June 2021 VOL.10 # 101! ON THE COVER...
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PUBLISHER RUSTY HICKS EDITOR TAMMA HICKS COMICS EDITOR ALLENE HICKS STAFF WRITERS TAMMA HICKS, RUSTY HICKS STAFF PHOTOGRAPHERS ALLENE HICKS, RUSTY HICKS, HARRISON FUNK CONTRIBUTING WRITERS J MICHAEL DOLAN, ROB DICKENS, DEREK SIGNORE, TONY NICKLIN, RICK J BOWEN, KEITH “MUZIKMAN” HANNALECK DISTRIBUTION COORDINATOR TERRY MITCHELL MUSIC CONSULTANT TONY SARACENE SALES DIRECTOR JACOB PARDUN
4 COMICS 5 QUICK READ 6 ALBUM COVER OF THE MONTH 7 CD REVIEWS 8 DORIAN GRACE (ATX) 10 LUC I ZAMORA -ANDERSON : THE ART OF HEAVY METAL 12 WI N A G LARRY GJAZZ I I B ASS GUITAR! 13 JI M G I LMORE : AR T JOURN AL 14 T HOMAS MI C HAEL RI LEY: HIS BRAND OF TEXAS MUSIC 16 3 RD C OAST FOODI E: THE ORR HOUSE BBQ 17 ART EN T ERT AI N MEN T MU SI C 18 N AMM: MAKE M USI C DAY 19 DEVI N SUT T ON ( C C T X )
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REWRITE! J. Michael Dolan Rewrite your work. Rewrite your career. Rewrite your goals. Rewrite yourself out of a trap. Rewrite yourself more options. Rewrite your circle of influence. Rewrite yourself out of the worst of times. Rewrite yourself into the best of times. Important because we artist and entrepreneurs are the writers and authors of our own destiny. Others gladly hand that job over to a higher-up. But we can rewrite our lives as many times as we want. Until it feels right. Until it feels like the truth. Until it feels like home. Not like a formula to make it, more like the freedom to choose it.
By When? J. Michael Dolan That question was asked, uttered, mumbled, whispered or shouted by someone scurrying through the halls of our publishing company nearly every day for decades. It’s the single most effective and inspiring motivator I know. And everyone wants an answer to that question but no one wants to commit! Every stand you take and every claim you stake should include a “by when?” Or the conversation holds no accountability, it carries no liability, and it downgrades what was just said to a half-baked idea! Important because nothing says commitment like “by when?” Not like a rigid deadline, more like one component of an intelligent plan.
SELF OBSTRUCTION J. Michael Dolan One of the many things we’ve learned about our democracy over the years is the destructive side of filibusters. Which is the use of obstructive tactics to hamstring progress and prevent the adoption of a measure, bill, or new idea. Makes me think that not only do politicians prevent each others ideas from happening, we do it to ourselves too. If you’re stalling to start, continue or complete a project, or if you are obstructing, or standing in the way of your own clear path to progress, then you are deliberately sabotaging your goals, undermining your dreams, and filibustering your own worthy ideas! Huh? Important because in Washington, it takes 60 senate votes to break a filibuster. In your world it only takes one.
DODGE BALL J. Michael Dolan Dodge the distractions not the work. Important because as long as we keep doing those things we really don’t need to do, we’ll always be able to dodge those things we really should be doing.
NEW BEGINNINGS J. Michael Dolan Most folks are calling 2021 a new beginning. However, artists & treps are used to new beginnings. It’s where we live every day. If the music isn’t right we keep rehearsing. If the painting isn’t right we paint over it. If business slows down we upgrade what works and downgrade what doesn’t. If the words aren’t right we rip the page out of the typewriter and start over. Huh? Important because as crazy creatives, starting over is what we do every single day. Heck, we slam on the breaks much more often than we floor it, and we frantically flap our wings much more often then we cruise! And while some are prepping for a new beginning, to an artist/trep it’s just another opportunity to improve our work, rethink our strategy, hone our craft, and nose-dive back into the deep end of the pool right where we left off. STEAMMAGAZINE.NET JUNE 2021 STEAM MAGAZINE
JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIMENT LIVE IN MAUI SONY LEGACY
Genre: Blues-Rock-Psychedelic Originally Recorded 7/30/1970 Re-release: Sep 2020 The Jimi Hendrix Experience Live in Maui was a poorly planned event at 2,000 feet on the side of the Hakeala Crater. The driving force for this music was the planned Rainbow Bridge film. The film ended up being a four-hour counter-culture affair with no script and some of Jimi’s music interspersed in the film. Eventually, the soundtrack would arrive after Jimi’s passing to meet the commitment to Warner Brothers to produce an album. Things like wind, the sound, and how the recording would come out were a big concern. All of that would prove out to be a disadvantage. With all of the obstacles to overcome to get this event to where it is today, hopefully in your hands now, was nothing short of a miracle. The Hendrix estate always makes sure the fan base gets the highest quality of remastered sound in the studio and for live events from the
vaults. If Jimi were alive today I think he would be amazed how this turned out, thanks again to the guiding hands of engineer Eddie Kramer. All of the loose ends and sound issues are overcome as well as fixing the video footage and creating a documentary film of the event on Blu-ray. An interesting note about the troubles they had with the conditions was that the drums were not picked up on the original recording so Mitch Mitchell went into the studio to record the drum parts again. We all can be grateful that the original performers finished the project. This is a differently packaged box set this time around with a front cover that folds out and a nicely attached slipcase for all three LPs, a large booklet, and the movie. In total it is over six hours of Hendrix making it look like a walk in the park to a very small local audience. Hendrix (guitar, vocals), Mitch Mitchell (drums), and Billy Cox (bass, backing vocals) put in a fine performance. His bandmates do a remarkable job keeping up with the everchanging Hendrix guitar runs. He would give his cues when things were about to
