Sunday, October 30, 2011

Change is Gonna Come

Hello Friends, Fans & Dirtyfoots,

We have hosted many events in Austin, since our arrival in 2007. We announced in 2010, that we'd be searching for a way of doing things that would better suit our endeavors & presentation. On Veteran's Day, Friday November 11, 2011 at the Austin Moose Lodge 1735, we present: "Searching For Guy Clarks Kitchen - Tour 2011" featuring Tom VandenAvond, who was nominated for "Best. Alt. Country Album of 2011" at the Independent Music Awards for his latest release "You Oughta Know Me By Now" & Willy Tea Taylor who has been called one of the best songwriters & deliverers of this generation. Yes, they are singer/songwriters.... but I can tell you that NOBODY can put them in that box.

On to the Moose Lodge... Like I said, we have hosted many events since 2007, Scoot Inn, Emo's (inside & out), Jovita's, Ruta Maya, The Oaks, Beerland and of course, Hole in the Wall. Hillgrass Bluebilly "Entertainment" released statements for almost 2 years that we would be looking to host our events, on a national level, at local VFW's, Moose Lodges, Italian-American Halls/Banquet Halls, Country Clubs, Barns, and the like. I feel these places/communities have been on a rapid decline since I was a young boy and was taken to the Tomball VFW, being a part of all the holiday happenins, dances, concerts and run around the property, behind the stage, in the offices and meeting rooms I wasnt supposed to be in, behind the bar, all up in the kitchen, runnin and slidin ' across the sawdust dance floor, playin' pool for the 1st time, Bingo night.... late 70's early 80's... it was a beautiful time. Shit, everyone knew the barber, the dude at the hardware store, grocery store, the local plumbers, AC guys.. the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ..even the owner at 7-11 ... you'd see em all at the V.F.W.

Thanks for allowing me to paint a picture of the community I was privileged to be a part of. I have been looking for a place that resembles things like that this.... I would like to think the Dirtyfoot Family would like to have things like that. Loyalty, follow-through, respect, a foundation to build on... a place we can be a part of, and contribute to when we can.... ACTUALLY be a part of y'all.. a place for our kids a lot of the time, our grandparents and all of us. Places like this STILL exist folks, but barely.... they are on there last leg. They need our help, and we want to give it to them. I believe we all need to embrace a lot of things that are in place and within reach, and we can start right here at the Austin Moose Lodge, when it comes time for you to spend an evening with our time tested and approved of, successful events.... successful to the soul 1st, the bar last mind you. At the end of the day, I am Loyal Order of the Moose, and my wife, is Woman of the Moose, and hopefully a lot of you Dirtyfoots will soon join us down at the Moose, and embrace our contribution/idea/endeavor for a revival of "lost America", for our friends and family to have a place of our own. A place that IMPROVES & BUILDS FOR US as we bring them beautiful, exceptional music that you just flat out cant get anywhere else.

We will host Possessed by Paul James at the Austin Moose Lodge in Mid-December for the Hillgrass Bluebilly Happy Holidays Hoe-Down. Konrad Wert (Possessed by Paul James) took home "Best Alt. Country Album of the Year" at the 2011 Independent Music Awards this year for his latest release "Feed the Family" on Hillgrass Bluebilly "Records". He was also nominated for "Best Americana Album of the Year - 2011", which was won by Pokey LaFarge. Konrad was also one the best, if not the best performance at this years Muddy Roots Music Festival outside Nashville, TN, which also included Wanda Jackson & Don Maddox. We will say goodbye to 2011 in tribute to Possessed by Paul James, who is currently recording his next release, due out on Hillgrass Bluebilly Records in earlyish 2012.

We will also host the 5th Annual Hillgrass Bluebilly X(not)SXSW Showcase at the Moose in March 2012., the Muddy Roots Festival, has teamed up with us to present a HUGE 2 day "SAVING (country music) DEEP (blues) MUDDY (roots) HILLGRASS (bluebilly) XSXSW FEST" (more to be announced on soon). We are very proud to make the connection and call the Austin Moose Lodge our new home in Austin, TX. The Moose has reached out to folks in the past, but we will open up shop for the Moose and start booking folks who we see deemed fit at the Moose Lodge in our efforts to revive "lost America" and prove once again... that you never know where a song might take you! We need your help y'all... can't make a difference... without you!

Thanks a lot, Keith M. / HB

Veteran's Day

Friday 11/11/11Austin Moose Lodge

2103 E.M. Franklin Ave.

Austin, TX 78723

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Yeah, I Carve Cheetah's

"Yeah, I Carve Cheetahs"

Every so often something will come along and snap your neck to it, flipping the auto pilot to full attention. A new sound that reconciles the familiar with the foreign, and pulls you into it. In 2008 our own Keith Mallette had such an experience as he caught the captivating bucket thump and grainy slide stylings of REST^vRANT through the trees of the "Enchanted Forest" ( no joke ) in Austin, Texas. Since then Hillgrass Bluebilly formed a lasting connection with Troy Murrah and J State that led to REST^vRANT performing in 2 of the 4 H.B.E SXSW showcases and joining forces with Left Lane Cruiser on the H.B.E Hard Luck Summer Tour in 2009. Today, REST^vRANT and Hillgrass Bluebilly Records & Entertainment proudly announce the upcoming release for the long awaited 12 track opus of an album "Yeah, I Carve Cheetahs" to you! This unique duo delivers a diverse cannon of sonic emotion that reaches rafter shaking, floor stomping heights and dreamlike contemplative depths using an inventive arsenal of unconventional instrumental implements. A guaranteed good listen, whatever your mood! REST^vRANT has the H.B.E middle finger of approval in spades. We encourage you to pick up the album and support this incredible act when they come to your town. Also look for their contribution to the upcoming J.R & R.L, Johnny Cash and R.L Burnside double tribute album from Hillgrass Bluebilly Records coming in 2012! "Yeah, I Carve Cheetah's" is expected for an October release, official release date coming soon.

Tressa A. Burns / Managing Editor / Curator / Creative Consultant
Hillgrass Bluebilly Records & Entertainment Headquarters

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Boomswagglers - The Bootleg Beginnings from the Shack Out Back

We present to you our first installment of the Hillgrass Bluebilly "Bootleg" series in the form of a ten track chunk of hard sentiments spawned from harder living. The Boomswagglers -"The Bootleg Beginnings from the Shack Out Back" is a hopeful window into the next generation of pickers and grinners backed with an all-star cast of accomplished musicians. Formed in 2009, this duo of troublemaking Texas young bucks managed to get themselves thrown out of more venues than they played in, stirred up controversy during their sets with the nature of their lyrics and crammed a lazier mans decade worth of rehab jail time and bar brawls into a short but enthusiastic three year run that sadly, for now, has come to an end. Luckily, before they disbanded they joined with Brian Salvi and Darren Sluyter (former members of the Weary Boys), North Dakotan turned Texas alumni Leo Rondeau and Molly Salvi (who has lent her lovely silky rasp to the likes of Woodsboss , Tom Vandenavond and the Salvi Family band) in Elgin, Texas to make this gem of a record.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Lawson Bennett and Spencer Cornett in separate telephone conversations whose transcripts read like Dukes of Hazard meets Gummo. Bennett and Cornett met in Georgetown, Texas where the south end of the San Gabriel river runs and the city motto is "sincerely yours". They bonded over fishing, catfish noodling and making explosives to collect arrowheads. Lawson was living in a shack in the area and Spencer would come by for picking sessions. Lawson wrote the majority of the songs he and Spencer played and attributes much of their influence to his long time admiration for Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band. "This is kind of a bummer album" said Lawson. " A lot of the songs were written in a house with no running water. We were stealing from a hose from the neighbors place. Shitty girlfriends, shitty jobs , the world treated us like shit and that's the truth. Like that song 'Even Lower Down', that came from a tough time. I came home sad as shit, shits fucked, aint no money, aint no phone, well... just the CB radio, aint no runnin water, hardly any beer, goose shit all over the house and my girl at the time yellin in my ear. Same with 'Morning Pills', Doc told me I had high blood pressure, had me on all kinda medication. I fucked up my knee and they had to set it, they gave me vics for the pain and it fucked up my heart more. wasn't nuthin I could do. Country goes two ways, you got your Willie Nelson hippie folky types and that rich kid drivin daddies truck bullshit. We were listenin to punk rock, fishin and shootin guns. We didn't know country , then we heard Merle Haggard. Most folks didn't figure out shit like we did. We are like an oddity to them , sumthin they read about in books. Thats fuckin life. Bad times. That's why we don't play much anymore. We aint pissed off anymore. People want to hear me upset and I aint tryin to be upset my whole life."

Shame. It's a chainsaw juggle to balance playing and surviving but I have a feeling this wont be the last we hear from the Boomswagglers. Till then, enjoy these tracks and as always... support local music , wherever it may be local to.

1. Low Down
2. Workin' Man
3. Why I Sleep Alone
4. Trailer Park Special
5. Jim & Jack
6. I'm Comin Home
7. Even Lower Down
8. Mornin' Pills
9. Wilco Blues
10. Run You Down

This afternoon, over at, you can download/have this album for free!

