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THE ORIGINAL TEXAS MUSIC MAGAZINE

November 2019

VOLUME XLVII, NUMBER 5

On Stands Now!

Buddy Magazine: The Original Texas Music Magazine Dallas Texas November 2019

In This Issue:
Jesse Dayton
Shane Smith
Stoney LaRue
Ray Wylie Hubbard
Tougher than a Texas Tornado
Record Review
In Memoriam

From Nowhere: The Story of the Vaughan Brothers
NEW Documentary by Kriby Warnock

Texas Premier on November 19th 2019 at the
Famous TEXAS THEATER.

Jesse Dayton: Mixed Up and Dead On

Daytonís latest release Mixtape Volume 1 draws from influential waters both deep and wide

By Jackie Don Loe

Jesse Dayton: Mixed Up and Dead On By Jackie Don Loe

The whole point of outlaw country is doing what you want, the way you want to do it. That’s what separates the wheat from the chaff, and Jesse Dayton’s music has always echoed the original spirit of outlaw country. The self-proclaimed “hillbilly punk” puts his prowess on full display in his latest release, Mixtape Volume 1 where his command of outlaw country blended with Cajun Rockabilly and deep East Texas Blues; straddles the line between Americana and raw punk.

Mixtape Volume 1 is a collection of cover songs that only Jesse Dayton could put together and pull off. When you have performed for President Bill Clinton with Lucinda Williams and recorded guitar on records and film with such legends as Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Glen Campbell, Ray Price, Johnny Bush and Rob Zombie, you can release anything you want. “Mixtape Volume 1” is a masterfully executed collection of pop radio faves, deep cuts, a lost punk song and rock and roll anthems.

Jerry's Jam XI

So why do a cover album when your own stuff is amazing? Dayton explains, “I’d been thinking about recording a full album of cover songs, after we did a George Jones style country version of the Cars song “Just What I Needed” that was a big hit with our audiences every night. We had so much fun doing this and that’s why I named it Volume One. I actually had songs by Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Warren Zevon and a Grateful Dead song that did not make the cut. I am sure at some point there will be a Volume Two.”

A great song can’t be owned by a genre. Great songs are owned by generations, and the really great ones are passed down to the next generation. The tape kicks off rocking with Jackson Browne’s “Redneck Friend,” drenched with classic country guitar that merges the California vibe with Texas swagger when he screeches the line, “Well, Honey, You shake, and I’ll rattle and we’ll roll on down the line.” And yes, I did mean tape. Mixtape Volume 1 is available, like the self-produced mixtapes of our misspent youth on actual cassette tape.

Jesse Dayton: Mixed Up and Dead On By Jackie Don Loe

The next two songs slow down the pace but keep your foot tapping. Neil Young’s “Harvest” and Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind” both convey melancholy and sadness with crying lap steel guitars that swirl around your heart. However, the surf’s up with a faster tempo version of the Clash’s “Bankrobber.” The original had a slower reggae vibe and Jesse revs it up with fists in the air, hand claps and pounding drums.

ZZ Top’s “She’s a Heartbreaker” has the spice of Cajun fiddles in a hot tribute to Billy Gibbons, a huge influence on Jesse. An additional factor that helped in selecting this song for the record is the mention of his hometown Beaumont. Elton John is another big influence on Dayton and he absolutely nails “Country Comfort” and makes it his own. He has been performing it for a while and his version gives you that old fashioned feeling of easy living. You can smell the sweet countryside when he sings “Country comfort in a truck that’s going back home.”

KNON Igor & Red Elvises

Then it’s a pure punk party with Dr. Feelgood’s mid-70s British pub rock gem “She does it right.” Jesse keeps it close to the original and drives it straight ahead with a repeating rough guitar riff and pummeling drums. On AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie” Dayton begins the song like a back-porch blues then pumps up the boogie to give this rocker a whole new feel. I suspect every blues band in Texas will start covering this song like Jesse’s arrangement. Both are great songs for an encore or to get the place jumping.

Highlight

A highlight on the record is “Just What I Needed.” When Jesse announces in concert, “Here is George Jones singing the Cars.” the crowd wonders what is going on until they hear it - and it is jukebox gold. Fresh arrangements and outstanding guitar work with vocals evoking the ghost of George Jones, twang heavily on each song. Although there aren’t any George Jones songs on the tape; Jesse, who is obviously a huge fan of “the Possum” could have channeled Jones throughout the collection, especially on this Car’s classic.

Jesse Dayton: Mixed Up and Dead On By Jackie Don Loe

Mixtape Volume 1 is rounded off with Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper,” and it has that jangly surf/spy guitar sound, and when he screams, “Mr. State Trooper, please don’t stop me,” it ends like a wild murder scenario from a Tarantino movie. Every single cut on the tape takes a classic song, regardless of the source and Dayton crafts it into his own unique expression of outlaw country. The mixtape concept was spawned from his live shows, and Dayton will have plenty of time now to work in enough new material for Volume 2.

