Bobby and the Story

The third and final piece to the Live Oak trio last week:

Bobby Duncan has more than payed his dues in this Scene over his lengthy songwriting and music career. Honestly, he’s pretty lucky he has two cents to rub together with brand new baby twins at home that came shortly after marrying his wife. I’ve seen Mrs. Duncan firsthand watching many of his shows awestruck and still in love with her husband like starcrossed teenagers. What seems like a basic girl meets boy, they fall in love, create a family and live happily ever after story, was not always the case for Bobby and you can hear it in his library of songs.

It’s obvious the boy didn’t get the girl many times over before he settled down with the love of his life. Pain, anguish, depression, faith and then finally forever, are covered well in Bobby’s catalogue. His storytelling has always and continues to remain my favorite part about watching him play.

It’s hard to miss that Walt Wilkins and Bobby have become close friends, writing partners and music makers together if you’re paying attention. With a guy like Walt in your corner you can’t really go wrong. Bobby waxes poetic about their love for one another within his sung stories and you can’t miss the respect and admiration he has for his friend and idol. That ingenuity is what makes Bobby who he is and gives his music a soul.

What began as tales of heartbreak and forlorn love has now evolved in to melodic tales about his single friends and happiness in his new found forever. I am excited to see how these life changes translate in to a musical revolution for this artist. Clear talent isn’t fast and furious, it’s a slow burn and Bobby is everready to set The Scene on fire.

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Genre: Authenticity

 

I spent last Sunday with Grady Spencer signing me what I can only akin to lullabies. The Live Oak Music Hall was quiet, dark, candle lit and the ambience of his melodies could be heard over the silence, so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Grady’s lessons on life and love feel more like an old friend than the dynamic of musician and audience. When he sings about going from fore lorn, lost sailor in a sea of broken hearts to the thrill of meeting his wife and child it is truly some of the most genuinely authentic music I have heard in quite some time. Check out “Best That I Can” to see exactly what I mean.

 

“What makes Texas music any different than the Nashville crooners?” is something I get asked a lot. Authenticity is my answer. It is a word I’ve thrown around more than once about this genre of music I’ve come to fall head-over-heels in love with and the musicians I write love stories with. The music starts as a life lesson then to pen and paper, chords, before it evolves in to lyrics, then a song and a performance. 

Texas “country” is changing. The age old fight about Texas vs. Red Dirt (yes, undeniably there is a difference,) Americana, folk…So much time has been spent on asking what do we label each musician and band? What becomes less important than genre and labels, in my eyes, is the single label that can’t be denied; authenticity. Their music is authentic and this genre is creating a place in the world for authenticity to matter. Someone asked me today if a guy like Leon Bridges has a place in this music world and I answered with a resounding, “yes!” I believe fans are looking for good music again after years and years of being fed pop bullshit with a fiddle and a Nashville zip code and this genre is wholly responsible for that. 

Erick Willis played last week at Live Oak with Grady as well. If you haven’t heard “Please” yet, you’ve every seriously fucked up a relationship or are living an unfortunately unrequited love story, stop whatever it is your doing and go download it. I said last week he was “a poet for the broken hearted” and I still cannot come up with a better description. With the idea of Sunday Coming Down on many of his songs, he lives on a wing and a prayer without a doubt. I can’t wait to see what he does in the future with all of that pent up angst and story writing talent.

Authenticity; we have it, other genres don’t. Things are evolving, Texas music is changing and The Scene is becoming a platform for both the musician and the fan to share their true feelings together. Genres, labels, bullshit not necessary, this is a place for everyone. 

What I’m listening to:

Grady Spencer and the Work

  1. Best I can
  2. Things to Do
  3. Never Be Found

Erick Willis

  1. Please
  2. That Makes Two of Us
  3. She Already Knows 

These Roots Were Made for Blogging

I come by my love of music extremely honestly. My dad had John Prine tapes in the dash of his Volvo and was consistently singing one silly folk song or another about some nonsense. My mom had me jammin’ to Tracy Chapman before my feet could touch the floor boards from my car seat and I would “run run run run run run run run run” my little legs as fast as I could with Tracy every time that song came on. In present day 2015 my dad just attended the Trans Pecos music festival just outside of Marfa and my mom is the biggest Willie Nelson fan around. 