Tressa A. Burns
Hillgrass Bluebilly Headquarters

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The XXX Steel Horse of the Apocolypse

Hey Folks,
Hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend! In the spirit of independence I'd like to take a minute to address, well, independence. As you know we run an independent label. In the 7 years we have had this team together, for better or worse, we have had a clear idea of our mission since day one. Every ounce of articulated press from the archive to date, compliments the ideas that got us started and the actions we take that keep us running with the same amount of steam our founders barreled into our creation.

It's a good deal we've got. Promoting what we love, on our own terms for the sake of the music that changed us when we found it, drew us in as individuals and pulled us together. If you have the means I highly recommend it. Whatever you love, you are not alone and there is no better time than now to organize and find an audience to support it with you.

All of us that work in this industry on an independent level have our own views on the society that wired our motives to spotlight whatever frame we built. The "mainstream" has always been run on the buck and now more than ever the generic hit rotisserie files into the five approved genres and cranks out minty fresh sound cubes to the digital breadline of consumers celebrating their individuality through their marketing demographic. That's a bleak dystopian angle but thankfully only a portion of a free market. As long as we have the power of cultural autonomy the music industry version of Soylent green doesn't have to have anything to do with us.

If you follow the message boards on Saving Country Music and No Depression, you have a head start on where this is going. We have hit a crux on the political side of business and some tough decisions have been made. What should have been a private and brief conversation between Adam Sheets of XXX and Keith here at HBE hit the bike racks of the board and sparked a public dialogue that we now have no choice but to acknowledge. It aint' pretty. On a business level, I'd love to call a spade a spade close the door on the badger den and go back to work, but it has gone to far now.

It came to our attention that our logo and a few of the artists we represent were listed throughout the XXX site in a way that made it appear that we were directly affiliated. No one from XXX had approached us prior to this. No glove slap, just a matter of principal we were within our rights to make note of. When we called on them to remove the images only part of our request was granted and the conversation didn't go well, a good portion of which can be found on the SCM public forum. The feed back from the posts had some common themes ; 'What's the big deal as long as the artists are being promoted?' 'This argument is pointless' 'We are all in this together, why can't we just get along?' I'll tell you. Not all promotion is good promotion when it compromises the continuity of our philosophies concerning the greater good. This requires some looking into.

First of all, yes our primary goal is promoting our artists through the HBE cause but the company and artists are not interchangeable. That being said, this is an issue strictly between labels and the observations that follow are separate to the company itself. We do our best to work for our artists but make no attempt to speak for them. In the same turn our choice to draw a thick line between ourselves and XXX as entities falls under conflict of interest between ourselves and XXX's proprietors and not the artists they carry. Our instincts led us to be wary of XXX from the beginning and through revelations over a short amount of time our notions were consolidated and confirmed. We will get to some of the statements that led to this but first let us tell you what this isn't about.

We don't care what XXX calls itself. Weather the moniker conjures ties with porn, moonshine or x-treme snack chips makes no difference to us outside of opinion. Hell, as far as logos having offensive implications one of the main images we use is a middle finger. However in our case there was never any doubt as to the message the symbolism carries.

We don't care about the general career connections or family influence or monetary advantage Shooter inevitably brings to the XXX table. The closing line in Shooters post to us on SCM was " If you really believe music is better without XXX then we can ask the people, but from the amount of positive responses i've gotten from my radio show, I really don't think thats the case." Great Shooter Having a radio station is an excellent way to have listeners. You should use every tool you have to move your agenda. We don't have a radio station. We don't have any of that. You win. We are a small operation but we are here. We've been here. The sudden X-posure of XXX coming in quick with the interest of representing the "underdog" might have sank in a little better with us If they had put the horse before the cart.

Ultimately it breaks down to opposition of mission and method. All over XXX is the desire to put a pretty extensive and varied list of bands that are "Too rock for country, to country for rock!" into the pantheon of media that has its back turned on them. "We want our own genre." "Sign the petition!" "We want the same for XXX that every piece of slop that gets played in other genres gets!" ..........................Woah. Sounds like 'meet the new boss to us. We don't need a boss and I can die just fine without my favorite songs on the top 40 chart. God speed XXX but that aint our fight.

XXX came out with their first compilation yesterday morning. Southern Independent XXX Volume One. With it came a "Warning- This album is intended to ruin the sanctity of roots music. By downloading and or listening to the material herein you are actively contributing to its demise. Despite this it is expected that you will fucking love it." I could keep citing examples of why XXX doesn't work for us, even have a good time on a personal level bashing Shooters "Southern Family Anthem" track, but in a predictable twist It has done that on it's own in a neatly wrapped package. Way to steal my journalistic exposition thunder XXX. Again, though its a mix mash I wouldn't have thrown together, the XXX roster has some great bands that despite their new powerhouse endorsement I will continue to buy their albums and attend their shows. Its not necessary to choose sides when it comes to the music, or the lables for that matter we just wanted you to know where we stand. Any and all feedback is more than welcome and if there are things I may have overlooked in my conclusions please, have at it. Till next time Amigos.....

Tressa A. Burns / Managing Editor / Curator / Creative Consultant
Hillgrass Bluebilly Records & Entertainment Headquarters

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My first intro to Possessed By Paul James was sometime in early '07 at an H.B.E showcase at the Hole In The Wall in Austin Texas. I didn't know much about him and the only notion I had of the quality of the show I would get came in the wide eyed and nodding instruction of friends familiar with his work to "just watch".
I took my usual preferred spectating stance up front and to the left as he took a seat on a chair on a wood platform on the stage surrounded by an unconventional setup of an old amp, various instruments and a battered tambourine rigged at his feet. A decent crowd had accumulated, hungry and shifting with anticipation. He settled his fiddle and picked up a bow so frayed it looked as if a razor had been taken to it sending it's hairs, thick with rosin, to curl in all directions. Without introduction he pulled out a few stark and rolling notes. His knees jerked. a slight semi rhythmic spasm at first then a pulling and pounding of his foot into the wood and rigged tambourine creating a full and layered thump that built into a pulse that he let hang in the air between the increasingly frenetic fiddle arrangement. He craned his neck and reeled, gritting and gnashing his teeth akin to the effects of some kind of religious revival. He let out seemingly involuntary yips and yells and sharp exclamations as the music and rhythm welled up and out into the crowd. He burst into the hook and I was taken by the rawness and clarity of his vocals and keenly original and intimate lyrical content. Throughout the set he switched between banjo, fiddle, and guitar hammering out a catalog of intense, emotionally charged songs. This was the real deal and possessed was a good word for it. This wasn't just a show this was a 40 minute battle cry against heartache and the high cost of living.
It is clear through his albums and performances that Possessed by Paul James is his music. His talent for viscerally projecting the weight of living makes him an unapologetic conduit of his own device. There is nothing contrived or forced. He seems to be continually and with great humility 'working it out' through his songs. The resulting progress is illustrated in the way his tone has altered in the time between his first self titled release and his most recent endeavor "feed the family".
In an earlier performance just before the birth of his son, I witnessed as he exscorscized the stress he was under almost alarmingly. He explained to the Audience he would have to make it quick as his pregnant wife was waiting in the van. He delivered the usual set but towards the end he loosened and unraveled and started chanting and wailing " I've got babies on my mind! I've got babies on my mind!" Men were stomping and shaking their fists in response to the rhythm and women were dancing and swinging their hips to what appeared to me to be a nervous breakdown. Good show to be sure but this this was serious. This was a stranger wrestling his struggle to the ground in front of a "mostly" live audience. The struggle to pay his bills and his dues, to straddle lives without losing footing on either side of a duplicitous nature and the struggle as a man to bring new life into the world in uncertain times.
Feed the family is a 12 track anthem to the general growth and maturity gained through sacrifice and reflection. Kinder versions of 'Color of my bloody nose' and 'Old man's souls' don't retreat from their original power but relax their grip as if reconciled by time. Tracks like 'Older in my body' We welcome you home' and 'fathers and sons' are all shining testaments to the best of earnest song writing. The album in its entirety seems to end a chapter in a life on a triumphant note and as a fan I eagerly await the next installments from this truly unique and irreplaceable artist.
In an excerpt from Faulkner lies a fitting sentiment, " Not for glory and least of all for profit , but to create out of the materials of the human spirit that which did not exist before." I just got word that PPJ bagged best alternative country artist at the independent music awards. Goes to show a little glory is inevitable when the material is lightning in a bottle and as for the latter, the lines blur in the expectation of profit when its time to "feed the family". TAB

