Steve Crawford

Glenn Tilbrook, Kessler Theater, Dallas, Friday, September 20th, 2013, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | September 22, 2013

Tilbrook worked hard during this long and uneven performance. He’s constantly trying to squeeze the charm in – doing mock rock star poses, mugging for the crowd, orchestrating sing-alongs, taking requests, and providing wry asides

The 25 Greatest Country Songs of the 1960s

By Steve Crawford | September 15, 2013

“It is my unfortunate responsibility to inform you that “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” by Little Jimmy Dickens did not make this list…” so says Crawford before going all country on us…

Elvis Costello Is Not the Hulk Hogan of Popular Music

By Steve Crawford | September 11, 2013

Shouldn’t every red blooded American know that early in his career Mr. Terry Bollea, who later morphed into the Hulkster, was once billed as “Sterling Golden” and was a heel? And, I would argue, the whole “good guy/bad guy” issue entirely misses the point when it comes to Elvis Costello.

Ray Wylie Hubbard, Kessler Theater, Dallas, Texas, Thursday, September 5th, 2013, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | September 7, 2013

After more than four decades of hitless releases, Hubbard returned to Oak Cliff, Texas, where he attended high school with Michael Martin Murphy and B.W. Stevenson, to record a live album over two nights

Cheap Trick Has the Sue Me, Sue You Blues

By Steve Crawford | September 5, 2013

On Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reported that Richard Nielsen, Thomas Peterson, and Robin “I’ve Never Used a Nickname” Zander have sued Bun E. Carlos (Brad Carlson), claiming that their long time drummer was “validly removed from the board of Cheap Trick Unlimited Inc and two other band-related corporations.”

John Anderson -The Essential List

By Steve Crawford | August 29, 2013

He separated himself from the Nashville assembly line crowd by writing and performing not just traditional hard country music (which was a pretty daring artistic statement in 1980), but also by incorporating elements of rock and bluegrass

Twenty Essential Songs from Jerry Lee Lewis

By Steve Crawford | August 25, 2013

Viewing his life as a terminal battle between sin and salvation, Jerry Lee’s fierce energy was permeated with darkness;h e was dragging his audience to hell and he wasn’t happy about it.He has spent almost a decade watching “Gunsmoke” reruns

Thirteen Unlucky Reasons to Love Freedy Johnston

By Steve Crawford | August 18, 2013

After more than two decades of recording, he’s established himself as a King of Heartbreak, The Melodic Marvel of Melancholy

Stoney Edwards – Stuck Betwixt Pride and Hootie

By Steve Crawford | August 17, 2013

boatloads of banal pop-tarts to frat boys/girls scared of rap music

20 Essential Songs from the Silver Fox

By Steve Crawford | August 13, 2013

Nobody could figure out how to let a white blues singer from Colt, Arkansas follow his artistic vision and simultaneously make money.

King Of The Honky Tonks Gary Stewart Remembered

By Steve Crawford | August 10, 2013

His die was caste. Bar rooms and heartbreak, loneliness and whiskey

The Book of Mormon, Eugene O'Neil Theater, Saturday, July 27th, 2013, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | July 29, 2013

“Do you really think that a man fucked a frog?”

Mommy’s Alright, Daddy’s Alright, They Just Need Separate Attorneys

By Steve Crawford | July 24, 2013

“I’m still in the band, but I don’t tour. I don’t hear from them. I prefer to be out on the road performing with them. Maybe we’ll kiss and make up…”

Bob Wills Night, Allen Library, Friday, July 19th, 2013

By Steve Crawford | July 21, 2013

The Austin based Hot Club of Cowtown meld Wills with Django Reinhardt and spice up their combo dish with astonishing musicianship.

Ten Terrific Tunes Under Two Minutes Long

By Steve Crawford | July 17, 2013

After Twitter, Facebook, paying your bills, mowing the sheep, completing your bug collection, and waxing your eyelids, do you really have time to spin “Whipping Post” or “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”? Deep down, you know you’ll never get to the second disc of the Can box set

Big Star Documentary "Nothing Can Hurt Me" Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | July 14, 2013

Heart wrenchingly sad, yet astonishingly beautiful, a failure of commerce, but an artistic triumph

Rockin’ and Rasslin’ With the King In Memphis, Tennessee

By Steve Crawford | July 8, 2013

It has been said that Elvis remained a fan of Memphis wrestling throughout his life and given his fascination with comic book superheroes, there is no reason to doubt that assertion, even the large, bejeweled belts he wore, while performing in capes, resembled championship wrestling straps.

