Ameripolitan Showcases: Sunday.

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Mar 022019

I have been hanging out at Dad’s Place and right now Mr. Dale is onstage with the band, and he started with “Lonesome Fugitive” by Merle Haggard from the 1967 album of the same name. He is playing the Bob Wills song from 1974 “That’s What I Like About The South” wrote by Phil Harris.

This full band here is tearing this bar up today, with many more terrific acts to come here tonight at Minglewood Hall at both clubs tonight.  Right now Mr. Dale is playing one of his new songs from the “Call Me Lucky” album called “Haul Off And Do It”. You can also read our review of that album right HERE, as usual Mr. Joshua did a fine job of reviewing this one.

Nominated for Outlaw Male right now Mr.Steve Griggs is playing “Walk On By” from Mr. Leroy Van Dyke. He played an original song from his album called “Fort Worth To Bakersfield” called “Drinking Texas Off My Mind”.

Mr. Jimi Palacios was today’s first chicken shit bingo winner, and he chose a pocket, which he gets to do later. For now Mr. Dale played the ever popular song “Fraulein”, before the next guest came up. “Inside View” was another great song off the new album he played. So he got called back up to play the pocket game, and he chose a pocket…and he wins….26 cents…..and one hundred dollars! THAT’S how you play the game.

Mr. Billy Don Burns got up there and played “Hank Williams Lonesome”. He played one he said he just wrote called “I like Trains”. He is nominated for Outlaw Male of the year awards, and right now I am eating one of those free hot dogs Mr. Dale always sings about….good food. Like I previously said..he did this weekend up right.  The band is playing “Dim Lights Thick Smoke”.

“Working Man’s Blues” was next tonight, along with a bunch of swing music that is keeping everybody drinking and dancing on into the early evening here. Ray Price is the next shuffle song up there tonight, “Are You Sure This Is Where You Want To Be”.

Mr. Lawrence Peterson played was the song “Your’e The Reason”, and “One Woman Man”…and now they HAD a winner, that never got claimed. Going once…going twice..not claimed. Mr. Dale is playing more songs now until the next guest, or the next winner….who happened to be Miss Janis.

She took one of the pockets…and won….156 dollars! unbelievable!

“I Lie When I Drink” was another song that Mr. Dale played on his set tonight, as well as “Waltz Across Texas”. What a wonderful portion of the show tonight, VERY enjoyable time here. Miss Celine Lee and Mr. Dale both did a duet of Mr. Joe and Miss Rose Lee  Maphis “I’m Gonna Wear The Pants”.  So, since it’s 4:20 he played a Willie Nelson song called “Hello Walls”, followed by his title track “Call Me Lucky”.

I then went back to the hotel to refresh and write a few things, and I drove over to midtown to Minglewood Hall, off around Madison Avenue. I stopped over at Top’s Barbeque and had the smoked pork shoulder plate, which I did not like at all. The meat was horribly dry, and the sauce was sour vinegar based and runny. I tried three different sauces and all of them were not to my liking at all, although I did enjoy the sides. I make the absolute BEST of every road meal and I enjoyed what I DID LIKE of it!

Mr. Wayne The Train Hancock was one of the acts I was DYING to see This weekend, his newest album called “Slingin Rhythm” on the Bloodshot label was one that gathered much critical acclaim on my website as well as others. He began with an Ernest Tubb song called “You Nearly Loose Your Mind”, he wrote with Floyd Tillman.

From the 1997 album “That’s What Daddy Wants” he played the “Louisiana Blues”, one thing I noticed about Mr. Wayne is that he draws heavy influence from Ernest Tubb while maintaining his own style and sound. I say that because he “calls out” his band members to play solos, like E.T. did, but maaaan he plays slap bass rockabilly music.

To say that Wayne The Train wasn’t one of my original underground music influences in the early nineties would be seriously lying! When Myspace began and Roots Music was taking shape I was digging him and the Old 97’s, and Split Lip Rayfield..then came Hank III who also drew influence from him.

After a hellacious instrumental he played “Slingin Rhythm” the title track of his latest album, followed by the 1997 classic song and album “Thunderstorms And Neon Signs”. This set complete with Miss Rose Sinclair’s iconic steel guitar sound and style was easily one of the best sets of the weekend.

