True Blood: A Bit Of Houston, A Bit Of Magical Murder

Alan Ball was known for his masterful use of music in Six Feet Under. He's lost none of his touch when it comes to his current HBO series, True Blood - which happens to be set in the Louisiana swamps, not terribly far from Houston.

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Johnny Bush, ladies and gentlemen. Even your resident goth music expert has heard of the man. Johnny Bush has been a staunch supporter of the Houston hardcore country sound, imparting his style and wisdom to people still on a regular tour schedule and with new albums. He's played with Ray Price, and was the drummer for Willie Nelson. Nelson's financial backing helped him record The Sound of a Heartache in 1967, and he would go on to release a string of hit country records.

Bush's career stalled and took a turn for the worse. Much like another Texas resident, Meat Loaf, he suddenly developed severe vocal problems that robbed him of much of his range. RCA released him from his recording contract in 1974, and the honky-tonk heavyweight turned to drugs.

In 1978 he was finally diagnosed with the real problem, a rare neurological disorder called spasmodic dysphonia that causes sudden, involuntary movements in the vocal cords. By 1985 he regained much of his range, and launched a comeback the next year that has kept him working to this day.

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Larry D. Moore
Bush's song "Cold Grey Light of Dawn" was released before he developed his voice problems on his 1973 album Here Comes the World. The song was actually written by another Texas native, Kirbyville's Ivory Joe Hunter. Hunter started off as a rhythm and blues songwriter, but would eventually be a driving force in country music. Legends like Pat Boone, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis himself recorded Hunter's tunes. He died of lung cancer the year after Bush took a stab at "Cold Grey Light of Dawn" in Memphis.

What can we say about the track that isn't true of every real honky-tonk tune? As far as a bleak look at life on the other side of lost love you can't get much better. There always seems to be a kind of resignation in good honky tonk, and acceptance of the cruelty of life and how often we are the cause of our own misfortunes. You rarely hear a good country artist of the old school dodging responsibility.

The same just cannot be said for vampires. In this week's episode, named after Bush's version of Ivory Joe's track, Bon Temps' vampire community is in a complete lockdown. See, in this universe the Spanish Inquisition was mostly used as an excuse for 17th-century vampires to rape and eat witches, a statement that we spent 20 minutes blasting its historical accuracy until it was pointed out that we might be taking a show about vampires a little too personally.

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