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Pure Grain Shines in Indiana Sun

Pure GrainIf you are looking for something outside the mainstream and a sound to help carry the summer of 2014, I invite you to take a swig of Pure Grain and lend your ear to their latest release, Indiana Sun.

I don’t expect you to know about Pure Grain, but it is my job to let you know about them. And what I want you to know about them is that they are talented, soulful, and homegrown as they come. Hailing from Bright, Indiana, Pure Grain consists of Scott Siefferman on lead vocals and guitar and the funk bottom comes from bassist Tony Nasser. The tribal rhythms are laid down by Brian DeBruler and Michelle D’Amico (Brian’s wife) is featured on percussion. Rounding out the lineup on vocals is Courtney D’Amico, sister of Michelle. The family bonds are tight with this group and it is reflected in the sound of Indiana Sun.

Pure Grain

Indiana Sun (Sol Records) is peppered with feel good tunes, classic Allman Brothers guitar work, tight percussion, insightful songwriting, and a jam band attitude that can put you at another level. Produced by Bill Halverson (Eric Clapton, Cream, CSNY) and recorded in the band’s studio in Indiana, this album is a spitting image of the passion and soul that makes up Pure Grain.

The album starts with “Lie To Me,” which is one of the more up tempo songs that is complimented with that traditional Allman Brothers guitar sound. When you put a Dickey Betts influenced guitar solo in an a song, you can do no wrong by my standards. “Lie To Me” is a rockin’ acoustic jam, but immediately you can tell that there is some talented musicians that can bring all of their individual influences together for an original sound.

The “feel good” of Indiana Sun lies within “Summer Song.” The song will put you in the right frame of mind and it has the right amount of jam to be considered for your iPod this summer. The carefree outdoor attitude of “Summer Song” could make a late night by the fire more enjoyable, or it might be a good a cruising song for you. Either way, “Summer Song” can easily be worked into your summer vacation. Take a good listen to the percussion as well as the B3 organ played by Bob Kennedy. What makes this song even more fun is that Pure Grain goes from acoustical jam into a little reggae flavor. A nice change which demonstrates the level of talent in this band.

With every album you listen to, of course you are going to have your favorites. “Hurricane” is no exception. When I first heard “Hurricane” it was not what I expected…in a good way. It is hurricane season you know. This bluesy “hurricane warning” in a song churns up those images you see on TV when the media is covering this force of nature. However listen a little closer and “Hurricane” personifies itself into something a little more tangible; as if a reseliant old man in New Orleans is warning you of a hurricane, but deep down he know it is going to take more than hurricane to wipe him, the city and the culture off the map. You will dig “Hurricane” even more when you find out that it was recorded by the great Levon Helm, on his American Son album in 1980. A year later, Leon Everette recorded and it charted at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles. Why did I tell you about Levon and Leon? Because Pure Grain’s version of “Hurricane” is different than Leon and Levon, and I feel like they capture the true spirit of the song as opposed to the previous versions. I applaude the individual who brought this to the album. Certainly my favorite song on Indiana Sun.

One thing I have enjoyed about Pure Grain is their ability to mesh funky music with good country fun (and if you know me then that shouldn’t come as a shock to you). They combine the elements of funky and country with an up tempo ditty called “Back in the Woods.” Oh, the lyrics are country, the music is funky, but somehow the spirit of Lynyrd Skynyrd creeps up on you and this righteous jams comes to an apex with the guitar solo. There are some special guests on this track. I’ll let you figure it out!

Indiana Sun has what I like to call (wrestling term here) a “cool down” period. Pure Grain has jammed it out pretty good, took you through a “Hurricane” and “Back in the Woods” but it is time to slow down just a tad with “New Dawn.” It is time for the ladies to shine as Courtney D’Amico takes the lead and handles harmonies as sister Michelle implements percussion on “New Dawn” (a Sol Sisters song…ha). Now when I critique albums or songs, I try to throw out my personal taste and try to review with an open mind. What helps me make that judgement is if I could take that song and put it into a movie. Would it work? Can I see that in my mind? Would that song appeal to the audience? With “New Dawn,” absolutely I can put that into a movie as “break-up” song. The lyrics are obvious to you and me but most importantly, the lyrics are meaningful to the writer and the people involved. The subject matter is reality and Pure Grain makes a soundtrack for that reality with “New Dawn.”

