Rice vs. UH: the battle for musical bragging rights.
Many moons ago, or one or two anyway, our friends over at L.A. Weekly's West Coast Sound decided to evaluate Southern California's two main universities, USC and UCLA, using a set of music-oriented criteria and declare a winner. We're not talking matriculation either, though that's certainly part of ... More >>
This time last year, Danielle Bradbery was a 16-year-old student at Cy Ranch High School who loved dancing and riding horses and hadn't done much singing outside her own bedroom. Then her family entered her into the Dallas auditions for NBC's high-rated singing show The Voice -- without asking her f ... More >>
This Sunday the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville will correct a grievous oversight when it inducts the late Jack Clement, who wrote an early hit for Johnny Cash ("Ballad of a Teenage Queen"), effectively desegregated country music by adopting Charley Pride as a protege, and produce ... More >>
SInger proves he's at his best when Lionel does Lionel.
There's no telling the reasoning that caused Kings of Leon to call their sixth album, released late last month, Mechanical Bull. But to venture a wild guess, could be the Nashville-via-Oklahoma rockers are trying to put across a general image of toughness after a difficult few years, or perhaps sugg ... More >>
George Jones, the Southeast Texas-born Country Music Hall of Famer whom most agree would be a face on Nashville's Mount Rushmore, has died at age 82. According to Fox News, repeating information from Jones' longtime publicist Kirt Webster, the singer died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center late ... More >>
George Jones, the Southeast Texas-born Country Music Hall of Famer whom most agree would be a face on Nashville's Mount Rushmore, has died at age 81. According to Fox News, repeating information from Jones' longtime publicist Kirt Webster, the singer died early Friday at Vanderbilt University Medica ... More >>
It might be hard to believe, but the same musicians responsible for singing lyrics about big green tractors and diggin' up bones are also responsible for a lot of my Internet entertainment. You see, when famous people do douchey things, it makes me giggle. When those acts are committed by people t ... More >>
"Can't they just shut up?" That's the question many country music fans proffer when musicians publicly express opinions that dare venture outside of benign Q&A quicksand and into the murky waters of relevant social issues. Country consumers from both sides of the political aisle can get riled up i ... More >>
Tame Impala With The Growl Fitzgerald's, February 25, 8 p.m. Tame Impala's late-2012 effort Lonerism plays like the Beatles circa Abbey Road channeling T. Rex's The Slider, with a hefty helping of early '10s dream-fuzz. The Australian act has come along way from opening for MGMT in 2010, a tour in ... More >>
Luck or Something Like It: A Memoir By Kenny Rogers William Morrow, 304 pp., $27.99 Having recently produced a television special commemorating his 50 years in show business, this memoir from the Gambler seems long overdue. And indeed, during his '70s and '80s heyday, Kenny Rogers was an artist t ... More >>
At 80, first-time author isn't done yet.
Gene Thomas, the Texas singer and songwriter whose 1961 swamp-pop hit "Sometimes" was recorded at Houston's Gold Star Studios (later SugarHill), and was later covered by Doug Sahm, passed away Sunday morning. Houston musician Buzzy Smith announced Thomas' death on his Facebook page. The Palestine n ... More >>
Having grown up on Unsolved Mysteries and Time-Life books... as well as being completely ignorant of organized religion, my head is full of a thousand examples of Fortean phenomena, unexplainable happenings, and tales of a eldritch and incomprehensible world that gnaws at the edge of reality like a ... More >>
You win a contest, all expenses paid, to a major country-music awards show in Las Vegas. What happens next? Rocks Off will admit we had never even pondered that question until someone from Reliant Energy offered us a chance to interview the winner of Reliant's "Dream Trip of a Lifetime." The packag ... More >>
If you have been paying attention to obscure press releases, you would know by now that Cracker Barrel, that folksy restaurant chain with all the rocking chairs out front that your grandparents love, is now a music retailer to boot. Yes, in addition to all those cool wooden toys and puppets, you c ... More >>
Somehow it's hard to believe that Dick Clark was only 82 years old when he died after suffering a "massive heart attack" Wednesday morning in Santa Monica, Calif. (Since I managed to survive one myself, I've noticed that anytime someone dies of a heart attack, it's always "massive."). Despite his yo ... More >>
So far the musical comeback of the year has been Lionel Richie, hands down. Last week the Alabama-born crooner's new album in three years, Tuskegee, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 with sales of almost 200,000 copies. According to The Hollywood Reporter, if about 185,000 copies of Madonna's MD ... More >>
While Houston played a huge part in the early history of country music, by the end of the 1950s a new breed of artist was coming on the scene. Western Swing, for all purposes, was a relic, and although honky-tonk was still a force in the charts and on radio, its share of the pie was waning. The arr ... More >>
SXSW 2012, from Bruce Springsteen to Buxton.
The Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo is well on its way to drawing a couple of million more (mostly) country-music fans to Reliant Stadium again this year. Now the rodeo and Reliant Energy want to send one lucky fan to the Academy of County Music Awards in Vegas April 1. No foolin'. All the couple hu ... More >>
If you're familiar with chaos theory, which in its basic form is the attempt to find patterns in the random acts of shit on Earth, then you may understand the difficulty that comes with describing a full day at SXSW. To break down the bright, scintillating chaos, Village Voice Media's roving musi ... More >>
Yeah! It's almost Christmas! With each minute we are all one step closer to the day when we can stop posting lists about things pertaining to the holiday. Seriously, by the second week in December you almost type "Christmas" instead of your own name sometimes, and your brain atrophies wheneve ... More >>
If you're a Texan of a certain age, this week you've probably spent some time mourning the death of Jerry Haynes, the children's TV host better known as Mr. Peppermint. Haynes' show on WFAA-TV in Dallas, Peppermint Place, ran from the '60s to the '90s and was widely syndicated across the state, incl ... More >>
Norman See/last.fmNice threads, but... yeah. Don't go there.The other day, a friend of ours asked us for our opinion on some ideas for "couple costumes," as in Halloween, including Han Solo and Princess Leia. Ugh. Do you happy couples really start this early in September? Rocks Off thinks ... More >>
This weekend, as the rest of the world catches Harry Potter mania for (perhaps) the final time, Houston gets a serious dose of Urban Cowboy nostalgia. Theater Under the Stars' production of the Tony-nominated 2003 musical - which The New York Times called "a conclusive demonstration that it's ... More >>
For almost two weeks now, Rocks Off has been obsessed with the year exactly 25 flips of the calendar backward from this one. It started when Steve Earle did one of his "Time Machine" shows, where the singer-songwriter who plays House of Blues Wednesday spotlights a dozen or so of his favorite ... More >>
May the best...oh, who am I kidding?Two hours. We're down to three contestants and the program last night lingered for two freaking hours. It's hard to blame Fox. NBC is coming up on the outside with The Voice, ABC has a slew of new programs debuting in the fall (a reboot of Charlie's Angels ... More >>
"Hank Williams' pain songs, Newbury's train songs/ And 'Blue Eyes Cryin' In the Rain' - Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings, "Luckenbach, Texas" Lonesome, Onry and Mean was sitting around having a few cold pops the other night when we put on The Best of Mickey Newbury. It wasn't long before the ... More >>
The Blaggards warm up for an Irish tour by rocking the Rory Miggins Memorial Irish Stew Cook-Off.
For once, Rocks Off is grateful for this sinus-splitting headache (thanks, Mike Stinson!), because it gives us something to focus on besides the fact that we are crawling out of our skin waiting for kickoff tonight. At this point, sports pundits have analyzed the Longhorns and Crimson Tide to wi ... More >>