January 24 2021

Grateful, Ray Wylie Hubbard

The days I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, I have really good days.. Today I am having a really good day!

RAY WYLIE HUBBARD

Ray Wylie Hubbard closed out his set on Austin City Limits with gratitude. Gratitude for sharing the ACL stage with his son Lucas Hubbard. Lucas, is an amazing guitarist, if you want to appreciate a great guitar man and great music by a talented poetic, singer song writer, then you really need to watch the concert on PBS that aired this week.

RWH was grateful for the other members of the band as well, his long time drummer Kyle Schneider and Austin musicians, the keyboardist Bukka Allen and bassist Gurf Morlix. Ray Wylie expressed his gratitude to Austin City Limits executive producer, Terry Lickona for making it all possible.

“There’s no good excuse for why it took Ray Wylie to finally make his debut on Austin City Limits after 46 years, but like a fine whiskey, some things just keep getting better with age. Ray Wylie is in his prime right now, and also like a fine whiskey, there’s no better antidote to a year-long pandemic!”

Terry Lickona

Hubbard says it himself during the show, that his music is an acquired taste. I am glad I acquired the taste. He is one of my favorite artists these days in telling a story and painting that into a perfect picture with his words and music. I love the way he shows in his music his many experiences through a lifetime of following his dreams and doing what he loves to do. You can see by the way his face lights up when he plays and sings,  that being up on the stage sharing his words to the world is truly his happy place.

During the set, RWH played his oldies like “Snake Farm”. He played music from his latest album, Co-Starring. He highlighted on songs he cowrote. “Drunken Poet’s Dream” a song he wrote with Hayes Carll and “Bad Trick” that was written with his wife and manager, Judy Hubbard.

I know there are many more songs left to write and Ray Wylie Hubbard has more stories to tell. I am grateful for the experience of having front row seats to his show, even if it was on my living room TV set. After the pandemic there will be time to see him live somewhere down the road. But today I am just having a really good day by getting to absorb his words and music in my own way.

Pancho.

January 23 2021

A Vaccinate State of mind.

One of the biggest stories that I have noticed in the last few days in our media is the Corona Virus Plan of our newest President, Biden. Say what you will, but yes he is still YOUR president. Even though I don’t have to like the way this all turned out, I have learned a thing or two about acceptance in my life time.

Things that stuck out to me are Biden’s plans to issue more vaccines, open schools, his tougher mask mandates, all in order to decrease the spread. His plans to do this all within his first 100 days in the oval office. This is great thinking, but is it really realistic?  The Trump administration also had plans in place to protect our country from the deadly virus. I know he did the best he could to stop the spread. I don’t think the virus cares which political party you are in. Republicans and Democrats are all exposed to the deadly threat. The threat doesn’t just happen in our country, but it is happening world wide. The issue is, that the virus can’t just be willed away. Unless you are one of those conspiracists that thinks that the virus is just some made up deal. If that is your thoughts, then you are stupid in my book.

I for one believe the virus is a real deal. I have real fears as most people should. How does it affect so many people in so many different ways? While one person dies of Covid, the next person only gets the sniffles, maybe a headache.

Whatever belief system you have, We as Americans, We as citizens of the Planet Earth, have got to do what we must to protect ourselves and others against this spread.

I recently attended a funeral for a friend. She didn’t die of the virus, she died of a heart attack. Although it saddened me to lose my friend, I know in my heart of hearts that she is better off than you or I. She is walking with Jesus this morning while I am home drinking cold coffee and writing this blog. I know I am getting off subject here, but my point in talking about the funeral is this. I was asked to stand at the door of the funeral home to ensure that everyone was wearing a mask. Now I know that masks are an inconvenience and that they are uncomfortable and don’t fit into what we think of as normal. I do not know if they help or not. I have to believe they might. Someone a whole lot smarter than me thinks they do help.

My mother has an appointment to get the first series of the corona vaccine this coming Monday. I have several friends and acquaintances who also have either scheduled appointments or have already got the shot. In the beginning, I didn’t think I wanted to go through with the vaccine, since I began researching it, today I don’t think that it is a bad idea. I mean it cannot hurt right?

Masks, Vaccines, Social distance is all part of doing our part. I do not see it as a way of Government control. If you do not want to do it for yourself, consider doing it for others. I mean If you had some other contagious cough or cold would you still go out in public? Not to mention go near your friends, family and/or loved ones?

