Joe Nick Patoski on Willie Nelson & Opinions on Bob Dylan

Biographer Joe Nick Patoski joins Jim and Greg to talk about Willie Nelson, then they review the latest from Bob Dylan and Greg puts a quarter into the Desert Island Jukebox.

Willie Nelson
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Music News

First up in the news is the Future of Music Coalitions’ report on the state of indie airplay on commercial radio stations. In 2007, after controversies surrounding payola, the FCC and four major radio corporations signed a voluntary agreement to air more local and independent artists. The FMC has been keeping tabs on how they’re doing, and the stats are not good. Just as before, 85% of music on the radio comes from major labels. This may have been the conservative and profitable way to go for radio conglomerations in the past, but as the major label system crumbles, it would behoove radio to walk on the wild side a little more.

Following in the esteemed footsteps of Prince and No Doubt, Coldplay will give away a free live album with the purchase of a ticket to their Viva La Vida tour. Jim and Greg are always encouraged to see musicians try to give consumers a little more bang for your buck, especially since Coldplay tickets are not nearly as expensive as a lot of summer shows.

In other concert industry news, one group that isn’t holding back spending in this economy is the corporate sponsor. According to IEG Sponsorship Report, sponsorships will hit an all-time high in 2009. Companies like JC Penney, Clorox and KC Masterpiece want to cash in on big name music acts. After seeing the Virgin Mobile-sponsored Britney Spears show recently, Jim and Greg wonder if these are such wise investments though. And, they shudder to think of the corporate presence at the upcoming Woodstock reunion.

Joe Nick Patoski

This week Jim and Greg are joined by Texas music authority Joe Nick Patoski for a discussion about the life and career of Willie Nelson. In his many decades making music, Willie has never fit into any boxes— rock/ country, religious/ profane. But, as Patoski reveals in his book Willie Nelson: An Epic Life, that is what makes him such an amazing musician and such a thriving American icon. Jim and Greg discuss with Joe Nick the difficulties Willie had in making the transition from a songwriter to a successful solo artist. They also talk about his family history, his outlaw status, both literal and figurative, and his role as the zen bubba of pot.

Together Through Life Bob Dylan

Together Through Life

Another rock icon, Bob Dylan, has a new album out this week called Together Through Life. This is Dylan’s 33rd studio release, and for this effort he’s enlisted some help including David Hidalgo of Los Lobosand lyrics writing partner Robert Hunter. The release of this record took Jim and Greg by surprise, and to Greg it feels a bit tossed off. The lyrics especially don’t feel as important as what you’d expect from this legendary wordsmith. Greg calls the album mid-tier Dylan and gives it a Try It rating. Jim admits that the lyrics aren’t full of gravitas, but to hear the rocker jamming for pure joy at the age of 68 is wonderful, especially with the squeezebox stylings of Hidalgo. He gives Together Through Life a Buy It.

Greg

To cap off the show, Greg adds a track to the Desert Island Jukebox. Last week he played Nirvana’s live version of Where Did You Sleep Last Night? This week he wants to highlight another great song from that Unplugged set: Jesus (Don’t) Want Me For a Sunbeam. It was written by the Scottish duo The Vaselines. The band has headed out on a new US tour and re-released their acclaimed 1992 album The Way of the Vaselines. Both are excellent opportunities to take another look at one of Greg, and Kurt’s, all-time favorite songs.

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