Monday, December 28, 2009

2010: A Year of Returning to Reading?

For much of the noughties, I found myself reading a lot of books. TV has bored me for years. And I find myself falling asleep during movies or dissing most of them because of lame humor and/or improbabilities built into most scripts. So reading has been a great way to fill the gap.

But I've slipped the last couple of years - probably as a result of idle time spent blogging, tweeting, and scrounging around looking for enjoyable new music.

Its not as if I haven't had plenty of reading material to choose from. The staple gift for birthday and Christmas from my mothers (birth and in-law) often include books. I also signed up in 2008 for Paperback Swap resulting in a pretty hefty number of inbound books in 2009 - most of which continue to sit on the shelf until I get back in the saddle.

Current books in the queue include:
  • The Age of Speed: Learning to Thrive in a More-Faster-Now World - Vince Poscente
  • The Burden of Proof - Scott Turow
  • Daughters Gone Wild - Dads Gone Crazy - Charles and Heather Stone
  • Fierce Conversations - Susan Scott
  • The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression - Amity Schlaes
  • A Man's Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines - Patrick Morley
  • Rapid Response: My Inside Story as a Motor Racing Life-Saver - Dr. Stephen Olvey
  • Raising Resilient Children - Brooks and Goldstein
  • Ray Fox: Sly in the Stock Car Forest - Godwin Kelly
  • Reading the Bible Again for the First Time - Marcus J. Borg
  • The Search for Significance - Robert S. McGee
  • 3 Secular Reasons Why American Should Be Under God - William Federer
  • Silent Speedways of the Carolinas - Perry Wood
  • Why Men Hate Going to Church - David Murrow
  • The World Is Flat - Thomas Friedman
While I highly doubt I'll get to all of these in 2010, I do plan to get back in the habit of reading regularly. Too many hours are spent in a typical year of mine hanging out in airports, hotels, and the living room couch to waste them by not reading.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Book Recommendation: True To The Roots

Did you get an Amazon gift card for Christmas that's already burning a hole in the pocket of your worn out Levi's? If you are a fan of Americana music, I recommend you consider using the gift card to buy Monte Dutton's True To The Roots: Americana Music Revealed.

By day, Dutton's beat is the NASCAR Sprint Cup series. In his spare time, he is a big fan of old school country music artists such as Charlie Pride, Roger Miller, Buck Owens and Faron Young and new school Americana.

The book was published in 2006; however, its still very much relevant as we head into 2010. Dutton spent many nights traveling the honky-tonks of America, watching performances, and interviewing many artists for the book. Included in its chapters are stories about and interviews with such artists as Stoney LaRue, Reckless Kelly, Jack Ingram, Slaid Cleaves (man, I love his song Horseshoe Lounge), Robert Earl Keen, Pat Green, Tom Russell, James McMurtry, Buddy Miller, and guitar-maker Vince Pawless.

Preview the book if you'd like at Google Books.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Todd Snider in Nashville - February 20

A rare Nashville performance by Todd. Jennifer Knapp will be the lagniappe of this show.

I got mine. Did you get yours?


Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas from TMC

Christmas wouldn't be complete without a reprise of Robert Earl Keen's classic. To be honest, this song more closely resembles Thanksgiving gathering with my side of the family than it does Christmas with my wife's kin. But who am I to split hairs?

Merry Christmas y'all.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hey bro, are you listening?

About a month ago, I blogged a mini-series of things I'm thankful for. In entry no. 2, I mentioned friends and family. Perhaps a bit too candidly, I noted my relationship with my brother is for the most part non-existent. Well, now I've moving from candid to transparent to perhaps TMI.

He moved to Atlanta about a decade ago and was pretty good about staying in touch with our folks, my sister, and me for the first year or two. Since then, however, contact has been less and less with all of us.

We all would send him birthday and Christmas greetings but received nothing in return. A few years ago, I bought him a DVD player from his Amazon wish list as his Christmas gift and had it direct shipped to his address - but got no acknowledgment from him he received it. The next year, I simply sent him an Amazon gift certificate link - again nothing. The next year I dropped back to just a Christmas photo card of my kids - again nothing. So I dropped him altogether about 3 years ago.

