Welcome to Claes Place. Sean Claes is a Content Manager and Social Media expert who has worked as a Journalist, Photographer, Event Planner, Consultant, Marketer and Copywriter. He's got over 20 years of experience advising small business and musicians about their marketing and social media.
These are his stories, notes, works and advice.
Contact Sean Claes at seanclaesATseanclaesDOTcom.
December 31, 2005
Pass the Bowl...please
Well... among other things, she had one piece of wisdom I thought was a jewel...and I totally agree with. Now.. suspend your knowledge of college football completely and just go with logic.
Her great point? Bowl games should only be named after things that fit in a bowl.
If this were true.. only a few of the 28 games this year could be broadcast... Since you can't put a city in a bowl...the New Orleans, Las Vegas, Houston, Motor City, and Music City bowls would be gone. We'd say aloha to Hawaii too. Gone would be the Product-endorsement bowls of GMAC, Champs Sports, Insight, MPC Computers, Meineke, and Capital One.
I'm missing a few.. but the only bowl games that would fit the criteria would be the Emerald, Peach, Cotton, Sugar, Orange, and Rose... These would be the can-put-in-a-Bowl games.
It seems like a valid point to me.
I also think only things served in a bowl should be eaten while watching bowl games.... cereal, chili, soup, chips, pho.... but that's bordering on silly.
That said.. Happy New Year.
December 29, 2005
On a personal note, I'm falling apart. My ear still isn't back to normal from flying home last Friday (I was congested so I had slight pain..if you can call screwdrivers to my ears slight pain), I woke up at 3:00a.m. with a Charlie Horse. What a name... charlie horse... Who is Charlie and why has he let his horse attack my leg?
I looked it up..
Charley horse is a colloquial name for a sudden, painful leg cramp, likened to the kick of a horse. The cramp can occur in the thigh or the arch of the foot, but most often affects the calf muscle. The term comes from American baseball slang of the 1880s, possibly from the pitcher Charley "Old Hoss" Radbourne who is said to have suffered from them. Another story mentions a horse named Charley that used to work at Comiskey Park, the Chicago White Sox' ballpark in Chicago.
Source: Google Search
So.. 2005 is almost over.... I need a bananana and one of those ear-wax removal cones to celebrate. Is this where I admit that I'm getting old?
At least I've got my music....
*pops in Every Time I Die's Gutter Phenomenon*
December 28, 2005
How You Can Improve My Commute...
I'm speaking directly to the folks between San Marcos, TX and Austin, TX.. but this may apply to you as well.
Here we go:
- Turn signals are your friend. Use them to signal that you are about to come into my lane or get out of it.
- If you are going slower than me, please move to the center or right lane. The left lane is for passing. I intend to use it as such.
- I don't care who you are talking to... if you're not in the slow lane turn off the phone and drive. I used to say you should hang-up and drive, but I've even seen cops using cell phones, so it's not a reality that people are going to hang up. The least you can do (and I emphasize least) is get into the right lane and out of people's way that are concentrating on driving...not finding out what Suzie is going to wear to the Rose Bowl. I'm going to venture to say she's wearing something Burnt Orange.
- If you move over from the left lane to let me pass, don't speed up and jump back in front of me. This happened this morning. Some dimwad in a white Chevy Truck moved over (without signaling) and then gunned it in the middle lane only to jump back over (without signaling) and tailgate the guy in front of me. He proceeded to tailgate folks all the way to Austin from Kyle... I got there at the same time as him. Idiot.
- If you are driving a BMW or a Lexus... you are just another car on the road to me, please don't be stereotypical and drive like an idiot.
- Please assess how fast cars around you are going. If you're in the left lane you should be going faster than the two other lanes. If a car comes up behind you and you can move over, please do so.
- If you are driving fast, and there is a car in front of you in the left lane..give it about 20 seconds before you pass on the right... be fair.
- If you aren't moving over and the car starts to make a move to pass you on the right (after giving you ample time to move over..I'd say 20 seconds...) don't pick that time to move over, you're just being an ass now.
- DON'T PASS ON THE RIGHT! The left lane is for passing. Pass on the left. This isn't a race..and you can cause my untimely death by driving like an idiot. Remember this IS all about me.
- Let's have one exception...If the car in front of you isn't moving, even though they've had ample room for 20 seconds... you can pass on the right... but get back into the left as soon as possible...and don't see it as an invitation to play highway "Frogger."
- Don't read the newspaper or a magazine or a report while driving. That's just scary.
So if you follow these simple suggestions, I'll have a much nicer commute to work. At the end of the day it IS all about me, you know.
December 26, 2005
We searched for bargains... we searched with our spouse...
The shelves of WalMart and Target were bare
Because the hardcore shoppers had already been there.
So we picked up some stuff for next year's Christmas... garland with lights in it to line the fence... 125' should do it... I hope. A stocking for the little girl. Wrapping paper... stuff like that... the things that are magically only worth half of what they were worth 48 hours ago.
I always think about celebrating Christmas in January since everything will be chraper.. but then I'd appear cheap.. which I am.. but not that cheap.
Ate at CiCi's since I had the hankerin' for peperoni/jalapeño and my wife wanted BBQ... and I found out there's a roving gang of tagging cows... When I went to the bathroom, I noticed something scrawled on the wall.. upon further review, I'm pretty sure it was "512 Moooooo." Damn bad cows.
I'm on deadline for INsite Magazine.. I've got a few stories yet to edit, but after-Christmas shopping has rendered my mind semi-useless.
We've almost gotten everything washed from our trip to Ohio.. and hopefully soon the box with our presents will show up. (Instead of contending with 4 suitcases + carry-on luggage + daughter + box of Christmas Gifts from Ohio we decided to send it via mail to us... the best $41 you can spend if you ask me.. and I know you would.
Well, I've got to write one more CD review before I go to bed... and it's a CD I've listened to for a few months so it should be easy. The South Austin Jug Band's Dark and Weary World.
Happy Monday. I go back to work tomorrow..hopefully I'll find out I don't have to look for work on Friday.
December 25, 2005
Ho Ho Ho...
You know.. the guy who buys a Land Rover when the neighbor obn the left comes home with a Rav 4... which is traded in on an H3 (and a second mortgage) when the neighbor on the right buys a Land Rover...
How much of life is spent trying to make the neighbors think you're perfect? I see a lot of that during this season. People putting their best foot forward and hiding the bitter truth...
I should blog about going to church last night and my 20 month old getting communion for the first time.. and opening presents this morning and the look of love my wife gives me and I return... but that is just one point of who I am.. I'm also the guy who got into an argument with his wife while looking at Christmas lights on Christmas night... don't even know what it was about.. I know I tried to direct her to park somewhere..I was misunderstood.. and next thing I know I was trying to keep from screaming at the top of my lungs at her... For a women who I love so passionately with all of my heart..we sure know how to push each other's buttons.
So I drove around and looked at lights by myself for an hour...listening to Christmas music... and taking photos of the cool houses.. their all just boxes and everyone decorates their boxes differently. Each has a story to tell and a fresh coat of paint and pretty lights are just outward appearances... who knows what's going on inside.
Well.. it is Christmas. Jesus was born today. Hooray.
I need to spend less time putting up lights and more time filling the house with love.
December 24, 2005
Favorite Christmas Movies/Specials?
My favorite is Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas (1977).
Originally a special for HBO, this Jim Henson production (he also directed) was one of the first real forays into the more realistic, less vaudevillian direction for the Muppets. It also included Frank Oz (Muppeteer), Paul Williams (songs), and Jerry Juhl (script), some of the Muppet Show's usual suspects. Emmet Otter and his jug band are trying out in the local talent show, but they face fierce competition from a gang of toughs, the Riverbottom Gang and their rock band. Perhaps the most notable thing is the creation of a sense of poverty and want that suffuses the little production. Even Emmet's mother, who sacrifices her washtub to further Emmet's cause, gets in the act. Fine Christmas viewing for all ages. --Keith Simanton
So... what was/is your favorite?
Merry Christmas to all and to all...
December 23, 2005
Friday.. back in Austin!
Merry Christmas to all.. and to all a good night.
.... What is Papa doing right now?
December 21, 2005
As I type this.. I hear our Christmas CD playing in the background.. we gave the Hughes' a copy.. they are good people.. and their Bed and Breakfast is awesome... highly recommended.
Anyhow.. we're checking out in a few minutes.. so I'm going to take my new Hughes Inn Bed and Breakfast t-shirt and take my family's happy selves to Loundonville for Christmas in Ohio.. part II.
Don't think I'll have computer acccess there.. so... Until next time.
Ho Ho Ho..
December 20, 2005
We went to a place for lunch and I had a fried bologna sandwich.. we're talking a slab of bologna that was like a half-inch thick. It sounds disgusting but DAMN... tasted good.
I got to hang with my 6-month-old neice a little more... what a cute amazing baby. My 20-month-old got a bit jealous when my wife was holding her... it was annoyingly great.
Got to hang out with my grandma for a little while. She's in assisted living and she's advancing with an Alzheimers-like situation...so she has trouble remembering things that happened yesterday... but she can tell you exactly what happened to her 20 years ago. I love talking to her about the "old days" and joking with her. I've been told not to joke with her... but she knows I'm joking and we have loads of fun.. really...like when I opened up a box of cookies from Wal-Mart and told her she better eat one since I spent all morning baking them... and I'd have made a cake too if I didn't have to fly the plane to get here... Me and Grandma understand each other. I know she's going to have to ask me the same question 5 times.. and I'm going to act like it's the first time I heard it each time.. because it is no fault of hers tha she doesn't remember. I also know that if I make something funny.. or answer something in a way that she wasn't expecting.. it may stick.
In other news I've done most of the editing for the January issue of INsite... we've got some awesome stories for January... inluding a great feature on the TXRD Lone Star Rollergirls... which you'll see on A&E and the covver of Rolling Stone (and INsite) soon... Pretty pumped about that!
OK.. as with last night.. my daughter is sleeping and I better close out...
