"It was definitely a labor of love. It cost me $5,000, I'll put it that way; and, looking back on it, I'm not sure I didn't get my money's worth." -- Jim Tucker We're living in the festival era of popular music. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 200 major music festivals annually. Some, like B ... More >>
"Are you havin' fun, darlin'? I sure hope you are." Our waitress, a young blonde in her mid-twenties, draws out nearly every syllable as she checks on us. We just smile and nod, a bit ashamed of the number of empty drinks strewn across the high-top table. Various fliers for local rap shows compete ... More >>
Plastic cups and big concerts mark San Leon's antidote to Inner Loop social anxieties.
Delbert McClinton & Leon Russell Nutty Jerry's (Winnie), February 15 Even into their seventies, both ends of this barrelhouse duo live up to the title of Delbert McClinton's 1992 album Never Been Rocked Enough, and should make superb Saturday-night fare at one of Southeast Texas' biggest dancehalls ... More >>
Kids, there's a reason Hiram "Hank' Williams, who would have been 90 years old September 17, is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Dead of an overdose of pain killers in the back of his long white Cadillac at 29, Williams was, in his brief interval in Nashville, not only a hit-making country star bu ... More >>
In his 2007 memoir Clapton: The Autobiography, Eric Clapton wrote that John Weldon "J.J." Cale "is one of the most important artists in the history of rock, quietly representing the greatest asset his country has ever had." Cale, who was 74, died last Friday night in La Jolla, Calif. after sufferin ... More >>
Recently, I was swallowed under a wave of memories while channel surfing. Thanks to some infomercial hustlers who were selling a DVD collection, I was spending the first moments of a new Saturday watching scenes from The Midnight Special for the first time in more than 30 years. My eyes were fixe ... More >>
Leon Russell House of Blues June 26, 2013 So, Leon Russell played a show last night at the House of Blues, and being the terrific daughter that I am, I took my dad with me. He's always loved ol' Leon, and some of his best memories are of his old hippie days, hangin' out, smokin', and listening to L ... More >>
J. Cole Venue TBD, June 24 J. Cole knew his new album Born Sinner was going to be one of 2013's hottest rap albums no matter what, so he had no problems releasing in on the same day as Kanye West's Yeezus. He even said as much on its track "Forbidden Fruit": ""I'ma drop the album the same day as Ka ... More >>
My dad and Stevie Wonder have a love/hate relationship. He's a year older than the soul singer, so it's rather weird hearing him talk about Stevie as if they were brothers, despite the fact that they have never met. Ever. But that's how it is with my family: we have beefs and issues with people we m ... More >>
Wednesday morning, Live Nation announced that British superstar Elton John and his band will perform at Toyota Center on Thursday, March 28. This is good news, because Rocks Off has been in a Tumbleweed Connection phase anyhow, not that we're all that likely to hear "Ballad of a Well-Known Gun," "C ... More >>
The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret By Kent Hartman Thomas Dunne Books, 304 pp., $25.99. Motown had the Funk Brothers, Nashville had the A-Team, and Stax/Volt had their Memphis men, but gold-record-for-gold-record, no group played on more hits in the '60s and '70 ... More >>
Poor Pilate's keyboard man David Lascoe doesn't hide his love of Huey Lewis.
At last, the promise we've always seen in John Fullbright is signed, sealed, delivered, and certified in his first full-length studio album, From the Ground Up. Having seen Fullbright solo and duo the last two years and loving the starkness of his windblown Leon Russell Okie plaint, hearing him with ... More >>
Self-avowed rock throwback Jonathan Tyler prefers living off the grid.
