“The goal of a songwriter is to make the song seem like it wasn’t written but that it always existed” David Alan Bell recently posted on Twitter.
“The goal of a songwriter is to make the song seem like it wasn’t written but that it always existed”
David Alan Bell via Twitter
David Alan Bell is a Nashville native, as a singer/songwriter he didn’t have to pack up and go to Music City, He was already there. I appreciated David’s Twitter comment and I believe that he certainly knows what a good song is supposed to sound like. He has posted his covers of the greats like Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. After finding David Alan Bell’s Spotify page, I found a few great ones that he had written himself.
Give him a listen and a follow on Spotify, you won’t be disappointed.
The original Maines Brothers Band consisted of James Maines and his brothers, Raymond (Sonny), and Wayne Maines. The band hailed from the West Texas Cotton Farming community of Acuff, Texas. As most of the area including Lubbock County was “dry” at the time, the 1950’s, the band would often travel to places like Post, Texas, 40 miles to the southeast to play their music. Post was where the people of Lubbock would go to buy their beer and dance, generally just to blow off a little steam.
Often in my blog I have commented that Lubbock is a mecca for great music. The Maines brothers are no exception. It is fact, that one of these original “Maines,” Wayne, first began the work of teaching Buddy Holley chords on the guitar while riding the school bus from that little place called Acuff.
James Maines’s sons, Lloyd, Kenny, Steve, and Donny often went with their dad and uncles while they were playing their gigs. This group of youngsters began performing as the opener for the original group and were known as “The Little Maines Boys.”
As parts of Lubbock County began legalizing the sale of liquor, “The Little Maines Boys,” began playing each Sunday at the Cotton Club, a popular dancehall as a matinee. The older Maines brothers band which consisted of their dad and uncles would then take the reins and play late into the night. As the older Maines began fading in to the West Texas sunset and hung up their instruments, these Little Maines Boys stood up and became the next generation of the “Maines Brother’s Band.”
As a birthday gift for my brother the other day, I gave him a copy of an Album by this next generation of Maines Brothers. “Route 1, Acuff.” I am sure most everyone has heard the great works of Lloyd Maines on the steel guitar, or the solo stuff by Kenny, but hearing this band in its earliest and original form performing altogether certainly brings chills of great pleasure that will pulsate from your feet to your ears.
Lloyd Maines is probably the greatest Steel Guitarist ever to live. He started playing on a homemade steel given to him by his uncle in a little farmhouse in Acuff, Texas. Lloyd has played with Texas greats like Guy Clark, Terry Allen, Joe Ely, and Jerry Jeff Walker. He was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of fame as one of its first three members. (Along with Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughn.) In recent years, Lloyd has produced some of the greatest albums of all times. He won a Grammy Award in 2003 for his work on the album Home, by his daughter Natalie Maines band, The Chicks.
Kenny Maines was only 7 at the formation of the “Little Maines Boys.” It is said that he had to stand on a wooden crate just to reach the microphone. After touring throughout the 80’s, Kenny and the Maines Brothers began to settle down and split up the band to pursue each one’s personal dreams. Kenny became a County Commissioner in Lubbock, a position he held for many years. More recently, Kenny has left the politics behind and once again picked up his guitar to do what he loves which is to make music.
The other night I was honored to attend a performance by Kenny Maines. He opened for the band Exile at the Cactus in Lubbock. I loved his performance. He covered much from the Lubbock music scene and represented this long-evolved Lubbock Sound well. During his set, Kenny included songs from Mac Davis, Terry Allen, and Buddy Holly. He also shared his original music. Kenny Maines newest album is, The Magic Train. I held onto every word and each note from his guitar. He is a wonderful and very professional entertainer. I had the pleasure to speak briefly to him in the Lobby of the Cactus Theatre and he is a very down to earth sort of guy. Kenny’s music is available on his website http://www.kennymaines.com/home.html and on Apple iTunes.
This Lubbock Sound is still growing and evolving even today with acts like Brandon Adams & the Sad Bastards, Mason & The Gin Line, and Flatland Cavalry. The Lubbock Sound is and has always been one of my all-time favorite styles of music. I appreciate men like the Maines Brothers who kept this tradition alive and well.
For as long as I can remember, I have had a love for music. I share that love with my baby brother. (Who is not such a baby anymore). My little brother Luke turned 40 earlier this week. Little brother has been listening to the music of Exile since the day he was born, I guess. He rates them as his favorite band ever.
My Sister in Law, Brother, and I prior to the show
My little brother recalled some memories last night, he said he could still see himself sitting in his room alone with a vinyl record of Exile spinning on the turntable. He told me that the music of Exile was soothing to him and removed his fears of those imaginary monsters in the closet that haunts each of us at one time or another through our childhood. My brother’s “monsters” happened to come in the form of clowns, and he was glad that he had this music to drown out their noise.
