Steve Crawford

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, “Let the Day Begin.”

By Steve Crawford | January 31, 2013

In 1998, the twenty year old, second generation bass player founded the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. B.R.M.C. have released two albums that achieved gold status in England and remain respected by music fans on both sides of the pond.

Essential Songs of 1989

By Steve Crawford | January 23, 2013

Public Enemy fought the power and The Beastie Boys released their brilliant Paul’s Boutique album. As we look back at the decade, we were able to survive a decade of synth-pop, kitschy videos, and electronic drums. As we peek around the corner to the ‘90s, I’m seeing flannel.

Los Lobos, Dallas, Kessler Theater, January 19th, 2012

By Steve Crawford | January 21, 2013

Lacking familiarity with the Spanish-language tracks, I didn’t connect with most of the songs on a lyrical level. However, the musicianship was so impressive that the group easily made a gut level, visceral connection with the audience.

Lucinda Williams – Dallas, Kessler Theater, 18 January, 2012

By Steve Crawford | January 20, 2013

Eight slow tempo sad songs about women in abusive relationships, women in suffocating relationships, or women trapped in their own loneliness can take its toll on a person. Lucinda Williams is unarguably one of the preeminent songwriters of this era

Essential Songs of 1988

By Steve Crawford | January 16, 2013

The Traveling Wilburys were the rare supergroup that deserved that designation and Public Enemy pushed rap music into a more stringent and confrontational direction. And if you haven’t heard Gary Stewart’s “An Empty Glass,” you’re missing out on one of country music’s most eloquently heart wrenching drinking songs

Essential Songs of 1987

By Steve Crawford | January 14, 2013

Bruce Springsteen contemplated married life and The Replacements saluted a Memphis legend and worked with The Memphis Horns. R.E.M. released their most muscular album while the Grateful Dead had a Top Ten pop hit.

Essential Songs of 1986

By Steve Crawford | January 10, 2013

Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys pushed a new rock/rap fusion into the marketplace and while punk rock and new wave had been put to bed, a new batch of college radio acts

Essential Songs of 1985

By Steve Crawford | January 5, 2013

During the early 1980s, R.E.M. had established Athens, Georgia as the alternative center of the universe, but by 1985, Husker Du and the Replacements shifted the eyes of the indie world to Minneapolis/St. Paul,

They Might Be Giants – "Them Ain’t Big Eye Ants" Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | January 2, 2013

One of the strengths of the collection is the diversity of visual styles, including work by graphic designer Paul Sahre, and animation specialists including Laika House, Hine Mizushima, Divya Srinivasan, and the brilliant Brothers Chap of Homestar Runner

Willie Nelson, "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die" Book Review

By Steve Crawford | December 28, 2012

Willie drops names and f-bombs and off color jokes. Lacking any cohesive narrative (and repeating some themes), it’s almost more of a scrapbook/time capsule than anything else. It’s a bit of a chore.

Where’s My Dentures, I’m Ready to Rock ‘n’ Roll: Crawfords Best of 2012

By Steve Crawford | December 26, 2012

Teenage girls across America dumped their boyfriends for the honor of singing “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and feeling solidarity with Taylor Swift. Justin Bieber returned with less hysteria but still hitting the charts. Let’s hear it for the girls, as Adele and Rihanna and Kelly Clarkson had #1 singles.

Essential Songs of 1984

By Steve Crawford | December 24, 2012

Bruce Springsteen and Prince ruled both the pop charts, while The Replacements released the best album of their messy career. Los Lobos proved that they really weren’t just another band from East L.A. and Leonard Cohen quietly released a song that would later become recognized as a classic.

Drew Nelson, Tilt-A-Whi​rl, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | December 22, 2012

Nelson has a powerful voice, figuratively and literally. He can sound both world weary and triumphant and the record rocks harder than typical long haired guy with bare feet publicity photo shots might lead you to believe (including some nice lead guitar and B-3 organ spots). Nelson has the goods. Hopefully his music will find the audience it deserves.

