Yellowstone – A Television and Country Music Review

Camera Girl is a remarkable human being but she is, foremost, a woman. And any husband worth his salt will tell you that’s not an unalloyed blessing. One of the many things that separate women from rational human beings is their love of soap operas. And this includes that bane of late 20th and early 21st century life, the nighttime soap. Luckily when we were young, we had children so we were too busy in the heyday of nighttime soaps to watch Dallas, Dynasty, Knots Landing, Melrose Place and the rest of that bilge.
But now that we are mostly empty nesters it’s no longer safe. And every once in a while, Camera Girl will reach beyond her annoying predilection for cop shows and look for something truly awful. And so it is that I have been dragged kicking and screaming into the demented saga that is Yellowstone. Kevin Costner and a mostly unknown cast (at least to me) ride horses and shoot guns up in Montana trying to preserve their Ponderosa sized cattle ranch from the real estate speculators, Indian tribes, disloyal cowboys, hedge fund pirates and other assorted lunatics who all seem to need killing. And kill them they do. Their enemies end up shot, stabbed, drowned, blown up, or pushed off cliffs more or less with impunity. And within the family, hatred and dysfunction are on full display. The daughter is a foul-mouthed man-eating lawyer. The lawyer son is her foil that she despises, berates and occasionally assaults. The cowboy brother is the hero, I guess. He’s a decorated war hero and his Indian wife and son have left the reservation and live on the ranch now.
The show truly is a ridiculous nighttime soap with egregious plots and ridiculous dialog. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised when I started hearing some of my favorite country artists on the soundtrack. Colter Wall, Tyler Childers, Chris Stapleton, Ryan Bingham and a bunch of other good to excellent country acts provide at least an interesting aural experience to go along with the annoying goings on at the Dutton family ranch.
One other saving grace that the show possesses are the vistas and landscapes that seem to surround you wherever you look in that magnificent big sky country. The juxtaposition of soaring snowy mountains, cascading rivers, verdant plains and technicolor blue skies can be seen sometimes all in one shot. You often find yourself wanting to yell at the actors to shut up and get out of the camera’s field of view and stop ruining the experience of just seeing and hearing the grandeur on display. But unfortunately, thy will go on yammering about whatever crime or deal they are conniving that week.
So that tells you all you need to know about the show. And honestly there is no way I can say I recommend this train wreck of a television experience. It’s a ghastly offense against story-telling. If you’re an enormous Kevin Costner fan I guess you can justify watching it to see him. He is one of the better parts of the show but even that isn’t saying much. And you can just listen to the soundtrack without watching the show. And I’m sure National Geographic has tons of documentary footage of Montana and Wyoming wilderness to watch anytime you want.
I, on the other hand, have to watch. Camera Girl is a woman and therefore barbarically cruel. I can always hope it will be cancelled soon. Damn you Costner.

Tyler Childers – Country Squire – A Country Music Review

I’m a fan of Tyler Childers’ music.  He’s a singer songwriter with an interesting voice and talent for producing lively melodies.  And he tells stories about modern Appalachia.  Stories about country people and stories about himself.  One of my favorites of his songs is a murder ballad on his Purgatory album called Banded Clovis.  His lyrics paint an engaging picture of the murderer at the moment when greed and desperation over comes camaraderie and decency.

Childers’ new album Country Squire is in the same cast as Purgatory.  It has songs that describe the life of every day folks in Appalachia and also has more autobiographical songs about his life on the road as a musician.  For me these personal songs are not as compelling because that lifestyle doesn’t resonate with how I live.  But the other songs are more interesting to me.  So, unsurprisingly the three songs I like best on the album are of this type; Creeker, Peace of Mind and Matthew.  They’re just stories of everyday people living everyday lives.  But Childers is able to generate good country songs with it.  The other six songs have a number of what I called above autobiographical songs and here it’s more hit or miss.  “Country Squire” and “Bus Route” are pretty good.  But “Ever Lovin’ Hand” I’ll take a pass on.  The musicality is fine but the story is too odd for me.

So if you’re a Tyler Childers fan you’ll like Country Squire.  If you’re a country music fan give it a try but I would start with his Purgatory album first.  I think it’s a better introduction to his range of songs.

 

02AUG2019 – OCF Update

It was a busy week for me and for the world.  Work’s a bear but nothing new there.  The Democrats have been incredibly busy shooting themselves in the foot and everywhere else.  And that gives me plenty to write about.  And we had a ton of visits from folks linking from WhatFinger News.  That’s a great thing.  Welcome to all you new folks.

And I survived to the weekend so I’ll be able to put some fun stuff up.  I just listened to Tyler Childers’ new country music album, Country Squire.  It’s got several songs I like a lot.  I’ll review it this weekend.  I’ve got some classic SF books I’ve been rereading that I think merit review.

And I’ve got some ideas for a post looking at how the various groups on the right wing agree and disagree and how I think they can mutually benefit from the present situation and going forward.

