Tonight’s the Night We’ll Make History

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI saw something on Twitter today that made me feel old.  No it wasn’t a picture of Maureen McCormick or a list of who’s performing at Bonnaroo.  It was this:

styx tweet

On January 19, 1981, Styx released Paradise Theatre.  That’s 36 years ago.  That album has seen six (almost seven) Presidents.  Jimmy Carter was on his way out the door when this album was released.  Hard to believe.

If you aren’t familiar with the album, it was Styx’s first concept album which was loosely based on the life of the Paradise Theatre in Chicago.  It spawned the popular hits Too Much Time on My Hands (never been a favorite), Snowblind, and The Best of Times.  The latter was the “theme” song of my senior prom (1982) – how you lived without that piece of information, I will never know.  In my opinion, this album shows the diversity of Styx’s contributors with rocking songs (Half Penny, Two Penny and the aforementioned Rockin’ the Paradise) and the softer ballads of The Best of Times and She Cares.  While diverse, it still plays well today. 

Believe it or not, I did not buy the album as it came out, rather I bought it after I saw Styx on this tour.  My friend Joe gave me a ticket to the show as a birthday present.  If you have read my musings previously, you might recall that this show made my top concert memories (favorite concert experiences), you know this show is in my list of all-time favorites.  

Back in the carefree days of general admission, you would get to the venue at least two hours early so you could stand up front by the stage.  Joe & I did just that and wound up right at the rail on Tommy Shaw’s side of the stage.   As the lights dimmed, a lone janitor came across the stage with a broom as A.D. 1928 was played.  There was piano, dry ice, and I was beginning to zone out and then BAM!  The curtain dropped, flashpots flashed, things went boom as Rockin’ The Paradise kicked off.  As the show literally wound down with A.D. 1958 and State Street Sadie, it truly was a downer.  Whether it was the music, the fact that I had never seen Styx, or the fact that I had never been that close to the stage, it was truly a memorable show.  

If I remember correctly, I went and bought the album the next day on the way home from school.  When the occasional Paradise Theatre song pops up, it takes me back to one great show filled with lots of memories – Will it go down as a classic album?  Nah, but it is still a classic in my mind, as old as it is.

Mariah’s NYE Disaster – My Take

music musings, beaverdamusa.comWell, by now you have probably seen or heard about Mariah Carey’s colossal foul-up on New Year’s Eve, either live or on YouTube.  If you have been away in Siberia and missed it, you can see it here -  Mariah – NYE.

While there have been accusations flying from both Dick Clark Productions and Team Mariah – it is simple – I believe she was impaired, smashed, high, stoned, tore up, or any other word you choose.  

How do I know this?  Look at what she is wearing and compare it to the crowd.  Folks are wrapped up like Nannook of the North, but MC has on the equivalent of a French-cut one-piece bathing suit.  She has to be out of her mind to wear that little amount of clothing in that cold weather.  

I won’t even get into the fact that she shouldn’t be wearing that outfit, regardless of the temperature.  It appears there was a constant battle between certain body parts and the elastic.  Just sayin’. 

News flash – she was lip synching and she would have been lip synching even if she was not hammered.  Here is another news flash for you – the people on the floats in the Thanksgiving parade are not singing either.  If you are old enough to remember American Bandstand, I hate to burst your bubble, but they were lip synching also.  How do I know? The fadeout at the end of the song was my first hint.  

If you remember Bandstand, you remember the king of all lip synchers – Milli Vinilli.  For the younger crowd, this duo put out a top selling album, won a Grammy, and sold out shows across the world.  Then it came out that they didn’t sing on the album and lip synched during their shows.  

Actually, a lip synch foul-up at a show was the start of their undoing.  Reminds me of the Johnny Bravo episode of the Brady Bunch (sorry, you must do your own research).   

All this to say that lip synching has been around for several years and will probably continue as long as more emphasis is placed on the presentation than the actual music.  Sadly, there are bands that use pre-recorded vocals and music in their “live” shows which I can’t stand – not that they asked me.   

