Thursday, August 31, 2017

Topical Thursday Morning Shuffle - Monkey Cola Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Okay... a lot on my mind... the situation in Houston and surrounding areas is still weighing heavy on my mind. And I need to focus my mind more on the ways people are pulling together rather than the people who are tearing us apart.

Meanwhile, the storm itself is heading in our direction - tornado warnings are popping up to the west of Nashville, and heavy, heavy rain is expected over the next day or so. Nothing like what Houston got, but a lot of rain nonetheless.

I did make it to The 5 Spot last night and caught Lottie, the always awesome Levi Parham, and Flying Buffaloes.  You may recall we premiered their single "Hey ;-) is for Horses" a little while back. This was my first chance to see them live, and they were great.  Props to AGD for putting on a great show and getting a young crowd to an early show at The 5 Spot (I probably bumped the average age up by a good decade or so :-) )

It is Thursday, and as is our want, we offer up "Topical Thursday" and the topic of choice is E2TG - the first six years.  A retrospective look at some of the bands/artists we have written about over the life of this blog...

Shuffle up now!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wild Wednesday Morning Shuffle - Bye Bye Baby Bye Bye Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Continuing to have Texas on my mind.  If you want to help and are in Middle Tennessee - here is a local resource to consider.

The so-called "Nashville Statement" does not represent the city I love.

I am disgusted daily by the behavior, actions, and words of the current occupant of the White House.

I am back after being sick yesterday.  I did take the down time to watch the 2016 documentary, Gimme Danger, about The Stooges (directed by one of my faves, Jim Jarmusch).  It brought me back to the feeling I had when I first encountered the music of The Stooges.  I think Fun House was the first album I heard, and it was one of those watershed musical moments for me.  It was interesting to see the kind of haphazard way the band came together and how the chemistry of all the pieces seemed to elevate the others.

It's Wednesday, and I'm just going to jump right into the "Wild Wednesday Shuffle" now...

Monday, August 28, 2017

Music City Monday Morning Shuffle - Both Greasy Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Sending all good thoughts to Texas. Do what you can to help.

Every so often, I look at where I am and think about where I may be going and how to get where I want to be...

That statement can apply to many aspects of my life, but for the purposes of this blog, I am specifically thinking about E2TG.   First of all I have to say that this blog has already far exceeded whatever expectations I may have had when I began it.  The most important measures are the incredible people I have met and gotten to know.

There is a sense, at least I feel it, that things have to always strive to be bigger and more. Whether it's Facebook "Likes" or page views or more festival attendees or move to bigger venues or whatever... and there is nothing inherently wrong with that, but there is also a reality that I see - that bigger is not necessarily always better (it isn't necessarily worse either) - sometimes bigger is different and the better or worse is relative to your particular point of view...

There was a thought in all this, but I think it got lost some in the web of my mind. E2TG has definitely grown over time - although just by pure numbers it isn't a completely steady growth (up then down then up)... it has definitely changed but not radically. I know that not everyone who used to read this regularly still does but I also know that new readers show up almost every week. I sometimes get big ideas and then can't find the time (or something else) to carry through.  I think about changing to get more readers but I quickly lose interest because usually the ideas I get run counter to everything I want E2TG to be. I might go further if I stuck to one genre or style of music and covered it more thoroughly or if I posted lists or went negative*.  But none of those of things I really want to do.

*The topic of negative reviews has come up more than once recently.  I need to say that I am not against critics writing negative reviews. A well written slam can be great reading, and if I happen to disagree it can force me to think more about why I disagree. The thing is - negative reviews can also be just another tool for increasing viewership. Which is fine, but it's just not what I want to do. I can barely cover all the really good music out there, and I choose not to spend time on music I don't really care about. Again just my choice. Furthermore, E2TG has always been mostly about under-the-radar artists, and when I look at what these artists are up against, I would rather look for the positive.  I do think constructive criticism is important to keep an artist growing and I hope those voices continue to get heard.

Bottom line, I am just me. I do this for the love of the music and to keep my fingers moving across the keyboard. I keep my Ear to the Ground, and I am constantly amazed and thrilled by what I hear.

It's Monday and we delve into the Music City Monday shuffle (songs with some sort of connection ot the city where I live):

Friday, August 25, 2017

Featured Friday Morning Shuffle - Name and Game Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

To be perfectly honest, I have been a crappy mood most of this week - maybe it is post-eclipse let down or mercury retrograde or something else. Fortunately, I have lived with my brain for long enough to know that this feeling will pass, and to take anything my brain tries to tell me with at least one grain of salt.