So what if it is the idea of your newly elected Democratic president who may or may not have cheated. Guess what? Your most recent past Republican president already had ideas in place to ‘stop the spread’. It was under Trump that the scientists got started in creating the vaccine in the first place. It was created in record time. Time will tell if it works, but I do know this, It will not work if We as humans refuse the damn thing.

I am certain that God has a plan. I know one day I will see my friend in heaven again and that I too will walk with Jesus. I am just not wanting that day to be today, however, I will accept that fate if it is God’s will. I will consent to doing my part to ensure that neither myself or no one else gets the covid from me. If that means wearing my mask or standing six foot away because someone recommended it then just do it for your own damn good and the good of others. Don’t fear the vaccine. If you cannot do it for yourself, then do it for someone you love. Can you concur that Doctors and Scientists might know more than you? Unless, you people went and got your degree in pharmacology overnight. It doesn’t hurt anyone to take advice from others and believe that they may have a better handle on this current situation.

If it works it works, and if it don’t it don’t but at least you can say you tried. You can say, I did my part.

Pancho.

January 22 2021

Roll On

Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler), ”was written by Dave Loggins. The song is most known as a hit song by Alabama. The single was recorded by the group in November 1983. It was the groups 12th straight single to hit #1 on the Billboard Magazine’s Hot Country Singles Chart.

RCA Nashville released the song on the album Roll On in 1984. As I recall this was one of the first albums that I owned. At the time I was 9 or 10 years old. I was going to be a Truck Driver when I grew up. I loved all things related to truck driving and this song fit my criteria. It is still a great song today. It tells the story of a man only called “Daddy” who drives his truck for a living and supports his family who is at home often thinking of and supporting him as he is out on the road.

What is less commonly known is that Alabama’s version was not the first version of the song to be released. Randy Parton, brother of country superstar Dolly Parton, recorded the song in 1982. His version was also released by RCA.

Randy Parton was a singer-songwriter, actor and businessman. He was the 8th of Twelve Children. (Dolly Parton was the 4th out of the Twelve) Randy recorded music for the soundtrack to the movie Rhinestone, which his sister Dolly starred in. He also could sometimes be seen playing Bass in his sister’s band.  Randy Parton is also known for a theatre in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina that once bore his name. After Randy settled with the city due to a controversy and continued troubles, the city now owns the theatre. It is now known simply as Roanoke Rapids Theatre.

Randy Parton lost his battle to cancer and died yesterday January 21, 2021.

Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)” has also been covered by Aaron Tippin, David Alan Coe, and Saddle Tramps.

And Roll on Eighteen Wheeler… Roll on

Pancho.

January 21 2021

Dear Rodeo

At number 5 on the Texas Music Pickers Spotify charts this week is “Dear Rodeo” by Cody Johnson and Reba McEntire. Since the song has been on Spotify, the song has received almost 2 million streams.  

Cody was once a bull rider who gave up his career in rodeo to pursue his music. Reba was the daughter of a rodeo champion and grew up in and around the rodeo circuit.

Clark McEntire, Reba McEntire’s father, won three world championships in steer roping (1957, 1958 and 1961) and was reserve world champion in 1954. He was sometimes called “ropentire” by his peers for his cool head and his skill with the rope. For many years McEntire held the world records for fastest time on a single steer (14.5 seconds) and on five head. He won every major steer roping title on the rodeo trail, most of them more than once, including Cheyenne (1954, 1961) and Pendleton (1947, 1957-58).

In 1979, Clark McEntire was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Reba McEntire’s song “Daddy” tells his story.

Cody Johnson, sometimes referred to as CoJo, started playing music and writing songs at an early age. After high school and a short stint at college, he followed the path of one of his heroes, Chris LeDoux. He joined the rodeo circuit and often sold albums out of his truck at the rodeo grounds. Due to injuries suffered in rodeo, Johnson left the circuit and began a career as a prison guard in Huntsville, Texas. While working there, he played clubs and bars on his days off and was able to piece together some hits on the Texas Charts.

He has came a long way in only a short time, releasing six self -released albums and since signing with Warner has released a major label album, Ain’t Nothin’ to It.