 

My parents did a lot for my little free spirit, rock-n-roll, gypsy soul, and I am eternally grateful for that,  but I think my real love for live music was birthed the minute the Blockbuster video asked me to be kind and rewind Almost Famous. I wanted to be William Miller. Without a doubt in my mind writing for Rolling Stone magazine was in my future. He was young, he was naive, but full of drive for the one and only thing he truly loved, the music. 

Conversely, I also wanted to be Penny Lane. Penny was wild and carefree and most of all she was dedicated to the music and the band. She was uncalculated and unabashedly herself. Both William and Penny sacrificed everything to become a part of The Scene that fueled their desires and the fire that only moving music can burn in your belly.  

 

 Of course Rolling Stone later changed from its larger format to the bullshit mainstream boring rag it is now and I would never go on to write for the publication, but in the hour and a half that I’ve watched Almost Famous half a hundred times I am always right back there ready to become William Miller and Penny Lane. A rebel with one cause on two totally different ends of the spectrum and that cause is three chords and a melody; music. 

  

The Scene: A Shift

Five years ago I started impatiently waiting for a turnover in Texas Country music. At the time, it was over saturated, over populated by “the next big thing” in every small town from DFW to Del Rio and talent was playing hide-n-seek with quality music content. I was young, ready to go out and ready for satiable music and good quality shows and they just simply didn’t exist. I was bored with the idea that I could see the same artist that I adored every weekend, because that’s how close and how often they were playing around me. So I waited. And I waited some more.

And then five long years later, but just like that all at once, the earth seemed to shift and new, fresh, amazing music and artists and talent were born. And I fell in love with The Scene all over again. 

Much like myself, Cleto Cordero of Flatland Cavalry (out of Lubbock) has known love and passion, and although at 23 his fresh face doesn’t show it, there’s pain in his words and his songs reach the heights and depths of the emotional spectrum with amazing accuracy. When “No Shade of Green” comes on it legitimately stops me in my tracks no matter what I’m doing. It’s raw, it’s real, you feel like you are the girl in the song and isn’t that the point of music? To take you away for the two and a half minutes you’re captivated by the lyrics and rhythm. Artists like Cleto ARE the shift I’ve been waiting for in this scene. If you have a chance to catch this band, get off your ass and GO!
 

 

 
Blue Water Highway Band from Galveston also lies on that fault line. Causing an earthquake with their six piece multi-instrumental and multi-gender harmonizing masterpieces like current single, “Medicine Man.” They legitimately took my breath away over the weekend and that was with only the three piece. I’m jumping out of my skin to see a full band show with stand-up bass, accordion, mandolin. I mean, how can you go wrong there? This band is going places, get in while they’re on the ground floor if you want to watch them rise to the top.
 
  

Don’t let it be lost on you that BOTH   Flatland Cavalry and Blue Water Highway Band have a female member among their ranks. Keith Hill’s girls in country music scandal earlier this year…

http://tasteofcountry.com/radio-consultant-take-females-out-of-rotation-at-country-radio/ 

….caused everyone in the girl authority of country music from Martina to Miranda to give them a little piece of their mind. Down here our Texas girls were fighting back with their own brand of a one-two-punch, like SunnySweeney’s  “Breaking Up the Sausage Party” and Kacey Musgrave’s “Good ‘ol Boys Club.” With all of that being said, it could not feel better to see these ladies rockin’ it on stage. 

  

Big things are ahead for this scene like we’ve never seen before. We’re trimming the fat and finding some true, raw talent that isn’t being pigeon holed as “Texas Country” or “Red Dirt” it’s just good fucking music that we can all appreciate and enjoy. 

Listening to:

Flatland Cavalry

  1. No Shade of Green
  2. Love Me in the Water

Blue Water Highway Band

  1. Medicine Man

Kacey Musgraves

  1. Dime Store Cowgirl
  2. Pageant Material