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2014 Stories by William Michael Smith

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  • The Mount Rushmore of (Good) Bro-Country
    FEATURED STORY

    The Mount Rushmore of (Good) Bro-Country

    published Dec 31, 2014

    One term will brand 2014 for the sub-par music year it was: bro country. First used in print in August 2013 by New Yorker music writer Jody Rosen to describe mainstream-country boy-band Florida Georgi... More >>

  • Houston Acts You Should Probably See ASAP

    published Dec 26, 2014

    Note: Because there ain't a whole lot else going on, today Rocks Off is revisiting some of our favorite stories of 2014. Happy Holidays! The passing of Texas Johnny Brown last year hit me and a bunch... More >>

  • Remembering Little Joe Washington, Houston's Last Real Bluesman

    published Dec 25, 2014

    Note: this Christmas, Rocks Off is remembering some prominent members of Houston's music community we lost this year. Houston is a little less of an action town after Little Joe Washington, the might... More >>

  • Is Country Music Ready for Sturgill Simpson?
    FEATURED STORY

    Is Country Music Ready for Sturgill Simpson?

    published Dec 18, 2014

    So the big new noise in the increasingly noisy -- or static-y -- genre known as Americana is this Kentucky guy Sturgill Simpson. With 2014 appearances on Letterman and Conan and a first-ever Grammy no... More >>

  • RIP Ian McLagan, Rock Legend and Adopted Texan

    published Dec 03, 2014

    Austin is in a state of shock this afternoon after the passing of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Austin music icon Ian McLagan. McLagan, 69, suffered a stroke at his home in Austin on Tuesday night. ... More >>

  • RIP Bobby Keys: Texan and Stones Saxophonist Dies at 70

    published Dec 02, 2014

    Note: According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Bobby Keys passed away earlier Tuesday. The Lubbock-born saxophonist was a longtime side man for the Rolling Stones, first appearing with the band on 1969's L... More >>

  • Phillip Zimmerle Puts Down Love Knife, Adds Cello

    published Nov 20, 2014

    Former Love Knife guitarist Phillip Zimmerle has swerved again. A Baton Rouge native with a creative writing degree from L.S.U., Zimmerle has recently been working with his drummer and wife Mary Beth ... More >>

  • The 10 Funkiest Chicken Songs Ever Recorded
    FEATURED STORY

    The 10 Funkiest Chicken Songs Ever Recorded

    published Nov 19, 2014

    Lonesome Onry and Mean was hanging with some folks the other night when Rufus Thomas' classic Memphis dance tune "Do the Funky Chicken" came on the jukebox. The owner happened to be standing near the ... More >>

  • Little Joe Washington: The Stories Never End
    FEATURED STORY

    Little Joe Washington: The Stories Never End

    published Nov 13, 2014

    Houston is a little less of an action town today after Wednesday's passing of Little Joe Washington, the mighty-mite of the local blues scene. Washington's death is believed to be due to diabetic comp... More >>

  • JW-Jones Is No Blues Nazi

    published Nov 07, 2014

    Going out of -- hell, just trying to get out of -- the box in blues is hard. Purists, traditionalists, blues nazis, or whatever you want to call them built the box and they are proud of the box. The b... More >>

  • UPDATED: Sheriff's Office: Local '60s Legend Frank Davis Is Missing

    published Nov 06, 2014

    UPDATE (Friday, 1:30 p.m.): Mr. Davis was found by Harris County Sheriff's Department Thursday evening and has been returned to his home. Rocks Off received a heads up in the past hour that Frank Dav... More >>

  • Houston's Historic Starday Records: The Earliest Singles
    FEATURED STORY

    Houston's Historic Starday Records: The Earliest Singles

    published Nov 05, 2014

    In 1952, Houston jukebox operator and record distributor Harold "Pappy" Daily and Jack Starnes, Lefty Frizzell's manager, formed their own record label. A combination of both men's names, the tiny St... More >>

  • Jim Lauderdale Is Way Past Where the Sidewalk Ends

    published Oct 23, 2014

    One of the most respected songwriters in the suddenly-chic genre called Americana had been chasing the dream of a recording deal ten years when he finally found success through the backdoor to Nashvil... More >>

