Glen Campbell Says ‘Adios’

Moments are fleeting. Memories last a lifetime. In fact, I dare say that memories are the building blocks of a life well-lived. And many times they are all we have left.

Until we don’t. Thanks to Alzheimer’s Disease. It chisels away a little at a time until those memories are no longer there.

Over 5 millions Americans are battling this disease according to the latest facts and figures from the Alzheimer’s Association.

That’s a lot of people. Yet, I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone personally with this disease. But I will. There’s no doubt there. By 2050, an estimated 16 million Americans will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s.

At 81 years old, Glen Campbell seems to be the public face of the disease. Anyone who has seen the 2014 documentary, I’ll Be Me, got an in-depth glimpse into the early stages of what this awful disease can do.

The documentary is heartbreaking and heartwarming all rolled into one. It’s clear in the film, Glen Campbell is fueled by the music. When everything else was falling apart, the music still resonated within him. It’s what kept him going, one day at a time.

There’s an openness and vulnerability that Glen and his family show in this documentary. But I think this project was put together in part to give Alzheimer’s a big middle finger – or as he says in the movie – a big “left hook’. He’s letting it know that it can ravage his mind and it can ravage his body, but it can’t ravage his spirit.

Speaking of memories, my dad was the one who introduced me to the music of Glen Campbell. That’s saying a lot since my dad doesn’t love music. He loves motors. He has a better chance of winning ‘Name That Carburetor’ than he does at ‘Name That Tune’.

Now my Mom, she’s the one that loves music. So when I would go digging through her record collection as a kid, my dad’s few records could be found interspersed in there. Glen Campbell was one of those.

But just because you love motors over music doesn’t mean you can’t have a few favorite songs along the way. For my Dad, it doesn’t get any better than “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”, “Wichita Lineman” and “Gentle of My Mind.’

I think my dad loves songs that reference other places. Or maybe he likes the songs that feel like they could have been easily placed in a Western starring John Wayne.

As for me, I’m a “Gentle on My Mind’ kind of guy. The opening of that tune sucks me in every time.

But in true Glen Campbell fashion, he’s not done yet. On June 9, he will release his 64th and final album. The project was recorded back in 2012 and 2013 while he still had a little gas left in the tank. And the album title is so fitting – Adios.

You see, I’ve never been one for goodbyes. They seemed too final for me. I once heard a preacher say at a funeral that it’s not goodbye – it’s see you later.

Only six years after his initial diagnosis, it’s been reported that Glen is now in the final stages of this dreadful disease. I can’t even imagine what that looks like or feels like.

His back roads may be overgrown. And I’m sure the rivers by his memory are all but dry. But one thing’s for sure – the music and spirit of Glen Campbell will continue to be with me – and always be gentle on my mind.

Addicted to Pop?

I really like a place that encourages out of the box thinkers – and GM Steve Yasko and his staff at WTMD seem to do just
that.  They are a creative force in public radio and I just love their station’s new campaign.  The dumbing
down of America continues as we obsess over Anna Nicole, Britney, Lindsey, and I
don’t care.
Maybe WTMD’s new ad campaign can rescue a few souls. Lord knows many of us could use it.

Save Our Internet Radio!

Do you enjoy listening to music online?  I love sites like Radio Paradise, Pandora, Last.Fm and others that play a great mix of music. 

Apparently someone doesn’t you and I listening to these stations.  According to

The Copyright Royalty Board, in a decision last week, imposed strict new fees on Internet Radion Stations that stream music to listeners.  Internet Radio Stations must pay a "per play" fee to recording copyright holders. The fee for 2007 is $.0011 to stream one song to one listener. According to Michael Brothers of the Springfield Missouri News-Leader, "A station with an average audience of 10,000 listeners would owe $1.12 million for a year."

So I took action.  That’s right.  For the very first time ever, I wrote to my representative in congress, and both of my senators.  I even signed a petition.  You don’t get in the way of a music lover and his right to hear great music (whomever the artists may be).

My letter reads:

As a professional working in public radio, my colleagues and I pride ourselves in airing under-served musical formats and artists to our audience each week.  One reason people tune into us is to hear music from local and independent artists that do not regularly get airplay from the large commercial radio stations.

For those who are not fortunate enough to live in an area to hear independent and local musicians on their local airwaves, the internet has become another great place for those artists to be heard. 

I have read about the new proposed fees that internet radio operators will be forced to pay.  Sadly, this will run many of these great stations out of business.  I am asking you to please take action so this new law is not passed.  The internet is the last frontier when it comes to musical discovery.  Please do not take that away from the music lovers and the artists they want to support!

I urge you to send your representative(s) a letter too.  Together, let’s save our internet radio!


Peeling back the layers of the 80’s

The 80’s seem to be inspiring Americana musicians as of late.  Music snobs have written off music created in the 80’s as nothing but rubbish.  However, lately it seems that some of that "rubbish" actually has some redeeming qualities to it.

The Be Good Tanyas redo Prince’s 80’s masterpiece "When Doves Cry" on their most recent album.  Hem takes a stab at the early REM song "So. Central Rain".  And we can’t forget The Duhks covering the popular Tracy Chapman song "Mountains ‘O Things".

