Thursday, August 20, 2009

Review: George Strait's Twang

Twang EPK at YouTube

If you've heard one George Strait album, the mantra goes, then you've heard 'em all.

Then why am I the proud owner of over a dozen of Strait's 38 albums?

I bought his first album, Strait Country, as a new release, in 1981. The first song on that first album, "Unwound", is still one of my favorites. And Strait sings "El Rey" , the final song of his predictably fine new release Twang, in Spanish. The two tracks serve as bookends for (literally) days of great music.

Sure, a lot of it is formulaic and sappy. But Strait is also the most prolific and expert practitioner of my most cherished country music tradition- the drinkin'-to-forget song. "Living For the Night" is Twang's real keeper in that category.

Strait name-checks Hank Williams on the title track and Louis Armstrong on "Where Have I Been All My Life." Guys like me love that stuff.

I also appreciate the fact that it took Strait to finally break the six-week stranglehold that Michael Jackson's Number Ones had on the top of the charts. Loyal readers of There Stands the Glass know that I cried when M.J. died. But the tears I shed as I listen to Strait's hurtin' songs have an entirely different taste.

It's fitting then, at least from my perspective, that "King George" displaced the King of Pop.

Until Tuesday, I'd never seen Over the Rhine. They absolutely floored me. I had no idea what I'd been missing. Here's my review of their stellar performance.

Between the sets of Ari Hest and Over the Rhine, I snuck into the Blondie show down the street. The veterans looked and sounded phenomenal. And I got to hear "Hanging On a Telephone"!

I encourage you to share the Gnawledge.

This Blue Note/Wu-Tang mash-up is dope. (Found via NPR's jazz blog.)

Kansas City Click: The rarest of events in Kansas City- an in-store performance- takes place with Micro Giant at Streetside Records Thursday. It's followed by a proper gig at the Riot Room.

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