Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Album Review: Staying at Tamara's by George Ezra

Because of his voice George Ezra makes me think of Gary Christian (The Christians) and Gary Newby (Railway Children). I liked both of those bands OK but like this George Ezra album their music could be a bit bland. In some ways I think they rely so much on the vocal talents of their front men, that the songs just aren't that strong. That is what I see happening here with George Ezra as well. There is something so generic about this album that it just doesn't work. To me the strongest song on the album is "Saviour." It has a haunting melody and solid music in which Ezra's voice is another component, not just sitting out there all alone on an island.

Don't get me wrong Ezra has a very good voice, but there just aren't that many singers who can carry something with just their vocal performance.  In my life when I think of such artists they are far and few between and doing it consistently across multiple albums is almost impossible.

Take for instance the first Lone Justice album.  Marie McKee just kills it on that album.  She takes a bunch of generic rock songs and delivers them with so much vocal skill you can't turn away from it.  Lone Justice could never do that again.

In our lifetime who are the great vocalists?  For some reason today I'm stuck in 1990 so I think of artists like Sinead O'Connor, Bjork, Tori Amos, George Michael, Mick Hucknall (Simply Red), Whitney Houston, Anita Baker, etc.  I think about Anita Baker because she is magic on the album Rapture.  A solid collection of eight songs that all fit perfectly together and she simply destroys every song.  If the songs on Lone Justice were generic rock songs, then the songs on Rapture are generic R&B songs and Baker makes it a four star album easy. 

This is the second album in a row I've reviewed where I felt the music and writing didn't live up to the vocal talent. I guess writing a solid album of songs is a pretty hard thing to do. Following the Rhapsody rating method I give it 2 out of 5 stars for Not Bad.

Oh, Kentucky


The privatization of education in Kentucky moves forward.

A year after its student government association passed a resolution supporting resolutions for black students, Western Kentucky University's students elected a president/executive vice president/administrative vice president ticket, whose campaign promoted itself with a chalk drawing featuring a cartoon character popular among the "alt-right" racists. The College Heights Herald has been on the story.

Spring QuiltWeek is here, and, this year, so, for the first time in Paducah, is the Lyft on-demand-transportation service.

The decision to sell Wildcat Hollow, a Boy Scout camp in Russellville, has its detractors.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Oh, Kentucky

Congratulations to the McCracken County High senior sponsored by Murray's American Legion Post 73: "Much like the dam was built to create and harness power, our forefathers built the Constitution to create and harness power – to empower the government to act at a national level, but harness that power so it did not infringe upon individual liberty."

The governor says he said he's sorry.

