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Headed into the mountains until further notice.
Wish me luck.
Please stand by…

 

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So, I have decided to stick my toe back in the water with concert promoting. First time since 2003, and surprisingly it’s not another rock n’ roll show I decided on.
EDM.
I know…whiskey tango foxtrot.
And I don’t damn-well yet know if this is going to become a “thing” or not.
I’m just very bored with the present.
Que sarà, sarà.

Kap Slap

with Lancelott 
Friday, February 2, 2018
18+

Headliners Music Hall – Louisville, KY 
Buy Tickets Here: http://bit.ly/2nZjLx5

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On May 15th of 2012 I lost my first Doberman Pinscher, Boris. Very suddenly.

Soon after that I wrote a gut-spill blog post titled “Mid-May-Mourning” to this blog.

Today, on November 30, I’ve lost my second Doberman Pinscher, Ballack. Once again, very suddenly.

And once again, a gut-spill post. 

Losing Ballack has been a euphoric life experience.

For the first time since April of 2000, when I was just a 24 year old young man, I find myself Doberman-ownerless at 41.

Quite frankly, it sucks. Ballack was the definition of man’s best friend. And there is an emptiness lurking inside me I haven’t felt before, now that he is gone.

Not even a woman has penetrated my heart like my Dobermans have.

Nonetheless, just another life lesson learned of how fast situations can do a 180 on you. Just like that.

It was only a few days ago that Ballack was practically ripping my arm out-of-socket playing tug-o-war with his rope. Or he was begging me to throw his damn ball just one more time into my backyard. And only few days after he would lash out and bite me on my right wrist in the most well-deserving, yet immediately regretful manner, he ever had done before. He didn’t want to, he had to. I made him do it. And I totally deserved it, too. Trust me. I was pushing his buttons and questioning his toughness. Encouraging him to be the dog that God made him to be, and he responded without hesitation. Tough love, we shall call it. Ballack always reciprocated in that department. And I loved him for that. Tough love. Story of both our lives.

I held that dog in my arms, our eyes locked, as he breathed his last breath. I felt the tremors that inhibited his body the last 24 hours of his life immediately cease.  The rest of his body’s muscles went limp, and I felt his soul leave his body. His eyes still partially open looking at mine, but I knew he was gone. I closed them with my fingers. And thought, he’s…
Back to where Boris is.
Where Astro is.
Where Cleo is.
Where Shelby will eventually be.
And where I will hopefully end up, too.

After his passing, I held my Ballack for the last time, for what seemed like an eternity, as memories flooded my mind of his 8 short years of life.

And as I sit here and beat the shit out my keyboard – only 4 beers into his post-death mourning charade – with Ballack’s choke collar wrapped ever-so-gracefully around my left hand, and my mind and heart shaken to the core, I can tell you this: Dogs are God’s greatest creation of life, ever. Period.

If ever you need to know what true LOVE is, own a dog.

If ever you need to know what true FAITHFULNESS is, own a dog.

If ever you need to know what true DEVOTION is, own a dog.

If ever you need to know what God’s GREATEST GIFT to man is, own a dog.

And, if by chance, you ever require a dog who will compete with you in attitude, energy, strength, toughness, fearlessness or devotion, own a Doberman Pinscher.

Rest in peace my old boy.

As I said it once before, “see you on the other side old man…”

Matthew 5:8

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jim-james-eternally-evenJim James
Eternally Even
Produced by Jim James and Blake Mills
ATO/Capitol Records
Release: November 4, 2016
www.JimJames.com

Jim James has cultivated a reputation for being an experimental musician, not pledging allegiance to any one style of sound. It’s constantly evolving to say the least. Not only as the frontman and chief song architect for My Morning Jacket, but as a solo artist, too. On his sophomore solo album, a follow-up to 2013’s Regions of Light & Sound of God, James’ delivers a set of tracks that once again proves he’s still in a state of evolution.

Where Regions of Light & Sound of God was 2013’s melodic, tenor-based, happy trip thru musical serenity, Eternally Even delivers a more rhythmic, synthed-out, acid-jazz sound that’s laced with R&B and soul undertones, and accentuated with James’ unconventional baritone vocs. The payoff is a bit more darker and somber in overall resonance than perhaps anything he’s recorded, even with My Morning Jacket.