The world is a mess.  Time, motivation, and inspiration rarely seem to be in alignment (meaning, I will be inspired and/or motivated to do something when I am busy with some obligation and then when I have some free time - the inspiration and motivation cannot be found). Right now, I'm just battling through and putting one foot in front of the other.

Anyway, it is Friday.  On Friday, we play songs from the "New Music" playlist... I added over 150 songs to that playlist last night (about a third from one album!).  The playlist is up near 500 songs and it may be time for a couple of weeks of just "New Music" shuffles to make some headway.  Today, only one of those 150+ additions made it into the shuffle - along with some fairly recent additions and some that have been hanging around for a bit.  All in all, a really cool shuffle... enjoy!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Topical Thursday Morning Shuffle - Nalgas Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Here goes... it's Thursday - this week has kind of flown by... I have quite a bit to say, but eh... I'll stick to music today....

It's Thursday, and I continue my exploration of my specially created E2TG playlist... artists/bands spanning the 6+ year history of my little spot on the web... enjoy!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Wild Wednesday Morning Shuffle - A Little Patch of Sunlight Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

United States Constitution, 25th Amendment:

Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Okay - so Wednesday... we shuffle up all the songs on my phone,  and things tend to get "Wild".  For some reason, I always look forward to Wednesdays.  I think it is the unpredictable nature of these shuffles:  new music alongside older songs, friends alongside long-time favorites, songs I didn't even know were on my phone, and revisiting albums that had been featured some time back.

Let's go ahead and jump to it!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Trending Tuesday Morning Shuffle - Trick of the Light Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Well - the Great American Eclipse is over... From my vantage point, we had quite a bit of cloud cover. It broke enough to see several points of the waning sun, but we missed seeing the totality. I feel fortunate, though, that I had read something about being attuned to everything going on... so for the two minutes of totality, I noticed the decrease in temperature, I was amazed by the "sunset" effect, and the sounds of cicadas.

Kind of appropriately, I went to the Basement East last night for a tribute to Darkness on the Edge of Town and other Springsteen songs. I have mixed feelings, overall, about tribute shows in general. I think sometimes that there are too many of them, and that I, personally, would rather see original artists doing their own songs.  But, I do recognize the economics for venues like The Basement East, and the unfortunate reality that more people attend these type of shows than original music shows. I do also understand from talking to my friends who do these shows that there is a tremendous lift from finding common musical ground with other artists and in collaborating with musicians that you may not otherwise get to work with.

All that being said, the tribute shows I have seen at The Basement East have all been top-notch and loads of fun, and last night's show was one of the best.  For starters, the band sounded amazing. Of all the shows like this I have seen, there were probably more singers I was not familiar with vs. those I knew. But, I really didn't care so much because everyone nailed their songs and the songs were the stars.  Shout out to Andrew Leahey, Scott McMahan, Lilly Hiatt, Becky Warren, Mary Bragg, and Jon Latham (who stole the show - as he often does).

I could of bits of unsolicited advise from me...  make sure you clearly introduce each performer. I know I am a bit of an anomaly, but when I see someone at these shows, and I enjoy their performance, I want to know more about what their own music is like.  At the recent John Prine tribute, Jerry Pentecost not only introduced each artist but also plugged their latest album.

That reminds of another bit of unsolicited advice for artists in general:  if you have a new (or fairly recent) release or project - and you have a Facebook Page - that project should be front and center on your page. Cover photo, pinned post etc.  I don't know how often I will be writing about a song in my shuffle - and think - what's the name of the album or when is it going to be/was it released - only to go to the artist/band page and have to scroll down several posts to find the information. As I said, I am an anomaly - most casual listeners will not work that hard.

All righty then - enough with advice... it's all offered with love and admiration for the incredible talent that I am fortunate to  experience daily. - It is Tuesday and time for our Trending Tuesday shuffle - new and newish music...

Monday, August 21, 2017

Music City Monday Morning Shuffle - Blot out the Sun Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Hey - most everyone including yours truly will be fully immersed in the eclipse when I normally post this so I doing a quick post of our Monday shuffle... everyone protect your eyes and enjoy this rare cosmic event...