“My Addictions,” “Long Time Comin” and “Perfect Time” continues that cool-down period, but at this point you have realized that this album has taken on a different theme as a more reflective Pure Grain has emerged. Lyrically, you may relate to all the themes that Pure Grain has explored, and that is a credit to their songwriting as they may have tapped something deep in your emotions. “Perfect Time” gives a subtle hint to a little Grateful Dead guitar vibe and it works.

I’m not going to lie. I am huge fan of the guitar action in all of these songs. It might be those obsessive ears of mine for anything similar to an Allman Brothers/Southern Rock sound, but to me, that is good stuff.

The final two tracks on Indiana Sun go in correspondence with the previous four songs, “The Blessing” and “Higher Ground.” All of these songs work together as if a story has been told about a broken relationship. However, a positive and uplifting message comes within the final two songs. The conclusion if you will. “The Blessing” gives off a Southern Rock ballad feel to it as the guitar solo is interwoven with the B3 organ which I dig. With “Higher Ground” Pure Grain’s songwriting comes full circle as they have ushered in a new attitude and mindset with the relationships they write about.

The lineup of Pure Grain has changed throughout the last few years, but one thing has remained constant. That constant is Pure Grain’s ability to conjure up a big sound that incorporates characteristics of different genres of music, whether it be funk, country, rock or soul. And that big sound of all that wonderful music has provided the foundation for Pure Grain. A sound unilke anything else out today. And Indiana Sun will prove how much talent is behind that sound!

Indiana Sun will be released July 8, 2014 and will be available at puregrainmusic.com, iTunes and Amazon.

Old Time Family Jam JAMS

I’ll be real honest with you.  I don’t listen to Bluegrass as much as I should.  I love Bluegrass music.  I love the history, the passion and certainly the musicianship involved.  But for some unholy reason, Bluegrass just doesn’t make into the iPod and on the turntable.  And that is my own fault.  I have the utmost respect for the musicians and tradition of Bluegrass, and yes I have been known to burn up the dance floor with some mountain dancing. Damnit! Why don’t I listen to Bluegrass more!?

Enter Dallas Moore and his mother, Madgelee Hanes Moore.

When I first got word that Dallas and his mother would be releasing a Bluegrass album, I raised my hands highOld Time Family Jam to the good Lord above.  I don’t know  what I said, but all I know is I raised my hands in jubilation. New music from Dallas Moore is always an adventure to listen to because of the build up and anticipation.  You hear the new songs in his live shows and you know there is a story behind those songs. During those songs you have created your own story. And all that translates well to his albums.  However, above all that comes the passion that Dallas Moore has for the music he plays.  And it all accumulates into his latest release with his mother, Old Time Family Jam.

Am I surprised how good this is?  No. I have seen Dallas Moore play two hours of Bluegrass and bring the entire house down, so I always knew his veins bled Bluegrass and that his grass was blue!  But the real surprise comes with his mother, Madgelee Hanes Moore.  Mrs. Moore’s contribution compliments Dallas style.  Dallas has always had an edge to his music, but Mrs. Moore’s talent lies within the ability to wrangle that edge with her vocals, dulcimer and autoharp producing a sweet, old-fashioned sound. Dallas balances it all out lending his talents to the banjo, mandolin and bass.

Old Time Family Jam starts with the John Prine classic, “Paradise”. However it doesn’t take Dallas long to kick it up a with “Rollin’ in My Sweet Baby’s Arm”.  Absolutely love it! And no Bluegrass album would be complete without a nod to the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe, as the Moore’s take on his classic “All the Good Times are Past and Gone”.

The “Jam” only clocks in at 25 minutes, but it is so good it is almost as if Mama Moore and ole Dallas packed in 60 minutes of Bluegrass into 25 minutes. I can close my eyes and envision the Moore’s jamming on Bluegrass somewhere in Kentucky.  Maybe it is here in Lexington at the Tuesday Night Bluegrass Jamboree at the bowling alley.  Maybe it is at the Festival of the Bluegrass at the Kentucky Horsepark.  Hell, I could even hear this sitting on the porch at Cracker Barrel on a Sunday morning. Can I sit on the porch and eat breakfast? And here is a tip for you.  Turn down that bass, crack open some of Kentucky’s finest and enjoy the intricacies of the banjo, dulcimer and autoharp.  Pure pleasure to the ears!