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change yet I can see where it still would be challenging keeping up with Jimi. The first show on LP1 starts with “Hey Baby.” It proves to be an excellent opening number and the clarity you are hearing is simply amazing. Billy’s bass is the first thing that pops out then the guitar and drums follow. This has every indication of being quite a performance with a fresh coat of paint. And as it turns out that is consistently true on every album side. “In From The Storm” segues into the already classic “Foxey Lady.” The blending of one track into another becomes commonplace on this set. This amazing power trio barely has a moment to breathe between songs. It is a well-oiled musical machine on display and sure to please an already rabid Hendrix base of followers and many newly anointed that will enjoy quite the introduction. Side Two (LP1) kicks in with some vintage electrified Hendrix blues with “Hear My Train A-Comin’.” Hendrix makes some comments about the story behind the song as he launches into the classic blues electric rocker. He never needed to know the meaning of the song to put his stamp on it and create something entirely new. That was the magic of his guitar playing whether he was playing a cover or an original. If you have been getting all these reissues over the years and hearing the same songs over and over, you are cool with that because they never would sound the same due to the amazing improvisation Hendrix would command during any performance. It is a wonder how Billy and Mitch could stay in sync with him. The second show does not begin until LP2 side two with “Dolly Dagger.” This track featured some superb rhythms and some stinging guitar lines by Jimi. “Villanova Junction” has a purposeful slower bass line that invites the master to create yet another instrumental free -form masterpiece on another worldly level. This kind of passage is found throughout the run of all six sides of glorious vinyl. LP3 side one starts with another classic “Red House.” This is deep from the
gut blues with some slow cookin’ provided by the rhythm section and topped off by more amazing strokes from the six-string. Another interesting instrumental makes itself know on “Jam Back At The House,” which is a strong progressive blues rocker. This one is full of the trademark Hendrix tune with a ton of changes. Listening today, it still sounds fresh and I would still tag it as ahead of its time and truly progressive. LP 3 side two features the incredible “Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)/Midnight Lightning,” which is a mountain of sounds developing from a slower start with some tasteful guitar lines. As it builds it becomes faster and faster. Once again, the rhythm section proves quite capable of keeping up with the sudden swings in pace. That was one of the more complex numbers that I was very impressed with. Then another segue starts right into the curtain closer “Stone Free.” I am in awe of this man and his music once again, and this comes as no surprise. It will continue to happen as long as I have the opportunity to hear this music. Live In Maui is another amazing documentation of the greatest guitar player to ever grace this planet. Now on to the Blu-ray Music, Money, Madness…Jimi Hendrix In Maui. This documentary gave some good insight into what happened prior, during, and after the film was shot at the concert. I found it all very interesting. Jimi wanted nothing to do with Rainbow Bridge however he and the band got some rest and sun for several weeks before getting ready for the show. There is plenty of footage of the concert and different moments when the cameras stopped shooting, and you get a screen that says so. I have never experienced anything like that before. They did a nice job of piecing all of it together regardless of the many obstacles and glitches they ran into. This was a nice finish after reading the booklet and listening to the LPs .
SEASON AMONNS STEEL HEARTS (COBALT BLUE RECORDS) BY KEITH HANNALECK
LUCERO WHEN YOU FOUND ME (LIBERTY & LAMENT) BY ROB DICKENS Lucero frontman and songwriter Ben Nichols is originally an Arkansan but moved to nearby Memphis Tennessee early on. The music scene there captivated him and before long Lucero (‘Loose-air-o’) was born and the band has over the past twenty years enjoyed sustained (albeit gradual) success, a stable line-up and worthy acclamation. With a voice sounding like whiskey poured over sandpaper, Nichols does what the rest of this five-piece ensemble accomplishes, displaying a cohesive craft that makes their no-frills music sound far simpler than it is. They create a sound that resonates immediately with hooks and riffs that seem to flow effortlessly. Other examples of this phenomenon spring to my mind – fellow country/punk rockers The Bottle Rockets, alt. country legends The Dream Syndicate and even the Neil Young/Crazy Horse stellar output. For their tenth studio album, When You Found Me racks up another glorious record, building on 2018’s excellent Among The Ghosts, the latter being the point where yours truly finally came to his senses and joined the fan club (I probably would seek high office in that worthy institution there if anyone would have me). “I wanted a very classic rock sound for this album,” says Nichols. “I wanted it to sound like stuff I heard on the radio growing up. I didn’t want to make a retro record at all, but I did want to reference some of those sounds and tones and moods. I think we struck a nice balance between nostalgia and something that still sounds like contemporary Lucero.” The careful use of synthesizers adds a new twist here with ten-year keyboardist Rick Steff providing some wonderful cinematic atmosphere in which the band is well skilled, having recorded music for every movie made by Ben’s brother, acclaimed filmmaker Jeff Nichols, whose credits include Mud, Midnight Special and Shotgun Stories. When You Found Me was recorded over two weeks in July of 2020 at the famed Sam Phillips Recording Studio in Memphis. The almost equally renowned Matt Ross-Spang, a long-time friend of the band who also produced the last album at the same venue, signed on again as producer and engineer. “I don’t think he often records with a lot of synthesizers,” Nichols says, “but he’s a
natural and was able to get all the sounds we wanted on the album while making sure we stayed true to ourselves.” The band had not rehearsed since COVID-19 took hold and, during the recording session, masks were worn the entire time, quarantining among themselves and managing to stay healthy. In addition to Nichols and Steff, the group comprises Brian Venable on guitar, John C. Stubblefield on bass, and Roy Berry on drums. Nichols has become a husband and father, a major shift in his life which is reflected in the subject matter on When You Found Me. Nichols says his daughter Izzy, now four, is the centre of his universe and influences everything he does. Not surprisingly, family is in fact one of the recurring and compelling threads of this collection. The opening track, “Have You Lost Your Way” invokes a mythical world that was inspired by the bedtime stories Nichols had been reading to his daughter. “Outrun The Moon” is another tune written from the perspective of a young girl (see clip below). The sombre “Coffin Nails” tells the story of Nichols’ grandfather dealing with the death of his own father, a veteran of World War 1 – “I weigh my deeds on my father’s scales” “Pull Me Close Don’t Let Go,” a droning, hypnotic tune, was inspired by words spoken to Nichols by his daughter while “All My Life ” and the title track are unembarrassed odes to his wife and daughter. Ben Nichols (c) with singer/songwriter Anne McCue and broadcaster/journalist Brian Wise at AmericanaFest 2018 – Photo: LTTL When You Found Me finds a band at the top of its game and sets the bar very high for other records to follow in 2021. Hmm, I wonder if there really IS a Lucero Official Fan Club??? There’s a recent, insightful interview with Nichols on the excellent Joe Pug podcast The Working Songwriter from your favorite pod store. .
