So, I have a bit of a guilty conscience. Tonight is the first time I listened to the classic Marvin Gaye album “What’s Goin On.” I’ve heard the hits, but it’s a different experience to listen to the album in it’s entirety. First off, much respect to Marvin for having a hand in writing every song on the album. The composition of the songs are so beautiful. Layers upon layers create a texture that fits perfectly with Marvin’s voice. “Save The Children” is such an amazing song. It captures a worried man pouring his heart out about the future of the children of his community. The bass guitar on this record is top notch. Kudos to James Jamerson for his contribution to this album. The subject matter of this album is heavy, but Marvin really made you feel comfortable while listening. Although, Gaye sounds troubled he doesn’t convey his concerns in an angry tone. Considering this album was recorded in 1971, it’s truly mind blowing how much better it sounds that today’s top 40 music. “Wholy Holy” is such a heavy and beautifully recorded song. I can’t even convey how pure Marvin’s voice sounds on this album. No wonder this album is legendary. I feel like a idiot for never listening to it until now. “Make me wanna holler and throw up my hands.”
Okay tonight is the first time I’m listening to the punk rock band “Black Flag” for the first time.
Their debut album “My War” from 1983. Let me begin by saying I’ve become a huge fan of Henry Rollins as of late. Mainly through podcasts and other interviews. This is my first experience with his music. At first listen, I recognize the extreme power of this band. Talk about in your face, these guys were definitely that. Not polished, but obviously talented in their field. Again, I’m the farthest thing from a punk rock expert. The band is really tight. From my understanding, the guitarist Greg Ginn wrote the majority of the songs on this album. It’s pretty impressive when the singer, isn’t the chief songwriter in the group. I really love the drums on this album. Bill Stevenson was obviously on point when it came to playing the drum parts and also the recording sounds so real. However, the drums were recorded is perfect for the sound of this band. Someone on board was a master a microphone placing. A lot of times heavy music like this doesn’t sound “live” on the album, but these guys really captured the sound of the band. “Swingin Man” left me confused and wondering what just happened, which was probably the intent. The songwriting wasn’t earth shattering, but very virile. Rollins really was a perfect fight for this band. Anger and angst personified. I had a real problem with some of the guitar work. I just couldn’t get lost in the songs due to the tone of the guitar. The rhythm work was great, but the lead solo breaks were hard to listen to. Maybe that’s what Ginn was intending. Dale Nixon really shined on “Three Nights.” Excellent bass guitar work on that song. All in all, this is not my kind of music. So don’t take offense when I say I’ll probably never listen to this album again. Maybe punk rock, isn’t my jam. That being said if want to try something different, take a listen. The album definitely doesn’t sound dated. I would’ve never guessed this album was recorded in 1983. Very ahead of it’s time, just not my style.
September 4, 2018
Dear friends and neighbors,
Night time is here. I’m getting older every day and most days I don’t even think about it. That being said, today it was a theme in my mind. I try to eat healthy…during the week anyway. I also notice my hair is turning more and more gray. It may be falling out too. At thirty six years of age, these things shouldn’t surprise me. I don’t guess I’m surprised by the changes in my looks and feels as I get older. It’s still weird to see the lines around my eyes. My soul and spirit is still youthful as ever, but I can’t ignore that the clock is starting to take it’s toll on my body. I went for a jog this evening and my stamina is definitely not what it once was. That being said, I felt like a million bucks after my cardio session. Growing up, my musical heroes were almost all over 40 years old. Waylon, Merle, and Willie to name a few. I idolized the hard living that they had all lived through. I’m proud to say, I don’t follow in their footsteps. Pills, drugs, and over drinking are not part of my life. I do enjoying a drink now and then, but the days of overdoing it are behind me for sure. Watching my parents get older is also something that has been hard to accept. Somewhere in my mind, they never should be sixty years old. The truth is that time doesn’t slow down for any of us. I try to take care of myself, because I want to be here as long as possible. I can’t understand people who let themselves become whatever without being aware of their health. Not bashing anybody else, but the choices we make throughout our life really add up as the sand sprinkles in the hour glass. I’m listening to Emmylou Harris this evening. Her music is timeless. I wonder what people a hundred years from now will think of her records. I recommend the Rodney Crowell song she recorded “Til I Can Gain Control Again.” It’s such a beautiful piece of music. Take care and have a great night. Sincerely yours,
