Gasoline Guitar Gate 2017

I remarked yesterday that, “scene drama fuels my blood.” I wasn’t lying. For those that don’t know me, I have an educational background in Public Relations and I fully believe in the idiom, “all publicity is good publicity.” So it’s pretty easy for me to make the emotional connection that whatever gets people talking is good for the goose and its subsequent gander. I love people talking about our scene because it means people are listening to our scene and that gives me lots of endorphins like exercise and Elle Woods.

An physical and emotional connection that I cannot explain is the love I have for Sam Riggs’ song, “Hold on and Let Go.” I do know if it’s the fact that every Friday night during my senior year of high school was spent spinning on the hardwood at Neon Moon. Or rooted in the nights in my twenties that were spent in a drunken stupor shutting down every bar on the North side. I simply can’t explain it, but I’ve probably spun that song 500 times since I downloaded it last year. Even more inexplicable is the love I have for every single one of Sam Riggs’ songs. There is literally not one I do not like on the EP or either record. By all accounts he is the embodiment of everything I do not like about the TCU douche bags running around my Panther City. Ruggedly handsome, perfect pearly whites and no fucking manners…but I love him. Maybe it’s my bad girl phase (shout out to Miss Sunny), but everything about Sam Riggs and his tunes is enthralling to me.

I don’t get it.

So, when the news broke over the weekend that ole Riggsy had pissed off Papa Bear, Larry Joe Taylor, at his namesake’s festival (and arguably the single biggest Texas music festival in existence) my ears immediately perked up. I first heard the story straight from the horse’s mouth on Texas Red Dirt Roads:

Sam Riggs on TXRDR 4/30/17 (fast-forward to about the 8 minute mark)

Upon first listen from Sam I was on his side. Okay, so he burned some shit, big deal, but in the last two days more and more information has emerged about Gasoline Guitar Gate 2017. Apparently, Mr. Taylor was asked his permission before this incident and the Riggs camp was told in no uncertain terms, “absolutely not.” With brass balls and the bravado of a second grader with his name already written under “DETENTION” on the blackboard, Riggs did it anyway…that is where the problem lies for many industry professionals whose opinions I’ve read on various social medias this week and myself.

Plain and simple, Sam should not have done it. This “scandal” all boils down to respect. You don’t spit in Waylon Jennings’ face at the Waylon Jennings’ festival, you don’t smoke Willie’s stash without permission and you don’t ignore a no from Larry Joe. I liken this to last year’s LJT fest when William Clark Green brought a full circus on stage. Larry was less than happy about his antics, in particular his fire breather. Armed with this information alone Sam should’ve known better.

I must admit, I can see both sides, as the old people basically think music should be pure without a stage spectacle and while I don’t completely agree with that, I get their point. Furthermore, Taylor’s name is ON the festival and he is responsible for thousands of people’s safety (which the masses do a great job of making difficult enough on their own accord.) I’d be losing my shit about fire too.

This morning, roughly 72 hours after the original incident, both camps (Riggs and Taylor) came together and released a formal statement. You can read it here:

Sam Riggs/Larry Joe Taylor Formal Release

What a bunch of bullshit. I guess, I’m glad they hugged it out, but damn it Sam, learn some fucking manners. To me this statement reads about as well as when Wade Bowen and Granger Smith made up after Granger shit all over Texas music.

ICYMI, the original story: http://www.wideopencountry.com/granger-smith-calls-texas-country-minor-leagues-wade-bowen-responds/

And Wade’s follow-up: http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/wade-bowen-clears-the-air-about-granger-smith-comments/

No one buys it, Wade was not sorry and neither is Sam. And you know what? I’m still not even mad at Sam. My love is unwavering and I do not understand these feelings inside of my body in the slightest. I think most of his fans feel the exact same way.

Sam, you are an enigma of love, music and arrow forearm tattoos, but after almost four days of he said, she said and one formal release I would not expect to see Sam Riggs on a Larry Joe Taylor stage ever again. Like, never ever ever.