Friday, August 18, 2017

Featured Friday Morning Shuffle - The Ends or the Means Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Okay.... it's been a pretty intense week.  I don't know what the future holds... I am deeply disturbed by the ugly truths that have been exposed this week. And by the mind-blowing chasm that seems to grow wider every day. As I have said before, it is a chasm not only of ideals and values, but of perception of reality.

I don't know.... I do know that there are beautiful people in the world, and I am fortunate that circumstances have brought me into contact with some of those people. I know that I am profoundly fortunate.  And, I am profoundly grateful for everyone who reads E2TG.

As you might have heard, there is a rare event happening Monday across the US, and Nashville is one of the largest if not the largest city in the path of totality.   My favorite radio station, WXNA, has not failed to notice this event, and on Monday from 11-3pm WEclipseNA hosted by DJ Nekos will provide the soundtrack to the Eclipse.

If you need some Eclipse pre-gaming, tune in Saturday to Double Shot with me and Sue - we will be one for an extra hour 11-2pm with the theme (believe it or not coincidentally) of Night and Day. You might here some Eclipse songs, too.

It is Friday, and we shuffle up the "New Music" playlist for our Featured Friday shuffle.... join me in 3...2...1....

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Topical Thursday Morning Shuffle - Thin Ice Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

I am old enough to remember when the newspaper came every evening (or morning), and there was news in the morning, maybe at noon, and in the evening.  Local news usually followed the national news. If there was "Breaking" news they would interrupt the regularly scheduled program (I remember my great aunt hated when they did that during one of her shows). But, it was usually actual breaking news. Oh and Time and Newsweek came every week if you got them which we sometimes did.

I also remember when CNN started - I thought it was cool because of the possibility of digging deeper into stories. Like much of early cable television - there were some cool ideas and interesting possibilities, but most failed to live up to their potential.  (Music Television rarely has music, Arts and Entertainment is mostly reruns of Law & Order, need I go on...)

I didn't have cable for many years and so I kind of lost touch, but I remember walking into a bank or somewhere that had a television with CNN on and seeing the banner with BREAKING NEWS and thinking something really important and serious was happening, and then realizing it was an insignificant non-event that further realizing that such banners ran pretty much 24 hours a day, every day.  

Then, the proliferation of news and "news" on social media.

All that to say, the last seven months have been exhausting. My desire to stay informed sometimes - often leads me down disgusting rabbit holes (I have a hard time not reading the comments). This week has been horrible. No matter how hard I try, I keep getting sucked into this constant state of outrage. And, yes, I should be outraged (everyone of good conscience should be outraged) but I also know I need to take care of my mental and spiritual health. I think about the warnings on airplanes - you are supposed to put your own mask on before you try to help someone else. If I burn out, I cannot be useful to anyone or any cause.

I guess I'm saying - just because something new is "breaking" several times an hour, I want to stay informed - it is okay to put limits or look for places to get a summary (at some interval besides constant).  

Anyway... that's what's on my mind.....

It is Thursday.  Since May, we have set aside Thursday's to revisit some moments, songs, and artists who have been a part of E2TG from 2011 (when we started) to the present... .It's been good to revisit some old friends and to hear all these great songs along side each other.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wild Wednesday Morning Shuffle - Not Many Sides Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Just when I think things cannot possibly get any worse, the "President" (I use quotes because I feel the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has lost the moral authority to lead this nation) opens his mouth again. A few observations about yesterday's press conference/national embarrassment, the sitting US President used stronger words to denounce the press than he did to denounce fascists, racists, and white supremacists.  He placed that same group of hatemongers on the same level as those who actively (and, yes, sometimes violently) oppose them.  He did not name the victim of the fascists/racists/white supremacists but he could take the time to plug his business interest in Charlottesville.

At this point, it seems safe to say that those who still support this man will not be swayed from that support by anything. Yesterday, was metaphorically speaking - shooting someone on 5th Avenue - and while I hope he did lose some votes, it is clear that there are many who still support him.

Also, while I applaud the Republicans on the right who have denounced the President, that applaud is muted until I see action to backup that denouncement.

It seems pretty clear to me that we have a fascist executive branch that is working towards totalitarianism.

I will repeat that - yes I hold primarily leftist views - but I do respect the opinions of those on the right. I believe this nation is best when all sides work together. But when it comes to the people who want to wipe out whole groups of people and who use the symbols of hate and genocide proudly, there is not room for compromise and there are only two sides and there is not moral ambiguity as to which side is evil.

