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New West Daily Roundup for May 13, 2016

MSU, Montana State University

Today in New West news: Montana State University receives $8 million pledge from Greg and Susan Gianforte, Pleasant Revolution bike/music tour planned for Pacific Northwest/California, and Denver-area housing development sells final unit after 58 years.

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Surprise! The CMA got the awards right this year… for the most part

bigswift

Before they are too far into the past, I had a few comments on this year's Country Music Association awards, which were presented earlier this month in Nashville. Entertainer of the Year went to Taylor Swift. While this young phenom might be just a bit too young and bubbly for my taste, I have to admit that I like her music. A lot. If even half of the official press material on her is true, Swift is a talent the likes of which only comes around once in a while, and she has earned her meteoric success.

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Being Taken for an American Ride

bigtoby

You all know I’m a big Toby Keith fan- maybe it’s that name that draws my admiration (the Keith, not the Toby…) From his debut work that got dissed at the awards, through his war-mongering-Dixie-Chicks-squabbling period, right up to modern times, I’ve maintained that he’s one of the best acts in contemporary country music. And the unwashed masses have agreed with me, to the tune of millions and millions of dollars. That’s why I hope ol’ Toby will take this comment with all due respect- His latest single, "American Ride," sucks.

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So Long, England Dan

bigdan_thumb

One of the latest losses suffered by classic country music is the death of Dan Seals. Yes, before you even start in on me, I do know that he started out on the soft rock/pop side of the fence as England Dan of England Dan and John Ford Coley. Whatever successes he had in ‘70s with that music, though, isn’t what I’m concerned with. It’s the ‘80s and early ‘90s that I’m talkin’ about, when he had more than 20 singles on the country charts, with 11 of them hitting No. 1.

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Tom Catmull and the Clerics – Glamour Puss

catmull_220

The new record is not so much a departure for Tom and his band, but a big step up and forward. Catmull’s songwriting has always been top notch, it is just better this time around. The sound of the recording is improved (it was recorded at Club Schmed Studios in Missoula, and mixed in Seattle at the Imperial Room); hell, the band just sounds better, period. Not surprising, as this is a combo that plays a pile of shows and obviously has a great time making music together.

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John Rich vs. Rodney Atkins

'Detroit' vs. 'America'- Bring it on!

John Rich's "Shuttin' Detroit Down" vs. Rodney Atkins' "It's America" Yes, both are simplistic and cliched. But I like 'America' and hate 'Detroit' and here's why.

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Bob Wire: Music that pops you upside the head

These songs get right up in your face and dare you to like them. The whole attitude of Bob Wire's music is that of "Here's what I have to say... you can approve of it, or not... 'cause I don't much give a rat, one way or the other." In other words, his music is just like his blog.

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You Too Can Be a Songwriter!

I found myself with a little time on my hands yesterday (Really? A week before Christmas?!?), so I thought I’d sit down and write a song. It’s been a while since I cranked out a real foot-tapper. Some false starts lately: “A Recession In My Heart, A Depression In My Head,” “Nose Pickin’ Boogie,” and “She Won’t Get Under Me Till I Get Over You.” Not exactly chart-topping material. So I sucked down some strong coffee to get the synapses firing hot, tuned up the acoustic, and jotted down some couplets. This is my favorite part of songwriting: coming up with some compelling rhymes. Occasionally I’ll paint myself into a corner with some word or phrase that’s just right, but then I can’t find a natural-sounding rhyme for it. If the rhymes don’t sound right together, the listener can tell right away. Here’s one I rejected for just that reason: “Your love surrounds me like a sunrise in spring / Come on girl, get up off ‘o that thing.”

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Country Music Votes for President

Remember the 1990's political rallying cry, "Put a Cowboy in the Whitehouse"?

So this morning, as I'm getting ready to head to the polls, I get curious about country music and the presidential election right here and right now on Election Day. The perception is still pretty strong that the Republicans have the lion's share of the country music support, but what's the reality? Now, between voting and getting to work on time, I didn't have a whole heck of a lot of time to put into this, so I turned to the poor man's Gallup poll, my old friend Mr. Google. I punched in a few different variations of search words and let the old Boolean algorithm go to work.

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Independent Music — Totally

Miss Lana Rebel soothes the raging hessians with some sweet country at Total Fest VII

Missoula hosts the premier independent music festival in the Northwest. I’m talking, or course, about Total Fest, which just saw its 7th incarnation go off as a resounding success this past weekend. This is a huge event to wrangle; lots of bands from all over (all of whom needed places to stay, things to eat, gear to protect, etc.) to manage, three nights in a row of rock, and all the promotion and hustling to make it a success. From what I saw Saturday night, it all seemed to go off with less fuss and confusion than most single night shows I’ve had to suffer through with only 3 or 4 bands involved! Just a fantastic effort all around.

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