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Listening to:

  • “Can’t Say No to Larry Joe”Deryl Dodd

 

  • “Bad Girl Phase”Sunny Sweeny

 

  • “Gravity”Sam Riggs

 

  • “Secondhand Smoke”Sam Riggs
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The Great Ranch Rebellion of 2017

ICYMI: People are super (not just regular, this is like Hulk level) mad at The Ranch (KFWR 95.9 FM) for integrating “mainstream” artists in to their rotation as of last week. I was bored with the stale Nashville v. Texas debate, so I’m glad the drama llama brought me something new to talk about this weekend. If you don’t know what I’m talking about click here (because I do not plan to explain the situation in depth, just share my comments/opinions on it:) http://www.savingcountrymusic.com/ft-worths-95-9-the-ranch-comes-under-fire-after-format-change-playlist-analysis/

So let’s start with the violent death threats…I can’t even…this has been an increasing phenomenon since the internet and social media became integrated in our everyday lives. Threatening the sitting President and the like because your civil rights are being encroached upon, maybe I can see the anger and being so passionate that violence and death are the outcomes, but even then, not really. You are grown ass adults upset about a radio station’s format change…GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER!

With the change in hands of who manages the music in rotation a few years ago we saw Justin Frazell and Shayne Hollinger take over the reigns of music selection. For me, this has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I’ve seen and heard some of the best music to come out of this genre in the last fifteen years with this change. On top of that, just in the last year DJ Ben Ryan has started his show “The Sunday Sendoff” showcasing new and little known talent. Shayne also has a Sunday night niche broadcast with Americana Underground. The title of that one is pretty self-explanatory. The Ranch also sponsors several “talent shows”, contests and concert series throughout the year that spotlight the little known artists we otherwise would not see. Not to mention every single artist that Justin has on both the broadcast and television version of Texas Red Dirt Roads.

Not a Ranch sponsored event, but in the same vein, I spent my Sunday night at the Live Oak Music Hall watching a round robin sing-a-long with Courtney Patton, Jason Eady, Wade Bowen and Ben Danaher. So, while y’all were sitting behind a keyboard, being a warrior behind the screen, I was out seeing real live music, which is what brought me to the conclusion I want to draw on all of this “scandal”:

We are so amazingly luckily to live where we do and be able to see what we see with all of these artists and musicians and singers and songwriters and we should be counting our blessings to even have The Ranch at all.

What the station and its DJs have done for this scene is beyond important and I feel like most of you are forgetting that and looking Chuco The Ranch horse in the mouth on this one. Name five artists you love and then tell me how you found out about them. I would be willing to bet you either heard them on The Ranch, at a Ranch event, or from someone who found them from one of these ways as well. The station is more influential in your love of this music than you think. If hearing some Chris Young in between my Grady Spencer and Sean McConnell is what it takes to continue hearing those beautiful tunes, then I’ll deal.

In our present world where being offended and bitching when you are is the new norm I believe we have another “scandal” blown way out of proportion here. It’s not like Justin and Charla are spinning Florida Georgia Line on your morning commute. It’s just a little more George Strait and Garth Brooks with your Turnpike and Six Market and I promise you are going to live.

So, just maybe instead of losing your shit you should sit down and write The Ranch a thank you note for all they’ve done for you and those artists you love, because whether you see it or not you are lucky to be in the position you’re in with the music you love and that’s something that’s actually worth writing down your opinion about.

LISTENING TO:

“Fourteen Years” -Courtney Patton

“Why I Left Atlanta” -Jason Eady

“Who I am With You” -Chris Young

“Ship Inside a Bottle” -Ben Danaher

 

 

Two Bottles

It’s no secret I’ve been affected by depression and anxiety since I was small. I would get sick every single day on my way to school thanks to anxiety butterflies from kindergarten to my very last day of senior year. If it tells you anything about how this disease works, I absolutely loved school from day numero uno. It is not a cause and effect situation. That’s always been one of the hardest things for me to explain to anyone that doesn’t also suffer from A/D (anxiety and depression.) Your life can be a giant ball of sunshine, daisies, rainbows and unicorns and all of the sudden, lightening bolts, clouds and doom set in for absolutely no reason. It doesn’t make sense to the person it’s happening to, so you sure as hell can’t make sense of it to someone on the outside, I also know that to be fact.

