Archive for the 'Music' Category

2011 Fabs: My Favorite Songs

Bob S.

Time for ear candy!!! Here are the songs I’ve been listening to over and over this year.

  1. “Let the Light In” by Bob Schneider (a faboo live version is here)
  2. “Rumor Has It” by Adele
  3. “Down by the Water” by The Decemberists
  4. “Moneygrabber” by Fitz and the Tantrums
  5. “One More Goodbye” by the Randy Rogers Band
  6. “Toes” by Zac Brown Band (flashbacks to Cruisin’ with Carol in January)
  7. “It Didn’t Make a Sound” by the Courtyard Hounds
  8. “Austin” by Pat Green
  9. “El Cerrito Place” by Charlie Robison (alternate: “Beautiful Day” for Caitlyn)
  10. “Blue Is My Heart” by Holly Williams

And of course I keep listening to “Midnight Train to Georgia” for karaoke purposes — one of these days…

#17: Book Expo 2009: The Big Man & Steven Tyler Show

Big Man at BEANow that Book Expo America is behind us, I’m still trying to figure out what it all meant. The keynote session on May 28 sums it up: appearances by  joint keynote with Steven Tyler and Clarence Clemons, refereed by Chuck Klosterman. As much as I love Aerosmith, I had to wonder if Tyler wasn’t going to be just another variation of James Frey –– after all, being one of the Toxic Twins probably didn’t exactly enhance his memory! But I really wanted to see the Big Man.

First off, it didn’t exactly pack the event hall; maybe 300 or 400 people. Jerome Kramer of Publishing Perspectives and I  entertained ourselves while waiting for the show to start (it was around 30 minutes late) by speculating on how much “work” Tyler has had done and trying to wade through the workmanlike text of the Big Man blad.  The Big Man appeared with his co-author, Don Reo, rather than Tyler, which did make sense. Despite a few lame questions from CK (namely, variations on “Are celebrities in real life the way we think they are?”) and rather dull chatter from Reo, the session took a magical turn when Clarence brought out his sax and deconstructed the solo in “Jungleland.” He explained that he and Bruce spent 16 hours just getting the first intro right, then he played it, after issuing a disclaimer that he’d never played it before without the band. VERY cool! When Chuck asked if it bothered him that Bruce had so much input, Clarence replied, “He’s the boss, and he’s a genius!”

Tyler & Hudson at BEAThen CC and Reo departed and the circus really started. Tyler strutted out accompanied by a 1970s hippie throwback formerly known as one of the Hudson Brothers (Mark) and currently known as Kate’s uncle. Why the Hudson brother, I wondered. Was he the co-author? No, he was the sidekick. At one point, the Hudson brother mentioned that he was there to prompt Steven and keep him on task, not that it helped; he was almost as goofy as Tyler. He danced verbal circles around Chuck (who trotted out another variation of his aforementioned celebrities question) and was quite entertaining, although if you read the transcript, he probably didn’t make all that much sense (there was some bizarre mention of raccoon hunting).

After lots of non sequiturs and some mention of Tyler deciding that last year, after the death of his mother, it was time to write his book, the Hudson brother piped up to say that the main reason he was there was to remind Steven that they had to leave in five minutes to catch a plane. That prompted Chuck to ask the question of the night: When would the book be out? Tyler replied that he didn’t know because HE HADN’T WRITTEN THE DANG BOOK YET! With that, the show was over and he worked the crowd as they exited the stage.

Jerome and I feared that this was an omen for BEA: a keynote featuring an author who hasn’t yet written a book! Turns out, yep, it was!

For more, see this New York magazine piece and this LA Times article.

And yes, this counts as one of my firsts: It’s the first time I attended a Book Expo keynote, the first time I’ve seen Steven Tyler (not to mention a Hudson Brother), and the first for even the Big Man, that wonderful “Jungleland” sax solo!

