For the last 10 years or so, seeing Old 97's live has been the sonic equivalent of comfort food for me, my musical bacon-wrapped meatloaf, if you will.
I overheard a bit of cussing and discussing last night among several folks in the sparse crowd waiting for the Detroit Cobras to take the stage at the Demo. The conversations centered not on the show that was about to start but on the last time the band played in St. Louis.
I have to admit that lately, I'm feeling the effects of age. On the back end of my 40s, my body is letting me down, my short-term memory is shot through with holes and I feel my aesthetic and artistic sensibilities are, to say the least, unappreciated by the current crop of whippersnappers coming up.
Back in his Drive-By Truckers days, Jason Isbell's songwriting and plaintive vocals provided the melodic, contemplative counterpoint to Patterson Hood's gritty rambling Southern Gothic story telling.
There was a time when country music was the music of the common folks, telling their stories of broken hearts, hard times and redemption.
Wussy is the eternal musical bridesmaid, always with the promise of the caught bouquet, in the form of almost universal critical acclaim, but without the genuine diamelle solitaire of commercial acceptance.
Ray Wylie Hubbard's latest record, "The Grifter's Hymnal," has been in constant rotation in my truck for the past week. Living with it as I did, many questions arose, and I was lucky enough to be able to run them by the esteemed Mr. Hubbard recently via phone from his front porch in Texas.
Don't let the oversize Texas flag hanging behind the stage or the unfortunate Toby Keith collaboration fool you. Willie Nelson is not simply a country artist.