When Elvis Presley came into Memphis' Stax Studios in December 1973 to cut some new material, Norbert Putnam -- the experienced Muscle Shoals-born session bassist -- could tell that something was off about the King. "He had gained a bit of weight, I noticed. And he had gone through the divorce with ... More >>
The year 1973 was a pivotal one for the King. Elvis Presley was at a definite crossroads, both personally and professionally. On one hand, he had returned to consistent live shows in 1969 after a lot of years making mostly insipid movies in Hollywood, to rapturous audiences. And the live record fro ... More >>
Tift Merritt makes country music for city dwellers, the kinds of songs that NPR adores but Nashville doesn't have much use for anymore. Still, the thirtysomething singer-songwriter managed to score a Best Country Album Grammy nomination for 2004's Tambourine. But a couple of songs from that record, ... More >>
Ranking the 30 best Texas albums of the past 30 years seemed like an impossible task. We did it anyway.
Above: K. Phillips and the Concho Pearls doing NSFW "Rambler" Most people won't have heard of K. Phillips, but his new album American Girls is getting some serious critical raves. Checking the list of personnel on the album -- Rick Richards on drums, Bukka Allen on keys, Jimmy Pettit on bass, Kevin ... More >>
Etta James, almost universally praised as one of the finest voices of our era, has passed away at 73. Ironically, Ms. James had been discovered and recorded by rhythm and blues pioneer Johnny Otis, who passed away only two days ago. Ms. James, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 ... More >>
The Alabama Shakes ride their momentum right into Houston.
Photo by Jason WolterJason Isbell (left) and Amanda Shires (right) are both more deserving than Chorney.The small world of Americana music is all a-twitter over New Jersey woman Linda Chorney's nomination for a Grammy in the Americana category. In case you haven't been following the story, Ch ... More >>
Photos by Jason WolterJason Isbell (left) with Amanda Shires on violin.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 backstage area while J ... More >>
Jason Isbell sees a glimmer of hope in his true-to-life melancholy story-songs.
With Paul Simon's latest CD, So Beautiful or So What, released this spring, the reissue folks at Columbia/Legacy have embarked on a reissue project. Out of the box first this month are his four solo releases after the implosion of Simon and Garfunkel. Coming on the heels of S&G's epic farewe ... More >>
Jim BrickerGood ole boy done good: Hayes Carll had a productive homecoming.Chris Gray: Not long after I got to Summer Fest Sunday, I spotted festival honcho Omar Afra finishing up one of local musician/yogi Tyagaraja's yoga workshops in the wooden glade known temporarily as the Budweiser Beer ... More >>
Gurf Morlix reflects on compadre Blaze Foley.
Mark C. AustinKings of Leon at Meridian, 2006The Meridian Saga seems to have ended, after close to a year of weirdness and shady business dealings. In the past twelve months it went through overhauls, new management, lockouts, changes in image, mild scandals, and even a name change. Remember ... More >>
The final chapter of Marshall Chapman's new book, They Came to Nashville, is probably as close as most of us will ever get to riding on Willie Nelson's tour bus. Chapman, who has known Nelson since meeting him at a party in Nashville in 1973, hooked up with the Red Headed Stranger at a gig in ... More >>
Steeldrivers on FacebookExpatriate Texas fiddler Tammy Rogers describes the formation of the Steeldrivers as a "dream come true." "I always wanted to be in a killer bluegrass band," says Rogers from her home in Nashville, where the band recently recorded their sophomore release Reckless. "S ... More >>
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 >>
Photos by Groovehouse / Click here for a slideshow As we enter the second-to-last month of what was been an alternately amazing and confounding year for music, Aftermath has been thinking a lot about recurring themes we have encountered over the past twelve months. Seeing a rock and roll sh ... More >>
Photos by Jay Lee It took Aftermath most of Friday to figure out why we were in such an awful blue funk after Thursday's Pogues show, especially after the band delivered a more brilliant set than even this 20-year fan thought they were capable of. But after leaving work early and relaxing for a w ... More >>
As Rocks Off has noted in our periodic Mail Call entries, even though the tide of promo CDs has been greatly reduced by the digital revolution - Rocks Off can count on one finger (the middle one) the times he's actually used the streaming/download email link publicists are ever more fond of these d ... More >>
Part 1: "10th Avenue Freeze-Out" and "Born to Run" Score another one for the old folks. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's quarter-hour onstage at Super Bowl XLIII Sunday night may not have been the most contemporary booking the NFL could have landed - but, and we'll get to this in a minut ... More >>
After a hot minute, Mail Call returns in a slightly revamped format... Pick of the Litter Diagonals (Austin), Valley of the Cyclops (Monofonus Press) They Say: "A sweet-and-sour dark-pop soundtrack for the dawn of the post-Bush era." Rocks Off Says: Loose-fitting, lo-fi melodic garage ... More >>
Gwil Owen Gravy www.gwilowen.com Here's another good record that fell through my cracks this year but deserves to be mentioned. Gwil Owen lives in Nashville and can write to the country form anytime he wants to - or his checking account tells him he needs to. But on his latest project, Gravy ... More >>
Alabama Ass Whuppin'
Panning for gold in an avalanche of 2007 releases
Once a Drive-By Trucker, Jason Isbell strikes out on his own
Living from a Suitcase
In the Reins
Home to pop queens and dance hall kings, Texas is still bullish about the music market
The Drive-By Truckers' Southern Rock Opera redeems Skynyrd and the South
Tejano musicians aren't getting the same cut as their Anglo counterparts