Last night we finally got to see this group we have loved for so long perform live.
With my sister in laws persistence, she helped make this night extra special for Luke, the band went as far as handwriting his name onto their setlist and singing him “Happy Birthday” from the stage. After the show, we were honored to spend a moment with the group backstage and thank them personally for creating 55 wonderful years of wonderful music.
I will be forever grateful that I got to share this moment in time with my brother. It is a memory that I shall never forget. The concert last night at the Cactus Theatre in Lubbock was greater than any of my expectations.
The band Exile was formed in 1963. As I recall, they were most popular in the late 70’s and Early 80’s. The band was originally formed in Richmond, Kentucky after a band called the Fascinations featuring Jimmy Stockley merged with another local band whose lead singer/ guitarist was JP Pennington. When the band first began, they aligned themselves to becoming a rock group but later switched to the country genre.
In 1978 the band scored big in the pop charts with their number one hit “Kiss You All Over.” This song featured the vocals of both Stockley and JP Pennington. It was written by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn. On a radio broadcast from May 1979, Top 40 Disk Jockey, Casey Kasem reported that Chapman’s inspiration for the song “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me” by Barry White.
Throughout their extended musical career, Exile has toured with some of the greatest bands of my generation including Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, The Oak Ridge Boys and Kenny Rogers.
Exile’s founder Stockley is now deceased, but his co-founder, Pennington has done his best to obtain many of its original members and to keep their one-of-a-kind style of music alive. The group of performers we saw and met last night, Included lead vocalist JP Pennington, Vocalist and Guitarist Les Taylor, Bassist and backup vocalist Sonny LeMaire, Keyboardist Marlon Hargis, and Drummer Steve Goetzman.
Besides performing music and making their own hits, in my own observation, this group did much for country music as a whole. JP Pennington is responsible for writing and first recording some of Alabama’s greatest hits. Pennington penned the songs, “Take Me Down” and “Closer You Get” both of which became #1 hits for the group Alabama. Exile Guitarist, Les Taylor, created the song “It Ain’t Easy” which would become award winner musician Janie Fricke’s second number one hit.
Members of Exile have also written songs that were recorded by other major artists such as Kenny Rogers, the Forrester Sisters, Sheena Easton, Tracy Lawrence, and Travis Tritt.
If I had the chance to see this band live every week, I would. This concert was for sure one for the books for me. The group had such a grand stage presence and were delighted to interact with their fan base young and old. Even though it was a sold-out show, there were moments that I felt like they were playing only to me. The group encouraged us to sing along with them on our favorites and they made each of us feel welcomed. I think I knew every word to everything they sang last night and after some reflection I realized they hadn’t even come close to playing their entire catalog of music during the two-hour set.
Backstage with Exile at the Cactus Theatre Lubbock, Texas
I encourage those of you who appreciate music to listen to Exile. This group continues to make my life better through their song.
John R. Miller may not have been born in Texas, but his music fits right into the Texas Country genre that I know and love.
Miller grew up near the Potomac River in the panhandle of West Virginia. He found an affection for country music at a young age- primarily singer-songwriter stuff. His tastes in music are remarkably like mine. Tastes including the trifecta of superstars that we lost last year during the Pandemic. Prine- and Texas own Shaver and JJ Walker. John R Miller’s website https://jrmillermusic.com/press also lists Texas gods like Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt as some of his biggest influences. The bio goes onto to say that Oklahoma bred J.J. Cale a forerunner in the Tulsa sound was the biggest influence in Miller’s music.
“I wrote most of these songs after finding myself single and without a band for the first time in a long while,”
John R. Miller
At Midnight today, 7/16/2021, John R. Miller released his latest piece of work, his newest album, “Depreciated.” The soulful self-reflecting lyrics throughout this album tell the stories of Miller’s home in the Shenandoah Valley and the reasons why he can’t go back there. “Depreciated,” is a long way to come for a guy who used to record his songs on a blank cassette tape. This mix of country, rock and blues takes a trip to the hard facts of life, no matter where you came from be it the desert in West Texas or the lush green hills of West by God Virginia.
Rounder Records states Miller’s reaction to the new record in John R. Miller’s own words, “I wrote most of these songs after finding myself single and without a band for the first time in a long while,” Miller says. “I stumbled to Nashville and started to figure things out, so a lot of these have the feel of closing a chapter.”
The album is definitely worth the time to take a listen to for music fans everywhere. It is one that I am gonna be spinning for a long time to come.
This week on the release radar I came across Ben Allen Curry. He writes songs about the oilfield. The oilfield has been the way I make my living and the way my daddy did before me. The oilfield is the only reason I call this God forsaken West Texas Desert my home. I have lived here most all my life. I reckon I will never leave.
“‘Midland‘ has more streams in 1 day than all my other songs. Thank you to my oilfield family for taking this song and running with it!”