“Reefer Boogie” was next which was also the song he played Monday night at the awards show, followed by three absolute classics like “87 Southbound” which had that classic slap bass thump. “Juke Joint Jumpin” was one of my favorite ones as well.  He closed his set with “Honky Tonk Man”, now the way that this venue is set up is that there are several rooms under one place. With that being said there were two clubs involved so we had to move back and forth tonight.

Miss Tammi Savoy And The Chris Casello Combo took home the Rockabilly Female award Monday night, I stopped to eat a bite at the 1884 club. They had a VERY GOOD french dip sandwich and pub fries, I REALLY enjoyed their food and will eat that again SOON during the Lucero show in April…more on that one later!

My buddy Mr.Zephaniah Ohora from up there in New York played a DYNAMITE SET tonight with a song off This Highway called “I Do Believe Iv’e Had Enough”, complete with his Honky Tonk shuffle and thump he is known for. This man has a new album in the works and played a few songs from it, like the one called ‘Heaven’s On The Way” and another called “Black And Blue”. I shall certainly be keeping an eye out for his news and we shall feature that new album and catch up with him.

“High Class City Girl From the Country” is a good song from his Highway album about a gal that moved to the city and went all high fillutin on us, we all know one of those people. Forgot where they came from and their roots. “Don’t Have That Last Drink” was another I did not recognize here.

He played the title track to his album called “This Highway” which is a great song about how time keeps rolling on and on. It talks about his life on the road and the life of a traveling musician. You know, I never really knew or understood how hard the road life was until I began living it myself on this website. My new truck I just got has already been in six states, and I don’t regret one part of it.

“Riding That Train” was one of the last songs he played along with “Always Late”, which is a classic Lefty song. I really enjoy his covers and originals, he always plays one hell of a great set. I look forward to many festivals and house shows with this man involved on them! I see nothing but an upward direction for this man and his music.

Mr.jimmy Dale And The Beltline are from Oklahoma and one of the bands on Wild Records. They were playing in the 1884 room while A West Coast powerhouse band called The Rhyolite Sound took over the B-SIDE Memphis.

Mr. CHRIS DAVIS on upright bass, Mr. LARRY REHA on guitar, vocals Mr. ERIK ALESI  on acoustic guitar and vocals, Mr. A.J. PALLUCK on drums and finally Mr. JAMES CASELTON on lead guitar make up this band here tonight who are nominated for Outlaw Group on Monday.

Their album called “Desert Honky Tonk” boasted their first song called “The Road To Loosing My Mind’. The lead guitar has a much smoother tone than other derivatives of Outlaw Country ( if you want to use that term), and even though they were formed in 2013 they have a unity onstage many young bands lack today. I’m sorry I cannot study this band more often live, I’d like to look for similarities and differences in technique.

“You Won’t let Me Love You” is a song I could relate to, whether it’s being friend zoned or some other bullshit I had in my youth that lead to a lonely adult life I have now. I have heard EVERY LINE from it’s not you it’s me…to oh I’m not looking for a relationship now….a week later she is dating?

“Downtown” and “Trainwreck’ were two more songs in their set today. Another good song was called “I think Too Much When I Drink Too Much”, basically it was a self explanatory song. One of the reasons I’m glad I don’t really drink much anymore.

“Setting Me Up” was one that was not on the album and I didn’t get to ask if it was new or a cover song tonight.  Their last song was called ‘Your Mind’s Made Up”, and that came off their album as well. This song was a toe tapper full of twang and rolling drums. ALL of these sets tonight were absolutely amazing, and I’m truly glad I could come see them this year for the first time.

Mr. Dallas Moore my buddy from Ohio is nominated for Outlaw Male on Monday, and as always he is tearing up the place. He began with “One More Ride” which is an older song followed by “Shoot Out The Lights” from the “Mr. Honky Tonk” album that made our TOP 50 OF 2018.

When I first met Mr. Dallas in 2013 he was riding high on his album called “Blessed be the Bad Ones”, which boasted this song called “Texas Tornado”, which is basically what he does. He plays a whopping 320 shows a year, and takes very little time off the road to bring his music to the masses with NO radio play.

“Bottle And A Bible” was next followed by my favorite song he does called “Raising Hell And Slinging Gravel”. He played the Hoyt Axton song called “Cat Named Kalamazoo” and closed with “Home Is Where The Highway Is” and finally “Mr. Honky Tonk”.