So...If you're ever in Van Wert Ohio, and need a photo taken... visit this place first - Memory Lane Studio. The photographer, Gary Lane (hence the name) is an extremely nice person, takes fantastic shots, and gets it all done quickly and for a fair price. His stuff is digital.. so we took the shots...went and had lunch and went back and saw the "proofs" within an hour. Fantastic. We also talked cameras...so I think I know the next one I'm getting... yeah.
December 19, 2005
Went to bed last night about midnight...and got up at 4:00 in order to get everything and everyone (wife and 20 month old) onto a plane at 7:00a.m. flying out from Austin to end up in Columbus... We decided not to buy a ticket for the little one.. and Thank God she fell asleep just after we departed Dallas on our way to Columbus.. everything with the trip went smooth.
I did, however wake up this morning with a cold.. so I'm so stuffed up right now it's amazing... and I'm pretty sure I know now what it would feel like to have screwdrivers shoved into my ears...from the pressure I felt while the plane was making its descent into Columbus... but other than that.. life is peachy.
I met my six-month-old neice for the first time (she lives in Boston).. and I got to hold her for a good half-hour... She is amazing..beautiful...such a joy. Everything I would ever hope for in a neice...
Saw my Grandma, Great-Aunt and Uncle.. Sister, Brother-in-law, neice, and parents.. good times.
Well, it's like 11:00p.m. Ohio time and since my daughter's asleep I should be too.
December 18, 2005
We step on a plane tomorrow morning.. so I'm going to have to be a bad Holidalies poster (I'm not sure if anyone actually reads my posts anyhow... If you're out there... do me a favor.. leave me a comment...
I'll provide a topic...
If you had to recommend one musician to me, who would it be?
Talk to you on Friday.
If you're in the market for Christmas gift ideas... I did a story in the December issue of INsite that was a holiday gift guide of totally Austin things.. Feel free to go to my homepage and peruse... (Click on the banner below)
December 17, 2005
First Day of Vacation
At least I can get about 2 hours of freelance work done before my daughter gets up.
I hear her taking to herself right now..
Anyhow....I'm Methodist.. so I celebrate Christmas. So, I'm going to wish you a Merry Christmas. If you don't celebrate Christmas.. please don't take offense. If someone wished me a Happy Kwanzaa or Hanukkah I wouldn't get pissed.
So.. if Christmas offends you.. I'll take a cue from Kinky Friedman...
"May the God of your choice bless you."
Happy Saturday. I need a haircut.
December 16, 2005
Et Tu Cappuccino?
Background: My full-time job is a grant position. We're a 5 year grant that just finished it's 6th year (it's complicated)... on December 31, 2005 that grant ends a 3 month no-cost extension. We're competing for a new 5 year scope-of-work...and the "winner" hasn't been announced yet. We're all hopeful.. but the prospect of being jobless in 2006 has people a little on edge...
Wednesday morning: We had a meeting of all staff members on the grant on which I work. We were told the status of the proposal (which we turned in 3 months ago) that would mean we have another 5 years of work... the status was.. there was no news yet.
30 minutes after that meeting: The Big boss of the institution where I work came by and dropped off the "letter" that let me know that if we don't get the new monies, there's no money available to keep me employed.
Noon Wednesday: I head home because my 20 month-old is sick (sent home from daycare on Monday) and my wife and I are splitting days so we can both work a little...
Thursday: I get a second letter detailing my severance package... I joked with the CEO asking him if it was my Christmas bonus. I'm not sure if he thought it funny or not, but I got a nervous chuckle out of him.
Thursday afternoon: Had meeting with the CEO and HR to discuss the "implications surrounding my employment" and went over all the scenerios...
1. If we get the grant, life is good and I have work
2. If we don't hear about the grant by the 1st of January, they may keep a few people around to see if a decesion can be made in a week or two.
3. If we get an answer and we didn't win... I'm suddenly only employed for 10 hours a week (I work 1/4 time on another grant position) and in order to receive my severance package I must work the part-time for a month while they find a suitable replacement.
4. Enter your own scenerio here... my other one consists of spending $1 and making millions.
Thursday late afternoon: Amongst all of this, Me and my family are flying to Ohio for a week starting Monday so I thought I'd better make sure all is in line for that..I booked the tickets on Expedia.com in September. I find out my flight number if suddenly flying into Boston not Columbus..and doesn't originate out of Austin like it should. 30 minutes on the phone with the airline straightens everything out... and I found out by booking early I saved a penny! That's right.. the price of the flight, had I booked it yesterday would have cost a whole penny more. Who says booking early doesn't pay?
Thursday night: my daughter has decided that it's not too early to enter into her terrible twos... and refuses to go to sleep.. so we get to listen to the sounds of a child SCREAMING for about 30-45 minutes until she gets tired of screaming and falls asleep. Ohio is going to be fun with this new development.
Friday: I stop to get gas this morning and pick up the Exxon Bengal Traders cappuccino... I don't like it as much as the generic gas-station cappuccino... it's a bit watery...
Friday at work: We have our Holiday party today (I'd call it a Christmas party... but it's not very PC to do so in this day and age)..and we do a gift exchange amongst our staff members (I orginized it..yea) so I was carrying a big box for the person I bought for.. and my coffee... and a bag of other stuff. Well.. I spilled hot cappuccino all over my shirt.
Damn... et tu cappuccino?
So.. if anyone is looking for a cappuccino-soaked Communuications Specialist in Austin, Texas... here I am.
P.S. (Happened after My original blog):
I got the coolest ornament at the office ornament exchange.. It was White Elephant.. and I was the #12 of 14.... so I got to take the one I wanted... then lost it.. then picked another one (which wasn't as cool as the original one I had) but then a co-worker took that one.. so I got the one I wanted back.. and ended up keeping it....it's an Indian Paintbrish wildflower done in clay on a barbed wire
....then I dropped it... and it broke.
So... it needs superglue but it's a winner.
December 15, 2005
Remembering Those Who Passed in 2005
I thank God for giving us this talent and have to understand that God knows what he’s doing by taking them from this earth. Anyhow… here are a few folks I’m thinking about today.
1/23 - Johnny Carson, comedian ("The Tonight Show") age 79 (emphysema)
January 2005 seems so long ago.. I remember reading about Johnny Carson’s death and thinking I was glad he retired in 1992 and was able to maintain a life of semi-privacy for about 13 years. He will always be the host of the Tonight Show in my mind.
2/10 - Arthur Miller, playwright, age 89 (Heart Failure).
When I was in college I directed and played “Biff” in a Laredo Community College version of his “Death of a Salesman.” That said, I saw real actors perform it on stage after that and I knew if I ever met Arthur Miller I’d have to apologize for destroying his play on a small border-town stage.
3/30 - Mitch Hedberg, comedian, age 37 (Heart Failure)
I was completely dissatisfied with the new pool of comedians that could pick up the gauntlet that George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Bill Hicks and Eddie Murphy laid down in the 1980s ad 1990s… until I saw Mitch Hedburg one night on TV. He is a talent that was taken from us before he need to be taken (much like Bill Hicks).
4/29 - Hasil Adkins, Rockabilly One Man Band
While getting into Scott H. Biram.. I was introduced to Hasil Adkins.
His biography says it best: “Hasil (pronounced Hassil ) Adkins has played true lonesome country, hopped up blues, and boogie woogie rockabilly nonstop since 1949. He’s written more than 7,000 songs and can play all of them plus over 2,000 covers from memory! Hasil’s got the rhythm of a speeding freight train, a ready sense of humor, and soul that will find soft spots in even the hardest heart. “ (http://www.hasiladkins.com)
8/16 Vassar Carlton Clements
“On August 16th 2005 at 7:20 am Nashville time, the angels in heaven stopped singing for a moment, as they heard the most beautiful music approaching from a distance - the high lonesome sound of Vassar Clements' fiddle.” - (http://www.vassarclements.com/)
Vassar Clements is bluegrass music. I had a chance to see him play at The Old Settlers Music Festival a few times… and got to meet him as well. Gentle soul, wonderful musician, and amazing talent. He’s known as the “Father of Hillbilly Jazz.”
10/24 Rosa Parks, "the mother of civil rights" in America, age 92
Fifty years ago (12/1) Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus and therefore made a world of difference. I didn’t witness as much hate as my parents and my daughter won’t witness as much hate as I have because of the act of this brave woman.
11/13 - Eddie Guerrero, WWE wrestler, age 38 (Heart Failure)
The 5’9” 220 lb. Former WWE Champion and Lucha Libre wrestler (he wrestled under a mask as Mascara Magica) died of heart failure in November. He actually published his own Autobiography – “Cheating Death, Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story” which he talks about his past drug and alcohol addictions and how he arose from the ashes to regain his WWE belt..
11/24 – Pat Morita, actor, age 73 (Natural Causes)…
Mr. Miyagi and Matsuo "Arnold" Takahashi will be missed. Little known fact, he was a stand-up comedian before starting his acting career.
12/10 - Richard Pryor, comedian, age 65
Richard Pryor lived a hard, hard life. He was one of the funniest comedians around… and a damn fine actor. Who else could take trying to commit suicide in a cocaine-induced frenzy (June 1980) and use it in his act…and make it funny? He wrote with Mel Brooks, was The Wizard of Oz in The Wiz and was in David Lynch’s Lost Highway. His 1982 stand-up release Live on the Sunset Strip is legendary. Richard Pryor is legendary.
If you’ve lost a loved one… may God be with you and may your loved one rest in peace knowing that they are remembered.
December 14, 2005
Christmas CD... Disc 2 (The harder stuff)
I chose to put together a more hard rock/metal album for this one. Mind you.. I own all of the CDs of the people you see on both lists. I'm all over the board when it comes to music..there's not much I don't like (unless it starts with Celine or ends with Spears).
Anyhow... here's the list. It gets heavier as the disc goes on. As always... if you like what you read.. Google them and buy their stuff. It's seanclaesDOTcom approved.
1. 105 - Guy Forsyth
OK, this isn't heavy, but it's a fairly heavy subject. It's like "Crossroads 2005." Awesome song by one of the more underrated Austin singer/songwriters.
2. Down On Me- Jackyl
Yeah... a feel good 1990s rocker by the band that utilizes a chainsaw as an instrument.