I woke up today thinking about one particular quotient of this issue; How much worse it is when your life is happy and the breakdown hits. They always say the higher you climb the harder you fall (gravity is a bitch, fuck you science.) I have no better or more eloquent way to say this, but it fucking sucks. To feel like you finally sort of maybe have your shit together and then BOOM knocked on your ass out of nowhere (thanks brain chemistry, again, fuck science.) Most everyone I know that suffers from some form of A/D or another mental health hurdle has told me at some point in their life that they don’t ever think it will get better no matter where they’re at in there life. I know a comic book writer, high end business executives for world famous companies, lawyers, renowned chefs, you name it, no matter their level of career, relationship or emotional success, life will always be sad for them because of this nasty monster constantly attached to their back. Again, that just fucking sucks.

In an attempt to share what works for me and since this is a (mostly) music blog, after all, I want to share a song that has continuously and constantly grounded me for almost ten years now.

“I changed my color for you
I shed my coat with caution
I lack the beauty you display
See here there are the bruises
And some were self-inflicted
And some showed up along the way
So I nod my head
I’m ready for the world to see
The secret I kept here inside the man you thought id be
Slip into coma calm
The coma where I calm myself down
Here comes excuses why I let you down

Stand by for another breakdown
Sound off the alarm
Is this the chameleon boy I swore I wouldn’t become”

Justin Furstenfeld, the lead for Blue October, has also struggled with a life long battle against schizophrenia and addiction. He is one of the biggest inspirations for me on being so open about my mental health issues. If you ever have time look in to his story, please do. To make it short, he now has a wife and two small children, is sober and in recovery. Amazing.

Everyone patches their wounds back together differently before they turn in to scars. Some use drugs and booze as a band-aid, some use sex, others use relationships or solitude. My patch has always been art and music. I am very thankful that what works for me wasn’t illegal or immoral. I can fill my soul with live music and everything just seems to let go and float away in that moment when I hear something I truly, truly adore in person. It’s not always the same artists or the same songs. Sometimes a tune that I used to hate will hit me like a ton of bricks. One that always lands for me by, you guessed it, Sean McConnell, is below. This song is like a sweet, sweet release for my tortured soul. Happy or sad, no matter where I’m at in my battle with A/D when I hear good music I can simply just let go for that hour or two and I will forever be grateful for the artists and their songs that can do this for me.

This morning one of those songs was “Two Bottles” by Chris Watson (if you have not seen this man live GO SEE HIM NOW!) It was actually written by Josh Weathers (I shouldn’t have to tell you to listen to him, this you should already know) so I have posted both versions below. A particular lyric hit me hard while I was driving in to work after an extremely rough 24 hours in my life and inside my head.

“Your heart’s broke. Mine is healing. There’s got to be a better way of dealing with all this pain coming on. I just can’t take another night alone. And I got two bottles of really good wine, just a couple hours now to have a good time.”

It’s so simple, but no matter where you’re at on the Doppler with your A/D a bottle of really good wine (or two) can be the perfect ace bandage at least for a moment and I’m completely okay with that. Wherever you are at in your particular battle I wish you the best of luck and an open ear. I am a very dedicated believer in the power of defeating this together…hopefully over a couple bottle of really good wine.

 

Listening to:

  • “Chameleon Boy”-Blue October

  • “Saint’s Heart in a Sinner’s Skin”-Sean McConnell

  • “Two Bottles”-Chris Watson

  • “Late to the Party”-Kacey Musgraves

  • “Keep You Forever”-Erick Willis

 

Yeah, I guess that’s my church

Passion is a funny thing. As we’ve seen lately, with the tiny hands Cheeto man officially being sworn in, people are not afraid to fight for what they’re passionate about…even if it makes them look supremely insane. In my thinking about passion today it stuck out to me how hard it is to carry over that passion to your fellow man if they too are not passionate about the same ideas. That’s why these vagina hatted idiots marching on Capitol Hill look like, well, idiots, but to them women’s reproductive rights are worth the shame, I guess.