September 3, 2018
The Hillbilly Luchadore Podcast
Dear Friends And Neighbors,
Well, I just had a minor anxiety attack. I thought my record player had stopped working. Fortunately, I had my headphones plugged into the line in jack, which apparently stops the turntable from turning. Wow, that would have been a bummer. Anyway, happy Labor Day good people. Eric and I had a pretty successful session yesterday. When you really want a quality recording, the process cannot be rushed. I felt like we really put the time and effort into this session. Now I just hope I can do it justice by mixing the recordings correctly. Labor Day is kind of a strange holiday. As Americans and Canadians, we celebrate the fruits of our labors by not working. Which I find ironic. Something about Labor Day weekend makes BBQ tastes even better than usual. We had Moe’s Original BBQ in Trussville last night and it was top notch. I picked up some CDs Saturday at the public library. I know I’m a musical hoarder/junkie, but it’s a great way to check out albums that I might not buy any other time. The library is a superb resource that I feel the general public neglects to utilize. Anyway, I try to checkout at least 5 Cds per week and rip them to my laptop. On weeks when I don’t have a set subject for the podcast, I think I’m gonna start discussing those albums. This week I have Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” Jackson 5 “The Ultimate Collection,” R.L. Burnside “Mississippi Hill Country Blues,” Bruce Springsteen “Born To Run,”and Black Flag “My War.” Speaking of Black Flag, I’ve went back and listened to the podcast that Ari Shaffir did with Henry Rollins recorded back in 2016 three times in the last week. The show is called “Skeptic Tank” and the episode is entitled “All That Wander Are Not Lost.” Skip the first and last 20 minutes. Ari blabbers on too much in the intro and outro, but the body of the podcast is unforgettable. Henry shares his knowledge of world travel and I find it fascinating. I finally rode my bike today for the first time in over a week. I really can’t function fully without some form of cardio exercise. I really feel like it’s a natural anti depressant. Anyway, Happy Labor Day and do yourself a favor… go listen to Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers “Refugee” at high volume. It does great things for your soul. Peace Out
August 31, 2018
Friends and Neighbors,
Many challenges have risen this week. That being said, I pushed through and tried to maintain my positive outlook on life. It seems to be a common theme to complain and spread negativity in these modern times. I’m not saying I never complain, but I try to keep it at a minimum. Anyway, I’d like to touch base on a few things that I discovered and encountered this week. I was deeply effected last weekend by watching the documentary on Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers entitled “Runnin Down A Dream.” I guess subconsciously I’ve been in denial that Tom Petty is no longer with us. The documentary was so well done. Tom Petty was a man who truly lived his dreams. I learned a lot about the band and their journey to rock n roll royalty. The way Tom spoke about his career and musical history was truly something to behold. He appeared to be a man who knew exactly what he wanted in life and took the necessary risks and steps to achieve his goals. “I Won’t Back Down,” truly was the song that best described Tom’s attitude toward the world. I also realized after watching the documentary and listening to several of the Heartbreakers’ albums over the past week that Mike Campbell is one of the best lead guitarists on the planet. I love the best friend type relationship that Tom and Mike had. That had to be the coolest experience ever to play in a very successful band with someone you're that close with. “Listen To Her Heart,” has been on my mind a lot this week. I’ve heard it a thousand times, but revisiting the song this week has been a pleasure. I bought a very clean vinyl copy of “Full Moon Harvest,” a few weeks back. It was my first Tom Petty vinyl purchase. I’m definitely gonna try to get my hands on all his albums after watching this documentary. I listened to the entire “You’re Gonna Get It,” album this morning and was blown away by the creativity displayed on the 1978 album. There are songs on the album that I wouldn’t