If I can take a few songs and imagine how a video would be for it, and the details are vivid, then that is a good album.  How does the song set up the imagery? That is the case with “Shade Tree/Ole Slew Foot.” I can picture ole Dallas and Mrs. Moore playing this at a guitar pull, or at barn dance, or around a fire or a still in eastern Kentucky, and damn if there isn’t some bear raising hell and gittin amongst it.  Somewhere between O’ Brother Where Art Thou and a Looney Tunes cartoon is how I am seeing “Ole Slew Foot” playing out. And I can’t forget about Hee Haw Pickin n’ Grinnin!  When you can envision the song, it makes it that much better!

From the hightail adventure of “Ole Slewfoot” the Moore Family takes us down to the “Banks of Ohio”.  The lyrics take you on a dark journey, but the bright spot in the song is the musicianship possessed by Dallas and his mother.  The mood continues with “Rank Strangers”.  Peaceful but haunting. Old time gospel with an attitude.  The harmonies between Mrs. Moore and Dallas blend perfectly, but also adds as certain mood reflective of the title.  Lord, “Rank Strangers” could squeeze a tear out of boulder.

To me, the album really shines with “Wildwood Flower”.  Just sit back and relax and let that sound take you back.  Enjoy the woven pattern that the mandolin, banjo, guitar and autoharp has produced.  Attach a good memory with that song. Perhaps a time when ya heard Dallas play it at one of his live shows.  Or perhaps it brings back shades of Jesco White and when ya first saw the Dancing Outlaw.  Regardless, it is beautifully produced and essential to this album.

The album wraps up appropriately with “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”.  The lyrics paint a picture that we don’t want to encounter, but we take comfort knowing what is on the other side of that picture.  The background vocals from Mrs. Moore is that of a sweet comforting voice.  The tempo of the song is at the perfect pace to keep your spirits high. Once again, the musicianship shines from this traditional “family jam.”

The back of the cover reads “A collection of traditional songs carrying on our Appalachian family heritage”.  It is every bit traditional and authentic. I would expect nothing less coming from a man who has acted as most importantly friend, but teacher as well. That teacher has re-introduced Bluegrass to me, which was obviously passed down from his teacher.  Mother Madgelee Hanes Moore.

And that is why Old Time Family Jam JAMS!

Old Time Family Jam is available at dallasmoore.com

 

 

 

 

 

Fifth on the Floor New Video – Whiskey

Friends, if you are a fan of this blog (and I don’t know too many people who are) then you know I am a huge fan of these Kentucky boys, Fifth on the Floor.  Congrats on their latest video release “Whiskey” from their album Ashes and Angels.

Looks like a damn good time to me!

 

Jackyl Chainsaws Lexington!

Outlaw Bourbon

If you would have told me back in 1992 that I would be standing here 22 years later watching the greatness of Jackyl unfold in front of me, I would’ve told ya that you are full of what Beavis and Butthead is full of. You know what that is! But damn if 22 years later, there I was watching Jackyl blowing the wattage off the cottage. That cottage is known as Busters and it was not standing once Jesse James Dupree and company were done.

I was impressed.Otis and Jesse James Dupree

A few hours before the show, Jesse James Dupree made an appearance at Liquor Barn to sign bottles of his line of liquor. Jesse James American’s Outlaw Bourbon Whiskey and Full Throttle Sloonshine. That Sloonshine comes in strawberry, vanilla, apple and blackberry too. And it’s damn good! So ya know we got a little sauced up at the Liquor Barn before the show! Hey, free samples will go a long way!

And let me just say that the WKQQ Rockers came out in full force to see Jesse James for the bottle signing. The QQ Rocker came out in full for to see Jackyl. Good on ya! Dude was impressed with QQ Rockers, so we here at WKQQ say THANKS for you guys coming out. You guys rock (of course you already knew that)!

Why didn’t I bring my chainsaw for JJD to sign?