3. Hold It Together - Nooner
Nooner is about to release a new album in February. Their debut album was chosen to be distributed nationally by Target as a special promotional thing and they sold like 30k of them. Awesome for a little 'ol Do-It-Yourself band out of Austin.
4. Whisky (Live Austin 1/04) - Scott H Biram
This was recorded live by a buddy of mine in 2004 when Biram opened for Hank Williams III. Great track.
5. I'm The Man (Uncensored) - Anthrax
Yeah... Anthrax just released their Anthology entitled No Hit Wonders. Rock on.
6. Do It For The Kids - Velvet Revolver
One of my favorite interviews I've ever done was when I had the dubious honor of talking with Duff McKagan from Velvet Revolver. Amazing story he told... it's a wonder this band is still alive..and we're all happier for it. (Read the interview here)
7. Riot - Freebleeder
I got this little Freebleeder pin last year at SXSW and decided to put it on my trenchcoat. It happened to be really cold the day I went to see these guys live for the first time...so I was wearing my jacket. The drummer and singer both bought me shots for wearing the pin... I was quite warm after that. And I realized the truth behind their mantra to "Keep Austin Drunk." They rock.
8. Black And Blue - Brand New Sin
Brand New Sin opened for Scum of the Earth a few months back. They were the stars of the night.... Old-school Metallica feel to them... Hope they make it. They deserve to be there.
9. Damaged Goods - Shrapnel
Another Austin band... I'd not heard of these folks when I saw them on stage at The Backroom in November. They were damn good and damn tight.
10. The Devil Made Me Do It - Scum Of The Earth
Riggs, the guitarist from Rob Zombie's band, is pretty much SOTE. I interviewed him in 2004 and saw him play in 2005. (Read the interview here)
11. Power Of Fear - Meyvn
Anthemic rock the style of Iron Maiden, Dio, and Dokken. Interesting stuff. Oh, and they're Austinites too.
12. The Answer - Gizmachi
Saw these guys on Ozzfest in 2005. Good music, but what amazed me most was the fact that the lead singer looks like what I would look like has I taken a different path and played metal instead of writing about it... at least I see it.
13. The New Black - Every Time I Die
I interviewed these guys at Ozzfest 2004. One of the funniest interviews I've ever conducted. Backstage at Ozzfest is an interesting place to be.
14. New Friend Request - Evergreen Terrace
I got this CD a few months ago. To me this is what KISS' Paul Stanley would have sounded like had he headed a hardcore band.
15. Blind Eye Halo - Soilwork
One of 2 Swedish metal bands on this CD. Soilwork played 2nd stage at Ozzfest. Melodic Death Metal. Good stuff.
16. Something Inside of Me - Wicked Wisdom
It is so few times that you encounter a female who sings for a hardcore metal band. Even fewer do it well. Wicked Wisdom does just that.. and it doesn't hurt that the lead singer is Jada Pinkett-Smith.
17. My Sweet Shadow - In Flames
The other Swedesh Metal Band on the disc. I'm finishing up an interview with them for a January 2006 article. They release a new album on February 7, 2006... and play in San Antonio on February 6.
18. The Way, The Truth The Life - Brotherhood
A San Antonio hardcore band that reminded me of some of the bands I used to catch in Laredo when I was in high school. They bring it to the stage too... Laredo was such a cool place for music...but it was all in people's backyards. San Antonio has trumped Laredo again... moving something into a money-making arena... (Other examples... Laredo has the Rio Grande/San Antonio has the Riverwalk, Laredo has an amazing amount of tejano and conjunto singers/San Antonio is known as the birthplace of Tejano)
19. She's Gonna Blow - Broken Teeth
The lead singer of Dangerous Toys (remember them back in the 80s and 90s?) fronts this AC/DCesque straight-up rock band. Awesome.
20 Snowblind - Diamond Darrell
"Dimebag" Darrell Abbott recorded a song as a tribute to Ace Ferehley. Not sure where I got this song or how, but Abbott has been gone for a year now and he is still missed every day. (For those not in the know, he was murdered onstage during a Damageplan concert on December 8, 2004.)
December 13, 2005
Houston Texans Fans?
Q. How do the Texans count to 10?
A. 0-1, 0-2, 0-3, 0-4, 0-5, 0-6, 0-7, 0-8, 0-9, 0-10
Q. What do the Texans & Billy Graham have in common?
A. They both can make 60,000 people stand up & yell "Jesus Christ"!
Q. How do you keep a Texan out of your yard?
A. Put up goal posts
Q. Where do you go in Texas in case of a tornado?
A. To Reliant Stadium - there's never a touchdown there!
Q. What do you call a Texan with a Super Bowl ring?
A. A thief
Q. Why doesn't Austin have a professional football team?
A. Because Houston would want one
Q. What's the difference between the Texans and a dollar bill?
A. You can still get four quarters out of a dollar
Q. How many Texans does it take to win a Superbowl?
A. Nobody knows!
Q. What do the Texans and possums have in common?
A. Both play dead at home and get killed on the road
Happy Tuesday all. My daughter is sick today so I'm trying to squeeze an 8 hour workday into 4...
December 12, 2005
Christmas CD time....
Anyhow.. this is our CD this year. The theme is "Songs of Home and Love"
If any of these artists intrigue you, Google them... buy a CD by them... go out and see them in concert... support good music.
Almost Home - The Greencards:
This is a nice instrumental ditty to get things going from the Overseas-to-Austin-to Nashville band who is featured in the December issue of INsite (See story here). The Greencards are who we saw on Father's Day 2004... my first father's day.
Too Big Love - Susan Gibson:
My wife and I have seen Susan Gibson a number of times. Wonderful song..wonderful singer/songwriter.
Makes Me Happy - Matt White Band:
The first time I heard this song I thought of my wife. The Matt White Band has a cool John Mayer sound to them. Highly recommend looking them up.
Stick Around - Reckless Kelly:
Kind of a dark and haunting sound. When I intervieewed Cody Braun he mentioned it was his favorite song on the album... mine too. (Read my interview here)
Beat Of Your Heart - Cory Morrow:
I really dig Cory Morrow's new album... Nothing Left To Hide. This song is an upbeat love song.... When I interviewed Morrow earlier this year, I asked him about this song.. he said "This one was about a girl I knew. It was my way of helping her get though some things she had been going through. Trying to help her realize that life is full of all kinds of heartaches. Some people can hide them really well, but you can't hide them from everybody. You just have to find the happiness and love wherever you can." (Read the whole interview here).
Let Me In To Your Heart - Mary Chapin Carpenter:
What can you say about Mary Chapin Carpenter? She is an amazing talent who deserves to be on everyone's CD player at least once a month.
Sweet Butterfly - Stanley Smith:
I was interviewing Seela for a story on Torch (song later on this list) and she asked it I wanted to go see this guy play a free Tuesday happy hour show at The Elephant Room in Austin. Sure... I walked into a fairly empty room save for this amazing man sitting there effortlessly belting out some of the most amazing music. Go see Stanley Smith every Tuesday for free... it'll change your attitude.
Better Together - Jack Johnson:
One of the few "national" acts that I really get into. Maybe because it's unconventional and he kind of just does his own thing. He also has a wonderful way with words...
Walk On - Ruthie Foster:
This is a live version released on her Stages last year. If you've never seen Foster in concert... or heard her on a recording... you've been depriving yourself.
Another Year's Gone By - Hootie & The Blowfish:
What? Hootie and The Blowfish? Why? Well.. let me tell you. Looking For Lucky was released this year and if you like Bluegrass and Gospel... this album will tip your scales... This ain't your 1990s Hootie (well.. it is.. but 15 years later and a lot of maturing happened). (Read my interview with Darius Rucker here)
Sanctuary - Eliza Gilkyson w/Will Taylor and Strings Attached:
Beautiful voice and beautiful music.
What A Friend We Have In Jesus- Amy Grant:
Every Christmas album should have some good christian music. Amy Grant is fantastic on this track.
Look At You Girl - Chris LeDoux:
LeDoux, who passed away in March 2005 due to complications from liver cancer, was a pro rodeo rider...and an amazing singer/songwriter who amassed 36 albums full of songs about "real cowboys" in his time. He could also write a compelling love song, as this song shows.
Sabor A Mi - Los Lobos:
Los Lobos is one of the best. "Sabor A Mi" shows a little of their traditional Spanish music ability (from their Just Another Band From East L.A. which should be required listening for everyone).
I Do The Same For You - Charlie Sexton:
Sexton just came back and released an album late this year. It's great slow, creeping, singer/songwriter stuff.
Backroads - Brandon Rhyder:
My wife says this song tells the gospel truth. We caught Brandon Rhyder playing a cool "song swap" thing with Susan Gibson and Walt Wilkins earlier this year in San Marcos. He was just as impressive as the other two.. and that says a lot.
Modelo - Mike Mcclure Band:
Mike McClure has a way of getting inside my head and writing love songs that are just the left of center... this is a love song that reminds me of growing up in Laredo... "At the end of the day it don't matter what you say, she'll be standing by my side."
Wild At Heart - Edwin McCain:
A song about someone who tries to do too much.. that's being pulled in more than one direction... hey.. It's working so far.
You Came A Long Way From St. Louis - Torch:
A fun jazzy song on here because it's a fun jazzy song. Again.. a song from an artist I interviewed in the last 12 months. Talk about shameless self-promotion - (The interview is here).
Lizards On The Tree -Full Service:
Full Service is an Austin-based band that I think released 3 CDs last year. I've heard 2.. and they were both fantastic. The 3rd was released a week or so ago.. I'm getting it sent to me. This song mentioned peanut butter and jelly... if that's not love I don't know what is.
Happy Birthday Marle - Red Stick Ramblers:
Old Settler's music Festival - April 22, 2005. My daughter turned 1 the day before. The Red Stick Ramblers were cool enough to sing her Happy Birthday from Stage. A kick-ass guy by the name of Wayne was recording the show and got me a copy. Wow. people rock.