have been able to guess were Heartbreakers’ songs. Which is super cool considering I’ve been a fan for the majority of my 36 years on this planet. Back to “Full Moon Harvest.” I totally forgot that this was Tom’s “solo” record debut, without the Heartbreakers. It does explain why the record sounds so different from the earlier Petty albums. “The Apartment Song,” is a hidden gem on the album. It’s such a fun song. I think it really shows how much fun Tom was having recording that album. I’ve also done some reflecting this past week or so. My good friend Eric and I are about to do some recording together for the first time in quite some time. We’re planning on recording “Into The Mystic” by Van Morrison. The “Moondance” album is an absolute work of art. Anyway, the significance of the song “Into The Mystic” is that it was our dear friend Daron Holderfield’s favorite song. Daron passed away almost 2 years ago. Daron was an inspiration to Eric and I and a great friend. He had lost his right hand many years earlier in an accident. But don't think that it affected the way he played music. Daron continued to play and develop a sound on bass guitar that was truly something to behold. Anyway, we would have these 3 or 4 jam sessions in Daron’s garage/music room. He was constantly teaching us new things and jamming along even when his health was fading. Rather than try to record all the tracks for “Into The Mystic” at once, I decided to record the vocal and acoustic rhythm tracks first this past weekend. I got it done and emailed it to Eric so he could critique and practice along with the track this week. The next day he brought something to my attention I was completely unaware of. Keep in mind I’ve been playing guitar for over 20 years. I recorded the acoustic track in 440 hz tuning. Apparently, the original Van Morrison recording was in 432 hz tuning. Now I encourage you, even if your’e not a musician to research and watch a couple of YouTube videos on the comparison of 440 and 432 hz tunings. It’s fascinating how different the vibe is when using the 432 hz tuning. We shall see if we can do this legendary song justice and our dear friend as well. On to other things, I’m developing a slight obsession with Giorgio Moroder’s records. He was so out there man and such a pioneer in what became the signature sound of 80s pop music. His use of the Moog Sythnesizer was so ahead of it’s time. I know, I know I’m supposed to be a guitar guy. I can’t lie or resist the temptation of the layers of sonic delights on Giorgio’s records. I’m also finishing reading Graham Greene’s “Orient Express.” I can’t begin to describe how much I love his writing style. So colorful and he really captures the emotions of the characters in his books. This is the second novel by Greene I’ve read. “The Quite American” was phenomenal as well. Anyway, after a 50 plus hour work week I think I’m done for this Friday night writing session. God bless my wife for taking care of me and our two furry sons. Much love to all.
Supporting Independent Artists
I often have people that hear my music make the comment “that I should be doing this for a living.” I find that one of the highest compliments that a musician can get. That being said, I challenge you as a fan of the music to find an independent artist that inspires you. There’s no excuse not to seek out these individuals. The internet has opened up so many doors for artists, much like myself. I’ve had the opportunity to share my music with millions, primarily through YouTube. Unfortunately, the monetary funds are not that great for independent artists. My challenge for you is to not only seek out artists, but buy their music. I’m not saying spend the money to buy an entire album necessarily. Just send the artist a message and let them know you want to support their art. Sites like PayPal are great ways to send artists a buck or two. I’m not begging for money for myself. I just know that independent artists do not have the funds for advertising that record labels provide for more popular artists. I see people complaining about mainstream music on a daily basis. The only way to change the system is to help the artists in the trenches grow their audience and finance their music. Studios, equipment, and most importantly time are not free. Anyway, just something that’s been on my mind as of late. Take care my friends.
Dean was born March 26, 1955. Hailing from the small Tennessee town, Lake City. Located in East Tennessee right outside of Knoxville with a population of around 1,700 people. Dean’s songs would go on to be known all around the world.
Dean was inducted into the Nashville songwriters hall of fame in 2002. Dean also has the look of the quintessential cowboy, complete with a mustache that even Sam Elliott would appreciate.