What I'm really pissed about is how he's dropped all contact with our parents. He was the baby of the three of us and lived with them until he was Costanza-age. My mother has bent over backwards trying to reach out to him and also gets nothing in return. No gift, card, e-mail, call, text, smoke-signal, hand gestures, NOTHING - for her birthday, anniversary, Christmas or just to say hello.

He's also demolished his relationship with three kids - my two and our sister's daughter. My daughter is young enough her memories of him are too fuzzy to miss him that much. Its more like she doesn't have him as an uncle vs. having lost him. My son has a few more memories - all positive - but if he's missed having his uncle around he certainly doesn't show it.

My niece on the other hand is deeply hurt. She was about 6 or so when he left, and the two of them were inseparable when he still lived nearby. She idolized him. I've known its bothered her that he's fallen away, but I didn't realize the intensity of it until tonight.

Now as a 16 year old, she wrote an original song about her memories of their good times and the hurt she feels for him having dropped out of her life. She first read the lyrics to us tonight, and none of us knew quite what to say when she was done except "well done". She wanted to figure out a way to record it and get it to him for Christmas. I agreed to video and share it via YouTube for her. She plans to e-mail the link as her Christmas present to him.

I'll tell ya one thing. This song sho' ain't no Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer so be prepared.

I couldn't be prouder of her for writing this. And props to my boy for jumping in on guitar. She told him the basic chords to strum and what she wanted on the chorus and bridge. He took it from there.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

2009 Nashville Unlimited

My view of homeless folks was permanently altered for the better about 12 years ago. I always had a sympathetic view of the homeless. But conflicting feelings would collide if I saw someone in need of help - give 'em some cash? offer them suggestions for where to go? avoid them and head to the other side of the street? label them as bums? pause a moment for a conversation? Other than giving a dollar or two here and there and wondering what I should do, "inaction" was probably the best word to describe my view.

Upon being introduced to Nashville's Room in the Inn program, however, my level of involvement changed from inaction to participation. Each night from November 1 through March 31, approximately 200 folks (primarily men) are sent to local churches for a warm, safe place to sleep, a couple of meals, some basic amenities, and genuine hospitality. About 160 churches participate on varying nights during this time.

During the day, Room in the Inn's campus is bustling with activity - an art room, GED and job training, a place to make a phone call, a post office, showers, etc. The ministry truly is a blessing to the homeless of the Nashville and all of those who participate in its programs. I've spent the night with these guys, driven vans, cooked meals, run mail call, distributed clothing, played checkers (got my arrrse whipped most of the time!), shared dinner and a cup of coffee, and laughed with folks I otherwise would never have met.

For the last 10 years, one of Nashville's most prominent musicians, bassist Dave Pomeroy, has organized and emceed Nashville Unlimited. The show's duality of simplicity and diversity represent its charm. The simplicity is this: recruit from a seemingly unlimited pool of singers/bands to perform, play at a church, sell no tickets, use word of mouth promotion, ask for donations to listen, and building gets full = doors close. That's it (at least outwardly - there is far more controlled chaos behind the scenes than I likely care to know).

The diversity is in the music. Dave books three solid hours of music with the only breaks being minor stage changes from band to band, microphone adjustments, and an update or witness about Room in the Inn itself. Some performers are book-its - they've been there every year. Some are announced in advance. And many are "surprise guests". This year's surprises included Emmylou Harris and John Prine.