Memphis

In the middle of a whirlwind tour of the East coast and Canada and playing a different state each night, on the road until the end of the year, Jesse is a hard-working musician and crowd pleaser. Headlining tours without the support of major labels, Jesse tours nonstop. Playing night after night takes a toll, and Dayton has learned some hard earned lessons for staying sharp on the road. Dayton shared, “I eat really clean on tour and try to drink a gallon of water a day and exercise. You can’t eat trashy food and get hammered every night when you’re playing 44 cities in 9 ½ weeks. Besides it’s a business and none of us are Keith Richards.”

I had the chance to ask Jesse a few questions about his new release and current tour and he quickly obliged, it was just what I needed to finish the story. As a player, I wanted to know about the tools of trade, and he shared some of the tools he used to craft Mixtape Volume 1. Dayton said, “I used my King that’s a custom-made guitar by the Blast Cult Instrument Co. in California that I used in the Rob Zombie movie Halloween. I also used a ‘72 Telecaster for the chicken-pickin’ country stuff and a custom Martin D45 Dreadnought for all of the acoustic tracks. I used a 1966 Blackface Fender Super Reverb and a brand-new Fender Blues Jr. I don’t use guitar pedals much but for a Waylon phase or I use a MXR phase 90 and an echoplex for some slapback.”

Jesse Dayton: Mixed Up and Dead On By Jackie Don Loe

Dayton also shared some wisdom for other new musicians hoping to make it in the industry. He added, “There is no secret to getting better or making it. Your future success as a musician depends entirely on how bad you want it and what you are willing to do to achieve it. Most musicians say they want it, but do they really? Are they willing to be broke, slug it out on the road, sleep on people’s couches or put up everything they have to finance a tour or a record?

“Ninety percent of the musicians I’ve met, no matter how much talent they have, are not willing to do that.”

While climbing the ladder of success, Jesse found that fame was not that big of a deal. Getting attention and making things happen has never been a problem. Making enough money to produce the next bigger product was always a means to an end. These days Jesse Dayton doesn’t worry about the ladders of fame and fortune, his success is defined by being his own boss and creating the music he wants for his own self-preservation.

Every little detail of Mixtape Volume 1 is retro raw and refined and cool. The packaging is spot on and reminds you of when making a mix tape was a work of art. The selections Jesse picked go great together and should turn on a new generation who have never heard the original songs to go back and discover those bands.

With no end in sight, he is receiving rave reviews for Mixtape Volume 1 and has sold-out shows with new and old fans. He has over 50 songs licensed in audio and film productions and is always on tour or in the studio.

Inducted as a Buddy Texas Tornado in 2018, Jesse has been a musician’s musician with a longtime cult-like following. His hillbilly punk attitude, Texas charm and consistent work habit, have enabled him to carve out his own niche as a Texas legend, and legend has it, if you’re sitting in the crowd at a Jesse Dayton live show you listen close enough, you might even hear the ghost of George Jones.

Jesse Dayton is scheduled to perform at Dan’s Silverleaf in Denton on November 21 and Love and War in Texas on November 24.

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Going for broke

Shane Smith and the Saints are setting sails for deeper seas

By Jan Sikes

Going for broke - Shane Smith By Jan Sikes

There is a certain amount of free-dom that permeates the Texas landscape, and nothing reflects that spirit more than the music that comes out of the Lone Star State.

But if Texas Music had a dictionary and you looked up the word “harmony” in it, you’d most likely see a photo of Shane Smith and the Saints. It’s that tight blending of voices that first drew me to this group with their release of the single, “Mountain” a couple of years ago.

And now they’ve released a new CD that showcases their harmony, lyrics, and high-energy music even more, with Hail Mary.

So, who is Shane Smith and the Saints?

“Mine is a similar story to anybody’s who gets into music,” Smith said. “I started playing guitar when I was a teenager. I bought a Silvertone guitar and started trying to figure out chords, printing out chord charts, and learning how to play it. One of my older brothers started playing, and my younger brother got interested, so we would play together. Then I went to junior college in Tyler, and I started trying my hand at writing. I was digging deep into a lot of singer/songwriters like Ryan Bingham and Hayes Carll. I fell in love with the lyrical side of it, and it made me want to write more frequently on my own.”

Billy Bob's Texas Fort Worth Texas

Contests, singer/songwriter competitions, and open-mic nights drew Smith, and he recorded his first record in Tyler with Bob Gentry. It wasn’t until he moved to Austin that it all started to come together.’

“While I was playing the bars in Austin, I met Bennett Brown. He’d played fiddle as a youngster and had just picked it up again. One thing led to another, and he and I started playing gigs together. I wanted to get us out there, play as many opportunities as possible, and work really hard. That’s what we did, and eventually it led to a band and touring further and further away from home.”

That’s a pretty generic story and doesn’t answer the question about how this group gravitated toward the incredible harmony that has become their easily recognizable signature.