I guess as “consumers” of music, we must decide what we like – the show or the music.  Personally, I feel you should never record anything that you can’t play live without help.  I’d rather hear an imperfect performance that is real than a perfect recorded performance.

Musing (live) in Nashville

Zach

2016 – What a Year

music musings, beaverdamusa.comChristmas is just a scant two days away and as usual, I keep telling myself that I must start shopping earlier – like maybe on December 20th.  I intended to make this a Christmas Musing, but life got in the way and the Musing didn’t happen when I had hoped.  Since this is a week late, my blog host told me I could just work the rest of the year without pay.  Yikes!  Guess I had better get to writing.

As we approach the end of the year, we tend to reflect on the past year, and musically it is no different.  On a broad scope, 2016 will be remembered as the year the music world lost several icons.  January came in like a storm with the deaths of Glenn Frey (Eagles) and David Bowie.  While I’ve never been a big Bowie fan, his impact on the music world isn’t lost on me.  

When Gary Richrath died in 2015, I realized that the time was approaching when a lot of the musicians I grew up with would soon start passing.  I guess that is why Glenn Frey’s death hit me hard.  The Eagles’ Hotel California was the first “rock” album I ever purchased.  It was the finality that one of the greatest bands would never be whole again – Don Henley pronounced the death of the Eagles with the passing of Frey.  

As the year progressed we lost even more – Leon Russell, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Merle Haggard, Greg Lake and several more.  The tribute section of the Grammys will be long this time.  What’s the lesson?  I guess it would be to go ahead and see that group or musician when they come around – because you never know.

On the positive side, 2016 was a great year musically for me.  I got the privilege of seeing several shows and checked a couple of “I’ve never seen them” artists off my list.  

Leading the “never have seen them” list was Pat Benatar and Meat Loaf, in addition to Sheryl Crow.  I would put Meat Loaf in the “better hurry” category.  Another first was attending one of the stadium shows at Fan Fair (CMA Fest) after all these years.  Two words sum up that show for me – Miranda, spurs.  ‘Nuff said.

 In the old favorites category were Cheap Trick, Heart, Styx (with the Nashville Symphony), and John Waite.  Waite was my favorite small show in the intimate Franklin Theatre while the Styx/symphony show was the favorite “large” show.  While on different ends of the spectrum, they both blew me away.   As for the Heart show – I learned that Nancy Wilson can still kick her leg waaayyyy above her head.  

Even though I don’t get compensation from Apple, another positive for me was Apple Music.  It enabled me to listen to Leon Russell or Leonard Cohen songs – when I wouldn’t have otherwise.  I typically use it for looking back – in 2017, I need to use it to look forward and discover new music.  This would definitely please my wife and children who uttered probably the comment of the year on a long trip where I was in charge of the music – “we’ve haven’t heard anything past 1990 in the last three hours.”  Ouch.

In closing, I want to thank my regular readers for letting me invade their cyberspace every couple of weeks.  As you know, I run the gamut from serious to humor.  I love music and writing about it and I will continue assuming that you anxiously wait for the next installment of Music Musings.  Also thanks to my blog host and great friend, Barry, for providing this outlet to me.  

As we stand on the edge of ’17 (see what I did there?), I hope you will continue reading and wish you nothing but the best.

I Remember When and Where – “There Will Come A Day”

music musings, beaverdamusa.comThis “Musings” is going down Memory Lane under the new series title of – I Remember When & Where.  This may be the only post or it may be the start of several installments – we will just have to see.

We all have those songs or moments that are tied to a particular song.  You can pinpoint the exact time and place where you heard the song.  You remember vivid details about what was going on such as where you were, who you were with, or even what you were doing.  Now, can I remember to take the garbage out every Wednesday?  No, but I sure can remember musically related things.  So, these installments will focus on those special songs for me.

My bride and I were at the second JDRF Middle Tennessee Gala in 2002 at the Country Music Hall of Fame.  The performer on stage started introducing the next song by saying he wrote it in honor of his step-daughter who has Type I diabetes.  He took a folded piece of paper out of his pocket and placed it on the stand in front of him.   He proceeded to sing about how he wished he could trade places with her and how there will come a day when the pain and heartache ends and there won’t be a need to sing this song.