This year's show was this past Wednesday, and the performances may be as varied as I've seen before. Here ya go with the set list and of course some commentary along the way.
  1. Dave Pomeroy - Stargazing - He said the writing of this song was influenced by the three wise men - bass solo with bass #1
  2. Dave again - Not Forgotten - Dave said it was written years ago, but it finally became relevant to him in 2009 because of a year of personal losses - bass #2 used
  3. Don Henry - My Favorite Things
  4. Lori Ann Patera with Henry and Pomeroy (on bass #3) - Pretty Ribbons
  5. Will Smith - medley of Christmas songs on an autoharp
  6. Joey & Rory - apparently they were on CMT's Can You Duet show and have been featured on commercials - can't say for sure because I haven't seen either - but their Christmas song got a lot of applause so Dave asked them to play a 2nd one
  7. So they did...a song about the hardships of the long-gone folks who built their 1870s-era house where they currently
  8. Coral Bay Steel Drum Trio - Frosty the Snowman on steel drums... I can honestly say I've never heard Frosty quite that way.
  9. They continued with a reggae version of Go Tell It on the Mountain
  10. They capped off their three-song list with Silent Night
  11. 18 South - Santa Claus is Back in Town - a bluesy number
  12. 18 South again with a gospel number - it jammed but I have no clue about the title
  13. Emmylou Harris - Beautiful Star of Bethlehem - holy cow, is it even possible Emmylou is 60?
  14. Emmylou - Home Sweet Home
  15. Riders in the Sky - Christmas Time Is Coming
  16. RITS - Let It Snow
  17. RITS - Give Thanks
  18. RITS - I'll Be Home for Christmas
  19. Music City Baroque - a Handel composition - We got our culture on!
  20. MCBE - More Handel - Rejoice
  21. Steve Wariner - Christmas in Your Arms
  22. SW - Let It Snow
Steve then told a great story about the photo shoot for a Christmas album he released in the early 1990s. He had the grand idea to involve his young kids, a sleigh, a horse, some fake snow, and a dog. However, during the shoot his kids wouldn't cooperate much, and the dog hated the horse. As the shutter snapped, the dalmatian constantly growled grrrrr as he kept his eyes trained on the horse.
  1. SW - Christmas Morning
  2. SW - Our Savior Is Born

As Wariner finished and Pomeroy walked him off the stage, Dave returned chuckling, shaking his head, and said something to the effect of "Well, you never know about these surprise guests. This next singer-songwriter has just surprised me by being here. Here he is - perhaps the best singer-songwriter around." With that, he introduced John Prine.
  1. John Prine - Crazy As A Loon. After he finished, Prine quipped "well, the only thing Christmasy about that song was I didn't even say Christmas in it."
  2. JP - Hello In There (vid link for those who've never heard this haunting classic)
  3. Nashville Mandolin Ensemble - Carol of the Bells (MP3) from their out-of-print Gifts CD. Get it used if you can!
  4. NME - Christmas in County Kerry (vid link)
  5. NME - Dance of the Mirlitons from the Nutcracker Suite
  6. NME with John Cowan singing - Ava Maria
  7. Sweethearts of the Rodeo - Get Together (yes, that Get Together)
Two additional humorous moments:

Before the show: Because seating is based on first-come-first-served, a line started forming on the sidewalk out side the church several minutes before the doors opened. As I stood their...outside a church...waiting to hear a multi-hour music support the cause of the homeless. Yet a handful of folks near me wearing nice fur-lined coats started bitching about having to stand on the sidewalk in the cold. Oh the irony...

After the show: I heard one guy explain to another: "No, it was Henry, Don Henry - not Don Henley. (Speaking to others) He thought he was going to hear and see Don Henley from The Eagles."


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

2009: The Bird List

The label "Americana" has emerged over the last decade or so as the industry standard to apply to my favorite types of music. Yet, the label itself is pretty inadequate to describe what I like for a number of reasons.
  • Other things besides music are considered Americana - kitschy art, covered bridges in Vermont, turkey on Thanksgiving, Tennessee v. Alabama on third Saturday of October, Jimmy Stewart, etc.
  • Most other music labels are confining. Jazz, pop, hip-hop, country, metal, classical. Mention any of those genres, and one can just about conjure up a "name that tune" of some song within it. Americana doesn't work like that. The tent is huge and can accommodate a wide swath of artists and bands, acoustic and electric, megastar and unsigned, young and old, etc.
  • Singer-songwriters often fit within the genre. Some new country acts such as Miranda Lambert are welcome. Some quirky country artists such as Lyle Lovett have a seat at the table. Lots of old country artists kicked to the curb by Nashville are now senior friends in Americana such as Charlie Louvin. Artists on the lower end of the age spectrum (e.g. Avett Brothers) and on the upper end (e.g. Guy Clark) are equally at home.
  • Even the musical chops of the performers vary widely - yet places many competing styles within Americana. Lots of acoustic Martins - but a healthy dose of electric Strats. Electric bass is welcome right alongside the upright bass (exhibit 1: Kurt Ciesla from Corb Lund and The Hurtin' Albertans)...

  • It comes from all over - Texas and Tennessee are logical places to start. But try North Carolina, Oklahoma, California, Florida, New York, and the remaining states I didn't mention. Oh while you are at it, throw Canada into the mix. In this case, you've got a completely separate nation from which "Americana" originates. Even an iconic, British rock star who didn't start out as Americana ended up there by pairing himself with Allison Krauss (e.g. Zep's Robert Plant).
So while I'm not sure Americana, alt-country, or any label appropriate fits, I do pretty much know it when I hear it ... as do many others.