Smith said, “I always wanted to have harmony in the band, and my wife always pushed for me to try and incorporate harmony. We were never really able to pull it off that well until several years down the road. We finally got the right group of guys that were really talented, not only with instruments but vocals. It worked as a three-part harmony for a while, and then we added Chase, our current bass player. We discovered by accident, during a rehearsal, that he could add a fourth dimension into the harmony with a low baritone. We were trying him out for one show at Adair’s Saloon, and he started singing this low harmony. We all stopped playing because we thought one of the speakers was acting weird or something. Then Chase spoke up and said, “Oh, my bad. My bad.” We didn’t know each other that well, and he thought he’d screwed up.”

Going for broke - Shane Smith By Jan Sikes

Sometimes those kinds of accidents turn out to be the best kind. It reminded me of a story I’d heard about how Grady Martin, while playing guitar on “Don’t Worry About Me” for Marty Robbins, accidentally created Fuzz Guitar effects. When an amp blew during the recording session, they kept rolling and then decided they liked the sound and would keep it. Guitar players across the United States were trying to figure out how to get that same sound out of their amps.

Smith and the other band members insisted that Chase continue to sing, and it gave them the four-part harmony magic.

With the level of talent in this band, I wondered if they also shared in the songwriting.

Smith said, “The majority of the songs are written lyrically by me. I have co-written before, but honestly, I’m really bad at it. However, I’ve written several songs with my wife, Lauren. I’m not the quickest person when it comes to firing out songs. I tend to sit on them for a long time. I do voice memos. I walk away from them and come back when the time is right. It’s kind of a weird process, but that’s what works for me. If I’m going to be singing a song every night, it has to be something I can relate to. Ray Wylie Hubbard said, ‘You better be damned sure you’re happy with a song before you record it because you’ve got to live with it forever.’ And that’s true.”

Stagecoach Ballroom Fort Worth Texas

Several of the songs on Hail Mary have spiritual overtones, and that in and of it is quite different.

Smith said, “I definitely have a lot of spirituality in my music. It’s not something that I’m necessarily trying to push on anybody else, but I am a God-fearing person, and that is a real part of life for me. It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you are on with it I think it’s something that everybody can relate to in one way or another. A lot of the songs have undertones of hope, regret, and forgiveness, and those are the things that tie right into the spiritual aspect.”

The title track, “Hail Mary,” is a perfect example.

“To me, that song has a little bit of a split meaning,” Smith explained. “It’s kind of like this ongoing struggle as an independent band trying to make ends meet and get to the next level. Trying to keep moving without having a physical or mental breakdown.”

“Hail Mary,” begins with soft ooohs in perfectly executed harmony, and then launches into a hard-driving rock. “Hail Mary, Hail Mary/You’re calling from the sky/Prayer booths and candle flame/Hot wax falls like tears of shame/You carry on and on and on/Oh until another fall…”

Smith’s favorite song on the album delves deeper into his belief system and his life.

His favorite

“Lyrically, the song I’m most proud of is “We Were Something.” I think it’s a song that many can relate to on an emotional level because so many people have gone through hard times with a spouse. Lots have gone through divorces, especially in this day and age. The message in the song is all about taking a step back from the situation, after the fact, and saying to themselves,

‘Man, we really did have something. If we could have just worked out that one thing, or if we would’ve been a little bit older or wiser, maybe we could’ve been more patient with one another.’ Whatever the case may be. When you dig deep into the lyrics of that song, it’s powerful, and I think not just to me, but also to a lot of people. It’s not the most popular song on the album, but it’s one that I get a lot of messages about and how it relates to someone or how it affected them.”

“Heaven Knows” is the first single released off this album and it’s quickly climbing the Texas Music Charts. Opposite from “Hail Mary,” it launches with a hard-driving rock beat, then gently slows the crescendo to a soft and magical perfection, “Don’t pray for me, my angel/Pray to the ocean tide/We’ve set our sails for deeper seas/Heaven knows what we will find…No, the Lord won’t wait/He won’t contemplate/He won’t wait for me to change my ways…” If you only listen to one song on this album, it should be “Heaven Knows.”

All the smoke will clear when the trumpet sounds at the last curtain call. “Parliament Smoke,” co-written with Smith’s wife, Lauren, is another power-filled message.
“Whirlwind” is a high-spirited love song. “It’s like you came to me/Just like my favorite song/As though I heard you once/Before you came along…”

Sweet strains of the fiddle and acoustic guitar compliment the melancholy found in the lyrics of “Little Bird.”

The last song on the album is aptly named, “The End,” but it is anything but an ending. ”

This group of independent artists has indeed set their sails for deeper seas as they take their music across the United States and to the world.

“It’s very much a grassroots effort, and our fans have literally given us legs up to this point to get our music out on the scale that it’s coming out. Everybody that shows up to our concerts is either a longtime fan of ours or friends of fans. It hasn’t been an overnight thing. It’s been a very slow and steady thing. It’s all been word of mouth spread through people who come to our live shows. So, I’d just say that I highly recommend to everyone to come to a live show and check us out,” Smith encouraged.

Rock Rattle N'Roll Collectibles

“We’ve worked very hard to get where we are.”

