Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Swamp Pop - What it is, Where to hear it

In a sweet bit of serendipity, I stumbled upon the online version of KMRC AM from Morgan City, Louisiana, the Swamp Dog. It's a pretty great local radio station that plays nuthin' but swamp pop, which is sorta like rhythm n blues and rock n roll as interpreted by Cajuns and Creoles, only more soulful and sentimental. It's the Highway 90 sound that Larry Lange & His Lonely Knights are championing - songs like Cookie and the Cupcakes' "Mathilda," "Going Out With the Tide" by Jivin' Gene Bourgeoise and the Jokers, anything by the Fabulous Boogie Kings, "Sometimes" by Gene Thomas , "Sweet Dreams by Tommy McLain -you get the drift. It's belly-rubbing slow dancing, getting down and dirty in the heat and humidity. Tune in, turn on, and have a drink or three.

Ray Wylie Hubbard's Lowdown Greasy Enlightenment Hour

As I said previously, the highlight of my 2010 SXSW (besides calling the SXSW Championship Softball game in Kevin Connor, won by the staff this year) was hanging at Casey's shed with Ray Wylie Hubbard, Danny Barnes, James McMurtry, Gurf Morlix, Roky Erickson and his son Jegar, Will Sheff and all the Okkervill River gang, along with Dallas Wayne and Jeremy Tepper from Outlaw Country on Sirius/XM satellite radio.

Ray conducted some great interviews over the course of the afternoon, but you don't have to take my word for it.

This Saturday, April 3, you can hear it for yourself with a free listen on Outlaw Country on Sirius/XM at 4 pm central, and again on Sunday, April 4 at 8 pm central, Tuesday, April 6 at 7 pm central, and Thursday April 8 at 11 pm.

Just paste this into your URL

or click on the headline above.

Details here:

Ray Wylie Hubbard’s Lowdown Greasy Enlightenment Hour

SIRIUS XM’s Outlaw Country (Sirius 63, XM 12)

Description: Texas Hill Country hero Ray Wylie Hubbard hosts an hour of music and conversation recorded during the recent SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX, in the shed behind the home of Texas Music Office ambassador Casey Monahan. The “Lowdown Greasy Enlightenment Hour” will feature stories behind the songs on Hubbard’s latest album A. Enlightenment, B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is no C); an exclusive interview with Lone Star legend Roky Erickson and Will Sheff of Okkervil River; and down and dirty chats with fellow Texas musicians James McMurtry, Danny Barnes, and Gurf Morlix, along with author Joe Nick Patoski, the dean of Texas music journalists.
On-Air Time: Saturday, April 3 5 pm ET
Rebroadcast: Sunday, April 4 9 pm ET; Tuesday, April 6 8 pm ET; Thursday, April 8 12 am ET

Friday, March 19, 2010

South By Casey's Shed

Jeremy Tepper and Dallas Wayne put together a little SXSW get together at Casey Monahan's shed in historic Swedish Hill in East Austin on Friday for some Q and A for the Outlaw Country with Ray Wylie Hubbard asking the questions and getting answers from Gurf Morlix, James McMurtry, Danny Barnes, Roky Erickson and Will Sheff - the cream of cool when it comes to music from Austin Texas.

It was a stone groove and a sweet way to spend the day. Heard lots of good BS including Danny talking about growing up in Belton, his new album for ATO, his love of John Cage and other contemporary classical music. Ray weighed on his new writing project while riding his stunning recorded work A) Enlightenment, B) Endarkment Hint: There Is No C. Gurf played tracks from his forthcoming album of Blaze Foley songs (until today, I considered Jimmy Pizzitola's version of Blaze's "Cold Cold World" to be the best cover version of that song; being second to Gurf's version is not a bad thing). Roky and Will talked about their new collaboration True Love Cast Out All Evil with Will's band, Okkervil River which is nothing short of stunning.

Visiting with engineer Stuart Sullivan, shooting the breeze with Andrew Halbreich and George Carver, meeting Lauren Gurgiolo of Okkervil River, talking Anderson Fair with Gurf's Significant Other Brendy, comparing Paul Westerberg and Jim Dickinson notes with Darren Hill, and giving props to Jegar Erickson made my day. I hope yours was as sweet and rewarding.

The interviews will be aired on Outlaw Country on Sirius XM directly, if not sooner.

Danny Barnes and Casey Monahan

Roky and Will

The Roky/Okervill River project team

Gurf and Ray

Will Sheff

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mark Alan Stamaty and Elvis

(click to headline to go to Mark Alan Stamaty's website)

Maybe it's because I'm an inveterate doodler at heart and a failed Jimmy Hatlo, but I've been a fan of Mark Alan Stamaty since I first beheld his intensely detailed work in the Village Voice back in the 1970s. I've followed him through his Washingtoons, the New Yorker and his spate of children's books. But I haven't really appreciated him or considered his work seriously until some shed time with my pal Casey who is also a fan of the Stam and actually knows him.

Casey gave me this book SHAKE, RATTLE, AND TURN THAT NOISE DOWN! HOW ELVIS SHOOK UP MUSIC, ME, AND MOM (Knopf Books For Young Readers) in which Mark Alan Stamaty reveals all - his childhood obsessions with Elvis, the transistor radio, and teen culture, as filtered through the eyes of a Greek-Jewish kid growing up in New York.

The story line is engaging, even if you don't feel the same way Mark does about the Big E. But what grabs the eye is the artwork. Call the cat a cartoonist if you must. I tend to see him more as a (ahem) visionary artist, aka an intuitive artist. His extreme sense of detail may strike some as obsessive (the lettering is one tip-off) and was once associated with "folk art." Indeed, he shares many of the same artistic qualities as Howard Finster in his rendering of human portraits, minus the het-up religious fervor of the late Mr. Finster, a Born-Again if there ever was one, but plus a true passion for the people he draws, especially his gallery of music heroes (James Brown! Jackie Wilson! Fats! Little Richard! Buddy Holly!).

Bottom line, no one - not even Crumb - can tell a good first-person story through drawing like Mark Alan Stamaty does, and Elvis once again serves as a great vehicle through which a great American story can be told, although I'm more enraptured by the renderings of other icons such as Davy Crockett, Roy Rogers and Gabby Hays on the television, the radio, a turntable, and dancers.

Dig it.