Feliz Navidad - Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers:
We just saw Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers last night at Gruene Hall (See photos here). They are amazing. I don't know where this version of Feliz Navidad came from... but I like it and it seems an apt way to end the CD.
If you read this far... hope you enjoyed. If I know you, you can get the musical version soon.
December 11, 2005
Local Authors and Photographers of whom I've become aware
Austinite Richard Reynolds (http://www.richardreynoldsphotography.com) recently released two
wonderful books of photography. In Texas Then and Now he expertly and amazingly “reshoots” historic Texas photos from around the state from the same location and angle they were originally shot. In Wild Texas Reynolds captures the natural beauty of our State.
Austin photographers donated their talent and local musicians donated their time and shed their clothing for Naked, a 2006 Calendar put together by Spike Gillespie (http://www.spikeg.com/) to benefit the Willie Graham/Legg Perthes Fund. The fund is named for Jon Dee Graham’s son, and benefits the family to help pay for medical bills. The musicians include the likes of Guy Forsyth, Tosca, Eliza Gilkyson, Matt The Electrician, and Patricia Vaughan.
Photographer Jack M. Puryear (http://www.jackpuryear.com) employs a method known as Photo-Assemblage (taking numerous photos and assembling them as a panoramic photo) to provide beautiful images of our city including the lakes, nightlife, Capitol, and bridges for his amazing Austin, Texas 2006 Calendar. Pick up your copy at The University Coop (2246 Guadalupe). Poster prints also available.
Coloring Outside the Lines – In this interesting memoir, author Aimee Cooper (http://www.punkrockmemoir.com/) shares some of the experiences she had as an active member of the Los Angeles punk rock scene in 1980s. Find this at Book People,
Border’s (10225 Research Blvd), and Waterloo Records (600 N Lamar Blvd).
In Beyond the Cayenne Wall author Shaila Abdullah (http://www.shailaabdullah.com) presents a collection of short stories about the struggles that many women from South Asia go through to find individualism in a traditional society.
December 10, 2005
Thank you Bobcats
I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank the Bobcats Football Program. This was the same thing I cursed a few short years ago. I thought the name change (from Southwest Texas State University to Texas State University - San Marcos) was all about the football program... I blamed many of the changes to my Alma Mater I disagreed with on the football program. I pulled all support to my Alma Mater (except for towards The University Star... the school newspaper which I used to be on staff) becuase of the name change...which I attributed mostly to the football program.. which, until this year, had less than satisfactory seasons.
This year was different though. The Bobcats had a stellar season. They did it with heart. They bellieved in each other. They did it without the "big gun" head coach that was brought in. They established themselves with a passing game. They got within a game of being the top 1-AA team in america.
I consider myself a Bobcats fan now. I may not be a fan of the new name of the university. I wore my "Don't Mess With Southwest Texas" shirt last night while watching the game on ESPN2. But, I can say that I am a Bobcats fan now.
We'll get them next year.
Eat 'Em up Cats.
- Sean Claes, Class of 1999
December 9, 2005
I was on TV..I hear/Cappuccino/Bobcats
EDIT: I'm on News 8 every 1/2 hour or something I hear)
Anywhoo.. let's find a topic to cover...
I'm addicted to gas station cappicuiccino. I told myself I'd never eat or drink anything I couldn't say or spell.. but here we are.. cappicuicinno..capicucino.. hell.. let's face it, gas station cappuccino is just glorified hot chocolate with coffee flavoring that only costs a buck for 20 ounces so it relly isn't the real deal.
I've tried the real thing. I paid about $3.75 for a 12ounce Starattle's Bestbuck cappicuccino once. I couldn't believe how horrible it was. Now I've tried the latte..and that's much better.. but still $2.75 more than a gas station variety.
I'm not bashing the "corporate coffee" I've tried local coffeeshops as well. I've realized my palate isn't sophisticated enough to enjoy fancy coffee... just like I prefer a fried to sushi, beer to mixed, and bread to biscotti. Nothing against all of these things, but I'm just not into them. I won't pretend to like them and I'm not afraid to be the only one in a crowd of mojitos drinking a Coors Light.
Anyhow.. I drink gas station cappuccino about 3 times a week. I like it. I guess that was the point of that last little rant. Happy Friday everyone.
p.s. See my Alma Mater on ESPN2 tonight!
If you're not actually going to the game (in San Marcos at Bobcat Stadium) you can at least watch as the Texas State University - San Marcos Bobcats play Northern Iowa in the NCAA Division I-AA semifinals at 7:00p.m. (central)
I'm still not OK with the name change for the record (The Southwest Texas State University Bobcats have a much better ring to it) but I've got to give respect to the coaching staff that turned the Bobcats into a force to be rekoned with in football this year.
I'll be watching from the warmth of my own home (Apparently I'm a fair weather fan and it's not fair weather).
If you're in San Marcos and don't have a ticket to the show, there's a viewing party at Lucy's on the Square's Barfish Lounge.
December 8, 2005
Holidailies #1 (A Day Late)
Anyhow... here we go the first day for me is the second day for the Holidalies thing... established.
Who am I? I'm Sean Claes. I'm a husband, daddy, freelance entertainment writer, photographer, humor columnist, and editor of INsite magazine in Austin, Texas. That should cover it... I'm probably going to be all over the board with this blog...as I just kind of shoot off abot whatever interests me at a given moment.
Yesterday was my wife's birthday. I finally was able to give her a cool present I was waiting to give her for a long time. During my daughter's first year of life, I took a photo of her with a sign that said how many weeks old she was..at the end of each week. I loaded all of those into a http://www.kodakgallery.com gallery and ordered a 16" x 20" poster that is "The First 52 Weeks." I framed it and had it sitting in her office when she walked in yesterday. She loved it.
Today I woke up to a frozen tundra. I thought I was going to break my truck door at 6:15a.m. when I got in to start getting to work by 7:00a.m. It took a good amount of time to get the truck warmed up and ice to start to melt. It occured to me that I didn't have an ice scraper. I'm in Central Texas... why would I need one of those? Well.. I'm here to tell you, a blank CD works wonders. It's got hundreds of uses...
I thought I'd come up with a little list I came up with while I was typing right now...The top 10 unconventional uses for a blank CD...You could use a CD from a band you hate.. but I won't go down that road.
Top 10 Unconventional Uses for a Blank CD
2. Ice Scraper
3. As an SOS sun deflector device
5. alternative to rings at the ring toss
7. To make cool Elton John-essque glasses
8. High-tech Christmas Ornaments
9. Plates for hors d overs at parties
10. To Level a table
There you have it.
Feel free to add more.
Talk to you tomorrow.
p.s. I got to work at 7:15 only to get a voice message that told me I didn't have to be there until 10. That's what I get for not checking my work voice-mail remotely.
p.s.s. (From Kinky Friedman's Web site) On Thursday, Dec. 8th, Kinky Friedman will officially begin his quest for the Governor’s mansion when he walks into the Secretary of State’s office and submits his Declaration of Intent form as an independent candidate for governor. If elected, Kinky will go down in history as the first Independent governor in Texas since Sam Houston held the office 146 years ago. We invite all supporters in the Austin area to spend their lunch break with Kinky and his campaign at a pre-filing rally on the steps of the Secretary of State’s office. It’ll be cold, it’ll be blustery, it’ll be a day for the history books. So come out at noon to 208 10th Street in downtown Austin.
December 4, 2005
December 2005 Issue of INsite Magazine Out
As I look back on this year, I realize I’ve been incredibly lucky. Lucky to be the editor of an awesome entertainment magazine the likes of INsite, and lucky that I get to stand on the fringe of this city’s entertainment scene and talk with so many artists and musicians and Austin originals. I truly hope you enjoy this magazine as much as I love helping it get to you (with the help of the awesome Publisher, kick-ass Advertising folks and all of the amazing contributors you see in the staff box below).
Before I get any sappier, let’s talk about the December issue of INsite. We’ve brought you some sweet capitol city Entertainment this month.
In music, The Greencards come home for KGSR and the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar and PONG headlines the KOOP Birthday Party. In movies Allen Covert is Grandma’s Boy, Sienna Miller talks shop, and the Austin Movie Show helps you decide what to see. We also have a feature about local folks Tito’s Handmade Vodka and The Alamo Draft House. See what INsite saw last month in INsite Hindsite and find out why UT is awesome in out sports section.
This month’s INsite also features a Gift Guide of Austin Originals. We gathered some of the coolest gifts that were created by folks in town. All of the items are available online and most have places in town to stop in and buy. Be sure to take a look, you could even win a gift from us to you… because we love you.
Oh, and a quick apology to David “Metal Dave” Glessner and the fine folks in the Austin American-Statesman’s Marketing Department (where I worked for a stint in 1999… Hi Walter) for not asking permission to use the phrase “Rocks Like Slayer” without his written permission in last month’s “From The Editor.” I did, however, have Tom Araya’s verbal permission to use it.
So, Happy Holidays each in your own way.
December 1, 2005
Maria's Taco Xpress/Alejandro Escovedo TONIGHT
We are having a special event, "Bringing Back the Arms of Maria", tonight, Thursday Dec 1st. - 7:00 to 9:00 PM to replace the vandalized arms on the statue above Maria's Taco Xpress on South Lamar.- featuring Alejandro Escovido, Sara Hickman, Steve Power with Texas Radio, & others. We start off the show @ 7:00 PM sharp & play till 7:30. This event is to restore a South Austin landmark and has been plugged by KLBJ, Jody Denberg @ KGSR, and various other Austin radio and TV so we expect a real good turn out and a great time!
All the best,
November 21, 2005
Thanksgiving...Thanks for staying home
Of course, Thanksgivign is this Thursday, but I've got a little bone to pick. Last Friday I got a call from a buddy of mine in Houston. He was complaining (more like astonished) that a soft-hits radio station up there had already switched to their "All Christmas - All the Time" format. November 18! That's a little too soon to be singing about a White Christmas...
I explained to him that the Christmas holiday finally caved in to all of the "life begins before you're born" folks and now we're celrbrating from Jesus' Third Trimester until his birth. Woo-Hoo! We wish you a Merry breathe-breathe-push, We wish you a Merry Braxton Hicks contraction, We wish you a Merry C-Section...and look for our Red Apple Sale Flyer soon!