SXSW: The View From the Periphery

Between work and the toe issue, I haven’t taken in any SXSW yet. But yesterday morning, I had my first SXSW discovery without even leaving home! Bob Schneider on KGSR’s SXSW broadcast from the Four Seasons performing a spectacular version of “Changing Your Mind.” LOVE it!!! The YouTube version isn’t as stellar, but it’s still a great song. Maybe I’ll have to hobble over to Auditorium Shores to catch him, although he might be up against those other Jayhawks Gary Louris/Mark Olson followed by Alejandro Escovedo at SXSan Jose, which is my Friday plan.

Any other good SXSW tips out there???

A Firsts Roundup

Time to get back on the “firsts” bandwagon and catch up on the Fab Firsts I haven’t written about yet.

2008: Author Programming for the Texas Library Association
I had the pleasure of putting together an author programming track for the TLA conference, including a “Memoir-able Evening with the Authors,” with Sarah Bird, Janine Latus, Stephanie Klein, and Tomie di Paola! The daytime programs include Dixie Cash, Will Clarke, Tony Earley, Brunonia Barry, and more!

July 19, 2008: Todd R’s Preview of His New Album
Todd Rundgren is my favorite artist of all time, and my bff Janis and I were part of the très intime show at Antone’s in which he debuted his new album, Arena, playing it from start to finish. Totally rocked OUT! What I heard in Antone’s is even more rocked out than the album. TR sometimes gets a bit electronic for my tastes; I’ve always really dug his heavier stuff. Plus, he’s always been one of the most underrated (or perhaps simply “overlooked”) guitarists ever. And I was quite pleased to see that his guitar looked a LOT like mine!

Jan. 1, 2009: Bo Pelini’s first bowl game win as Nebraska’s head coach!
Heck, while I’m at, I could add a first for Nebraska AND Kansas both winning their bowl games!

#15: My Sister Carol Is Up for a CMA Award!

Okay, this isn’t technically a first for me, but this sort of thing HAS to go down as a family first, at least: My sister Carol has been nominated for a Country Music Association broadcast personality of the year! Her station, KFDI, also got a nod for best medium-market station! This is so exciting! I got all teary when she called to tell me — and she said both Cathy and Mom had already burst into tears.

She deserves it; she’s a fabulous DJ and works her little tushie off for emerging artists like Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift (all of whom call her “Aunt Carol”). She was especially proud of her interview with Trisha Yearwood (Garth, where the heck where you!). Plus, she has a way of getting hugs from the likes of Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, and Darius Rucker (photos from KFDI)!

She’s supposed to be sending me a copy of her package or whatever the heck you call it — if I get the green light, I’ll put a link up. Meantime, check our her Lady A video and Darius Rucker interviews at her KFDI page (and be sure to check out her pics of her dogs Lily and Buddy!)

Three cheers for Carol!

#12: My First “Official” Agents & Editors Conference

As part of my new job as executive director of the Writers’ League of Texas, I had the pleasure of spending the weekend at the WLT’s annual Agents & Editors Conference. We had 23 literary agents, editors, publicists, and various industry professionals in town to meet with the conference 345 attendees to talk about their books and this business of publishing. But for total coolness, our keynote speaker was Sara Nelson, editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly!

Overall, the agents and editors raved about the conference — several of them said this is the best one in the country and apparently, there is much jockeying within agencies to decide who gets to come to Austin! They were also impressed with the quality of the writers and their pitches. Plus, the attendees were really happy and those I spoke with really loved it. As much as I would have liked to bask in the glory, this one belongs to my co-ED, John Pipkin (who’s “co” till his last day on June 30) and our great staff, Amanda King and Kristy Bordine. They did all of the heavy lifting, and I just came along for the last two months!

Besides the conference, there was a whole lotta partying going on. We dinner for the agents on Friday night, and I got to spend time with my pal from last year, the irrepressible Jerry Gross. Then on Saturday we had dinner at Jaime’s Spanish Village (great dinner conversation with superstar agent Kimberley Cameron and her husband, Jerry again, and the wonderful Milton Kahn) followed by bar-hopping with a whole gaggle o’ agents. We ended up at Cedar Street, where we caught Trish Murphy’s band Skyrocket (with a guest appearance by author friend Melanie Wells). Among many blackmail memories was this photo snapped by Ted Weinstein of me “knock, knock, knock[ing] on wood.” I only wish I had video of Kristy dancing with John’s tush!

