"It’s Strange How Hard It Rains Now"

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 08-19-2008

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After enduring near drought conditions here in central Texas for a couple months, the skies have finally opened up.
And they let it all go.
Neither Dolly nor Edouard earlier this year had enough left by the time they reached me. But a simple northern front showed up just in time to stifle the heat and quench the earth. The last 2 days of constant rainfall have not only held the dust down, but instantly turned the brown fields to green and lifted burn bans.

Rain, as well as many of mother nature’s offerings, have been the subject of (or influence for) a plethora of songs. Dark clouds, thunder, lightning, and being forced to remain indoors can bring out the sadness in some and helps to create those somber songs.

Patty Griffin – Rain
buy 1000 Kisses (2005)
Willie Nelson – Rainy Day Blues
buy Songbird (2006)
Ryan Adams – Rainy Days
from The Destroyer Sessions (2000)
Walt Wilkins – 18 Days of Rain
buy Hopewell (2007)

Often used as a metaphor for the cleansing of the soul, rain songs can also be uplifting, despite the gloominess the rain might bring. You can find some hope in a storm if you look forward to the fresh skies that will follow.

The Jayhawks – Save it for a Rainy Day
buy Rainy Day Music (2003)
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Have You Ever Seen The Rain?
buy Pendulum (1970)
James McMurtry – Walk Between the Raindrops
buy Walk Between the Raindrops (1998)
Jerry Jeff Walker – Hill Country Rain
buy Hill Country Rain (1992)

i’ve got an even better of mix of storm songs that i created as a mixtape when a hurricane was on its way here a few years ago. The next time one rolls through i’ll try to post it.

"Today on the Countryside it was A-Hotter than a Crotch…"

Posted by Payton | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 07-31-2008

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Stood at my, uh……….. front gate today.

Just thought i’d brag a little on my new homestead. If it weren’t somewhere near 117 degrees out here, i’d spend a little more quality time outdoors.
So until it gets cooler, i’ll resort to short photographic expeditions returning to the AC only to make useless posts about them….

Mike McClure Band – Out in the Fields
Bright Eyes – Landlocked Blues
buy I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning (2004)
Cross Canadian Ragweed – Nowhere, TX
Matt Powell – A Place Where I Can Breathe
buy Dragonfly (2001)

James McMurtry at the Continental Club (3/5/08)

Posted by Payton | Posted in live show | Posted on 03-07-2008

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i went to Austin on Wednesday to hang out, and happened to catch James McMurtry at the Continental Club on Congress. Cool little bar that specializes in Live Austin Music.

James is a groove-makin’ master. The initial guitar strum at the start of each song immediately envokes a little foot-tappin’. He writes REAL songs from a cynical standpoint, but somehow, a little hope peeks through in his lyrics. He’s got a three-piece band (drums and bass) that rocks. I love seeing three-pieces because no element in the band is uncessesary or wasted. Their drummers seem to always have a little more attitude as they often carry a lot of the song. The lyrics always seem a little more important when there isn’t a mess of guitar drowning ‘em out.

McMurty doin a little Sister Twistin’

“Ruth Ann and Lynn they wear them cut off britches and those
skinny little halters
And they’re second cousins to me.
Man I don’t care I want to get between ‘em
With a great big ol’ hard on like a old bois d’ arc fence post
You could hang a pipe rail gate from.
Do some sister twisters ’til the cows come home.
And we’d be havin’ us a time.”
from Choctaw Bingo

i go to shows to have some drinks and good time, so i didn’t plug into the soundboard and get any tracks from the show, but they would’ve sounded something like this:

mp3: James McMurtry – Choctaw Bingo (live)
mp3: James McMurtry – 60 Acres (live)
mp3: James McMurtry – Red Dress (live)

one more thing – James mentioned that they’re almost done recording a new album. It’s due out on Arpil 15th. He played a song from it called When The Lines Go Down.


Posted by Payton | Posted in cover/uncovered | Posted on 01-28-2008

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So for this post, which will hopefully become a recurring topic, i will compare and contrast a well-done cover song with the original.
and to get things started, i’ll give you two installments…..

Too Long In The Wasteland (James McMurtry)
James McMurtry, the son of novelist Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove), is almost as good a storyteller as his dad. He’s had a very successful musical career spanning almost 20 years. Somehow, though he has never broken into large popularity. He has, however been a song bank for a lot of artists, including: Robert Earl Keen, Shawn Mullins, Kasey Chambers, and even the oft-covered himself – Ray Wylie Hubbard. Here we have the gourgeous Aussie Kasey Chambers covering the title track from McMurtry’s debut album on Columbia Records:

mp3: Kasey Chambers – Too Long In The Wasteland

From her EP, Am I Not Pretty Enough, Kasey Chambers shows, once again, that she digs the American Alt-country scene (She’s also covered some Fred Eaglesmith and Son Volt). Kasey adds a little electric flare and attitude to make this a somewhat scornful song. As always, her ‘makes-me-weak-in-the-knees’ voice cuts through every guitar riff and symbol crash.**

Check Her Out: [iTunes] [MySpace] [Official Page] and buy her stuff….

mp3: James McMurtry – Too Long In The Wasteland


Down Home Girl (The Rolling Stones)
Written by Jerry Leiber (Hound Dog, Yakety Yak, Jailhouse Rock, etc.) and first recorded by New Orleans bluesman Alvin Robinson, Down Home Girl is dirty, southern blues with a little levity: “every time i kiss you, girl, it tastes like pork-and-beans”. Appearing on The Stones’ Now! (1965), Mick showed us, early on, the versatility of their sound.

mp3: Old Crow Medicine Show – Down Home Girl

i actually heard Old Crow’s version first on their latest effort, Big Iron World, and it wasn’t until, watchin’ the video, i noticed the writing credits. Looked it up, and…… The Stones?!? How did i miss that? Old Crow takes this electic blues song to another level with their acoustic groove (they aren’t technically bluesgrass since they don’t employ a mandolin. They call what they play ‘Old Time Music’, which pre-dates bluegrass). Ketch Secor bumps along on the harmonica, while Willie Watson’s wails in his high tenor.

mp3: The Rolling Stones – Down Home Girl


**If you couldn’t tell, i’m kinda sweet on Kasey Chambers (see below and decide for yourself…). And just like Slaid Cleaves, Mike McClure, and some more of my favorites, no one is blogging about her. So stay tuned for some more artist spotlights…….