Tom Vandenavond

Tom Vandenavond
Guthrie said a man should know his country like the back of his hand. Some people spend their whole lives in the towns they grew up in, nothing wrong with that. Some people spend most of their lives traveling for their jobs from chain hotel to chain hotel strip mall to strip mall and don't have a story about the American experience that i'd like to hear. Other folks may harbor a stifled wander lust as they are beaten into their respective corners of the world in a gridlock to pay their rent and feed their children.
Times are tough all over and the upper hand it seems could care less about the old American dream only bending to the bottom line. There was a time that great detail and care was placed into American design. Architecture, cars, even the way communities settled themselves into the landscape had a modicum of pride and sensibility. You see that less and less anymore in the pre-fab slap together cheap labor replacements of destroyed land marks and shut down mom n' pops. At this rate all we have, is all we have left. Chunks of our culture are eroded in a white wash of ''progression'' and I'm afraid of what America will mean to our children's children. Thankfully we have an archive of music and literature to tell our stories. An archive built by crusaders who weather they meant to or not put a permanent stamp on the people and places that otherwise may have remained an undocumented flicker. Our history and our time now is to important to lose to subjection and white knuckle survival. There are plenty of examples through popular music of where things went wrong that are widely available and slurped up like the last dance club cocktail by consumers who, I can only hope , just don't know any better but when it comes to the good American hard luck hittin hard tour driven troubadour , like George says , "whose gonna fill their shoes?''
Tom Vandenavond is a contemporary ghost with a wisdom in his music that exceeds his years. His sound embodies the nature of solitary travel and the inevitable connections made from a life on the road. He has torn through his midwest roots and created an auditory imprint of the highways and byways, truck stops and roadsides of the afforded white line spectacles of the American construct. If you listen you can hear a long haul on the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental highway. Where the day glow over exposure of Los Angeles meets the dessert of palm springs. Red rocks and mesa tops before Phoenix and Tucson. The cumbersome nothingness of West Texas where a man can can only bide his time with his thoughts and am radio. El Paso with a glimpse of the third world at the boarder of Juarez. San Antonio and New Mexico heavy with Spanish and Native American charm. A brief pass through future city Houston and the descent into the thick air of southern Louisiana stretching over the 35 along the Pontchartrain into the heart of Cajun Country. Mississippi's Jackson County into the Panhandle. These are just a few of the back drops that bleed their influence into a catalog of work as eclectic as the land itself. You don't need to visit the hotel lafayette or have a hard south texas christmas to identify , any amount of living should draw you in.
He seems to take his notes from the rambling Jack Elliot handbook a bit of a maverick he's also not afraid of the odd straight job painting signs or slingin beer. He is part John Prine and a bit of Mark twain. He has written some of the saddest songs i've ever heard but most are coupled with a wink and a nod. He's like Rory Callahan in the Texan or Chuck Conners in the Riflemen with a guitar, A squint in his eye weather from the desert sun or the smokey respite of any bar U.S.A, you get the idea he knows something we don't and no matter how rough it gets there is comfort for the stock that he'll pull the ace from his sleeve and more or less come out on top.
Tom is a great act to catch when he flies solo but their is a great deal of magic in the company he keeps on his albums. The unparalleled talents of the Weary boys, Good luck Thrift Store, and members of the genre decimating Larry and his Flask (the Say Hey Kids when they play with Tom) have all thrown their efforts into his recordings. Each album has it's own feel and with his latest release "Oughta Know Me By Now" it's clear he can't make a bad album. Pick up the latest release but while your at it grab the other three and get to know your country. TAB

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A small recap of the 4th annual HBXSXSW on 3/18/2011

Thank you to everyone who came out to the 4th Annual Hillgrass Bluebilly Records & Entertainment Showcase (HBXSXSW4) last Friday, March 18, 2011. This may very well be the last XSXSW event we have at the Hole in the Wall, so we are glad you came out! We do not have youtubes of everyone that performed Friday night. "Rose's Pawn Shop" captivated the crowd outside with a very strong performance, as usual. "Shake it Like a Caveman" joined us for his 2nd HBXSXSW event and did not dissappoint. The night was started off by the Harmed Brothers, doing the best start off in HBXSXSW history by takin' the floor over in the front room. This year may have been the strongest set for Uncle Tom VandenAvond & the Say Hey Kids, we hope to find some y'all Uncle Tom videos from that night.

This is our 2nd XSXSW showcase with Austin Lucas. He was joined by his sister Chloe Manor, this time & Cory Branan on a song or two.

"Go West" (with sister, Jon Snodgrass & Cory Branan)

"Sun or Snow" (with Chloe Manor & Cory Branan)

"Somebody Loves You"

"Dead Factories" (with Chloe Manor)

Drage the River - This was our 1st time working with Drag the River, here are a few videos of Drag the River at our showcase. They were on stage 2.

"Dancing in the Moonlight" with Cory Branan & Austin Lucas joining them on stage.

"Death of the Life of the Party"


Our brother, Soda, has performed at 3/4 of the HBXXSW events, maybe all of them. Here is Soda performing "Gutter Queen" at our event on Friday. He took over stage 2 with a 12 string Banjo. Hillgrass Bluebilly will have a Soda release for you, shortly after summer.

"Gutter Queen"

"Possessed by Paul James" finished the night off us again, for his 2nd HBXSXW showcase. Enjoy the video from our showcase that Friday night, March 18th, 2011.

This is the last post by co founder Keith Mallette (me) for awhile, Tressa B is now on detail. She was our writer / pr / editor back in 2007 and 2008 and we are super excited to have the one & only Tressa back on duty.

We would like to leave you with a video from Willy Tea Taylor, the newest edition to the Hillgrass Bluebilly Records family.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Possessed by Paul James & Tom VandenAvond are nominated for BEST ALBUM!


Austin Texas’s Own Possessed by Paul James & Tom VandenAvond, Joins Ra Ra Riot, Melissa Auf der Maur, Flying Lotus, Jim Campilongo, Jackson Browne and David Lindley As Nominees for The 10th Independent Music Awards

Last year about this time, Hillgrass Bluebilly Records was VERY PROUD to announce that "Hiram & Huddie Vol. 1 & 2" was nominated "Best Concept Album" for the 9th annual Independent Muic Awards. WE DID IT AGAIN! "Feed the Family" by Possessed by Paul James has been nominated for both "Best Alt. Country Album" and "Best Americana Album" and "You Oughta Know Me By Now" by Tom VandenAvond has been nominated for "Best Alt. Country Album".

February 19, 2011 – Austin based Possessed by Paul James and Tom VandenAvond joins Ra Ra Riot, Melissa Auf der Maur, Flying Lotus, Hemoptysis, Darrell Scott, Jim Campilongo, Jackson Browne and David Lindley and other self-released and independent label talent as Nominees for The 10th Independent Music Awards (The IMAs), the influential awards program for independent bands and fans.

Representing the broad spectrum of today’s global independent music scene, the more than 300 Nominees in nearly 70 Song, Album, Music Video and Design categories were culled from submissions from North America, South America, Asia, Australia and Europe.

Known for celebrating artists that follow their own muse, The 10th IMA Nominees are an eclectic mix of rising stars including Strawfoot (Alt. Country Song), Hemoptysis (Metal/Hardcore Song), and Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three (Amerciana Album) and established talent including telecaster virtuoso, Jim Campilongo (Instrumental Album), experimental multi-genre artist, Flying Lotus (Music Video and Dance/Electronica Song), and indie rockers, Ra Ra Riot (Pop/Rock Album). Perhaps better known as major label acts, this year’s Nominees strutting their independence include former Hole bassist, Melissa Auf der Maur (Indie/Alt./Hard Rock Album), and songwriting legend Jackson Browne with David Lindley (Live Performance Album).

Winners will be determined by a panel of 62 influential artist and industry judges including Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, Suzanne Vega, Aimee Mann, Pete Wentz, Bettye LaVette, Seal, Adam Duritz, Ozzy Osbourne, Arturo Sandoval, Martin Atkins, Andrew W. K., Shelby Lynne, Kevin Lyman (Warped Tour), Bill Bragin (Lincoln Center), Anthony DeCurtis (Rolling Stone), Pat McGuire (Filter Magazine) and Evan Schlansky (American Songwriter) and will be announced in mid-March 2011. Music fans have until July 11 to cast their votes at The IMA Vox Pop Jukebox to determine the fan-selected IMA Winners.

Hear the music of all Nominees at:

If you have a minute, we ask that you please go and vote for both "Feed the Family" and "You Oughta Know Me By Now". We have the opportunity to win BOTH judges vote AND fans vote. Like last year though, if we do NOT win over the judges, the BIGGEST statement we can make as listeners... is to achieve the vox pop vote so we can help push Possessed by Paul James & Tom VandenAvond on to bigger and better things.


Celebrating the democracy of creativity and meritocracy of talent, The Independent Music Awards honor exceptional independent artists who are, traditionally ignored by mass media and big box retailers. For the past 10 years, artists and labels from around the world have found new fans and prominence through The Independent Music Awards. Produced by Music Resource Group, publisher of the popular industry networking database The Musician’s AtlasOnline, and producers of the original webTV series, Grooveable Feast, The IMAs use its unrivaled access to performance, promotion & distribution opportunities to connect Winners and Nominees to new audiences and revenue opportunities. Earning IMA honors goes beyond a badge of distinction. Artists credit The IMAs with increasing recognition among music fans and industry gatekeepers.