#2: Mexico!

(Hint to improve your reading experience: Click on this link for this entry’s soundtrack and then come back and read on!) On the cruise, I knocked out a second Fab First: my first trip to Mexico.

Carol, Lynn, and I left the ship around 10 a.m. on Monday, January 28, for a stroll through Cozumel on a bright, sunny day. First impression: Charming from the ship; too touristy on land. We stopped at a little mini-mall where Lynn succeeded in bartering (a first for her!) a good price on a wooden Jesus. We then diverted off the turista trek (there was no Senor Frog’s for this group!) and popped into a small Americanized coffee shop for water, latte, and cookies. It was also our first shot at using cell phones; Carol’s worked. Mine did, sort of –– Continue reading ‘#2: Mexico!’

On Valentine’s Day

On this Valentine’s Day, two songs come to mind: Steve Earle’s lovely “Valentine’s Day.” Then, of course, being a Todd girl, I have to add “Love Is the Answer” by Todd R (video is dorky but the song sublime). Then we go to two poems by the 14th-century mystic poet Kabir.

Hang up the swing of love today!

Hang the body and the mind between the arms of the beloved, in the ecstasy of love’s joy.

Bring the tearful streams of the rainy clouds to your eyes, and cover your heart with the shadow of darkness.

Bring your face nearer to his ear, and speak of the deepest longings of your heart.

Kabir says: “Listen to me brother! Bring the vision of the Beloved in your heart.”


My lover came in my dreams,

In sleep we embraced each other with joy,

I would not dare to open my eyes,

I would not like to lose this beautiful dream.

The songs he sang, the words he said,

Are embedded in my heart forever,

I am afraid to drink anything,

The messages may get washed away.

When my lover enters my eyes,

I will embrace him with my eyelids closed,

Neither shall I see anyone,

nor he would see anyone else.

#1: Cruisin’ With Carol

cruise-logo-orange.jpgTo celebrate my birthday, my sister Carol invited me to tag along on the fourth annual KFDI “Cruise With Carol” — yes, she’s that Carol! That was a “first” offer I couldn’t refuse! Plus, it led to First #2 (more on that later!). I joined about 250 of her diehard listeners and special guest Trent Tomlinson and his new band aboard Carnival’s Ecstasy in Galveston on January 26 for the five-day Western Caribbean cruise, with stops in Cozumel and Progreso. Carol had her own private posse along for the fun: friends Lynn, James, Chris, Angie, Joe, and Mark and, of course, big sister! We boarded around 1 p.m. (that’s Carol and me in our first Carnival photo, below!) and tracked down Lynn for lunch before Muster Drill, which was basically an exercise in cramming cruisers and their life jackets into small rooms (think inadvertent sumo wrestling) and then seeing how well we can maneuver our way as a group to our designated lifeboat area. Not being terribly fond of water, I wasn’t all that crazy about staring at the lifeboats and the running tape of “women and children’ first!” Once we were all released from looking at the lifeboats, we shipped out and went to the Adults Only Life Vest and Bon Voyage Party in the James/Chris/Angie suite, the first of several visits. They even had a soaking tub, granite countertops, and a balcony — we had bunk beds, a shohappy-cruisers.jpgwer stall that tended to overflow, and an ocean-view window.

At dinner, we met our KFDI table mates. Because all of the KFDI cruisers were dining in the first shift, Carol made the rounds each night. What a kick it was to trail along in Carol’s wake! She’s so great at her job, and her fans just adore her. Lynn and I stayed behind to chat up our table mates and whoever else came by looking for Carol.

Overall, the food was quite good, although we all had to wonder about the eggplant parmesan, which was more like sautéed eggplant and zucchini doused in béarnaise sauce and slathered with greasy cheese (and poor Carol and Lynn did more than wonder about it!). I was disappointed that the Suite Bunch was dining in the later shift, because Joe apparently made a habit of ordering at least two entrees at every meal, and I would have paid to see that! Everyone was about the chocolate melting pot, which was waaaay to choco-latte for me. But I DID manage to down dessert at every meal (it’s a cruise, so dessert

Continue reading ‘#1: Cruisin’ With Carol’

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