Season Ammons portrays herself in Steel Hearts as she works her way through the heart-wrenching emotions of love and loss. This gatefold symbolically red LP (but the label she is on is Cobalt Blue) comes with some intricate artwork giving clues to what you will hear once you give this Americana treat a spin. You can never miss when you shoot that arrow of love to a listener’s heart and this lady knows exactly how to get it done. From some of the imagery, I surmised that love is a house of cards but her heart is under lock and key regardless. Because of that, she goes through all kinds of emotions of love and loss. The wheels of time keep turning and the internal gears keep pushing it all along. Season surrounds her powerful vocals with a top-notch band that follows her emotive vocals from beginning to end on Steel Heart. The album starts with a matter a fact challenge “Show Me Your Love,” which gets everyone in a groove with soulful riveting vocals. The funky down to earth music takes everything to the next level where it should be for an opening track. Then she lets you all know that “Loves A Losing Game.” The keyboards, rhythm section, and stinging blues filled guitar lines accentuate that bullseye to the heart of the intended. You believe every word she sings. The title track “Steel Hearts” is a beautiful ballad putting the spotlight on Seasons’ amazing vocals. “Desperately In Love” indicates strong feelings however the track is decidedly upbeat
with the rhythm section at the steering wheel with some more blues-soaked guitar for the icing on the cake. To close out the first side is “Raining In Memphis.” She sings “someone take the blues out of the blues.” Yes indeed, that sounds like a mighty fine idea to end the suffering now, doesn’t it? Side Two opens with the rockin’ “Feel Alright” and the energy is contagious but hang on because a “Rainy Day Serenade” is about to change the pace with a slow burner showing the soft and graceful vocals she is capable of shifting to when necessary. Then “Love Sick” follows and the title says it all and then she says “Give It Back” and sings “my blood is red and my heart is blue.” A good line after that could have been, and it’s because of you! We get the message loud and clear anyway and the excellent musicianship continues to drive the vocals home. The album ends most appropriately with “This is Goodbye.” So, was it all worth it to come to this? Damn right it was, to hear a woman sing like that with great music behind her every step of the way. It sure beats any book or card in the mail that is for sure.
SEASONAMMONS.COM KEITH “MUZIKMAN” HANNALECK: THEFINALONVINYL.COM
LUCEROMUSIC.COM ROB DICKENS : LISTENINGTHROUGHTHELENS.COM
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TheDorianGrace.com Twitter, Facebook, Instagram Tumbler, & YouTube
not an 80s style song. The original version was quite different but I tweaked it to fit because it's a lovely song that made sense for this album.
By Tamma Hicks, STEAM Magazine
Life seemed so much simpler back in the 80s. Two TVs, a microwave, and a huge stereo system with record player and cassette deck, wow you had it made! I’m bringing up the 1980s because that’s where Dorian Grace’s his first solo album takes you. He even has a 80s Sci-Fi movie plot for his biography. “In 1989, Dorian was an up and coming rock star out of the UK. After touring Europe, North America, Australia and Japan; Dorian was offered the chance to be a part of a revolutionary experiment in science and music. He was to be frozen in time to be reanimated 30 years later in 2019. He was given a home studio, and told to make albums! He quickly got to work putting together an album of several previously unrecorded songs he had written and a handful of new ones as well.” Dorian Grace’s self-titled solo album was released in September of 2020, and is currently winning over music lovers everywhere. This album takes '80's music fans on an exciting trip down memory lane and introduces one of the best decades of music to a whole new generation! What luck you have after being frozen for 30 years to wake up to a pandemic. I’m guessing that lockdown can't be too much different than being frozen? Are you stir-crazy at this point? Well, actually it is quite different. In the 80s you could walk around and do anything you want, say anything you want. Now I find I’m locked into my flat and all that
freedom is gone. I have been a bit stir crazy actually. I've been stuck in my flat about the last 3 or 4 months and just doing a few things here and there. Currently I’m working on Tamara Gamez’s first solo album and we get together two or three times a week. I remember Tamara. She was the lead singer of Cupid's Victim from Corpus Christi and then I believe the group moved out of state. Yes, but she's back in Texas and she saw me on Facebook just after I put my album out. She really dug it, so we started chatting and collaborating. It's been a really beautiful creative process and I'm very excited about it. Tell me a little about you, starting with the accent. How long have you been in the States? Yes, it's part West Texas and part East Midlands. I was born in Lincolnshire England and after my parents were divorced my mother moved back to Texas where she is from. That's kind of what the song 89 is about; the summer I got to spend here with my mother. It was quite an experience for a kid from dreary England getting to spend his summer in Texas with a pool and the sun. Well, it carried over in a great song and a weird accent. Let's talk about your videos because they are very good. I really like your unplugged videos 89 and Def Leppard’s Hysteria and it's not just that they're well done and that the music is top-notch but the idea behind them is creative. The first time I watched them I thought you did such a great job getting everyone into the studio during the pandemic and then I slowly realized it was just you. Oh yeah, I had a little bit of fun with the outfits and the reasoning behind them was to take parts of my life and show how I felt by how I dressed in each part. Starting with the guitar player, who plays a 12-string and is