Last Salute To The Blank Generation: My Top Seven Songs Of the '70s

By Steve Crawford | July 3, 2013

The tagline, “I belong to the blank generation,” became the battle cry for the CBGB’s punk rock crowd. The perfect angst anthem for self-designated outcasts.

Brick? The Commodores Without Lionel Richie: Seven Lost Songs of the Seventies

By Steve Crawford | July 1, 2013

“Dazz” was so hook filled and undeniable that it hit #3 on the pop charts, but you probably don’t hear it on your favorite ‘70s nostalgia station

Do A Little Dance, Make A Little Love: The Ultimate '70s Playlist!

By Steve Crawford | June 27, 2013

Steve Crawford has compiled every major song from the 1970s on one gigantic list! Now tell him to cut short his vacations and get to work on the 1980s

Cheap Trick At Verizon Theater, Grand Prairie, Texas, Friday, June 21st, 2013 Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | June 23, 2013

As a band whose main strength has always been the ability to transcend their material in a live setting, performing at 80% of peak capacity is a somewhat depressing new reality

The Magnificent Seven – My Favorite Concerts

By Steve Crawford | June 18, 2013

Many places I have lived are not exactly live music meccas (ladies and gentlemen, I give you MANHATTAN, KANSAS) and I’d rather not skip meals to attend arena shows

Jason Isbell, Southeastern, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | June 13, 2013

Isbell doesn’t have the vocal presence of a natural born rocker and doesn’t try to be on this primarily acoustic based record. When wearing his comfort pants, Isbell specializes in a devastatingly forlorn sadness/regret voiced with schmaltz-free honesty

You Can Buy A Thrill: Steely Dan's "Peg" Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | June 9, 2013

Starting with a twelve-bar blues piano progression, Fagen incorporated jazz chords and a swing band style chorus into “Peg.” Chuck Rainey’s melodic bass playing is prominently displayed, while Jay Graydon contributed a Polynesian pedal steel influenced guitar solo

Billy Joe Shaver, Live Oak Music Hall, Fort Worth, May 31st, 2013 Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | June 3, 2013

Shaver is as authentic as a dirt road and he’s an engaging stage performer – dancing to the music, shadow boxing, leaning back and bracing himself to put his entire body into the song, displaying a huge, beaming smile most of the night. His discusses his Christian faith repeatedly during a show, leading to some of the oddest proselytizing you’ll ever hear

Stay A Little Longer – The Essential Bob Wills

By Steve Crawford | May 30, 2013

Wills incorporated blues, country, big band, tin pan alley, and folk music into his unique brand of exhilarating Western swing.

Taylor Swift, Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, Texas, May 25th, 2013, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | May 27, 2013

Swift inspires a somewhat unimaginable level of idolatry in her fans. Women of all ages wore homemade Swift homage garb to the show; they screamed incessantly and reacted to their heroine’s every move, statement, song, and gesture. Taylor has gone beyond the realm of both country and pop music, proudly serving as a pop culture celebrity.

Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, Billy Bob’s, Fort Worth, Texas, May 24th, 2013 Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | May 26, 2013

Whether the song required soulful blues, piercing slide guitar, tidal wave metal riffs and solos, or simple punk rock chords, Vaden hit every mark perfectly. Expert timing, wonderful tone. He knows when to lay back and when to take the reins

The True Believers Grapevine, TX Friday, May 18th, 2013 Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | May 20, 2013

I would love to hear the True Believers play live with a proper sound system and I’d also love to see them perform a full set. After forty minutes, the Grapevine Main Street Festival organizers told the band to exit the stage. The True Believers were booted for being too loud.

James McMurtry At Kessler Theater, Dallas, Friday May 17th, 2013 Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | May 19, 2013

Extended acoustic sets typically have a noticeable deficit in the oomph department and this night was not the exception

Turn And Face The Strain, Steve Crawford's 'Five Albums That Changed My Life"

By Steve Crawford | May 14, 2013

Of course, anyone that listens to Det var så länge se’n is eternally altered. What does one do with all of that Scandinavian street cred?

A Fantabulous Night For Van Morrison's "Moondance"

By Steve Crawford | May 7, 2013

Like the best of any art, listening to Moondance gives you the experience of opening a new world to you. On this album, Van Morrison wasn’t dwelling on the threshold of his beautiful vision. He was completely enveloped in it.

George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic, Dallas House of Blues, Friday, May 3rd, 2013

By Steve Crawford | May 5, 2013

The 2013 edition of Parliament Funkadelic doesn’t have the elaborate stage production of the Mothership era, but is still a glorious celebration of excess.