You could have heard a pin drop.  His step-daughter, Holly, was seated at the table right behind us.  I looked back at her and then the allergies hit, if you know what I mean.  You could tell that he was singing the song from his heart.  It truly was an amazing evening and a time that will always hold a fond memory for me.  

The artist was Steve Wariner and he sang There Will Come A Day for Holly, but I also know he sang the song for the children and adults who pray every day for a cure for Type I diabetes.  Steve has done so much through the years for JDRF from Public Service Announcements (with Holly) several years ago about the warning signs of Type I (pic.twitter.com/g3OgaWqE0v) to singing with the kids at JDRF’s Children’s Congress.  About a year later, Steve included the song There Will Come A Day (Holly’s Song) on his album Steal Another Day (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DL-UYRbatw).  While the final product includes full instrumentation, there is still something special about hearing it stripped down and raw – straight from the paper it was written on.  

As I look back on National Diabetes Awareness month, I truly appreciate the work that people have done to get closer to a cure because one day, hopefully soon, There Will Come A Day. 

Musing and waiting on the day in Nashville 

Zach

The Rock-n-Roll (?) Hall of Fame

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI saw a Tweet the other day that indicated if I wanted to vote for a particular band to enter the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (Hall), I should click the link and vote.  I did.  As I started going through the nominees for the 2017 class, I realized again that the Hall needs to change its name.  Maybe it should be called the “We Have to Put These Folks in So Folks Will Wonder Why We Have Them Hall of Fame”. Maybe it should be the “Folks Who Impacted Music (Good or Bad) Hall of Fame.”

Either title would work.  The first class was inducted into the Hall in 1986 with the actual Hall itself opening in September of 1995.  Hats off to the Hall for having different induction categories – performer, early influence, sidemen, and non-performer.  Of the 310 inductees, 209 are in the performer category.  

The early classes were filled with you would expect – Led Zeppelin, Buddy Holly, Ike & Tina Turner, blues performers, and some R&B folks.  Then the crack developed in what I will call the Rock Wall during the 1997 class – the Bee Gees.  Yes, the high pitched harmonies that reverberated throughout discos was in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  Huh?  While they sold more records than I will ever have dollars, they weren’t rock & roll by any stretch.  Once this floodgate opened, then these folks were inducted:

  • Bob Marley – eh, maybe.  
  • Donna Summer – I mean, if you are putting the Bee Gees in, might as well put the Queen of Disco in.
  • Madonna – sold a bunch of records, but really didn’t change music except to bring cones to wardrobes.
  • Michael Jackson – I’ve put him on a lot of lists, but rock & roll isn’t one of them.
  • NWA – at first I was trying to figure out how wraslin’ fit in with rock, but then I saw a picture of NWA.  Sorry guys.

Through the years, there have been some obvious ones they got right, such as Cheap Trick, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith, Heart, KISS, the Who, and of course, Van Halen. 

During the induction ceremonies, it sometimes provides an awkward situation as former members have to stand on stage with the ones they fought with or trashed in the media.

So, back to voting.  I went to the website and looked over the 2017 nominees and the same holds true for this nominee class – some obvious and some head scratchers. 

  • Bad Brains – who?
  • Chaka Khan – really? 
  • Chic – more R&B 
  • Depeche Mode – heard of them, but seriously doubt their influence.
  • Electric Light Orchestra – Long line of hits and took stage sets to a new level
  • J. Geils Band – not worthy in my book.
  • Jane’s Addiction – heard of them, but again – what did they contribute?
  • Janet Jackson – please.  
  • Joan Baez – folk singer.  I can see it.
  • Joe Tex – not sure what he did
  • Journey – deserving – really set the stage for arena rock.
  • Kraftwerk – during my first year of college, a guy across the hall had their album.  Remember a bunch of synthesizers, etc.  Don’t think that qualifies them for the Hall.
  • MC5 – huh?
  • Pearl Jam – yes, they probably should be there.  
  • Steppenwolf – no issue with the band getting in, but this might be one to watch if they make it.  Bad blood between John Kay and original members.
  • The Cars – different, but no problem letting them in.
  • The Zombies – not familiar, but at least I’ve heard of them.
  • Tupac Shakur – guess if he gets in, the whole rap wars thing would be brought up.
  • Yes – yes.