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always on the right, that is the emotional me; the broody, lots of black, lots of jewelry, plays well but doesn't really have much to say. The bass player is the fanboy in me and wears band shirts all the time. The singer is me now, really embracing the 80s that I miss so much, and then you have the drummer who is a laid back, beach kind of guy. Finally is the grown up me playing guitar on the far left; being all proper, even in his playing. Tell me about your album. This is my first solo record, so it's self-titled and it is really just about me and, because I made this album during the COVID lockdown, it did not cost me very much at all. I wrote all of the songs, play all of the instruments, did all the recording, engineering, and produced, mixed and mastered it. I even did the art, so no other hands have touched this album. As opposed to putting money into making the album I put it into advertising with press kit, stickers, shirts, lunch boxes, and so on and in doing the promotion push I actually made all of my money back in the first two months! Typically the first two months are your belly up, so my best advice is record and make sure it's a good recording, but push your money in to your advertising because nobody's going to know about it unless they hear it from you. That is great advice because so many artists think they’re done once the album is complete, but that’s really when the work starts. I like this album because it has that throwback 80s feel but everything is new. Did you write them in that genre specifically? I write all kinds of songs, in fact I have a catalog with hundreds of songs that I've written over the years. When I’ve written a song that isn't quite what I'm going for I put it in the catalog and I can go back to it at another time. So when I put this album together I went through my catalog and that's where I found Stay With Me, it's years old and it was
I know that playing a song in 80s style is a little different than recording in 80s style. Can you explain that difference? Oh yes, I hear that a lot of people are doing the 80s thing right now, but it really isn't 80s; they are just using 80s style synthesizers and really that's all. The 80s recordings were very distinct; vocally driven, the way the guitar sounds, live gated drums, choosing the right microphone or amp, things like that make it different. There’s no auto-tune or digital plugins to change the sound of an instrument. Now that things have started reopening, do you have any plans to tour with your album? You know, right now it really doesn't make a lot of sense to do that. When I was younger you’d get to go out and play music somewhere and there would be people there. As opposed to now, if you don't tell people where you're going to be and who you are going to be with, no one will be there and all you do is play for the bartender. That’s what's brilliant about Facebook we can focus specifically on a group or a location and get people to listen to you, see you, and make some noise. But you know I'm quite a bit of an introvert really, so I'm not very good at that even. I’m in the studio doing production and recording for lots of people who are all over and so a lot of it is done digitally through email, file sharing, that type of thing. Working with Tamara and being right here has been has been much easier. Touring is fun but it's not on the top of my list. With no shows planned for this album do you have another album in the works or is that something you're thinking of doing soon? You know, that's exactly what I'm thinking. Take Steely Dan for example; they had two albums out before they ever went on tour and I in believe that because you need to have enough material to do a show. Two albums give you 20 songs or so and now your show has more quality at that point because you’re not just using the album fillers. Not that I'm saying I have album filler, but I have a few songs on here that are really deep cuts, like Too Late and How Long. I mean really are they going to be great live songs? Probably not and if I'm just playing a 40-minute set I’m most likely not going to use them. If you could have the dream job what would it be? Oh, I would just be sitting in the studio all the time; producing music, recording, and writing.
By Tamma Hicks, STEAM Magazine
We met Jim Gilmore in 2019 just after he and Vinaya (his wife) made the move to be Winter Texans in Port Aransas. Their home is in the mountains of Colorado on a ranch his parents had purchased and he has always lived. After 35 years in the ranching business Jim decided to follow his heart and dream and began sculpting and painting. Jim is now a well-known bronze sculptor; in fact you’ve probably seen his work at some of the entrances of Cabala’s stores, bigger than life elk, moose, and bison. The sculpting took precedence over his painting, however he never completely stopped. His oil
paintings were of the wildlife and landscapes that he has photographed. Since being here in South Texas and on the Gulf Coast Jim’s landscapes and wildlife have changed dramatically and for this winter’s season (20202021) he decided that instead of keeping a bunch of sketchpads he’d use a journal. In Jim’s journal he uses pencil, ink, and watercolors. He is currently capturing different aspects of Port Aransas life from the wildlife to flora to everyday living. For the next few issues we will be sharing a few pages from his Journal because his ability to capture what he sees is truly a work of art.
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By Tamma Hicks, STEAM Magazine
Thomas Michael Riley is earning the status of a legend as he writes and sings his own brand of colorful and thoughtful country Americana music. With each performance, Thomas delights fans of country music with his songwriting skills, spirited music, and great sense of humor. Having grown up in Buckingham, Texas, where he learned the cowboy ways while tending stock, Thomas draws on his roots and personal experiences to passionately write and sing a very entertaining brand of music. Being raised as one of seven siblings, Thomas says “…around our supper table there were the quick and the hungry.” What began as a pastime in the 8th grade, playing the guitar and singing songs became ingrained after he graduated from college and began life on his own. His first paying gig was a Saturday night in Dallas when he had to borrow the sound system from his church and deliver it back that night for Sunday services. In 2002, he made the courageous decision to leave the business world and live out his life following his passion to entertain people as a full-time singer and songwriter. Thomas is well known and genuinely loved by country music fans throughout Texas, the US, and Europe. He plays frequently in the Texas Hill Country, is a featured artist at Luckenbach, and is hosting the 14th Annual Thomas
Michael Riley music festival this month. He can also be spotted beach-bound, playing at the Back Porch in Port Aransas on June 19 and July 24 or up in the Dallas/Ft. Worth. Thomas has written more than 500 “good” songs and has recorded 12 CDs. "Perfectly Normal" was his first hit in 2004 and it launched his career as a writer and singer of country music. Perfectly Normal made Texas Music Radio’s Top 10 and stayed for 26 weeks until reaching #1 on the KVET Austin, TX Charts. On May 14th Thomas released his latest EP, Texas Six Pack featuring 6 new tracks of heartfelt ballads and uplifting tunes that will get you moving. Pick up one or all of his CDs and we’ll see you in Luckenbach! I'm going to tell you what I know about you and you can fill in the gaps. You are a songwriter, you've gone to Europe a few times, and you have a festival in Luckenbach. Yeah, that's about it. See I was born at an early age and I ended up ramming 4 years of college into 6 and 1/2 years in San Marcos Texas and got a degree in English. I was going to write the great American novel, it led me to teaching school in Liberty Hill Texas.