If you’ll follow me down this winding passion path I want to delve in to probably the world’s biggest topic of passion, religion. This particular passion has lead to literal life and death over hundreds of years. In our current era of neo-Christianity that is not always the case (discounting extremes) but it is obviously a topic many have tried to impart upon others that don’t or don’t want to understand that Jesus is the reason for the season. In fact, that is the basis of the entire religion, sharing the gospel. I’m here today to say I get it. While I definitely do not believe in an imaginary man in the sky, my faith in music is something I share with many.

This ^^^ is my gospel. I get goosebumps when this man’s songs enter my ear holes 100% of the time. Sean McConnell is the holy trinity for me. Father, singer and holy song swap host. My personal savior.

When I hear a song that hits my soul the first thing I want to do is share it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve desperately tried to get my mom or my peers to like something I like simply because I like it so much. I think try is actually kind of a futile word here. I have begged and pleaded and nearly jumped out of my skin trying to get people around me to feel the same way I feel about a song or an artist. Thus, I get it. Passion is an easy thing to express, but not an easy thing to usher someone else to embody.

This is most certainly not a new feeling for me. In my adult years people have always been shocked that Texas Country is not the only genre I’m insanely passionate about.

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https://maeband.bandcamp.com/album/destination-beautiful

This ^^^ is my bible. This is my stranded on a desert island with only one record for the rest of forever and infinity choice. I can listen to every song on this album and recall exactly how I felt when I heard it in my teens, twenties and now my 30s. It has completely different implications for each decade of my life. Much like a specific bible verse you hang on to through life’s storms and celebrations, the lyrics on this album have been my anchor through days that are both full of hurricanes and sunny with a high of 75.

For many years during the early Sara era Deep Ellum was my church. Trees, Gypsy Tea Room (R.I.P.), The Door Dallas all held service for me and my friends to hear sermon from Andrew McMahon, Jesse Lacey, Mae, Straylight Run, The Ataris and every band that ever existed on the now defunct Drive Thru Records. I could go on and on listing the preachers I’ve heard in those hallowed, smoke stained, whiskey soaked halls, but I think you get the picture. Hell, my first concerts were Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World, Green Day and Dave Matthews Band (separately, that would be a weird mashup). Travis Barker is the reason I love music and I am not ashamed of that fact. I still believe he is an insanely charismatic drummer. While he may not be the most technical or most talented it all circles back around to Travis (we’re on a first name basis) possessing an intense passion for the kit. In identifying and experiencing all of this, I have become a better person.

Isn’t that the goal in all of this? To create better people with our passions. Stacking those better people in to a better society and eventually a better world. If your intentions are pure, that is undoubtedly the pinnacle of sharing Christ with those around you. Samesies over here. If even one band, one song, one lyrics I share with you make you view the world a little more rose colored I have done my job as a disciple.

My roots grow in many different directions. If you know me in real life, you undoubtedly know this to be true. I comfortably rest my laurels on being a paradox. You need to know this to make the next sentence land effectively. When I talk about Taylor Swift, you will hear me say she is my “spirit animal” repetitively. I guess that makes her my Buddha and I have no problem with this. T. Swizzle brings out a child like passion in me that no other artist can. Speaking of failed relationships (too soon?) John Mayer as an apostle may sound like a cliche choice to many, but that man can play a damn geetar. His music also shaped me from an early age. Well, not only his music, but his persona, his songwriting, his charisma. These are two people that I have always been drawn to because of who they are as people in addition to their scripture. I will end this jaunt in to pop music with a quote from my favorite movie of all time (yes, it’s a movie about music);

“What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?” (John Cusack as Rob in High Fidelity or if you want to get technical, Nick Hornby actually wrote the book.) In case you’d like some more totally bad ass quotes from the movie here ya go: High Fidelity is the fucking best (Plus I just really like the title of the article.)

I feel like we’re digging grooves in the tread of this trail, so I’m gonna come to the summit of talking about the passion and the Christ. Whether it’s your church or mine I hope somehow you’re using your powers for good. If nothing I said resonated with you in this post here’s my girl Maren to tell you exactly what I fucking meant.

