NRBQ's Al Anderson Now a World Famous Headliner

Above: Al Anderson (l) and World Famous Headliners in the studio.

There are people in Nashville, highly successful people, the average fan or casual music listener has little if any clue about. Chris Stapleton comes to mind. Mike Henderson is another. Everyone in Nashville knows and admires them, from Music Row to the East Nashville hepcats, but they're most often flying under the radar.

In spite of his 20 years in critics' darlings band NRBQ, "Big" Al Anderson is not exactly a name the average person is probably familiar with in spite of the fact that he has written numerous hit songs, played umpteen thousand gigs, and made some of the coolest, most idiosyncratic records of the past 30 years.

Anderson has written an amazing and varied string of hits for mainstream Nashville acts; here are just a smattering of the most recognizable: "Every Little Thing" (Carlene Carter), "Poor Me" (Joe Diffie), "The Cowboy In Me" (Tim McGraw), "Trip Around the Sun" (Jimmy Buffett), "Powerful Thing" (Trisha Yearwood), and the Mavericks' signature hit "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down."

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Rich Hopkins Finds Houston Humidity Suits Him

Living most of his adult and professional life in Tuscon, Arizona, former Sidewinders/Sand Rubies front man Rich Hopkins has recently relocated to Houston.

For those who don't remember, Hopkins and his mates in the Sidewinders hit the charts at the tail end of the '80s with "Witch Doctor" (1989) and immediately followed up with "We Don't Do That Anymore" (1990). They got lots of spins on VH1 and MTV.

But a legal dispute with a cover band called Sidewinder led to the band changing labels and names in 1991, and while they made fine records as the Sand Rubies, they never found the charts again although the band continued to tour for some years and has performed numerous reunion shows.

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Last Night: Lumineers at Fitzgerald's

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Photos by Jason Wolter
May 30, 2012

Denver-based Lumineers packed Fitzgerald's to the rafters Wednesday night, turning the upstairs stage into a 90-degree cauldron of sweat. I still don't understand why, although I think I understand why the band is named after smile-enhancing denture products.

One of the longest lines I've ever seen at Fitzgerald's -- and that includes shows for Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joe Ely -- stretched down the street halfway to Onion Creek. In fact, it was the longest line of freshly scrubbed twentysomethings I'd maybe ever seen outside Disney World. Women seemed to outnumber men, and it was one of the most homogeneous crowds I've encountered anywhere in the nation's most diverse city.

When I finally got in the building, it was near 10 p.m. and angst-y opener Gregory Alan Isakov was being thoroughly ignored by a talkative crowd. I thought maybe it was the cello -- but wait, the Lumineers have a cello.

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Darrell Scott: Loving Life Way Outside the Nashville Mainstream

Since moving to Nashville in 1995, 52-year-old Darrell Scott has had a career most who take that Hillbilly Highway to Music City USA would envy. A triple-threat talent, Scott was for years a session warhorse, a guy who could play about anything with strings on it as well as possessing a fantastic ear for harmonies and an angelic voice.

He also wrote songs, lots of songs. Many were picked up by mainstreamers like Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Travis Tritt, Faith Hill, Brad Paisley and Martina McBride. The Dixie Chicks had hits with two Scott songs, "Long Time Gone" and "Heartbreak Town."

His song "Hank Williams' Ghost" was Americana song of the year in 2007, and "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive" has been covered by a bevy of artists such as Paisley, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea and Zakk Wylde and been featured twice on episodes of FX's Justified.

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Rearviewmirror: 5 Ways Ticketmaster Survived Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam vs. Ticketmaster: No Contest.
Do you hate Ticketmaster convenience fees? If you don't, it's because you've never been to a concert. The various fees tacked onto admission prices by the global ticketing behemoth can add a pretty penny in a hurry to the face value of a chance to see and hear our musical heroes, and they're one of the biggest inconveniences associated with live music today. The fees are nothing new, either -- fans and artists alike have been complaining about the practice for decades.

Few have ever gone to such extreme lengths to try to eliminate service fees as Pearl Jam did 18 years ago this week. The Seattle-based grunge icons took a stand against Ticketmaster in 1994, filing a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department over the company's abusive service fee practices and growing monopoly over ticketing distribution.