And as entertaining as the Democrat Debates were, I’ll have to say seeing the insanity on display was a little off-putting and depressing.  Even Bill Clinton could pass for normal.  These people are putting on display beliefs that really should qualify them for straitjackets.  We’re going to have to reclaim the psychiatric field from the lunatics at some point.  These people need to be off the streets.  Oh well.

Stay tuned.

 

Tyler Childers – Live on Red Barn Radio I & II – A Country Music Review

Regular readers know I’m a fan of Tyler Childers.  He’s a country singer-songwriter from Eastern Kentucky and he combines interesting vocals, his acoustic guitar playing, an excellent mix of country instrumental accompanists with his very creative lyrics.  I especially enjoy his ballads, a stand out being “Banded Clovis” on his “Purgatory” album.

The present review is of a live album from 2013.  The eight songs include two that were on other albums, namely “Whitehouse Road” from Purgatory and “Bottles and Bibles” from the album of the same name.  Listening to some of the other songs I would say you can tell that they come from an earlier period of his song-writing career.  They are simpler and less ambitious in terms of imagery and effect.  But they’re good and I take them as an excellent addition to my collection.  Interestingly two of the songs were written by other artists, “Rock Salt and Nails” by Bruce Utah Phillips and “Coming Down” by John R. Miller.  Now I guess I’ll be forced to look up their stuff.  How I suffer for my art.

Anyway, if you like Tyler Childers’ other stuff you’ll almost definitely like this live album.  Highly recommended.

High Top Mountain – Sturgill Simpson – A Country Music Review – Part 1

There is a lot of bad music out there.  And there is a lot of bad country music.  One of the ways I try to find good music is by association with other good music.  Case in point, a friend of mine at work told me about Colter Wall so I checked out his music and really liked it.  One of his songs is a cover of the old song Fraulein.  On that song is a second singer and looking him up it turned out to be Tyler Childers.  So I checked out his music and really liked it.  Looking over Childer’s album Purgatory I noticed it was produced by Sturgill Simpson.  Now I knew of Simpson.  I had his “Metamodern Sounds In Country Music” album and there was one song on that album called Panbowl that was extremely good but overall I was undecided if I was a fan.  But now I decided to take another look at Sturgill’s catalog.  I listened to his latest album, “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth,” and didn’t really care for it.  Then I went back to his first album, “High Top Mountain,” and really liked it a lot.  I’ll listen to a lot of it for the next few days and then I’ll finish up this review.  But I can say already it’s a solid country album and Simpson is a good singer songwriter.  The fact that I didn’t care for his later stuff as much might mean High Top Mountain is more or less all of his stuff I’ll like.  That’s okay.  Even finding a whole album you like is a feat worth noting.  This album is definitely a win.

25FEB2018 – Quote of the Day

I guess there’s nothing unusual about a songwriter being poetical but Childer’s lyrics impress me for some reason.
excerpt from “Tattoos”by Tyler Childers,  from his album “Purgatory”

 

21FEB2018 – Quote of the Day

 

Will you pray for me
When the roots of the oak
And my ribcage are braidin’

Catholic girl, pray for me
You’re my only hope for Heaven

 

by Tyler Childers from his song Purgatory (2017)

I like the imagery of oak roots braiding with a ribcage.  I think Shakespeare would approve.

 

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Tyler Childers’ Purgatory – A Country Music Review

I heard of Tyler Childers by seeing his name as the accompanying singer on Colter Wall’s song Fraulein. Since I liked the sound of his voice on that song, I looked him up (on Amazon.com of course!) and saw that he had a few albums.  I ordered his most recent one (Purgatory) and gave it a listen.  It’s really very good.

BEGIN RANT – But what the hell is it with these Millennials and drugs?  I mean, almost every song is saturated with dope, cocaine and pills.  Understand, I know artists always adopt a bohemian outlook on substance abuse but it seems this guy is continuously stoned.  How does he manage to write and practice his music with most of his brain soaked with opioids or worse?  And if he isn’t really that much of a stoner why are his songs so filled with them?  Is it just required from his generation?  I grew up in the seventies and drug use was rampant back then but I don’t know, this seems even more exaggerated. – END RANT

So, putting the whole drug thing aside (dirty hippies), I like this Childers guy’s music. Lots of interesting instrumental stuff, good vocals, good story telling. All of the songs are good but if I have to pick a few favorites I’ll go with :

  1. I Swear to God
  2. Purgatory
  3. Honky Tonk Flame

There seems to be a generation of Country musicians who you don’t hear on the radio but play very original stuff that’s more closely related to traditional country music than most of the commercial country you hear on the radio. I wonder if the drug content in the songs is keeping these guys off the radio?  Well, whatever it is they are producing good music.  I just won’t be playing it around my grandkids. And get off my lawn!!!

 

Since my readers don’t always stop by every day I figured I’d paste this poll on each post for a while to see what folks call themselves.  This is the post the poll came from  Who Are We?

… And that got me thinking. Who are the people who read my blog?  I thought it might be fun to see what the cross-section looked like.  If you feel like saying what you believe in, feel free to leave a comment and/or pick a label from the poll below.  I think it might be interesting.

 

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