Produced by Mark Needham, Hail Mary marks the first time the band has worked with an outside producer. Inspired by Shane Smith & the Saints’ reputation as a high-energy live act with stunning four-part harmonies, Needham focused on capturing that un-doctored chemistry in the studio.

The band consists of Shane Smith on vocals and acoustic guitar, Chase Satterwhite on Bass and harmony vocals, Zach Stover on drums, Tim Allen on lead guitar and harmony vocals, and Bennett Brown on fiddle and harmony vocals.

Shane Smith and the Saints will appear at The Gas Monkey Live on Dec 21. Their complete tour schedule is listed on their website, shanesmithmusic.com.

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Getting back to being happy

Stoney LaRue: But, his latest album, Onward, shows a new revised version of LaRue

By Jan Sikes

Getting back to being happy By Jan Sikes

Stoney LaRue has sustained a music career in the Texas/Oklahoma Red Dirt scene for over two decades. As with any musician, his career has not been without controversy, ups, and downs. But, his latest album, Onward, shows a new revised version of LaRue.

“I’m now getting back to being happy,” LaRue said. “I’ve been writing a lot and figuring out what direction I am going in.””

The new album, Onward, reflects that new direction, and collaboration with Grammy-Award-Winner, Gary Nicholson, gives it a flavor that is undeniably one of the best Texas Music Albums released this year!

FOODSTOCK - McKinney Hunger Free Coalition

“I hooked up with Gary Nicholson about seven years ago. I sat down with him and did some writing, and we really hit it off,” said LaRue. “So, when I started thinking about doing a new album, Gary’s name came up.”
What happened next is every songwriter’s dream.

Nashville

“I went to Nashville and stayed at his house and ended up writing the whole album. We didn’t have any thoughts about recording it there initially,” LaRue said. “We thought we’d shop it to a record label and they’d pay for it. Instead, we recorded it there at Gary’s house. I’d wake up, and he’d cook me Migas, and we’d go down to the basement and write. The recording process only took two days. Gary brought in his A-Team, and we recorded it live. Then I came back and laid down some vocals.”

Every song on this album, except for two or three, were co-written by LaRue and Nicholson.

Tavern On main Street - Richardson

“You Oughta Know Me By Now” is a song that Gary Nicholson and Shawn Camp wrote specifically for LaRue. It’s framed around a man’s shortcomings and bad habits, but also conveys an open honesty.’

The first single released, “Hill Country Boogaloo,” hit the charts and quickly rose to the top. It’s a lighthearted funky tribute to one of the most beautiful places, not only in Texas but the world.’

“Message in a Bottle” grabbed my attention right away. I wanted to know the story behind this powerful song.

“That’s a song that many think is autobiographical. It isn’t. I’ve been in different situations mentioned in the song, but it isn’t about me. I don’t know who it’s about, but it’s relatable. I do know what it’s like to battle with yourself. Sometimes that comes in different forms. Mine came in the form of a relationship.”

Getting back to being happy By Jan Sikes

Another song that stood out to me was “Evil Angel,” featuring the magnificent McCrary sisters on gospel-like vocals and a Dixieland vibe.

“That’s a song I wish I had written.” LaRue chuckled. “Gary thought it would fit this kind of album. It pertains to the message of onward and relates to my last seven years. So, I absolutely agreed that we should include it. Also, Ray Benson sings the low bass part on it, so that was cool.”

Each song on this album stands apart from the one before and the one after. “Drowning in Moonlight,” is a poignant love song that LaRue confesses was a new experience for him, as he’d never written anything like that.

“Falling and Flying” made its debut on the movie Crazy Heart and LaRue does a great rendition of it. “Worry Be Gone,” written by Nicholson, Guy Clark, and Lee Roy Parnell is another that LaRue makes his own, with his unique delivery.

The bonus track, “High Time,” features the late Brandon Jenkins.

“Brandon and I were both staying in Nashville for a while. We’ve been friends for over twenty-five years. We’ve written at least two full albums together. So, he came in one morning, and I’d never seen him so excited about a song. He was just pumped up and ready to take on the day. And he was so insistent that it was high time we enjoyed ourselves, that we have a good time and kinda’ get out from under our porches so to speak, and let everybody know. And that’s the song we wrote.”

What a beautiful memory. And, it was such a tragedy to lose Brandon last year.

The cover

I don’t normally focus too much on an album cover, but this one is truly special.

“I collaborated with a graphics company. Initially, it was going to be the old-school skulls, crossbones, and wings. But that didn’t feel right. So, I went online and looked specifically for images of Archangel Gabriel who is supposed to be the muse of music and protector of musicians. I suggested that the angel hold a French Horn as an ode to one of my buddies who played in the New York Symphony Orchestra in the 80s. Also, I believe that somebody is looking over us all the time, and it just fit the message of the album. So, when they sent back this design, I knew it was perfect.”

From the album cover to the final song, Onward is an outstanding example of what can happen when two artists, such as Stoney LaRue and Gary Nicholson, join together.

As the album indicates, Stoney LaRue is ready to move onward. He’s excited about his career, writing and performing and will be out promoting this album.

