Monthly Archives: February 2017

Some Song Titles That Could Serve As Newspaper Headlines

President Trump has had so far a somewhat contentious relationship with various members of the media, although that situation has been true of many men who have sat in the Oval Office. He has also been a celebrity, another occupation that often leaves people cynical toward the media.

Add musicians and recording artists to the list of those who frequently dispute with members of the press, dating as far back as the Sixties. John Lennon, even more than the three other members of The Beatles, repeatedly bantered with reporters.

One of Lennon’s biggest musical influences, Bob Dylan, occasionally turned his distaste for reporters into songs. “Ballad of a Thin Man” from Highway 61 Revisited is an obvious example, where Dylan lashes out at a fictional journalist he calls Mr. Jones.

Dylan even on one occasion insulted a colleague by calling him a reporter, according to legend. While traveling with fellow folk singer Phil Ochs, Dylan berated the protest singer by saying he was not a songwriter but a journalist.

Ochs did often write songs about current events, and he even called one of his albums All The News That’s Fit To Sing. Sometimes the song itself was titled like a headline, such as his hit “The War Is Over.”

Here are song titles that read like headlines, all by artists who were popular in the rock era from the Sixties to the present.

Five Men Were Killed Today by REO Speedwagon

Before Kevin Coyne joined and helped the group make the Top Ten, Terry Lutrell was the lead vocalist. He does the singing on this song from the Olympus debut, whose title could describe a tragic news account.

The Boys Are Back In Town by Thin Lizzy

Phil Lynott led his group on their breakthrough album Jailbreak, which contained this hit single that might apply to an article about a baseball returning from a long road trip.

Everyone’s Gone To the Moon by Jonathan King

If the title of this hit were indeed the headline for the front page, I am not sure who on this planet would be reading it.

The World’s On Fire by the Housemartins

P.D. Heaton composed this anti-religious track for the alternative British band’s album, The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death.

The Queen Is Dead by the Smiths

The title track from what many fans consider their best album has Morrissey poking fun at the Royal family.

Vinnie Charles Is Free by John Gorka

Most likely it would be a small town weekly that would carry this story of a man who was just released from prison.

Jesus Just Left Chicago by ZZ Top

If it really were to happen, this sentence would undoubtedly be the banner headline of The Trib.

This is History Of Music From Grunts To Guitars

Where did music begin, and where is it going? The answers are surprising. There is a modern movement leading humanity back to the music it first created tens of thousands of years ago. A conflicting movement is creating ever more complex sounds, and creating a world of smaller audiences for more musicians.

Before humanity could write, and even before they could speak, rhythm and single tones were used to communicate. The song of a bird may have inspired a prehistoric man to mimic and improve on the noise. Evidence of prehistoric music is sparse, since there was no language to describe the sound to descendants. Drumming objects and mimicking are considered to be the first “music”. This continued with words being added as speech was discovered.

After the development of writing, music became more refined. Crafted instruments were added. Harmonies were created. Pipes, flutes, basic stringed instruments, and similar tools were used to create the first sounds that modern man could easily recognize as music. The oldest known song is over 4000 years old, written in cuneiform, and uses the diatonic scale. This period is referred to as “ancient” music.

Further developments created more regional sound, as different technology discoveries in different areas led to unique instruments. While “classical music”, you know, the ones our folks used to listen on those old record players is generally assumed to be the sounds of composers like Bach or Beethoven, it actually refers to any music of this period. The music was usually religiously inspired or supported, and usually taught formally as a skill rather than developed through experimentation. As musical notation unified regionally, the composed masterworks of the area were generally performed according to the rigid written work.

Folk music continued soon after. This was generally the sound of the unlearned classes, those that could not write or read. Learned orally, this music was learned and modified time and time again to reflect the personal artistry of the performer. This type of music often portrayed the concerns of the illiterate class. It was usually not supported, but tolerated, but the government and religious leadership. The tradition of folk music still continues as a genre of music to this day throughout the world. Classical music developed into a less rigid modern style of music, mixing with the concept of personal artistry from folk music. Performers would still use either written or learned pieces, but would add their personal touch. The music would sound different each time it was played, even when played by the same performer.

The invention of recorded music and radio began the slide backwards. Recorded music is very rigid. It never changes. Audiences began to expect live performances to be as close to the recorded music they have been listening to as possible. Sheet music allowed amateurs to closely mimic the original performer. To appeal to a larger audience, music started to become less an expression of what the artist wanted to say, and more what the audience would pay to hear. This trend continues today in the form of ever simplifying music. Music has to be quick and easy to identify. Complexity would lead to missed sales. Many modern styles forgo either the lyrics or the melody completely. Recycling previous music in the form of sampling gives an artist an instant audience, while limiting the artistry possible.