Exactly 58 years ago, Elvis Presley released Heartbreak Hotel on RCA Records, which had just bought his contract from Sun Records for a measly $35,000. Heartbreak sold 300,000 copies in its first week and would eventually become the King's first certified gold record. Also, it's worth noting that, ... More >>
Over the holidays, we're looking back at some classic Christmas albums taking some track by track and just digging on others. Christmas music comes in all shapes and sizes. From jazz and blues to hip hop and heavy metal, everybody thinks they have an interesting take on holiday classics, but ... More >>
Photos By Craig HlavatyThe scene was bustling at Heights Vinyl on Saturday, as Houston's newest record store opened it's doors with complementary beer, DJs and bands, and crates of great vinyl to sift through. The store's location on White Oak, just yards from Fitzgerald's and all the new r ... More >>
My Top Ten Local Albums of 2011
Photo By Tony MorelliBill Graham in 1974Twenty years ago this week, legendary concert promoter Bill Graham went to the big backstage party in the sky after the helicopter he was riding in flew into a high-voltage tower in Vallejo, Calif. Also killed in the crash was Graham's girlfriend, Melis ... More >>
Yet another reason to love Pet Sounds.In a few hours, Rocks Off will be down at the Stafford Centre, watching the sold-out first Houston-area stop on Glen Campbell's extended "Farewell Tour." It might be the only one, but the tour is booked well into 2012, so we figure there's got to be a Dos ... More >>
Vicky SappNerds like us - you have to be a music nerd if you're reading a blog on Don Was - have favorite producers, like some sports guys have favorite coaches. Sometimes we listen to an album just because someone we like produced it, or it somehow gives it us extra cred even if we may not l ... More >>
Kanye "Hitler" West and Jay-Z released their (overused music writer word alert) epic Watch the Throne album this week, to mostly great reviews. This fall the first fruits from the recently announced Lou Reed/Metallica collaboration should be on the store shelves, which still sorta weirds us o ... More >>
Tonight at midnight, the folks at C3 Presents who book the Austin City Limits Music Festival are expected to drop the lineup in full onto the festival's official Web site. And like, duh, Rocks Off will of course be up and about to post it to the blog once it goes live. You are more than welco ... More >>
johnnydowd.comJohnny Dowd, one of the weirdest musical Okies of them all.Poet, musician, avant-garde musical thinker and doer, Johnny Dowd may live in upstate New York these days, but that fellow is 100 percent died-in-the-wool Okie through and through. When Dowd opens his mouth to sing, Dust ... More >>
Last week brought new releases from Britney Spears, Radiohead, and a few Pearl Jam re-issues hitting store shelves amid reports that the industry was finally starting to see some improvement. Spears' Femme Fatale is currently projected to enter the top spot of the Billboard 200 chart with sal ... More >>
Brendan Benson relaxes after The Raconteurs.
Often written about, mythologized, and showing up in clips on rock docs and YouTube, the 1964 concert movie The T.A.M.I. Show has amazingly never been released in uncut format until now. And though it was shot in black and white, the exuberance and energy of the concert overcomes any pigmentation pr ... More >>
Los Angeles-based Cary Baker's Conqueroo is one of the go-to publicity firms for folks in the roots-music game. Baker grew up in Chicago and has been instrumental in keeping the memory of a number of old-time Chicago bluesmen like Arvella Gray's memory and music alive. His earliest song memory: "My ... More >>
Unless you're a professional Trivial Pursuit player, chances are high you've never heard of Larry Hosford. But there was a time when Hosford was hailed as the next Bob Dylan and was hanging around Shelter Records with the likes of George Harrison, Leon Russell and J.J. Cale. Lonesome, Onry and Me ... More >>
In one of the most rollicking and enjoyable classic rock memoirs of recent years, Chris O'Dell offers scores of interesting first-hand experiences with a who's who of icons, as well as her own keen observations on their personalities even hardcore fans will find fresh. But just who, you might ask ... More >>
Bikes take over Galveston Island
The 69 Eyes, Dommin, The Becoming: Sun., Oct. 11. Meridian. All Time Low, Hey Monday, We The Kings, Friday Night Boys: Wed., Oct. 28. House of Blues. "Oldies Fest" With The Allen Oldies Band, Roy Head, Archie Bell, Barbara Lynn: Sat., Sept. 5. Continental Club. Billy Squier: Sun., Oct. 4. Wareho ... More >>
West Coast honky-tonker Mike Stinson shocks his peers by moving to Houston.
...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead , The Secret Machines, The Watermarks: Sat., Sept. 12. Warehouse Live. Back in Black (AC/DC Tribute), Tragedy (Metal Bee Gees Tribute): Sat., Aug. 15. House of Blues. Billy Joe Shaver: Sat., Aug. 15. The Firehouse Saloon & Eatery. Bleu Edmondson: Thu ... More >>
The Old Balladeer
Paula Nelson / Photos by Chris Gray The hordes of shirtless (or soon-to-be shirtless) camp-chair toters are streaming into Zilker Park, and the Rocks Off team is up and running. Us media types got a nice surprise this afternoon; there's a separate entrance from the rest of the behind-the-scenes goi ... More >>
The singer's post-Blonde ambition
Willie, Dylan, Kinky and the Ghost of Bob Willis descends on Fort Worth. Wack is there too.
Musicians provide HPD with plenty of overtime pay
Willie Nelson brings along his pals for his annual musical picnic
April 8-14, 1999
July 2 - 8, 1998
Fred Eaglesmith descends from the Great White North with a unique American vision