I wonder what would have happened if Jesus was born early and his birthday was closer to the beginning of December... or of that first Thanksgiving was in mid-December. It was nice of him to be born a month after Thanksgiving... and for Pilgrims and Indians to eat together after Halloween and before Christmas. Perfect timing.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the holiday spirit and all that jazz... but I just think the marketing beast that is Christmas should wait until after Thanksgiving to start the celebration. The city of Kyle, Texas already has it's Christmas decorations out. That's a little premature if you ask me.
I've been working the last month to put together a Holiday Gift Guide of all Austin-made/manufactured/sold stuff...(look for it in the December issue of INsite (http://www.insiteaustin.com) so I understand the whole marketing aspect. I live the world... but I can't stand the fact that by December 16, I'm yelling at the TV and wishing my "ER" wasn't preempted by "A very Special Christmas" with a random B-list celebrity who nobody cared about in the first place...
So... everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving... and let's wait until November 25 to wish each other a Happy Kwanzaa-Hanukah-Christmas-Holiday Season.
November 11, 2005
11/12 2nd Annual "The Rice Festival" at Fischer Hall
In the summer of 2003 Rice was contemplating retirement and all the free time he was going to have on hand, when he "up and died" at 50 years young, leaving a great big void in a lot of our lives. We miss our buddy immensely, but rather than dwell on the void, we have decided to continue to remember the good times and host an annual Rice Festival each year, a non profit event - with all proceeds going toward the "Rice Harrington Art Scholarship." This scholarship, set up by the San Marcos Education Foundation, will provide funding for San Marcos High School art students who plan to pursue fine art degrees in college.
The Rice Fest is held at Fischer Hall, the funky old dance hall just off Hwy. 32 (between San Marcos & Blanco, Texas) each year on the second weekend of November in honor of Rice's birthday on the 14th. Rain or shine, we will enjoy ourselves at the historic Hall, which is the perfect setting to comfortably embrace the Ricetivarians that gather each year in celebration of Rice and the spirit that he left us.
The grounds at Fischer Hall will open at 11:00 AM for the Second Annual's First Annual -Team Horseshoe Tournament.
There will be an art gallery, musicians merchandise store, and silent auction all day long.
List of performers:
Tim O'Brien w/Danny Barnes
Ponty Bone & The Squeezetones
Cary Swinney Trio
The Seldom Herd
The Andy and Jeff Show
The music starts at 1:00 PM and runs non-stop till ? AM (when Ponty get's tired)
Visit http://www.cabin10.com/intro.html for more information
Admission is $75 per adult (21 yrs. and older), $15 per young adult (13 to 20 yrs. old),
children 12 yrs. and under are free.
Admission includes drinks all day (beer and wine available for adults) as well as a fine Texas style BBQ served between 4:00 PM and 7:00 P.M.
For a CD review of last year's Rice Festival, visit - http://www.seanclaes.com/CDReviews.html#RiceFest
(Much of this is a repost from what is contained on Cabin 10's Website)
November 9, 2005
“The Austin Movie Show – Live at the Paggi” - Sunday, November 12
“Live at the Paggi” is unlike anything that’s ever been done in Austin, and we’d love for you to come and be part of the show. It’s everything you loved about the Austin Movie Show (the movie reviews, the filmmaker interviews, the Film Tournament, etc.), but now we’re doing it in front of a live audience, every Sunday night at 6:00pm on the patio of the historic Paggi House restaurant and bar (located next to the Taco Cabana on the corner of South Lamar and Riverside Drive).
With drink specials, a live band, free movie memorabilia and movie passes, it’s really more like a party than a TV show. Come for part of the show or stay for the whole thing. Either way, be sure to dress warmly because we’re outside, and the weather’s been getting a lot cooler lately. There will be space heaters and blankets to keep you cozy while you watch.
If you can’t make it out to the Paggi House on Sunday nights, you can always watch the show by going to www.austinmovieshow.com and clicking on “The Show.” If you have any questions about “The Austin Movie Show – Live at the Paggi,” feel free to email Jegar (Jegar@austinmovieshow.com). We’d love to hear your feedback.
- Jegar and Leila
Austin Movie Show
(This was originally published in the November 2005 issue of INsite Magazine.)
November 8, 2005
What would Jesus drive?
A few years ago a writer named Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a story about Jesus’ preference of cars. Another writer, Roy Rivenburg, on a website called “Off Kilter” wrote a follow up in September of 2000 (http://www.offkilter.org/jesusdmv.html) quoting the bible and taking a stab at the choice of vehicle…
Here is some out-takes from that story (paraphrased on http://www.highrock.com/personal/WWJD/):
One theory is that Jesus would tool around in an old Plymouth because the Bible says, "God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden in a Fury."
But in Psalm 83, the Almighty clearly owns a Pontiac and a Geo. The passage urges the Lord to, "pursue your enemies with your Tempest and terrify them with your Storm."
Perhaps, God favors Dodge pickup trucks, because Moses' followers are warned not to go up a mountain "until the Ram's horn sounds a long blast."
Some scholars insist that Jesus drove a Honda, but didn't like to talk about it. As proof, they cite a verse in St. John's Gospel where Christ tells the crowd, "For I did not speak of my own Accord..."
Meanwhile, Moses rode an old British motorcycle, as evidenced by a Bible passage declaring that "the roar of Moses' Triumph is heard in the hills."
Joshua drove a Triumph sports car with a hole in its muffler: "Joshua's Triumph was heard throughout the land."
And, following the Master's lead, the Apostles car-pooled in a Honda "The Apostles were in one Accord."
In 2002 an ad series was introduced by a group called the Evangelical Environmental Network that claimed that Jesus would definitely NOT drive an SUV, minivan or pick-up. The ads appeared in four states claimed that the those vehicles are so environmentally unfriendly that any Christian would be morally wrong just to buy one.
I just bought a new SUV from Howdy Honda in Austin. Come on now. Now my vehicle is a tool of Satan? Oooh, look this one has automatic windows, Lucifer must have thought that up. Look Ma, this one gets 6 miles per gallon…6 in city, 6 on road and it’s a 6 cylinder….AHHHHH!
Let’s rule out some other vehicles that Jesus wouldn’t drive…for other reasons. I don’t’ think Jesus would drive a Harley. I think his garb would get caught and it could pose a real risk, of course in all of the drawings I see, he’s got the look of a biker.
I don’t think he’d drive a Mercedes Benz. Any vehicle that Janis Joplin asked his dad for is out, in my opinion.
I’m also of the opinion that Jesus wouldn’t drive around in a sports car. Just too flashy. It’d be hard to take him seriously if he drove up in a Camero, Trans-Am, Corvette, Porsche, or Lamborghini. Now if he came back as “Jezuz,” “J-izzle-esus-izzle” or had a kickin WWJD gold Run-DMC Chain….never mind, lets just rule out the sports car.
I’ve actually talked to a few people, and overheard a few conversations on the topic and I’ve heard two opinions I half-way agree with. One person said he’d walk…just like he did the first time. That makes sense. He’s Jesus…that’s his thing — Walking. The other person said he’d ride a donkey. I can go for that, makes sense. I think those are the two ways Jesus got around before, and he did some amazing things.
Of course, If you think about it, Jesus wouldn’t really have to do much traveling, I mean with the Internet and TV being able to broadcast him to the far corners of the earth and back…. Of course then we would have to ask the question from the age-old Ray Stevens song “Would Jesus Wear A Rolex on His Television Show?”
Here’s my opinion. I was actually discussing this with my wife a couple of months back. The scenario: We were driving back from visiting our friends in Houston and we came across an old Volkswagen van. On this van was, in those black sticker-letters, scriptures from the bible in English AND Spanish. It was the Jesus Van. That spurred this thought.
I think if Jesus drove, he would drive a full-size Van. I’m sorry you guys at the Evangelical Environmental Network, but Jesus was traveling big. He had 13 people with him a lot of the time. He’d need the room. Side note: do you think the term Posse came from shortening Apostles? Just a thought.
I used to go to Catholic school. It was run by nuns. They own 3 full-sized vans. Are they going to hell? I think not.
Besides, when you see people from various church groups (ANY denomination) traveling, they travel in a full-size van or a small school-bus. It seems better to take one vehicle than have the Apostles have to split up and convoy, doesn’t it? Carpooling is good on the economy, isn’t it? If it’s all about efficiency…makes sense.
So, what would Jesus drive? I don’t rightly know, but for a group to come out with advertising, claiming to be doing God’s work, saying that the vehicle we choose may send us to the pits of hell is just wrong.
Makes a hell of a good story though.
Maybe the question should be: Would Jesus talk on his cell phone while driving?
See you next time.
(NOTE: I wrote this in 2002... and updated it becuase I bought an SUV..and because it made me chuckle. My other Notes from the Cubicle archives are at: http://seanclaes.2.forumer.com/)
November 1, 2005
Holiday Gifts from Austin???
1. Made in Austin.
2. Available in local shops & online (please provide Web site)
3. Under $50 (budget)
Looking for clothing/food/pet gifts/kid stuff/adult stuff/college student stuff.
What's the coolest Austin-made thing you've ever gotten?
What can you give that screams AUSTIN?
Please feel free to post an answer via comment below...
Thanks for any help.
October 27, 2005
What’s that on your bumper?
I was in traffic this morning and I happened to look down at the bumper of the truck in front of me and saw the bumper sticker that read “Horn Broken, Watch For Finger.” That made me laugh. Not because it was funny, but how sad it was that someone saw that in the store, paid money for it, got home, probably showed it to a couple of friends, and then decided he thought it was funny enough to display on a $20,000 vehicle.
That’s almost as funny as a “Keep Austin Weird” bumper sticker on a Lexus.
I have to go on record in saying that I think most bumper stickers are really, really dumb anyways. They don’t really serve any purpose other than devaluing your vehicle. I even request that dealers take their “logo” off the car when I purchase one. I’m paying a lot of money for this car, and I’m not going to pay you to advertise your business.
