Thursday, October 25, 2012

Presidential Election

With the upcoming Presidential election on everyone's minds (how could we forget with the media bombardment?), I thought I'd write about it for today's blog.

Whether you're Republican, Democrat, or Independent, we are all Americans and we all have the right to vote.  We all have different ideas about how our country should be ran, laws that are made, and where the country should head for the future.

Politics are very polarizing and tend to divide families, coworkers, and friends.  With that said, I'm not going to write about which side I'm on.  People are going to vote for whom they believe is going to be the best leader for our country.  Many politicians are not the most honest people so we have to vote for the lesser of the two evils.

Despite our differences, one thing we do have in common is love of country and the things that hold us together.  One thing that draws people together is music.  My passion for music and love of the USA has me extremely excited about Reckless Kelly's brand new song "Pennsylvania Avenue."  A truly all-American song, it speaks of voting the President out of office if he's not getting the job done that he was hired for.  It's a song for all Americans, whether you're conservative, liberal, or sitting on the fence.  Boldly sung with RK's trademark sound, it's a song that needs to be heard, blasted from rooftops, blaring from car radios, all the way to the White House.

Remember on November 6, YOU can make a difference.  VOTE!  Make your voice heard all the way to "Pennsylvania Avenue."  Vote and while you're at it, grab yourself a copy of Reckless Kelly's new single.  Your ears will thank you.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Texas/Red Dirt/Americana Music

As a long time fan of Texas music in various forms and stages, this sub genre of country music has made me even more passionate about music than ever.  I've always loved the various styles of alternative country, which in the 80's and prior, used to get played on mainstream country radio.  Now a person has to listen to local, regional indie stations to hear this beautiful music.  With the discovery of new artists in the genre, my passion for this type of music has been renewed.  And as mainstream radio continues to play the mundane, boring, truck/redneck/teenager themes, it's not hard to change the station or fire up my iPod.

As an introduction for those of you who may not know a lot about this alternative genre(s), Texas/Red Dirt/Americana often gets lumped together as alternative country, because Nashville doesn't know what to do with artists who don't fit their "mold."  Texas music isn't necessarily about Texas, but it's a sound.  It's country, it's rock, it's blues, it's a state of mind.  Red Dirt gets its name from the rich red soil that covers Oklahoma.  The sound is country, blues, rock, but what this sub genre is all about is songwriting.  The writers who hail from this area are some of the best but relatively unknown to the rest of the country.  Americana takes on a more folk, bluegrass, rootsy sound.  There is even a satellite radio station dedicated to the "Outlaw" sound on Sirius/XM for every artist who doesn't fit in at mainstream.

With that said, alternative country is very much alive and well, despite most artists not receiving much nationwide, mainstream radio airplay.  Texas and Oklahoma stations are the best places to find this amazing music and discover new artists.  These acts often tour nationwide and have large followings.  What they lack is the push from giant record labels promoting their latest songs and garnering national attention.  In a way, this helps the artist be the best artist he/she can be.  Many times Nashville pushes an image.  You will not find  this in alt-country.  Most artists have strong opinions and choose to speak their minds.  They dress as they choose, they sing about guns, drugs, and you certainly won't hear a song about butterflies and fireflies.  I find this unfiltered music refreshing, thought-provoking, and rocking.  It's raw, it's real, and there is such a variety it never sounds generic.  A few of my favorite regional radio stations include 92.1 KNBT, New Braunfels, TX (, 95.9 The Ranch, Ft. Worth, TX (, and KOKE-FM, Austin, TX (  

There are so many artists that deserve recognition and I think every person in America is missing out if they've never heard their fine music.  I will detail a few of my favorites, because I think they deserve to be heard.  Reckless Kelly (, Cody Canada And The Departed (, and Micky & The Motorcars ( are my favorites in the Texas/Red Dirt genre.  Hard to believe that two of these groups (MMC & RK) hail from Idaho and yet for me, embody the Texas sound.  The Departed have a unique Red Dirt/Oklahoma/Texas sound, thanks to Cody Canada's laid-back drawl and Seth James' straight-ahead bluesy vocals.  Because these acts deserve a more in-depth look, I will blog about them in the future.

There are still many good acts to be heard on mainstream radio.  However, if you are bored with the same 20 artists played every hour, give the Americana/Texas/Red Dirt genre a listen.  Your ears will thank you and the so will these outstanding musicians.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Casper Mountain Camping

This past weekend was the last time for camping in Wyoming, or so we believe due to the snow and cold due to arrive later this week.  So with that in mind, we decided last minute to make the most of the last weekend of Summer weather.

Friday evening started off with light rain as we set up camp.  It was no bother, however, as the precipitation is much needed after a very dry Summer.  After establishing camp, we took a walk in the light drizzle.

Aspen grove
Saturday morning brought gorgeous sunlight to Casper Mountain, warming the day up nicely.  After a morning of driving around the east end of the mountain to view the SheepHerder Hill Fire damage, we later hiked the trails.  Casper Mountain has a large cross country ski trail system that is available to hike, bike, & horseback ride in warmer months.  Also another short but beautiful trail is the Braille Trail that follows Elkhorn Creek.  The colors were almost past peak but still spectacular for leaf peeping.  After hiking, it was time to relax and enjoy the sights and smells of the forest, to relax and enjoy time away from life's stress.

On Sunday, it was time to pack up and head back to reality, but not before enjoying a leisurely breakfast and coffee time.  After packing up camp, we took one last walk before heading down the mountain.

It was a lovely, relaxing weekend.  Having a mountain nearby makes for a camping trip close by yet far away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Strube Loop

SheepHerder Hill Fire, east end of Casper Mountain burn area