You can see Stoney LaRue at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth on November 23. And pick up a copy of this album, Onward!

For more tour dates and other info visit stoneylarue.com

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The Messenger

The songwriting legacy of Ray Wylie Hubbard by Brian T. Atkinson

By Jan Sikes

The Messenger Ray Wylie Hubbard By Jan Sikes

It is an indisputable fact that Ray Wylie Hubbard has become an iconic songwriter in the world of Texas music.

But he didn’t start out that way. Michael Hearne, who has known Hubbard since the early seventies, said, “Ray’s evolved into a different Ray than I knew back then. He was party Ray. Now he’s artistic Ray.”

Brian T. Atkinson interviewed over sixty Texas artists to create The Messenger, as a tribute to Hubbard, and to honor the huge impact he’s made in the songwriting arena.

Two Forewords written by Jerry Jeff Walker and Hayes Carll, set the pace and tone for this book. It has been said that without Jerry Jeff Walker’s legendary recording of “Redneck Mother,” there would have never been the Ray Wylie Hubbard who has taken his place among the songwriting greats of today. That recording on his most popular album, Viva Terlingua, took off like wildfire. And the rest is history, as they say.

The Goat

I love the way Atkinson has put this book together, using Hubbard’s songs and career stepping-stones as chapters. But instead of calling them Chapters, Atkinson calls them Verses.

Verse One – Redneck Mother. In this section, you’ll find interesting and compelling interviews with artists like Bobby Bare, Michael Martin Murphey, Michael Hearne, Tommy Alverson, Ray Benson, Kinky Friedman, Steve Earle, Bob Livingston and more. These are the early days, or as Hearne stated, the days of Party Ray.

Verse Two – Drunken Poet’s Dream (The Blank Years).
Skip the verse and go straight to The Chorus – The Messenger. Radney Foster said, “Music’s a young man’s game. I take my cues from Ray. He’s a role model, as you get older, as far as how to do it with grace and dignity and honor the craft. He’s never rested on his laurels…” And Rodney Crowell added, “Ray has this tune “God Looked Around” that basically rewrites the story of Adam and Eve. It’s perfect with not a word out of place. He somehow makes colloquial language span three thousand years. How do you do that?”

The Messenger Ray Wylie Hubbard By Jan Sikes

Verse Three – Dead Thumb King. It’s no secret that Hayes Carll is a died-in-the-wool fan of Hubbard’s music and the man himself. He recalled his first encounter working as a bartender at the Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe in Galveston. “I watched a lot of shows working at the Old Quarter, and Ray’s was the most engaging, funny, interesting, moving performance that I’d seen at that point. He had a sense of humor and the cool factor with songs that had depth, substance and a real cool style with a groove. I hadn’t seen anyone put it all together like he did.”

Ronnie Dunn had nothing but praise for Hubbard, “Mojo flows through his veins like fine aged wine.”

Bridge – Name-Dropping (The songwriters behind the scenes).

Charlie Musselwhite needs no introduction. An iconic blues player, he’s influenced many musicians and songwriters. Hubbard penned “Mr. Musselwhite’s Blues,” and it appears on The Ruffians of Misfortune.

Musselwhite said, “Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Snake Farm” is a classic American Folk Song. Hundreds of years from now, people will be singing that song.”

Verse Four – Without Love. The interview with Judy Hubbard, now lovingly known as Mother Hubbard, is moving. She knew she wanted to marry Ray the first time she heard him perform, “Portales.” The couple has been through a lot together, including drugs, alcohol, and recovery. It was a natural progression to become his manager “I had such a strong belief in his songwriting and his stage presence,” she said. “I couldn’t sit by and watch.” Their son, Lucas Hubbard, chose to perform with his father. “There are football dads where the dad plays in college and then pushes his kids to do it. Ray’s the complete opposite of that. He was definitely there to teach me all the time and enjoyed teaching me new things, but I could basically do whatever I wanted as long as I wasn’t a Republican.”

Character Witnesses closes out the book. It is an entertaining read and gives such a unique insight into the man behind the legend, behind the music, behind the songs - straight from his peers and proteges. The Messenger – The Songwriting Legacy of Ray Wylie Hubbard is going to thrill every Ray Wylie Hubbard fan!

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Tougher than a Texas Tornado

KNON returned to the air and is looking to the future.

By Colleen Morgan

KNON Tougher than a Texas Tornado By Colleen Morgan

The recent tornadoes on October 20th in Dallas caused horrible devastation to hundreds of homes and displaced thousands of people, but also had a crushing affect on KNON 89.3FM community radio, who lost their studios as one of the ten of Mother Nature's whirling minions ripped across 75 and Walnut Hill Lane, right into 11311 North Central Expressway.