And did you write your novel? Well, instead of writing the novel I was led to writing short stories which led to poetry, then to songs, and songs are the hardest. I remember it was Emerson apologizing to Thoreau for having written such a long letter
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he said he didn’t have time to write a short one. That's when I realized how important it is for the right word at the right time which is even more important in songs and then there's a melody. I have voices in my head, so it makes it writing easy. Do they continue to talk to you? Should I be concerned? Yes they do and I’ve tried outrunning them but you know sometimes they catch me. Honestly, those words that don't leave me alone I write down. I used to seek for the muse; I had the notepad by the bed at night have an idea, scribble it down, look at that it in the morning, and can figure out what it said. Now the words come at me and I say “okay I got it. Leave me alone” and then they hit me again and again. Honestly, it’s when those words won't leave me alone that I sit down to write, and then of course there's a difference between writing it down and finishing it. So the songs, the words that won't let me leave them unfinished are the ones I finish. At this point, you've written hundreds of songs. What's the best song you've ever written? I haven’t written it yet because they're still out there. I’ve written at least 500 songs and those are songs that I would refer to as “good songs”. As a songwriter, who do you follow? I follow great songwriters like Jerry Jeff Walker, Guy Clark, Nanci Griffith, and John Prine. I am grateful to the guys who blazed the trail with songwriting and performing. There's a special place in my heart for those who write the songs, not so much those who record them. That was until one day this guy asked me if he could cut a couple of my songs… Gary P Nunn. I said which ones do
you want to come and he said I'll let you know. A while back I heard a guy telling his friend to go check out this Thomas guy because he's a really good Gary P Nunn cover band. And in the time since Gary asked to cut one of your songs he’s done a half dozen or so, right? Yeah, he's cut 8 of my songs and 3 of them are on his greatest hits album; Cow Pasture Pool, Perfectly Normal, and Redneck Riviera. But that wasn’t your only connection, was it? Nope. About 15 years ago the city of Luckenbach called and said that they tried to get Gary P Nunn to do a festival out there. He declined and recommended me in his place. That’s a high recommendation! This is going to be the 14th consecutive Thomas Michael Riley Festival in Luckenbach and nobody in the history of the world has done that before. We even snuck it in during the COVID crisis last year! I’m glad you brought that up because I was wondering how you accomplished that when everything was canceled and blocked. Well, Luckenbach calls and said the County Judge says you can't have your Festival here and we need to know who in the Governor's Office authorized it and I told them “I'm not asking for permission. I'm just letting you know what we are going to do and I'll have two tickets waiting for you at the gate.” And that's how we did it. We had handwashing stations, temperature checks, required masks, and distancing. And it was very successful!
Oh yeah, everybody's events were wiped out; Larry Joe Taylor, Gary P Nunn, even Ryan Bingham, and his was just a week after mine. Everything was wiped out, mine is the only one that happened and it was like it was meant to be. You know once you find out what you're meant to do on this Earth you're pretty much screwed because you can either go do it or shake your fist at God every miserable step of your life. So I decided I better go ahead and do this. Do you still enjoy this path you are on? Making songs come to life still excites me and that's why I surround myself with the people I think are the best. Players like Kenny Grimes (guitar), Herb Belofsky (drums), and Randy Johnson. Heck, Randy's been playing bass for me for 20 years. These players are really good at what they do and can forget about who they are and just play the song. They make those songs come to life. It’s just like birthin’ and the baby - 5 tours of Europe, 14 music festivals, 12 albums of original music, and here we are! I Believe on SteamMagazineRadio.net we are playing Gary P Nunn’s cow pasture pool. It’s a popular tune. I wrote that at Lady Bird Johnson Park while golfing. It was Celebrity Benefit so I was kind of in shock when they called me; I figured they must have run out of real celebrities. Anyway, Chris Wall and Billy Joe Shaver were there and somebody got stuck with me and I got a song out of it. KPAN was one of the hosts so they started playing it right away. Some great songs have been written or at least started on golf courses. How often do you play here at the Back Porch, about once a month? No, I do 5 shows a year; which is probably more than anybody in the history of the world. It’s five shows because they really really like me here. And what I think they like most is that every show I do is different. It's not canned; I don't get up there and say the same funny things every time. What people like is to hear entertainers interact with the audience and hear your songs.
so I tried. I got up and did three songs, one cover so they’d recognize it and two of my own. I did a Waylon Jennings tune because I figured everybody likes that and at the end, they did a little clap and asked "can you dance?” and I said, “Well I can with a girl. I can waltz and polka and two-step, but by myself holding a guitar? That would be a little unnatural for me.” And I remember their words right after that… “NEXT!” But hey, I got to skip the cattle call and go right to the regional competition, so that was an honor. You know, people say they can dance with a guitar but honestly if you get twisted in that wire and fall it’s not a pretty thing. I'll tell you what though; I'll never forget “Can you dance?” I always tell people if you can’t dance they should play the music! Speaking of which, I didn't realize 24 bands are playing your festival on June 11th and 12th. Do you have two stages? No, I used to and we would alternate between the Dancehall and an outdoor stage but people were having to get up and move their chairs and all that, so we use the Ryan Bingham Stage. Ryan's first festival was in Luckenbach and one of the requirements was to build a huge stage over the creek. Since then we've just been outside on the big stage where you can seat 2,000 people comfortably. Do you split the stage so that one band play while the next can set up? Nope, there’s 20 minutes between sets and sound check is on the fly, but a lot of these groups are duos and trios and build up to the bigger shows later in the day. Our first festival featured Billy Joe Shaver Friday night and Gary P
Nunn on Saturday night. You know if you go back and look at who we've featured, like Bruce Robison and Hal Ketchum, they're just all wonderful people. Honestly hosting this festival is like a dream come true. Well, I can’t wait to go. This will be our first year! This is going to be the best show yet. We’ve got Jamie Richards on Friday night and Dale Watson on Saturday night. Jamie is a nice guy who has eight #1 Texas hits and he’ll play my Festival. That is a nice guy! So what should we know or expect? There is only one rule and it's not a secret. No Assholes. I want people that are here to make the world a better place. People are going to have fun; they’re going to bring their happiness with them and share it with the world because it's going to enrich everybody's lives. That's what it did last year; in the middle of the COVID crisis, this festival lifted everybody's spirits during a time we needed it most. And that's what music is to me and why I'm on Earth; to bring music and laughter to people who need it the most. Is that why you’re here? I am here to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfort and I would rather stir shit up than pat you on the back. For those people who think they know everything and don't need to learn anything that's what I’m here for… to shove them just a little off-balance, make them open their eyes and think. My daddy taught me, “School is never out, son. Keep on learning.” THOMASMICHAELRIELY.COM FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, YOUTUBE, SPOTIFY, IHEART, PANDORA
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You are very good at talking and interacting with the crowd. Yeah, I treat it just like sitting around a table and chatting; just like we are now. Honestly, if you are yourself it just comes naturally and you don't have to practice. That’s good advice. So you don't stand in front of the mirror practicing? No, but I did try for one of those "find-a-star" kind of shows about 20 years ago. Somebody gave my name to one of those and I got a call for it, STEAMMAGAZINE.NET JUNE 2020 STEAM MAGAZINE 15
ORR HOUSE BBQ FOR CATERING: FACEBOOK.COM/JAMES ORR FACEOOK.COM/ COOKING WITH CLINT LIVE onions, cucumbers, and whatnot. Mom didn’t work on farms, but people she knew did and they would bring her bags full of vegetables. She’d chop these really fresh wonderful summer vegetables and add a tangy vinaigrette, so that's where that Summer Salad came from. To me, catering is pretty much a hobby, maybe you could refer to it as a passion. I'm thinking it's more of an obsession! A few years ago you came down to Texas and went to Lockhart to eat at Black’s BBQ. Is that an activity you plan trips around? If we’re on vacation and I'm X many miles away from a place where I would like to either eat or check out I will go out of my way to make sure we can do that. Do you study other people’s techniques and styles? Oh yeah, I watch a lot of cooking shows on YouTube and Netflix. I follow several people on video such as T-Roy Cooks, who I’ve learned a lot from, and of course Aaron Franklin and Franklin Barbecue. Another guy out of Southern California, Sam The Cooking Guy, does a lot of different types of cooking, but he does it outdoors in a huge outdoor kitchen. Even though I don't follow their specific recipes, I do learn from them and I take ideas from them.