My new friend Mr.Jesse Daniel from California cleaned house this weekend, and gathered more attention than just about anybody here. I’m going to be heavily covering his music here for quite some time, and he will be getting a special article here shortly. “Big Fish” was his first song tonight, which basically mocks fake people.

“Hell Bent” on loving you is a good toe tapping song on loving your gal when you are on the road. This young man is just coming out, and I’m sure he has a LOT of road miles ahead of him in this game. “Soft Spot (For The Hard Stuff)” is a Honky Tonk masterpiece of drug use and debauchery. As a reformed addict myself I usually cringe upon songs that glorify drug use but dammit this one is presented so differently I couldn’t help but enjoy it.

“Coming Down Again” was next, basically about that subject….coming down. All of the songs on this album were so masterfully crafted that I couldn’t ignore it if I tried. “The Banker” was next along with “SR-22 Blues”, and two more called “California Highway” and ” One Dime At A Time”.

Two Tons Of Steelis a San Antonio Texas based band that Mr. Kevin Geil began a band called the Dead Crickets, which actually had an album called “Two Tons Of Steel” in 1994. Then in 1996, he renamed the band Two Tons Of Steel.

The event Two Ton Tuesday Live at Gruene Hall in Texas is 23 years and going strong. The summer long event has drawn over 230,000 fans from the entire nation at times. All of this information made me excited to see them up here tonight, and it might be why they won the Honky Tonk Group Award this weekend.

They began with a song called ‘Count On Me ( I’ll Let You Down)” from the 2017 album called “Gone”. The next song had a 2006 album named after it called “Vegas”, which was produced by one of my favorite producers Mr. Lloyd Maines. Mr. Kevin Geil, Mr. Jake “Sidecar” Marchese on Upright Bass, Mr. Will Owen-Gage on Lead Guitar and Mr. Rich Alcorta on Drums.

From the 2006 album Transparent they played the song called “Maybe I” followed by the new song called “Jumpin Tonight”. More songs continued their set with ones like “Your Kiss’ and another called “All Tied Up”. I went over to the B Side for my good friend Miss Tommy Ash.

She is a staple member of my local music community along with her husband who plays the HELL out of his guitar, with some AWESOME twang that only they present in true form. She first sang “Motel time Again” which was a 1967 Johnny Paycheck song from the Little Darlin Era of recordings.

Another great song she played was the Johnny Russell classic “She’s In Love With A Rodeo Man” , and one of her own called “Sugar In A Bottle”. That is a great song with terrific solos as is her entire set, as well as the song called “Sinner’s Blood”.  I also think Mr. Mustang Mitch did a wonderful job hosting this stage tonight.

Ameripolitan Showcases: Saturday.

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Mar 022019

Well hey everybody here I am at the Ameripolitan Awards kind of tucked away in my corner sort of doing my thing here. I’m writing this as I listen to my buddy Mr. Pat Reedy play his set tonight, however I got to see some old friends first. I am going to skip around here, and talk about many things I did, food I ate and I REALLY wanted to help out the hotel I stayed at. That hotel had incredible service and nice accommodations for me as a guest. Plus it was right around the corner from where the showcases were today, and not far from Graceland.

There is an absolute plethora of events happening all at once here all around the city, and if I tried to report on everything I would have to clone myself …twice! This is my first year for coverage this deep, last year I only covered the awards, I decided to go all out this year. I have many different side articles going on for you this weekend, so enjoy them all!

The Country Heroes were the first band up today and to be honest I was getting set up today with my camera and other things. However I did indeed get to hear their set, they were one of the bands from overseas…Norway to be exact. Their new album is called Honky Tonk Tears, and one of their songs was called “Satan Loves Country Music”. It was truly a great picking song about how the devil wanted to join their band.

Jørund Vålandsmyr: Vocal, Guitar
Bjørn Haglund: Drums, Vocal
Daniel Gullien: Guitar, Vocal
Ivar Brynhildsen: Bass
Tore Blestrud: Steel Guitar

Their next song was called “Texas And Me”, this song made me grin as it mentioned eight tracks and had a smooth steel guitar tone to it. I have yet to venture out into Texas, but in the next year or so I will defiantly be there one day. The last song of theirs I got down was “Hangovers From Your Kisses”, people this song had more twang and style than anything I could tell you about!