“I’ve cussed on a Sunday
I’ve cheated and I’ve lied
I’ve fallen down from grace
A few too many times
But I find holy redemption
When I put this car in drive
Roll the windows down and turn up the dial
Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church”

Listening to:

  • “Things To Do” -Grady Spencer
  • “My Church” -Maren Morris
  • “Summertime” -Mae
  • “Sunny With a High of 75” -Reliant K

P.S. If you thought I was going to let you escape this without talking about Grady Spencer…SIKE! You were wrong. I have not had passion for an artist like I have Grady in quite some time. The warmth I feel on my face when I watch this video and listen to this Sandlot glasses wearing, mustachioed crooner no matter the weather is I believe what it feels like to have God’s love in your heart…but I would not know.

A blank page is both one of the most intimidating and exhilarating things to put in front of an artist.

8/23/15

I’ve been debilitated by a question mark illness for the last year, that’s made my head fill with the squishy part of a 1000, jelly fish and “white or wheat” a hard decision for me to process without a complete mental breakdown. The once strong academic, with a penchant for telling off douche bags, now a floppy little rag doll. Not a pretty picture. Not a fun life to live, but it’s mine. It’s the hand I was dealt and I can boycott or embrace it. Sickly Sara is here to lurk over my shoulder for now with the heavy breath of the death angel fogging up my glasses as I try to see.
Yes, I’ve struggled with anxiety, depression, psychiatry, mental disease, my whole life. Taboo in our society. As taboo as saying that I don’t agree with the “entitled millennial” declaration or that I’ve been a republican since I was 18. I digress, but it always circles back around to the aforementioned idea, my head may be fucked, but it’s MY fucked up head. Pretty flowers for words, you see?
I write how I talk and neither are always particularly pleasant as I’ve got a mouth like a whiskey drunk sailor and a brain stem I could liken to an un-filtered cigarette. Smooth on the breath in, but once it rolls around your half-pink lungs a bit you realize what you’ve done to your body. Often what happens when words fall off my lips. About the time they crowd around my teeth I realize it’s too late and the damage has already been done. I’ve lost friends, I’ve lost family, but I never lost me.

Nope. Half goody two shoes, Smokey the Bear, saves the day martyr and half rule breaking, rebel with a cause if it doesn’t get me in TOO much trouble…or I won’t get caught. Coming from the parents I have and the generations before that has created a special little being and it’d be strange if I wasn’t this fucked up.

Hurricane USA

This morning I awoke to a changed world. In a week full of terror and chaos, yesterday was all about Pokemon, a simple break in an un-ending string of police lives and black lives and guns and politics and terror. A hurricane of terror cascading its dark waves and world of destruction upon every God forsaken soul in this land that I love. Yesterday was one thing, but this morning was entirely different. 

I admittedly spend most of my time in my room, in bed, with Netflix and my puppies and I am perfectly content to ignore the entire universe. I work from home and in the literal middle of the night so my human interaction is kept to a minimum. Most of my days start with a hearty scroll on Facebook and a check-in with my friends across this country on messenger. Today my morning routine was no different, but what I saw was. A clear cut millennial generational outpouring of the idea that “It doesn’t matter why or how or who, the details are moot on the Dallas mass shooting as people are dead and dying and Lady Liberty is bleeding out and the only bandage to stop the hemorrhaging is peace and love.” A stark difference from what I would see in the rest of my day.

As my day commenced in the wake of an act of terror in my backyard (if you don’t consider Dallas an act of terror then you need to promptly acquire a dictionary,) I had errands to run and lunch to have with my boyfriend so I left my cocoon for a few hours. Mistake. 

We ate lunch at a local cafe. One of those homestyle havens with 10 tables and 10 menu items and the same gum on the floor since 1985. On this particular day Montgomery Street Cafe was filled with a healthy subset of Fort Worth upper-middle class folks. White business men talking stocks, young couples with young children, a teenaged black dishwasher from Paris Cafe on break and us. Within the hour that I inhaled my cafeteria style mac-n-cheese and homemade mashed potatoes I overheard not a single conversation about the events of last night in Dallas. Waiters talking vacations to Chicago with obvious regulars and smiling at toddlers being fed by their moms. Life was still going on despite the hurricane of hell swirling just 30 miles to the east. Peacefully and beautifully, life moved on. It continued for us, no death, no tragedy, just people eating lunch in a diner, but somehow a different world.