Past winners and nominees include: And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Cursive, fun., The Flatlanders, Spinerrette, Holly GoLightly & The Brokeoffs, Vienna Teng, The So So Glos, Cephas & Wiggins, The Matches, All That Remains, The Cliks, Oran Etkin, State Radio, Lee “Scratch Perry, The Very Best, Tim Easton, Marco Benevento, Kes The Band, Jamie Lidell, Lacuna Coil, The Trews, Joan As Police Woman; Koko Taylor, Miguel Migs; Speech, God Forbid, Lionel Louekee; Jeff Healey, Johnny Dowd, Chris Whitley, Ike Turner, The Apples in stereo, Mary Gauthier, Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland), The Mooney Suzuki, and Denque Fever among many others.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Somebuddy over at Hillgrass Bluebilly is sad tonight!

We didn't forget you Buddy. At 22, to record all that beautiful music. A true man. Much love tonight .... wherever you are

Buddy Holly R.I.P.
Winter Dance Party. Fuckin Suck.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Brand New Song from Possessed by Paul James

Here is a BRAND NEW song from Possessed by Paul James. This is from the Ghost Room in Austin, Texas. I was at this show, and this was one of the best PPJ shows I have ever attended. Lets hope we hear this song and "Amazing Life / Sweet & Bitter Life" on his next album.

Original Link:

Konrad Wert A.K.A. Possessed By Paul James will be at Ruta Maya on Friday Feb. 11, 2011 with the Calamity Cubes, Boomswagglers & Uncle Tom & the Say Hey Kids. Join us Dirty Foot Family & friends.

Not long after we stuck the flag in Ft.Wayne, Indiana's ground...

Original Link:

Hillgrass Bluebilly Entertainment
By Sean Smith

Fort Wayne Reader

If you've been paying attention to the local music community in the last six months, there's a pretty good chance you've come across the name Hillgrass Bluebilly Entertainment. Perhaps you've seen the logo on show flyers, numerous websites, t-shirts or hats. And more than likely, you've been a tad curious just what exactly HBE is. The answer, much like HBE, is quite simple. They are a promotional company.

The basic idea behind HBE, which is based in Austin, Texas, is to create chapters in different cities across the country. These chapters then create a welcoming atmosphere for various HBE-affiliated musicians to play while touring the nation. The ultimate goal is to have one chapter in every continental state. The man behind all of this is Keith Mallette.

Keith (as he is known to everyone within the HBE organization) was cleaning pools in Phoenix and growing tired of the same old bands touring through his area. Along with the help of his friend Ryan, Keith began booking shows. The response was overwhelming, so the groundwork for a new network was laid.

That was three years ago and now there are chapters in six different cities. In January of this year, Fort Wayne became the first expansion chapter.

Anderson, a local music promoter, and Brenn Beck, one-half of the dirty blues duo Left Lane Cruiser, became co-owners of the Fort Wayne chapter of HBE earlier this year and have been bringing in bands that play blues, bluegrass and all around good quality music ever since.

According to Beck, HBE has been in his sights for a while now. "All the really big people in our genre have used them as a promotional tool. They've really done a good job of pushing our genre and getting it in the public eye. So, Joe [Evans, the other half of Left Lane Cruiser] and I have kept an eye on them for, probably, three years and finally got invited to do a show with them."

The show was unbelievable. The crowd knew all of the bands songs and the hospitality shown to LLC was unlike anything they'd ever experienced. They came back to Fort Wayne raving about it, and Beck started talking to Anderson about bringing one to town.

Anderson began conversing with Keith via e-mail and the discussion ended six months later. "Finally, he told me to throw the flag up," says Anderson, "It's been history ever since."

When it came time to book their first show, Anderson and Beck thought about all of the great bands they had seen at Deep Blues Fest the previous year. "It's just outside Minneapolis and it's killer because it's just this guy, Chris Johnson, who got [Left Lane Cruiser] signed to Alive. He's a huge fan of the genre and he basically puts on the festival so all the bands can meet," explains Beck.

Bob Log III, Scott H. Biram and Possessed by Paul James are a few of the top acts that HBE works with, but the guys decided to start small and grow the chapter slowly. The BirdDogs from Detroit, Michigan were chosen as the first band to play a HBE FW show. It was a success and many more soon followed. "The shows so far have been really good. The turnout's been great and I think the more people hear about HB, the more they come to the shows," says Anderson, "We had The Pack A.D. and Gravel Road come in March and it was phenomenal."

"We brought Black Diamond Heavies in January and that got us a good base. At least 300 people showed up," smiles Beck.

Anderson is quick to add, "The next day, the Heavies called Biram in Austin and said, 'You've gotta come through Fort Wayne."

"Word spread like wildfire," agrees Beck, "Fort Wayne's become kind of a hot spot for bands, which is cool. We're right in the middle of Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Louisville and Indy. They're all right there, so if you're going from one to another and you've got an off night, it's the perfect spot."

Fort Wayne is the only HBE chapter in the Midwest currently. The other chapters are in Phoenix, Austin, Louisiana, Oklahoma City and Tennessee. Bands do not have to be associated with HBE to play shows that include HBE-affiliated bands. "They'll work with anybody that plays something good," states Beck, "We're not going to do a pop band or a cover band. If it's heartfelt, you can play an HBE show. Otherwise, we got no problem telling you no."

One problem they do have is people confusing the organization for a band. "We've had a hard time getting people to buck down and associate the shows as Hillgrass Bluebilly shows, rather than Left Lane Cruiser show or an A3K (Anderson's promotional name) show or whatever," admits Beck.

That's where an official HBE kickoff weekend comes in handy. Although the entire event was a happy accident, the guys are more than ecstatic to offer it. "RMike told me I had to book the Buffalo Killers. Then, Th' Shack*Shakers came along and said they wanted to play. We can't tell them no," confesses Anderson, "Since we had two shows back-to-back, we decided to have the kickoff weekend."

Th' Legendary Shack*Shakers will be playing The Brass Rail at 10 p.m. on May 23rd, along with Left Lane Cruiser and Poopdeflex. Cover is $8. The show will be preceded by a 9 p.m. screening of Shack*Shakers lead singer Col. J.D. Wilkes' independent film, Seven Signs, at CinemaTech. Tickets to the film are $5. Anyone who attends the film or wears an HBE shirt will receive $3 off of the cover charge for The Brass Rail show.
"It's been a pleasure to work with the Hillgrass Bluebilly guys and I'm grateful and honored to host a show for a band that my business partner and I are both fond of," says John Commorato Jr., co-owner of The Brass Rail, "They put on a hell of a show."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hillgrass Bluebilly on XXX, the Stupid Idea Shooter Jennings Had...

I feel the importance to properly address my feelings, as cofounder of Hillgrass Bluebilly Records, on the subject of this proposed "XXX" from Shooter Jennings & "No Depression" writer Adam Sheets. I feel I state the facts as I see them, and as many of you think I may take things to an extreme, that is whats always been here...since day 1 HB, seemingly extreme. Extreme is never the case, the strange & dangerous times we live in does not welcome the sign of any beast, on my fight of the (re)introduction of roots music. Hillbilly, Bluegrass, Blues, Country, Country Blues, Hillbilly Folk, Hillbilly Blues, from uptop the Hillbilly Mountains down in the thicks of the Hillbilly Swamps and last but not least... good ol' heart, that is the combination of our success! The times, they ain't a changin', the people are...the MEN are.

Shooter Jennings will never be a part of anything successful. I knew he was a 5000lb anchor when I first looked into him, and "man"... you know it too. I never was a sleepwalker and I swept the streets of Phoenix for .50 a driveway 1.00 includes the sidewalk and curb, When I was a kid. So when I set out to sweep the street, onreader, I must have felt the importance of this, the desensatization of this, the hokeyness in this... a calling for my mouth. This is the same old song & dance of anyone that has a "name" and a mouth. I am not going to sit and watch some absurd reasoning of Hank III's thoughts, signature, an all welcomin' to XXX. Believe me readers. It is time to let everybody know, but you have to listen to the music and be your own judge, and not be weighed down with all these "names" and bullshit recordings, and bullshit admittings to bullshit recordings. I ain't got NO time for that, and they are really not worth my addressing them. I am offering a service here, an insight to a man that will never give up, never misrepresent.

Hillgrass Bluebilly is here to represent, and that is exactly what I am going to do. I can sit here and bash folks, but just go buy and album and listen, you'll know what you don't believe... you will know what you don't like. I don't need to hold your hand, and I do not need to lead you in by the ear. I ain't your father, my boy aint going to have problems... So men, work on being just that, follow your gut, be a man about things. Let it go in your ear and then let it go to your gut. Leave the heart to the artist and your head out of misinforming, misguiding beasts that do nothing but destroy, what men like me are trying to build and improve on.

