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2011 Stories by William Michael Smith

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  • Aretha Franklin

    published November 17, 2011

    Following a "mysterious surgery" in January, rumored to be for pancreatic cancer, Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, has resumed touring. It's... More >>

  • Here to Stay

    published November 17, 2011

    If "Tuba Phil" Frazier, the founder and leader of the Rebirth Brass Band, hadn't taken to music in his junior high school marching band, he'd... More >>

  • Showcase Showdown

    published November 17, 2011

    Saturday's Houston Press Music Awards Showcase was spread out, with 50 bands playing over five areas and some 11 stages, which meant most... More >>

  • 2011 HPMA Showcase: Lonesome, Onry and Mean Edition

    published Nov 14, 2011

    Checkout the slideshows of the bands and the crowd at the Houston Press Music Awards Showcase. I spent most of the my Houston Press Music Awards day circulating between five contiguous venues: Dirt B... More >>

  • RIP Doyle Bramhall, Austin Blues Legend

    published Nov 13, 2011

    Doyle Bramhall, one of the legendary Austin drummers and a noted songwriter, passed this morning. He was 62. Unconfirmed reports on Facebook noted that Bramhall had been under the weather for some ti... More >>

  • Memories Of "Crash" Collins Continue To Pour In

    published Nov 11, 2011

    Last Sunday's passing of longtime Houston radio personality "Crash" Collins and our subsequent blog about him brought in some interesting commentary from people who remembered Collins' long tenure at ... More >>

  • Blind Boys of Alabama

    published November 10, 2011

    Maybe the greatest gospel group ever assembled, the Blind Boys of Alabama have a list of awards and honors that would take up more space than... More >>

  • The Funky Chicken: Good Stuff in the Mailbox

    published Nov 08, 2011

    Once again our mailbox has filled to overflowing with CDs (and zip files). The desk looks like a Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown of jewel cases, and the entire room is littered with (largely unread... More >>

  • Saturday Night: James McMurtry, Jason Isbell at Firehouse Saloon

    published Nov 07, 2011

    Wow, Rocks Off is a huge fan of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, but Saturday night this hard-charging band from Muscle Shoals, Alabama got a lesson in Texas big beat. Isbell himself was sitting in the ... More >>

  • RIP Crash Collins, Rock Disc Jockey Extraordinaire

    published Nov 06, 2011

    Dennis "Crash" Collins, a legend of Houston rock radio, died this morning of prostate cancer complications. He was 68. Originally a musician who played with B.J. Thomas and the Winter brothers, Johnn... More >>

  • Grammy Nomination Fantasies

    published Nov 04, 2011

    Once again all the Grammy nomination razzamatazz has fired up, with local label ZenHill Records of course leading the charge with its recent press release, "ZenHill Artists on the Long List for a Gram... More >>

  • James McMurtry Can Make It Here

    James McMurtry Can Make It Here

    published Nov 03, 2011

    One of the truly gifted Texas songsmiths, James McMurtry has carved a nice, viable career out of great lyrics, stellar playing, hard touring, a good work ethic, and common sense. His last two studio a... More >>

  • Survival Skills

    published November 3, 2011

    "Trying to sell creative, interesting songs to pop country artists? You'd have better luck selling shirts to Dave Navarro." So reads a... More >>

  • Warren Haynes, A Man In Motion

    Warren Haynes, A "Man In Motion"

    published Oct 28, 2011

    Warren Haynes has one of the ultimate guitar player resumes, having played for years with the Allman Brothers, many tours with the Grateful Dead and offshoot Bob Weir and Friends as well as his own wi... More >>

  • Roy Head Remembers Gene Kurtz & "Treat Her Right"

    published Oct 26, 2011

    "I guarantee you one thing, Gene Kurtz is playing bass in the best band in heaven tonight," says Roy Head. Head co-wrote "Treat Her Right," one of the truly legendary Texas hits, with Kurtz, the bassi... More >>

  • Buxton: Not Everyone Is Going To Love You

    Buxton: "Not Everyone Is Going To Love You"

    published Oct 21, 2011

    Lonesome Onry and Mean has been spinning local sensation Buxton's upcoming release Nothing Here Seems Strange for almost two weeks now. And we're sorry, but we still don't get it. Maybe we are old ... More >>

  • Earl Gilliam: A Huge Loss That Can't Be Filled

    Earl Gilliam: "A Huge Loss That Can't Be Filled"

    published Oct 19, 2011

    Another of Houston's unique blues treasures, the effusive, ebullient and always stylish pianist Earl Gilliam, has moved on to the big juke joint in the sky. Gilliam, 81, died peacefully this morning a... More >>

  • Horseshoe's Top 5 F*cked Up Songs

    published Oct 18, 2011

    Greg Wood and his band of merry men known as Horseshoe slide into Under The Volcano Wednesday night for the late-'90s warhorses' second "reunion" gig since getting back together at Rudyard's three mon... More >>

  • The Prince of Skull Orchard

    published October 20, 2011

    Jon Langford probably gets tired of the term "renaissance man," but with four bands, art openings, books, charities, a radio show, an... More >>

  • The Gourds on Italian Sandwiches, Jaded Nashville and Life in a Van

    published Oct 14, 2011

    The Gourds, Austin's loosest and most literate roots band, rolls into Dan Electro's Guitar Bar tonight. The occasion is the release of the band's latest album, Old Mad Joy. Produced by Bob Dylan/Levon... More >>

  • RIP Bert Jansch: Legendary Folk Guitarist Dies At 67

    RIP Bert Jansch: Legendary Folk Guitarist Dies At 67

    published Oct 05, 2011

    Dave Alvin alerted us via Facebook shortly ago that British guitar master Bert Jansch has died. Jansch, who along with his band Pentangle was at the forefront of the '60s British folk movement, was 67... More >>

  • Garland Jeffreys: NYC Rock Hero Still Wild In The Streets

    published Oct 05, 2011

    As vapid as television has become, if you're a fan of great live music you might want to check The Late Show With David Letterman Friday night, when Dave welcomes the incomparable Garland Jeffreys. ... More >>

  • Hey, Baby, Que Pasó

    published October 6, 2011

    With more than 50 years in the music business, 71-year-old Augie Meyers has stories. Lots of stories. An original member of the Sir Douglas... More >>

  • Saturday Night: Roky Erickson At The Continental Club

    Saturday Night: Roky Erickson At The Continental Club

    published Oct 03, 2011

    Roky Erickson Continental Club October 1, 2011 Roky Erickson, the godfather of Texas psychedelic music and one of the state's most beloved musical figures, has come far since his days of disabling sc... More >>

  • Hayes Carll Leaving Lost Highway After Declining Option

    published Sep 30, 2011

    As if we haven't heard enough news about what trouble the major labels are having and the changing business model for labels and artists, Rocks Off learned over the weekend that Hayes Carll is leaving... More >>

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