I admit, when I was a teenager I had a few stickers on the back window of my truck. I thought I was an activist with my “Not Black, Not White – Human” sticker and I had my personal “symbol” the Ankh..the Egyptian symbol for everlasting life. Plus I had my attitude sticker with the “Freedom of Expression, If You Don’t Like It, Don’t Look.”
An argument can be made that I should take my own sticker advice and shut up about it, as it’s the person’s property and all that jazz… but c’mon people, some of these are just plain dumb. Plus, I was a TEENAGER. The folks I speak of here are adults.
This article won’t mention promotions stickers for bands, stores, magazines, or Web sites..because if you want to turn your car into an advertisement… it’s all good. I guess sticking a Cradle of Filth sticker on your car is better than getting that “Gene Simmons” tattoo your mom has. At least you can get rid of the sticker when the band goes away or becomes an embarrassment… besides most folks who do this are TEENAGERS so they have an excuse.
Back on topic…You have your political candidate stickers… which I guess have their place…but you either have to peel off the day after the election or end up with a “Mondale/Ferraro” stain for life.
Of course there are some old vehicles that have been turned into political machines or “hippie vans”… and that’s actually kind of cool. These are usually older cars or trucks or VW buses and something just looks right about doing that to a car like that. Peace, brother.
Then there’s the newer model that has “Abortion is Murder” stickers on it… and to those I have to say two things. One, it’s sad that you feel the need to broadcast such a message without knowing circumstances and trying to understand the reasons people have before casting that stone. Secondly, I think I’ll paraphrase George Carlin who once said something like… have you noticed that the bulk of the women who are against abortion are ones you wouldn’t want to sleep with in the first place?
Jumping off MY political high horse…I’ve seen one that says “Don’t Blame Me, I didn’t Vote For Him.” What an egotistical maniac that guy is. It’s as if I thought that the balance of the presidency was in the dude in the black Volvo’s hands until I read that sticker.
Anyone with a Coors Light/Budweiser/Shiner or a pot leaf sticker on your car… you realize that you’ve just advertised that you may have some kind of illegal substance on your person and that gives a cop just cause to search for it? Think of that before you stick your “Bad Cop No Donut” sticker next to your “Farfromsober” one.
This next sentence is dedicated to all of those people who put their kids name on the back of the car. Idiot. Now strangers know what your little ones name is… and once your kid exits your car strangers know what they look like. Why don’t you put your address and the fact that you leave the key under the rock next to the step?
I admit when I was a teenager I thought stickers like “My kid beat up your honors student” were funny… but now that I have a child, I can’t imagine instilling that in a child’s brain…jokingly or not.
Now, if used correctly, some bumper stickers are funny as hell. One time I was driving down IH-35 and an old truck passed me up with a big rusty gaping hole in the side panel. Next to it was a sticker that said “Shit Happens.” Brilliant. Now it that sticker was on the bumper next to nothing else.. it’d be a really stupid sticker.
I do happen to have a sticker taped to the back window of my truck right now that says “The Left Lane Is For Passing.” I put it up there for the times that I move from the fast lane to the center lane to give the fast lane up…only to realize the idiot that was going 90mph behind me has changed lanes too… and is now tailgating me and yelling at me because I blocked them from passing illegally on the right. It’s my way of directing traffic, because I am always right.
Of course, after writing this column, I think I’m going to take it down, because I think I just annoyed myself.
Until next time.
October 20, 2005
World Series.. Astros and White Sox = ...
I was watching the painful game a few nights ago when the Astros blew the lead and I thought to myself, "They've got to win.. it'll be just too perfect.. an ASSOX World Series."
Just on humor alone this will be a great series...
The ASSOX World Series!
Coin the phrase! Someone make the t-shirts!
Stories about the series could be called the ASSOX Fables!
(This funny word is brought to you by Sean Claes.)
October 10, 2005
Austin Welcomes The Sound of the Big Easy
Singers from New Orleans play at Nubian Queen Lo-La's.
Austin Welcomes The Sound of the Big Easy
By Sean Claes
When Hurricane Katrina made landfall along the Central Gulf Coast in Louisiana on August 29, 2005, nobody could have been prepared for the destruction it would leave in its wake. The storm surge compromised the levee system that protected New Orleans from Lake Pontchartrain, flooding most of the city. The physical destruction of homes and other property (estimated at over $200 billion) is a horrible thing, but things are replaceable, cities will rebuild. The destruction of lives is what lingers today. Over 1,000 people were killed. People of areas ravaged by the Hurricane who escaped death were dubbed "refugees" and there were moments of "mob rule" and then the finger pointing started... and continues today. Then, on September 24, 2005, Hurricane Rita came through and flooding occurred again this time in southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas.
In the midst of all of this, people had to uproot their lives, many without more than the clothes on their back, and search for somewhere to live, something to nourish themselves and their family, a place for their kids to go to school and somewhere to earn money to help sustain themselves. Many people saw Austin, Texas as the place to go to start over. The outpouring of support the Austin community has shown in the last month has been amazing.
Of course, since Austin is the "Live Music Capital of the World" a good amount of displaced musicians have come to town and are infusing the local music scene with a good dose of New Orleans. A few of the musicians and groups from the New Orleans area who now call Austin home include: Cyril Neville, Ivan and Ian Neville, The Iguanas, Dumpstaphunk, Dominick Grillo, half of the Hot 8 Brass Band, Willie Green, The Young Originals, The Flaming Arrows lead by Big Chief Kevin Goodman, Tim Green, Norman and Richard Caesar, Teresa Anderson, and Big Sam from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.
Many members of our music scene are welcoming the musicians with open arms. One Austin musician who has deep roots in New Orleans music is Malcolm "Papa Mali" Welbourne. "I've spent about half of my professional life playing in New Orleans. All of my family is from New Orleans. Almost all of my collaborators are New Orleans musicians," Welbourne said. Since Katrina, he has been spending time playing in town with a multitude of New Orleans musicians, introducing them to local musicians, club owners, and recording studio folks.
A number of musicians have found a place to live, a friendly face, and the chance to start over again in the Austin Music Co-Op (5413 Guadalupe Street). The original idea of the Co-Op was to serve as a communal-type living environment for Austin's musicians, but when manager Matt Meshbane heard about the great number of New Orleans musicians who were homeless and at temporary shelters, he decided to open the Co-Op to those people and worry about how to pay for their rooms later. As of September 21, more than 10 residents of the Austin Music Co-Op were from New Orleans. "These musicians are coming to stay with us," Meshbane said. "We're trying to raise money and awareness to pay these people's rent... just one room at a time. To sponsor a room is $500." A few local people and businesses have been able to sponsor a room and donate useful items such as clothes, toiletries, and musical instruments (broken, new, or used).
One of the residents of the Austin Music Co-Op is saxapohone player Dominick Grillo. When I spoke with him, he'd just arrived in Austin after bouncing around for about three weeks. He's ready to get out and find some people to play with in town. "I've played with West Bank Mike and the Fisher Project, Big Chief Alfred Doucette a couple of times, pretty much anyone who would let me play," Grillo said. "I'd play every single night. Now that I'm here in Austin, I'm not playing with anyone yet. It looks hopeful, though. Between here and Houston, I should be able to work."
Another resident of the Co-Op, Hilton Joseph, wasn't a citizen of New Orleans - he's actually from Houston - but was working in town when Katrina hit and he lost most of his belongings, including his instruments. He found the Austin Music Co-Op due to some nice strangers who were determined to help him find a home when he was holding a sign that read "Sax Player Needs A Home."
Joseph's musical resume includes playing with B.B. King for ten years, Bobby Blue Bland, Z.Z. Hill, and some solo work. The band he was playing with moved to Mississippi, but he decided to make the trek to Austin. He's been playing on the streets outside of the Driskill Hotel (604 Brezos Street) and on the sidewalk by Antone's (213 W. 5th Street where New Orleans musicians have been playing many a night including Blue Monday's). "It's the live music capital of the world. It seemed like a nice little spot to land," he said. "I didn't want to go home. There's nothing there, no wife, no kids, all my family is gone. So, I'm kind of like a wandering minstrel."
There are a number of local restaurants who have stepped-up to help. One that has been instrumental in helping many New Orleans musicians is Nubian Queen Lo-La's Cajun, Soul Food, and BBQ Kitchen (1815 Rosewood). Lola Stephens is from Louisiana, and has opened her restaurant, and the lot behind it, to host benefit concerts by New Orleans musicians. In fact, Hilton Joseph was one of the sax players at the September 18, 2005 music and food benefit. "We are all cut from the same cloth and we need to stick together," Stephens said when she spoke to the crowd at the concert. She plans to have gatherings of New Orleans musicians every few weeks.
Also, local restaurant, Threadgills (301 W Riverside Dr) is hosting Cookin' and Jookin' every Tuesday night, featuring the cooking of Gaynielle Neville and the music of Cyril Neville and Tribe 13 featuring an assortment of New Orleans and Austin musicians.
Another new resident comes in the form of a prominent New Orleans record label, Basin Street Records (http://www.basinstreetrecords.com/). Mark Samuels, president of the label, moved to town and set up shop after his home was completely flooded and his studio had a foot of water inside. I had a chance to talk with Samuels and one of the label's artists, clarinetist and trombonist Dr. Michael White (who's home was also destroyed), who was in town to play a benefit, but is living in Houston at this time.
They both are very optimistic about the rebuilding of New Orleans but are concerned with trying to preserve the same feel as it had before Katrina and Rita. "I definitely plan on moving back and I'm hoping it comes back. A lot of it is uncertain at this point of how it will come back. You had such a rich unique culture and way of life there," White said.
Samuels agreed. "We don't want it to come back as every other city, and look like every other city. The beginning of that needs to be the music and food and culture, and those of us who lead that culture.. it's that group of people, and the musicians who need to be the leaders to formulate how New Orleans can keep all of that and still become a better city in the end," he said. "I'm planning on going back as well, but at this point I need to have access to schools to send my kids to and banks and grocery stores open. My children have to have a reasonable ability to enjoy life. If I was a single person, I'd go back today and start helping rebuild."
