Steve Holy Held At Gunpoint After Late Night Game of Foosball

Brody Vercher | January 3rd, 2008

  • Inviting strangers over to play foosball in your garage after a night of drinking can be very dangerous, even if said strangers are off-duty police officers. Just ask Steve Holy, who had a gun held to the back of his head. The situation escalated when Holy failed to provide sufficient evidence about his identity to one of the officers. The predicament has not been resolved, but the two accused officers have been placed on administrative leave.
  • Country Universe posted part one and part two of a series that will run through Saturday titled “The Fifty Best Debut Singles of All-Time.” The title is self-explanatory, and it’s some fantastic stuff.
  • Houston Press assistant music editor Chris Gray gives a nod to Lyle Lovett, Miranda Lambert, Billy Joe Shaver and Jesse Dayton & Brennen Leigh as artists who had outstanding Texas albums last year. And, if you like those he adds on some others that you should check out: Gene Watson, George Strait, Last of the Breed, Johnny Bush and Asleep at the Wheel. All outstanding albums, indeed.
  • Jenifer Nettles says that when she sat down to write “Stay” four years ago the song pretty much wrote itself. When it came time to record the video Nettles became “overwhelmingly emotional,” to the point everyone had to be sent out of the room. She even cried on the next three takes.
  • Tonight is the premier of Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice featuring Trace Adkins and Joe Don Rooney’s (Rascal Flatts) wife, Tiffany Fallon–a celebrity in her own right. Fallon revealed that she is 2 1/2 months pregnant and will be on the February cover of Playboy magazine. Fallon says of Adkins:

    “It was almost like family was there, and someone who was on my same page,” said Fallon, an actress and television show host. “At one time I remember him saying, ‘I don’t belong here.’ I said, ‘Even more reason for you to be here. We’ve got to stick together.’

    “At some points I really felt like, ‘Thank God Trace is here.’ He was such a hard worker and a kind spirit, but a very, very smart man.

    “I think Tennessee and the country music world will be very proud of him.”

  • Angela Hacker’s “Do Right Woman”, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives’ “Stayin’ Alive” and Shooter Jennings’ note-perfect Dire Straits cover of “Walk of Life” earned spots in Living In Stereo‘s “The Top 20 Singles of 2007.”
  • The Gobblers Knob author Kelly broke down and bought his first Gary Allan album, Living Hard. Despite his knowledge that it was softer around the edges than previous efforts, Kelly says it’s the very reason he likes the album so much. Let’s just hope he doesn’t spring for Rascal Flatts next and reveal his affinity for sleeping with teddy bears. In all seriousness though, he provides a fresh perspective to a record that has grown on me since my first listen. On a related note, Allan’s Greatest Hits album has been certified gold.
  • For her 18th birthday Taylor Swift’s label (Big Machine Records) gave her a pink Chevy truck, and for the remainder of the day you can catch a glimpse of the truck on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
  • On the subject of country music abroad, European radio personality Dirk Rohrbach says the the term “country” in “country music” has been replaced with “highway rock n’ roll” to avoid old stereotypes and connotations while Australian TV programmer Tim Daley says:

    “It’s really important, talking about Country Music internationally, to focus on a mainstream audience,” Daley pointed out. “You don’t go after Country fans. There aren’t enough of them. You don’t have the NASCAR crowd. You want to be on the biggest TV shows. You want to do the promos. You want to do in-stores at the best record stores. You have to approach it like it’s mainstream. You don’t go in looking for a sliver of the audience. You want to cast as wide a net as you possibly can.”

  • The Lost Highway has a fine list of “The Best Country Songs of 2007.” Summaries come included.
  • Brooks & Dunn share with Craig Shelburne how they stay fit while on the road.
  1. Kelly
    January 3, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Actually, I only like grizzled, torn and shredded teddy bears with serious attitude and a deisre to buck the establishment.

    There was a big part of me that wondered why I picked this album of his to finally buy, since I have enjoyed some of the cuts from previous works, but you know, not everything in my player can be ryan bingham rough or bleu edmondson “born in the usa, part II”….