Ben Allen Curry
Curry says on his Facebook page about his latest single, “‘Midland‘ has more streams in 1 day than all my other songs. Thank you to my oilfield family for taking this song and running with it!”
I also like how he recently described my home on Facebook, “Ironically I’m currently in West Texas soaking up all the Desert Sand I can take. It’s hell on my songs. The wind makes it hard to sing.” Said Curry.
The wind makes it hard to sing.
Ben Allen Curry
I love West Texas and yes I can relate to the fact that somedays that hard wind is gonna blow and when it does, hard and hell is actually a very polite way to describe it.
So, I did a thing a few weeks ago- I went to the local music store and bought myself a guitar. I got one of those starter sets that came with everything- the guitar, the strap, the tuner, the gear bag, a few picks- I have thought many times I want to learn how to play- just to pick a few chords, maybe strum a song. I have tried before to learn but got all flustered and lost my patience. So now I am older, and I feel I have more patience not to mention more time to do something for me- something I enjoy.
I bought a Yamaha Acoustic by the way- I keep hearing Steve Earle’s voice in my head-“Everybody told me you can’t get far On thirty-seven dollars and a Jap guitar.”Hey, I am pretty proud of this Jap guitar. Honestly, I don’t think I could have got a better deal on a quality guitar.
Here’s the deal, I mean if you are trying to find patience in your life, try to teach yourself to pick a guitar. One minute I feel like man I am really getting this thing and the very next everything goes to hell in a hand basket.
SO, did I mention that the starter set came with everything? Well, it lacked patience, it lacked the thousand beginner YouTube videos that all say I can be a star in only a short while. Each video shows you how to do something a little different- Not to mention- Just last night as I sat down with a real live human, and he told me how to play in a way that was completely opposite of what those videos were all teaching.
The starter set also lacked the new fingertips to replace the ones that have been so sore after each night of trying to get the perfect sound to ring out.
Guy Clark Croons out something about those strings in one of his songs, “Playin’ Black Diamond Strings
Black Diamond Strings Are like white flour and grits”
I think I would rather describe my strings like cactus thorns and jalapeno peppers being impaled into my skin with shards of hot glass- Just Saying.
I learn a few chords today, then I forget them by tomorrow, so I relearn them then I try to switch from say an A to an E and I end up in some twisted F sharp or something- practice- practice- practice. I was way outta tune on the Big Fat E string and I go to tune tune tune and practice practice practice and blam I am outta tune again- and Zing the Big Fat E string breaks and crap! Now that is something else I need to mention is the super beginner starter set didn’t come with any spare strings and so practice is over for the present and I guess the lessons in patience begin again.
I will get new strings and back to work at it tomorrow- Never give up! When all else fails- keep on strumming.
Just one day ago, Charley Crockett released his newest single, “I Need Your Love,” in preparation for another record. Crockett Plans to release his 10th album since 2015, Music City USA, mid-September.
This soulful teaser to the upcoming album, “I Need Your Love,” was written by Crockett and Mark Neill. The song seems to me to have a Motown feel that is mixed with Charley’s styled country and rockabilly sound.
Mark Neill produced, Welcome to Hard Times, which was released by Charley Crockett in 2020. He has stuck with Charley for this upcoming album, Music City USA.
Mark Neill is a producer with over 30 years of experience. He has won awards for his work as a producer including a Grammy for “Best Alternative Music Album,” for his work with the Black Keys. Charley Crockett has stated that Neill is the only person who could have brought his vision to life. I believe in Charley and cannot wait to hear what’s in store on this next album.
“Sad, uplifting, hard, and sweet, complex and delicate all at once, his songs are like life itself, just like the songs’ creator: like nothing you’ve heard or seen before, a genuine Texas original.”
Joe Nick Patoski
About the new album and Charley Crockett Joe Nick Patoski wrote, “Sad, uplifting, hard, and sweet, complex and delicate all at once, his songs are like life itself, just like the songs’ creator: like nothing you’ve heard or seen before, a genuine Texas original.”
I whole heartedly agree with Patoski. Listening to Crockett brings me a breath of fresh air in this dust storm called life. Crockett has a way with words. Listening to the ranges of music on any of Charley’s songs brings me great pleasure. Charley Crockett is a skilled songwriter whose songs give his listeners a view to deep inside of his soul.
Charley Crockett Performs at the Ector Theatre Odessa Texas May 7,2021
I have been to several concerts this year, and have tried to make the best of life in this post pandemic world we are living in. Seeing Charley Crockett Live last May is one of the Highlights of my own life in this trying year. If you ever get a chance to see this showman in action, you should take the opportunity. Just as Charley’s songs I could listen to over and over and still be able to appreciate the volume of skill that this man displays, I feel that I could see Charley Crockett and his band night after night and still never grow bored. You never know what is coming next. His variation of songs are all so different yet all of them contain a vintage feel that I have grown to love.