The above is only a few of the hundreds of stories about displaced musicians in Austin. Life resumes and working musicians will be out there in force in town, creating a dash of Cajun and funk seasoning to our already eclectic musical menu. So, if you would like to support these new Austinites, do so by attending the shows. Support them by supporting their craft. It's only a matter of time before New Orleans is going to be open for business again and Austin will lose this rich infusion of music. It's my hope that the flavor seeps into the sound of this city, and we will always have our own Crescent City Connection.
A Sample of New Orleans Musicians Playing in October
October 7 - Big Blue Marble @ Beerland
October 9 - Katrina Benefit show at Redrum
October 10 - The Iguanas @ Continental Club
October 10 - Cyril Neville's Birthday @ Threadgills
October 13 - New Orleans Musicians on Fox 7 News morning show
October 13, 14, 27 - The New Orleans Jazz Vipers @ The Elephant Room
October 15 - Benefit Featuring New Orleans Musicians @ Trophy's Bar and Grill
October 15 - The Big Wu w/ Papa Mali, James Speer Band
October 16 - Katrina Relief Fundraiser @ Ruta Maya
October 22 - Cowboy Mouth @ La Zona Rosa
October 22 - The Austin Live Show Hurricane Benefit Show @ The Ritz Lounge
October 23 - Boogie Benefit for New Orleans (Marcia Ball, Tribe 13, the Iguanas, the Warrior Gospel Band, more) @ La Zona Rosa
October 29 - Papa Mali & Friends @ Threadgill's
October 31 - Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk @ The Parish Room
Tuesdays @ Threadgills - Tribe 13
Wednesday's @ Austin Music Co-op - Open Mic
Thursday's @ The Velvet Spade - Topaz
October 6, 2005
Reverse WHAT Curse?
Why are they promoting the UT/OU game as "REVERSE THE CURSE?"
Did some event cause it to be a curse?
Just because UT hasn't won it in years doesn't mean it's a curse.. it just means they haven't won.
UT is ahead in the 99 previous meetings if looked at all together...even if they haven't won since 1999.
Now Boston.. that was a good curse... UT? I don't know. What am I missing?
The Red River Shootout is a common name for the annual college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners and the University of Texas Longhorns. The series is considered one of the greatest rivalries in NCAA football. The name is derived from the Red River that forms part of the boundary between the U.S. states of Oklahoma and Texas. Beginning on October 8, 2005, which marks the 100th meeting between the two teams, the game is being sponsored by SBC, and the game has been officially renamed the SBC Red River Rivalry. The term Red River Shootout or Red River Rivalry is also sometimes applied to meetings between the two schools in sports other than football.
The game typically has conference or even national significance. Since 1945, one or both of the two teams has been ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation coming into 60 out of 65 games. Texas leads the all-time series 55-39-5 (with a 43-35-4 edge in Dallas), but Oklahoma has won the last five straight games.
The winner of the game receives the Golden Hat, which is, appropriately, a gold ten-gallon hat, formerly of bronze. The governors of Texas and Oklahoma often place a bet on the game such as the losing governor having to present a side of beef to the winning state governor, who then donates the beef to charity.
That said.. kick some ASS UT...
October 5, 2005
There are certain foods I just tend to associate with different tasks. It’s an odd thing, but people I’ve talked to about it tend to agree with me. I’m not talking about the pumpkin seeds for Halloween or Peeps for Easter… I’m talking about… well. Let me just go into it and you will get a better idea.
Road Trip Food
There is some food that I associate with a road trip. I can’t bring myself to buy this stuff when I’m not gassing up at a Conoco or Diamond Shamrock.
The first one is sold at an extremely high price and after eating it; you may have to make a dentist appointment. I’m talking, of course, about the beef jerky. This rip-apart-and-take-a-tooth-with-it treat is something that I only get a hankering for when I’m driving down I-10 or IH-35 on my way to Houston or Laredo.
The next item is a name brand…. anything by “Tom’s.” This is the generic version of Fritos, Cheetos and/or Peanuts that you’ll only find in a gas station...it tastes old, but you’ll never know if it is or not, because that’s the way it always tastes... a combination of salt, cheese powder and Styrofoam. Why do I buy it? It’s like 99¢ to the Frito’s $1.29. I may be killing myself, but by God I’m saving 30 cents.
I know I’m not the first one to say it... but I hate getting pretzels with my flight. I want peanuts! What the heck… there’s like one airline that gives out peanuts now. What, did they corner the airline peanut market? I don’t want pretzels, or trail mix, or bread sticks. I want peanuts. That’s the way it was in the beginning, and how it still should be.
This is more airplane drink than food...but let’s not argue the details. Every time I fly, I have to order ginger ale. I don’t know why, but that is the only time I order it. Ever. I guess it tastes better at 30,000 feet.
When I was a kid, I used to go swimming in the local pool in Laredo. You could pick me out fairly easily… I was the blond kid who tanned red in 20 minutes… in Laredo. You could also pick me out because I was the one eating Funions and drinking a Mountain Dew. The weird thing is… I don’t really like Funions but every time I went swimming at the pool, I’d have to have them. Something about burnt Anglo and Funions that went together.
There are few things that go with beer like an open flame and dead meat. Grilling the cheapest meat allowable for human consumption was usually the order when drinking in someone’s backyard. This is usually Chicken Leg Quarters. The important thing was to make sure they were cooked all the way through… so we’d usually be half-way lit by the time the chicken was ready and forget to take it off the grill and end up eating chicken as thick as toothpicks. I don’t think I’ve ever had chicken leg quarter sober (except when I buy it in a benefit BBQ plate served by someone who has a beer in his hand).
Football Game Food
There is only one real football game food. It’s a cuisine, really. Not the hot dog, not the Cracker Jack’s (I’ve never actually seen anyone eat Cracker Jack’s at a football game...or a baseball one as the song implies)… it’s the Nacho.
No, not those individually cooked with melted jack and cheddar cheese topped with Sour Cream and garnish nachos you get at Applebee’s. I’m talking the round tortilla chips with yellow watery cheese sauce and canned jalapeños thrown on top. Hell yes. Not even real cheese… cheese sauce. I don’t know if they’ve been able to come up with an ingredient list...but give me that yellow # 12 Rico’s Nacho Cheese concauction any day. Garnish with 10-15 of those little napkins that are useless to anything but sticking to your cheese-drenched hand. Yum.
Here’s a side note. Real Mexican food (and I’m not suggesting that the above nachos is counted in the arena of “Mexican food”) doesn’t have sour cream. Any Mexican restaurant that serves sour cream is an expensive version of Taco Bell.
Back on task. Football game food. Sunflower seeds, or anything you have to suck on, crack open and spit out, are a biggie for football games. They really don’t taste too good...but I guess someone once had it in for the dude that has to clean the stadium and thought… “Hey... this is the messiest snack in the world... let’s make this what you should have during a sporting event where over 10,000 people will have access to them.”
OK... this is just a list of food that should NEVER cost anything. This should always be gratis when you go to a restaurant that serves it… ready? Chips and salsa, bread sticks, crackers, tortillas, water, extra cheese, olives, jalapenos, pickles, muffins, rolls, substitutions, and refills on soda.
I know there are many other items of food that I associate with something… like corn and Ohio… casseroles and my mother… and pasta and Boston… but I’m tired and…lets face it… a little hungry.
Until next time.
October 3, 2005
FOOD: Do You Know the Bakerman?
Downtown Austin has a new alternative to chain-restaurant bagels and hotel coffee. In January 2005, Bakerman’s Bakery (120 E. 7th Street) made a quiet but tasty entrance into downtown Austin. Custom-made cakes (from birthday to weddings), cookies (need a “Vote For Pedro” sugar cookie?), and handmade doughnuts are just the beginning of what you will find when you ring the cowbell to enter the domain of the Bakerman.
Breakfast is king at Bakerman’s Bakery. The selection of doughnuts is amazing too many to mention. My personal favorite is the blueberry. If you just think That’s all right, I just like glazed…” well do you mean regular, maple, orange, or strawberry?
According to owner and chief baker man Chris McGuill, the most popular and their “signature” offering is the “Yellow Rose of Texas” doughnut. This Texas-shaped glazed monster is lemon-filled. Since Bakerman’s fills all of their doughnuts from the top-middle, the lemon filling makes a “yellow rose” deep in the heart of Texas. In my opinion, filling a doughnut in the middle is an awesome thing, this way the stuff that goes into the treat is evenly dispersed and you don’t get a quarter-filled disappointment.
If you want to stray from the sugar a bit in the morning, maybe you should try one of their breakfast sandwiches. I have one of their “Pigs in a Blankets” at least once a week… They use Elgin sausage (big…none of this “link sausage” business). Their breakfast croissants are great (and great big) as well. Take the bacon, egg, and cheese one for instance. The croissant is flakey and fresh, the eggs (that’s right, two of them) are cooked with solid yolks, and the bacon and cheese is yummy. That’s right – yummy.
A couple of their newer treats include the moist pumpkin muffin (with cream cheese frosting), and a HUGE cranberry-nut muffin with cream cheese baked into the top. I thought I didn’t like cranberries, until I tried it.
Of course, for those who aren’t early risers, Bakerman’s Bakery also offers some delictible deli-quality croissant sandwiches for lunch. I recently had the pleasure of sinking my teeth into the ham and swiss croissant (topped with crisp lettuce and tomato slices). The flakey-buttery croissant was the perfect compliment to the none-too-salty ham and thick slice of swiss.
For those who get a hankering for a hunk of sweet in the afternoon, stop by Bakerman’s Bakery for their “doughnut happy-hour” which is where you can get half-off any yeast doughnut product after noon until closing most days.
For people looking for a baker for a birthday or a wedding cake, I can tell you from experience, they make a wonderful and unique cake. In April I ordered one of their cakes for my daughter’s first birthday. I was thrilled with the time and effort put into my cake…and the taste was amazing. On occasion when I wander in to get my morning pig-in-a-blanket I get to see some of the cool custom cakes they make…I’ve seen a royal crown, a spilled coffee-cup, and the state of Texas to name a few.