Fellow blogger A Truer Sound invited about 30 bloggers to throw our 2 cents in about our top 20 Americana releases of 2009. I was humbled about being asked to participate because I'm a blogging lightweight compared to these champs of music coverage.

We settled on The Bird List as the name of the poll results for a couple of reasons.
  • One, because Americana is so hard to define, the singers, bands, artists, and fans generally give the finger to the recording, retail, radio, and marketing establishments. Its not Music Row, formulaic country. Its not LA rock or pop. Its not all Texas honky tonks or the Grand Ol' Opry. Its big arenas and smoky bars. Much of it can and should be stocked in multiple sections in a music store. Most of those involved with performing or listening refuse to be pigeon-holed.
  • Two, a charter member of what is now known as Americana is The Man in Black - Johnny Cash. While most often considered as a country singer, his embrace of so many other types of music and people was a finger in the face of the establishment. His iconic in-your-face bird shot has adorned many a t-shirt.
My contributions to the top 20 list follow below. Seven of my choices made the overall top 20 - not bad I suppose considering the abundance and diversity of 2009's offerings and the ears of the listeners.

My selections were cobbled together with the other contibutors. A super-secret, fancy-schmancy scoring algorithm was applied, and bada-bing, bada-boom the sho-nuff, consensus, inaugural 2009 The Bird List is available for your viewing and commenting. Please chime in here or at the official home of the list.

TMC's Top 20:
  1. Guy Clark - Sometimes The Songs Write You (link is to show review)
  2. Corb Lund - Losin' Lately Gambler (link is to show review)
  3. Tom Russell - Blood And Candle Smoke
  4. Scott Miller - For Crying Out Loud
  5. Lyle Lovett - Natural Forces
  6. (Bob) Walkenhorst & (Jeff) Porter - No Abandon (link to blog entries re: both)
  7. Eric Brace & Peter Cooper - You Don't Have To Like Them Both (Peter: Tennessean writer by day, active musician by night)
  8. Daddy - For A Second Time (link is to show review but check them out too at ReverbNation)
  9. Steve Earle - Townes
  10. Charlie Robison - Beautiful Day
  11. Robert Earl Keen- The Rose Hotel
  12. Gurf Morlix - Last Exit To Happyland
  13. Miranda Lambert - Revolution
  14. Blue Rodeo - The Things We Left Behind
  15. Marshall Crenshaw - Jaggedland
  16. Todd Snider - The Excitement Plan
  17. The Flatlanders - Hills & Valleys
  18. Reverend Horton Heat - Laughin' and Cryin' with Reverend Horton Heat (OK, I admit it. This was a Nashville homer pick. The CD is great. But I went to junior high and high school with...[cough, name drop] Paul Simmons, RHH's drummer. So this release had to make my top 20, right?)
  19. Jeffrey Foucault - Shoot The Moon Right Between The Eyes (you cover Prine = you are in my top 20)
  20. Roseanne Cash - The List
I may spend a few entries over the coming weeks elaborating on some of my selections - including directing readers here to other fantastic blogs reviewing the releases.

Until then, sample these releases at Amazon or iTunes if you aren't familiar with them. Bum a bootleg off me or others to intro you to some of the songs before you buy official releases.And keep your eyes peeled for them to hit your town. Who knows - you might get to catch some great live music without breaking the bank.


Friday, December 11, 2009


Earlier this week, I had lunch in our work cafeteria with co-workers RHTM and Leslie. My head is still spinning from the bizarre variety of topics we covered in about an hour. One topic, of all things, was chickens. Chicken houses. Laying houses. Breeding houses. Processing plants. Disease management. Culling. Etc.

I don't even remember how the subject came up or why we continued it.

But after 4 days of that conversation still rattling around in my noggin, I was reminded this morning of the song written by Hayes Carll and Ray Wylie Hubbard titled simply enough Chickens.

Powered by

Cluck, cluck, cluck y'all.


Monday, December 7, 2009

The Power of a Name

After seeing Billy Joe Shaver live last week and playing Robert Earl Keen's Merry Christmas from the Family as part of the holiday season, I got to thinking about other "three named" performers. Most folks just roll with two names, but some singers opt for that extra one. Now, we could debate the merits of the extra name; however, one thing is not debatable. Three-named singers whip the living tar out of their single-named peers. I present these examples as compelling proof.