Congratulations to the 2018 Covington Catholic Colonels, the 1929 Heath Pirates and all of the other state champs in Kentucky high-school basketball over the years:
  • 1918 Lexington (Henry Clay)
  • 1919 Lexington (Henry Clay)
  • 1920 Lexington (Henry Clay)
  • 1921 Louisville duPont Manual
  • 1922 Lexington
  • 1923 Louisville duPont Manual
  • 1924 Lexington
  • 1925 Louisville duPont Manual
  • 1926 Louisville Saint Xavier
  • 1927 Millersburg Military Institute
  • 1928 Ashland (Blazer)
  • 1929 West Paducah Heath!
  • 1930 Corinth
  • 1931 Louisville duPont Manual
  • 1932 Hazard
  • 1933 Ashland (Blazer)
  • 1934 Ashland (Blazer)
  • 1935 Louisville Saint Xavier
  • 1936 Corbin
  • 1937 Midway
  • 1938 Sharpe
  • 1939 Brooksville
  • 1940 Hazel Green
  • 1941 Inez
  • 1942 Lexington Lafayette
  • 1943 Hindman
  • 1944 Harlan
  • 1945 Louisville Male
  • 1946 Breckinridge Training
  • 1947 Marysville
  • 1948 Brewers
  • 1949 Owensboro
  • 1950 Lexington Lafayette
  • 1951 Clark County
  • 1952 Cuba
  • 1953 Lexington Lafayette
  • 1954 Inez
  • 1955 Hazard
  • 1956 Carr Creek
  • 1957 Lexington Lafayette
  • 1958 Louisville Saint Xavier
  • 1959 Calvert City North Marshall
  • 1960 Louisville Flaget
  • 1961 Ashland (Blazer)
  • 1962 Louisville Saint Xavier
  • 1963 Louisville Seneca
  • 1964 Louisville Seneca
  • 1965 Breckinridge County
  • 1966 Shelby County
  • 1967 Earlington
  • 1968 Glasgow
  • 1969 Louisville Central
  • 1970 Louisville Male
  • 1971 Louisville Male
  • 1972 Owensboro
  • 1973 Louisville Shawnee
  • 1974 Louisville Central
  • 1975 Louisville Male
  • 1976 Edmonson County
  • 1977 Louisville Ballard
  • 1978 Shelby County
  • 1979 Lexington Lafayette
  • 1980 Owensboro
  • 1981 Independence Simon Kenton
  • 1982 Laurel County
  • 1983 Lexington Henry Clay
  • 1984 Logan County
  • 1985 Hopkinsville
  • 1986 Pulaski County
  • 1987 Clay County
  • 1988 Louisville Ballard
  • 1989 Louisville Pleasure Ridge Park
  • 1990 Louisville Fairdale
  • 1991 Louisville Fairdale
  • 1992 Hopkinsville University Heights
  • 1993 Marion County
  • 1994 Louisville Fairdale 59
  • 1995 Breckinridge County
  • 1996 Paintsville
  • 1997 Middletown Eastern
  • 1998 Scott County
  • 1999 Louisville Ballard
  • 2000 Elizabethtown
  • 2001 Lexington Lafayette
  • 2002 Lexington Catholic 83
  • 2003 Mason County
  • 2004 Bowling Green Warren Central
  • 2005 London South Laurel
  • 2006 Jeffersontown
  • 2007 Scott County
  • 2008 Mason County
  • 2009 Covington Holmes
  • 2010 Pikeville Shelby Valley
  • 2011 Christian County
  • 2012 Louisville Trinity
  • 2013 Richmond Madison Central
  • 2014 Covington Catholic
  • 2015 Owensboro
  • 2016 Lexington Paul L. Dunbar
  • 2017 Bowling Green
  • 2018 Covington Catholic

Good jobs news from DixonHawesville, Jackson, LouisvilleMadisonvilleMonticelloMorehead and Wilder. Bad from Richmond.

I love a Hallmark store, and I'm sorry to hear the one in Glasgow is closing--but glad to hear it's apparently not for lack of business and that the one in Campbellsville will roll on.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

HP SPECIAL REPORT: Back In Business In Beaver Dam

This is an HP Special Report ... the old "Arby's Island" Beaver Dam rest area along the Western Kentucky Parkway has reopened as a Huck's, and it's fantastic!

My wife and daughter and I stopped through there on our way back from Louisville this evening.

One of the things that really impressed us was the huge array of drink machines--a whole assortment of coffees and soft drinks, slushy drinks and hot chocolates, etc. I do really appreciate that Huck's offers the flavor additives you can spurt into your fountain sodas. I almost always at least throw a couple of vanilla squirts in with whatever I'm drinking.

In the old Arby's area, they've opened a large hot-food bar, with a strong emphasis on fried chicken and Godfather's Pizza, which, as reported way back in 1969, is huge in convenience stores across Kentucky.

Huck's is based in Illinois, and one of the oddities about the Beaver Dam store was that Illinois (but not Kentucky) gazetteers were available at the store in Beaver Dam.

Overhead, the store played what it called "Huck's Radio," and we heard a couple of oldies but goodies.

The restrooms were delightfully clean, and I, for one, support the old-school handles and push buttons on the fixtures (as opposed to the sensor triggers to get soap, water and towels, which always seem to frustrate me).

I thought about picking up an Ohio County Times-News to check out that Bill Monroe story, but I didn't.

My wife thought about picking up some Harper's Country Ham, but she didn't.

We didn't really much consider getting donuts, though I am sure they would've been delicious.

And we didn't get any too serious about purchasing any Kentucky (but not Illinois) souvenir shot glasses, coffee mugs or Christmas ornaments.

But my daughter did get a cereal bar, for which we would've gladly paid the posted $1.29. But, alas, the gentleman at the counter remembered that the store was offering some 20-cents off coupons on that product and took it upon himself to go find one and apply it to my daughter's order. It was a good opportunity for us to all talk about the everythings of our lives and being creative and bold to do to others what we would have them do to us, and that turned out to be the very best part of a wholly satisfying visit to the new Beaver Dam Huck's Island.