I’ll start out by saying I’m not a purist. But if you’re going to take something as ain’t-broke as the Dukes of Hazzard, you daggum well better know what you’re doing when you try to fix it. This movie has a lot of changes. Some work well and some don’t, but the end product isn’t nearly as good as the source material. It is a lot of fun if you don’t think too hard about it. The show really was great, though, and I need to revisit it sooner rather than later.
Writing about a fantasy book that tries to be an Elmore Leonard-style crime fiction story as well raised some interesting thoughts about the nature of crime fiction.
Thick as Thieves is a pulpy adventure SF tale about a burly soldier-turned-tavern bouncer, Brick, who makes the mistake of agreeing to a simple plan and gets involved over his head in a heist. Although Lizzi is really telling more of a Elmore Leonard-style crime story than a straight heist. Lizzi gives us a quick, pulpy read (234 pages) that comes with surprisingly depth, economically doled out in small bits. It is a fun story, if not one that blew me away.
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Billy Joe Shaver turned 80 on Friday. He’s had some health problems, and he doesn’t have any shows scheduled at the moment, but I just saw him in 2016 at Floore’s Country Store and he was still alive and kicking. Like Rodney Crowell, Shaver was one of those young Nashville songwriters from Texas who were so integral to the outlaw country movement. He wrote almost all of Waylon Jennings’ landmark outlaw country album Honky Tonk Heroes, and his album Old Five and Dimers Like Me is a landmark outlaw country album in its own right.
Along with Chris LeDoux and Charlie Robison, Rodney Crowell was one of my earliest introductions to indie country. A buddy of mine from college came back from a summer internship with a record company raving about I Walk the Line Revisited. Last year I featured Crowell’s song Telephone Road, from his 2001 album The Houston Kid. I am happy to feature some new music. (Crowell was also one of the young turk songwriters who would hit Nashville and provide much of the motive force behind the outlaw country movement; he’s been around for a while.)
Out yesterday: TEXAS by Rodney Crowell.
Devil’s Call is one hell of a story, a bloody weird western propelled by protagonist Li Lian’s remarkable voice.
Li Lian is the mixed race daughter from a family where witchery runs on the female line. She follows her husband, a former army doctor, to the Nebraska frontier. It is there that something goes terribly wrong.
Since I am foolishly passing up a chance to see him in the near future, it is past time I feature Chris Stapleton again. His album Traveler is still #6 on the country charts. And it was released in 2015. From a Room: Volume 1 is still in the top 40 as well. More than anyone I expect we will lean on him to save country music (although it will have to be an ensemble effort). Now he just needs to get back writing and in the studio.
I forgot to share my July month-in-review post from earlier in the week. Check out what I’ve been reading and buying and which posts were most popular in July.
July was a busy month, reading-wise and real life-wise, if not blog-wise.
I spent a (lovely) week and a half in Canada (Calgary and the Canadian Rockies) and came home to a mountain of work and deadlines. Much of it remains to be done even though I will be traveling again much of August (albeit a good bit for work this time).
A couple heavy months of reading put me in a position to make a stunning announcement: I am at a zero net change in Mount TBR for the year! Now all that is left is to make that TBR number go down. I acquired 14 books, driven by two one-off trips to bookstores. I finished 9 books—not just matching the 9 books I finished in June but making serious dents in a couple doorstoppers that I didn’t finish. I added a new section this month. On my second…
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