  • James McMurtry Knows What Works by Now

    published Oct 10, 2014

    From the my-how-time-flies category: James McMurtry, who plays a solo show at McGonigel's Mucky Duck Saturday, marks a quarter-century as a professional musician this year. He began his career in the ... More >>

  • Jim Mize Falls Down the Rabbit Hole

    published Oct 03, 2014

    "Tie me to the chair and lock the door/ Take my shoes and nail 'em to the floor" Nothing short of an envelope stuffed full of crisp new payola $100 bills moves Lonesome, Onry and Mean like hearing a ... More >>

  • 10 Houston Acts to See Before You Can't
    FEATURED STORY

    10 Houston Acts to See Before You Can't

    published Sep 26, 2014

    The passing of Texas Johnny Brown last year hit me and a bunch of people pretty hard, so the September 12 death of Crusaders pianist Joe Sample was another slap in the face that many of Houston's musi... More >>

  • Sampling Joe Sample: 1977
    FEATURED STORY

    Sampling Joe Sample: 1977

    published Sep 18, 2014

    By 1977, the individual members of the Crusaders were so successful that the pressure to record two albums a year no longer applied. There was no new Crusaders album in 1977, but that doesn't mean the... More >>

  • Sampling Joe Sample: 1976
    FEATURED STORY

    Sampling Joe Sample: 1976

    published Sep 17, 2014

    If 1975 was a whirlwind year for Joe Sample, the Crusader who passed away last Friday, 1976 was a full-blown hurricane. The newer, funkier Crusaders were increasingly popular, so much so that United A... More >>

  • Sampling Joe Sample: 1975
    FEATURED STORY

    Sampling Joe Sample: 1975

    published Sep 16, 2014

    With the wild, platinum-selling commercial success of Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark in 1974, Joe Sample's studio-session career went into warp drive. Throughout the remainder of the decade, he would... More >>

  • Sampling Joe Sample's Album Credits: 1964-75
    FEATURED STORY

    Sampling Joe Sample's Album Credits: 1964-75

    published Sep 15, 2014

    Anyone who follows jazz or has much sense of Houston's music history knows that Joseph Leslie Sample, who passed away Friday night after a losing battle with lung cancer, is a giant. But Sample was no... More >>

  • Always a Fighter, Bilal Learns to Let It Flow

    published Aug 29, 2014

    It hasn't been an easy ride to international stardom for vocalist and composer Bilal Sayeed Oliver, who performs simply as Bilal. The Philly native, who roomed for a while with jazz pianist and Housto... More >>

  • L.A. Rockers 7Horse Have a Thing For H-Town

    published Aug 12, 2014

    For two battle-hardened rock and roll road dogs who spent two decades touring the world as the rhythm section for dada (1992 MTV hit "Dizz Knee Land"), Joie Calio and Phil Leavitt of emerging power du... More >>

  • Robbie Fulks at the Mucky Duck, 7/26/2014
    FEATURED STORY

    Robbie Fulks at the Mucky Duck, 7/26/2014

    published Jul 28, 2014

    Robbie Fulks McGonigel's Mucky Duck July 26, 2014 Chicago songwriter and flatpicker extraordinaire Robbie Fulks made it look easy before an almost sold-out crowd at the Mucky Duck Saturday night. In ... More >>

  • South Mouth: Alt-Country Firebrand Robbie Fulks Returns
    FEATURED STORY

    South Mouth: Alt-Country Firebrand Robbie Fulks Returns

    published Jul 25, 2014

    It's been interesting to watch the career transformation of Robbie Fulks. The Chicago picker and writer grabbed some notoriety -- and a decent alt-country cult following -- after his frustrations wit... More >>

  • FEATURED STORY

    Houstonian Helps Archive Gay History (Part 5)

    published Jun 26, 2014

    This is the final part in a series for Houston Pride Week. J.D. Doyle, the male grand marshal for this year's Pride Parade, is on a mission: To gather as much of Houston's LGBT history as possible an... More >>

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