Loud Music is a $40 Fine

Just my personal blog.

February 11, 2009

Raising Sand, Redux

Well over a year ago, I wrote about the collaboration between Robert Plant and Allison Krauss, two artists that couldn’t be more different.

They’d just released a collaboration called Raising Sand. It had all the earmarks of a great project: two incredible vocalists and an incredible producer in T Bone Burnett.

But to me, the music wasn’t up to the abilities of the vocalists. It seemed like the music just laid there and didn’t do anything.

I guess someone somewhere liked it, at least enough folks in the Recording Academy at least. It won a total of five GRAMMYs the other night: Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals, Best Country Collaboration With Vocals, and Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. The songs are just awful. Burnett, Plant, and Krauss could have picked much better songs. With all the talent here in Nashville, there’s really no excuse to record such lousy songs. And then to win not one but five GRAMMYs?

I’m here to say that this emperor has no clothes.

February 10, 2009

Jacob Moon

Since the title of this blog came from a song by Webb Wilder, I think I’m going to try to start blogging more about music. So, here’s a video of a song that was originally done by Rush on their Signals album (yeah, I have the vinyl album). But this guy, Jacob Moon, does a very interesting cover of the song, called Subdivisions.

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January 26, 2009

Seagate Drives

This is why I don’t buy Seagate hard drives.  Some of their recent hard drives had bugs in the firmware, which made the drives useless. Seagate released a firmware patch, but the problem is that the patch pretty much “bricks” some 500 gig drives.

I guess you could say I’ve always tried to avoid Seagate drives. Back in the days of 10 megabyte drives, the were bad to have a problem called “stiction”. The head would accumulate dust on it, and when you powered down the drive, that dust on the head would stick to the platter. Then when you turned the drive back on, the platter wouldn’t turn. You’d have to turn it off and on a couple of times to dislodge the junk from the platter.

Obviously they haven’t had that problem in a long time, but it goes to show you how one or two bad experiences with a product can shape your opinion of the company for years.

December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone has a great New Year.

December 17, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone out there has a great Christmas.

I think I’m gonna stop blogging until after the first of the year. Not much politically going on (except the usual Chicago corruption stuff).

Music wise I think we’re going to go see Webb Wilder on the 27th, and Hillbilly Casino is playing a ton of shows out at the Opryland Hotel, so we may check out one of those.

Have a good holiday everyone.

December 3, 2008

NASCAR: End of BHR

Bobby Hamilton Racing is no more. The team, run by Hamilton’s widow, closed up shop last week.

I guess the reason was lack of sponsorship. Without Hamilton running the operation, I’d suspect that sponsors weren’t exactly breaking the doors down.

One also has to wonder about the management. You had to know something was up with the organization when Bobby Hamilton, Jr. washed his hands of the operation.

I remember when the Truck Series came to Nashville Speedway USA for the first time in 1996. It was when they still had “half times” during the races, where they would stop the race in the middle so teams could do unhurried pit stops. It also meant that teams didn’t have to spend a ton of money on pit crews.

Bobby Hamilton was there with a truck for that first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at the Fairgrounds. He wasn’t driving it; he left that up to his Nashville Late Model driver Casey Atwood. His pit crew consisted of himself and maybe two other people. They didn’t have a pit box, just a small tool box. Unfortunately, Atwood got caught up on a wreck early and exited after 5 laps. But still, it was pretty incredible being there at the beginning of what would become Bobby Hamilton Racing.

Bobby Hamilton was always helping local racers. He pretty much gave Casey Atwood his start at Nashville. He even loaned a car to Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in a Late Model race one year at Nashville. Earnhardt’s car was destroyed in a fire during practice, and Hamilton let him use one of Atwood’s backup cars.

It’s a shame that his race team couldn’t be saved, but I guess it’s better this way than trying to run a team that’s nothing but an also-ran.

November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.

November 11, 2008

NASCAR: All Over But The Shouting

About nine o’clock on Sunday night, I realized I’d completely missed the Phoenix Cup race. As it turns out, I didn’t miss much. Jimmie Johnson won again and virtually clinched the title. Here are a few random thoughts I’ve had about the race and the season.

