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OOPS - almost forgot

Posted on January 4, 2013 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (143)
So many great releases this year that I forgot to make mention of Willie  Nelson's Heroes. This is Willie's most consistently good album for many years. His son, Lukas,contributes three of his own songs and vocals. His brother Micah  Nelson also appears on the final track with Lukas.
Other guest include  Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Billy Joe Shaver,  Ray Price, Jamey Johnson, Sheryl Crow (who caught Willie's "gotta duet with everybody" disease long ago)  and Snoop Dogg.

Q. Why did Willie Nelson cross the road ?
A.  To do a duet with the chicken

I also forgot to mention the wonderful 2012 albums by Tom Pacheco and Ronny Elliott.

Tom's Luminol: The Houston Sessions is classic Tom Pacheco - great stories and social comment. Woodie Guthrie would have been proud to have written Tom's Solidarity. 
The Girl With The Blue Guitar & The Black Beret is a little cinematic vignette.

Ronny titled his album I've Been Meaning To Write as it's been 5 years since the release of Jalopypaint. This is classic Ronny Elliot.  Mojo magazine describes his music as "Craggy but literary country blues like Jerry Lee Lewis if he were a beat poet or Townes Van Zandt with a Ph.D."
I love his line "she's sleeping her way to the bottom" from the track A Doctor And A Lawyer.

Tom the Teacher's Best of 2012

Posted on January 4, 2013 at 1:24 PM Comments comments (164)
Last night Tom the Teacher (retired) joined me for what was our 5th annual "The Year That Was" show.

Here are Tom's Top 10  albums for 2012:
 1. Chris Wall - El Western Motel
 2. Willie Nelson - Heroes
 3. Gary P. Nunn - One Way Or Another
 4. James Hand - Mighty Lonesome Man
 5. Todd Fritsch  - Up There In The Saddle
 6. Leyla Fences - Itty Bitty Twang Twang
 7. Kelly Spinks - Right Out Of This World
 8. Tim Culpepper - Pourin' Whiskey On Pain 
 9. Wesley Dennis - Country Enough
10. Waylon Jennings - Goin' Down Rockin'

Best of 2012

Posted on January 4, 2013 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (286)
2012 saw a slew of fantastic releases.

This is the first time in 16 years I've wimped out and had a shared #1 album of the year.

Leyla Fences “Itty Bitty Twang Twang” was my favourite album for the last half of the year, then Chris Wall releases his first album in 10 years “El Western Motel” and rockets to the #1 spot.

I could not possibly split them.

Chris Wall - along with the 2 Toms (Russell & Pacheco) is the most literate song writer of out time - music like Chris Wall's is the reason I have been presenting my radio show for the last 16 years.

Leyla Fences has clever lyrics , memorable melodies, great playing and production - modern honky tonk classics with a nod to the practical feminism of Loretta Lynn.

Balance of my Top 10 ( in no particular order)
Todd Fritsch - Up There In The Saddle
Rodney Hayden - Atascosa Sand
Mighty Lonesome Man - James Hand
Small Town Kid - Jack Higginbotham
Billy Don Burns - Nights When I Am Sober
Tartan Cactus Heart - Charlie Roth
Greg Tressell - The Hard Way
Jesse Dayton - Jesse Sings Kinky
Aaron Watson - Real Good Time

It was a great year for music from groups:
The Great Unknowns - S/T
The Washers - Tired Eyes
JP Harris & The Tough Choices -  I'll Keep Calling
Jason Arnold & The Sidesteppers - Crazy Things
J.W.W. & The Prospectors - It's High Past Time

And singer-songwriters:
Nanci Griffith - Intersection
Matt Harlan - Bow And Be Simple
Walt Wilkins - Plenty
Jimmy LaFave - Depending On The Distance

Tommy Alverson was busy with 2 new releases - Pickin' On Willie and  Texas One More  Time as well as a re-release of  Live At Ozona's.

Lost gonzo Gary P. Nunn came up with one of  his best albums One Way Or Another.

We were treated to Waylon Jennings'  "last album'"  Goin' Down Rockin'  and great live albums from Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver.