I cannot wait for the day when I do not have to write about things like this in this forum, but that day is not today.

We have reached mid-week and Wednesday is when we let things get "Wild" at E2TG.  I shuffle up all the songs currently on my phone and see what happens. I think the term"wild" fits today's shuffle pretty well.....

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Trending Tuesday Morning Shuffle - Right Now Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Like many people, I am overwhelmed with emotions about the state of our nation and the state of the world.  I don't know what to do about the divisions which seem to grow wider everyday.  It disturbs me greatly that many on the right, who I sincerely believe are good people who I happen to disagree with, can somehow not bring themselves to simply and precisely denounce racism and pro-Nazi sentiment.  From my friends on the right, all I have seen is deflection, false equivalency, and silence. I believe that our nation's potential is best realized when we work together, seek out common ground, and learn to compromise when it is possible.  Unfortunately, we seem to be moving farther apart of from this ideal every day.  As I said yesterday, denouncing Nazis and white supremacists should be one point that the majority of Americans can come together.

I never intended to write about "politics" on E2TG.  I don't want to do it. If it is normal political stuff, I would not do it.  There is nothing normal about what is happening here.  Is this the beginning, the middle or the end of the American empire? Or will we be able to pull out of this mess we are in?

I look around and I see beautiful people who are living their lives the best they can. I see people following their dreams or giving up, I see people excelling or struggling, I see people facing the worst that life has to offer with dignity and grace.  I see beauty in people and in nature. I also see ugliness - not physical ugliness but spiritual ugliness, and I think there is beauty somewhere inside all of that ugliness, but how do we access it?

On another thought, I recently posted a photo of my self from around fifth, sixth, or seventh grade. People comment how little I have changed - which I was not able to see, but for me, the overwhelming feeling that the photo evoked was a wish to be able to go back in time and tell that boy how wonderful and beautiful and perfect he is. It makes me sad that I was often unable to see that them, but it makes me grateful that I can see it now.

It is hard to not run away from all of the ugliness in the world (and I recognize the privilege I having that option as a possibility), and I recognize that I need balance. I must face down the ugliness, but I also need to know when I should take a break.

A bunch of scattered thoughts.

Music does heal - especially when the words ring true.  Tommy Womack and Lisa Oliver-Gray's words rang true for me last night. It was a joy to be around people who share my passion for music and to take in the incredible creative force.

Well, it is Tuesday and we have some "Trending" songs from our "New Music" playlist.... A  few really long songs - so only six songs by four different artists, today.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Music City Monday Morning Shuffle - For Heather Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

Well, it sure is good to be back....

Like many people, my uneasy mind is centered on the events that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.  I am sickened and saddened by so much. The senseless violence, the hate, the tepid response of the President... so much.  Denouncing Nazis and White Supremacists should be something that most Americans can agree upon and unite around, but it appears that is not the case. So many on the Right echo the response of the President and deflect with false equivalency or blame Obama (apparently for daring to be black and President for eight years).  Are there hate groups that are not Nazi's and White Supremacists? Sure. But that is not the topic today. As I have been saying on a regular basis since January, the current administration has placed people who hold the same views as those who lead the protests in Virginia into positions of power within the government.  Those people support this current President and believe they have his tacit approval for their actions. They seem to be correct. While I am happy that some Republican leaders are opening critical of the President's initial response (for the record, I am aware that he made some sort of speech today, but I have not had a chance to hear or read his words), but until and unless they use their positions to deal with this existential threat to our country and way of life, they are complicit in what is happening.

I do not have many solutions today. Except, I know I must speak out against fascism in any way I can, that I must work to free myself from the power of hate and fear, and that I must try my best to be a force for good in the world.

As I often write, there are many complex issues facing this country and this world. For many of this issues there is room and indeed benefit from health debate and compromise... fighting and speaking out against fascism and white supremacy is not one of this issues. A lot of good people in Germany in the 1930s remained silent. They did not actively support Hitler and the Nazis, but in their unwillingness to speak up and fight against that evil, they were complicit. I will not be complicit with the dark forces at work in our nation today.

I offer music as the only thing I know to help right now... This is for Heather Heyer.  If we allow the Nazi's to win, here name will be just the first of many victims. We cannot and must not let that happen...