  2. Brody Vercher
    January 3, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    It’s still a teddy bear…

    And really, there’s nothing wrong with Living Hard. I just felt like giving you a hard time for saying you liked it for its softness :P

  3. Kelly
    January 3, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Fair enough, i give it when any mention of trace adkins is written, so I need to be able to take it when i divulge a bit of a softer, more sensitive side, now if you dont mind, i am going to go cry like kieth urban for a while, cuz i just have to….

  4. Hollerin' Ben
    January 3, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Nothing would make me happier than for “Highway Rock and Roll” to become the term used for Mainstream Country music. That way, those of us who make up “a sliver of the audience” can have our real country music, and those who don’t have a stake in country music can be totally awesome with their “Highway Rock and Roll”

  5. Linda
    January 3, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Highway Rock and Roll. I like that. I always thought it needed a new name, too.

  6. Rick
    January 4, 2008 at 1:06 am

    “Highway Rock n Roll” must want to escape the old stereotypes and connotations of real, traditional country music for quality, depth, meaning, significance, etc. that this shallow and mediocre pop-rock mainstream crap can’t possibly attain to. Even though Mr. Rohrbach is from Europe his attitude matches most of the Top 40 country radio station programmers in the US from what I hear on radio….

    As for the Aussie Tim Daley his condescending attitude towards real country music is typical of the “big smoke” city dwellers down under while the bushies love and cherish all forms of traditional country music. Due to high CD prices Aussie country albums rarely reach “Gold” staus of only 35,000 copies sold, but this is because copies sold at concerts (often a majority of total sales volume) aren’t counted. With an entire nationwide population of 20 million (far less than my home state of California) each January 80 to 100 thousand Aussie country fans head to the Tamworth Country Music Festival a few hours drive north of Sydney. On a per capita basis this makes Fan Fair attendance in Nashville each June seem paltry in comparison. Thanks to the Australian “CMC” country music video cable channel many Aussies are discovering country music as dedicated country radio stations are rare things down under, and especially in the large cities….

  7. hairandtoenails
    January 4, 2008 at 6:59 am

    I don’t think “real, traditional country music” has any more “depth, meaning, and significance” than the “pop rock mainstream crap.”

    There are a lot of shallow pop songs and traditional country songs and there are a lot of good ones in both genres too.

  8. Hollerin' Ben
    January 4, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Hair,

    that could spark quite the debate round here. Before it gets underway, would you concede that there were any substantive difference between “traditional country” and “highway rock and roll” aside from tempo/instrumentation/arrangement?

  9. hairandtoenails
    January 4, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Hollerin’ Ben — Im not to familiar with “Highway Rock and Roll” other than the one post on it. So I hesitate to comment too much on it.

    My point is that artists like George Jones or Dale Watson are not significantly more “meaningful or significant” lyrically than artists like Crystal Gayle or Taylor Swift.

    Obviously one could find particularly meaningful Jones songs and particularly trite Gayle songs. But overall, I don’t thik one artist is vastly more meaningful than the other.

    Of course, these artists produce songs with different meanings. No doubt there. And much of the meaning of a song derives from the listener’s mind, not the singer’s voice.

    Thus, “International Harvester” by Craig Morgan is considered “meaningful” to some because it invoked memories of growing up on a farm. But non-farmers might see this as a silly song about a guy who is causing a traffic jam on the road. Which interpretation is better is another matter, of course.

  10. Hollerin' Ben
    January 4, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Obviously one could find particularly meaningful Jones songs and particularly trite Gayle songs. But overall, I don’t think one artist is vastly more meaningful than the other.

    I agree with you on the first point, but disagree on the second.

    I think that if we take your average run of the mill greatest hits cd by George Jones, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, and Loretta Lynn, and compare them to the greatest hits of Tim Mcgraw, Montgomery Gentry, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and Faith Hill, that we would see a very substantive difference in the “depth, meaning, and significance” of the songs.

    But on the other hand, the highway rock and roll selection would have way more to offer in terms of pensive song intros, building pre-choruses, sweeping choruses, reflective bridges, and awesome 80’s rock guitar work.

    though to each his own I suppose. I didn’t grow up on a farm, and therefore have no memories of holding up traffic in my tractor, of course I also have no first hand experience of being 21 in prison doing life without parole.