Bob Dylan's Tempest  is his best since Street Legal.

And Neil Young was back with Crazy Horse for two great  2012 albums - Americana and Psychedelic Pill.   Twisted Road from the latter is one of his best songs ever !

The best Australian release of 2012 was Catherine Britt's Always Never Enough.
Recorded in Jimmy LaFave's Cedar Creek Studio in Austin  , she co-produced it with Kasey's dad, Bill Chambers who also plays guitar and mandolin on the album
All the songs are originals with the exception of Guy Clark's She Ain't Goin' Nowhere on which the writer shares the vocals.
Other guests on the album include the ubiquitous Lloyd Maines, Gurf Morlix, Ray Bonneville and Jimmy LaFave. Also Aussie indie music legend Tim Rogers (You Am I) sings with Catherine on one track.

New Chris Wall album

Posted on November 30, 2012 at 8:18 PM Comments comments (223)
It's only taken Chris Wall ten years for  to follow up  "Just Another Place" with "El Western Motel" on his Cold Spring  Record label.

Texas music's most literate songwriter is still exploring his favourite themes of love lost and the trials and tribulations of performing.

The album's one page say's it all:
Like all of Wall’s previous work, El Western Motel pulls no punches and dodges no attacks. It’s equal parts mea culpa, apology, and defiant bluster bolstered by the usual assortment of concise, insightful lyrics that have been a hallmark of Wall’s career. 

The ubiquitous Lloyd Maines ( do this guy ever sleep ?) plays some wonderful dobro, resonator, slide and lead guitar on the album as well as co-producing with Chris and Merel Bregante.

The album was recorded in Bregante's studio in Austin.

Cody Braun from Reckless Kelly plays fiddle and mandolin.

Reckless Kelly backed Chris on "Tainted Angel" back in 1998.

Listen to this record and the listen to all Chris Wall's previous releases.

They will make you life a better place.

Music like "El Western Morel" is the reason I keep the Cosmic Cowboy Cafe open for business


Posted on September 30, 2012 at 9:54 PM Comments comments (334)
* Charlie Roth - Tartan Cactus Heart 
See the video of  Home to Me on my Music page
* Gary P. Nunn - One Way Or Another 
A classic album of Texas Music from one of the genre's enduring masters
* Jerry Jeff Walker - Live from Austin TX  (double  cd)
This is Jerry Jeff at the peak of his powers recorded in 1984 at Dixie's Bar & Bus Stop
* Walt Wilkins - Plenty
Songs from the Texas hill country
* Jimmy LaFave - Depending On The Distance
Jimmy's usual mix of original songs and Dylan covers - he does Dylan better than Bob. He takes Missing You the 80's pop hit for John Waite and imbues it with plaintive yearning.
* Leyla Fences - Itty Bity Twang Twang
Worth the money for the title alone, Leyla Fences puts the honky back into tonk. 
* Janis Martin - The Blanco Sessions
RCA had Janis Martin slated as the "female Elvis". However marriage and a child got in the way and this rockabilly album was recored only months before she died in 2007. She was encouraged and produced by the Rockabilly Filly herself, Rosie Flores.
* Catherine Britt- Always Never Enough
For my moneyAustralia's best female country artist (sorry Kasey!)
Recorded in Jimmy LaFave's Austin studio and produced By Kasey Chambers' father, Bill.
Guests on the album include Guy Clark, Gurf Morlix, Jimmy LaFave, Eliza Gilkyson, Bill Chambers, Tim Rogers, Ray Bonneville, Carrie Rodriguez
* Bob Dylan - Tempest
I love Bob Dylan but haven't really loved a studio album since Street Legal back in 1978. However, I do like Tempest, especially the 14 min title track about the sinking of  The Titanic where Bob manages to sound more like a pirate than Long John Silver.
* Ronny Elliott - I've Been Meaning To Write
Well after  five years I'm glad Ronny finally has written another album full of literate yet quirky songs such as A Doctor And A Lawyer with the line "she's sleeping her way to the bottom". Classic Ronny Elliott.