You get to vote for five a day.  I voted for ELO, Journey, Joan Baez, Pearl Jam, and Yes.  Go to www.rockhall.com and vote. 

Until next time

Zach

My Take on the 50th CMA Awards

music musings, beaverdamusa.comAs usual, watching music award shows brings all sorts of emotions – awe, sadness and, “What the hell were they thinking when they picked them to play?”  The 50th CMA awards were no different.  I recorded the show and started watching about an hour into it, so here is my take on the show – for what it’s worth.

  • Opening video was nice retrospective on past shows.  The stroll through the songs was a treat for the most part.  It included folks like Vince Gill playing Haggard and Brad Paisley sharing the stage with 80 year old Charlie Daniels.  Reba came out in a dress that matched her hair. At the end, they brought out Randy Travis to watch them sing his song Forever and Ever, Amen.  
  • Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley as co-hosts always bring some great comedy.  Their take on the Presidential debates was a nice nod to current events.
  • In the “know where you are” category, the record exec who tumbled off the stage behind him while up there with Thomas Rhett, takes the prize.
  • Excited to see Kelsea Ballerini perform her hit Peter Pan.  Could have done without the ballet dancers on strings behind her.  Sound was off a little bit on her number.  It never ceases to amaze me how bad the sound is on these shows.  
  • They had long-time crush Olivia Newton-John as a presenter for Song of the Year since she won a CMA in 1974.  Really wanted Cam’s Burning House to win.
  • Jason Aldean and Brooks and Dunn performed some song – They were the first ones to bring out the F factor.  The F factor is how quick can I hit fast forward on the remote.  They scored 2F.  Did Ronnie Dunn lose a bet and have to have his hair styled liked that?
  • Maren Morris is evidently the new “favorite artist” this year.  Sounds like she has some pipes, but not my cup of tea.
  • Jennifer Garner came out to present something.  Doesn’t’ matter what she presents – she can present me with anything she wants.
  • New artist went to Maren Morris over my pick Kelsea B.  I did like her line about watching last year’s awards at a bar across the street and now she has killer seats.
  • Barbara Mandrell – didn’t like you back then and still don’t.  
  • Nice set by Garth & Tricia.  Showed what I think was Lorie Morgan during the Keith Whitley song.  YIKES!  The miles have not been good to Lorie.
  • Carrie Underwood’s number (Dirty Laundry) wasn’t my favorite, but I love the fact that they always have her walking down steps when she sings.  My sweet wife chimes in for the first time with “how’d they find that many girl guitar players?”
  • Glad Fatih Hill has long hair again.  Keep it that way.
  • Glad to see Eric Church get album of the year.  Not really a fan, but he recently donated $1 million to JDRF – need him to keep making money.
  • Miranda – sigh.  She gets every award in my book.  Where is her sparkly pink microphone?  Also, where are those spurs she wore at Fan Fair?
  • Circle of kids around McGraw during Humble and Kind reminded me of Children of the Corn.
  • Vocal duo – Why did they switch the Osborne Brothers’ name around?  Really surprised they didn’t do Rocky Top.  At least it wasn’t Florida-Georgia Line.
  • When Brad was talking about Wal-Mart’s Green Light for Vets, my bride chimes in with “he got that jacket at Wal-Mart”.
  • Come back from commercial – it’s Beyonce in some sort of white space suit with other ladies on stage – wait – oh crap – they’re back.  Dang Dixie Chicks.  Didn’t like them before they killed their career.  You don’t cover a Stevie Nicks song (Landslide) and get love from me.  This earned the highest F factor – F infinity.
  • Good lord there’s Peyton Manning – in a tux.  Wife – “he could be President”
  • Camera shows the crowd – good Lord, Jennifer Garner is sitting next to Olivia Newton-John.  I need a cigarette. Way too much hotness in one spot.
  • Something about Luke Bryan’s songs I just don’t like.
  • Lee Greenwood – has anyone ridden a single song more and longer than him?
  • Crap – it’s Florida-Georgia Line with Tim McGraw – he must have lost a bet or they have photos of him.  F factor of three.
  • Lily Tomlin intros the Dolly tribute – damn – the recording shut off and I was about 10 minutes behind.  Missed her speech and Stapleton winning male vocalist.  
  • Thought Taylor Swift put Nashville and country in the rearview mirror?
  • Entertainer of the Year – Garth.  Who else? Sells multiple shows out everywhere he goes.  Highest number of shows in a single city was 11 on this tour.  It was like Garth said “step aside – Daddy’s here to take home the big prize.”  

