. We all can relate to this song in some form or fashion. 4/5

13. Pulaski - Same as #8. Cooley with his acoustic guitar equals win. This song is something anyone growing up in a small town can relate too. You think the big city will be different but in the end you still long for and miss your small home town. 5/5

14. Mercy Buckets - This is my favorite Patterson song on the CD. I heard the live version first and it blew me away. I think this is one of the best songs Patterson has ever written and it closes out the CD stong. 5/5

Overall this is a good release. Their last CD was more of a rock record and they have gone the opposite direction with Go Go Boots. Go Go Boots is slowed down and has that Muscle Shoals sound. Cooley is acoustic on all three of his tracks and my one complaint is that he only has three tracks. My first play of the CD left me unsure of how I would like it but with each play I have grown to love it more and more. If you prefer your music to be light on subject matter and a bit poppy, this isn't for you. DBT sing about the hardships of life that they have seen and experienced and that is why they have such a dedicated fan base. It is real life.

Mercy Buckets


Ray's Automatic Weapon

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ozzy Osbourne/Slash - Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN February 16, 2011

Ozzy used to be a name that struck fear in parents and to be honest, he scared me just as much when I was in junior high but I was still drawn to his music. Blizzard, Diary, Bark At The Moon and the Ultimate Sin were in heavy rotation in junior high and high school. The end of my high school days and start of my college life was consumed with GNR's Appetite for Destruction so with these two forces of Ozzy and Slash combining at the Bridgestone Arena I was looking for a fun filled show.

The ticket stub stated the start time at 7:30 but thanks to following Slash on Twitter I knew he was starting the shows early, at 7:20. Axl.....take note, Slash starts his shows EARLY. I know that is a foreign concept but you should try it. Yes, I am still bitter over having to wait for you for three hours in 1992. Anyway, Slash has a wide catalog of material to choose from and I think he did a great job of representing all stages of his career. The show opened with "Ghost" from his latest solo CD and Myles Kennedy proved why Slash chose him to be his vocalist on this tour. The second song was "Mean Bone" from the second Snakepit CD and then they kicked things into high gear with "Nighttrain". Anyone not yet on their feet were at the opening of "Nighttrain" and they were up for the rest of the set. After another Snakepit tune, they launched into "My Michelle" and "Rocket Queen" and at this point Myles had me thinking "Axl who?". The band and the crowd were feeding off of each other's energy and it didn't stop when the next two songs performed were from the new CD. The new material got a great response, as it should have, but it was nothing compared to the eruption that occurred when Slash hit the opening note to "Sweet Child of Mine". At this point in the show I was thinking that Slash needs to return to Nashville soon as a headliner. Things didn't let up after Sweet Child as they ripped into Velvet Revolver's "Slither" and then closed the set with "Paradise City." I was expecting a good set from Slash and Co. but they far exceeded my expectations. I can honestly say they were one of, if not the best, opening bands I have ever seen. They definitely got the crowd warmed up for Ozzy and I feared Ozzy would have a hard time competing. If you are a fan of GNR, VR, or a Slash solo, this is a show you must not miss. The entire band is solid and Myles Kennedy is a phenomenal vocalist. He was hitting Axl notes that Axl can't hit anymore. Slash looked so happy on stage with these guys and it makes me wonder if a GNR reunion would be worth the headaches of dealing with Axl. I hope Slash continues to work with these guys in the future and I hope to see them in Nashville again soon. They were so good they made me forget about Slash's appearance with the Black Eye Peas at the Superbowl and that is saying a lot.

