Surviving the Khmer Rouge, with puppets.
Rest in peace Don Luis, the "Old Violin Man" of southeast Houston.
Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion By Robert Gordon 384 pp. $30 Bloomsbury It's a story that any novelist or screenwriter would find fantastical. A white, middle-aged banker and part time country music fiddler with a hankering to get into the music business convinces his older ... More >>
BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA If you want to catch an act in the one and only tented stage at ACL, it's recommended to do it early in the day or towards the end of the weekend. It always seems to get pretty packed on Saturday when people realize they can escape the sun and hear some pretty good jams ... More >>
Moving Sidewalks Bayou Music Center September 28, 2013 "We're actually remembering this shit," Billy F. Gibbons said after the Moving Sidewalks had played two choppy, fuzz-clouded songs Saturday night at Bayou Music Center. By all accounts, it was his pre-ZZ Top engagement's first public performanc ... More >>
Ted Nugent House of Blues August 22, 2013 Music and politics go hand in hand. Ever since the first person put lyrics to a beat, politics have been involved. Ted Nugent and politics also go hand in hand, which was obvious from the moment he hit the stage at House of Blues Thursday night. Armed with ... More >>
Along with pickled pig's feet and a steady supply of Slim Jims, a good jukebox is a prime element for any great bar. But, like dinosaurs, jukeboxes are a vanishing breed. Unlike digital jukes, iPods or DJs, jukeboxes require love, care and maintenance, as well as -- among the truly great ones -- som ... More >>
Being behind the scenes is what most musicians who don't write songs or sing expect of their lives once they start seriously playing. A career backing someone up can be extremely rewarding, particularly if you are part of a transcendent group of musicians that goes from simply backing up an artist i ... More >>
Alabama Shakes doesn't like the "retro soul" label that often is attached to their brand of music. But, if their raucous set at Continental Club on Friday night is any indication, they should embrace it because they certainly owned it. "Y'all gon' be alright," singer Brittany Howard told the packed ... More >>
How do a crapload of drums sound when playing in unison in an airplane hangar? Pretty freaking awesome. In the Cameron Crowe-directed documentary Pearl Jam Twenty, lead singer Eddie Vedder discusses the detrimental impact of the band's Spinal Tap-like replacement of drummers, equating each ch ... More >>
This week in 1968, The Beatles inaugurated their Apple Records label in a most auspicious fashion, releasing "Hey Jude" as a 45. The B-side was "Revolution." Written by Paul McCartney and employing a 36-piece orchestra, "Jude" did nothing to dispel the perception that Paul was the "soft" Beat ... More >>
thelocal478.comWelcome back to Billboard, Otis.Say what you will about Watch the Throne - and people, including several members of Team Rocks Off, have said a lot - but it's all anyone in music seems to be talking about these days. Which makes sense; it's not every day that two megastars (the ... More >>
'Tis the summer season for tying the knot. But curse the occasion for creating the ultimate breeding ground for bad music - wedding receptions. It's one thing to unplug the jukebox in an act of defiance or flee a venue playing bad songs (I've done all of the above), but one doesn't exactly h ... 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 >>
In which we advise our favorite people in the Houston scene on their goals for the coming year.
You know when you're at a bar or a party and everything seems über-subdued, then suddenly someone pops a dollar in the jukebox or a CD in the player and it's just the right song for the moment? And then everyone hops up and does this synchronized line -ance perfectly choreographed for the song just ... More >>
Balaclavas: "On the way to see Houston's own Balaclavas at the Independent to debut new stuff off the soon-to-be released Roman Holiday, I abruptly hit a curb with my bicycle. Luckily my elbow took one for the team. Well, it ended up getting fractured and I have all kinds of internal business go ... More >>
Photo by Katharine ShilcuttIt was almost like being back in Houston: Sunday was sticky and steamy as Rocks Off arrived at Zilker Park around noon, and the only way we knew we could make it through was with a stiff straight shot of Southern soul. Luckily, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears were ... More >>
Photos by Chris GrayThe very first live music you intentionally lay eyes and ears on at SXSW can be a very delicate choice, unless it's a complete no-brainer. So when Black Joe Lewis is playing three blocks from your hotel, you go. Lewis, a young Austinite who rolls up some 25 years of R&B histo ... More >>
Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel Willie and the Wheel www.willieandthewheel.com The late Jerry Wexler, who passed away last August at age 91, was best known as an advocate and producer for top R&B and soul artists like Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. But Wexler was a ... More >>
Ah, that nasty Grim Reaper took a lot of great musicians this year, and his scythe cut a wide swath across all genres, including many heavyweights in the blues and R&B world. The greatest loss comes in the form of someone who was a man, a song, and a beat all in one... Bo Diddley, singer-songw ... More >>
Alabama Ass Whuppin'
Fathers, sons and "Mustang Sally"
...otherwise known as the H-Town 20
The annual return of the Greil Marcus Rock Death Meter
The Kings of Hip Hop, Compiled and Mixed by DJ Premier and Mr. Thing
Two artists ask how boys become men in a videocracy
Paris Eley, KCOH/1430 AM
Local punker/chef Filthy McNasty is the Ginuwine article
The Battlefield Band
Burning Spear's gimmick-free reggae has all the earmarks of home
Four decades after his first record, Solomon Burke is still in the studio -- and still in God's arms