Thursday, February 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Hank Williams from Butler County

Hiram King "Hank" Williams, Sr. (/hæŋk wɪljəmz /; September 17, 1923 – January 1, 1953) was American singer-songwriter and musician. Regarded as one of the most significant and influential singers and songwriters of the 20th Century,[2][3] Williams recorded 35 singles (five released posthumously) that would place in the Top 10 of the Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers chart, including 11 that ranked number one.

Born in Mount Olive, Butler County, Alabama, Williams moved to Georgiana, where he met Rufus Payne, a black street performer who gave him guitar lessons in exchange for meals or money. Payne had a major influence on Williams' later musical style, along with Roy Acuff and Ernest Tubb. During this time, Williams informally changed his name to Hank, believing it to be a better name for country music. He moved to Montgomery and his music career began there in 1937 when WSFA radio station producers hired him to perform and host a 15-minute program. He formed as backup the Drifting Cowboys band, which was managed by his mother, and dropped out of school to devote his time to his career.
-from Wikipedia 

Also...Hank Williams was awesome!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Translation of Alice's Restaurant Massacree for Modern Listeners - Arlo Guthrie @folkslinger at @ASCbham Sat Feb21

"Alice's Restaurant Massacree" is a song of sorts, spoken word somewhat, anti-war story cleverly wrapping layers of whimsical hypocrisy around a subtle narrative about a non-existent restaurant in a deconsecrated church in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. It is nearly 20 minutes long (tl;dr or tl;dl). 

As you can imagine, being nearly 20 minutes long, the song's story is filled with minor complexities which can only be appreciated through actually listening for the entire nearly 20 minutes. This is a feat many today might find mentally challenging, as it requires listening to something for nearly 20 minutes, something which doesn't have video game music in the background, something which requires the bodies of human beings to generate their own laughter in response (LOL), as opposed to the convenient canned laughter which accompanies much of the entertainment we are blessed with today #laugh track.

"Alice's Restaurant" also spawned a movie, which Arlo Guthrie himself doesn't seem particularly interested in discussing these days. So we will leave it out.

The story, in my opinion (IMHO) was designed to bolster anti war sentiment in a relatively creative, non-threatening way. 

In 1965, the time of the incident storied in "Alice's Restaurant," and 1967 when it was written, the United States (USA! USA!) had what was called "The Draft." 

Now, "The Draft" was a method for choosing young men to go fight in our military campaigns overseas (Operation Force People to Fight and Kill), a lottery (Lotto), only the prize wasn't usually large sums of money, but instead a missing limb, or perhaps death, and permanent psychological scarring as a bonus. (GOOGLE: Vietnam War)

These days, instead of "The Draft" we use "The Commercials" and "The Benefits" to entice people to join the military. This makes it difficult for many to understand the sentiment expressed by the older anti-war movements, as opposed to the sentiments of the current anti-war movements, whose adherents, although largely ignored by the corporate controlled media, are allowed to freely march and organize in fairly ineffective but emotionally fulfilling mass social statements (feel good moments).

Due to the length of "Alice's Restaurant," Guthrie only performs it live every ten years or so. This Saturday at Alys Stephens Center is part of the 50th anniversary tour. 

In the past, Guthrie has at times modified the lyrics of the song to fit in with current sociopolitical events. Whether he will perform the song only as originally written or if he will modify the lyrics will require the listener to put down his or her (their) phone or other wireless device and pay attention (#focus). 

Guthrie, like his father Woody, was and is a gentle, people oriented activist, combining an appreciation for spirituality with a humanist caring for the inside and outside well being of folks. 

The Guthrie Center, located in the old Trinity Church, which was the church mentioned in the song, hosts fund raising benefits, has spiritual meetings, yoga and other events.       

He'll be at Alys Stephens Saturday, Feb 21.   


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Throwback Thursdays: "The Singing Brakeman" Jimmie Rodgers of Geiger, Alabama -(That's the One We Like)

There are two different ideas about the birthplace of Jimmie Rodgers. The most widely accepted belief is the Rodgers was born in 1897 in Meridian Mississippi. However, documents signed by Rodgers later in his life claim his birthplace as Geiger, Alabama. Just for fun that's the one we're sticking with.

Whether he was born in Mississippi or Alabama, Rodgers spent ample time in each. He was the poor child of a railroad man, spending several years after his mother's death moving from the house of one relative to another. 

Perhaps the traveling Rodgers experienced as a young boy, along with his proximity to the railways seeped into his blood, because by the age of 13, a born entertainer, he was roaming away from home organizing traveling shows.

His first regular job as a water boy for the railroad was arranged by his father, who continually tried to dissuade Rodgers from his rambling ways. So it's easy to see where some of his ideas came from. As a water boy, Rodgers would have been exposed to the work chants of the Black railroad workers and the guitar and banjo playing of hobos and other rail inhabitants.   

At the age of 27 Rodgers contracted tuberculosis, which would eventually claim his life by the age of 35. 