A damn good crowd was on hand at Busters to watch Jackyl melt faces, explode eardrums and kick ass! And that they did my friends. Local hair metal icons, Hard Sunday, got us primed and ready for the madness of Jackyl. Hard Sunday gave the crowd what they wanted. Good solid rock and roll peppered with some new Hard Sunday tunes. So new, Hard Sunday hadn’t even heard them. Hell, I enjoyed it. Brought me back to my old hair metal days! God, I’m getting old!

The man of the hour, Jesse James Dupree and the boys in Jackyl took the stage and proceeded to kick ass from beginning to end. Starting off with 2009′s “My Moonshine Kicks Your Cocaine’s Ass,” Jackyl provided an alcohol fueled, sexually charged, electrifying rock and roll set that would’ve brought out the best in ya. I dig-dugged it all from that first shot of Jesse James American Outlaw Bourbon Whiskey to that final swig of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Not letting up for one second, Dupree and company bombarded the ears with funky tribal rhythms and chants with “Make the Room Go Boom Boom.” And that is exactly what they did! Quick look at the video (see below, fellas, you will enjoy it) and I have to ask. Why didn’t Jackyl bring these women on stage at Busters? That Full Throttle Saloon looks fun, doesn’t it? Let’s go!

And I gotta give some props to JJD and his showmanship. Dude knows how to work the crowd! From making Ric Flair references, sexual innuendos, and talking about Pabst Blue Ribbon, the crowd held on to every word he said. I mean, what more would you expect from a man who has implemented a chainsaw into the finale? I don’t know how he has managed to keep his voice in shape, but damn, his voice has held up good throughout the years. Must be that damn liquor he sold me.

Jackyl launched into some newer material from the album Best in Show with “Screwdriver”. How about a Jackyl classic with “Down On Me”!? Damn this takes me back! As the show progressed, I was trying to come up with accurate comparison. The band is damn tight, Jesse is putting on a hell of show, the crowd is loving it, but damnit, this reminds me of something. Almost from another period in time. Should I make that comparison? I will. The more I watched Jackyl and observed the on-stage persona of Jesse James Dupree, it finally hit me. Read on!

Jackyl

Jesse knew what the crowd liked. A little bit of Zeppelin in there, some PBR references, some more wrestling references, and daggone if we all didn’t get together and sing a little ditty from Hee-Haw. “Where Oh Where Are You Tonight”. Really? Hee-Haw in the middle of Jackyl show? I’ll take it. Oh yeah, we heard a little country music in there. We heard some electrified boogie woogie blues, and some hard-hitting rock and roll. The boys in the band kept the rhythm going almost as if they were keeping up with Jesse and crowd. We were all 150mph w Jackyl and I am not sure who was trying to keep up. Honestly, it was a very uniform, tight sound from the band. Most impressive.

At some point during the show, I decided to stop typing up notes on the set list and enjoy it. What I remember hearing was “Secret of the Bottle”, “I Stand Alone”, “Dirty Little Mind”, and “Redneck Punk”. What I heard next completely floored me! You don’t hear anybody cover this one, but with the influences that some of them old school blues players had on Jackyl, and the way JJD plays to the ladies, I saw where this song fit in perfectly. Ever heard the Chuck Berry novelty “My Ding-A-Ling”? I honestly don’t believe most of the crowd knew that song existed, but that’s ok. Ya just need to know the chorus. Jesse led, the crowd sang along, and we all loved it.

How would I describe Jackyl? It was like watching Black Oak Arkansas hopped up on energy drinks. Shades of Jim Dandy came out as Jesse James Dupree worked the crowd over. And Jim Dandy was always good at that. To me Jesse studied the greats, and was an excellent student of showmanship and how to command a crowd. A good frontman knows how to get the crowd to respond. And we responded.

I don’t know what was more fun. Chanting “I like poontang better than chicken” as the song says, or watching Jesse put the final touches on the show.

Finally, that electric barnyard boogie woogie power tool of a song hit us all. Out came the chainsaw and that gritty guitar lick, and before “The Lumberjack” was all over with, we were covered with sawdust. The destruction of a bar stool by Jesse kicked ass! And damn if a chainsaw sounds good on stage. Pure genius to implement a chainsaw into a song in the 90′s and continue that genius into 2014. If the owners of the bar would have let him, I honestly think Jesse would have destroyed the whole place with that chainsaw. Jackyl was on a roll!