They flat refused to sell tickets through Ticketmaster unless the fees were ditched. At the time, Pearl Jam was the biggest rock band in the world -- there was no hotter ticket in live music. If any artists could force Ticketmaster to change its business model, it would be them.

Long story short, they couldn't.

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Eddie Vedder To Play Solo Show At Jones Hall On April 22

In even more touring news that will delight graying grungers, ukelele fanatics, and Pearl Jam freaks alike, Eddie Vedder is coming to Jones Hall on April 22 for a solo set, with Glen Hansard handling opening duties.

This Houston show is a part of a 13-city U.S. swing which... wait a hot minute. You mean Houston is actually for once going to be included in one of those tiny U.S. tours that I get PR emails about all day which never have any Texas stops on the itinerary? Very cool news. We thought Vedder forgot about us a long time ago.

Vedder's last solo album, Ukulele Songs, was just that, a collection of songs on ukulele. The album was a fun spin, and the last two songs, "Tonight You Belong To Me" and "Dream A Little Dream" were sweet little nuggets. "Tonight" also featured vocals by Cat Power. And yes, that was the song from The Jerk.

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Friday Night: Hollisters at Blanco's

Photos by Lauren Marmaduke
A capacity crowd jammed into Blanco's Friday night for the return of 90s local favorites, the Hollisters. The dance floor was thronged, the beer line was long, strings were bent and twanged, and there was plenty of big hair.

Fronted by Mike Barfield, currently of the Austin roots outfit Stone River Boys, the band skated easily through essentially every song they know. And it was a typical mix of what made them so popular back in the day: Some up-tempo East Texas rockabilly-ish two-steppers, some mournful honky-tonky balladry, and short bursts of rock and roll with a touch of soul. All of this was punctuated by Barfield's occasionally hilarious asides and his "Texas Tyrant of Funk" dance moves.

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Fred Eaglesmith: Dangerous To Himself

Fred Ealesmith's latest release 6 Volts is rapidly becoming our most played disk since we scored a copy at his recent show at Mucky Duck. Recorded live as a band with ONE MICROPHONE(!) as one track mono to a reel-to-reel deck (oh, you want lo-fi!), the album has drawn frequent comparisons to the last Neil Young album, Le Noise.

As usual with Eaglesmith, the album is packed with memorable lines and hard-bitten characters. We recently spent a sleepless night lying in bed with "I'm dangerous, I'm dangerous / I'm dangerous to myself" running on repeat deep in the cranium.

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Hail, Hail: 10 Things You Should Know About Pearl Jam

Categories: Flannel File

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Mark C. Austin
Pearl Jam at ACL '09
Amongst all the Nevermind love running rampant this week, people seem to forget that Nirvana contemporaries Pearl Jam are also celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. Obviously the Nirvana tributes are different since one member is not living and the weight that Nevermind still carries two decades later is undeniable.

What's interesting about Pearl Jam - Eddie Vedder, Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard and Mike McCready - is their staying power, and their steadfast hold on their own career. The things they turned down in the '90s actually helped them last as long as they have: The fights with TicketMaster, the refusal to make obsessive amounts of music videos and media appearances, pushing albums instead of singles, all those things went against the music industry they came up in - foolishly, many said at the time.

Today though, their stubborn resolve is looked on with reverence.

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Drain You: The 10 Most Expensive Nirvana Items On eBay

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Today officially marks 20 years, yes two decades, since Nirvana's Nevermind hit stores and started a whole new movement in music, er, well at least brought one further above ground. The past month the music world has been awash in articles and blogs about Nevermind, with the three living architects, drummer Dave Grohl, bassist Krist Novoselic, and producer Butch Vig looking back on the album they made in 1991.

Obviously it's an emotional time for all involved. Main man Kurt Cobain has been dead more than 17 years now, and is thus unable to reflect on the album. That only seems to stoke the fires of obsession for Nirvana devotees, though. We remember in 1991, 20 years after the death of Jim Morrison, the massive swell of Doors love that flooded pop culture.

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