Dean wrote “Set em up Joe” recorded by Vern Gosdin which is probably the song most identified with Vern to this day. “Is it raining at your house” is also one of the most popular ballads Gosdin ever recorded.
Also wrote Keith Whitley’s first single “Miami My Amy” and the hit “Homecoming 63”
Also my favorite Brooks and Dunn song “I’ll never forgive my heart”
Kenny Chesney “A lot of things different” which is probably the most pure country song of Kenny’s career.
Dean also wrote Tennessee Whiskey which was one George Jones signature songs and later helped Chris Stapleton burst onto the national scene with his bluesy rendition of the song.
But Dean’s biggest success was writing for George Strait. From the beginning Dean, was George’s go to for hit songs and album cuts as well. Dean even wrote “Unwound” which was George Strait’s first single and kicked off Strait’s unbelievable 35 plus year career.
Here’s a few of the song
“It ain’t cool to be crazy over you”
“I’ve come to expect it from you”
“If I know me”
“Easy come, easy go”
“Marina Del Ray”
“Nobody in his right mind would have left her”
“Ocean Front Property”
“The Chair” which both are two of the most clever lyrically that Strait ever recorded. “The chair” was co-written with another country music songwriting legend Hank Cochran. And was written in about 20 minutes after a late night song writing session.
Also “Back to being me” which is one of my favorite album cuts from the “ If you ain’t lovin, you ain’t livin” album.
Dean also has written songs for Toby Keith, Leann Womack, Alabama, and Shenandoah.
Dean has a great website deandillon.com that has a ton of cool information about his career. In 2017, a documentary was released entitled “Tennessee Whiskey, The Dean Dillon Story.”
Also check out my podcast The Hillbilly Luchadore Podcast. Episode 93 is all about Dean Dillon's songwriting career. It's on iTunes and Youtube.
Money in the bank 2017
First off, I watched this show from beginning to end and found myself just hoping it would get better. My wife actually watched this entire show with me as well. She pretty much was left with the same feeling I had after it was over. This show was about one word "f*ckery." The fashion police and Naomi were the only two baby face wrestlers to come out of their matches in victory. Although, the women's MITB match was very entertaining, the finish was horrible. Carmella needed the win, but she's far from ready to be the next women's champion. I really don't understand why Charlotte has lost her push. She's by far the best female wrestler on Smackdown. Tamina Snuka put on a great performance in this match and if given the chance could be a big time attraction in the women's division. The crowd was really into the match, but the finish really took the air out of the arena.
Then we had Naomi vs a very "green" Lana. Naomi is really becoming a fun wrestler to watch. This match was subpar, mainly due to Lana's lack of experience. Way too much screaming and diva like wrestling style from Lana. 👎🏻👎🏻
The New Day vs The Usos for the tag team championship was a great match with a lack luster finish. The Usos have really stepped it up a notch since turning heel. The New Day as characters are just not my forte, but when the bell rings the guys deliver. After a long match of back and forth action, The Usos just walked out. Took the count out loss and retained the tag titles. Aren't PPV shows supposed to resolve issues? 👌🏻
Mike Bennett and Maria debuted in what could and should have been a great moment, WWE really screwed the pooch on this angle. The gimmick is that he's taken her last name and they're both excited to share their love story with the WWE universe. What a joke, especially considering how talented these two are.
