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Favorite Tweets of 2017

My Ramblings By December 11, 2017 No Comments

The circus that is social media conveys the zeitgeist of the day and occasionally the news feed gives you a gem worth stashing away for later. With 2017 coming to a close, we are in the midst of reflecting on our favorite music and saying our final goodbyes to the musical heroes we lost (looking at you Petty, Berry, Fats, etc.). Recently the herd tendency is to lament on how much the current year sucked for various reasons. I’m not going there, each year stands on its own successes and defeats and as I age I’m finding it takes way more energy to be pissed off at the world than to embrace the good around me and bring constructive change where I can. It’s easy to tear down, it’s better to build up, love people, and sometimes look back at tense times with a sense of humor to take the edge off. In true P1 form, I’ll quote legendary sports radio and broadcaster Norm Hitzges by asking the rhetorical question, “Isn’t it fun to laugh a little?”

Here are a host stashed tweets that construct a light-hearted retrospective of 2017. Most of it is from our own Texas/Red Dirt monkeysphere and I hope it brings a smile to your face.

Going back to January…

Apparently, this guy didn’t like my glowing review of Sturgill Simpson’s performance on SNL. IMG_4037

My favorite inauguration tweet #BringingItBackToSports IMG_4062

That week where Fort Worth’s own 95.9 The Ranch tweaked their format to include mainstream artists like Bruce Springsteen, Gary Allan, and Brad Paisley? Leave it to Dalton Domino to mount a defense:

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Thank you, Bryon White, for such colorful sentiments:
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Earlier in the year, I asked Flatland Cavalry’s Laura Jane Houle about the growth of her stalker fanbase after this picture surfaced in 2016. Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 1.45.53 PM

Probably no coincidence my chat with her is the most watched interview on the Texas Music Blog YouTube channel this year.

We’re having fun here no?
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Challenge issued by Mr. Mooney, challenge answered by The Co-Write’s own Donovan Dodd:
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Winner of “Top Smackdown by a Texas Artist” goes to Josh Abbott: IMG_0336

with honorable mention going to Rich O’Toole’s mom:
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POTUS pays a visit to Texas:
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I don’t think God Himself could have created more perfect Halloween costumes for these two:
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A Baylor Bear asks an Aggie…
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Finally, could you ask for a better way to end the year? Snow at Gruene Hall with William Clark Green sounds pretty darn perfect.

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Enjoy the holiday season everyone!

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Watching The Ranch Wall Come Tumbling Down

My Ramblings By March 7, 2017 No Comments

Brad did an excellent job of explaining why we should trust Shayne Hollinger, Justin Frazell and the rest of The Ranch crew with our precious Texas/Red Dirt Music lives. As a regular Ranch listener who lives in DFW, I’m usually lurking on The Ranch “Wall” (the station’s online chat room) during the week. I don’t chat all that much but I’m there listening and watching the happenings as the DJs interact with the “Wallbangers” throughout the day (which in and of itself is pretty cool).

As Friday afternoon rolled around I did notice a few more curveballs being thrown into The Ranch playlist – Gary Allan, Dierks Bentley, The Eagles, etc. I didn’t think much of it, because the station has always rolled its own and it actually takes requests from its listeners, especially on Thursdays and Fridays so hearing a Ronnie Milsap song followed by Turnpike isn’t all that strange.

By late Friday, social media caught fire claiming that The Ranch had “sold out” to “mainstream country” and “Nashville crap.” The Wall was in full meltdown mode, like a 2-year old who just had Teletubbies turned off. As the anger flowed throughout the weekend, I kept listening, checking the playlist, watching the mass exodus by it’s “loyal” listeners, trying to make sense of it all.

Compared to the rest of the country, I’ve always thought Texans had a high musical IQ and a true appreciation for music history. But as I watched The Ranch staff take it in the shorts all weekend, I realized I was wrong. Here are a few observations from the weekend that I thought were worth highlighting.