As usual with James, these songs are deeply personal, and reflective of his own personal views on life and our reality in the present day. A reality that seems rather glum and bummed out, as “Same Old Lie” spells out with candid reverberation via a swanky chorus. Is he talking about the presidential election? The fear-mongering media? Most likely. Along with a host of other loathsome politically-charged realities.

The instrumental prowess of “We Ain’t Getting Any Younger Pt. 1” provides a gratifying, mid-album transition into the second half of the album, where Pt. 2 of the same song fuses James’ alto vocals.

The album’s title track triumphantly culminates as the last track, and maintains the album’s avant-garde feel. Eternally Even manifests itself as a progressive experimentation and peek into James’ own unpredictable psyche.

—This review is also published at PerformerMag.com and GonzoToday.com

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Forecastle-07-17-2015-Sam-Smith-S-1

Photo by Willie MacLean

Once upon a time, in July of 2002, a grassroots-organized neighborhood gathering of music, art and activism took place in a quaint little patch of grass in the Fredrick Olmsted-designed Tyler Park. Located in the heart of the Highlands neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky, the first Forecastle was comprised primarily of local artists and musicians who all performed for free.  Drawing a few hundred people nonetheless, festival founder JK McKnight made it all work on a budget of less than $500.

Fast forward to today, and this little grassroots festival has steadily evolved itself into a corporate-controlled, behemoth midwest tourist attraction, drawing thousands and thousands of festival-goers from 49 states and 12 countries. Now fully orchestrated by Knoxville’s AC Entertainment (producer of Bonnaroo & Sloss Music Festival), Forecastle Festival will once again take place on Louisville’s Waterfront Park this weekend, from July 15-17th.

The Dwindling Local Element

As an advocate for all things Kentucky, this writer would be remiss to note how our largest home state music festival seems to play host to fewer and fewer “Kentucky” musicians and artists, as each year passes. Sad, but true. In 2015 there were five artists, including My Morning Jacket, who hailed from the Bluegrass State, but this year it’s been reduced to only three, which is another aspect of the festival’s inevitable evolving trend. On the this year’s official lineup of musical artists with Kentucky roots we’ve got 1200, Joan Shelley and Louisville Orchestra Director, Teddy Abrams & Friends, who will likely feature a variety of other Kentucky musicians during his set.

Nonetheless, there’s still plenty to revel about and be excited for as Forecastle Festival maintains its status as Kentucky’s largest annual gathering of music and art. According to official ticket sales to date, this year’s festival is expected to surpass their all-time ticket sales record set last year, with over 65,000 tickets sold. 

Here are some of my personal highly-anticipated on and offstage attractions that I will choose to jabber about, in no specific order. You can even download a FREE set of tunes from a handful of Forecastle 2016 artists.

Ryan Adams

The last time I saw Mister Ryan Adams was in 2007 at Louisville’s Brown Theatre. This was when he had the audacity to only deliver a 20 minute acoustic set, sitting in a dimly-lit half circle with his band the entire time. After about three songs, plus a cover of Alice in Chains’ “Down in a Hole,” he stepped to the mic and uttered the words “Thank you, goodnight,” and then proceeded to walk offstage. Everyone in attendance was infuriated.

Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams

Regardless of that incident, this dude is one hell of a songwriter and live performer, with a 20+ year catalog of songs to draw from. I just happened to catch him on one of those shitty nights where ole’ Ryan just wasn’t feeling it. Chances are I won’t be the only person present at Forecastle this year who last saw him at the aforementioned flub show. That’s why I will confidently predict that his upcoming set at Forecastle will be an enthralling live demonstration of his musical prowess in one of his rare festival appearances. So, how about a total rock-out with your cock-out set there, Mister Adams? Some of us have been waiting a long time for it…

The Arcs

The last time a Dan Auerbach-fronted rock-n-roll machine graced a stage at Forecastle was in 2013, when the Black Keys gave a rock-n-roll sermon for over 2 hours to a rambunctious, yet appreciate drunken mass of fans. I was happily part of that mess.