The Sunday “International Show” with Chief Zehaie was just finishing up from its regular 8-10 PM time slot, and “Reckless Rock Radio” DJ Lew Morris was doing pre-show prep as usual before things literally went sideways.
“The power went out about two to three minutes before I heard the wind pick up. Then I heard that distinctive whistle of a tornado. I Immediately got up and saw the DJ from the show before us (Chief) walk out of the studio. I told him there was a tornado incoming and that we needed to get away from all the glass windows. I told him to follow me into the bathroom and we hung out there. The building started shaking and we could hear the windows exploding from the pressure and debris getting slammed around. We just stood there til it died down. We walked out afterwards and saw the damage. We were not injured.”

The building, built in the 1971, was immediately deemed uninhabitable and slated for demolition. KNON DJs and management began moving equipment out the next morning, hoping the building wouldn't fall down around them. That catastrophic event could have been the end of a 33 year-long history of KNON broadcasting 24/7/365 with programming that ranges from gospel to death metal and talk, but the end did not come to pass--

Approximately 36 hours later, at 7 AM Tuesday, October 22, KNON was back on the air.

KNON's tower is located in a remote area in Cedar Hills, and there is a small shack at the base of the tower (and yes, there is a bathroom), which is currently the temporary home for broadcasting. “These volunteer DJs take their time to come down every week to play music, and I need to take care of them. I've run across various creepy crawlies, coyotes and other creatures out there-- their dedication deserves better.”

KNON Tougher than a Texas Tornado By Colleen Morgan

KNON gets no government grants, nor has any corporate ties that dictate what type of music to play. Every show has a different volunteer DJ or show host. There is a small staff of five that get paid. KNON is dependent on money raised via benefit events, quarterly pledge drives and underwriting (aka ad sales) and KNON needs every penny it gets for the normal day-to-day operational costs. This blow takes the need for donations to an even more desperate level.

According to Dave Chaos, KNON station manager for 15 years, “KNON is tougher than a Texas tornado. We've been through fires, financial crises, confrontations with the federal government and now, a tornado. What we need is broadcast gear for both broadcasting (24 channels) and podcast (8 to 16 channels) because while the studio gear looked okay, as we have been unpacking it we have discovered it's been covered in glass from the windows shattering. We were also in midst of looking for a new home, for which we would need $60K to move, minimum, and now that cost will be more due to the damaged gear.

The only insurance KNON has is liability but since the gear was donated, the value it could have been insured for was minimal, as much of it was 20-30 years old.
“We are very grateful to the community for supporting us-- its a tough time but without the support, we wouldn't be able to get through it. People have been very gracious and we so appreciate it. So many people have been reaching out, and it's really great. That said, if you really care about KNON, KNON needs it now more than ever before,” said Chaos.

What can you do to to help? Donations are always accepted at knon.org. Upcoming benefit events include Igor & The Red Elvises Friday, November 8 at Poor David's Pub in Dallas, “Tougher Than a Texas Tornado” metal benefit Sunday, November 17 at The Haltom Theatre in Haltom City from 1PM-10Pm with 18 metal bands, and other benefits that are in the works at press time so check back at knon.org frequently for updates.
Poor David’s Pub is hosting a benefit on November 3 featuring: Action Annie, Wade Johnson, The Ackermans, Ann Armstrong and Steve Hughes, Walton & Monroe, Twangliner, Dylan, Lost Highrollers, Bodarks, Carolyn Wonderland with Shelly King and Floramay Holliday, Cumbia del Sol, The Trees and Robert Lee Kolb.

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Record Review

Jason James
Seems Like Tears Ago
Melodyville Records

By Jan Sikes

Jason James Seems Like Tears Ago By Jan Sikes

Genuine, old-school coun-try music defines Jason James as a performer. James has been spinning tales since he was a kid. Back then, it was for entertainment. Now it’s his lifeblood.

His newest release, Seems Like Tears Ago accentuates the pure honest voice of a singer who’s discovered the depths of his soul. This album debuts ten original tunes with one recurring theme – that of pure unadulterated classic country music.

Produced by John Evans, the album was recorded at Signal Hill Studios in Spicewood, TX.

The title track, “Seems Like Tears Ago,” opens the CD and sets the mood. With crying pedal steel (Geoff Queen) there is no question this is genuine traditional country. James’ voice is reminiscent of the late great George Jones.

Next up is “I Miss You After All,” and it is a standard two-step shuffle. The production, including the backup vocals, and the lyrics, took me back to the Golden Era of country music. “I can’t fool myself/I miss you after all…” The steel guitar solo and the way it hands off to the fiddle (Cody Braun) is pure organic perfection.

The games are over with “Move A Little Closer,” as James declares, “You better move a little closer/Before Daddy takes it down the line…”

A tune that immediately reminded me of an Ernest Tubb or Hank Sr. song, “We’re Gonna Honky Tonk Tonight,” is flawless, with amazing vocals and musicianship. It’s a prime example of a sixties Honky Tonk song,

You can’t have a country album without heartache, and “Achin’ Takin’ Place,” fills the bill.”

“Simply Divine” is a heartfelt love song. “Knowing you feel the same way about me/Is what makes our love simply divine…”

“Coldest Day of the Year” depicts a stark contrast. It doesn’t matter if wildflowers are blooming outside; every day she’s gone is the coldest day of the year.