    If they are going to mindlessly churn out songs that remind people of random unimportant activities that we may have participated in, where are the nintendo songs huh?

    “I’m sitting around playing nintendo! Using my plastic gun on Duck Hunt! You may not understand it, but I’m super proud of my nintendo background! Super secret code on Contra! Super Mario!”

  11. hairandtoenails
    January 4, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Hollerin Ben — I agree with you that if you take a run-of the Mill Greatest Hits CD by George Jones or Willie Nelson and compare it to a run of the mill Faith or Tim CD, Jones and Nelson will win out in terms of depth. You are right.

    But its a bit unfair in that its comparing the best of the “traditional” artists (whether Nelson is tradition is a bit of a question; he has certainly recorded pop, folk and jazz songs) with some middling (if popular) pop-country artists.

    By comparison, I would say that a good Kenny Rogers Greatest Hits CD, (which might contain “the Gambler,” “Ruben James,” “Daytime Friends” or “Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town”) is at least as meaningful as George Jones’ “Anniversary” compilation. (I am just discussing lyrics, not vocal or musical performance here).

    As for playing nintendo, as for duck hunt; Perhaps “19 Something” by Mark Wills doesnt mention those, but it could have. Substitute playing Nintendo for watching MTV, and there you go. Hopefully we won’t have another song like “19 Something” for a while.

  12. hairandtoenails
    January 4, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    I should add that there’s probably no real objective way to decide which subgenre is “most meaningful.” It may come down to personal preference, especially because what makes something meaningful is so personal.

    Also, a song that seems like a cliche to me might seem like a fresh insight to someone who, for whatever reason, hasn’t heard the cliche before. When I was 14 I thought “The River” by Garth Brooks was “deep” because of its “don’t sit on the sidelines, get in the game” message. But now that I have heard that message so many times in so many country songs, I think the “don’t sit on the sidelines” theme is a bit trite. However I have come to appreciate his idea that we much modify our dreams as we meet new situations in life, much as a boat’s captain must adopt to different currents in the river.

  13. Hollerin' Ben
    January 4, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    I should add that there’s probably no real objective way to decide which subgenre is “most meaningful.” It may come down to personal preference, especially because what makes something meaningful is so personal.

    I’ll disagree with you on this point as well. Despite the fact that Jewel’s poetry may resonate more with a group of people than say Bukowski’s or Milton’s, it in no way makes Jewel’s poetry on par with theirs.

    Furthermore, though I acknowledge that there is no absolute metric to measure artistic worth, I am not enough of a post-modern to claim that all art starts off on the same foot and it’s worth is decided only by it’s public reception.

    It’s like a conversation I had with a roomate one time. If Emily Dickinson’s poetry had never been discovered would it have still been great amazing poetry?

    She was arguing that it would not have been, since people would not have had the opportunity to read it and instill it with meaning.

    I was arguing that it would have been, because the meaning was not instilled by the readers, but recognized by the readers. Even in a box it still has all the qualities and insights that makes it great poetry.

    Merle Haggard’s writing has the qualities that make it deep and meaningful whether or not your average Taylor Swift fan can recognize it. I would say that Garth’s “The River” falls short of the depth that it aspires to (though don’t tell my 14-year-old self that) though I could see people disagreeing with me.

    How could one settle such a disagreement? I’d argue that some good old-fashioned literary analysis would do the trick.

    Of course a degree of preference would remain, but it would have to be preference that was heavily supported by insight and examination. In my view, insight and examination are the very things that would separate the wheat from the chaff, or in this case, the traditional country from the Highway Rock and Roll.

  14. hairandtoenails
    January 4, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    You make excellent points, Hollerin Ben. My post cannot stand.

    1) I agree that Jewel’s poetry isn’t as meaningful as Milton’s. And that’s an objective fact. Likewise, Garth’s “The River” isn’t profound (whatever you or I thought at 14). And its true that Merle Haggard’s “Irma Jackson,” “If We Make It Through December,” or “Mama Tried” are more meaningful than a typical Taylor Swift song, even if Taylor fans disagree. Of course, the difference between Jewel and Milton is greater than the difference between Garth and Merle.