Next Randy Orton tried to regain the WWE championship from Jinder Mahal. Randy was the hometown boy and even had some legends, including his Dad and Ric Flair on the front row. Unfortunately, this match was pretty much a carbon copy of the first meeting between the two and the Sing Brothers cost Orton the match again. Jinder is one of the few wrestlers in WWE today that has a finishing move that actually finishes his opponents after hitting it once... I guess that's a plus for wrestling psychology. I don't know where Orton goes from here. 👌🏻
In the next match , the fashion police defeat The Ascension. Too silly to even go into. 👎🏻👎🏻
Finally, the MITB match. The crowd never really recovered from the "f*ckery" of James Ellsworth in the first match. Although, it looked as if they were waking up with A.J. Styles coming out first. The next too last competitor was Nakamura, who probably got the loudest ovation of the night before he was immediately attacked by Baron Corbin from behind nonetheless. Nakamura was taken to the back by officials and "medical" personnel. The air was taken out of the arena once again. The crowd popped from time to time for some of the crazy ladder spots, but didn't really fire back up until Nakamura returned at the end of the match. Nakamura took out pretty much everyone and then came face to face with Styles for the moment of the night. The two battled back and forth... until the "f*ckery" returned and Baron Corbin tossed both Styles and Nakamura off the ladder. Baron Corbin wins the MITB contract and the St. Louis crowd mercifully is able to leave this horrendous event. It was one of the worst PPVs I've seen in recent memory. I just hope that Styles and Nakamura are allowed the chance to complete one on one in the WWE. 👎🏻👎🏻
George Jones is arguably one of the most influential artists in country music history. Hell, it's there's no argument in my eyes. George stayed true to the sound that he loved his entire career. There are literally dozens of great George Jones albums, but one of my favorites has always been "Walls Can Fall." George was 61 in 1992 when this album was released. The song "I don't need no rocking chair" was a smash hit and was the reason most fans bought the album. It's one of those records you can listen to from beginning to end and not skip a song. The album has a very different feel from George's other work. George was not a musician, he was a singer. I would imagine it would be difficult to choose songs that fit together like this album does and not have a hand in instrumentation. George did that his whole career. This album really showed how great his voice could be and how he knew exactly how to make a country album that would stand the test of time. The albums title track tells the tale of a man who has found love, even after he had truly given up on ever finding it again. It's a powerful message in a simple song. That's one of country music's greatest gifts to the world. Another stand out track is "Finally Friday." Which still gets me pumped up after a long work week. George also covers Merle Haggard's classic "Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down." To my knowledge, that song is one of the few songs that George, Waylon, and Merle all recorded their own versions of. "Wrongs What I Do Best" may some up the majority of George's rough and rowdy ways. He was a legend and a wild man for many years, but fans like me still love him for it. If you're not a fan, give this album a listen and you just might change your mind.
The wife and I were off work this past Thursday & Friday for my birthday. I'm 34, which still sounds and feels weird, but I still feel good for a guy half way to 68. Anyway, Friday we had to hop on I-20 to go to the courthouse to renew or license plates. On the way there, I asked her "Hey, do want to go to Atlanta?" She kind of looked at me shocked and said "for real?" So we stopped off at the tag office and we were on our way. It's only a little over 2 hours driving to Atlanta. We grabbed some gas and snacks. We knew we couldn't stay but a few hours because our dogs were at home waiting, we try to leave them for any length of time over 8 hours. The inspiration for the trip was watching the Anthony Bourdain episode of "The Layover" on Netflix. My favorite Sunday afternoon show as of late. I made notes the previous weekend while watching Anthony explore the city. I had around 15 to 20 places in my notes, definitely not expecting to conquer the list. The main target was the Buford Highway Farmers Market.
We actually arrived without any traffic issues, which was a pleasant surprise. The farmer's market was HUGE! Total sensory overload. We were hungry so we decided not to shop before we ate. There are several options inside the market for a quick lunch. We ate some asian cuisine that had been prepared earlier that day. We didn't arrive until around 2pm, so the lunch rush was over. Unfortunately, the food wasn't that great...due to the time of the preparation I would guess. Not terrible, but no great. Still a great price for the quantity of food we had. After our late lunch, we shopped and it was a blast. We frequent the Asian grocery stores here in Birmingham, but the inventory at the Farmer's Market was way more extensive. My wife was really excited to see a Filipino aisle. She loves the food of her heritage and unfortunately we don't have many Filipino options at the Asian grocery stores here in Birmingham. We walked the many aisles and looked at foods from many different cultures. Everything from Japanese to Eastern European. This place has it all. There's also a fresh fish market and great fresh meat market. This place is a must for any foodie.