Mr. Jimi Palacios from NOLA County and I had a wonderful lunch today over at Exline’s Pizza near Graceland. Now if you want the BEST pizza in Memphis in my opinion that is it! If I ever come to Memphis, and when I don’t go there I feel cheated. The Travelodge Wyndham hotel where the first showcases were was just around the corner from my hotel, and so was Graceland.

I stayed over at the Quality Inn at 3105 Millbranch Road close to the airport. I found the room to be VERY nice and clean, with a few great features and spacious room to relax. It was easy to enjoy the music this weekend with such an easy trek to my hotel room, as you already know I have my list of go to places all over the United States to eat and stay.

The Western Swing Authority was an absolute THRILL to get to see, and I got some good shots of them. Dad’s Place was a GREAT venue, and in just a few minutes I shall be heading over there for the Kim Lenz album release party. They played some truly great cover songs of classic Western Swing, like “Roly Poly” that got people up swing dancing all over.

“Mississippi” was another great song, that glorified this city that we are in right now, Memphis. I did spend some time downtown on Beale street, I’ll talk about that soon here. “Dance With Who Brung Ya” made popular by Asleep At The Wheel. That band is one of my favorite one, and these Western Swing bands are some fun times. “In The Middle Of The Song” was another great selection off their Big Deal album. Very smooth and Bluesy melody that sets the mood for slow dancing.

Mr. Shane Guse, Miss Stacey Lee Guse, Mr. Paul “Chappy” Chapman, Mr. Ed Ringwald aka Pee Wee Charles, Mr. Matthew Lima, “The lovely and talented” Dan Howlett and Mr. Jim Boudreau comprise this large ensemble of swing greatness!

“Swinging From The Rafters” was the last song I got from them, I tell you what, I truly enjoy watching people swing dancing to this kind of stuff here. This song mentions illegal substances and other things, complete with horns and all the like.

I would like to say THIS, Mr. Dale did this RIGHT this weekend! I mean they had a shuttle bus take us from the hotel to the showcases EVERY HALF HOUR, which saved time and parking. They also had a food truck outside the main hotel venue, I have yet to try it as of now..but I will. There is just too much going on at one time for me to accurately document EVERYTHING myself. I missed the Album listening party for Mr. Chuck Mead on behalf of my friends at Plowboy Records as well.

Mr. Pat Reedy And The Longtime Goners are a band that graced my TOP 50 OF 2018 but also consists of my friend Mr. John R. Miller who’s album also adorned that list! Got all that info? Now then, they opened with “Bloodshot Heart” from his new album “That’s All There Is And There Ain’t No More”. Enjoyed his true authentic Honky Tonk thump sound they have, always a hoot to cover their set.

“Burgundy In The Rain” is another song you just cannot make any better than it already is, Country Music at it’s raw finest. His first album “Highway Bound” is just as gold as his second, and I look forward to bringing you this new stuff he has loaded ready to go. “Lucky I’m Alive” is another song that speaks to me as a person, as I pretty much am lucky to be alive.

“Funny Thing About A Hammer” was next followed by “Big Wheels” roll slow, classic truck driver song. You cannot beat those good old fashioned truck driver songs no matter what era. The title track from his album called “That’s All There Is (And There Ain’t No more)” was next along with a song that describes my lunch hour at work..”Nashville Tennessee At 3 a.m.”

“Same To Me” from the second album and “They Know My name” from the first album were next, and one of the last songs I caught of theirs was “Coal Train Blues”. All in All this was by far one of the best sets of my weekend so far, however as of the time of writing this I still have today’s showcases to catch.

The Lucky Stars were also amazing here tonight, playing songs like “Shapes And Sizes” and another called “Hot Potato” this classic Western Swing band consists of Mr. Sage Guyton on vocals, Mr. Rusty Blake on steel guitar, Mr. Wally Hersom, Mr. Andy Weinstein, and Mr. Andy Bean.

“100 Dollars And No Sense” was a song about partying and drinking your paycheck away, and not caring about it at all..all of their songs feature some terrific steel and fiddle work, complete with cowbell. If you truly Western Swing Music like I do this band is for you.