But all good shows must come to an end. Damnit, I wanted more. It is easy for me to say that I am a bigger fan of Jackyl now than I have been over the last the last decade. But outside of the hard rock, the sawdust, Full Throttle Saloon, I am a bigger fan of Jesse James Dupree. Earlier in the day at his signing at Liquor Barn, the way he interacted with his fans was impressive. Taking time to sign bottles, talk with the crowd, take pictures with everybody, kids, grandmas and giving his thanks to everybody that came out. That is how I will remember Jesse James Dupree.

You don’t see big time rock n’ rollers being engaging and interacting as much as Jesse did on this day. But on this day, Lexington SAW it…with a chainsaw.

The Lumberjack!

 

The Sacrifice of Sports Ilustrated

Being the High Priest and all, I felt it was my civic duty of the Big Blue Nation to rid the memory of the National Championship game.

Complete with fire, skulls, and chants!

I felt much better when I did this, and you will feel better when you watch it!

Charlie Daniels Covers Dylan

Charlie Daniels doesn’t conform to modern sounds. He doesn’t care about popular trends in music. He cares what is coming from his heart. He cares about America. So what happens when you combine a good ole southern rocker with an American songwriting icon? You get Off The Grid: Doin’ It Dylan. And it’s only appropriate considering that some of Charlie’s earliest work as a guitarist was on Dylan’s 1969 release, Nashville Skyline. Charlie then went on to continue his work with Dylan on Self Portrait and New Morning.

This 10-piece masterpiece hits the Dylan standards with that remarkable CDB sound which gives it their own identity as if they belonged on Charlie’s albums in the seventies. It is Charlie’s all out acoustical assault on Dylan. Dylan soaked in country, with a damn good fiddle!

Off The Grid starts off with “Tangled Up in Blue” which lies somewhere between the CDB and the Marshall Tucker Band. Damnit, I love it! I’m not even surprised I made that comparison considering those boys ran around together back in the seventies.

Charlie moves on to “The Times Are a Changin.” It worked for Dylan years ago, but does it work for the CDB? I wasn’t a fan of the original version, so to me, it is an improvement.

The CDB keeps it going with “Be My Baby Tonight” which is somewhere between, again, a Tucker Band song and the CDB’s “Long Haired Country Boy.” Dig it!

The CDB gets funky with “Gotta Serve Somebody” which was always a funky Dylan song. Didn’t know Charlie could get funky? Go get ya Honey in the Rock and listen to “Funky Junky.” Charlie slows down on the funk and covers the great Dylan tune “I Shall Be Released.” To me, the ultimate version of that song was by The Band, but the CDB gives it a good effort.

To be honest, I like this album quite a bit and I like the energy, but it does slow down with “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Just Like a Woman.” Sandwiched in there is “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall.” True to original form, you would almost think it is Leon Russell singing, but Charlie keeps the vocal styling close to the original. But, we all know Leon did it his way. Vocally it is very good, and I can dig the piano! These three songs offer up a different side of the album in a much slower tempo.

And speaking of vocals, Charlie’s vocals are just as strong and robust as they were back in the day. No special effects, none of that auto-tune garbage. Just clear crisp, southern enriched vocals!

However, as good as it all is, the CDB finishes damn strong with one of my favorite Dylan songs. Leon covered it. Manfred Mann covered it; Phish and the Grateful Dead. Yes, we are talking about the “Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo).” The Dylan version is a wonderful rock and country stomp, and Charlie’s version hits that lofty expectation. However, the pinch of Bluegrass makes it irresistible. I can dig the all-out country fried assault Charlie puts on it!

Dylan fans can crucify me. I can’t say that I am big Bob Dylan fan, but I have much appreciation for his musical contributions and there are many songs of his I find very good. However, for Charlie Daniels to take classic Dylan songs and give them a completely different sound takes courage and passion; and we all know Charlie is known not to back down from something he feels passionate about.

That passion lies within the songs of Bob Dylan.

 

Bobby Mackey/Dallas Moore Band Promo

Every once in awhile, I like to make promos for some of my favorite bands.  We are talking old school wrestling promos.  Here is one for my friends Bobby Mackey and Dallas Moore performing on January 25 at Bobby Mackey’s.