Essential Songs of 1983

By Steve Crawford | December 21, 2012

Prince Rogers Nelson also became a pop sensation with his double album 1999 and that little ol’ band from Texas conquered the MTV generation and had their greatest success after a decade plus of recording. Ray Davies and The Kinks had the most heartwarming comeback of the year

Robert Cray, Fort Worth, Billy Bob’s Friday December 14, 2012

By Steve Crawford | December 17, 2012

Wearing rudely tight purple spandex pants, a ripped Sex Pistols t-shirt, and sporting a ‘70s style Afro, he made repeated lascivious comments to the ticket buying females and shouted about “THE REVOLUTION” between songs, except when he was spewing obscenities

Johnny Cash "The Posthumous Tapes"

By Steve Crawford | December 15, 2012

Imagine that you could record one more record with Johnny’s later period weathered vocals with Rick Rubin, taking a break from imagining what chicken fried steak tastes like, twiddling the knobs. Here are the tunes that Rock NYC would break out for the occasion.

The Essential Songs: 1982

By Steve Crawford | December 13, 2012

Visually appealing/interesting artists like Duran Duran and A Flock of Seagulls were crossing over from MTV to radio airplay. Synth pop was pushing guitar bands to the back of the classroom, Tommy Tutone created the best known telephone number in the history of rock ‘n’ roll, while The Clash had (merely) their most commercially successful album release.

Joe Ely At The Kessler Theater, Dallas Tx, Saturday December 7th, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | December 12, 2012

Ely enjoys rich lyrical images, check out this opening couplet from Butch Hancock’s “Row of Dominoes” – “Carmen must have been the Devil’s daughter/At least he taught her how to wear her clothes.”

The Essential Songs: 1981

By Steve Crawford | December 9, 2012

The 1970s had given the music world all female bands Fanny and The Runaways, but the Go-Gos were the first female band writing and performing their own music to top the Billboard album chart.

Asleep at the Wheel, Fort Worth, Casa Manana Theatre, Thursday, December 6th, 2012

By Steve Crawford | December 8, 2012

The Wheel brought their Christmas show to Fort Worth, with Benson noting, “Ever since Perry Como left us, there’s been a void and we are here to fill it.” The band has been Benson’s lifelong passion

The Essential Songs: 1980

By Steve Crawford | December 6, 2012

Classic rock was in fine form in 1980 with Pink Floyd, AC/DC, and Queen having major success on the album charts. London Calling by the Clash and Bruce Springsteen’s The River topped the critic polls. John Lennon released his first album in over five years, while punk rock/new wave energy was still spitting out fantastic songs

Bettye LaVette. Kessler Theater, Dallas, TX, Thursday, November 29th, 2012 Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | December 1, 2012

There’s an exhaustive quality about performing each piece with such tremor shaking force. It’s like being hit by serial tidal waves with no time to recuperate. On a number like Joe Simon’s “Your Time to Cry,” it feels like the material is being sledge hammered.

The Essential Songs: 1979

By Steve Crawford | November 30, 2012

Blondie, the B-52s, and the Talking Heads were cross pollinating dance beats/rhythms into a traditional rock context. Pink Floyd built the wall, Cheap Trick brought Budokan to the States, and AC/DC paved the highway to hell. 1979 – the year is gone but it’s not forgotten.

Steve Crawford’s Premature Top Dozen Songs of 2012

By Steve Crawford | November 29, 2012

I acknowledge the following concerning this list – (a) it is subject to change as I discover other music released this year, (b) it’s only November, and (c) Iman Lababedi listens to more music during one day than I do in six months.

Iris DeMent's "Sing The Delta" Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | November 27, 2012

This is music of Dement’s geographic and spiritual roots, songs inspired by the Arkansas Delta based upon church piano and organ instrumentation. If you can make peace with DeMent’s voice, which often savors every syllable on the slower songs, you may fall in love with this album.