All in all, it was an entertaining three hours – well, except for FL/GA line, oh, and Jason Aldean, and the Dixie Chicks.  Did I tell you I can’t stand the Dixie Chicks?

Musing in Nashville

Zach

Singing With the Saints

music musings, beaverdamusa.comThis musing is going to be a little different from my others.  It’s is going to be more reflective or personal.  For the past 10+ years, I have sung in the choir at my church – Kingston Springs United Methodist Church in Kingston Springs, TN.  If you are interested, I sing bass and love it. 

Our choir director is Julia Rich who is a gem and performed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra for years.  Her late father was a United Methodist preacher who served in the Middle Tennessee area for years. 

One of his stops was Tulip Street United Methodist Church in East Nashville.  Tulip Street was founded in 1859 with the building started in 1860 and finishing after the Civil War.  The architecture of the outside is beautiful and the inside is stunning and cathedral-like.  But, like many of these old churches, the neighborhoods are changing, people are changing how and where they worship.  With an average worship attendance of somewhere around ten, the decision was made to close this grand ole church.  

Like any good Methodist, when faced with a crisis – they decided to eat.  Seriously, a Homecoming/Last Service was planned where former pastors, members, and staff were invited back to celebrate the church to celebrate its history.  Our choir director was asked to come and sing since her father was pastor at Tulip Street, and she then volunteered to bring us to the festivities.  So we grabbed our robes and music and sang during communion as shown below.  [In case you wondering, I’m the bald dude on the back row on the far left, looking at the picture.]  

tulip1How about that beautiful pipe organ!  It was installed in 1891 and has had minimal alterations to it.  The sounds that came out of those pipes were magnificent.

Sitting and standing up there in the choir loft, my mind starting to wander – not during the sermon, of course.  I started thinking about all the people who sat where I sat over the last 150+ years.  What would they think about the church closing?  Did they hear the same pipes/bellows clicking as the organ played? 

I realized that I was part of the last choir to sing at this church.  Wonder what the first choir was like?  Wonder if the saints who have gone on gathered around on October 9, 2016 to watch that sanctuary once again be filled with music and people?  I would like to think so.  It was quite an honor to sing there and I really appreciate the opportunity.

Musing and singing with the saints

Zach

P.S.  Someone recorded the service and posted it on YouTube – the choir starts at 1:22 into the video at (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruQ-5ghO9wQ).  

P.P.S. – You can check out the Tulip Street UMC page on Facebook for much more information.  I am also attaching some pictures of the church my sweet wife took.

tulip2

           tulip3tulip4tulip5

Three for the Hall: Heart, Jett, Cheap Trick

music musings, beaverdamusa.comIn what could also be termed the AARP tour, a promoter pulled recent Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Cheap Trick (2016), Joan Jett (2015), and Heart (2013) and sent them on a summer tour billed as Three for the Hall.  Since I am a card-carrying AARP rock & roller, I snagged my tickets for the Ascend Amphitheater (Nashville) as soon as they went on sale.  Luckily I did, because I discovered my $35 lawn seat was fetching $77 on the day before the show.  I would have sold it, but then I would have to find a new blog subject this week!

It was a rare cool night in September when my bride and I ventured downtown on a school night (we know how to party!).  As I have written before, the Ascend Amphitheater in downtown Nashville on the river is a great place for a show.  