“Feelin’ It” was next followed by a song called “It’s All Your Fault” , and a song off their 2000 album “Hollywood And Western” called “Get Off Your High Horse”. Another truly funny song was their song called “She’s The Quarter Horse Type Of Gal”. They also included in their set the songs “That’s What I Like About The South”, “Real Good Lookin”, and their final song was called “Sugar Mamma”.

This next young lady brought home the Outlaw Female award, which like the rest of them I shall focus on here in just a little bit. I have a pretty funny story from later tonight I ubered back to the Travelodge singing Amazing Grace at midnight with some of the Revves Brothers, with a VERY kind driver. We tipped her beyond well, and she deserved every penny, when I write a book this shall indeed make one of the stories.

Miss Summer Dean played a DAMN FINE SET with the Reeves Brothers. Her first song was called “Picket Fence”, and quickly got my attention on her vocals. Her debut EP called “Unladylike” is just a small taste of what will be coming in 2019, when she releases her full album.

“Queen Of The Clowns” was a very good song, and although I’m sure that some of the songs are new ones that have yet to be recorded, I’ll report on the ones I did know about. “A Heartache I Can Use” was a terrific shuffle song that got people up on the dance floor. It is always fun for me to watch all the dancing even though I don’t really do it myself.

She covered the Roseanne Cash song ‘Seven Year Ache” from the 1980 album of the same name, as well as two other covers. One was the Ernest Tubb song called “Driving Nails In My Coffin”, the 1946 powerhouse hit that was also recorded by other people. It was originally on her ninth album called TNT in 1978, and she concluded her set with “Alabama ( Can I Call You Hank)”.

I took the shuttle bus down to Beale Street and the showcases that were at the Blues City Cafe, and I had the opportunity to eat Memphis ribs there. I was GREATLY satisfied with the rack of ribs and the service I got there, my waitress was VERY friendly and sweet. It was VERY crowded in there and was difficult to get pictures and take notes simultaneously, so I just took pictures of Mr. Casey James Prestwood who was included on one of my TOP 50 OF 2017 from one of the hotel lobby parties.

“King Of Losers” was one of the songs of the 2017 album “Born Too Late”, and his set was absolutely amazing. In fact it was one of the better sets of this weekend. “Good Ones” was from his 2013 ‘Honky Tonk Bastard World” album, as well as his title track called “Born Too Late”.

“Beer Tear Saturday Night” is just one of his Honky Tonk shuffle songs that talk about one of our favorite subjects…drinking beer….and crying in it. I’ll be honest here, it just simply doesn’t get any better than Mr. Casey when it comes to heartache and pain. I’m very glad I got to be invited tonight into his “Honky Tonk Bastard World”..

“Don’t Let It Die” was from his new album, which I hope it doesn’t die, and I hope that he has some new material coming in the next year or so. “Sorry In Advance” is a well written song and one of my favorites, however the closing songs like a new one like “Wine Drunk” and a song by Gram Parsons and Emmy Lou Harris.

Well now, let’s talk about another new band that just formed in January of 2018, and brought home the 2019 Western Swing Group award called Big Cedar Fever.  This energetic trio is based out of Austin Texas, and consists of Miss Georgia Parker on guitar, Mr. Ira Lee on fiddle, and Mr. Nick Lochman on the upright bass.

Their cover of the classic song called “Oklahoma Hills” was nothing short of exquisite and precise on every note in my opinion. I admired the instrumental portions of their set as they traded lead duties quite readily, and also the obscurity of some of their cover songs such as “The Girl I Left behind Me”. My favorite version of that was by Jim And Jesse McReynolds.

One of their new songs was played tonight called ‘Diner”, however I didn’t really get to catch as many of the sets here that I wanted to because of the space available. I’ll be completely honest, I couldn’t do that cramped of a venue. I needed to return to the hotel for the Kim Lenz Release Party.

Speaking of parties, the music was all over and not just on the stages. Whatever artists you enjoyed most, many of them were playing impromptu sessions all over the place. It just didn’t matter where you were, all weekend long there was music and friendships forming. That’s the great thing about music festivals and conventions, or events like this one. I myself made some awesome contacts and new friends, and I do EVERY year here. Wait until I tell you all about this man here..and I shall in part 2.