By Tamma Hicks, STEAM Magazine Photos By Rusty Hicks, STEAM Magazine
As some of you know our Comics Editor Allene Hicks’s birthday is in September and, like a lot of people, we celebrate all month long, so we took a trip to the Pacific Northwest. It was a fabulous trip, highlighted by all 7 grand kids including a new baby, lots of friends, staying up late visiting, and of course enjoying amazing food. It was no surprise that when we got to Kimberly, ID our family’s built-in caterer, James Orr, put together a mouthwatering feast! Caterer. BBQ-ist. Is that a real title? Grill master is probably correct. Me? No, I cook; I make food. When did you become interested in cooking? Actually, I started cooking fairly young because my grandma was a short-order cook for years and years. I was a Navy brat and I really didn't know my family that well, so after I moved to Idaho I started spending a lot of time with her and developing a relationship. Most of the time spent at her house was in the kitchen and that's kind of where I learned most of my cooking skills. Do you have special recipes from Grandma that you still use? I do a lot of things with touches of Grandma's flare here in there, but most of the recipes I use are my own. I make my recipes up for the most part, however I use a lot of her style which is old-style country
cooking. And you have one recipe that you absolutely won't share. Yes, that's my dad's beans. It's a BBQ Beans recipe; it's almost like a chili but it's still baked beans. I won't share it but he told it to anyone that asked, hopefully they've all forgotten because it's mine now. I know those weren’t the beans you made for us, but they were absolutely fabulous. Yep, baked beans with brown sugar, mustard, and a rub. You know I have a recipe just like that, but they never turn out that good. I know that when you cook you prefer to use cast iron and be outside. Is there a method to your madness? Well, I like outdoor cooking; I think it's just the primal thing of Fire. Ever since I was a little kid I loved playing with fire and I was a firefighter for 10 years. I met a guy several years ago that had a BBQ food truck and we became quick friends. I began working with him and that’s really when I started to understand traditional barbecuing and smoking. He taught me about what was happening during the cooking process and technique and that's when I became more interested and really started to develop my skill. Before that it was just hamburgers and hot dogs on a grill. Well, you are definitely skilled! That brisket was so amazing with a beautiful red
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ring under the crust and really moist. It was just so good! Do you have a special rub you use? No, not really. I have a lot of rubs and seasonings. I collect and try them on different things to see how the flavors mix. I have a few favorites. We brought you some of Ferdie’s Famous Shake from Houston; I’m thinking that’ll become one of your favorites too. Yeah, it smells and tastes really good. I look forward to using it. OK, tell me about this pulled pork. It was superb. Flavor, texture, tenderness – it was all there! When you put it in eggs this morning I swear I didn't want to leave! Well, you know that's the thing about growing up in a large family; you make big meals or a big dish of something and it just keeps getting converted into other meals and that's where that came from.
Is there anybody that you would like to meet or a place you'd like to go that you haven't? Topping my list right now I’d love to meet Tootsie Tomanetz at Snow’s BBQ in Lexington TX, which is just east of Austin. She's been doing this for years and years. I would just love to follow her around for a day; I can't even imagine how much I would learn. We’ve already established you’re the outdoor cook and I've had a fabulous peach cobbler that you baked in a cast-iron Dutch oven in the middle of a campfire, so do you enjoy baking? I have a few things I do, but baking is too much of a science. In baking you have to be precise and if you don't have the right amount of this or that your recipe won’t turn out; whereas, I was taught country style, old school cooking where you take a fistful of this and a pinch of that. I don't measure anything, so when you order an item from the menu it may not taste the exact same each time but it is consistent. The variance is in the amount of my pinch or fistful.
I know you do some catering, which is not easy. Typically what I do is the meat or that the main entrees. Looking at large events I cooked for a company party-meal of about 200 employees. I also did a fundraiser for one of my kids basketball teams and I believe we ended up feeding over 500 people at that.
Any advice or suggestions? At a very young age I learned to try everything when it comes to food and flavors. So I advise people to try something twice, because the first time it may not have been prepared properly and your taste buds change over time, so if you tried something when you were a kid and you might now. Experiment and play with your food, after a while you'll begin to know which flavors go well together.
That Summer Salad is spectacular. Really refreshing, lively flavors, and complimented the meats so well. Growing up in California, we lived in an area where people worked big farms of peppers,
Editor’s Note! Orr House BBQ has started a Facebook page where once a week he teaches you to make a great meal and gives you some cool kitchen tips live from his kitchen!