Dear rodeo

I’d be lying if I tried to tell you I don’t think about you

After all the miles and the wild nights that we’ve been through

Lord knows, we had a few

Dear Rodeo- performed by Reba McEntire and Cody Johnson. Songwriters: Cody Johnson/ Dan Couch

I have always had a place in my heart for rodeo and cowboy songs. The spirit of the American West is alive and well with Cody Johnson, and I am looking forward to discovering more of his music.

Pancho.

January 19 2021

Nine of the Best songs by Cross Canadian Ragweed

Well, I am still waiting for Texas Country’s lost sons, Cross Canadian Ragweed to reconcile and get their shit together and get over the resentments and decide to do whatever it takes get the best Red Dirt Group ever back together. While I wait, here is a list of nine of my favorite Ragweed songs.

9. Carney Man– I mean really didn’t every one in 1998 want to quit whatever they were doing to run away to join a carnival? No? Must be just me…

8. The President Song– There’s some great name drops in this song. Boland, John Wayne and Willie Nelson for starters. JESUS CHRIST is mentioned more than once. This wasn’t the only Cody Canada song that mentions his Christian faith. Oh and no more taxes.. ever? Hell yeah I’d vote for him for president.

7. Sick and Tired- As I got older, especially after I got sober the lyrics to this song took on a different twist. I was Sick and Tired of being sick and Tired. I loved Ragweed in my dive bar days and I appreciated the lyrics and the music even more once I could actually hear them for what they were.

6. Fightin’ For- Everyone has got something worth Fighting For.

5. Boys From Oklahoma- This was a sing along song. Growing up in Texas there was always a part of me in some unspoken rivalry with those Boys from Oklahoma.. Sure they rolled their joints all wrong.. Hell, In my book they did everything all wrong.

4. Too Far Gone- Just one of many love ballads the band pieced together. Easy to listen to. Easy to relate.

3. 42 Miles- I mean seriously, this guy is having a bad day. Truck broke down, the flies, the mechanic is late. I have been in this situation. If I could ever just get out of this hole..

Casey Donahew does a great cover version of this song, in Tribute to the music of Cody Canada and Cross Canadian Ragweed.

2. Constantly- is it a lovin’ song or is she leavin’? Either way, It’s one of Ragweed’s best.

1. 17- Ahh to be 17 again. I still know all the side streets and where to find the fun.. Cruisin’ around the old hometown. When I was there I couldn’t wait to leave. As a child I couldn’t wait to grow up. Now If I could get all of that time back.. Oh I probably wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Enjoy.. Hope this takes you back to somewhere like it did me.

Pancho.

January 18 2021

Wonder if The World Can Wait That Long?

Cross Canadian Ragweed was popular at the forefront of the red dirt and Texas music scenes, and still is one of the most notable names in Texas Country and the Red Dirt Genre. The Band formed in 1994 in Yukon, Oklahoma. The band members consisted of Cody Canada, Grady Cross, Randy Ragsdale, and Jeremy Plato. Then, after almost 15 years together, the group disbanded in 2010.

I for one would love to see the band reconnect at least to cut another album.. Maybe a reunion tour?

During the time together, Cross Canadian Ragweed did produce seven studio albums and three live albums together. Their music was well written. The band was just overall fun to listen to and even more exciting to watch at their many live concerts. I was lucky enough to see them live twice in their time together. Once in Odessa, Texas and once at Luckenbach near Fredericksburg, Texas.

Cody Canada, who was once the bands front man. Head singer/ songwriter/ guitarist. Is totally against the original band ever reuniting again. He has been more honest about the bands breakup in the last few years than he was back in 2010.

“It was a bloody mess. It was a nasty breakup. It was two guys that thought I was cheating on the this and that. And we had been buddies since we were kids, and it was just such a shitty breakup that I just can’t ever go back to that. Jeremy and I have been pals for a very, very long time, before I met the other dudes in Ragweed. And we just always seem to know what’s best for ourselves. And if we did that, we’d be going backwards. And I don’t think I could be on stage with somebody that sued me, ya know?”

CODY CANADA-  Source: Utah Concert Connection March 11, 2019

Canada is doing his own thing now. He is playing his music his way. In 2011, Cody Canada and Jeremy Plato formed a new band, initially called Cody Canada & the Departed.