Concerning the format change. It really isn’t all that different. As others have statistically shown, it’s still mostly TXRD. And the majority of those “mainstream” additions to The Ranch playlist feature artists that either have a direct Texas connection or are pretty darn influential to TXRD music. Examples:

Dierks Bentley – Cody Canada must like him, seeing as he named his oldest son Dierks. His other son’s middle name is Vedder, hmm…wonder who that is after.

Brad Paisley – He’s got credits for playing guitar on both Pat Green and Asleep at the Wheel albums. Personally, I like Dalton Domino’s supportive poetry.

Garth Brooks – He’s from Oklahoma and used to jam in Stillwater with the rest of them Red Dirt boys you love.

The Allman Brothers – Ryan Bingham covered “Whipping Post” at Billy Bobs last month.

Gary Allan – Better tell Shane Smith and The Saints that Gary ain’t Texas enough for them to open for him at Floore’s in May.

Bruce Springsteen – Seriously, look out that window. You’d be hard pressed to find a TXRD act that doesn’t think The Boss is the boss. Rich O’Toole will tell you straight up that his new album “American Kid” is primarily driven by his love for Springsteen.

Eric Church –  Church and Ray Wylie Hubbard are pretty good buds now.

The Eagles –  Don Henley being from/living in Texas isn’t enough? The scene mourned with everyone when Glen Frey passed last year yet we get mad when “Take It Easy” got played.

Merle Haggard – Yes, people were even pissed they were playing The Hag. Guess they forgot when he passed away last year how the whole Texas music community spent the next few weeks doing Hag tribute shows.

Ryan Adams – To many this guy is arguably is the most influential songwriter to Texas Music right now and the dude isn’t even from Texas. Don’t get Bobby Duncan started or bother to ask Randy Rogers who leads the spin count on his phone.

A couple of other Wall head scratching moments from the weekend:

– Somebody threw a fit when The Ranch would spin any kind of rock music (e.g. Lynyrd Skynyrd) then turn around and request Ragweed or Koe Wetzel. Are you kidding me? Have you listened to “Noise Complaint”?

-The premise that was firmly established by the Wall lynch mob was that everything out of Nashville is either “Nashtrash”, “Nashpoop” or some other other fecal derivative.

So I wonder:

Why does King George get a pass by these folks? Nashville folks produced him, wrote for him, help make him. Practically every one of his albums was on a big corporate Nash label. Oh yeah, he’s Texan so I guess that trumps Nashtrash.

Pat Green once told us that “Old Walt Wilkins lives out in Nashville,” hmm…

Guy Clark made his final home in Nashville, did it taint him?

Many a favorite Texas acts collaborate, write with or are produced by Nashville folks. Does that make them all look like poo-poo?

Look, I get it. Nobody wants to hear FGL, Sam Hunt, or Jason Aldean and the fear is that The Ranch will eventually cave to the mighty dollar. I have faith that isn’t going to happen. Even with the format tweak, The Ranch is far from the Top 40 country stations further down the dial.

Some final common sense thoughts:

Shayne Hollinger has always looked out for the independent artist. I’ve listened to him long enough to know how much he cares about these folks. People don’t flip their core beliefs over the weekend.

Justin Frazell said something to the effect of “Everything I have I owe to TXRD, you think I’m just going throw that all away?”  – No Justin, I don’t.

Ranch naysayers would argue up and down that making room for “mainstream” artists would squeeze the “little guy” from getting spins. Yet if you checked social media this weekend it was the “little guy” standing up for Justin, Shayne and the rest of The Ranch crew. All those artists putting their trust in these people says a lot.

I will sympathize with those who don’t like the explicit rebranding of The Ranch to “Alternative Country.” I’m not too hot on it either, not because it isn’t true but because the messaging was over the top in that FM wacky way. The marketing department was trying a little too hard, the punk rocker doesn’t need to tell everybody he’s a punk rocker. But it’s a nit and it’s something that can be tweaked.

So, let’s give the folks at The Ranch the benefit of the doubt, give this thing some time and be thankful we still have a great country station in DFW.

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