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Worldwide Celebration Embodies Music’s Enduring Power to Bring Joy, Connectivity, Healing and Unity to All People Make Music Day, the annual global celebration of music held on the summer solstice, returns this year on June 21 with an exciting, creative and diverse lineup of both virtual and in-person music-making events that will immerse and enthrall participants while spotlighting music’s power to connect, comfort, unite and uplift. Over 90 U.S. cities and the entire states of Connecticut, Hawaii, New Mexico, Vermont and Wisconsin will take part in the live, free daylong celebration, encompassing over 5,000 concerts, performances, music lessons, jam sessions and other musical events nationwide. Safety protocols will be in place following local requirements, including mask-wearing, social distancing and limited capacities and group sizes. Completely different from a traditional music festival, Make Music Day celebrates and promotes the natural music maker in all of us, regardless of age, ethnicity, background or skill level. Make Music Day is an open invitation for everyone to make, enjoy, perform, teach, learn and experience music on the longest day of the year. Due to the pandemic, last year’s celebration was largely virtual, but many in-person events will return in 2021. Launched in France in 1982 as the Fête de la Musique, Make Music Day has become an international phenomenon, celebrated by hundreds of millions of people in over 1,000 cities in 120 countries. Make Music Day is presented in the U.S. by The NAMM Foundation and coordinated by the nonprofit Make Music Alliance. One global highlight of Make Music Day 2021 is a musical memorial to the pandemic’s devastation called This Moment in Time. Working with musicians and cultural partners worldwide, massive gongs will appear in public spaces on June 21. At noon local time, a celebrated local musician will play the gong for one uninterrupted hour, marking the incalculable loss of the past year. Along with being free and open to a live audience, these performances will be live streamed to makemusicday.org. Afterwards, in many locations the public will be invited to play the gong themselves, hearing the unfathomable mystery of the sound, experiencing the cathartic
feeling of hitting something massive, and feeling the deep therapeutic vibrations in their bodies. Another new international program highlights an exquisite musical instrument that is hidden in plain sight: the leaf. Leaf Music, where a humble tree leaf is blown to create a simple reed instrument, has a long history in China, Cambodia, Australia, Brazil, Japan and Nepal. Leaf Music programs on June 21 will include an International Leaf Symposium over Zoom, a Track Meet where leaf musicians will collaborate sequentially with other musicians to produce new musical tracks, and instructional videos to help anyone turn their local greenery into a symphony of sound. Other national highlights of Make Music Day 2021 in the U.S. will include: Flowerpot Music — A new collection of pieces by composer Elliot Cole and directed by percussionist Peter Ferry features an unlikely but beautiful percussion instrument: the flowerpot. People in cities across the U.S. will join together safely to debut “Flowerpot Music: Make Music Day book.” Junkophonics — Learn how to build and play fun musical instrument that you create from found objects. Participants can get tips from Bash the Trash Environmental Arts performers and educators as well as instrument builder extraordinaire Craig Woodson. Junkophonics Workshops are being held nationwide. Mass Appeal — People of all ages and skill levels will join together both online and in physically distanced, in-person settings to make music in large, single-instrument groups. MixMash Studios — Between June 6-20, the public is invited to send in short recordings of bass lines, barking dogs, vocals, machine noises, or anything else they find intriguing. Then, on June 21, selected producers will have 24 hours to create an original piece of music using only those samples provided, and nothing more. Music Lesson Marathon — Dozens of master musicians curated by Dance Music Initiative, Flight Ukuleles, Hohner Harmonicas, Music Teachers National Association, Nuvo Instruments, and more will offer 12 hours of free, online group lessons on a variety of instruments and across all skill levels. Jump around and experience different instruments, or binge on 12 hours of your favorite. #MySongIsYourSong — Musicians will join
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in a global song swap where they’ll learn an original song by another artist, and hear theirs covered in return. The American Song — Capturing the stories and experiences of ordinary people across the U.S., the Make Music Alliance will pair 50 people — one from each state — with 50 professional songwriters in a diversity of styles. On the morning of June 21, each songwriter will video chat with their partner for an hour. In the afternoon, they will write a song inspired by their conversation. That evening, over a second video chat with their conversation partner, they will give a live private performance of the song they just wrote. Window Serenades — Musicians nationwide will continue the new Make Music Day tradition of sharing live music with isolated elderly people. Select nursing homes are partnering with local Make Music chapters to invite solo musicians to safely serenade residents from outside their windows. Young Composers Contest — In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre of May 31 – June 1, 1921, composers aged 13-21 are invited to write a song for an overdubbed, a cappella baritone singer, using text from a first-hand account of the massacre by B.C. Franklin, and submit it by May 31st. A panel of distinguished judges, including composers Hiroya Miura and Trevor Weston, composer/conductor Francisco Núñez, and soprano Talise Trevigne, will provide feedback and select three winning pieces, which will be professionally recorded by baritone Christopher Herbert and released online for Make Music Day. City-specific highlights around the Texas include: Austin — Make Music Austin will feature an online celebration of musicians of all abilities and music from any genre on Monday, June 21st. Everyone is invited to participate in this international day of music by performing, teaching and learning, appreciating, or volunteering. It’s all for the love of music! Make Music Austin is brought to you by local Austin businesses, organizations and musicians as part of our mission to inspire all people to participate and invest in the arts. Denton – Live Music at the Golden Triangle Mall! Craving to hear live music or maybe you want to try your hand at performing in front of a crowd? Maybe you are an experience musician who enjoys sharing their talents with a live audience? This is your oppor-