Tuberculosis effectively ended his position as brakeman for the railway. From this point on he would focus almost entirely on music, although working one more stint for the railroad, after the tent he used for traveling sows was destroyed by a tornado.

Like his early life, Rodgers' music career was tumultuous, a rocky start, involving several recordings achieving only lukewarm reception and moderate sales, along with financial difficulties and band break-ups. 

In late 1927, undaunted, just a month after his first songs were released, Rodgers traveled to Victor Studios in New Jersey, where he recorded 4 songs, including "Blue Yodel" (T for Texas), which went on to sell nearly a half a million copies.

From this point until his death in 1933 Rodgers was one of the most successful musicians and entertainers of his time, earning him the title "The Father of Country Music"  

He is also the guy whose songs my father and I used to drive around in the old Chevy pick-up truck singing together. The memory of belting out T for Texas with the dust flying up behind us is a great Throwback Thursday for me.    

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

@wakarusafest Competition @WorkPlayBham Line-up: @PrimitiveTalk @Mother_Funk99 @Doctors_Lawyers @FestExpressions @spacekadettunes

Wakarusa Music Festival is thrilled to announce the 9th annual Waka Winter Classic. The classic will travel through 20 cities in 14 states, searching for the best musical talent to play at the 12th annual 2015 Wakarusa Music Festival in Ozark, AR on June 4-7, 2015. The tour will begin at The Parish in Austin, TX on January 22nd and will continue through the south, hitting major cities along the way including Dallas, Denver, Memphis, Chicago and more. The tour, 20 dates all together, will wrap up at Stickyz in Little Rock, AR on February 28th.

Artists and musicians can sign up through the official Waka Winter Classic website and up to five artists will be chosen to perform in each city. The five chosen artists will be selected based on Talent, Musicianship, Draw and Marketability. Each of the five artists will then be showcased in each city, and will compete for the chance to play for over 20,000 fans at Wakarusa Music Festival. The audience will choose the winner and each winning artist will receive cash prizes.


Wakarusa Music Festival is a grassroots festival nestled in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas where the beauty of nature synchronizes with the euphoric sounds of live music. 2015 will mark the twelfth year of Wakarusa and the seventh year at the picturesque Mulberry Mountain near Ozark, Arkansas. Wakarusa has been graced by over one hundred world-class artists and continues to stir the musical interests of folks from all 50 states and beyond.

For more information on Waka Winter Classic visit

Waka Winter Classic Dates:

Jan 22, 2015- The Parish- Austin, TX
Jan 23, 2015- Trees- Dallas, TX
Jan 24, 2015- Cain’s Ballroom- Tulsa, OK
Jan 29, 2015- Cervantes’- Denver, CO
Jan 31, 2015- Hodi’s Half Note- Ft. Collins, CO
Feb 6, 2015- The Bottleneck- Lawrence, KS
Feb 6, 2015- George’s Majestic- Fayetteville, AR
Feb 7, 2015- Minglewood Hall- Memphis, TN
Feb 12, 2015- Old Rock House- St. Louis, MO
Feb 12, 2015- Mojo’s- Columbia, MO
Feb 13, 2015- The Outland Ballroom- Springfield, MO
Feb 13, 2015- Bourbon Theatre- Lincoln, NE
Feb 19, 2015- The Abbey- Chicago, IL
Feb 19, 2015- Aisle 5- Atlanta, GA
Feb 20, 2015- Workplay- Birmingham, AL
Feb 21, 2015- Vaudeville Mews- Des Moines, IA
Feb 21, 2015- 12th and Porter- Nashville, TN
Feb 26, 2015- Duling Hall- Jackson, MS
Feb 27, 2015- The Library at Northgate- Baton Rouge, LA
Feb 28, 2015- Stickyz- Little Rock, AR

Thursday, February 5, 2015

@freemusicarchiv Free Music Archive Microsong Challenge. Win a Free 3D Printer


If you can write a winning 15 second song, you could wind up printing tiny versions of other stuff to live in your own tiny world with your very own 3D printer. 


Then you could print tiny little plates and chairs and live in a tiny little hole and write more tiny songs. 

The deadline is February 20, so get out your tiny instruments and start knocking it out! NOW STOP! You should be done by now. 


All content must be Creative Commons licensed, free for everyone.

Go check out their site for all the details and rules.  FMA microSong Challenge!



Throwback Thursday: Mr. Nat King Cole of Montgomery


I remember listening to Nat King Cole when I was a young boy. Man could he set a mood. 

Born in Montgomery in 1919, Nat King Cole was one of the most influential musicians in American history. 

With his upbeat jazz and melodic crooning, not to mention a personality that could win any crowd, Cole blazed a trail for African American performers in music and television. He hosted the first African American Variety show, The Nat King Cole Show, not to mention he was just a man of incredible talent. 

Not many today can combine so many notable traits into one package. His ability to capture and wow audiences with the essence of his vocal and musical skills is unmatchable by most technologically dependent performers today.