  • Robert Earl Keen v. Cher
  • Jerry Jeff Walker v. Morrissey (What's with this guy? He has one name yet two R's and 2 S's in it. A bit pretentious if you ask me.)
  • Billy Joe Shaver v. Pink
  • Ray Wylie Hubbard v. Beyonce
  • The Beat Farmers' Country Dick Montana v. Prince - can you imagine that as a twin bill?
  • Ronnie Van Zant v. Madonna
  • Walter Salas-Humara v. Sting
  • John Cougar Mellencamp v. Bono - Whoa, hold on! Its a Bono upset win over the 3-named JCM. Oh well, ya can't win 'em all.
  • Townes van Zandt v. Jewel
  • Jimmie Dale Gilmore v.Bjork
  • David Lee Roth v. Nena (of 99 Luft Balloons 1-hit wonder fame + she fails because of those hairy pits)
  • Ronnie James Dio v. Coolio
  • David Allen Coe v. Enya

And even with only a middle initial vs. a full middle name, its still a win for the three-name crowd.

  • Tom T. Hall v. Yanni

Now, the examples can continue if necessary. But I'm pretty sure I've presented slam-dunk, case-closing, proof-positive evidence that the tri-namers overwhelm the uni-named. They may not outsell them, out-MTV them, or out-Q-score them. But they out-talent them six days a week and twice on Sunday (or maybe its thrice).

As evidenced by the Bono victory over Mellencamp, I concede the conclusion is not one of 100% annihilation. So you can spare me the following examples:

  • Beck over Mary Chapin Carpenter
  • Usher over Lee Ann Womack

Otherwise, tell me where I'm wrong. I'm all ears.

a proud member of the three-named club

Friday, December 4, 2009

Clarity of Communication

I stopped by Mapco Friday morning for a cup of coffee. Its getting to be a regular habit - maybe three or four times a week. Hazelnut coffee, 16 ounces, 69 cents - can't be beaten. Its especially true knowing the coffee at the office - if its even made when I get there or if anyone even bothers to make a fresh pot after one is emptied - will normally be brewed in a carafe that likely hasn't seen soap since before Y2K.

As I'm now a bit of a Mapco regular, I presented my coffee drinker punch card. Six punches = a free cup. Quite the deal. I was one punch away from a freeb!

However, it was my lucky Friday. The clerk said "I'm just going to give you this cup for free. We're changing to a 5 punch card next week. So I'll just treat yours that way hon." Awesome.

I was grateful - don't get me wrong. But as someone who generally wants that next piece of info, I had to ask for clarification. Just haaaddd to ask.

TMC: So how is this going to work? Are you going to still have double-punch Monday where really I only have to buy four cups? Or are you doing away with double-punch Monday as part of the 5 punch card?

Clerk: Um-hmm. Yep, that's what we're doing.

TMC: But...oh, OK. Sure. Well have a good weekend.

Trust me, I'm going Monday. Surely, communication is clearest at the beginning of a new week with a cup of hot joe and a punch card in hand.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Billy Joe Shaver at Nashville's Exit-In

Nashville's music scene been berry, berry good to me the last 12 months or so. I've seen Robert Earl Keen, Todd Snider, Corb Lund and The Hurtin' Albertans, and Guy Clark. Tuesday night, I was able to ladle out a bit from my bucket list as I got to see Billy Joe Shaver for the first time. He didn't play the Ryman, the Nashville Arena, War Memorial Auditorium, or any other fancy place. Oh no, he instead took the stage at the famed Exit-In.

No question bars and clubs have changed - at least in the few I choose to frequent. The rowdiness is not as rowdy. The smokiness is often the result of fog machines vs. cigarettes. Many brands of beer are served in plastic long-neck bottles vs. glass ones having that distinct CLINK sound when they embrace each other in the garbage can. But the thing that hasn't changed about being in a club vs. an arena is a band's ability to be front and center with their audience, and Billy Joe seemed to really enjoy that aspect of performing.

A co-worker/friend of mine and BJS noob went with me to the show. Rather than continue to refer to her by such a long and awkward intro, I'll refer to her from here on as the Red Headed Tard Magnet (RHTM) for reasons to be explained later.

