Saturday, April 29, 2006

Wayne the Train - Live!

After work on Thursday, I drove to Denton to catch some live music ... Wayne "the Train" Hancock was in town. For the unitiated, Wayne's music is best classified as "Texas Rockabilly Swing" or "Hillbilly Swing" -- mostly up-tempo classic country-meets-'50s-style-rock, accentuated by a vocal style similar to Hank Williams. It was my third time to see him... I caught him once back in January and once last year or the year before. On Thursday, Wayne and his band were on their way home from a lengthy road trip, and looked tired, but still sounded pretty good. Guitarist Eddie and steel player "Brother John" -- both extremely talented musicians -- did "dueling instrumentals" during most of the songs.

Chris on bass, Wayne on acoustic guitar

And Wayne, as he always does, entertained the crowd between songs by asking such questions as: "Anybody been in jail this week? Anyone here gonna go to jail next week?" It was too bad they drew such a small crowd (no more than about 40 people). When I saw them back in January, the place was pretty full. But they're due to come back on June 2, which is a Friday, so maybe they'll draw a bigger crowd then. I know I plan to be there...

Wayne.... John..... Eddie

changing of the guard

When I returned from vacation toward the end of March, I found I was in for a rude awakening, courtesy of Plano's KHYI radio station. It seems that Program Director Bruce Kidder resigned a day or two after I left town, leaving the 6 to 9 am morning slot to be filled by two giggly females. Listeners on the hardcountryradio forum theorized that it was part of an early April Fool's joke (Bruce K and dj Brett Dillon were famous for their April Fool's hi-jinks), but as the first of April came and went, it soon became apparent that it was NO JOKE, resulting in no end of commentary from disgruntled listeners threatening to jump ship -- and from a few others who were happy to see the end of Bruce, along with his sarcasm and somewhat surly attitude. Unfortunately for KHYI, I am listening less since Bruce left.... I used to listen pretty much all day from the time I woke up (+/- 07:30) until I left for work (14:00). Bruce worked the 6 to 9 am slot and then transferred to Brett Dillon who works 9 to 2, but Bruce would usually return and help Brett during the all-request lunch hour. These days, I'm listening a lot less... many days, I don't even bother turning on the station until Brett's show starts (yes, Bruce's replacements are THAT BAD), and I'm listening less during the lunch hour as well. I always considered the on-air calls (played between every pair of songs) to be a KHYI highlight... something that made the listening audience feel like they had a certain "ownership" in the programming, but even Brett isn't playing as many on-air calls as he used to. The music is still pretty good, but I'll be danged if I've heard one song by Whispering Bill Anderson, a "chick run", a "truckin' montage", a reference to the "Redneck Freak Show", or a single Gary Stewart drinkin' tune (or refusal to play same before 12 noon) -- since Bruce Kidder left the airwaves. We miss ya, Big Daddy. KHYI just isn't the same...

Along the same lines as the KHYI transition, a favorite magazine of mine saw some big changes last year, and the changes continue in 2006. The magazine is CTC Board - Railroads Illustrated, a railroad-themed "fan" magazine emphasizing high-quality photography of trains and other rail-related subjects. The changes began last year when Associate Editor Brian Rutherford stepped down, leaving Editor Dale Sanders to produce the magazine on his own. Then Sanders jumped ship, leaving Hundman Publishing to locate a new editorial team. Hundman decided on Paul Schneider, whose resume includes serving as editor for Kalmbach Publishing's (now defunct, but highly acclaimed) Trains Illustrated magazine of the late '80s and early '90s. Schneider selected David Styffe as Art Director, and the two kept the magazine rolling without hardly missing a beat (and turned out some damn fined material, I might add -- well, they did run my story on the Texas Panhandle...) But Styffe recently resigned, leaving Schneider to find a replacement art director. The most recent issue to hit the streets was the new art director's first, and it has been the subject of nearly unending debate on discussion forums like Observation Car (on which Schneider currently serves as moderator - but that's another can of worms altogether). Back to the most recent issue of "the Board"... in addition to some big changes in photo selection and presentation, there were some production problems (several of the issue's photos were much too dark). The end result -- some readers threatening never to purchase another issue, while others are applauding the changes (well, except for the dark photos) -- reminds me a lot of the KHYI transition. Some folks support the changes, others condemn them, and everyone reacts a bit differently. If nothing else, it serves as a reminder that nothing lasts forever, and sometimes things that we love change before we are ready for them to.

and now, from the wide world of sports...

Congratulations to the Texas Rangers' Francisco Cordero for setting a new record -- five blown saves in the month of April! He's lucky that the team's offensive production has bailed him out of a couple of those blown saves (ironically resulting in "wins" for his W-L record). But if the Rangers want to have any kind of chance at the post season, they'd better get their bullpen problems squared away -- pronto. It looks like Cordero has been reassigned to a set-up role... we'll see if that does any good.

and finally...

A reader emailed me to ask if I plan to resume posting train sightings on the blog. I tried that for a few months last year -- posting information on EVERY train I saw rolling through Keller or anywhere else I happened to see one -- but it quickly became tedious and I got bored with it. And it was a lot of WORK typing up all that crap! I think I'll withhold the details on most of my sightings and just post the most interesting or noteworthy ones, along with the occasional photo or two. As you can see from the above ramblings, there's a lot more to Whiskey's life than just train sightings...


nw: (now watching) Fast Times at Ridgemont High


Blogger Davbuf said...

I was wondering what happened to Big Daddy Bruce just yesterday. You are right. It just isn't the same without him. I don't know if Natalie and the other chic (I have stopped listening on my drive time) are still there but, honestly, how many chics do you know that have good taste in music. For proof, just look at a crowd shot of a Tim McGraw concert. 80% chics, 100% bad taste in music.

Bruce Kidder, where are you???

9:07 AM  
Blogger Yohanan bin-Dawidh said...

Bruce Kidder did not resign, he was fired.

8:33 AM  

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