I don’t make enough money to qualify for Obamacare. Read that again, a privileged white female, born in to a staunchly Republican family, highly educated and working two jobs, I’m still too poor to qualify for national health insurance. As an effect of my unhealthy lot in life and my lack of Obamacare I spend a lot of time in government healthcare facilities. For me, today, this meant picking up my medication at the local John Peter Smith pharmacy. If you’ve never spent time in a government healthcare facility, let me tell you, it will both give you a healthy sampling of the variety of individuals in your community and infuriate you simultaneously (which I must add are completely unrelated.)

On this particular day I walked in to a line of about five or six people waiting on their medications. A young white woman in her mid-twenties, a mid-thirties black woman dressed in her Academy Sports uniform, an older disabled Mexican gentleman and a middle-aged white woman sitting to my right, all stuck in a 20×20 room for the same purpose with the news channel fixated on the Dallas press conference and prayer vigil happening live. As I approach the line I find that the middle-aged white woman is holding court on current events, which is where things get interesting. She waxes un-poetic about her previous resume experience working in convenience stores and her disagreement with cops getting free coffee and sodas when they’re on duty. She continues with her distaste for the way the cases in both Minnesota and Louisiana are being handled. In her opinion both of these officers should be in prison, not on administrative leave, because “cops are no better or different than the rest of us.” It stopped me in my tracks as I felt the lava boiling up from my belly.

“Are you going to put on a flack jacket and protect my life and your freedom to say the shit you’re saying right now?” I hear myself say unapologetically. Of course her immediate response was a hearty, “Yes!” but I can assure you this woman was in no situation to don police gear. The conversation shifted after that, except for her to say how great America is because we can have differences of opinions exactly like this. Thank you middle-aged white lady, but the First Amendment granted me that freedom not your impromptu pharmacy court of order. 

Alas, middle-aged white lady was not done holding court. Next on the docket was race. Lucky for me, thirty-something black woman took that one on, explaining that “race is an issue that is not going away and unfortunately, although she was raised to treat everyone equally, that’s where America is at right now.” I couldn’t have said that one better myself. Logic was obviously in short supply with judge and jury middle-aged white lady, because the next thing that came out of her mouth was “Why Dallas? Nothing even happened here, they should’ve shot the officers in the other states if they wanted justice.” Again, belly lava erupted out of my mouth.

“So now we’re condoning murder?!” Silence. Not another word from your honor middle-aged white lady. As I went to leave the pharmacy I heard the Mexican gentleman sit down and say, “You know none of those shooters had faith. I know that because if they were filled with the holy spirit they never could’ve done something like that.” After all of this rhetoric I left there a changed woman in a changed world.

I tell you these stories because I want you to see a tiny glimpse of what I saw today; opinionated, often uneducated, unsettled, terrified Americans who are far more a part of the problem than a legitimate solution for the storm we are all enduring. It’s unsettling, massively unsettling, to hear these opinions and “solutions” from a portion of a generation different from my own. An extremely striated gap between the older and younger, blacks and whites, financially stable and less so, but I digress.

As Texans and citizens of Dallas/Fort Worth our world changed today. Our peace and our home was threatened and we are far more a part of the problem as a nation than we a part of the solution. Conversely, I also saw a rainbow emerge in this unending monsoon. I saw a brief, yet solid, eye in the commotion, a united outpouring for love and peace and understanding. But, outpourings don’t create change, just as armchair activists and keyboard warriors don’t have any real bearing on the social and political grievances we are all bearing as a country currently.

Peace and love reigned supreme today, at least in my tiny universe, but the nagging opinions of the economically abused, wronged and just plain hateful will continously be thorn in the side of any progress for a utopian society. One thing is for sure in all of my adventures today, both in cyber space and reality, if we do not present a united front to this storm we might as well just drown ourselves. This is Hurricane USA and we created it and now we don’t know how to stop it and that’s a grim outlook no matter how much sunshiny peace and love you seek.