Hillgrass Bluebilly aint shit but a stepping stone to the truth, Yes, we are aggressive, and yes we arent ready for folks to "get it" on their own, we have to help... and we are... by delivering solid albums from solid people spitting their hearts out in our efforts to help speed up the process of elemination. The truth wins, the heart is light, people come. It's not about the fucking money, it never was, it was always about heart, truth, never recording a song that someone didnt believe. It was about celebrating through music...what you believe, what you live, what you experience. Why fluff that up with foggy misrepresentations? Why drop a bunch of names? All the sudden these XXX ARTISTS are going to save everybody? Yeah fucking right.. its 50/50 people (rar rar). Has their ever been fair compensation for standing up for what you believe in? XXX is going to deliver? Not without us they aint.

You have to fight for whats right and stand up and discipline the red handed. Shooter needs to be spanked or something because he is fucking it up for everybody. He is taking a "name". If he was Shooter Smith, y'all wouldn't give a rats terd about him. Everyone is too hopeful of some figure to come in and lead the march, huh huh... it's just us people, look to your right and left at a show. More importantly...look at who is NOT at the show, where the show is at, where are the people that would like this at?

The system in place is not built for us. We have our own "American Pickers" and the hauntings of them surviving/thriving in a system that has ALWAYS shoved them away. Noone is taking the measures to just flat out build something for whats in demand.

I believe Shooter & Matt both forgot what "work" is and are in survival mode with a trap. They are looking to ride a system that is not built for us. Y'all can eat off that plate all you want, that is not the dirty foot way. I believe we need to cut the life support of this system that has created humdrum shows, where bartenders walk out with the same amount as the artists because the promoter worked their ass off... to make it work. Our job. There is no compensation because people are sucking each others dicks (paying compliment) before defending and cleaning up their profession, simply just because it needs it. (one might get the same pleasure from painting a house for an old broke lady, or being a big brother/sister to someone who needs it). Refreshing... a job well done.

This is DO or die, not CONFUSE and complicate. Very simple. People start making buffers and go betweens and ammendments and bends and adjustments to the most simple thing and you do nothing but promote another failed attempt before it happens. You start running your mouth in a system that is pushing out promoters and using all monopilizing sister companies to Clear Channel, Viacom.... all these companies & venues & booking agents are working hard for THEIR system. Not ours. Shooter and Adam Sheets are really digging a hole... their own, and taking folks down with em. Dead

Now to DO, would be to build you own system and start on the local level. To DO, would be to use their system against them. Use a system that is in place, AGAINST them. Noone owns the fans, and they are working harder to get at them before you do. Why don't you just talk to every lil fucker that drives around with "Brad Paisley (who I like) & Taylor Swift" (see Adam Sheets remarks below) blaring out the window. They are really easy to spot. They live in the small towns, and have some kind of Mossy Oak dashmat, pocket knife or hat and maybe a fishing sticker on their truck. Start there, real hard. From there, turn around and look at the VFW that has gone to shit, right with Hank Jr. in 1983. The beginning stages of MTV, CMT, Signature Series, all this made up, fairy tale, trying to sell me something. bullshit. XXX is trying to sell me... this is bullshit too.

I demand you put an end to this today, you don't have to say anything, just take down the bullshit website and leave yourself out of our community on your quest to fluff things up. Show rigerous truth, a sweating back, a look in the eye, a song in your throat... fuck... you'll have the ladies... can you do that? Can you make every mother fucker cry in that room? Why dont you come in that room with me. You can tie my hands behind my back and I guarantee you Shooter will be saying "Hillgrass Bluebilly" before "XXX" then on out. Bring your friends too, Adam... and anyone else you dont give a fuck about.

LOCAL VENUES - obtain local venues, your 200 max occupancy and your 1000 max occupancy space. VFW's, Elks Lodge, Mooslodge, a lot of them have the space and the stage (now storage, etc). These VFWs and Mooselodges are diappearing fast. The community has abandoned them. I believe we can revive concerts, dances, bingo, everything they used to represent and stand for..old ladies cookin up hamburgers, Dwayne, the big funny dude in the cowboy hat workin the door... the good. Community, paying dues & RESPECT. Shooter will not revive things like this with XXX. Hillgrass Bluebilly can. Our heart is in the right spot. I am willing to organize this... Is Shooter & Adam going to back my approved of and easily backed suggestions? Are they going to stop all this nonsense and quit finding ways to a sour milked teet? Farm fresh man. Bring that shit home. We aint living in the highrises down here in Austin, TX. Making things happen on your own is a movement, bringing good representation to the people is a movement. Again, You not only need to stop XXX, you need to strip down what you think you got and take it somewhere else for ANY kind of recognition. THEN you give back to a community, you start something, something wholesome. Booking agents are pushing folks like me out of the picture, so they can piss all over our talent, but it's not going to work. What I can build, very easily will beat out the system you are trying to work with. I do not know when all of this will happen, but I know it will friend. I dont have the clothes to unfortunatley sell myself past a fat secretary or a business door right now, so my options on who I can address are limited. We all need money... but we need to make a difference for it and not just work for it. Pride and commitment happens...and is written about... not by you, about you... kinda like I am doing here, but I am more believable than you.

LOCAL RADIO - I dont have XM, but Austin Texas is BLESSED with radio stations like KVRX/KOOP, even KUT in a smithsonian type of way and programs like "The Roadhouse" which have ALL been very friendly in playing our releases, because I tried, I'm real, and gave the right presentation... some even "gettin it" on their own by mistakingly walking into a show on the way home, random stop. (Possessed by Paul James / Chris Mosser "Roadhouse" on KVET radio 98.1 - a full on country radio station... Possessed by Paul James.... the MUSIC won.) If I can hear a bunch of ki yi yi'n on 5+ radio stations, im thinking picking up local airwaves and using their system (airwaves) to transmit to the peoples, is not a hard thing to do... you are lookin for easy outs (ins) Shooter. Not making a difference. Start venues & radio stations (real ones) in Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta.... then come on back...and I'll give you the next tasks....

MAGAZINES - I cannot think of a better example than Lubricated Magazine. I wish I had a link, but there is no better example.

How many more bad decisions are to follow this dirty money driven XXX?


Here is some copied & pasted back and forths between me, Shooter & Adam on the website:

Hillgrass Keith January 16, 2011 at 6:07 am
and I will always support Jashie, Outlaw, Saving & Trig. You are right, I will not NOT like anyone, because of something else they support that I may not. The idea aint bad, but I will be the 1st to put a stop to a “movement” that aint with me or I with them. If they start with XXX tours and/or a festival, it could grow on its own. THEN we arent losing any fans, interested sponsors, airtime etc…. xxx (symbol) resembles no faith, drugs, rape, deadbeat dads, not welcome,PORN, solicited sex, alcohol made to destroy, …ok…maybe that is a bit much, maybe not. A man that walks a line and plows his own course is a maverick, unmarked & meaningful (imagine Johnny Cash reading about XXX) The mens just need to have a look in their eye and a song in their throat. Start there. But XXX is 1 up a dirty sanchez. Can ANYONE imagine the bullshit one would have to put up with THIS agencies booking agents? Do we, as promotion companies get to pay an extra $100 + because of the XXX endorsement? What about the shit ass merch and XXX flag, Hey Kids… go look “XXX country music” on google images and tell me what you find

….. Americana, done.


Denise January 16, 2011 at 7:40 am
That was so well said Keith I’m not sure what else to say other than thank you for conveying the image in the proper way. A maverick does plow his way, stays the course and thinks about the implications down the road. XXX is not the image JC would have liked. Nor Hank. If it’s about the music and supporting the musicians that’s one thing most everyone would agree with. But Shooter said it himself: xxx is a catchy theme. I personally ain’t lookin’ for catchy. I’m looking for honesty in the strings. Escape from the pain. Joy in the art. You can leave catchy to the glaring lights of hollyweird and trashville.

Adam Sheets January 16, 2011 at 9:10 am
How would Johnny Cash feel about XXX? I don’t know and assuming you didn’t know the man, neither do you. But I think it’s telling that both his son and his godson are on board.
BlueRibbonRadio January 16, 2011 at 9:23 am
Assuming what a dead man would think about something is both absurd, and borderline disrespectful.

BlueRibbonRadio January 16, 2011 at 9:42 am
And Hillgrass Bluebilly has artists that sing about murder, suicide, drinking, and drugs. And they’re great, but you can’t try and take the moral high ground when that laundry list of what bad “XXX” can stand for is featured in your own artists songs.

The Triggerman January 16, 2011 at 10:16 am
Keith may be taking the point to an extreme, but I think it is a fair and valid argument, and one I raised myself initially and continue to. Does that mean we should throw the XXX ‘baby’ out with the ‘bathwater’ bad name? I don’t know. Maybe dropping the name down to two X’s or raise it up to four X’s will get it out of the bad connotations that people have with ‘XXX,’ but it still won’t resolve his deeper concerns about the fundamental issues that might arise with the formation of a new entity. One of the reasons grass roots are so effective is because they are deep and true and hard to kill. However it can also make deconstruction and re-alignment difficult.

On Friday night I was hanging out with Keith in a bar in Austin, watching two Hillgrass bands. I stopped down writing a review/uploading videos to join this discussion. Possessed by Paul James, a Hillgrass artist, was voluntarily put on the XXX list as a potential artist. Scott Biram, who is a member of the Hillgrass family, is the first name on that artist list. These roots run deep. And in both directions.

