Give Me Telecasters, Let Them Rock (Part 2)

I recently discovered The Steel Woods, a band I had never heard about before and whose music is brilliant and exactly what I need right now.

Give Me Telecasters, Let Them Rock (Part 1)

Through his association with The Steel Woods, I’ve discovered another outlaw country music artist called Cody Jinks. He used to front a metal band before he gave that up to play the music of his youth and find success. He released his first full album in 2010 and his tenth album was just released.

Being from Fort Worth, he has the Texas accent I enjoy very much. That accent is one of the reasons I’ve listened to an absolute shit-ton of Billy Joe Shaver over the last few years. That and Shaver’s excellent songwriting. Cody Jinks sees himself in the tradition of Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash and he certainly lives up to those high ideals. His songwriting rivals Billy Joe’s, which is about as good as it gets this side of Bob Dylan. And his Telecaster absolutely slaps. Plus, that backing band of his, the Tonedeaf Hippies, are a thing to behold. His lyrics are as intelligent as the stuff The Steel Woods are rocking. And, as an added bonus, Jinks’ vocal range is a lot more along my usual preferences. And what a voice he has!

They guy looks more like a metal or hard rock guitarist than a country frontman, but he definitely has the country in his blood. You can’t fake it. Not like that. I just wish there were more live shows of his on the web. Hell, if we ever get concerts again and this guy comes anywhere near Germany, I’m there in a heartbeat. Just LISTEN to this guy…

Cody Jinks – Loud and Heavy (Adobe Sessions Unplugged)

This entry was originally published in ⇒ my gemlog in the Gemini space.

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Give Me Telecasters, Let Them Rock (Part 1)

I’ve always liked country music. Ever since I spent a year living in the backwoods of Queensland, Australia in the year of 2000, country music has been as much part of my being as the cowboy hats I’ve been wearing ever since. Slim Dusty, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Billy Joe Shaver and, of course, Johnny Cash have shaped my understanding of a world away from the city where I grew up until I was 18. These men have shaped my understanding of what it means to be a man. As I grow older, and as my respect for most of my other musical heroes and the things they stand for is waning among the insanities of the pandemic, I find myself turning more and more towards country music.

See my previous post on Van Morrison and the absence of rebels in today’s music

I enjoy the tell-it-as-it-is lyrics and musical simplicity of country in a time where everybody seems to turn out to be a hypocrite lying through their teeth. Especially outlaw country has always inspired me with its I-don’t-give-a-shit-about-your-mainstream-opinion attitude. This attitude is the reason for the outlaws part of the “Linux Outlaws” name. And it’s an attitude that is especially needed in these times where everyone seems to agree with everything the talking heads on TV are saying. I want more country in my life right now. Down-to-earth lyrics, a couple of Telecasters cranked through a very loud amp, a bass and a drumkit and let ‘er rip!

So I’m always on the lookout for some good new country to listen to. That’s why my interest was piqued immediately when I recently read a story somewhere about this southern country band going through some tough times. They have just released a new album, even though their band leader and song writer had died earlier in the year. The story was accompanied by a photo of some seriously cool looking dudes of about my age in serious hats and packing serious Telecaster action. I was sure, based on the picture alone, that I would like these guys.

And indeed, I love these guys. They are called The Steel Woods and they are amazing. They have the most powerful country rock sound I’ve heard in ages. I love their southern heritage and even though their singer has a vocal range that’s a lot higher than the stuff I usually prefer, his voice is extremely captivating. And their lyrics are extremely intelligent, too. I listened to their three albums in one sitting and one of the songs made me flat out cry. These dudes are the real deal. They are amazing. I’m very glad I found their music.

Wherever you are now, Rowdy, rest in peace. And thank you for these wonderful songs! I hope the rest of the band can continue to do them justice and will record many, many more in your memory.

The Steel Woods – Rock That Says My Name (Live in Memphis, TN)

This entry was originally published in ⇒ my gemlog in the Gemini space.

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Where Have All the Rebels Gone?

I’ve recently stopped listening to a lot of the music I’ve previously enjoyed. I don’t feel it’s currently the right time for Bruce Springsteen to sing about the travails of the working class or for metal bands to innocently explain some historic battle to me. Instead, I’ve been listening a lot to Merle Haggard, Billy Joe Shaver, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison. What do all of these artists have in common? They are almost incessantly pissed off. Which I feel fits the situation we’ve been in for the last year quite well.

Van Morrison has become a particular favourite. The man’s always been weird and abrasive – as anyone who’s ever been to one of his concerts knows. Hell, he once wrote a complete album of unreleasable music because his record company fucked him over. And Van Morrison, of all people, is the only established musician I can find, who’s actually speaking out against the things going wrong right now. Van Morrison, of all people, the small, quiet blues man, is suddenly the most punk of the group.

On his latest album with the quirky meta name “Latest Record Project – Volume 1”, there’s as song called “Where Have All the Rebels Gone?”. And in that song, Van puts to music exactly what I have been asking myself for over a year now:

Where have all the rebels gone?
Hiding behind computer screens
Where’s the spirit, where’s the soul?
Where have all the rebels gone?

Why don’t they come out of the woodwork now?
One for the money, two for the show
It’s not very rock and roll
Where have all the rebels gone?

Where have all the rebels gone?
Waiting for someone else to make a move
Why are they sitting on the fence?
Well, it’s some kind of pretence
They’re not saying much at all
Where have all the rebels gone?

Where they really all that tough?
Or was it just a PR stunt?

Van Morrison: Latest Record Project – Volume 1

This entry was originally published in ⇒ my gemlog in the Gemini space.

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Speaking Truth to Power

The idea of “speaking truth to power” has traditionally been a powerful driving force for journalists. Sadly, I don’t see may of my colleagues doing this anymore. With some noticeable examples, none of which appear as part of content from traditional corporate publishers or media producers, everyone is almost without question taking for granted what companies and government officials tell them. If companies are criticised, it is very seldomly directed against the most powerful players in the field and if it is, only when popular opinion has already turned on them. Government policy is presumed to be in the best interest of everyone. Unless the government in question has been agreed upon by the opinion mainstream to be evil or at least generally motivated by bad intentions.

But that’s not how the world works. Any sufficiently big company – certainly all multi-national corporations – perpetuate untruths as part of PR efforts. And certainly all governments intentionally mislead their citizens – either via direct propaganda efforts or by simply keeping silent about certain things. One look at how an intelligence agency operates makes this clear. Now, this is mostly presumed to be in the interest of the country’s citizens, and it often is. But many times, it isn’t – as one look at the history of any contemporary country will clearly demonstrate.

It’s the job of the press, at least in my understanding, to never believe a corporation or a government. As a journalist, you simply can’t leave it up to history to decide if the press release you reworded was a lie or not. It’s our job to find out. Or to try as hard as we can, because often it is a futile mission. But what I see from most of my colleagues these days is that they aren’t even trying. They’ve given up. They’re not speaking truth to power. They are parroting power. Only choosing to jump on a crusade against a tiny sliver of power when there’s nothing to lose and everyone is in on it already.

This makes me ashamed of most of the people in my profession. They’re egocentric, lazy and defensive when called out on their bullshit. When looking for role models, maybe trying to be a bit less like Lev Mekhlis and a bit more like Hunter S. Thompson would be a good idea.

This entry was originally published in ⇒ my gemlog in the Gemini space.

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