With a Cajun flavor, “Cry on the Bayou,” picks up the tempo.

Another classic ‘cryin’ in your beer’ song, “Foolish Heart,” features the pedal steel, twanging electric guitar (John Evans) and piano (T. Jarrod Bonta).

The album concludes with “Ole Used To Be,” another sad country song.

I can’t say enough about how much this young man impresses me with his vocal ability. If you could blend Johnny Paycheck, George Jones, and Hank Williams Sr. into one person, it would be Jason James. He has the uncanny ability to capture the tears of an aching heart in his lyrics and voice.

If you are a fan of traditional country music, this album is a must-have for your playlist! For more, visit jasonjamesband.com


Various Artists
Cliffhanger Project
Independent Release

By Jan Sikes

Cliffhanger Project By Jan Sikes

The close-knit Oak Cliff area of Dallas has produced some of the most brilliant musicians in the industry. Produced by Cliffite, Robert Ware, the first Cliffhanger Project surfaced in 2010 and showcased the Oak Cliff sound - a combination of Lone Star Blues mixed with Texas Blues Rock.

Cliffhanger Project II, also produced by Ware, brings together Rocky Athas, Danny Sanches, Jerry Don Branch, Michael Jeffrey, Christian Brooks, and Randy Lee Kounas, with Robert Ware on bass. The late Larry Samford is featured vocally on three selections.

Jerry Don Branch kicks it off Oak Cliff style, with self-penned, “Drawing a Line.” Branch swaps guitar licks with Danny Sanches and the song rocks.

“I Don’t Want you to Love Me,” written by Michael Jeffrey features Jeffrey on guitar and vocals, Ware on Bass, and Jack Miller on Drums.

Danny Sanches does a fantastic instrumental rendition of the “Ode to Billy Joe. ”

“Come on Little Girl,” penned by Christian Brooks is Texas Blues rock at its finest with a clear invitation. “I’d like to see you again/I’d like to make you mine…”

With Larry Samford on vocals and Tom Burns, and Randy Lee Kounas on guitar, “The Gangster is Back,” is hard-driving and aggressive with blistering riffs.

“Sugar Sweet” features Jerry Don Branch and Danny Sanches on electric guitar. Both have a unique style of playing and easily swap leads that have your body swaying and toes tapping.

Michael Jefferey carries on with “Love and Run.”

“Reina Marie,” written by Christian Brooks, is filled with longing and memories, complimented by a solid melody.

Danny Sanches shines on “Sleepwalk.” It is probably my favorite on the album if I had to choose one. His delivery is smooth and flawless.

“I Hope You Don’t Lose,” showcases Michael Jeffrey’s lyrical talents along with his guitar prowess.

Tom Burns tears it up on “One Sunny Day,” and Larry Samford’s vocal performance delivers.’

“Guitar Boogie, Too,” written by Robert Ware, features Rocky Athas, Michael Jeffrey, and Danny Sanches with Ware on Bass. There is no way to describe it, except to say it sizzles.

Cliffhanger Project II ends with “Time To Go,” featuring Samford on vocals and Tom Burns and Randy Lee Kounas on guitar.

This project memorializes an era in Oak Cliff history that produced a group of unrivaled musicians. If you love Texas Blues, you will certainly enjoy this collection from some of the best! Available on CDBaby.

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Sparky Parker
In the Dark
Independent Release

By Jan Sikes

Sparky Parker By Jan Sikes

Houston-based guitarist, Sparky Parker, is one of the most talked-about performers in the area. He wears his well-earned Texas blues-rock guitar slinger credentials with pride. He’s released a new CD, and listening to it leaves no doubt he’s earned his title.

In The Dark was recorded at the legendary Redshack Studio in Houston, produced by Parker, mastered and mixed by Rock Romano. It contains seven original tunes from Parker and three covers.

With only three guys, Eric “Sparky” Parker, Phillip Lock, and Kevin Berry, The Sparky Parker band produces a sound full of grit and drive, lacking nothing.

The first song on the CD, “In The Dark,” took me back to the days of checkerboard dance floors and Disco balls with the wah-wah guitar rhythm. Parker delivers smooth as silk vocals that reminds me of a young Eric Clapton.
With blistering guitar riffs and hard-driving backbeat, “This Old Thing,” just ain’t the same. “Give me something I can use/Or give me some bad news…”

“8 Days in the Doghouse,” is a true exposition of southern rock.

My pick from this album, “Games,” is blues done right. Parker bends the strings in a way that only someone who feels the music can do, and the vocals are smooth and on point. “Games, games, games/All these games that we play/I always lose/Baby you come in first place…”

“Sleepy Town,” features a magic-finger jaw-dropping guitar solo.

Certain things can make a “Good Man” go bad. “You’ve got style/Dangerous smile/I love the way you walk/as you walk down the aisle/You could lure a man with what you have/You’re gonna be mine, Baby/that’s that/You put a spell on me/And I’m glad/You can make a good man go bad…”

With a solid rock beat, “Treat a Dog,” is honest. “I wouldn’t treat a dog the way you treated me…”

“Dead Flowers” speaks of social needs and willingness to compromise.