Getting Funky (Town)

I want you to stop and think about that feeling you get down to the very dark and dusty depths of the pit in your stomach the night before the first day of school. It is one not a soul can mistake. Nervous, tense, maybe fearful, but conversely ready, hopeful and overall excited. It’s the same feeling many of us local Fort Worth music junkies have had for years about our beloved Panther City artists and the rapidly growing music scene itself. 

If you are in to their genre of music (or maybe even if you aren’t) you’ve definitely heard the stories of Pat Green running around Funky Town looking like he’s living on island time buying groceries or your mom has seen him at her doctor’s office next to her in the waiting room. I personally ran in to Aaron Watson at the Fort Worth Zoo a few years ago right as he topped the country charts at #1. Whack it down a few notches on the totem pole, who hasn’t had a beer next to Sam Anderson (Quaker City Night Hawks) at the Boiled Owl or sat a table over from Josh Weathers at dinner? Cowtown is teeming with talent and the cinch previously held tight around our overflowing load of talent is about to come undone. I can just feel it swelling inside me and I am udoubtedly surreal we’re the next big thing.

The first time I saw Maren Morris was at Fred’s. Her both her boyfriend and her dad was playing in her band at the time. Obviously a daddy’s girl, he carried the pride for his daughter around in his heart and hard shell case. Everywhere he went, he exuded that feeling and it was infectious. Maren herself, although always kind and generally one of the most pleasant human beings I’ve ever talked to, was young. She was inexperienced at the delicate balance it takes of touring and fairly meek in appearance, performance and stature (she’s the tiniest little whimsical creature FYI.) 

I first heard Maren’s new single “My Church” on the 95.9 the Ranch I cranked it to 20 billion decibels and let the music notes float out my open car window on that Texas sunshiny afternoon that is unique to only our Lonestar State. Not only was I digging the groove, but she was saying exactly what I’ve been saying about music for my entire life. Lyrics are my scripture and music is my religion. When Ben Ryan cut in to the outro with, “That one was our very own Maren Morris.” I legitimately squealed. Her was this girl I had been watching bloom for years that had finally planted roots in a truly fucking amazing song and was blooming the brightest petals, so big even Nashville couldn’t ignore her beauty anymore. It has bite, it grips you and I have no doubt that song and that record is going to blow her career out of the water. 

If you watched Luke Wade on The Voice you know the boy can sing. If you’ve watched Luke Wade play live you know The Voice was a bunch of overproduced bullshit. My mom has been obsessed (and I mean CD never leaves the car stereo rotation level adoration) with Luke Wade for years now. She dragged me (okay it wasn’t that difficult) to a Fort Worth Weekly Awards showcase at the Love Shack probably five years ago. Luke played solo, pre-flight entertainment before Walt Wilkins if that says anything, and I heard that little Luke songbird chirp for the first time ever in my life. I was completely blown away, socks knocked off and any other taken aback analogy you can manifest. Just him and his guitar and he was completely captivating. I saw him during Awards week again at the Pour House (I will go to my dying die refusing to call it Trinity River Tap House and touting it was much better in the downtown location) this time with full-band. For Luke full-band means horns, keys, strings, basically the kitchen sink of musical ensembles. It felt like a band from the Mardi Gras parade had wandered on to the stage and a melodic voice was so smoothly swirling about the instruments drawing people in with it’s unavoidable voodoo magic. So it was no surprise to me that he eventually ended up on The Voice. If you want to surprise yourself go see him live. I don’t mean Billy Bob’s either. I mean hole in the wall, Magnolia Motor Lounge or Lola’s where it all began. You’ll never want to watch The Voice again (not that I understand your motivation in the first place!)

My beloved city has now started an organization aptly named “Hear Fort Worth” in an attempt to propel out musicians here. Luke and Sam Anderson and a virtual melting pot of people relevant to the local music scene come together for a showcase and meeting of sorts once a month (brought to you by the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau) with the initiative to get this music out there and these artist heard both on a professional and creative level. 

