Archive for the News Category

“I Heard It On TV” – Finding More New Music on the Tube

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2013 by 30daysout

By George Kovacik

A couple of years ago I discovered I could find better songs watching television than I could listening to the radio. Songs I would never have come across otherwise are now in power rotation in the car and on the iPod. Songs like “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down” by Robert Plant and Band of Joy from the ill-fated, but incredible Starz drama Boss, the gruff “This Life” and the poignant Product Details“John the Revelator” from the excellent Sons of Anarchy, performed by 90s “Sunny 99.1” artist Curtis Stigers and the Forest Rangers. SOA also introduced me to other gems such as “Alesund” by Sun Kil Moon, “Our Last Flight” by Scala & Kolacny Brothers, the incredible “Mary” by Patty Griffin, “This Charming Life” by Joan Armatrading, “Into Thy Hands” by The Celtic Rangers Family Singers, “Big Fella” by Black 47 and “Dad’s Gonna Kill Me” by the incomparable Richard Thompson.

Before it went off the air, One Tree Hill, contributed “The Sun” by the Naked and the Famous and “Secret Crowds” by Angels and Airwaves. The great Friday Night Lights left us with “Skull and Bones” by A.A. Bondy and “When the Night Comes” by Dan Auerbach among many others. NBC’s Parenthood is a great resource for new music. The Lennings do an outstanding cover of “You’re the One that I Want” from Grease. James Blake covers the Joni Mitchell tune “A Case of You,” and thank you for Donovan’s excellent “Catch the Wind.” The canceled Damages contributed Greg Laswell’s great solo piano version of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” while HBO’s Big Love introduced me to “Home” by Engineers.

Who says watching too much TV is a bad thing?

“Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down” (From the Starz drama “Boss”) by Robert Plant and Band of Joy

“This Life” (From “Sons of Anarchy”) by Curtis Stigers and the Forest Rangers

“Alesund” (From “Sons of Anarchy”) by Sun Kil Moon

“Skull & Bones” (From “Friday Night Lights”) by A.A. Bondy

“The Sun” (From “One Tree Hill”) by The Naked and the Famous

“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” (From “Damages”) by Greg Laswell

“Home” (From “Big Love”) by Engineers

“Mary” (From “Sons of Anarchy”) by Patty Griffin

Happy Birthday, Willie!

Posted in News with tags on April 30, 2013 by 30daysout


Willie Nelson, one of the great treasures of American music, is 80 years old today. When I was in college we listened to Willie all the time – his classic Red Headed Stranger came out when I was a junior, and we spun that one till the record was virtually unplayable.

At the time I had the impression that Willie Nelson was a favorite only in Texas or the south. It may have been mainly true about that time, but when he put out the standards collection Stardust in 1978 it was quite obvious the man was a superstar.

I once thought I had more CDs of acts like The Beatles, The Beach Boys and Van Morrison than any other artist, but no. Willie’s CDs take up nearly an entire shelf of my cabinet, and that’s not counting the compilations he appears on, the special things like Live in Austin TX and of course LPs, cassettes, 8-tracks (!) and downloaded digital files.

Willie Nelson 2

Willie performing at the 2012 Free Press Summer Fest in Houston.

Every year they have this big extravaganza in Houston, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and zillions of people go out to see rodeo events but mainly to see top-name music acts perform. It’s always cool to see the way artists are brought to and taken from the stage, which sits out in the middle of the rodeo dirt. Elvis had his own special pickup truck, Kool and the Gang once rode low riders, George Strait gallops off on a horse.

Willie played the Rodeo a handful of times, back when it was in the Astrodome, and he had the greatest stage exit ever. He pointed down to his cowboy boots – somebody had given him a wildly ornate set of manly footwear – and said, “How do you like my boots?” As the spotlight hit his boots and the video closeups showed up on the big screens, the crowd roared in approval at the sight of Willie’s pristine, sparkling clean cowboy boots.

Then he jumped off the stage into the dirt and just started walking toward the exit, waving at the crowd. It was a pretty long walk until he was out of sight, and I’m sure he broke in his new boots by stepping in cow pies along the way. On purpose.  The crowd kept roaring and suddenly, before anyone knew it, he was gone.