A local bakery through and through, they buy much of their ingredients in Austin. They buy their coffee from Texas Coffee Traders, and (season permitting) buy their fruits and veggies from local farmers.
So, next time you’re downtown and decide to get something to eat, why don’t you wander down to the corner of Brazos and Seventh and get yourself a Bakerman’s Bakery treat. The prices are more than reasonable, and the staff is friendly as well. They also have a Web site - http://www.bakermansbakery.com.
(This review will be in the October issue of Austin's INsite Magazine.)
September 28, 2005
What was missing from ACL
Just an observation.
September 26, 2005
ACL, Emo's, Alamo Draft House - 5 Days...
Photos of ACL Fest (from 9/24-25/05), The Sinus Show (9/24/05), and Emo's and Redrum (9/21/05) are up at the homepage (http://www.seanclaes.com).
My weekend started on Wednesday with a few concerts in Austin. I made it out to the 101X NO CONTROL Homegrown Live at Redrum to see a few local hardcore bands. I saw Meet Fist and By Any Means Necessary. Then I headed over to Emo's and waited for Every Time I Die to play. Saw some interesting bands open. ETID were great...and the lead singer from The Chariot was a hoot (yeah.. a hoot) when he climbed ONTO the crowd in order to wrap himspef around a pipe on the ceiling (see photos). I'd have to say that By Any Means Necessary were my favorite. Lead singer Adam Wright comes on like a young hardcore version of Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys/ Broken Teeth).
Thursday we attended my wife's grandmother's funeral. It was a day I won't soon forget. Too much to get into in a blog.
Friday we were going to do some family stuff with the in-laws, but the daughter's daycare let out at noon, because we were supposed to have the hellish weather that never really came to the Austin area (thak God). So, we thought about heading out to ACL Fest, but pretty much didn't have the energy to do it after such a hectic Thursday. Man, I'd have loved to see The Black Crowes though.
Saturday afternoon, after spending a few hours at ACL Fest (Asylum Street Spankers Rocked..and I kept thinking I was in an episode of "The OC" while Aqualung/Built To Spill/ Death Cab For Cutie played - "Ryan! No!") with the family, we came home, I took a quick shower to get the layer of dust off of me and headed back to Austin for the The Sinus Show at the Alamo Drafthouse. They were mocking the classic "Kiss Meets The Phantom of the Park."
This was my first Sinus Show... and being a HUGE Kiss fan...and a pretty big fan of making fun of movies I was pretty pumped about this. Let me just say this... if you haven't seen The Sinus Show before, make it out for this. I probably laughed harder and truer than I have in a long time. There will be a story about The Sinus Show (It turns 5 years old in October) written by Danna Williams in October's INsite (http://www.insiteaustin.com) with some of the photos I took...
Sunday the family and I made it back out to the fest, determined to make it long enough to see Ruthie Foster. My wife and 17 month-old daughter stayed at the Austin Kiddie Limits section (The Biscuit Brothers are awesome by the way) and I went off to take a few photos of a some performances (M83 were allright, I liked Zykos, I ran into David (Dahveed) Garza jamming to Brave Combo). When I got back to the family, we wandered over to see Ruthie Foster, then it was way too darn hot, so we left after Foster was on her third song. I'm not sure if I want to do the "family thing" and the "photo thing" ever again.
My observation about this year's ACL Fest is... these were a bunch of bands who should be playing in a dark club hours after the sun goes down... not in 100 degree weather amidst the sunshine and happy things. I'm not a big fam of Emo music, but I can understand the broody nature of it. When I was a teenager I had my Metallica "Dyer's Eve." This generation has Coldplay's "Clocks." OK.
Thanks to Buddy Guy for showing folks how to do it... and Ruthie Foster for bringing the Gospel to the Gospel and Blues stage... and the Biscuit Brothers for putting on such an entertaing show for the kiddo's. Actually, the entire Austin Kiddie Limits area was awesome. The free Clif bars, caractitures, ACLfest temporary tattoos, and baloon animals were awesome. The volunteers at the fest were awesome as well...
Best shirt for sale at ACL: My Mom's Tattoo is Cooler Than Your Mom's Tattoo
Funniest t-shirt moment: Seeing a girl in an "I love cereal" shirt talking to a guy with an "I have candy" shirt
Coolest people at ACL: all those people who gave us water.
September 23, 2005
Some CD Reviews
Just when I thought I’d be able to figure out Full Service, they go and do something like this. On the heels of their hard rock/Reggae debut album from 2004, they have come up with a fifteen song hour-long acoustic recording.
I can’t figure them out. But, maybe that’s the thing. They are not supposed to be figured out, they are just to be enjoyed. And enjoy I did.
My favorite track, maybe because it mentions peanut butter and jelly, is “Pizza Song.” It has a really nice slow reggaeesque groove. “I take Arwen on down with me, she’s hunting lizards on the tree, yeah, yeah, yeah/I make myself peanut butter jelly / tastes as good as when I was three and eating the same thing.”
The traveling tune entitled “Ghosts of Gettysburg” is another strong tune on this disc. They go off on a Doors trip tune in “Bad News.” They showcase their harmonies on “Love is Requited.”
This is a really, really good disc. It really proved to me that these guys have some real talent musically and lyrically. They don’t need the crushing jam to being them through a gig…
Of course, it is damn nice when they do plug in and do a little yelling, but don’t expect that from Irie Love. This is one Full Service album that showcases the laid-back side band. So, if you are looking for laid back, pick this one up, if you want to do some straight-up rocking, pick up their 2004 release 3 Will Ride Forth.
Either way, you should see the band for yourself on September 23, 2005 at the Dirty Dog Bar (505 E. Sixth) in Austin. I don’t know weather they will play a full-out rock show or a funky acoustic one. I don’t think they even know.
Matt White Band
Burn Out Bright
Risky Lizard Records
The debut album for this Austin-based band, Suddenly Bright Out is a very pleasant introduced to the smooth singing of Matt White.
The band’s namesake is a Houston native and former lead singer of an alternative rock band by the name of Bent. There’s not much of an alternative rock sound to the Matt White band though. This is full-out singer-songwriter gold in the vein of Edwin McCain and John Mayer. The later more than the former.
In fact, there were a few tracks that I wasn’t quite sure I wasn’t listening to a Mayer song. I mean that in the best way possible, as Suddenly Bright Out is an enjoyable forty-minute journey.
The track that stands out most to me is a little love song ditty by the name of “Makes Me Happy.” It’s showcases the fact that the band is ready for radio. Other pleasant tracks include “Friend I Need,” “Love Dies,” and the funky jam “Strange Love.”
A great track on the album is “Five Letter Word,” Probably the nicest sounding tell-off song I’ve heard in a long time. “I don’t regret one damn word I called you / You might think I do / There’s a five letter word I’d like to call you.”
The Matt White Band is made up of White on vocals and guitar, Joe Fladger on bass and keys, Shane Vannerson on drums and piano, and special guest Mark Addison on guitar and keyboard.
Chadd Thomas and the Crazy Kings
Hush Hush With…
Hi-Fi Rhythm Records
This is an album that I’ve been listening to since seeing the band playing on the street during SXSW. When I saw Chadd Thomas and Dylan Cavalier jamming some Elvis-inspired jams with the signature slicked-back hair, it stopped me in my tracks and got my toes tapping.
Chadd Thomas and the Crazy Kings is a four piece, Austin-based rockabilly band has a firm grasp on the genre. Thomas’ vocals are equal parts Brian Setzer and Elvis with a little Dwight Yoakum thrown in for good measure.
The album heads off in full Swing with the title track-inspired “Hush Hush” and it proceeds to provide some forty-two minutes of ear candy.
“Longtime Baby” is a sweet rocking jam that features the sweet drumming of Charlie Gnerre. “Loves For Fools” takes a musical page from Hank Williams himself (or maybe Hank III). The energetic “Swing With The Crazy Kings” is a highly danceable tune. “Drinkin’ Alone” is a slow tune about liquid refreshments.
As expected, this album is a testament to rockabilly music. It goes best with a Lone Star Beer and a little too much gel in your hair. It’s classic and timeless all at the same time.
If you like the music of Wayne ”The Train” Hancock, Dale Watson, Royal Crown Revue, or Brian Setzer, you’ll not be disappointed with Chadd Thomas and the Crazy Kings. They are playing all over Austin and surrounding areas, check them out at http://www.thecrazykings.com/ for dates and time.
Rice Festival 2004 Live
Cabin 10, Inc
“When people die they don’t really leave you. Their seeds explode all around you and inside you. Their good parts live on” – Tim O’Brien
The Rice Festival is an event that debuted in 2004 to honor the life of Rice Harrington, an art teacher from San Marcos High School who passed away suddenly in 2003. Friends of Harrington thought the best way to remember their friend was by establishing the Rice Harrington Art Scholarship… and in central Texas, what better way to raise funds but by organizing an annual concert event?
So, here we have it, the one-hour long, fifteen track live album from the first concert, held on November 13, 2004 at Fischer Hall (nestled between San Marcos and Blanco, TX).
The recording is obviously live and not touched up much, but it captures a snapshot of time very nicely. The artists that played the concert include an impressive amount of talent. Pat Green, Ponty Bone, Tim O’Brien, Jeff Plankenhorn, and Susan Gibson are just a few that contribute live tracks to this album.
Gibson’s version of “Naïve Melody/Wide Open Spaces” is wonderful. The catchy and slightly disturbing “Hard Day on the Planet” by The Cary Swinney Trio is definitely one to check out. The song where the first line from this review comes from is “Colleen Malone,” a track from Tim O’Brien featuring the backup singing and wonderful mandolin playing of Wimberley, Texas’ own Sarah Jarosz (who’s barely a teenager, but has 4 years stage experience).
To find out more about the Rice Festival and how to get your hands on this one-of-a-kind collection of good music for a great cause (you can only get it online), visit http://www.cabin10.com. The 2005 Rice Festival will be November 12, 2005 with many of the same names playing.
(These CD reviews are in September's INsite Magazine (http://www.insiteaustin.com) which is available free at over 500 locations around Austin.)