Jason Isbell Review


As I have said in previous blogs; I am an old rocker and over the past 45 or so years have dabbled in a diversity of music ranging from 50’s Golden Oldies, to progressive rock, to rockabilly, to soul and disco. For example, the first albums (on eight track) I ever bought were Orange Blossom Special by Johnny Cash and Tapestry by Carol King. The first vinyl album I ever bought was Brothers and Sister by the Allman Brothers.
While they are not my favorite band nor even a super group, I’ve always used the Doobie Brothers as the standard by which I measured all bands. I’ve always thought they were a complete bland. Their electric music was tempered by acoustic virtuosity.
In recent years I’ve been listening to Jason Isbell and for my money he meets the Doobie Brothers test. His acoustic guitar is as well executed as Toulouse Street. Of particular notice is Isbell’s work on Hudson Commodore off the Something More Than Free album. The electric and acoustic blend  in Tupelo off the album The Nashville Sound from Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit is a moving and sweeping song.
Isbell doesn’t boom any of his songs. They are simply designed, wrought, and delivered. If you are looking for embellished vocal riffs, falsetto done for falsetto’s sake, and over-singing you won’t find it here. Rather you will find great songs, with deep universal meanings, well delivered, and competently sang.
So I guess the point is if you like your music with a bit of lyric virtuosity and superb guitar work, this may be the guy for you.


Finally Some Good Guitar

I have in recent years lamented the passing of quality guitar work for presumed vocal virtuosity (which I contended has much fewer virtuosos than is recognized). Regardless, a rant about the people yelling at me instead of sinning to me is for another day.

Last night I watched the CMA awards and was quite impressed by the handy guitar work of Brothers Osborne. John Osborne seems as comfortable laying rifts, which would make Eric Clapton proud. His ability to use the totality of his fret board was first rate and was his style
And while I’m on it. If you get the chance to listen to Jason Isbell, do it. He too has a deft hand. While not as rock as John Osborne, Isbell blends acoustic guitar and electric with a skill reminiscent of the original Doobie Brothers – pay special attention to Cumberland Gap, with his band the 400 Unit of the album The Nashville Sound.
Though I know this, I was nonetheless struck by Keith Urban’s guitar skills as well. He like Osborne can put together solos that can make many an old rocker (like myself) nod their heads in agreement.
Neither Osborne, nor Urban, nor Isbell overplays their guitar the way many hard Rockers do these days. Each note of these fret boards is a demonstration of individual artistry. It’s all quite thoughtful.



Big Brother 19 Orgy of Bullying

I have been watching Big Brother for years and for the most part have enjoyed it, but Thursday’s episode was horrific. If CBS does nothing about it – by inaction – the network endorses this abhorrent behavior.
Even though Jessica Graf and Cody Nickson may be the worst players ever to play and perhaps the two tilt toward the obnoxious;

the abuse, bullying, and terroristic threatening heaped upon them by the house was repellant, disgusting, and dangerous.

The entire house, except two cowards hiding inside, followed Graf and Nickson to the back yard and seemingly circled they two lying on a Hammock and began hurling insults. It was akin to watching African wild dogs corner wildebeests. Josh Martinez ran around banging frying pans (not unlike psyops in a military operation), Raven Walton hurled expletive after expletive at the two, an through it all Paul Abrahamian danced in the background like some satanic character whose vile plan was coming to fruition.

On to the cowards and there are two and one honorary coward
1. Matthew Clines watched from a far mumbling about how the even was all wrong. Yet he did nothing.
2. Mark Jansen watched from the doorway shaking his head and also did nothing.
3. Honorary coward Kevin Schlehuber the oldest of the group, did nothing as well. He of all of them should know better

These three were aware enough of the situation not to get sucked in, but were too cowardly to act. Shame on them.

The whole thing showed the worst of television and breakdown of decorum.

Pop TV’s Wolf Creek is Great

wolf-creek-tv-posterI have a guilty pleasure I need to confess.

Maybe I should start with a prayer, Naaaah it’s not fitting given the topic.

Anyway, I have a dog. Just throwing that out to set the stage, because the heroine of this guilt pleasure also has a dog. Her name is Eve and she is the protagonist in the bleak Outback thriller “Wolf Creek” on PopTV.

Set in Australia, an American young woman relentlessly hunts down the killer of her family; a serial killer named Mick Taylor. Eve is played by Australian actress Lucy Fry. She plays the role with both vulnerability and strength (a rare combination).

Mick Taylor is menacingly play by longtime Aussie TV staple John Jarret. He has a long list of credits and it is hard to believe he once hosted a lifestyle show on Australian TV

Anyway, the cast of characters populating the show is fairly unusual for the kind of slasher/revenge flick we’ve grown used to. Even so, the story moves so fast and the Outback so bleak there is something special about this production.

I think that is the power of the show. The characters are so unusual that you never get bored. There is the drug lord chasing Eve , not because she stole his money (she did), but because he thinks she would provide the perfect DNA for his future offspring. There is the cop who is obsessed with her because his wife is cheating on him; there is the soiled dove women from some kind of strip/non strip club where the women walk around suggestively, but never take their clothes; and finally there is the useless dog that never seems to be around when trouble erupts.

If you like your tension mixed with cornucopia of oddball characters, this is the show for you.



Bullworth — An Overdue Review

Somewhere along the way – I’m not sure when it happened – I missed a great movie; 1998’s Bullworth. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118798/. It stars Warren Beatty and Halle Berry. Beatty is titular US Senator and Halle Berry a hit woman sent to do him in as a contract killer.
The movie is a lot of fun, but with topical racial overtones, which sadly, still seem relevant– racism, healthcare, graft-loving politicians from both parties, and the omnipresent chase of cash.
Berry is tremendous as the 26-year-old hit woman disguised as a hotty with informed political opinions from the poor side of town (aka the black side).
Beatty– who co-wrote the script – is clever in that he allows the main black characters to make the salient points, which Bullworth later co-opts co-ops for a fall down hilarious political interview.
It is a farcical look at politics and race relations that will have you hooting and thinking – rare these days for a movie.
I guess some call it socialist propaganda, or liberal baiting, but it seemed to go deeper than that. Regardless, as we move full bore into the election season this film is worth another look,