    I agree with you that literary analysis would be a good way to settle disagreements over meaningfulness (or at least gain insight into the matter). Literary analysis, I agree, is partly subjective, but at least it is a step in the right direction of insight.

    So I vastly overstated my point when I said that objective analysis might not tell us whether one subgenre of country is more meaningful than another. But I made that statement with a certain assumption: namely, that many of the subgenres are fairly similar in “meaningfulness,” and therefore objective analysis can’t settle what might inevitably be subjective matters. I shouldn’t have done that because I was assuming exactly what is at issue in this discussion. That’s sloppy thinking.

    Since I agree with you that it is objectively true that certain songs are more meaningful than others, I think it is untenable for me to claim that it is not objectively possible to decide that one subgenre is more meaningful than another. To make this determination, though, would require listening to a lot of songs in the various subgenres!

    Perhaps I should qualify the above: I don’t have enough knowledge of literary theory to take an informed stand on whether there can be objective interpretations or whether all interpretations purely subjective or whether there is some middle ground. I don’t know how to answer or approach the Emily Dickinson conundrum you and a roommate had. But I think it might be hard to have a convesation about the merits of a song without some backround assumptions that might have a quasi-objective quality. Thus, I think it is “objectively true” that “The River” is not a song about boating. If someone were to insist that “The River’s” meaning lies in its advice to captains of boats, he better offer some amazing evidence for this idea or I will conclude that talking to him about the meaning of songs is pointless. Even if he isn’t “objectively wrong” about the River because objective meaning does not exist, I think it would be fair to treat him as though he were.

    I’m not sure how to address the questions you raise without making assumptions about interpretation that I am not really qualified to make because I haven’t studied much in that area. I suspect a literary theorist might find my ideas naive or uninformed. These are very interesting issues, for sure.

  15. Hollerin' Ben
    January 4, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    To make this determination, though, would require listening to a lot of songs in the various subgenres!

    a very good point. However, despite my 70’s countrypolitan knowledge being a little shaky, I think that the subgenre of “modern, mainstream commercial country” (or Highway Rock-Roll as proposed by some Australian guy)is probably well known to both of us.

    That reminds me of something you had brought up before that I didn’t address. Namely, the difference between Kenny Rogers as pop country and Keith Urban as pop country.

    Harkening back to the original post, unless I read the article incorrectly, the Highway Rock and Roll designation was being applied to new mainstream commercial country, and not what may have been historically considered “pop country”.

    Therefore, the depth of Kenny Rogers isn’t really in question here. Though I will say that many of Kenny Rogers songs (especially the early ones) are damn good. Lucille and Ruby in particular are fine country songs. Lady, and Islands in the Stream on the other hand, are poptastic, and would not do as well under literary analysis, IMO.

    But as a rule, I like countrypolitan, it’s like a guilty pleasure. I will totally rock me some “Slide off of your satin sheets”, “I never promised you a rose garden”, “The Gambler”, or “Could I have this dance”.

    I think we’re more or less on the same page here, but let me ask you one last question. Accepting that the subgenre in question is modern,popular, top-40, commercial country (what is being designated as Highway Rock and Roll) do you think that you’ve listened to enough of it alongside enough Traditional country to make a judgment on which one is typically deeper and more meaningful?

  16. hairandtoenails
    January 4, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    To answer your last question, I’ve been listening to country (both traditional and top 40) since 1991 or 1992, and I think I’ve heard enough to say that the traditional artists (who aren’t actively seeking airplay) seem to be able to write about a broader ranger of topics and also sing things that might be too controversial for mass radio. So chalk one up for the traditionalists.

    I also think Top 40 Radio used to play more meaningful songs: Mary-Chapin Carpenter tended to record thoughtful stuff, but music like hers is rarely heard on top 40 these days. But every now and then a meaningful song sneaks through.

    I think I’ve heard enough to give an answer for this message board, but, if I was going to write a book or give a talk on the topic in a formal setting, I would have to sit down and do some serious thinking and listening!

    As for “Islands in the Stream,” the “fine tooth comb” line in that song is one of the worst lines I’ve ever heard in a hit song.

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