Adam Sheets January 16, 2011 at 10:24 am
But, again, I do not see any problem whatsoever with the name. Think for a minute, not what Johnny Cash would think of the name, but what would Hank 3 think of the name (maybe what would he think if Shooter wasn’t on board). Would a guy who uses as much profanity in his songs and even led a “Fuck Curb” campaign, really give a shit about being associated with something called XXX? Give me a fuckin’ break.
And also, as I have already pointed out, most “outlaw” country fans have never spent one day in prison and you can apply the same argument to the “dirty blues,” “stoner rock,” or any number of other labels that seem to have worked out just fine.
KAK January 16, 2011 at 3:05 pm
I have to agree that I will NEVER tell anyone I listen to XXX anything. I am a mother. I am a college professor. I am the faculty sponsor of an organization that raises funds for rape victims in Uganda. I would be humiliated to tell people I go to “a lot of XXX shows”…being a grown up sucks but it comes with a price, unfortunately.

XXX doesn’t ever make me think of moonshine. It makes me think of sex.

D.S. Troubadour January 18, 2011 at 6:33 pm
I think it’s awesome the response is so massive on this thing. However, if a bunch of underground country “nerds” (and let’s face it, that’s what we are) can’t agree on something as benign as a name, how in the hell are people going to jump on board who are nominal fans. People on the fringes. The 50,000 Shooter says he wants. Names and labels may be silly in some ways, but they can be important. XXX seems very problematic to me. Not the concept, but the name. Googling XXX is never going to bring up a music site. It will ALWAYS bring up porn. As a publicist and marketing guy, that is the first thing I thought of. It’s just bad planning. I do like the idea. I will support it, but I think a name change would be beneficial.

Adam Sheets January 18, 2011 at 6:39 pm
D.S., as I’ve stated below, we’re willing to change the name to something a bit less controversial, but since XXX has already been put on the table, been covered on this site and many others, and will even receive some newspaper coverage this week, we must stick with the name in some fashion, whether it is the “main” name or not. Otherwise it just creates confusion......

Tmac January 15, 2011 at 5:47 pm
I joined the Facebook page. I totally agree w/ Pete Berwick. Bottom line is that it can’t hurt. It’s a start and it contradicts my earlier comment but we gotta start somewhere. The only need for labels and genres in my opinion is so we can find your music in the music store or iTunes etc…

Hillgrass Keith
January 16, 2011 at 11:49 am
ok, extreme, yes. apologies to JC. I am personally pleased that is your only argument. distasteful sure, but not disrespectful. lead by example, never put out a shitty album. never put on a shitty show, unless there are understandable circumstances of course.but are these artists not busy enough to have to start alliances with confusing branding?
stage – truth, soapbox, gavel holder, time on the stand, supporters mobile ground zero, THE MUSIC.

off stage – if anyone offstage thinks they are ANYTHING other than a stepping stone or a contact to the TRUTH on stage, then take HB, you deserve it friend. I am still fighting for Americana, Blues & Country genres…. as simple as ABC. I will not abandon it, I will fight for it. We have sand bags, effecient stepping stones, effecient walls, effecient shelter. XXX is not wholesome and full yet..therefore only a bag of dirt, a dirtbag. XXX Country, cmon… quit fucking me here, I will take it personally.

I personally feel this is exclusion and is only for the betterment of those on board, yet creating another monopilization (kindly pardon any misspellings) and another blinding element for whats supposed to take place on stage. and the only thing that takes place on stage… the truth. I am not here to entertain in the true essence of the word. I am here to represent, host and work for what I have found myself to believe in. I really am starting to think I don’t have any business explaining in detail what it takes to unbrand and only bring truth in representation in the genre of Americana.

Im sick of everything that aint spelled out and real. I try hard everyday, not to confuse people. A monkey can figure out the meaning of “Hillgrass Bluebilly” by attending 3 – 5 shows. any one person can figure out “Muddy Roots”, “Farmageddon”, “Deep Blues”. Truth is, those names have physically bled, to push all this, as not to confuse but to promote, aid, and gain respect by leading….by example, not creating fluff until a real geniune hard-on is achieved on it’s own.

Shits gonna die on its own. 100% of ALL “Blues Societies” will be reformatted or non exsistant as that generation dies off. Truth takes over… what people actually believe in, “Mustang Sally” will finally have tombstone. But there will be Blues Clubs.

Country – go play in a club/bar/venue where country people go, walk the owner through it, lead by example abd buy one, build one and quit feeding the system…. last time I checked, Clear Channel ownes a lot the venues that Shooter was performing at, that III performs at…. so on and so on. Country fans aint coming cause noone is playing to the country people, so suck on that greasy pecker and realize what “agencies” are creating here, ways into the bullshit, instead of convertin folks with common sense, stripping it down, and doing shit where it belongs, playing it to who will listen. I for one think there is a lot of laziness and people wanting to dig their paws in some jackpots, instead of workin that shit.

I am going to stop for now, because all I am going to do is create problems for people, not me.

xxx – ok a home for country & rock, I get it. you have to go the the rock section to buy Biram, Whitmore, Hiram & Huddie. I know. its fucking weird. take an x out or add one, and bring some shit to the people via “tours”, “shows” & “events” and let the “movement” happen on its own. I’ll sign that. Take this coalition and outbid Mexican Radio for LOCAL OPEN AIRWAVES, radio stations starting in Austin, Nashville, Atlanta, Dallas. I’ll sign that. Be meaningful in your sponsors, fuck vitamin water, budget ads for our working class… the struggling working class of local business owners that actually listen.

Give us something to believe in. People aint followin HB because I have a big ol finger sayin “c’mere”…. I do not have paths in branding. We have a flag.. not a brand of more publisher clipart with no heart.

argh, I am in for different reasons than most, I need to hire a PR person so I can get back to work


Adam Sheets
January 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm
First of all, I just want to say that I’ve always respected what your label has done, but I must answer a couple of points.

What the hell is Americana as a genre? Over the past few weeks there have been numerous discussions about just that subject on No Depression and nobody seems to be able to reach a consensus other than agreeing it is a MARKETING label hijacked by the mainstream labels and used to market slightly roots-influenced music to white, urban, middle-class liberals. This is NOT the traditional country or blues audience and that is who we think deserve to hear their own music and their own culture. Americana and roots stations will never play Hillgrass Bluebilly. NPR will never get on board. Rolling Stone will never review them and even the more mainstream “Americana” audiences will never hear these artists.

Talk about how great podcasts and sites like this are all you want (and I’ll mostly agree with you), but the fact remains that 85% of the people in the country still listen to radio and that number goes up to 93% if you factor satellite radio in to it. You say “shit’s gonna die on it’s own,” but it’s not as long as the kids are being force-fed Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.

Furthermore, XXX has nothing to do with exclusion. The list on the website doesn’t feature every artist and neither would a list Triggerman made, nor would a list you make. It’s a guideline. We know there are dozens of other great artists who fit in to the format and just because you don’t see them on the site doesn’t mean they aren’t on our radar.

Your problem is that you are judging the movement before you see it in action. Wait until the festival, the web series and possible TV series, the radio shows across the country, more podcasts and internet programming, etc and then talk to me about “converting people.”

The bottom line is we want you on board. We want your artists on board. We love what you do and we welcome your ideas. So give us some ideas instead of simply pointing out what we’re doing wrong. That doesn’t help anybody, including you.

Hillgrass Keith
January 16, 2011 at 12:09 pm
please do not mistaken me for someone who gives a flying fuck what Hank III thinks. If anything, Im bettin he escapin from all of this bullshit branding and figuring out how to rebring the meaning of truth in what’s within him, I hope. But if I see XXX, Stanton Levy or who the fuck ever, hell or demons or common references to porn in my fucking ABC’s of americana, blues & country you can thank my Jesus for my not taking action on you…. and Id advise you pray to him, if you cannot, I will lead by example there too, alone, against all of you and anyone who defies faith & truth in American Roots Music. ARMS are for embracing & defending. create with balls friend and BE MEANINGFUL. BE REAL, BE A MAN. Bring filthy shit near me and watch what happens! Adam Sheets wants to bring porn into our country music everybody!!! read all about it, read all about it….