After a VERY short break the lights went down and a video montage of Ozzy in various movies, TV shows and videos was shown. This showed Ozzy's great sense of humor and it was worth it all just to see him as a cast member of The Jersey Shore and Twilight. As the video ends, Ozzy walks out on stage and greets the crowd and then announces "Let the madness begin". And so it did. While Ozzy has gone Lorena Bobbitt and cut the setlist short, the hits never stopped coming. Opening with one of my favorites "Bark at the Moon", it really got the crowd fired up for a night of some classic Oz. Ozzy wisely played the one new song early in the set and "Scream" was well received but let's face it, we want old school Ozzy/Sabbath and when Scream ended that is what we got the rest of the night. "Mr. Crowley" was next and it was this song that Ozzy took the opportunity to bring out the foam cannon for the first time. Only at a rock and roll show can people get so excited about being sprayed with foam by a senior citizen. I couldn't tell who was enjoying it more, Ozzy or the crowd. Ozzy is like a big kid, which is a good thing, and his love of the crowd seems genuine as he was smiling all night long. In 20 years he has evolved from the Prince of Darkness to the lovable, down to earth, humorous Ozzy. As the set continued with the standard Ozzy hits it was the Sabbath tunes that generated the greatest response. "War Pigs" was one of those goose bump moments as thousands of people are singing those classic lyrics at the top of their lungs. "Rat Salad" was thrown into the mix and gave Ozzy a chance to rest as the band showcased their talents. With a rhythm section that formerly were part of Rob Zombie's band, bassist Blasko and drummer Tommy Clufetos, it was easy to see why Ozzy wanted to hire these guys as they are both very skillful and also good showmen. New guitarist Gus G did a very fine job of replacing Zakk Wylde. I hope Ozzy keeps him for awhile and Gus gets his chance to shine as other past Ozzy guitarists have. The set ended with "Crazy Train" and I knew the band would leave the stage and be back for the encore. However, Ozzy never left the stage and instead the band kicked off the encore with "Mama I'm Coming Home" and ended with the always crowd frenzied "Paranoid" and I can't think of a better way to end it.

Ozzy only played 14 songs. As the tour has progressed the set has gone from 20 songs to 14 so I am assuming it is to save Ozzy's voice and to keep him rested. If you are a diehard Ozzy/Sabbath fan it is a show worth attending, especially with a strong warm up band like Slash. If you are just a casual fan I would say it might not be worth the money. The show ended at 10:00pm which means Ozzy could have played up to another hour. I loved the show and the setlist but I do wish he had included at least a couple more songs. Touring is probably not easy on Ozzy and I am not sure how many tours he has left in him so I am glad I went. I personally feel like it is the touring and the fans that keep him going and if that is true I hope to see him again soon.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Five Songs For The Weekend

This blog was supposed to have been a Robert Plant review but due to the weather I, along with most ticketholders, were unable to attend. The venue and promoter didn't see the need to cancel the show. I will refrain from publicly ripping them for now. I have complained enough that the promoter has asked me to call on Monday. So, if I get a refund, I will not mention it again. If no refund is given I will be back to publicly bash all those involved.

In the meantime, enjoy some fine music. These are all tracks that have been heavy on my Ipod rotation this week.

1. Social Distortion - California (Hustle and Flow)
Social D's new CD Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes is getting a lot of play from me. The track California (Hustle and Flow) is one of those tunes that makes you just want to get in the car and drive.

2. Lucero - The Mountain
This song will result in me getting a speeding ticket. This is my favorite Lucero song.

3. Slobberbone - Barrel Chested
I still remember the first time I heard this song in the summer of 97. I was in Dallas for work and a local radio show played this song. I have been a Slobberbone fan ever since.

4. Ironwood Bluff - Slip
Ironwood Bluff are some up and comers from Tupelo, MS. I like these guys and I hope you do too. Slip is from their new CD. Check it out.

5. Breathing Machine - Highway
These guys disbanded after this CD but it is solid from start to finish. If you can find it I highly recommend you pick it up.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

American Aquarium/Zach Williams and the Reformation - 12th & Porter - Nashville, TN 02-04-2011

Any time it is cold and rainy, with a chance of snow, on a Friday night, the odds of me getting out are about as good as me not wanting to punch Nancy Grace in the face. However, if there is one thing that will get me out of the house and defy the elements it is a great band with the promise of a fun show. The band that fits that description is American Aquarium.

At the beginning of 2010 if you had asked me what I thought of American Aquarium I would have responded with "Who?". If you asked me the same question at the end of 2010 the reply would have been "My favorite new band of 2010". While they are not a new band, they were to me and ranked #2 on my Ipod's played list for the year. (The top honor once again goes to the Drive By Truckers). I arrived at 12th & Porter a little early as I was thinking that AA were first to play on the triple bill. I was going to watch them and go home so I still had plans to be in bed somewhat early, something every lazy man strives for. Once I got there, I found out they were the second band to go on and this turned out to be a good thing as Zach Williams and the Reformation were opening the show. Ladies and gentlemen.....Southern Rock is alive and well These guys looked and sounded like they stepped out of the good part of the 1970s music scene. If Skynyrd and the Black Crowes produced a love child it would be Zach Williams and the Reformation. This was another case of me not being familiar with a bands material but after reviewing their website I think a lot of the music they played may be from an upcoming album. They did mix in a cover of 30 Days In The Hole and nailed it. Zach Williams has the voice for this genre and the whole time I was watching him I couldn't help but think he moved like Chris Robinson while looking a bit like Kevin Nash. The bass player, Red Dorton, has a definite rock star stage presence as well. This is a band I will be keeping an eye on.