This new organization and push for greatness is the first day of school for the Fort Worth music scene as far as I’m concerned. With it brings anticipation for a new era for this musical baby many have nurtured from infancy and frankly my stomach is tied in knots just waiting to find out how the school year turns out.

A Catch 22 (Kill)

  
I spent a lot of years of my life very upset because I felt I did more for others than they ever did for me. Wrong attitude. I eventually learned to give emotionally, physically and financially because it’s who I am despite what comes back to me and I became okay with that. Being the massive empath I am it is still hard to do something for someone and not even hear a thank you. Where it gets really tough is when said person or people constantly complain about not being treated well by others or the world and then can’t even produce a simple thank you when they are gifted with someone’s time or effort. 

Semi-related, my friends are currently working very hard to spread awareness about the 22 veteran suicides a day in the U.S. as part of a project called 22 Kill (more on that in the future.) If you’ve been around me long enough you know that mental health awareness and acceptance has been something I’ve crusaded in favor of for many many years now. In saying that, you can do all the push-ups, get all the semicolon and IGY6 tattoos, make all the posts on social media, but until you’re laying on the floor next to someone squeezing their hand and listening to them fall apart for hours…answering 3 am phone calls when someone is losing their battle and keeping them on the phone long enough to distract and reset their mind for a moment…right in the thick of the bullshit that not only PTSD, but any mental issues, be it anxiety, depression, a nervous tic, etcetera causes and actually doing something not just saying something, you’re efforts are just as in vain as the pink washing that breast cancer awareness does.

Now, this is not to say I know what I’m doing better than anyone else, nor do I get it right every time. It is, however, a challenge to put your money where your mouth is. If you’re gonna talk the talk, walk the walk. Challenge yourself to reach out and not just wait for someone who’s already struggling to come to you. 

There are givers of positive energy and their are takers of positive energy in this world. If someone is willing to break off a little piece of their good energy and gift it to you, please, at the very least, remember to tell them thank you. Those kindergarten manners go a long way in taking it back to basics of our current tumultuous human condition and in my opinion kindness is always worth it.

This Ain’t a Fairytale

I sat listening to the radio as another song waxed poetic about the broken girl holding it together because she’s got “me” (it was Mark McKinney “Sunshine” which is one of his best FYI) my mind wandered off and this time I didn’t rein it back in. I started thinking about music and songwriting and how it’s shaped my life. In particular my love life.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I still believe in fairytales. I still believe in forever love like Johnny and June. I still believe my prince with a white van as his steed is out there somewhere. What I had never pondered was how much growing up with music as such a huge part of every fiber of my being would affect me as I started to fall in and out and in and out of love.

My first boyfriend at 15 was the artistic type. He was older than me and he was constantly writing me songs or poems or drawing me pictures. I ate it up. That’s the way to pull on my heart strings to this day; homemade, heartfelt or genuine and I’m yours. So I became accustomed to this certain level of open expression when it came to love and I don’t think I ever let that go.

I’ve always been one to insert myself in to songs and empathetically feel what either the writer or the subject is going through. In particular when the song hits close to home I will hold on to the lyrics for many, many years. Lyrics and songs have always been my bible. I turn to for salvation and scripture in good times and in bad. As I grew and eventually became heavily involved with a touring musician I found that salvation in his music. The same wide-eyed gaze over a one-chord song I had at 15 and almost 10 years later, I was hooked from day one.

 
We eventually split up and now years later I’ve had another epiphany. We live in a world of right here and now, computers, texts, cellphones, Facebook; no one can dispute that fact. That type of genuine artistic romance is hard to come by. Just like the movies, the glass slipper and the white horse, music isn’t real life. It’s ABOUT real life and it can connect you to people in a way like nothing else ever could, but it’s not YOUR life.

It takes a special individual to write and play and expose their raw heart and head like many of my favorite artists do. That’s something to be celebrated and applauded. Something to be thankful for in our hyper-cyber world. It may have broken me romantically, but it lifts me up emotionally and that is something I will never forget to appreciate.