“This album will give people a really good look into what it’s like culturally in Appalachia. People have a way-off view from the outside of what we’re all about, what our priorities are and how smart we are.”
Charles Wesley Godwin
One of my favorite new finds on Spotify is the musician Charles Wesley Godwin. I have been listening to his album, Seneca. My favorite thus far on the album is titled “Seneca Creek.” The album features a heartfelt acoustic version of the song. “Seneca Creek,” tells the tale of Godwin’s grandparents in the setting of the spring of 1949.
Godwin has a way with words. His songs paint a picture of his roots which grow deep in the Appalachians and West Virginia. He has a knack for a folk and bluegrass style of music.
Charles Godwin’s website, http://www.charleswgodwin.com, gives this artist’s own interpretation of his music, “This album will give people a really good look into what it’s like culturally in Appalachia. People have a way-off view from the outside of what we’re all about, what our priorities are and how smart we are.”
Many of his songs remind me of something that someone like Townes Van Zandt would have written. His songs are about people and places that reach beyond the constraints of time. They are songs that could and will be universally recognized and easily relatable. Godwin is a natural born storyteller. His father was a coal miner and his mother a schoolteacher who taught him many life lessons that he carried with him into his musical career. Through his hard work and determination, he ultimately began to reach his goals.
Growing up, he enjoyed the outdoors and sports. West Virginia University was calling Godwin’s name and he expected to walk onto the football team there. When football didn’t pan out for him, he picked up his guitar and turned to music. I for one am glad he did. His talents for writing and performing will carry him far.
It was confirmed today that the Rockabilly and country performer Sanford Clark died yesterday in a hospital in Joplin, Missouri. Clark had originally been hospitalized for cancer treatment contracted the corona- virus, the said cause of his death.
Sanford Clark was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1935 and later moved to Phoenix, Arizona. In Phoenix, Clark crossed paths with Lee Hazelwood. Clark’s most famous recording was “The Fool.” Written and produced by Lee Hazelwood.
Hazelwood worked as a radio disk jockey and wrote songs, he had just begun a new record label, Viv. “The Fool” would become Lee Hazelwood’s first hit as a producer and a songwriter when Clark recorded the song. Hazelwood later found large success with artists Duane Eddy in a string of hits such as “Rebel Rouser.” Probably Hazelwood’s most famous work was writing the song,”These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” recorded by Nancy Sinatra.
“The Fool” was covered by many artists including Elvis Presley. In 1965 Sanford Clark re-recorded the song and featured Waylon Jennings on guitar. This most popular song of Sanford Clark was featured in the Netflix film, Win It All, and in the movie Dallas Buyers Club which starred Matthew McConaughey.
In Rock n Roll Superstar, Keith Richards’, book titled “Life,” Richards credits a song written by Sanford Clark, “Son of aGun” as one of the first songs he learned and performed on stage, even before he formed The Rolling Stones.
Sanford Clark made history with his music, with a career spanning from 1955 to 2017. He Shall be remembered.
When you think of Dallas what comes to mind? The third largest city in Texas- A city that never closes coupled with Ft Worth and surrounding suburbia to create the DFW Metroplex? Perhaps the big blue star of the Dallas Cowboys comes to your mind? Maybe you are old enough to remember Dallas as a popular evening TV soap opera- Who shot J.R.?
As of today, July 4th, “Dallas” is the newest single by Lucas Jagneaux & The Roadshow. The song released on all social media platforms today at Midnight. “Dallas,” is a highway song- it is a song about doing whatever it takes to get back to the one you love. The music and lyrics were penned by Lucas Jagneaux and Tobin Bruce Jagneaux- Jagneaux (Pronounced) Jag- No. I appreciate the way these two are able to pull me into to the storyline of a song and hold me on every word. In this particular single It felt as if I was along for the ride barreling down the Interstate and headed to the metroplex with them. I want to personally plead with this girl to give the boy another chance. – With these two Jagneaux on board as song writers, I say that Jagneaux is pronounced Jag-Yes.
I began listening to the Roadshow after the groups previously released single, “The Worst Thing aboutTexas,” caught the attention of many. I was referred to listen by my Twitter buddy, accomplished singer/songwriter Seth Jones. As I have previously stated, Jones says about Lucas Jagneaux and The Roadshow, “They Deserve Big Stages.” I see that it has come to that, Lucas Jagneax and his Roadshow have begun to build a loyal following and fan base in the Texas Music Scene. This Independence Day weekend, the Roadshow is playing deep in the heart of Texas Country Music, making appearances on the stage of the famed Gruene Hall.
“Dallas” is a song that will pull them over the top. These Louisiana boys are becoming a household name in The Great State of Texas.