Jonny Corndawg, a local Nashville songwriter, opened the show and was quite talented and funny. He burned through a short 40 minute set, but he really had a lot of fun with the audience.

His band scalded some licks too. While the band's performance was pretty tight, their looks were quite varied. Looks ranged from a road-tested, full-bearded picker to a bald-headed, groomed bearded, Bear Bryant-fedora-sporting drummer to a chick bassist to a preppy-dressing geetar slinger who looked like he may just been picked up in the van off Vanderbilt's campus.

One of the fun yet challenging parts of listening to a band with whom you are not familiar is trying to absorb all the lyrics while filtering out all the room chatter that normally accompanies an opening act. Corndawg sang some song with the refrain "Red on the head like a tick on a dawg". Or at least that's what we thought he sang. The next few moments went something like this:
  • RHTM yelled in my ear "what did he just say?" (She's got red hair so it made sense she'd wanna know.)
  • TMC: "Was it tick on a dog?"
  • RHTM: "I couldn't tell"
  • TMC as song ends and band comes off stage to JC can do some solo singin': "So ask 'em"
  • RHTM to band member: "What was that song y'all just sang?"
  • Band member: says something to her but inaudible to me
  • RHTM turns to TMC wide-eyed and laughing: "Well, we were close. But it wasn't tick."
After his set ended, he and the rest of the band joined the audience for Billy Joe's performance. Interestingly, Jonny blogged about an interview on Tuesday that he did with Billy Joe back in the summer in Chattanooga, TN.

As Jonny's set was winding down, we had the misfortune of meeting Tard #1. He was an older feller, maybe early 60s. Drunk. Pasty white pallor. From St. Louis he told us - yet had written some sort of book about Nashville. Not sure else how to describe him other than perhaps as an older version of Kip from Napoleon Dynamite - only without the 'stache.

We were first "introduced" to Tard #1 as he tried to find the men's room. We were standing along a wall near the stage when he strolled up and started pawing at the wall. I finally asked him what he was doing, and he said he was looking for the bathroom. I told him it was up the hill - up some stairs behind the stage. For whatever reason, I reckon he was looking for some sort of hidden trap door - maybe one of those revolving kinds in fancy libraries in Scooby Doo or Young Frankenstein. A code knock on the door - shave and a haircut, two bits - and the door would spin 180 degrees putting you right in front of a urinal. Maybe, I don't know.

We were hoping that fun little encounter was the end of it, but alas it wasn't. He returned, talked to me about making a million dollars if he could just sell 80,000 copies of this book no one had heard of. Then he turned his attention to RHTM (told ya I'd get there). He bragged about drinking a beer with Billy Joe in Printers Alley years ago, spoke about BJS's chopped off fingers, and other terribly entertaining stories. From there, I turned my attention to Billy Joe's opener of Georgia on a Fast Train. For the first few songs, RHTM's head was on a swivel from listening to Tard #1, rotating back to me with a look of "HELP", back to Billy Joe on stage, back to Tard, and so on. I simply drank by PBR, enjoyed the music, and smiled wryly. Figured it was the price she had to pay as a Billy Joe rookie.

Right out of the gate, Billy Joe introduced his band members. Among them was a 15 year-old guitarist whose cheeks were as rosy as the day he was born - a razor hasn't touched them yet. I didn't catch his name or how he got to BJS's band (Tard #1 was too busy telling us another story.) The kid dressed the part, and he was a pretty good picker. Its got to be a mind-blowing experience to be 15 and playing in a club, bar, or honky-tonk with a 70 year-old songwriting legend.