The sad news about George Jones this weekend made me think of that night at the Rodeo. One day, Willie will be gone too. And the world will be a much sadder, much less fun place. Here’s hoping that day is a long way away.

YouTube: “Funny How Time Slips Away”

YouTube: “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me”

George Jones, R.I.P.

Posted in News with tags on April 26, 2013 by 30daysout

George Jones 1931-2013

It’s been a bad week for music. George Jones, the greatest of the old-school country singers, has died at the age of 81.

He was originally from Saratoga in deep East Texas and even after he became famous he was a familiar sight in places like Beaumont. When we worked for a newspaper in Southeast Texas it was almost a routine assignment for someone to go out and cover a George Jones performance – he pretty much played the same standard set during that period (late 1970s-early 1980s) but it was always big news when ol’ Possum came to town.

We also talked a lot to his wife Nancy, who was a key figure in getting George off the sauce in the 1980s. They opened a Branson-style music venue, Jones Country Park, in 1983, where you could camp (mostly in RVs) and walk over to see people perform at an amphitheater. George played some shows there, and they were great.

George was still living near Beaumont when the infamous “riding lawn mower” incident took place sometime in the 1960s. He was married to his second wife and she … let’s have  George himself tell it, from his book I Lived To Tell It All:

“Once, when I had been drunk for several days, Shirley decided she would make it physically impossible for me to buy liquor. I lived about eight miles from Beaumont and the nearest liquor store. She knew I wouldn’t walk that far to get booze, so she hid the keys to every car we owned and left.

“But she forgot about the lawn mower. I can vaguely remember my anger at not being able to find keys to anything that moved and looking longingly out a window at a light that shone over our property. There, gleaming in the glow, was that ten-horsepower rotary engine under a seat; a key glistening in the ignition.

“I imagine the top speed for that old mower was five miles per hour. It might have taken an hour and a half or more for me to get to the liquor store, but get there I did.”

Sometime this weekend, treat yourself and play a George Jones record. He was one of a kind.

George Jones obituary and photos at the Beaumont Enterprise

BONUS: Listen and download songs about George Jones (thanks to WFMU-FM)

YouTube: “White Lightning” from 1959

YouTube: “He Stopped Loving Her Today” from 1980

YouTube: “Honky Tonk Song” from 1996

Richie Havens, R.I.P.

Posted in News with tags , on April 22, 2013 by 30daysout

Richie Havens at Woodstock, 1969.

Richie Havens, the bearded troubadour of Woodstock, has died at the age of 72. Born in Brooklyn, the singer is perhaps best known for his fiery “Freedom,” which he improvised onstage at the Woodstock Festival in 1969.

Havens toured and recorded for decades until complications from kidney surgery left him unable to tour after 45 years in 2012. In addition to putting out 21 studio albums and touring the world numerous times, Havens also devoted much of his time to charity. In 1991 he won the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award.

Here’s Richie performing “Freedom” at the Woodstock 40th anniversary at Bethel, N.Y. in 2009.


Video Du Jour: Patty Griffin w/Robert Plant

Posted in News with tags , , on April 16, 2013 by 30daysout

Verbiage taken straight off the site of KUTX-FM, the coolest radio station in Austin, Texas:

Singer-songwriter Patty Griffin has become known for her stripped-down folk sound and her heartfelt and emotional lyrics. It’s those factors that brought her the fan following she has now, including some bigger name fans such as Emmylou Harris and the Dixie Chicks, who have taken Griffin’s songs and recorded some fantastic covers.

Patty Griffin started writing songs when she was 16. She went out, bought a $50 guitar, and set out to singing and playing with absolutely no intention of becoming a professional musician. It wasn’t until later in life, after ending a short marriage, that she took a crack at playing professionally. And now, she’s a Grammy award-winning artist.

On May 7th, Patty Griffin will release her latest album, American Kid. Patty recently stopped by Studio 1A and brought a couple of talented friends with her (spoiler alert: it’s Robert Plant). Listen to the entire set right here, and make sure to stick around for the last song!