As most “experienced” acts seem to, they started the show on time!  Videos from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction was shown for each artist.  Not only did it show pieces of their induction speech, but it showed a video history of the artists.  One thing that really surprised me was the quick set changes between acts.  It was literally 15 minutes to whisk away the previous act’s gear and roll out the next one’s. Very impressive.

Cheap Trick played first on the bill which surprised me somewhat.  Though they were first, that didn’t diminish their show.  They played an hour reaching back to their first album, as well as playing from their latest release.  As usual, they played their hearts out with Rick Nielsen changing guitars as often as Taylor Swift changes boyfriends or Beyonce changes costumes.    Robin Zander still can handle the vocals as well as ever and never met a high note he didn’t like.  Cheap Trick truly seems to enjoy playing and changes their set from night to night – not just one or two songs, but four or five songs.  Really makes it fresh. 

Joan Jett played all the songs she was supposed to play.  The songs sounded exactly like you were used to hearing.  In all honesty, I have never been much of a Joan Jett fan and her set this night didn’t change it.  It was very low energy to me and quite honestly, boring.  I did hear some folks comment that they though her set was great; so I guess it was just me not being a fan.  The angry punk persona just doesn’t work when you are 58.

Now Heart, that’s a different story.  Ann and Nancy Wilson came out and took the stage by storm.  Though both are in their mid-60’s, they still have it.  Yes, I have been a Heart fan for years, so I am biased.  Ann didn’t avoid any note and nailed them all.  Best surprise of the show had to be when Nancy sang a great song called Two off their latest right after These Dreams. 

I must confess that I suffered a couple of broken ribs during the show.  This occurred when Nancy proceeded to kick her leg over her head during the start of Crazy on You.  My lovely bride elbowed me and said something about calming down.  I mean, I was just showing my appreciation for her flexibility…..  They closed the show with a two-song encore consisting of Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song & Stairway to Heaven.  Normally, I would complain about artists playing other artists’ songs, but Heart has long been known for throwing in Led Zep songs and they rocked on these two.  Speaking of Stairway, do yourself a favor and Google Heart’s performance of Stairway at the Kennedy Center Awards.  It will give you goosebumps.

All in all, it was a great night of classic rock.  While I disagree with some of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s inductees, these three definitely deserve to there.

Musing in Nashville

Zach

P.S.  Here are the set lists from that night

Cheap Trick

  • Hello There
  • Clocks Strikes Ten 
  • California Man
  • Southern girls
  • He’s A Whore
  • No Direction
  • Day Tripper (Beatles cover)
  • Stop This Game
  • I’m Waiting for the Man – Tom Peterson on lead vocals
  • The Flame- Robin Zander nailed that last note
  • I Want You to Want Me
  • Dream Police
  • Surrender
  • Auf Wiedersehen

Joan Jett 

  • Victim of Circumstance
  • Cherry Bomb (Runaways)
  • Do You Wanna Touch Me
  • Bad Reputation
  • TMI
  • You Drive Me Wild (Runaways)
  • Light of Day (Michael J Fox & JJ movie)
  • Make It Back
  • Love is Pain
  • Any Weather
  • I Love Rock & Roll
  • Crimson & Clover
  • I Hate Myself for Loving You
  • Everyday People

Heart

  • Wild Child
  • Magic Man
  • What About Love
  • Even It Up
  • These Dreams
  • Two 
  • Straight On
  • Kick It Out
  • Beautiful Broken
  • Alone – very stripped down version with Ann wailing
  • Crazy on You – leg kick (oh my)
  • Barracuda – opening riff is one of the most wicked licks in all of rock & roll
  • Immigrant Song
  • Stairway to Heaven

My Favorite Concert Experiences

music musings, beaverdamusa.comIn the past, I have mused on what were my favorite concerts.  This musing is about my favorite concert experiences or moments.   While the particular show, may or may not have made my list of favorite concerts, these particular moments stand out for me.  So in no particular order, other than how they came to my brain, here are some of my favorite memories:

  • The opening of Styx’s Paradise Theatre show in Nashville – I was standing within a person or two of the front row as A.D. 1928 starts with a lone janitor sweeping the floor in front of a large curtain.  True to the album order, Rockin the Paradise kicks off with the curtain dropping, lights flashing, and pyrotechnics for days.  The shock was amazing.
  • Sammy Hagar – 5150 tour in Memphis -   This was Sammy’s third show with Van Halen and it was so full of energy.  The sound guy must have figured he could over power any acoustic because my ears ached for two days.  Also, Sammy & Eddie both climbed up on the lighting catwalk above the stage.  Sammy even stood on the railing and leaned out over the crowd only hanging on by one hand.  Two nights later in Nashville it was only Sammy on the catwalk.  My theory on why is in a later bullet.
  • Jimmy Buffett – W.O. Smith Music School benefit at Tennessee Performing Arts Center– the opening song was Jimmy coming out barefooted and sitting on the edge of the stage with his feet dangling.  He launched into It’s My Job as he started an unforgettable night of truly acoustic music.
  • Van Halen in Atlanta – Sammy reunion show – Sammy left Van Halen without any prior hint so many Van Halen fans felt like they never got a chance to say good-bye.  This tour was that chance.  It was obvious that this would be his last tour with the band.  When It’s Love was the last song they played and I loved the fact that one of my favorite VH songs was the last one I heard Sammy sing with them.
  • Van Halen – 1984 (I think) tour in Nashville at the Municipal Auditorium – my friend Joe and I had aged enough to know that trying to get up front was too much hassle, but loved standing on the floor.  We had discovered that the sound was awesome at the back of the floor by the sound board.  Well, we look over and who is watching the show about ten feet from us but Valerie Bertinelli – Eddie’s wife at the time.  [This is why I think Eddie didn’t get on the catwalk]
  • Alabama A&M Homecoming – My roommate and blog host, his future (and current) wife, and I noticed that there was a great show happening at the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville.  Midnight Starr, Zap, featuring Roger (never figured out which one was Roger), and the Gap Band were playing.  We head down to see it and then realize it was Alabama A&M’s homecoming.  To say we stood out is an understatement.  Let’s just leave it at that.
  • Van Halen – Atlanta & Nashville – Van Halen (with Sammy) was touring and kicked off their tour at an amphitheater in Atlanta.  There is something about the opening night of a tour – the band is so jacked up with energy.  Well, we spent the night in Atlanta and then drove back to Nashville the next day to [you guess it] see them again at Starwood amphitheater.  It was quite the experience.
  • That Nashville Moment – this occurs at any concert in Nashville.  It always seems that when artists perform here, they always pull another star out on stage with them.  Whether it was Ann Wilson with Emmylou Harris and Allison Kraus or Jimmy Buffett having his former neighbor John Kay (Steppenwolf) come out, it is always a treat.

Thanks for indulging me as I stroll down memory lane.  Hopefully, there are many more moments in the future.

Musing in Nashville

Zach

Home Sweet Home to Me

music musings, beaverdamusa.comThe calendar slipped upon me this week.  I just realized that I am supposed to publish a Musing. Well, I am about six hours past when I normally send in my blog.  What should I blog about?  What is on my mind musically?

Rocky Top you will always be, home sweet home to me……

That’s is what’s on my mind.  You see, today my beloved University of Tennessee Volunteers kick off their 2016 football season.  Rocky Top is the song associated with UT football.  Opponents hate it – but it you have any orange coursing through your veins, you love it.  You sing it with the Pride of the Southland Marching Band (UT’s band), you sing it with gusto at a karaoke bar after that sixth beer, and you sing it by yourself as you sit in the confines of your home watching the Vols.

The song was written in 1967 by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant and recorded by the Osborne Brothers. Wikipedia tells me that the Osborne Brothers hit #33 on the charts with it in 1967 and Lynn Anderson hit #17 in 1970.  However, I would be willing to bet that the Volunteers are primarily responsible for the song’s continued popularity, if only amongst alumni.  Whether at a bar, wedding reception, or in the middle of Times Square; if Rocky Top plays, the UT fans are easy to spot.  We will perk up, start singing, and might even shuffle our feet a bit.

Love or hate it – it is the song people associate with my beloved University.  Rocky Top will always be “home sweet home, to me”.  Gotta to go watch some football.  Go Vols!

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