The Essential Songs: 1978

By Steve Crawford | November 26, 2012

Saturday Night Fever ruled the box office and the soundtrack did the same to the pop charts, creating a series of smash hits by The Bee Gees, Yvonne Elliman, and The Trammps. The Clash had replaced The Sex Pistols as the great hope of the punk rock movement and Elvis Costello was truly that year’s model. Sprinkle in a high quality albums by veterans like The Rolling Stones and Neil Young with fine debut efforts by Van Halen and The Cars and the result is a very good year.

Peoria Haunts Me

By Steve Crawford | November 21, 2012

Dan Fogelberg passed away from prostate cancer in 2007, yet will most likely taunt me from the grave every holiday season for the rest of my life. Nobody gets the last laugh on Dan Fogelberg.

The Essential Songs: 1977

By Steve Crawford | November 21, 2012

Punk rock was proving to be an excellent singles medium, with The Buzzcocks and The Jam and The (non-Tom Petty) Heartbreakers undeniably making that point. An English nerd named Declan MacManus excited critics with his wordplay and craftsmanship. Disco and Fleetwood Mac ruled the Top 40 airwaves, while groups like Television and The Ramones and The Talking Heads were establishing a New York dump named CBGB’s

Michelle Shocked and Junior Brown, Kessler Theater in Dallas Tx, November 18th, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | November 19, 2012

Junior Brown plays guitar like a man that can orchestrate tornadoes. Stooped over his double electric and steel guitar, Brown played solos that sounded like Don Rich (of the Buckaroos) performing at the speed of light

The 1960s In Music Reviewed: If You Remember It You Weren't There So We're Gonna Tell You

By Steve Crawford | November 17, 2012

I was given the dreaded 1960s overview assignment. This is particularly difficult on me for two reasons. One, I was toasted out of my skull on bad acid for the entire decade and, two, I was only four years old when 1970 rolled around.

The Essential Songs: 1976

By Steve Crawford | November 15, 2012

While citizens across our great nation were celebrating our Bicentennial, Jeffry Hyman, John Cummings, Douglas Colvin, and Thomas Erdelyi entered a recording studio in New York and created a new genre of rock ‘n’ roll that would remain viable for decades. The Ramones started the revolution.

Neil Young 2012: Rust Getting Drowsy

By Steve Crawford | November 13, 2012

Neil has gotten the boys together for two head scratching releases this year (perhaps Cortez told Neil to race the Mayan calendar) and there is one undeniable conclusion – the man needs an editor.

The Essential Songs: 1975

By Steve Crawford | November 9, 2012

it was in 1975 that Mr. Springsteen ran onto the cover of both Time and Newsweek. He faded into obscurity the following year and is believed to be manning a hot dog stand in Atlantic City at this time. Patti Smith reaped critical hosannas with her unhinged, beatnik, word slinging persona and an English blues band named Fleetwood Mac morphed into a pop sensation

Peter Criss' "Makeup To Break Up" Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | November 5, 2012

Criss takes on his old cronies, accusing Gene of having indiscriminate taste in groupies and often reeking of body odor. Stanley’s feminine mannerisms and lifestyle choices are detailed, without getting in the legal trouble of calling him gay. Of course, Ace was a train wreck.

The Essential Songs: 1974

By Steve Crawford | November 3, 2012

As we continue our Soul Train line dance through the 1970s, we’ll note that 1974 was the first year that music was produced as much for the dance floor as it was the transistor radio

The Essential Songs: 1973

By Steve Crawford | October 28, 2012

Satan was working overtime in ’73, loading the pop charts with demonic material by Tony Orlando and Down, the Carpenters, and Marie Osmond. However, during Beelzebub’s lunch breaks, the New York Dolls and Bruce Springsteen and Iggy Pop pushed some timeless goodies into the marketplace.

Todd Snider At House Of Blues Dallas, Texas, Thursday, October 25th, 2012, Reviewed.

