R.I.P Justin Townes Earle. I was supposed to see Steve Earle’s son this past April opening up for Brian Fallon. That didn’t happen because of the virus, and now it won’t. He was only 38. Sad.

To paraphrase one of my comedy idols, Homer Simpson: Technology! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.

Me… Alexa, play the album “Twelfth” by The Old 97’s.

Alexa… I can’t find the album “Twelfth” by The Old 97’s.

(Hmmm, let me try again.)

Me… Alexa, play the album “Twelfth” by The Old 97’s.

Alexa… I can’t find the album “Twelfth” by The Old 97’s.

(Maybe I’m wrong about the name of the album. Let’s try this a different way.)

Me… Alexa, play the new album by The Old 97’s.

Alexa… Here is “Twelfth” , the new album by The Old 97’s.

(Arrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!)

My wife Susan laughing… Isn’t that what you just said?

(At least I’m not crazy)

– Are there any musicians you think you should like but really don’t? Artists who are praised by critics you normally agree with? Called an influence and idolized by musicians you do love? Won so many awards for their work that you are sure you are wrong, so you keep trying thinking that eventually everything will eventually click?

Tom Waits and Lucinda Williams are those people for me. They’ve both written songs that I love when covered by other folks, but I actually feel badly that I don’t like the originals. I’ll take Moxy Fruvous’ version of “Jockey Full Of Bourbon” over Waits any day … Tom Petty’s take on “Change The Locks” over Lucinda’s original… Do I even have to mention the hit versions of “Downtown Train” by Rod Stewart, or “Passionate Kisses” by Mary Chapin Carpenter?

– It’s a couple months old, so I’m a bit late at recommending it, but check out Marc Maron’s WTF podcast interview with singer-songwriter-rapper-actress-producer Janelle Monáe here. Along with her own career they also discuss social and political unrest, Prince, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, androids, and more.

– Last week I mentioned how much I was looking forward to the live streaming all star Joe Strummer birthday tribute. It turned out to be a pleasant, if slightly disappointing, afternoon of music. Not the level of excitement I was hoping for considering they were paying homage to one of rock’s most exciting performers. Highlights included previously Strummer live footage, and Dave Hause’s acoustic cover of “Coma Girl” . I was most disappointed that Bruce Springsteen didn’t actually perform a song, and only gave a spoken tribute to the Clash frontman. He looked like he was filming a hostage video.

– Okay, back to The Old 97’s and their new album “Twelfth”. First, I don’t think there should be an apostrophe in the bands name. John, Paul, George, and Ringo aren’t The Beatle’s, so why do Rhett Miller and his bandmates need that extra piece of punctuation?

Second, if you heard a guy named Rhett Miller had a band named the Old 97’s wouldn’t you picture an old timey country group who used to be on the Louisiana Hayride radio show with Hank Snow and Slim Whitman? Actually, being from Dallas, Texas they do have some country influences, but also folk, punk, and classic rock. I’d almost say that the Old 97’s are sort of like a modern day Neil Young, except the 74 year old Canadian legend is still busy being a modern day Neil Young his own self.

Despite being album number twelve for the band (thus the title) I’m sort of a newbie to this band, having been turned on to them in the past year by my buddy Brian, who is a longtime fan. He says he has this one in the top three of the band’s catalogue. I’m currently on listen number four in the past few days, and will now be digging much deeper into the group’s past releases, and also Miller’s solo work.

I also don’t think I’d be out of line in suggesting you’ll really enjoy “Twelfth” if you are a fan of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and also locally The Tommy Brunett Band. My favorite songs on the record seem to be changing with each spin (which is always good), so at the moment I’ll suggest you check out “The Dropouts” , “Turn Off The TV”, and “Confessional Boxing” as starter tracks.

Also, you may want to read this cool Rolling Stone article about how a famous picture of Dallas Cowboys legend Roger Staubach (appropriately number 12) wound up on the album cover.

– Enjoy Record Store Day Drop #1 this Saturday. Go to recordarchive.com to see how everything will work, and all the precautions being taken. I hope you get everything you want (unless you want the last copy of what I want and don’t have it yet), and stay safe doing it. See the list of everything available at recordstoreday.com

-Billy

Scroll Up