Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison By John Kruth, 256 pp., $27.99. Dwight Yoakam once likened Roy Orbison's voice to "the cry of an angel falling backward through an open window." Tom Waits called him the "Rockabilly Rigoletto." And Bruce Springsteen, whose own music shows a clear ... More >>
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 >>
We introduced you to Songza -- the service that acts as a "music concierge" -- a few weeks back. Using curated playlists sorted not only by genre and theme, but also by activity, Songza helps you pick the best songs for the occasion. More importantly to me, the playlists are expertly curated, mean ... More >>
Note: Elvis Presley would be 78 years old today, if he had not (supposedly) died in Memphis in August 1977. This article originally appeared as part of Rocks Off's "Elvis Week" in January 2011, and still seems plausible two years later. Do you realize that Woody Allen, Julie Andrews, the dude who w ... More >>
A lot of stellar music came out of that flat land known as West Texas. Bob Wills, Roy Orbison, Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Terry Allen, Guy Clark, and the Sparkles are just a few artists who found something in the wind, the dust, the heat, the cactus, the mesquite, the sandstorms, the blizzards, t ... More >>
Lonesome, Onry and Mean had been hearing about the new KOKE-FM progressive country station in Austin for a few weeks. One friend in particular kept raving about the station, so today we finally sauntered over to KOKE-FM (99.3) on the world wide web. Back in the day when we were in Radio/Television/ ... More >>
Rockabilly pioneer headlines the Continenal's three-day Rock Baby Rock It festival.
Rocks Off has always had a soft spot for Rick Nelson. Although our oldest memory of him is probably hearing about the plane crash outside Texarkana that killed him, his band and his fiancee on New Year's Eve 1985, we're also old enough to remember actually his songs like "Hello, Mary Lou," "Lonesome ... More >>
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 >>
The Walkmen jump-start their momentum on Lisbon.
Do you realize that Woody Allen, Julie Andrews, the dude who was in the Darth Vader suit, and Ron Paul are all the same age as Elvis Presley would be on Saturday? Look at Woody Allen next time you see him on TMZ and just think, he's as old as Elvis. In order to get in the frame of mind to t ... More >>
As part of our ongoing celebration of Elvis' birthday week, Rocks Off asked our writers the simple question in the headline. Chris Gray: Absolutely he still matters. When I was compiling that list of quotes and lyrics about Elvis earlier this week, I wasn't that surprised to see that even Be ... More >>
Photos by GroovehouseThe Pixies Verizon Wireless Theater September 20, 2010 For more images from Monday's show, see our slideshow here. The Pixies are Costanza. In one episode of Seinfeld, a woman who had recently made George Costanza's acquaintance remarks to Jerry Seinfeld that there mus ... More >>
Like Tom Petty - heard the new album yet? - once sang, it's good to be king. While Rocks Off No. 2 is saddled with justifying his tendency to sing "Over the Rainbow" in the car when (he says) no one else is around, we've been looking into the local connections of someone else with a birthday toda ... More >>
For Lonesome, Onry and Mean, they don't come much taller or wiser than Steve Young. Young has been in a love/hate relationship with Nashville and the major labels since he came to town in the early Seventies. Along with Billy Joe Shaver, Young wrote the major anthems of the Outlaw movement that tip ... More >>
Remember that scene from Pulp Fiction where Mia Wallace explains to Vince Vega that there are two kinds of people in this world - Elvis people and Beatles people? Well, Rocks Off is an Elvis person. We're not a fanatic or anything, but we have been to Graceland, have a huge hole in our heart for th ... More >>
Maybe the biggest evolution in music this decade has been the availability of online downloads, starting with Napster and ending with half a dozen legitimately - licensed venues for purchasing music over the tubes. Rocks Off will admit it. Back in the day, we were illegal downloaders. Waiting 20 ... More >>
We spent 2009 sorting through piles of folk and Americana releases, revising this list in our heads till the bitter end and failing repeatedly to understand the hype behind the Avett Brothers in the process. While a year of listening brought no shortage of pleasant surprises, our hands-down favor ... More >>
Lonesome Onry and Mean vaguely remembers someone telling us a couple of years ago that Las Vegas bookies actually had a line on whether Chuck Berry would die that year (we think it was 2007). The macabre factor aside, remembering this Wednesday got LOM to pondering about the Godfathers of Rock an ... 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 >>
Photos by Chris Gray Th' Legendary Shack Shakers are a sort of Blue Ridge Parkway answer to Los Skarnales, mining Anglo-American roots music and all things Memphis - Sun Records, Beale Street and the Oblivians - to create a turbo-charged, gypsy-flavored, punk-speed rockabilly dynamo with a metric ... More >>
It may not look like much today, but back in the '50s and '60s, Magnolia Gardens was the place to be if you liked country music and rockabilly. The open-air dance hall/bandstand on the banks of the San Jacinto River was in a resort-like setting, with a restaurant or two and a few boat ramps scatter ... More >>
Pretenders Break Up the Concrete www.thepretenders.com Old punk rockers - or, in this case, post-punks - never die, they just go country. On the Pretenders' first album since 2002's barely-registering Loose Screw, Chrissie Hynde confronts middle age by revisiting the musical styles of the mid-2 ... More >>
[Note: This is the first in a series of articles that constitute Village Voice Media's year-end music package. The others - pop, indie-rock, dance mixes, Latin, country, alt-country/Americana, metal, rap/hip-hop and special graphics breaking down the year in charts and 2008's worst lyrics - will be ... More >>
Texas supergroup the Flatlanders (although it still exists) may have been "more legend than a band" but the same could also be said for the Flying Burrito Brothers (above, with female friends). The pioneers of country-rock were a short-lived act that went though numerous lineup changes, but record ... More >>
Photos by Mark C. Austin B.B. King deserves a break. If the genial Buddha of the blues, now 83, would rather spend the bulk of his two-hour set bantering with the sold-out crowd about Viagra (groan) and the wayward ways of womankind instead of, you know, singing and playing, he's earne ... More >>
Alabama Ass Whuppin'
Walk the Line never strays from the dull telling of a tall tale
Exhuming and scoring last year's pop-music demises
Townes Van Zandt left behind great songs for people to fight over
Two Tons of Steel has gone from cover band to kings of the Texas dance hall
Bob Dylan drops the mask and comes to town with his happiest album in years
Music can free your soul, but can it spring the West Memphis Three?
Local Music Reviewed
Can Nashville's creative underbelly save country from Music Row?
Johnny Cash may just be a legend, but he's never sounded better
Can a middle-class Midwestern white guy play the blues? Yeah, if he's Mark May.
Blues, soul, rock, country? Who cares? To Little Milton, it's just music.
Nick the Knife's regained his edge, and the world's a better place for it
Fried fish, jazz and Zappa memorabilia: Consume mass quantities