The Arcs - Photo by Richard Swift

The Arcs – Photo by Richard Swift

Auerbach returns to the Forecastle stage with his newest rendition of psychedelia/garage rock while keeping intact his trademark vocals and reverb-drenched guitars. Also a vital part of the band is bassist Nick Movshon, whose better known for his extensive work with the late, great British soul queen, Amy Winehouse.

Keep an ear out for “Put a Flower in Your Pocket” if you’re a Keys fan. It should be just as a trippy performance as the song’s video. Hopefully. Catch them early on Saturday at 5:15 on the Mast Stage.

Gary Clark Jr.

Gary Clark Jr with his signature Epiphone Casino

Gary Clark Jr with his signature Epiphone Casino

Making his 2nd Forecastle appearance in only 3 years is Austin-based Gary Clark Jr., one the next soon-to-be greatest Blues rockers of our generation. He’s a festival staple across the country and his experience with the Forecastle crowd will lead to another guitar and vocal-fueled battleground experience for his audience.

Just wait till he plays “The Healing” at some point during the set. Who doesn’t need some healing from living in today’s world? Catch him on Sunday at 5:00 on the Mast Stage.

[Read our March 2016 review of Gary Clark Jr. by our own Miss Autumn en Austin]

1200

1200

1200

Also known as Jecorey Arthur, he is a music teacher for a local school by day, and up-and-coming hip-hop artist by night. There’s not much more of a positive role model coming from his west end Louisville roots. But this boy will ignite your senses with his genuine delivery of real-life inspired songs, and heartfelt authenticity. He’s a “real” musician whose capable of reshaping the overall perception of his style within the uninformed popular thought, so make sure you give him a listen on Friday at 3:00 on the Ocean Stage.

The GONZO Bar

You know, not because I’m freaking biased towards Hunter S. Thompson and virtually anything GONZO, but this will be one of the coolest damn spots to get a bourbon or other GONZO libation of choice. Thompson, a Louisville native, and creator of GONZO Journalism, was also a rabid bourbon connoisseur, amongst quite a few other mind-altering substances of choice.

Gonzo Bar Forecastle Festival

Gonzo Bar Forecastle Festival

Celebrate the GONZO spirit while you enjoy a new feature to this year’s bar – a Grant Goodwine curated “traveling madhouse” of inspired art by Thompson and his longtime British illustrator, Ralph Steadman. Great DAZE!!

Anderson East

Rhythm and blues and soul rockers with dashes of country are definitely crowd-pleasers at Forecastle. This year’s festival will feature one of that genre-orgy’s up-and-coming rising giants, with Michael Cameron Anderson, professionally recognized as Anderson East. 

Anderson East

Anderson East

Yep, this little young Alabama lad can sure as hell man a mic and rock a stage with more heartfelt intent than some of the seasoned veterans around him. And when he’s done doing all that, he parks his boots under Country Music Queen, Miss Miranda Lambert’s bed. How about that?

You’ll have to shake off that Saturday night hangover kind of quickly as he opens the Mast Stage on Sunday at 1:45. Oh yeah, make sure you wish him a happy birthday if you’re in attendance because he’ll be celebrating his 28th.

The Bourbon Lodge

The Bourbon Lodge

The Bourbon Lodge

A celebration of Kentucky’s most famous export, other than horses and world-renowned musicians: bourbon, curated by The Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a non-profit organization that promotes and publicizes all the major bourbon distillers throughout the state. You’ll learn about the history and cultivation of bourbon directly from the distilleries who’ve made it a world class export. And of course, be aware this is usually the only non-VIP air-conditioned oasis within festival grounds. So why not give all those sun and heat-relief seekers first class access to Kentucky’s brown hell water? Good call.

Kentucky Landing

Kentucky Landing

Kentucky Landing

This is the corridor where most of the incoming art will be found, along with mixed in festival retailers, many from Kentucky. It’s definitely the calmest and quietest section of the festival ground, and is great place to people watch. Grab a bite to eat. Or drink a craft brew. Or catch a nap. Whatever floats your boat.