After our farmer's market exploration, we hit Buford Highway. Buford Highway is filled with multicultural restaurants. Everything for Korean to Mexican. Traffic had started to build by this time. The only drawback for a quick trip to Atlanta is the traffic. It's always a factor. So we drove north, away from the Atlanta metro area. Luckily we found a Filipino market and she bought to prepared meals to take back home. She was so tickled:) We ended up driving to Diluth, to place called MJ tacos. Which is a Korean/Mexican fusion restaurant. My wife ordered some parmesan fries as an appetizer. We basically split them, after I tried them I couldn't resist. Then I ordered the Kimchi spicy chicken quesadilla and a spicy pork taco. She ordered a steak taco. I was absolutely blown away by the flavor of my selections! My wife wasn't as impressed. There was a sweet flavor to the meat and she just didn't care for it. Which turned out fine, because she was still kind of full from the Asian food earlier. So I ate her steak taco too! I told her multiple times "If this place was in Birmingham, I would eat there at least once a week." It was AMAZING!
After that we decided to head back down I-85 to the downtown Atlanta area and back to I-20 to head back home. The traffic was crazy, as we expected. We did okay, as it only took about 30 or 40 minutes to get through Atlanta. All and all it was a great impromptu trip. We only checked off one place on our Atlanta dining list (The Buford Farmers Market), but we will definitely be going back to the ATL very soon.
First off, let me start by saying I've been a huge fan of Eric Clapton's music for over twenty years. The first complete album I remember purchasing and listening to from beginning to end was "Unplugged." The album was recorded live for a popular MTV series in the early 90's. Clapton by this time was a guitar playing rock/blues legend. He truly had nothing to prove with this release. As a matter of fact, most people thought that Clapton's best days were behind him. No one was expecting the album to be a commercial success. As he had done many times before, Clapton proved everyone wrong. The album officially brought Clapton back as a main stream artist. In a very different way I might add. Clapton had adopted an 80's rock sound such as synthesized drums and other heavily effects driven backing tracks, but by the time the 90's rolled around those sounds were all but gone. So he decided to go in a completely different direction, as he done many times throughout his career. For the show, he played a 000 Martin acoustic guitar, a Fender nylon string guitar, and a Dobro on the album. His signature Stratocaster was no where to be found. The backing band was tight. Clapton seemed focused and very energized to play a type of music he truly loved, raw acoustic blues. As a result, the fans were treated to one of the greatest comeback albums of all time. The album is also still one of my favorite's. I downloaded the "Deluxe" edition last month on iTunes. For some reason I've been obsessed with the song "Alberta." It was originally recorded back in the 70's for the "Slowhand" album. It's just a masterful old time blues song. There are many stand out tracks on the "Unplugged" album. "Tears In Heaven" was by far the biggest hit. A refreshing completely different of the classic "Layla" was also critically acclaimed. "Running On Faith" is by far one of the most beautiful slide acoustic songs that Clapton has ever recorded. "Old Love" was performed with unbelievable emotion in an acoustic live environment. The album finishes with a rowdy, foot stompin' version of the blues classic "Rollin and Tumblin." My final analysis is that this album is a must listen for any music fan, not just the Clapton faithful such as myself.
My views on Father's Day have always come from the perspective of a son. I don't have children of my own, so it's always been about celebrating the contributions of my dad and my grandfather. Both have made a huge impact on the man that I am today. As of Father's Day 2014, the meaning of the holiday became bittersweet for me. That day was the last time I spoke to my grandfather, or as I call him "PaPaw." I vividly remember the conversation. I had called my dad to wish him "Happy Father's Day" and he just happened to be at my grandparents house. They were shelling peas...yes we are really that "country." Anyway, the conversation was short. I remember ending with the words "I'll be coming to see ya'll soon." Then he said "that'll be good." I hadn't seen my grandparents in person since Christmas of 2013. For six months, I was too busy or at least that was my excuse for not taking time to go see them. July 1st 2014, my grandparents had a terrible car accident and my "PaPaw" passed away on impact. My grandmother would live 40 days after the accident. It's cliche, but don't pass up the opportunity to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.