Country Music Lives On with Bobby Mackey

If you are familiar with Bobby Mackey’s in Wilder, KY, then you are familiar with the nightclub itself being billed as one of the most haunted places in America. What you need to need to do is forget about the ghosts and familiarize yourself with the country music of Bobby Mackey.

“When it Comes to singing country music, I know only one way… The traditional way. I’ve been singing true, real, traditional country all of my life. It works for my fans and it works for me,” says Bobby Mackey

And Bobby Mackey carries on that tradition with his latest release, Country Music Lives On. My first reaction to listening to this album is:  1. I HAVE TO GET BACK TO BOBBY MACKEY’S FOR FINE COUNTRY MUSIC. 2 THIS IS A DAMN GOOD ALBUM!Country Music Lives On CD - Click Image to Close

So what makes Bobby Mackey’s Country Music Lives On a damn good album? It’s unlike anything out there today in mainstream country, alt-country, Americana, etc. And why is it unlike anything else? Because it is an honest to God, true honky-tonk country album. And the way country music is today, that is hard to find. Country Music Lives On doesn’t create fake imagery of the country music scene today. It creates a scene remenicinst of the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s. When country music was good.

Bobby Mackey gets this record started off with “She’s On Her Way To Florida in the T-Bird.” And not only does Bobby know country music, he knows KENTUCKY. ” “…but its cold in Kentucky, I can’t stand that ice and cold.” Considering the weather we just go out off, Bobby speaks truth. And who doesn’t like the thought of a good-looking women in a T-Bird? But that is what you are going to like about this album. Truthful, humorous, reflective and auto-biographical.

Speaking of auto-biographical, we get a musical glimpse into the fine establishment that is Bobby Mackey’s Country Music World with “Kind of Place that Toby Would Love.” Almost as if Bobby was writing a letter to Toby Keith, telling him about all the great aspects of the bar. Creatively intertwined with lyrics from Toby Keith’s songs, the characteristics of Bobby Mackey’s Country World and Toby’s lyrics mesh well, creating a mental picture that this might be the last great honky-tonk on earth.

This album is traditional, fun, auto-biographical and a tribute to all of the great country music that Bobby has encountered throughout his years listening and playing country music. “That Jones Boy is Gone” is no tear-jerker. If anything, it makes ya want to drink…heavily…in honor of the Possum. You want to pull up a bar stool and trade stories with Bobby about the dang Possum. The tribute continues with “Song About Hag.” As Bobby sings “If not for him, I would have no songs to sing.” And with that, you’ve gotta give Merle Haggard thanks!

The title track, “Country Music Lives On”, is a timeline/auto-biographical journey about the country music that Bobby loved growing up. Not only the fact that he loved the country music of Hank Williams, but we also hear about Buck Owens and the Buckaroos, a Roy Rogers’ guitar, and all the sounds coming together in Bobby’s father’s grocery store.

We keep on with this fine honky-tonk sound as Bobby takes us to church with “I Saw Jesus on the Wall.” More great tracks on this album include “You Can’t Stop Love”, “She Walks the Hills” and “Poor Pearl Poor Girl.” The later two songs conjures up something up from the spirit world, but with a cold PBR in your hand, your foot will be a stompin’ with the up-tempo style to these songs.

One of my favorite songs on Country Music Lives On would be “Paycheck Was a Shove it Kind of Guy.” You’ve gotta have a good chuckle at the title, however, on the flip-side of that chuckle, you need to understand how serious Bobby Mackey takes his country music. How do I know? Social media. Also, how many country artists do you know that writes songs about Johnny Paycheck? The theme of tribute and influence rings true with “Paycheck…”

My absolute favorite songs on this album is “Where Hank and His Left Off.” Damnit, I want to drink to this song! I want to raise hell to this song! I want to dance with pretty girls to this song! I want to listen to Hank Williams Jr.  Again, tribute and influence, but it is a message to all those out there. Despite how bad country music is today, Bobby Mackey and the Big Mac Band are here to preserve the sound and tradition.  And yeah, we are steeped in traditional sounds of country music, and we’ve been around, but we can still raise hell. I dig the message.