My other favorite on this album is an instrumental that spotlights Parker’s amazing guitar prowess, “Escape to Quintana.”

Catchy riffs and melody, steady beat and contagious energy, exemplifies good rock done right, as the album ends with “Shake Your Hips.”

Sparky Parker has been compared to Gary Clark Jr and Boyle Bramhall II, but he never falls into the shadow of imitation. He creates intensely original music and delivers with his own definitive style and energy.

If you are a fan of high-energy music, flawless guitar playing, and compelling lyrics, you are going to enjoy In The Dark! For tour dates, visit sparkyparker.com

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Kinky Friedman
Resurrection
Echo Hill Records

By Mary Jane Farmer SceneInTown.com

Kinky Friedman Resurrection By Mary Jane Farmer

Listening to the Kinky Friedman of today is like getting an in-depth look at his soul, and that easily transfers to in-depth looks inside oneself as well. Long gone, it seems, is the Kinky of his youth, when his music was fun and comic, yet quirky and cheeky. Now, he writes of emotion and caring, his own and of others across the globe.

In this new CD, Resurrection, recently released on Echo Hill Records, the Kinkster penned 11 new songs, and not a loser in the bunch.

“Blind Kinky Friedman” is perhaps the most poignant look at how we so often forget our blessings, the love and bounty so freely given to us. Written, it seems, while he was on his pity pot—or maybe right after he’d just gotten off it and the emotions were still running rampant in his head. “And blind Kinky Friedman is feeling sorry for himself and for every soul only God can see… sometimes he still remembers that he’s me…wakes up in a gutter filled with sorrow… with a newspaper blanket, resting on a pillow made of smoke… Oh, Blind Kinky, that old boy can really sing the blues.”

The opening track, “Mandela’s Blues,” is absorbing, and it could be because Kinky manages to put himself in Nelson Mandela’s shoes, both while the South African giant was in prison and before and after those dreadful 27 years of incarceration. “Twenty years of rags and prison shoes, He paid a whole nation’s dues. He lost everything that a man could lose, everything but Mandela’s blues… It’s a long walk to freedom… there we will always stay. He smiled at Jesus and winked at Ghandi, knowing they would understand.”

And a love song has never been written such as “Carryin’ The Torch.” True love at its finest… “If you traveled around this world, you wouldn’t find another girl, could hold a candle to the one gal you left behind… On the day you discover how many you really love her, you’ll find her love has never lost it’s glow…” Can’t say more about this song, or it could be too much and spoil the surprise of hearing the full song for the first time.

So many others with deep lyrics — such as—“down that lonely road called yesterday” and “The lessons that you can’t forget are the only ones you learned.” And this writer, for one, cannot listen to “A Dog In The Sky” without wiping away a bit of moisture from the eyes.

Kinky Friedman’s words and deliveries, drawl and all, stay with you and reflect the ragged part of the heart that most other songwriters never get close to touching. This collection features the best of today’s music genres, written and delivered with rare genius and only described as the all-inclusive “Americana.”

The cigar-smoking man in black brings honor to music, to people, and to his Texas Hill Country home. Resurrection can be found on most streaming sites, isn’t yet available on the something-for-everyone Amazon.com (though most of his previous recordings are), but is available in hard copy from his KinkyFriedman.com.

He is touring nationally with the release of Resurrection and will be at Poor David’s Pub in Dallas on November 22.

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In Memoriam

Tim Nielley

The blues in New Jersey weren't enough to keep Tim Nielley in town. He went across the nation with various bands, attended woodstock and played around for years before discovering that Texas would be the scene for him.

In Memoriam Tim Nielley

Never leaving a jam without smiles and resounding thumps; playing with Pete Barbeck and Fred Geiber at the weekly Goat blues jam for almost 20 years. He met and influenced countless youths such as myself. He was a well seasoned bass player with that kind of amazing personality and level-headedness thats extremely hard to come by anymore.

His stories about gigs "way back when" were killer! Sure to make you bust a gut laughing. And the sincerity of his character was astounding; If Tim said he'd be there, he was. "Life is good" wasnt just his answer to "whats good?" or "hows it going?" It was his entire approach to life. From his style on stage, always rocking sunglasses; to eating his favorite foods everyday, pancakes or wafflehouse, breakfast for any meal really. Tim instilled passion and great vibes into every person he met. After years of playing with Clint Hooks, Jim Suhler, Texas Slim, and Tommy Katona; he also toured Russia with Nicole Fornier and even recorded two albums with Korichi Morita. He always met people with a smile and "life is good." 

One of my favorite things about Tim was how well we could communicate and dissect new music that we were working on. That crazy fun soul from small time New Jersey saw some of the best acts and contributed to some of the best shows seen in his time. Three decades of live music locally and two decades of touring made one of the best bass players to ever grace any stage.

Our hearts go out to Julie, his partner in love and life. We'll keep his memory alive because..."Life is good!" Thanks Tim!

--Taylor Newman

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Love And War In Texas

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