The Essential Songs Of George Jones

By Steve Crawford | April 30, 2013

Jones imparted gravitas to everything he sang. Knowing sin and salvation, he could effortlessly convey anguish, hope, and humor. He stuck to his knitting

Stoned In Macomb: "The Rick Johnson Reader" Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | April 25, 2013

While the Johnson Reader currently hasn’t sold as many copies as the Holy Bible, you, dedicated fan of the Rock NYC website, have the power to change this unfortunate course of history and commerce.

Homer Henderson At The Wild Rooster, Fort Worth, Friday, April 5, 2013

By Steve Crawford | April 7, 2013

One of the fun things about rock ‘n’ roll has always been the dark alley element of shock and weirdness, which Henderson has in spades. He’s a junk shop/thrift store treasure.

Hayes Carll, Kessler Theater, Dallas, April 4th, 2013 Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | April 6, 2013

I have no idea why Hayes is performing his usual setlist with a clearly inferior unit. Whether it was the lack of rhythmic propulsion or inspiration, he was unusually flat vocally. The difference between a good band and a bad one was clearly on display

Michelle Shocked Gives Good Hugs

By Steve Crawford | March 22, 2013

I doubt that Shocked is a savvy enough media presence to have purposely orchestrated the event. If one were in the diabolical public sentiment manipulation business, there are better end states than career suicide. It’s almost too easy to play armchair psychiatrist with Shocked.

Essential Songs of the Early 1930s

By Steve Crawford | March 19, 2013

Far below the surface of mainstream music, blues records were being made by Blind Willie McTell, Big Bill Broonzy, and a few others with scary adjectives in their names. The charts were more diverse than one might suspect – African- American performers Louis Armstrong, the Mills Brothers, and Cab Calloway were scoring hits

They Might Be Giants, House of Blues, Dallas, 12 March 2013 Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | March 14, 2013

Flansburgh, who seems to be more disheveled and heavier each time I see him, mugs for crowd, jumps up and down in time with the music, and dramatically plucks out one note at a time while jerking his guitar at different angles. He’s the nerd rock Rick Nielsen.

Blaze Foley: Forever In Duct Tape

By Steve Crawford | March 6, 2013

Foley played in small Austin bars, when they weren’t banning him due to drunkenness, and lived in a car. He released a few singles in his life, but album releases were never meant to be – master tapes were continually lost or stolen.

Hot Club of Cowtown At Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge, Fort Worth,Tx, Friday, March 1st, 2013 Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | March 3, 2013

The trio is comprised of three outstanding musicians – violinist Elana James, guitarist Whit Smith, and stand-up bassist Jake Erwin. Performing jazz and pop standards and Western swing classics, the virtuosos rotate playing rhythms/melody and taking solos. They know when to be unobtrusive and when to take the spotlight. They simmer and burn with equal aplomb.

The Essential Songs: 1991

By Steve Crawford | February 28, 2013

The Essential Songs of 1991 have all turned 21 now. They’ve discarded their fake IDs – some are in college, some are in the military, and there’s a trust fund baby in the crowd. They grow up so fast.

Two Hit Wonders!!

By Steve Crawford | February 26, 2013

Cub Koda and company are best known for their pro lung cancer anthem “Smokin’ in the Boys Room” which made it to #3 in 1973 and was covered by Motley Crue in 1985, becoming that band’s first Top 40 hit.

Really And Truly Dazed and Confused: Ten One Hit Wonder Rock Bands of the 1970s

By Steve Crawford | February 25, 2013

“They have never achieved competence – they are actively untalented.”

Carla DeSantis Black's GRL Talk

By Steve Crawford | February 23, 2013

“Such a tricky question, Steve!! But truly – anyone who stays true to their own vision and doesn’t allow the music business machine to sabotage their art is my hero – or heroine!”

The Essential Songs: 1990

By Steve Crawford | February 14, 2013

Steve married Beth in 1990 and this Valentine Day’s he shares the essential songs in the year of his wedding.

The Top Ten Country Hits on iTunes, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | February 12, 2013

Memo to Blake. It may be that people aren’t nostalgic for their grandpa’s country music. They may be nostalgic for country music with heart and substance.

We Who Wait – TV Smith and the Adverts Documentary

By Steve Crawford | February 9, 2013

Inspired by exciting yet technically challenged groups like the Buzzcocks, Undertones, and The Damned, the Adverts were non-musicians ready for stardom. In 1977, the group released their first single on Stiff Records, “One Chord Wonders”

Gil Scott-Heron – Too Black, Too Strong

By Steve Crawford | February 3, 2013

Scott-Heron’s catalogue is a mess, many of the albums he recorded for Arista from 1974 to 1983 are no longer on the market and there are too many bargain bin compilations to address. It’s hard to know in retrospect if Scott-Heron was a brilliant artist that never had the opportunity for the following he deserved