By Steve Crawford | October 27, 2012

Performing in bare feet and alternating between a sly “did you see what I did there?” grin and a huge Jimmy Carter smile, Snider kept the crowd in the palm of his hand

Joe Nick Patoski's “The Dallas Cowboys: The Outrageous History of the Biggest, Loudest, Most Hated, Best Loved Football Team in America.” Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | October 23, 2012

Whether the subject is western swing music, barbeque, or water conservation, Patoski has the Lone Star State covered like a blanket.

The Essential Songs Of 1972

By Steve Crawford | October 22, 2012

In 1972, David Bowie took his space age glam rock into the stratosphere with assistance from Mick Ronson, who served as the guitarist for the wonderfully named Spiders from Mars

The Essential Songs: 1971

By Steve Crawford | October 17, 2012

Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison were proactively making the early transition from rock star to worm food (they would combine to release 3, 478,279 posthumous records). On a positive note, John Prine released what was both his debut and career album, Marvin Gaye took Motown soul into the world of political consciousness, and the Rolling Stones raised glucose levels throughout the English speaking world

The Essential Songs Of 1970

By Steve Crawford | October 14, 2012

As we begin out trip through the essential songs of the 1970s, we will note that the disco ball production line didn’t start in 1970 and safety pins were still a clothing tool, not a facial accessory. The Jackson 5 were at the top of their classic singles run; Neil Young, Van Morrison, and The Velvet Underground released timeless albums; and James Brown was solidifying his position as the funkiest musician in the galaxy.

The 2013 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Nominees Inspected: Steve Crawford Feels Love

By Steve Crawford | October 11, 2012

I am personally boycotting the entire affair until Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds get their just due. Don’t pull your love out on me, RRHOF.

Van Morrison's "Born To Sing: No Plan B" Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | October 7, 2012

If this was an album, you could listen to side one forever. You would never have the need to rotate the vinyl to side two

Root Hog or Die – Music from The Natural State

By Steve Crawford | September 29, 2012

Arkansas. A place where people spontaneously yell “Woo Pig Sooie!” for no particular reason. The state that gave us Wal-Mart and Tyson’s Chicken and Dillard’s Department Stores and Mary Steenburgen and Billy Bob Thornton… and some notable musicians

Hüsker Dü Remembered – A Tale of Depression and Umlauts

By Steve Crawford | September 26, 2012

The year was 1985 and I was depressed. Deeply. Due to a combination of a lack of resources and a lack of imagination, I chose a stint in the United States military as my post high school launching point…

The Essential Songs of the 1920s, Part III

By Steve Crawford | September 15, 2012

Steve Crawford continues to learn us in how completely weird it was 90 years ago: “We finish the 1920s with tuberculosis, racist lyrics, Al Capone, and slave instruments. Give me a beer. And a pigfoot.”

Bob Mould's "Silver Age" Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | September 11, 2012

Mould simply shows how the old school punk rock house was built, raining sheets of sonic guitar blasts that rip potholes into the linings of your brainpan and then searing spackle into the remaining crevices.

The Essential Songs of 1920, Part II

By Steve Crawford | September 4, 2012

Is this another gruesome tale of substance abuse, car wrecks, and brothels? Yes and it’s also the second installment of the essential songs of the 1920s.

Chuck Berry, Fort Worth Convention Center, TX, Saturday, September 1st, 2012, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | September 3, 2012

He did not make it through the first verse of “Maybellene” or “Nadine.” He played “Rock and Roll Music” twice. The rhythm section was inept (they lost the back beat). When he walked off of the stage, exactly 59 minutes after appearing, it was a relief. It was an absolute train wreck of a performance.

John Anderson At The North Texas Fair, Saturday, August 25th, 2012, Reviewed

By Steve Crawford | August 28, 2012

The setlist has remained largely the same since he had his last Top Ten country hit in 1994. Multi-instrumentalist Joe Spivey has played with Anderson for years and his mandolin performance on “An Occasional Eagle” and his frenetic fiddle sawing on “The Orange Blossom Special” were two of the highlights of the evening. Spivey and drummer Tommy Rivelli locked into a viciously wonderful boot stomping groove on “Wild and Blue.”