Lonesome Onry and Mean: Roasting the Latest Best In Texas
Hickoids, "Hee Haw/Green Acres"... now this is Texas music.
After watching The Hickoids' instore at Cactus on Saturday, I took my belly full of Saint Arnold’s across the street to 59 Diner for a late-afternoon breakfast. Scanning the racks near the door for reading material, I picked up copies of Free Press Houston and Best In Texas.
Now, it’s no secret I don’t think much of Best's journalistic quality, but it amuses - and often angers - me to see what the free broadsheet is doing to real Texas music in the name of its "Texas music." The November issue is filled with the usual kissup softball articles, but for a sadist like me, there were some notably funny moments.
As usual, the cover is literally for sale to the highest bidder. In this case, that's Brandon Rhyder, who just happens to have his picture on the front cover and a full-page ad for his latest CD, Every Night , on the back cover. The self-serving article on Rhyder is filled with by-the-numbers Best tripe about “loving the fans” and “all the wonderful Texas music artists” and what a great scene it is.
A sample quote: “[Fans] really need to continue to go to the shows, buy the merchandise, buy the records, and support the artists and groups that make up this incredible scene.”
You get the idea...
Katie Key, meet the real Sonny Burgess...
Associate Editor (and Texas Chart Editor) Katie Key’s finger must’ve gotten glued to her exclamation point key, as I counted no fewer than 13 exclamation points in the dozen short paragraphs of her high-schoolish People-magazine-like shout-out column, “Key Notes.” “One of my all time faves is in the studio working on a new album!" she gushes. "I’m talking about Sonny Burgess!”
Another of Key’s amazing insights concerns Woodlands coffeehouse/venue Dosey Doe‘s songwriter nights: “My friend Kyle Hutton hosts it and he does a fabulous job! This season’s lineup is awesome!” If it’s that great, maybe multiple exclamations are in order? Anyway, don’t bother looking for objectivity at “Key Notes.” There are groupies who are less enthusiastic than she is!!!
Meet Cowboy Mouth, "Up-and-coming country band..." (This song, "Jenny Says," was first released on 1996's Are You With Me .)
Flipping over to Ed Shane’s monthly full-page back-patting session, “Letter From the Publisher,” we find the Flack-in-Chief writing about how wonderful it was to run into Jessica, a young woman who works in radio in a small town outside Indianapolis. Jessica is oh-so-enthusiastic about “Texas and Red Dirt music.”
Shane goes on to demonstrate his knowledge of the Texas music scene by letting readers know that Jessica recently saw the Eli Young Band open for “up-and-coming country band Cowboy Mouth.” This might be ironic if Shane or Best had the subtlety for irony, but in fact it is just another example of the know-nothingness at work. Ed, you need to get out more.
Cowboy Mouth has probably played Houston at least twice a year the past 15 years - everywhere from the Ale House to the Fabulous Satellite Lounge to House of Blues last month -Thus sayeth Wikipedia:
"Cowboy Mouth is a rock band based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Their name was taken from the title of a Sam Shepard play, although the phrase was used five years prior to the play by Bob Dylan in the song 'Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands'... they have become a powerhouse live act whose performances have been likened to a religious experience."
"Ships and Planes"... If Emory Quinn is the future of Texas Music, let's put it out of its misery right now.
After seeing Cowboy Mouth thus identified, I wasn’t sure my stomach was up for much more “information.” but in the interest of research I read a couple of the “Stars On The Horizon” band profiles (“Stars On The Horizon” = “Future Advertisers“). Writer Kyle Davian (credited as a "Texas freelance writer and speaker”) shows his journalistic savvy by quoting a line from Emory Quinn’s “Highways of Gold” in this brilliantly written paragraph:
“Back on the road, the guys will tell you the most interesting things can happen traveling the Texas byways. A line from ‘Highways of Gold’ recounts a story about being pulled over. They 'pulled us out and shook us down, the dogs came out but our record’s crystal clear, hand me one more beer.'
At least Davian identified Best's quintessential Texas Music cliché: anything having to do with more beer. But then that’s what they do, so we don’t have to, right?
“Is this a true story from [Quinn's] book of life’s lessons? Who knows? And maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe it’s just time to chill - have we all really forgotten how? The boys are inviting you to a place where it just doesn’t matter.”
I’m confused. Are the boys inviting us to the pages of Best in Texas? Who knows? All I know is I can’t wait for the December edition. - William Michael Smith
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