Patty Griffin official web site

Video Du Jour: Annette Funicello & The Beach Boys

Posted in News with tags , on April 8, 2013 by 30daysout


Annette Funicello, star of 1960s beach party movies and a former member of “The Mickey Mouse Club,” has died at the age of 70. Funicello was first known for her TV appearances in the late 1950s as a Mouseketeer, and that provided the springboard into movies – first, a series of family films by the Walt Disney Co., then movies like Beach Blanket Bingo, often with Frankie Avalon.

Los Angeles Times news story about Annette Funicello

YouTube: Annette singing the title song from “The Monkey’s Uncle” (1965), backed by The Beach Boys

Rolling Stones Announce Tour

Posted in News with tags on April 3, 2013 by 30daysout

rolling stones logo

After plenty of rumors and speculation, The Rolling Stones have finally announced dates for their “50 and Counting” anniversary tour.

Early reports said this tour would have 18 dates, and only nine were announced today. If your city isn’t on this list, it may turn up later this summer or fall. Here are the announced dates:

5 – Oakland, Calif. @ Oracle Arena
8 – San Jose, Calif. @ HP Pavilion
11 – Las Vegas, Nev. @ MGM Grand Garden Arena
15 – Anaheim, Calif. @ Honda Center
25 – Toronto, Ontario @ Air Canada Centre
28 – Chicago, Ill. @ United Center

12 – Boston, Mass. @ TD North Garden
18 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Wells Fargo Center

Rolling Stones official web site

Alvin Lee, R.I.P.

Posted in News with tags , on March 7, 2013 by 30daysout


Guitarist Alvin Lee, founder of the band Ten Years After, has died at the age of 68.

Lee is perhaps best known for the fiery fretwork on the blues workout “I’m Going Home,” immortalized by the movie Woodstock. The group’s appearance at the Woodstock festival and movie made them very famous, and a few years later the band had its biggest hit, “I’d Love To Change The World.”

Rolling Stone story about Alvin Lee

MP3: “I Woke Up This Morning” by Ten Years After

MP3: “I’d Love To Change The World” by Ten Years After

MP3: “50,000 Miles Beneath My Brain” by Ten Years After

MP3: “Love Like A Man” by Ten Years After

MP3:  “Baby Won’t You Let Me Rock and Roll You” by Ten Years After

YouTube: “I’m Going Home” by Alvin Lee & Ten Years After, 1978

Song of the Week: Iggy & the Stooges

Posted in News with tags , , , on March 6, 2013 by 30daysout

Right before the week of SXSW, let’s start a new regular feature here: Song of the Week. Each week we’ll offer up a listen to a new, upcoming song from an album and/or artist we like. Kind of the same thing we do with those endless “Video Du Jour” things we use to fill space and kill time – only now we’ve figured out how to use Soundcloud on the blog.

Ahem. OK, legends Iggy and the Stooges are back this spring with a studio Iggy-and-the-Stoogesalbum, Ready to Die, and “Burn” is the first single.

On the new album Iggy is joined by guitarist James Williamson and drummer Scott Asheton, with Mike Watt filling in on bass for the late Ron Asheton.

The group will take their new music on the road this spring, with a March 13 show for the House of Vans showcase at The Mohawk  in Austin for South by Southwest kicking things off. Aside from the SXSW festival, the only other North American appearances currently on the itinerary are a headlining set at the Free Press Summer Fest June 1-2 in Houston, and the Ink-N-Iron Festival June 8 in Long Beach.

Ready to Die is due in stores April 30 on Fat Possum Records. You can pre-order the disc here.

Video Du Jour: Matt & Kim

Posted in News with tags on February 27, 2013 by 30daysout

Today we begin the slow buildup to South by Southwest, the mid-March music madness in Austin, Texas, where thousands of music wannabes, also-rans, never weres and wish-we-coulds will gather to show off their chops. A few years ago we ran across Matt & Kim, an overexuberant pop duo who seem to have a knack for creating videos that are sometimes catchier than their songs.

This is “It’s Alright,” from their 2012 album Lightning.

Matt & Kim official web site