  • Top Dog: You’ve got to wonder what Jeff Gordon’s thinking. It’s been 40 races since he won. Have we seen a changing of the guard at Hendrick Motorsports? Remind me of when Roush started pushing Mark Martin out for his younger drivers like Kenseth and Busch.
  • Retire already: What is it about motorsports that makes drivers who are past their prime think they can still win races? Kyle Petty, Mark Martin, Bill Elliot, Kenny Schrader, and much as I hate to say it, Sterling Marlin all really need to rethink their involvement in the sport’s highest level. Yeah, I know Martin’s going to “run for the championship” next year in a Hendrick car. While I’d actually like to see him win it, I don’t think it’ll happen. I don’t see Hendrick giving him the same equipment he’s giving Johnson.
  • Is this the US? The race Sunday was a 500k race. I guess that sounds more impressive than the “CHECKER O’REILLY AUTO PARTS 311 PRESENTED BY PENNZOIL”. But still, this is the US. Make the race 300 miles like those at that gawdawful New Hamshire track.
  • What’s Yer Point: Kyle Busch has to be cussing NASCAR for that new gimmicky points system. It’s gonna cost him a bunch of money. Under the old system, he’d probably end up finishing third. Under this new scheme, he could end up anywhere from 7th to 12th. NASCAR needs to fix what wasn’t broken to begin with.
  • Mergers and Acquisitions: There’s a lot of talk about different teams merging and otherwise getting new ownership money. Before they do that, they ought to ask Ray Evernham and Richard Petty how that’s working out.
  • No Testing For You: NASCAR has indicated that they’re going to possibly ban testing next year, at least for the first part of the year. This is in order to help cut costs for the teams. Here’s an idea: if you want to cut costs, limit the number of teams per owner (whether real or on paper) to two. Right now there are three or four owners who pretty much stink up the show. If your favorite driver isn’t driving for one of those teams, he doesn’t have a realistic chance of winning.

Next week is the last race of the season. I remember when I counted the days from the last race of the year to the Daytona 500. NASCAR has changed so much in the last few years that it’s just not much fun to watch anymore. And based on this year’s TV ratings (which are mostly flat or lower than last year’s), I’m not the only one NASCAR is losing. They’ve got to know that some of the stuff they’re doing is turning fans off. I don’t have the answer, but I know the product they’re putting out now can’t compare to even the mid-90’s. We’ve already seen some of the lower tier sanctioning bodies go out of business (ASA comes to mind). If I were a NASCAR stockholder I’d be concerned.

October 22, 2008

NASCAR Chase Thoughts

Chase This – NASCAR couldn’t have done a better job of keeping Kyle Busch from winning the championship if they’d tried. A driver who would still be in the hunt under the old system is now pretty much out of the race. The new system came about because people complained that the driver with the most wins wasn’t winning championships. Guess that’s gonna happen again this year. Will those same people complain now? I doubt it. This chase format has so many problems it’s not funny.

TV Coverage – ESPN shows how much respect it has for the Nationwide Series by broadcasting it on ESPN Classic, a network that maybe three people in the country get. I understand that it’s going to be simulcast on the Speed channel; yeah, that’ll help. NASCAR should specify in the TV contracts what networks the races should be shown on.

Qualifying Rain-outs – There have been more qualifying sessions rained out this year than in any other year going back to the last 50’s. Why is it that NASCAR couldn’t postpone qualifying a day? Or even have same day qualifying? Go to a one-day show format. The teams that aren’t in the top 35 deserve a shot at the race. And don’t get me started about having 35 provisional starting spots… seems like a few years ago, everyone complained about seven provisionals.

Time’s Up – Somewhere around here, I still have a hat I got from the Dodge announcement at Talladega in 2000 that they were coming back into the Cup Series. The front of the hat said “It’s Time”. Now that it looks like GM is going to gobble up Dodge, it’s unclear what will happen to those consumer brands. As to what GM will do with the Dodge brand on the race track? I think we can look at GM’s past to figure that out. How long has it been since you saw a Pontiac, Oldsmobile, or Buick on the race track? GM still sells those brands (at least I think they do), but they pretty much made everyone not in a Chevy have to make the choice of going to a new body style. It’s not good to give folks those kinds of choices; sometimes they go with a competitor.

Petty Politics – What’s the deal over at the Petty’s? Kyle doesn’t seem to know, and isn’t he the president or something? Maybe that was before they got those other investors, since he doesn’t seem to know from week to week if he’ll be driving the car. Face it: the Petty operation hasn’t been up to competitive levels in decades. That includes the cars and  Kyle. Bobby Hamilton was a breath of fresh air for that organization, and they managed to get a couple of wins with him as the driver. I think they’ve had one or two wins since him, but they’ve pretty much been a back marker for a long time. And now there’s talk about a Petty merger with DEI. This definitely ain’t your father’s NASCAR.

October 13, 2008

Webb Wilder and Webbfest 2008

Webbfest III was last weekend. Unfortunately, we didn’t go this year. They decided (last year) to have it in Asheville, NC this year, and in what turned out to be some major lack of foresight, it’s in the middle of fall color season there. So, all the hotels are either booked or are too expensive.

I’m not sure why they decided to have it in Asheville, but they made the decision last year during Webb Fest. The previous two had been held in Knoxville. I was always puzzled as to why they didn’t have it here in Nashville. It’d make it cheaper for the organizers (no hotel/motel/travel bills for the band), plus it’d make it more likely that other former Beatnecks could make it to the show. Ah well.

We did get to see Webb and the band play last Saturday night at 3rd & Lindsley. It was a really incredible show, and Webb did a few new songs, and some old songs that he hadn’t played live in a while (“Hoodoo Witch”, “Ruff Rider”, and the namesake of this blog, “Loud Music” come to mind). His new guitarist, Bob Williams, did and incredible solo on “Jimmy Reed”, one of the best I’ve heard in a long time.

Looks like Webb is not playing in Nashville again until after Christmas, so this show will have to do us for a while.