tunity to join the family fun at the Golden Triangle Mall’s Food Court Live Stage where you can enjoy a live performance or be the performer. Single artists, families, friends, and established groups are all welcome to perform. Please remember to keep lyrics “family friendly.” Houston — We invite musicians, rappers and instrumentalists of all kinds to collaborate on making June 21 a musical masterpiece. Singers, church choirs, jazz combos, rock bands, glee clubs, MCs, marching bands, mariachis, and every other kind of musician, of any age group or skill level, are all welcome. What are you waiting for? Just make music! Virtual realm highlights include: Or join a participatory project where you can just bring your instrument – or yourself – and join in! Take a free live music lesson, play a song Live From Home, contribute to a Bedroom Studio, sing in the Heart Chant, or join one of this year’s many other featured national projects.Make Music Day is partnering with Bramble to create interactive spaces where participants can (virtually) walk around and interact with each other freely for concerts, talks, workshops, and social gatherings. And on the makemusicday.org website on June 21, a 12-hour Global Livestream will show highlights of Make Music Day programs as they unfold around the world. All Make Music Day events are free and open to the public. Participants who wish to perform, or to host musical events, may register at www.makemusicday.org. A full schedule of virtual and in-person events will be posted on the website in early June. The official hashtag is #MakeMusicDay, MakeMusicDay.org
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) is the not-for-profit association with a mission to strengthen the $17 billion music products industry. NAMM is comprised of approximately 10,300 members located in 104 countries and regions. NAMM events and members fund The NAMM Foundation's efforts to promote the pleasures and benefits of music, and advance active participation in music making across the lifespan. For more information about NAMM, please visit www.namm.org, call 800.767.NAMM (6266) or follow the organization on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
By Tamma Hicks, STEAM Magazine
At the age of 7 Devin Sutton learned to play guitar after seeing Jeff Healey. While Devin’s guitar playing style is awe inspiring he has a great personality and voice that grabs your attention. He is currently working on his debut album featuring songs he has written as well as songs he dad wrote. You were 7 when you started playing guitar and Jeff Healey was your big inspiration. Is he still? Yes, I grew up watching Roadhouse with Jeff Healey and Patrick Swayze. One day Dad came home with a guitar and slid it onto my lap. We tune the top string down to a D, I play in Drop D, and I place my finger across the strings, so I can play just about any major chord on the neck and I took it from there. Well that's good because that is my next question. How do you play guitar and did you take lessons? No lessons, I just play by ear. I can hear a song and, once I focus on it, I can have it playable in about an hour. The difference between Jeff Healey’s style and mine is that he can use more of his hands and fingers than I can. I only use my thumbs, so I slide with my left and I strum with my right. On the back of my guitar I have a Velcro pad and I put another one on a knee brace and I used that to hold the guitar on my lap so it doesn't wobble around. Wow! Great ingenuity! What other instruments do you play?
Once I learned to play guitar my dad bought me a set of drums and that was my second instrument. Since then I’ve added harmonica and bass guitar. I did take piano lessons as a kid and I ended up doing a Christmas recital. It was a one-time thing but it taught me notes and music theory. What genres are you interested in and when did you begin writing music? Just about everything: country, rock, blues. I didn't start writing until I had moved to Corpus the first time; this is the second time I've lived here. My first wife and I moved to Corpus and it just clicked. I wrote 10 songs in two months and that's when I met Johnny. We formed a duo and called ourselves Two Dudes Unplugged. In songwriting, which comes first the hook or the melody? Either one. Often I'll get the hook and I'll just start humming some random nonsense and then I'll get the melody forming and it'll take off from there. Sometimes it’s the other way around. I read that your dad also played and wrote songs. Yes ma'am, between his and mine I have quite a catalog to pull from! Good! Do you plan on putting out an album? Well, I left here and went to Austin about 6 or 7 years ago because I thought that was the place to be and I put an 11 song demo-rough cut album together. I began calling myself “Legit-Acus-Rex” because of my T-rex arms and everything on it is legit, it's me, but since then I have a whole lot a lot of new stuff. So I'm already working with Tony Saracene at
Aransas Music Emporium and we have recorded three of my songs. I'm really tech savvy so I have plans to do a lot of the editing and helping him with that part of engineering. When you walk on to the stage, sit down and put a guitar on your lap that has to grab the audience’s attention. You know, any time I get up on stage the whole atmosphere of the bar changes. Everyone’s head turns to me and I use that to just boost my confidence. People want to see things that are different, they want to hear things that are different, and that's what I want to give them because same old same old is boring. I don’t use my differences but it works to my advantage. Tell me the story about your audition for America’s Got Talent. Well, shortly after Johnny and I had started doing gigs as Two Dudes Unplugged, this was in January 2015, Brewster Street Ice House was hosting a talent contest and first place was VIP Front of the Line Access Pass for the official America's Got Talent auditions in Houston. I told Johnny we're going to go do this and he hemmed and hawed. I told him that I was going with or without him, so we worked up a song. We get there and after we paid the entry fee they said “Oh, You Only Get 90 Seconds” but it was OK because we were the last ones to go on and we had the time to rearrange our song, What It's Like by Everlast. We tied for first place with a woman who sang Amazing Grace. They held a tie breaker and she won but afterwards the contest producer came up and told me that we were amazing and he’d never seen anything like that. Then he said he prom-
ised that when I woke up in the morning I’d have an email from his office with passes. And sure enough we woke up we had VIP passes! The auditions were at Reliant Stadium and we got to walk past thousands of people. Since then I have audition for The Voice and American Idol and a few years back I won TAMUCC’s Corpus Christi Idol. Just so you know for these types of contests you have to pass four rounds in front of producers before you can get to the main judges. The other thing is that they only give out a certain number of tickets per day and even if they've given all those out, they still have to complete all of the auditions. You are a very remarkable young man. You've got a get up and go and a nonstop attitude! I know you’re called Two Dudes Unplugged, but you have a drummer too, right? Yeah, Craig is a freelance guy and plays with a few other groups and he joins us when we need him and when he is open. Well, now that things have opened up and bars and live music venues are getting back to normalcy do you plan to do any kind of gigs outside of the Coastal Bend? Oh yeah, I want to go as far as I can, international is my goal. I’m making calls now for gigs so keep watching for me. How do people find out where you're playing, get a hold of you for booking gigs, and get your music once it's for sale? DevinSuttonMusic on Facebook.com and email DevinMan711@gmail.com. I’ll get back to them as soon as I can.
STEAMMAGAZINE.NET JUNE 2020 STEAM MAGAZINE 19
STEAM Magazine - South Texas Entertainment Art Music, June 2021 features Thomas Michael Riley - Singer/Songwriter- Hill Country, TX, Dorian...
Published on Jun 3, 2021
STEAM Magazine - South Texas Entertainment Art Music, June 2021 features Thomas Michael Riley - Singer/Songwriter- Hill Country, TX, Dorian...