Those songs are just three prime examples of Americana releases going back to the "forgotten" decade.  Is it coincidence that the musicians covering these tunes just so happened to grow up listening to the music created in the 80’s?

There is no denying that the 80’s was a decade of excess.  The birth of MTV and the music video changed the way music was not only created, but also the way it was seen.  But what these three Americana groups have proven in each of their respective cover tunes is that these songs work once they have been stripped down.

Is this trend going to continue into 2007?  Only time will tell….

2007 Blues Hall of Fame Inductees

The 2007 Blues Hall of Fame Inductees have been announced.  The list includes:

Dave Bartholomew
Dr. John
Eddie “Guitar Slim” Jones
Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Art Rupe
Ahmet Ertegun

Classics of Blues Literature

Blues With a Feeling: The Little Walter Story
– Tony Glover, Scott Dirks & Ward Gaines

Classics of Blues Recording: Singles and Album Tracks
“Black Angel Blues”
– Robert Nighthawk (The Nighthawks) (Aristocrat)
“Death Letter”
– Son House (Columbia album track)
“Hide Away” (Hideaway)
– Freddy King (Federal)
“I Pity the Fool”
– Bobby Blue Bland (Duke)

Classics of Blues Recording: Albums
Driving Wheel (Duke)
Little Jr. Parker
Down and Out Blues (Chess/Checker)
Sonny Boy Williamson
Angola Prisoners’ Blues (Louisiana Folklore Society/Arhoolie)
Robert Pete Williams, Hogman Maxey, and Guitar Welch

Music Trivia – All You Want

I pride myself being a fountain of useless knowledge.  Wrestling trivia, 80’s sitcom trivia, and music trivia are just a few of my strengths.

Since the advent of the internet, useless trivia is all over the place.  The best part is that it is often just one click away.

So when I discovered SongFacts, you know I spent quite a bit of time there.

After all, did you know:

Lyin’ Eyes by The Eagles

This song is about a woman who cheats on her husband. She is very confused and down, and tells her husband she is going to see a friend when she is actually going to meet her lover. She goes across town to meet the boy with "Fiery eyes and dreams no one can steal." She gets there and she falls into his arms, but has to leave to go back home. She swears someday she will come back forever, because she is happy there. As the song continues, she ponders her emotions – "She wonders, how it ever got this crazy…" She just wants to feel loved and happy but she is torn.

The Boxer by  Simon And Garfunkel

Simon stated in an interview that he wrote this song when critics were writing harsh things about his music. He said he was the boxer, and that if they didn’t cut it out he would leave the music business altogether.

Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen
Springsteen played this for the first time on May 9, 1974 when he opened for Bonnie Raitt at Harvard Square. Rock critic Jon Landau was at the show and wrote in Boston’s Real Paper: "I saw rock and roll’s future – and its name is Bruce Springsteen." Landau eventually became Springsteen’s manager.

Steve Earle is the new cupid…

When I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of Steve Earle.  Not because he is the poster boy of Valentine’s Day, but instead because he wrote a song about it on his I Feel Alright album back in 1996. 

Apparently the story is that he wrote it for one of his wives when he’d forgotten to buy her a gift or card.  Therefore he composed the song instead.

These days a Hallmark card says it all.  We just sign our name at the bottom.  Steve did what so few guys actually do.  He wrote a something down from his heart.

Maybe, that’s what its really about.

Grammy Roundup

Bob Dylan did it
again. He won two more Grammy’s last
night – one for best contemporary folk-Americana album Modern Times, and the other was best solo rock vocal performance
for the song “Someday Baby”.

It’s nice to see
pioneers of the Americana music genre finally getting the attention they deserve after years of
being snubbed by these award shows. It
just shows that fads and trends can come and go, but true artists like Bob
Dylan have the ability to stand the test of time and also continually create
timeless music.

Even at the age of
65, Dylan is still putting out top notch work. My personal favorite song on the new record is “Nettie

Other notable Grammy
winners include:

  • Dixie Chicks
    • Album of the Year: Taking the Long Way
    • Record of the Year: "Not Ready to Make Nice"
    • Country Album: Taking the Long Way
    • Song of the Year: "Not Ready to
      Make Nice"
    • Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal: "Not Ready to Make Nice"
  • Red  Hot Chili Peppers
    • Rock Album: Stadium Arcadium
    • Rock Song: "Dani California"
    • Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal: "Dani California"
  • Rick Rubin
    • Producer of the Year, Non-Classical
  • The
    Flaming Lips

    • Rock Instrumental Performance: "The Wizard Turns On … "
  • Traditional Blues Album
    • Risin’ With the Blues, Ike
  • Contemporary Blues Album
    • After the Rain, Irma Thomas
  • Bluegrass Album
    • Instrumentals, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder
  • Contemporary Jazz Album
    • The Hidden Land, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
  • Rock  or Rap Gospel Album
    • Turn Around, Jonny Lang.
  • Traditional Folk Album
    • We Shall Overcome – the Seeger Sessions, Bruce Springsteen.
  • Reggae Album
    • Love Is My Religion, Ziggy Marley.