Fortunately, the Internet allows for any artists from any styles to combat the decline in music artistry. The low cost of entry makes it possible for almost anyone to gain an audience. The low cost also allows artists to perform what they wish, rather than pander to a larger audience. Hopefully, this will allow the trends in popular music to reverse, creating ever more artistic and unique music in the future.

About Austin Live Music Genres

The Austin live music scene (and by Austin we mean Austin, Texas) is one that is generally held up as a beacon for other musician-heavy cities trying to build industries around people gigging and those going out to gigs. After, Austin has been noted as being “the live music capital of the world”, and there’s a good reason for that. The city has been an embodiment of the utopian spirit that musicians have flocked to for decades. Couple that with a population that is always listening for the next big star, and you have the makings of a combustible music scene that is ready to go off almost any night.

Still, sifting through the number of solo acts and bands that move through the corridors of Texas’ capital city can be a little overwhelming even for the grizzled music “lifer” who feels they have a grasp on what types of music are in Austin.

For starters, you have to take into consideration the geographic location of Austin. Nestled along a string of major interstates that lead into the city (i.e., I-35, I-45, I-10), it’s no surprise that there’d be a veritable mix of music. Probably the most popular genre of music in Austin is rock music. The image of the young, hip guitar-toting kid walking the streets looking to make some serious noise is about as rock and roll as it gets, and Austin has it in spades (you can even look up “music census reports” for the city that tell you as much).

Even with the rock edge in play, Austin also fares well with the presence of folk music and “Americana” that uses a more traditional (old-school?) sound and acoustic instruments. This isn’t surprising given the ability to carry an acoustic instrument around, and by virtue of the instrument’s construction, you are able to play without the aid of amplification or electricity. The genre also offers a generally more intimate experience between the musician and the audience, allowing the song’s message to ring a little deeper.

However, one caveat to the folk genre is that it tends to have a number of music styles get lumped into that could be served as their own genre, such as the label of Mexican music. Texas is a state that is steeped in history with its neighbor to the south, and as with the advent of Tex-Mex cuisine, Mexican music is fervent in the area though to a much lesser degree than other genres.

There is also some relegation of music styles such as R&B, jazz, blues, and hip-hop to cellar dwellers in terms of their popularity in Austin. This could be, in part, due to demographic shifts in city population, as well as general shifts in population movement in and out of the metropolitan Austin area.

Austin, Texas and the Austin live music scene, regardless of its genre breakdown, is an institution in the world of music. Musicians flock to the area to get a taste of audiences that actually want to hear live music, and they cut their teeth working the popular gig thoroughfares hoping to make it big. If you’ve been thinking about visiting the “heart o’ Texas”, now is about a good a time as any.

How to Finding Bars With Live Music

So, the end of the week is upon you, and somehow you’ve done nothing to prepare for an evening out on the town. It may seem like an impossible task to throw together a great night out when you’re up against it in terms of time, but instead of fretting, quickly ask, “Are there any bars with live music near me?” At a time when streaming music is the cool way to hear your favorite artists or discover new ones, why wouldn’t live music be at the top of your list when it comes to having a great time out?

No matter the stellar quality of your home stereo set-up, nothing beats the blissful assault of your senses by a live band laying it on the line for a chance to be big someday. How exactly, though, does this translate into a good time? Well, take in consideration the notion that you don’t have to go out to check out some local tunes alone. Call some friends up and make it an impromptu night out.

Even though the music is what it’s all about, many local bars & music venues have made it to where patrons can enjoy a drink designing their place to create quieter spots for those interested in chatting it up with friends or even new friends. Therein lies another great reason to hit up the local haunt — you actually can socialize. It may be pure happenstance that you’re in the same bar together enjoying a cold beverage and listening to some righteous jams, but being bold and introducing yourself to someone new is just a part of being a social creature.

Perhaps you and this new someone you’ve met hit it off and can’t get enough of the music being played. Why not hit the dance floor? Sure, you can be beholden to the rigidity of a music genre and be afraid to look a little foolish, but there’s nothing wrong with just letting the music take you away. After all, you now have someone sharing the floor with you.

Maybe you’ve both decided that even with the winning atmosphere of live music and adult beverages, you just want to go somewhere else. What do you talk about? Well, why not talk about the band and use it as a springboard to a bigger discussion about your musical tastes, favorite bands, and most epic mix tapes (or CDs… or MP3 playlists). Either way, you’ve laid the groundwork for what could be a romantic interest. And even if that’s not on the table, so be it. At least now you have someone you can call on a whim to check out some local bands.

Checking out live music can be the most amazing way to take a nearly lost evening and make it something fun & exciting. For future reference, get to know your local music scene and see what else you might be missing. Think of the idea of “bars being near me with live music” as more of a reason to smile because you know it’s going to mean the night has a chance to be epic.