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robertdixon2Whiskey Bent Valley Boys
On The Fly
Produced by Ben Townsend
Questionable Records: Pewee Valley, Kentucky
Released: May, 2016
whiskeybentvalley.tumblr.com

There’s been a bit of a resurgence of popularity, so to speak, in the world of bluegrass music over the last decade or so, in case you haven’t noticed. While the majority of big time present-day bluegrass renegades experiment with ways of incorporating modern sounds into this pioneering art form of string-picking, Pewee Valley, Kentucky’s Whiskey Bent Valley Boys are non-conformists, in that regard. Conjuring up more of a 19th century, rootsy style, these young Kentucky lads entire persona is about inducing a historical feel to both their sound and image. Almost as if they’re trying to emulate an actual Appalachian backwoods porch jam session amongst family members in 1885. Happy, hillbilly, tenor-induced, string mayhem is how I’ll sum it up, with songs about running rabbits, shady groves and drinking up that whiskey. No doubt they live up to their name.

And just like the majority of their fellow Kentucky-born musical brethren, songs about the home state is always hip subject matter to lay down tracks to. Regardless of your style. You’ve got the instrumental jam session of “Kentucky Traveler,” followed up by the reminiscent testament of “Old Kentucky” where they sing of growing up on the banks of the Ohio, amongst other homages sprinkled throughout.

Whiskey Bent Valley Boys once again cement their status in bluegrass, as an authentic old-time, whiskey-sipping, porch-stomping, string-slaying trio of young lads who belt out tunes which remind us of a time that none of us actually have any real memory of.

-This review also published at GonzoToday.com

 

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GFLou2016
GonzoFest Louisville
, Louisville’s annual celebration of its most famous 
literary son, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, returns to Waterfront Park’s Big Four Lawn to celebrate the life, work and legacy of Louisville’s own Hunter S. Thompson on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

GonzoFest Louisville, now in its sixth year, has stacked this year’s lineup with national and local acts. Nashville rockers with Kentucky roots, Fly Golden Eagle and rock & roll trio Natural Child, who are also from Nashville, will headline GonzoFest Louisville 2016. Old-school hip-hop artists Dr. Dundiff with Touch AC and Smoke Shop Kids, along with garage punk band Chrome Pony, and indie rock band Quiet Hollers are set to perform on the main stage.

Also on the bill is Frederick The Younger, a slinky vintage pop band from Louisville, local rockers Your News Vehicles, and acid country rock band The Bottom Sop. Along with Frogg Corpse & Mr. Stranger Present The End of The World on the Gonzo Today Stage.

In addition to music and spoken word performances, Tinderbox Circus Sideshow, the self-proclaimed “most mind-blowingly devilish backwoods troupe from the ground up”.will be performing at the Gonzo Today Tent Stage throughout the day.

Craft vendors, food, liquor, beer, will be available at the festival as well. GonzoFest Louisville 2016 will also feature a non-fiction literary contest and a satirical political portrait art contest. Submit literary entries to gonzoliterarycontest@gmail.com. Art entries must be sent to 4016 Summer Place New Albany, IN 47150. Literary and art entries must be submitted by March 15, 2016.

The official GonzoFest Louisville after-party at The New Vintage begins at 11:00 p.m.; featuring The Sundresses, Discount Guns, plus a very special jam session with festival musicians. Present your GonzoFest Louisville 2016 ticket stub for free entry to the after-party ($10 at the door otherwise).

Proceeds from GonzoFest Louisville 2016 will support the creation of a life-size bronze statue of Hunter S. Thompson. Sculptor, Matthew Weir will be present during the festival. GonzoFest Louisville is sponsored by Falls City Brewing and Four Roses Bourbon. Gates open at 1:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at Eventbrite. Additional information, including details about the 2016 literary contest, vendor applications, sponsorship and volunteer opportunities can be found by visiting www.GonzoFestLou.com.

For the latest news about this year’s festival fans can visit GonzoFest Louisville on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About GonzoFest Louisville
GonzoFest Louisville is a literary and music festival honoring Hunter S. Thompson, as well as the lasting mark he has made on literature, art and music. Through poetry, spoken word, art and live music and more, GonzoFest Louisville celebrates the life and times of Hunter S. Thompson in his hometown. 2016 will mark the sixth year of the festival.

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