Speaking of “Me and my rowdy friends are picking where Hank and his left off” we need give credit to the musicians on this album.

Kerry Marx-Elect Guitar, Baritone
Pat Severs-Steel, Dobro, Acoustic
Glenn Duncan-Acoustic, Fiddle, Mandolin, Banjo
Mark Prentice, Duncan Mullins – Bass
Tommy Hardin-Drums
Catherine Marx-Piano

These fine players along with the songwriting of Bobby Mackey produced a great country album that doesn’t play into the modern trends of current country music. It doesn’t fall into the trap of the mainstream Nashville culture and the artists and fans that have ruined country music.

As long as Bobby Mackey is making country music, REAL Country Music Lives On.

“The way it was is still the way it is” as they say at Bobby Mackey’s Country World.

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

FYI…

Follow Bobby on Twitter @bobbymackey

You can purchase Country Music Lives On at www.bobbymackey.com

The TWELVE DAYS OF DIO

 

DIOcember

 

 

DIOcember and THE TWELVE DAYS OF DIO are back!  DIOcember is when we pay tribute to the GREATEST HEAVY METAL SINGER OF ALL TIME!  My gift to you this year…THE TWELVE DAYS OF DIO.  Happy Holidays and enjoy this yuletide classic!

 

The Shillito Elves Move to Kentucky

 

The Shillito Elves

The other day, I asked my mamma what happened to the Shillito Elves in Cincinnati.  What?  You don’t know about the Shillito Elves and Santa’s Workshop?  Curses!  I’ll tell ya all about it.

As a kid, going to Cincinnati to see Santa’s Workshop at the old Shillito’s department store was the shit!  We started working on our letter’s to Santa right after Thanksgiving, then a couple of weeks later we would go to the big city and go and see the Elves make toys and commence to renderin’ in general mayhem in the North Pole.  We walked through this huge Christmas display of little robotic elves working hard.  At one point you would drop your letter in the mailbox and you would see it hit the conveyor belt and the elves would make sure it got into a postal bag.  Then at the end,  you had your chance to see Santa Claus.  Hey, 3-4, 5 years old…this was a big deal.

The display came to life in 1979 and it featured over 130 elves.  And the elves were not restricted to just the display itself.  The elves were street level in the display windows. Throughout the eighties, the elves were the real deal. You would see the elves, then go over to CG&E to the train display, and then do all kinds of Christmassy (is that a word?) around Cincinnati.

Unfortunately, in 1997, the elves were packed up as the department store moved (at that point, it was Lazarus). What a disappointment that elves were no longer.  How the hell could somebody rip this away from my childhood!?  I guess it was a part of growing up.  However….boom!  A little research, and hot damn! I found the elves.

The elves were then purchased by two Boy Scouts troops and they set up the display.  Sad to say at that point There were only 75 elves left, but they endured! The elves soon found themselves looking for a new home as they were almost shipped to Louisville.  NOOOOO!!!!  However, a Christmas miracle happened.  A man by the name of Bill Spinnenweber purchased the display at auction, and the elves were saved from being exiled to Louisiville.  In an interview with one of the elves (who remained nameless), he told me “The last place we wanted to go was Louisville, Kentucky. We were born in Cincinnati, and loved Kentucky Basketball. Cincinnati Basketball never did it for us.  And we loved the Reds and Bengals.  So it made no sense for us to go to Louisville.” 

Spinnenweber set up the display for 7 years in Mariemont, Ohio.  Two years ago, another Christmas miracle Shillto Elveshappened in which the elves found a new glorious home in Kentucky.  Further comments from the nameless elf: “Obviously, we were thrilled that we were going to move to Kentucky and be in the Big Blue Nation. Cincinnati is our home, but we feel just as home with these news digs on Newport on the Levee and with the good folks of Kentucky.  It could not have worked out any better.”

The displays were constructed by the original team with some new members to keep this great Cincinnati tradition alive for youngsters and families.

Below, here are some videos about the Shillito Elves, their great history, and their big move to Newport on the Levee.

For more info on the elves, http://thesantaworkshop.com/

Mr. Spinnenweber, I thank you for keeping this tradition alive.

Merry Christmas.

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