January 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm
I’m sad and sorry that you’re so upset about this. To think there’s any part of this that could be me trying to make money, or have ANYTHING to do with porn is ridiculous. I stand to make as much money as any other artist on that list, and really porn has nothing to do with this. (if you search for XXX in google, the first two entries are the stupid Vin Deisel movie). If anything, my neck is the one on the chopping block, and I totally am aware of that and I’m willing to leave it there. I know alot of these artists personally and I see how hard of a time they’re having out there, and a lot of them are jumping on board because I think it makes them feel like there’s something happening that they can actually embrace. Whatever… My point here is that this was an idea that I had over five years ago, and just felt right about sharing. I reached out to Adam because I knew he was someone who knew the landscape really well, an area in which I really needed collaboration. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to meet the folks on here and make some friends and really get a better idea of what needs to be done (as well as being made aware of the significant legwork that SCM, OR, CBN and all these others have done in the past, and the importance of trying to get us all to work together). I really respect you and your label, you have many artists on that label that are so talented and deserve exposure, and I’m sure that’s what you want for your artists. And you deserve to be as much of a strong part of this as anyone else who believes in these things. We’re not coming along saying that we’ve got some kind of answer, or we’re trying to discover some golden city long forgotten, or for ANY reason be exclusionary. You can’t try to liberate and be snobby at the same time, and we are definitely not doing that. Our list is clearly marked as partial, and there is no ultimate goal of who is cool enough and who is not. You make this sound like XXX is against your label, which is absolutely silly. We’re FOR your label. We’re FOR everyone who hangs out on this website instead of having to google all the artists SCM cover’s separately. It’s about a home. We would love to have your input in all of this, as well as support. As for your demanding that Phoenix have “No Shooter”, for whatever reason that is, I can’t help you there, but I can tell you that this has nothing to do with my own personal agenda or wallet. It started as an idea of how to separate the music I was playing on my radio show from the Americana/Outlaw Country playlists which focussed on more middle of the road type music or on older and legacy artists. But it really seems to be something that people like to hear being said, and that is enough for me to believe in it. We also think it was important not to put a “Country” “Blues” “Americana” etc label on it because it defeats the purpose. All of these artists have been shut out because it’s not what the mainstream world associates with the defined genres. If so Hank III, Justin Townes Earle, North Mississippi Allstars and Ryan Bingham (not to mention tons of others on there) would be household names… Look it’s not about fighting, and if you keep thinking this is some personal attack on your label, then it’s never going to get anyone anywhere. But the door is ALWAYS open for your input, collaboration, label, taste and criticism. Please, take a beat and try and see that this isn’t some angled creation. I’ve been called alot of things on this site and on many others, but the one thing I am not is motivated by anything but creative freedom and justice. It’s what my dad fought (and died) for and, whether doubting eyes believe it or not, he and I were very close, and I saw how he cared about music. He cared more for it than anything on the planet, and the music industry broke his heart, many times, and when he was young enough to fight back, he did and he won, and I feel like there is an entire generation of artists that have come from the bloodshed of that battle, and simply hoping that the right people will come around looking for them is not enough. They must be exposed and given the credit and careers they deserve.

If you disagree with me still, please feel free to rail me, and I’ll read every word and try and find every bit of truth i can in it. But I want you to understand that I care about this very much and only want to finally give the Old Media fucks and their puppets something that they cannot control or contend with. In our Civil War, we are all wondering around on one side of the battlefield (with encampments scattered across the hills and valleys like SCM, NBN, and all the other fine establishments), but the enemy are WELL ORGANIZED and WELL ARMED, and if we can just find a way to all organize, we can make a stand like no other, because we have the heart and soul. That includes you, HB, and all the artists you love and support.

Okay I’ll shut up.


BlueRibbonRadio January 16, 2011 at 1:07 pm
This is why I’m supporting it. You guys came here and welcomed input from everybody. That’s what turned the corner for me.

If this was some sinister plan to make a buck off the work of others it would make no sense to get all of us involved. This, in theory, is what we’ve all been trying to do but we didn’t have the resources to do it.


January 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm
Thanks for the support BlueRibbon. You’re a big part of it, as well as everyone else here. For sure everyone’s input here and other places like this who REALLY know the landscape, will help get this to the next level. We don’t have much better resources I don’t think than anyone here, I just think getting all the artists on board is the first key. Hopefully Hillgrass Bluebilly can see positive in this. What they do is really fucking respectable, so it would be awesome to have them on our side!

KAK January 16, 2011 at 3:08 pm
I for one appreciate your comments here, Shooter. I also appreciate your emphasis on being an advocate for others. Folks do need to earn a buck and I see that you see this. I just hope you all come up with a different name if you proceed with this…

Hillgrass Keith
January 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm
Blue Ribbon: drinkin & druggin is fine, it happens..I tweeked, I snorted, I smoked, but I wasnt taping myself fucking to country music while doing so, and I grew up, and I know that system and how to destroy it. was it really murder…or was it a good decision, listen, it may have been a story, a dream… a thought, but it was real and it was geniune if you see HB, guaranteed! suicide is a real issue, but sometimes, real mother fuckers dont want to be here anymore, and maybe make a bad decision, I have come close twice, I’ll scan and post the papers…. finding the truth is the scariest thing folks, you know it and you are probably afraid of it, like me. but dont hide from it….. It will find you. (not you Blue Ribbon). but I back my shit up and do not have to worry about what anyone digs up on me and especially Hillgrass Bluebilly. we represent the good. Noone here or exsisting can call that out on us…..

Hillgrass Keith
January 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm
to Adam:
“Hillgrass Bluebilly will turn the world of music upside down” – John Carter Cash

Hillgrass Keith
January 16, 2011 at 1:20 pm
Adam, I agree and thank you for the opportunity to help and calling me out on the bashing. but XXX will be blocked in todays parental security programming. You are right about Rolling Stone, holy fuck are you right…

refine XXX for the people that it bothers and you will have our support. with the right presentation from the community, maybe you can sway me on not taking xxx for the worst possible meaning… but I am very negative too. I dont even think I can work on the way my mind works. But I cannot get past XXX. and our fight is still a fight with that name. I look to step over and continue every battle I pick, which is most of them by nature. But I am here to help the good first.
cXtry MusiX RoX
CouXtry RoXs by Xample
Southern Stoned on the Rocks

i know those suggestion suck


January 16, 2011 at 1:27 pm
This is what someone said a long time ago to me.

County Rock Southern

I’m sure someone said the same thing about naming that movie XXX or the silly country song by one of those pop country bitches xxx’s and ooo’s. I even found an old badass record called “‘Dirty Dope Infected Blue Grass Hillbilly Hobo XXX Country Music”

For now the XXX still doesn’t bother me. To me it’s, if anything, taking back the XXX name. Besides nobody searches for porn by searching for XXX. They look for “ass licking” or whatver, haha. It’s one the second page of GOOGLE now with XXX. Enough discussions and it’ll be on the first page. Look up AAA music (Adult Album Alternative, the top 40 adult contemporary/katy perry ballad airwaves that flood our radios) that was why it stuck for me in the first place. There’s a Billboard AAA chart. I’d love to see Left Lane Cruiser or Hiram and Huddie on an XXX chart.

I won’t hammer the name right now tho because I think it just gets everyone crazy.


BlueRibbonRadio January 16, 2011 at 1:33 pm
Zerno Tornado! Fuck yes, I love that record!


BlueRibbonRadio January 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Ojaioan January 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm
I like the premise, not crazy about the name though. Shits still in developement but I’am on board to see where this X-rated ride goes. sheeeeesh!

Hillgrass Keith
January 16, 2011 at 1:43 pm
Shooter, I had no rhyme or reason to your bashing, if you must know. I have an ex, now in OK who would drive to no end to go see you, but never lift a finger for my productions and I had to FIGHT for Biram to leave your tour in Phoenix so we could not stop what we created in Phx for him and my vision with folks like Bob Log and such, I accomplished that twice with Biram, you and Phoenix (if I recall right) but he rocks the fuck out, and belongs in that line up of the proposed XXX, and he encompasses more than what HB can offer him, but folks like him need something more. I am very sad to say, but HB has realized our stepping stone, and Biram has got by on ours and needs to continue with organizations of the right support and with better opportunities. Put Jesse Dayton in there, get Billy Bob to endorse it, he needs a home too. But my point aside not being able to use you in our rootsy format (or budget) and not listening past that 1st CD did not call for me saying I do not like you. I simply dont know you. I talked to your mom a few times, I sat with her at her table during a Billy Bob Thorton/ Holly Williams show YEARS AGO. We shared small discussions at the Rhythm Room too… X can work…. but lets use our good resources with good names. Plus I have had ex’s pop up in the porn industry… I have some verifiable backline to my issues with the XXX industry and my issues with country music industry… I let this get personal, as I always seem to do.


January 16, 2011 at 1:53 pm
It is ALL water under the bridge. Here’s the way I look at it. I’ll include you in the links section, and when we get this going, we will need to have a kind of “Great Panel” discussion on how to pool all of our resources to make this move forward, and I definitely would be honored to have you on board with that as well as your partner in HB (and whoever else you thinks is necessary). I appreciate your honesty, as I think everyone does. We all have our own motivations in this, and our own reasons for caring so much… Ambivalence gets no one anywhere. It’s that PASSION that is exhibited on this website so much and which is why it’s such an important part of this. Triggerman’s passion hasn’t always been in my favor, nor has many others (I don’t think we’ll EVER get Autopsy4 on board with this, talk about passionate! Ha!) But the real reality is, everyone has their own tastes and they have their own beliefs. If we can find away to give everyone a handle to hold onto, we will have one motherfucking big and strong merry-go-round here. I’m gonna throw up a link to your site (do you prefer the myspace site?) on that Links section, to make people aware of your cause. Let me know what we can do, or who we can add to make this thing even stronger.