On with the show. Here's your set list - with a bit of commentary throw in along the way for good measure...
  1. Georgia on a Fast Train - The thing that had me smiling from note #1 was how spry BJS still is. From Georgia to the signature ending You Just Can't Beat Jesus Christ, he pranced all around the stage.
  2. Honky Tonk Heroes - after this one, BJS pulled out his iPhone and said "Now I'll tell ya. This iPhone thang, it ain't no John Deere tractor. This thang is driving me crazy. Oh shit, its a'ringin'. Let me see - how do I turn it off?"
  3. That's What She Said Last Night
  4. Black Rose
  5. You Wouldn't Know Love (a'cappella)
  6. You Asked Me To
  7. Anti-Suicide Story > Ragged Old Truck - Right before he kicked it off, he quipped "Behind every good man stands a woman saying 'you can't do that'."
  8. Old Chunk of Coal
  9. Memories of Eddy > Star in my Heart (a'cappella) - What was remarkable about this song was the room's response. During the first few songs and for the remainder of the show, the Exit-In had a low murmur in it just as all clubs and bars do as a singer or band performs. But as Billy Joe got into the second line of this song, the whole room became noticeably silent. Everyone was focused on his never-ending love for Eddy, keeping the memory of him alive, and delivering a tough-love message to others who might be listening and having struggles of their own.
  10. Live Forever
  11. BJS then gave a couple of shout-outs folks in the crowd - including Todd Snider. I was really hoping he'd be there to join in with Good News Blues. Billy Joe called out to Todd to come up and play. The crowd roared for Todd to do just that. Billy Joe then ordered him to get up on stage. Then he asked, then pleaded, and then begged. Finally, he just gave up and asked if Todd might be out getting high. Then he moved on without him. As a result, Good News Blues wasn't performed.
  12. Hottest Thing in Town
  13. When The Word Was Thunderbird (w/drum solo) - As Jason McKenzie was banging the skins for a multi-minute drum solo, BJS slipped off to stage right to hit the head before returning for the rest of the show. When he left the stage, Tard #1 set off in pursuit. He returned a few minutes to tell RHTM "Billy Joe said he remembered us having that beer in the Alley!" Uh...yeah...sure Tard #1. I'm sure he meant it. And I'm sure every girl in a bar is the first one to have ever been told she's the purtiest one there.
  14. I've Found My Weakness In You (featuring bassist Nick Gaitan on vocals/acoustic guitar) - This was the moment RHTM and I had been waiting for. We moved to another part of the floor to break away from Tard #1.
  15. 'Til The Cows Come Home (featuring guitarist Lanky Moore on vocals and harp)
  16. Good Ol' USA
  17. Honey Bee
  18. Ride Me Down Easy - Up until this point, BJS had downed a few bottles of water. But I guess he wanted a little burst to carry him through to the end so out came a can of Red Bull. Now, I've been waiting for several years to see the legendary Billy Joe Shaver in concert. The two things I did not expect to witness from this 70 year-old Texan, however, were his use of an iPhone and wrasslin' the Red Bull. Quite amazing.
  19. Been That Way - Not sure about title for this one. He said it was a new one. - Unbelievably, during this song Tard #2 decided to make his presence known to RHTM. Again, I'm not sure the best way to describe him with words. Instead, imagine him as older version of Stork from Animal House. You know - the one who fired off to Blutarsky "So what we 'spose to do now moron?"
  20. Love Is So Sweet
  21. Tramp on Your Street
  22. Try and Try Again - this one got the old guys moshing for some reason - Tard #2 really got it rolling. Tard #3 who up until this point stood like he was wearing cement sandals came alive. Tipping the scales at probably about 280 with his cowboy hat and down vest suddenly started dancing like he had learned Blue Man Group's Rock Concert Movements - especially RCM #2 (at 1:36 mark). Then without much warning, Tards #2 and #3 start drifting in unison towards RHTM! We had to beat a hasty exit to the side of the room to avoid them - while trying to keep a lookout for the Return of Tard #1.
  23. You Can't Beat Jesus Christ closed the show as I think it does with all of his shows.
In a kind-hearted, paternal moment, Billy Joe lightly kissed each member of his band on the head as they were winding down the last part of the song. He likely does that with each show, but it was a touching moment to see. Almost 10 years have passed since Eddy Shaver's death, and I'm sure a night doesn't go by that Billy Joe doesn't visualize him still on stage with him amongst the rest of the band.

As he wound down the show, Billy Joe thanked a bunch of people - many of whom I didn't know and many whose names I couldn't understand as he mumbled them into the microphone. The best shout-out, however, was "thank you to Todd Snider for leaving early".

The show was over and done with right about midnight. With the show on a work night, it was time to head for the house. Only one problem. RHTM suggested we have one more round at a bar across the street. One more beer led to one new shot - some sort of Key Lime Pie shooter.

I made it to work on time Wednesday morning but wasn't worth a lot. I probably had no business getting those last 2 rounds. But the invitation by RHTM and my acceptance of it makes me Tard #4 I guess.