I am glad to be back, and I really needed the break on many different levels.  In clearing my head, I have a vision for E2TG going forward that I will work very hard to make real. I have given much thought and I think it is important that E2TG be what is supposed to be.  My goal is simply to do my part to help connect music with music lovers. I do so primarily through the use of my morning shuffles. I will occasionally do other types of posts, but that is not primarily what I do. I need to keep my focus and keep finding new ways to do what I do better. More on this soon.

I was fortunate to get to spend one wonderful day in Athens, Georgia at Athens Popfest. I sure wish I could have stayed longer, but what a day!  I got to see E2TG faves, The Foresters tear things up in their festival set. The band and some friends (including members of Discount Ravioli - who I have also written about - and Atticus Floyd who I have also written about) got to join The Apples in stereo on stage at the Georgia Theater.  The video showed it for the wonderful moment it was.

I also got to see another band we have featured here - The Veldt for North Carolina. Live - the completely blew me away - maybe one of my favorite live performances of the year.

Well, it is Monday and I am now short on time - so let's get to the Music City Monday shuffle....

Friday, August 4, 2017

Featured Friday Morning Shuffle - Angel Food Cake Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

I am excited to announce that E2TG has more daily readers than any other music blog ever.  It's like billions and billions of readers every day (maybe more).   In fact, the editor of one of the lesser known music blogs PASTE called me to congratulate me and ask me for some advice on how to attract readers.

This is all true because I wrote it, and any "evidence" you see to the contrary is just FAKE NEWS.

On a more serious note (all though the sentiment behind my little joke is very serious), I wanted to remind my readers (both of you ;-)  )  that I am taking next week off - so no regular shuffles... maybe a special post or two (but maybe not).

It is Friday - the end of another work week, and as we do, we have our "Featured Friday" shuffle - where we shuffle up songs from our New Music playlist.

Shuffle after the jump!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Topical Thursday Morning Shuffle - Walkin' Blues Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

In light of some recent headlines... I need to restate something I have been posting since January... There are still known and avowed white supremacists in positions of great power in the Executive Branch of the United States of America in 2017.  This is the world view that is behind the decisions being made and it is the true undercurrent of the phrase "Make America Great Again".  Please know that the last thing I want to devote time to on E2TG is politics, but I also believe that silence is acceptance - so since I cannot accept this, I must not be silent. #Resist #Persist

On a happier note, I made it out to The 5 Spot last night to check out Lynn Tayloe and The Barflies plus Stuffy Shmitt.      In additional to the Taylor and Shmitt, I had the great opportunity to see some of my favorite players - Sergio Webb, Chris Tench, and Parker Hawkins.  It was another great night of music in Nashville.

Well - it is Thursday - somehow - and that means we post from our current Topical playlist - which continues to be songs covering the 6 year history of E2TG.  Let's shuffle!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wild Wednesday Morning Shuffle - Riddle Me This Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

I guess this is a good time to mention that I will be taking some time off next week. I will probably post some old E2TG shuffles over on the Facebook page during the week.  Included in my time off is  a trip to Athens, Georgia to check out E2TG Favorites The Foresters at the Athens Pop Fest. I am officially stoked about that.

Well, it is Wednesday - where we shuffle up all of the songs on my phone and see what comes up...

Today, we have some "current featured albums" and the return of some old friends...

Shall we check it out?  Okay!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Trending Tuesday Morning Shuffle - Sour Worms Mix

Be sure to "Like" Ear to the Ground on Facebook!

As a microcosm of what life is... the last few days have been filled with moments of pure joy while simultaneous grieving for friends and friends of friends who are suffering through unspeakable loss and pain and suffering.  My hearts go out those who are facing some devastating and difficult times. My heart also goes out to those who are experiencing joy and moments of triumph. Life is and will always be filled with both.

I have been trying to ride my current good mood to getting some stuff done that I have put off for too long during some periods of less than good news.  This often puts me at odds with myself - in that when I am in a good mood, I tend to want to get out and see people.  Overall, this is a most excellent "problem" to have and much better than the days when I don't want to do anything at all.

Americana Fest just announced their full line-up.  As it tends to be, the week is kind of like typical Nashville on steroids. Every year, though, the steroids seem to be just a little bit stronger.  The list is a wonderful sampling of friends and heroes, and heroes who have become friends.... It's all less than two months away.

It is Tuesday, and on Tuesday we shuffle out of our "New Music" playlist... and we call it Trending Tuesday - because... well just because...