Thanks man,
Hillgrass Keith
January 16, 2011 at 1:52 pm
ok…. good point. I do actually type in ass licking and not XXX, and I stayed away from the XXX in moonshine…. and I believe in taking back a name.

and XXX is close to maverick type branding (if that makes sense)

welp, another case of maybe, MAYBE keeping my mouth shut is a good thing? Maybe not. But all my friends, I was mean too until I figured out I liked them…. its the way it is.

Jason 3.14 January 16, 2011 at 1:53 pm
There seems to be a lot of passion on this subject. I don’t know much about it but I do know myself and Muddy Roots. I work in marketing and merchandising and ponder classifications of music, food, drink, any damn thing that get’s sold to you daily. As an American I believe in capitalism, hard work, and feeding your family. As artist I can’t stand the very same “classifications” used to compartmentalize our music and arts. When I study music I learn that the artists I love are all the same. They are all influenced by the next one. Prime example of Charlie Feathers looking up to Junior Kimbrough. Now go ask a “rockabilly” kid what he thinks of the blues. You’d be lucky if he even knew who Charlie Feathers was but if he did he’d probably think they were oil and water. That’s because the very same machine that helps us identify the bands and music we might like becomes the defining force on what it is. It’s my job as a promoter to “Muddy” up the lines between these genres to show that it’s all just rock n roll. Hell it’s older than rock n’ roll but that’s the word I describe the soul and energy in this music. I don’t stand for or against any “scene” but I promise to show everyone that it is just a blend of 5 others.

Hillgrass Keith January 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm
the “Fat Possum” is “Alive” when “XXX” marks the spot where the the “Deep” “Muddy” “Hillgrass” grows on the “Farmageddon”, is this how it works?

the cause aint bad, the name sticks….in my craw. We need no more issues. Its like the people who dress sexy or even wear weird make up and wonder why people stare at them, or they know exactly what they’re doing, or really (sadly) dont..too much confusion. Or its like the girls who dress sexy and wonder why they cant be taken seriously. I cant take Dale Watson in Phoenix in July wearing a big black trench coat… I cant fuckin do it. I cant see him get massages and die his hair black and think of him as country, when I have Roger Wallace & James Hand real dealin it. But I can sure as shit listen all day to “you lie” or take your pick of a DW hit. So point is, imagry plays a big part. the masses live by perception, my swimming pool service customers think I do rockabilly music. there are so many things I can answer with “take a CD” and “come to a show”.

Here is my commitment. Drop me off in Tomball, Texas with nothing but 72 CD’s, a few pens, and a shitload of napkins. I will have 1000+ people within a 15 mile radius come to the Tomball VFW for a night of American made country & blues infused rock and roll. Point is we have to build away from the current. We are doing nothing to bring our music to the people who doesnt know any better yet. We are trying to fit in to a system that aint built for us…

I say VFWs & State Fairs, Circus Tents, Revivals, continous Muddy Roots festivals (and the like, if possible) are really big tickets to a rumble on the ground, yes, a STAMPEDE on this movement. The music will win… we just have to go to them….. the burbs. This is probably not the answer either. We need Venues….. Venues, Venues, Venues. How about we pull our resources and do planet rootswood type venture in the music cities… Nashville, Austin, Los Angeles, Seatlle… we need venues…. we need alcohol sales!

Or we sell out to sponsors and sell our music to money…. not people…. what can we do to actually change things?

we can all make something work… but we all will have to agree to defend the xxx name and control it, can that be done?

I am obviously back and forth, I need a breaky break and want to read some more of the fans input. If everyone is really down to make a difference, then lets do it.


Shooter January 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm
I LOVE the way you think Keith! You sound like the kind of warrior of days of old! I see how your passion drives you too! Let’s find a place in the middle where we can all meet and plan our attack(s).


Hillgrass Keith January 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm
that lonely stretch of road in Mesa is familiar to us both, a common respected ground, about smack dab in the middle of the place if I remember right, sounds good to me. This warrior was parked there every Wednesday for a couple years on my pool cleaning route for a few minutes, payed respects and reflected my life and doins many a time there over a bowl…. but im in Austin, bout ready to be a father. We should meet. Noone should be alone in their struggle for the betterment which is what we all want, I want to believe. But know I never danced, so with 36 fast approaching, and as much smoking as I do, I have to stand up fight and protect against anyone at anytime when I feel threatned… and Im a defensive guy, there is no winning with me… only fighting and accomplishing right now. when i rest, I ask myself why I am fighting, but I still accomplish, and still today i do not know why. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be at the beheading, but if you know your head is an option for the chopping block, do you really care who pulls you free when you ask for help? Will they tax you for it? Will there be any cost of any kind? When does this (not us, this, HB, XXX) but this, life, music, turn cutthroat? I have nothing, you got a $1000… maybe a little more, I honestly think it will take 1 more cat to walk by before this dog is off the chain. All HB chapter owners, yes, are in agreeance to NOT feed this system any longer until we have our own! On 4/12/2011 we go all exclusive, no bookings agents allowed, I already NEVER signed a contract or rider agreement, and we will cater to artists, their right hands or family so to speak. I do not know why I am doing this, but I am in survival mode and doing what god (or the operater of this particular SIMS game) gave me to help this survive. I have verifiable “signs” (ooOOOoooOOooOOo *ghost sounds) and stories best told by members of the Williams family themselves, or myself, as far as me personally, and my slot as a promoter. My heart & gut are hunting for the greater good, there is only one thing that settles me, it’s the good… and if I don’t get it… I am payed off somehow, and its cost will come to all of the sudden and I will be convinced of the justice I seek, hopefully it just being a learning experience for me, which is 95% of the case. I am a fucking pool guy and the other founder works Sunday – Thurs and as I type installing cable, internet & phone. He has a wife and three daughters and I stepfather 2 with my legacy 10ish weeks away. I look at things, maybe even a bit drama queen, but everyone knows I mean it, and they understand that. So are we going to have a beheading on my watch? Caveat Emptor brother, savings and sacrifices is a fine line with us. All of us at HB.

******* end

So that was the beginning of me getting all fired up about this. Plus, now, I am already bored with it. Thanks to blogspot for initiating some closure for me.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Live Review - Boomswagglers & Possessed by Paul James

Live Review: Boomswagglers & Possessed by Paul James
Original Link:

(picture is not from event)

Hillgrass Bluebilly Lunch Party, but because I was too busy managing the live internet audio stream during the Boomswaggler’s set, and the stage was so surrounded by teeming “dirtyfoots” for Possessed’s nightcap performance that I couldn’t steal even a peep, I headed down to Beerland in Austin, TX Friday night to take in the double bill of Hillgrass artists.

The Boomswagglers are a band on the rise people, mark my words. For an act with no formal release, and up to this point no major touring or even residency in a local scene, they have created quite the buzz and following. There were people there that night just to see The Boomswagglers, many of them singing along to songs and screaming out requests.
Unfortunately the sound was pretty muddy, and the beginning of their set was a little rough. But when they were joined on stage by Possessed by Paul James, they rallied:

A similar observation I had seeing them previously is that they are both extremely-talented guitar players, but their use of tones and volume doesn’t always lend to that being translated to the audience. Same could possibly be said for lyrics. But this one song emphasizes both:

And be aware, The Boomswagglers do have a big release and tour coming, but they are making sure to get it right, because they are worth it, so no specific details just yet on either.

Next was Possessed by Paul James, and of the three times I have seen him live, this was by far his most inspired performance. Not that the previous two were bad, but this was just a different, more rowdy energy. Konrad is a school teacher, and my guess would be a damn good one, but he mentioned during the show his frustrations for the red tape involved in teaching, and wondered aloud if his future wasn’t better cast in music. Like I iterated

in my review of Feed The Family:

Possessed certainly has the chops to be a full-time performer if he wanted to, but he’s chosen his path from a belief of what is best for his family, and because of a dedication to service that was instilled in his Mennonite upbringing. I respect Possesessed’s decision, but I hope he understands that his music is a service as well; a touching, uplifiting, empowering experience that the world is a better place because of.

Regardless of the reasoning, Possessed was on fire on Friday. His gear was dogged by technical difficulties, but instead of adding hiccups to an otherwise good show, it created moments of spontaneous beauty, like when he couldn’t get his banjo and amp to work together, so he headed out into the crowd to make sure energy didn’t die:

When I posted this year’s Muddy Roots lineup, there was a reason I put Possessed by Paul James’ name second to the top. He is a headliner, and an elder of the fusion of country, folk, and blues, and has the songs, stories, road time, wisdom, and bald spot to back it all up. The lighting wasn’t good that night, and as per usual of a PPJ show, the front of the stage was crashed by rabid fans and sight lines were few if any. But the music and energy was great as always, and below are a few more vids worth checking out. I don’t know, but for some reason I am really digging what the bad lighting and sight lines created. I think they capture the magic of the night better than a clean video could.