The Departed saw some rocky starts and weren’t filling concerts the way Ragweed did in the beginning but today things have settled and Cody Canada is entertaining a large fan base just like he did in those early days.

Cody’s wife Shannon gave him some advice, Just play your songs your way and so far that piece of advice is working for him. Some might even say that he sounds better today than he did in 1994.

There may never be a reunion tour for Cross Canadian Ragweed. Until then we still have Cody Canada.

Wonder if the world can wait that long?

Pancho.

January 17 2021

J.T.

Today is singer/ songwriter Steve Earle’s birthday. He was born on this day in 1955.

Earlier this month Steve Earle and his band the Dukes released a new album J.T. in tribute to Steve Earle’s late son, Justin Townes Earle.

J.T. released January 4, 2021 on what would have been Justin Townes Earle’s 39th birthday. The album covers 10 songs from the Justin Townes Earl catalog, and one new song by Steve Earle, “Last Words,” that he wrote in tribute to his late son.

Steve Earle has released tribute albums in the past. Tributes to Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark who were his friends and mentors through his earliest days in music. J.T. was different. Not only was he reliving the pain of losing his son and fellow band member, he began working on the album only months after his son’s death.

Townes was released in 2009, it won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

Guy released in 2019, the album is a reminder of the greatness of the words and wisdom of the Great Guy Clark.

Justin Townes Earle died alone in his Nashville apartment of what is reportedly an accidental drug overdose August 23, 2020.

J.T.’s middle name Townes was given to him by his father and yes, he is affectionately named for the late Townes Van Zandt. In my opinion Justin Townes music is very similar to the darkness of Townes.

Justin Townes Earle began writing at an early age. He spent some time on the road with his father’s band the Dukes and was also part of the bluegrass band the Swindlers and of the rock band the Distributors. He created his own style of music a mixture of folk, blues, and country.

From his website, www.justintownesearle.com,  Justin Earle says this of the sound:

“I see it the same way that Gram Parsons did,” he says. “There’s this idea of moving forward and playing with newer sounds and different modes, but at the same time making sure you keep one foot firmly planted in the past as you feel out the future. I think it’s really important to leave a trail, you know? Put down some breadcrumbs behind you.”

Besides Justin Townes Earle’s debut album, Yuma, He released eight full-length albums. In 2009, Justin was recognized with an Americana Music Award for Emerging Artist of the Year. In 2011 he received Song of the Year for “Harlem River Blues“.

“All my records have been written to be records, rather than writing a group of songs and seeing if they fit together.”

Justin Townes Earle

When this old world seems to be spinning out of control, I am grateful that I have music to fall back on. Life is a little smoother with artists like Steve and Justin Townes Earle streaming music to my ears. Though J.T. may not be here in the physical earth, his spirit and his music will live on for many moons to come.

You made me laugh, you made me cry
You showed me truth, you told me lies
You tore my heart apart and then
You brought me back the piece again
Now I don’t know what I’ll do
Until the day I follow you
Through the darkness to the light
‘Cause I loved you for all your life

– Steve Earle “Last Words

I cannot say it any better about some of my favorite musicians,

Pancho.

January 16 2021

American Kid

Rich O’Toole’s Twitter account gives an accurate description of him, it reads Singer, Songwriter, Texan.

Yesterday this Houston native artist posted on Twitter that he had tested positive for the Coronavirus. He also posted himself in a video eating a raw onion. He was crunching the whole white raw onion as if one would eat an apple. He said he couldn’t smell it, nor taste it. Later he did the same with a Jalapeno pepper to the same effect. Of course, the pepper still got to him with it’s heating effect. Even though he couldn’t taste it, he felt the fire.

Kids, don’t try this at home…

Recent studies have proven that up to 80 percent of people who test positive for Covid have shown these symptoms of loss of taste and smell. These two signs are most likely in connection with each other as you can’t taste most foods without your sense of smell. The loss of taste and smell has become one of the primary warning signs that you should get tested for the virus if you are showing either of these symptoms.

O’Toole’s music is mostly upbeat. It fits into the Texas Country or Red Dirt genre. It is country and rock and Americana. He is a Texan and an American and that is reflected in the heart and soul of every song he plays.