By the time American Aquarium came out the place was packed. The headliners, The Delta Saints, were having their CD release party but there were a good number of AA fans in the crowd as well. The band did not disappoint. When you watch American Aquarium you get the impression that they put it all out there if they are playing for a sold out show like this one or if they were in your backyard. They kicked the show off with one of my favorites, "Katherine Bell", and pretty well stuck to the more up tempo tunes. Most of the setlist came from their CD "Dances For The Lonely", and included "Ain't Going To The Bar Tonight", "Louisiana Beauty Queen", "Good Fight", and "I Hope He Breaks Your Heart". When BJ sings "I Hope He Breaks Your Heart" he sings with with such emotion you can't help but want to give him a hug and hope that her life is miserable. A new song, "Redheads and Adderall" was mixed into the set (see video I shot below) and hopefully we will hear this on the next CD. They closed the show with "Clark Ave." This song should be to them what Rock And Roll All Night is to KISS. This is the perfect song to close it out and they brought the house down with it. It has a very honky tonk feel to it and I have no doubt that Mickey Gilley would be proud. I am not sure what I enjoyed more, hearing them perform it, or watching the band enjoy themselves so much on stage as they played it.

I hope to see American Aquarium headline in Nashville soon so I can see them play a full set. BJ is a great front man and his between song banter was hilarious. I am not sure why a girl would date him now because at some point they are going to become a song. I also got to meet Jay, Kevin, and Ryan and you couldn't meet a nicer bunch of guys. They are a band that truly appreciates the fans. Jay made me feel good by being the only guy there that was probably older than me and for the record, he can wear out a B3. One of the great tragedies of the music industry will be if these guys go unnoticed. They have great talent, great songs, and the drive to succeed. We as music fans should be embracing them so they will be around for many years to come. Buy their CDs, go to their shows, and most of all, tell some friends about them.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ashley Cleveland - Third & Lindsley Nashville, TN 01-14-2011

First of all, I know this review is late but if you read the name of my blog you will notice it does not say "The I Will Get Right On It Guy's Music Blog".

My all time favorite female vocalist played at 3rd and Lindsley on January 14th and this show made me happy for three reasons: 1) Great live music in a small venue, 2) It started at 7:00pm, which meant I would be home early, and 3) A sit down show and you could order dinner. Trifecta baby!!

If you are not familiar with Ashley Cleveland shame on you. She is primarily in the gospel music market but should be on everyone's radar as a talent that should not be ignored. American Idol continues to pump out boring garbage season after season and people eat it up and yet a talent like this is largely overlooked. Ashley has been nominated for I think three grammys and taken home two of them yet people still look at you like "Who?" when you mention her name.

From the moment Ashley sang the first syllable to Queen of Soul she had the crowd captivated. Her soulful voice draws you in and makes you feel what she is singing. One of the best compliments I ever heard regarding Ashley was from my wife. It was around ten years ago and I started playing an Ashley CD and she said "that black lady can sing". Not many white women can pull that off but she has a voice that could easily do Motown justice. She proved that on her cover of Higher Ground. I am pretty sure if Stevie Wonder heard Ashley's version of his song he would be proud.....and convinced she isn't white. Ashley stuck to material from her last three CDs along with two new, unreleased songs, a Rich Mullins cover, and Jimi Hendrix's Let The Good Times Roll. If Ashley's vocals aren't enough for you, she has a beast on guitar, who also happens to be her husband. Kenny Greenberg is a jaw dropping guitar player who makes it look so effortlessly. Mix in a rhythm section that was flawless and it made for a very enjoyable night of music.

Ashley doesn't play a lot of shows so it is wise to check her website on a regular basis to see where she is playing. I have the luxury of living in the same town she does so a lot of her shows are close by. If you do not get a chance to see her perform, please check out some of her music. I do not think you will be disappointed.

Setlist (that I can remember and not in order): Queen of Soul, You Gotta Move, When The World Comes To An End, Power of Love, Don't Let Me Fall, The Blessing, Let The Good Times Roll, two new tracks, the Rich Mullins cover, Riding With The King (gave me goosebumps), and Higher Ground.