Twenty Essential Songs from Jerry Lee Lewis

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Viewing his life as a terminal battle between sin and salvation, Jerry Lee’s fierce energy was permeated with darkness;h e was dragging his audience to hell and he wasn’t happy about it.He has spent almost a decade watching “Gunsmoke” reruns

Ten Terrific Tunes Under Two Minutes Long

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After Twitter, Facebook, paying your bills, mowing the sheep, completing your bug collection, and waxing your eyelids, do you really have time to spin “Whipping Post” or “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”? Deep down, you know you’ll never get to the second disc of the Can box set

Rockin’ and Rasslin’ With the King In Memphis, Tennessee

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It has been said that Elvis remained a fan of Memphis wrestling throughout his life and given his fascination with comic book superheroes, there is no reason to doubt that assertion, even the large, bejeweled belts he wore, while performing in capes, resembled championship wrestling straps.

Jason Isbell, Southeastern, Reviewed

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Isbell doesn’t have the vocal presence of a natural born rocker and doesn’t try to be on this primarily acoustic based record. When wearing his comfort pants, Isbell specializes in a devastatingly forlorn sadness/regret voiced with schmaltz-free honesty

You Can Buy A Thrill: Steely Dan's "Peg" Reviewed

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Starting with a twelve-bar blues piano progression, Fagen incorporated jazz chords and a swing band style chorus into “Peg.” Chuck Rainey’s melodic bass playing is prominently displayed, while Jay Graydon contributed a Polynesian pedal steel influenced guitar solo

Billy Joe Shaver, Live Oak Music Hall, Fort Worth, May 31st, 2013 Reviewed

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Shaver is as authentic as a dirt road and he’s an engaging stage performer – dancing to the music, shadow boxing, leaning back and bracing himself to put his entire body into the song, displaying a huge, beaming smile most of the night. His discusses his Christian faith repeatedly during a show, leading to some of the oddest proselytizing you’ll ever hear

Taylor Swift, Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas, May 25th, 2013, Reviewed

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Swift inspires a somewhat unimaginable level of idolatry in her fans. Women of all ages wore homemade Swift homage garb to the show; they screamed incessantly and reacted to their heroine’s every move, statement, song, and gesture. Taylor has gone beyond the realm of both country and pop music, proudly serving as a pop culture celebrity.

Michelle Shocked Gives Good Hugs

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I doubt that Shocked is a savvy enough media presence to have purposely orchestrated the event. If one were in the diabolical public sentiment manipulation business, there are better end states than career suicide. It’s almost too easy to play armchair psychiatrist with Shocked.

Essential Songs of the Early 1930s

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Far below the surface of mainstream music, blues records were being made by Blind Willie McTell, Big Bill Broonzy, and a few others with scary adjectives in their names. The charts were more diverse than one might suspect – African- American performers Louis Armstrong, the Mills Brothers, and Cab Calloway were scoring hits

Blaze Foley: Forever In Duct Tape

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Foley played in small Austin bars, when they weren’t banning him due to drunkenness, and lived in a car. He released a few singles in his life, but album releases were never meant to be – master tapes were continually lost or stolen.

Hot Club of Cowtown At Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge, Fort Worth,Tx, Friday, March 1st, 2013 Reviewed

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The trio is comprised of three outstanding musicians – violinist Elana James, guitarist Whit Smith, and stand-up bassist Jake Erwin. Performing jazz and pop standards and Western swing classics, the virtuosos rotate playing rhythms/melody and taking solos. They know when to be unobtrusive and when to take the spotlight. They simmer and burn with equal aplomb.

The Essential Songs: 1991

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The Essential Songs of 1991 have all turned 21 now. They’ve discarded their fake IDs – some are in college, some are in the military, and there’s a trust fund baby in the crowd. They grow up so fast.

Two Hit Wonders!!

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Cub Koda and company are best known for their pro lung cancer anthem “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” which made it to #3 in 1973 and was covered by Motley Crue in 1985, becoming that band’s first Top 40 hit.

Carla DeSantis Black's GRL Talk

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“Such a tricky question, Steve!! But truly – anyone who stays true to their own vision and doesn’t allow the music business machine to sabotage their art is my hero – or heroine!”

Gil Scott-Heron – Too Black, Too Strong

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Scott-Heron’s catalogue is a mess, many of the albums he recorded for Arista from 1974 to 1983 are no longer on the market and there are too many bargain bin compilations to address. It’s hard to know in retrospect if Scott-Heron was a brilliant artist that never had the opportunity for the following he deserved

Essential Songs of 1989

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Public Enemy fought the power and The Beastie Boys released their brilliant Paul’s Boutique album. As we look back at the decade, we were able to survive a decade of synth-pop, kitschy videos, and electronic drums. As we peek around the corner to the ‘90s, I’m seeing flannel.

Essential Songs of 1988

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The Traveling Wilburys were the rare supergroup that deserved that designation and Public Enemy pushed rap music into a more stringent and confrontational direction. And if you haven’t heard Gary Stewart’s “An Empty Glass,” you’re missing out on one of country music’s most eloquently heart wrenching drinking songs

Essential Songs of 1987

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Bruce Springsteen contemplated married life and The Replacements saluted a Memphis legend and worked with The Memphis Horns. R.E.M. released their most muscular album while the Grateful Dead had a Top Ten pop hit.