The more songs I have listened to from this guy the more that I have liked his style. He has said recently that he wasn’t going to tour again until this year,(2021). If and when, things get back to normal. O’Toole has followed the recommended safe practices during this pandemic, yet he still came into contact with the rapidly spreading virus. I hope he will get well soon. I would bet he will. He has plenty more songs to write.

Back On My Bullshit.” Rich O’Toole called it his favorite song from his New York album last July in an interview with Justin Loretangely, who’s blog is called Pro Country.

The songs “American Steel,” and one of O’Toole’s singles, “American Kid” describe the kinds of things I like to do. Hit the highways to some unknown out of the way destination. During this Pandemic I have missed a lot of windshield time and the road trips that I love. To climb into my truck and turn up the music and just drive to see where I end up is probably one of my favorite pastimes. Rich O’Toole’s music will definitely be on my next road trip playlist.

I aim to catch Rich O’Toole down the backroads one of the days in the near future. I hope and pray to catch more live shows in 2021 than I ever have in the past. For now, we as fans need to do our part to support these artists by buying merchandise and music.

I long for the days of post pandemic and more music.

Pancho.

January 14 2021

On the Road Again

Rolling Stone reported today that Willie has gotten his COVID vaccination. I made light of their post on Twitter humorously saying on my Re-tweet that Willie is probably more immune to most things that would kill normal people.

Willie has always been larger than life in my eyes. His music has made him immortal, as the music that he has already recorded will live on forever. Some of those songs have gotten me through the best of times and the worst of times. His songs have always comforted me when I was sad and have kept me company when I felt alone. I don’t know how many miles I have driven hearing his voice on the car stereo. His music has healed my soul through sickness, depression, divorces and all the other problems I have encountered in my life. Willie’s music has also been there for me to turn up and just kick back and let the good times roll.

Willie received the Moderna vaccine in Cedar Park, Texas. He qualified for the vaccine as he is 87 years old and suffers from COPD. His sister and the piano player in the family band, Bobbie Nelson, also got a Moderna brand vaccine recently. Bobbie is now 90 years old.

The last time Willie Played a live show was at the Houston Livestock Show last March. He is hoping that the vaccine will soon do its job for him and the many others it has become available to. His plans are to be back on the road again by late August or September of this year.

For now, Willie has been working on several projects at home. There is talk of an album by Willie Nelson and his sons Lukas and Micah.

Willie told Rolling Stone that the vaccine left his arm a little sore but he was happy to be doing his part.

I can’t wait until he is on the road again

Pancho.

January 13 2021

Folsom Prison

On this day, January 13 in 1968, the “Man in Black” played two shows at Folsom Prison. He was backed by June Carter, Carl Perkins, and The Tennessee Three. The live recordings from these performances would find themselves on an album later that year.

In May 1968, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison was released by Columbia Records. The album consisted of 15 tracks from Cash’s first performance that winter day at Folsom and two from the second.

Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison was a hit. The album reached number one on the country charts. This album was a turning point in Johnny Cash’s career as he had seen a downturn due to his drug abuse problems.

Johnny Cash first found an interest in Folsom Prison while serving in the Air Force. His unit watched the 1951 film, Inside the Walls at Folsom Prison. Watching this film, was what inspired Johnny Cash to write the song, “Folsom Prison Blues.”

Inmates from all across the country could relate to Johnny Cash’s perception of what life as an inmate might be like. Some of these inmates wrote to Cash asking him to play for them at their prisons. The first prison Johnny was able to oblige this request was at Huntsville in Texas. Home of Texas death row. Way back in 1957.

Cash later would record other albums from inside prison walls. In 1969 he recorded At San Quentin. 1973 would see Johnny Cash record from a prison in Sweden called, Österåker Prison. From a prison inTennessee in 1974, Cash would join with Linda Ronstadt, Roy Clark, Foster Brooks and the Tennessee Threeto record the album, A Concert Behind Prison Walls.

Cash is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 90 million records worldwide. His genre-spanning music embraced country, rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, folk, and gospel sounds. This crossover appeal earned him the rare honor of being inducted into the Country Music, Rock and Roll, and Gospel Music Halls of Fame.-Wikipedia

“Life is the question and life is the answer, and God is the reason, and love is the way.”

– Johnny Cash

The world needs more Johnny’s do what you love and love what you do and love people and follow your dreams.

Pancho.