If you grew up in Arkansas in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, you might remember staying up until midnight to watch AETN’s sign-off video.  The video ran every night for years on channel 13, Arkansas’ PBS station.  Waylon Holyfield’s “Arkansas (You Run Deep in Me)” was coupled with the state’s scenic vistas glowing in a VHS haze to create a brazen salute to Arkansas’ people and places.  Holyfield’s song was written to commemorate Arkansas’s 150th anniversary in 1986.  The song became an anthem of pride throughout the state and was made an official state song in 1987. Holyfield was born in Mallettown, Arkansas, graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1965, and moved to Nashville in 1972 to write songs for a living.  He found great success in country music, scoring his first number one hit in 1975 with Don Williams’ recording of “You’re My Best Friend.” “Arkansas (You…Continue Reading
It is already late November, the last Razorback home football has been played, and most the leaves have fallen on Old Main Lawn.  The landscape around Old Main changes dramatically with the passing of the seasons (especially when there is a road running through it). I created an interactive “3D Synth” gallery of the state’s most important building using dozens of my photographs from the past eight years or so.  It is pretty easy to use, just click the “Click to View” button and use your mouse to navigate through the photos.  You can zoom in and out and view Old Main from all directions.  Play around with it and definitely view it in full-screen by clicking on the button in the far right of the bottom toolbar. You might have to install Silverlight, but it doesn’t take long.
“Ghostbusters” was my favorite song when I was in first grade, but it did not make this list.  Besides the obligatory Zevon, we tried to keep our Halloween playlist non-traditional.   Most of these songs have nothing to do with Halloween specifically and they are not intended to scare anyone (I would have added Ke$ha to the list if I wanted to do that), but they all share a certain creepiness. Just click on the song to play. Sufjan Stevens – They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhhh! Evangelicals – Skeleton Man Pavement – The Killing Moon (Echo & the Bunnymen Cover) Dead Man’s Bones – My Body’s A Zombie For You Chad VanGaalen – Bones of Man Woods – Death Rattles Timber Timbre – Creep On Creepin’  Warren Zevon – Werewolves of London Breathe Owl Breathe – Ghost in the Morning Moon The White…Continue Reading
The University of Arkansas announced a grand, long-term plan to construct and renovate every athletic facility on their Fayetteville campus.  The cost will be an estimated $320 million over multiple decades.  It is a wishlist for Athletic Director Jeff Long, sort of a Pintrest for Razorback sports lovers.  The only sure thing in the plan is the new Football Center that will soon be under construction.  The other projects will be built based on need and cost. Besides the Football Center, the most needed projects are the Basketball Practice Facility and the renovation and expansion of Bud Walton Arena.  Other highlights of the plan include an expansion of Baum Stadium, an indoor baseball/track practice facility that will be tacked onto the Tyson Track Center, and a 5,000+ seat expansion of Razorback Stadium’s north end zone. The expansion of Razorback Stadium seems to be several years away.  Hopefully future football attendance…Continue Reading
Some hard working folks over at the City of Fayetteville’s Geographic Information System Department have put together an amazing map that tells you when nearly every building in Fayetteville was built.  It is interactive and color-coded. I learned that the ol’ Gregg House on Lafayette and Gregg was built in 1871 (it didn’t tell me that the bricks in that house were made at the same time and place as the bricks in Old Main, but that’s true), the rotting Magnolia Co. Filling Station on Lafayette and West was built in 1930, and the building that houses George’s Majestic Lounge was built in 1935.  The map even features all of those newer houses west of I540. See if you can find your historic home or McMansion.  There’s also an option to see the city’s National Historic Sites.  Here’s the link. The GIS Dept. has some other interactive maps at their…Continue Reading
Plowing It Under
  Thomas Hart Benton was born and raised less than an hour’s drive from the Crystal Bridges site, in Neosho, MO in 1889.  Benton, the son of a lawyer and congressman and great-nephew of a prominent senator, left Neosho at the age of 17 to study art in Chicago and then Paris before serving in the Navy during WWI.  By 1930, Benton was known as a well-established “Regionalist” artist in New York.  Benton rejected the themes of modernism (while keeping a sort of modern aesthetic) and hoped to capture American life as he saw it, which led to dismissal from many art critics of the time.  “We came in the popular mind to represent a home-grown, grass-roots artistry which damned ‘furrin’ influence and which knew nothing about and cared nothing for the traditions of art as cultivated city snobs, dudes, and aesthetes knew them,” Benton recalled in his autobiography.  “Regionalist…Continue Reading
  As early as 1786, Arkansas women were thought to be “as vicious as the men, and are worthy companions of their husbands.”  Popular culture hasn’t been easy on Arkansas women.  They have been portrayed as willingly subjugated, backward, and crude.  “The women chew and dip / And the big gals go barefooted / With tobacco on their lip” rhymed Marion Hughes in his 1903 book Three Years in Arkansaw.  From the 1930s through the 1960s, Arkansas women were seen in Hollywood movies as happy-go-lucky hicks.  Comic strips and television often presented them as over-sexed, dim-witted bombshells, like Lil’ Abner’s Daisy Mae (set in Kentucky but identified with Arkansas) and The Beverly Hillbillies’ Elly May Clampett. In popular music, Arkansas women are usually and unsurprisingly depicted as an object of a man’s desire.  Delta bluesmen see Arkansas women as absent lovers.  Country Western singers give them a sweeter touch.  Here…Continue Reading
Surprise students! After three months of quiet controversy, the UA has begun work on the service road that will cut through a portion of Old Main Lawn.  Public concern led UA officials to rethink their original planned route for the road, which would have begun at the Arkansas Ave. and Lafayette St. intersection.  The new route will come off of Dickson St., burrow through the retaining wall, then push up the lawn to the small space between Ozark Hall and Old Main. The route is necessary for the trucks that will carry construction equipment/vehicles to (and dirt/trash away from) the renovations at Ozark Hall and Vol Walker Hall. The road will exist for two years.  Two trees will be removed. UA officials announced the construction of the road shortly after students left at the end of the Spring 2011 semester.  The project is one of several construction sites currently on…Continue Reading
The Fall 2011 semester at the “You of A” welcomed a record 23,153 students.  Fayetteville is once again flush with thousands of additional consumers.  I’m sure Taco Bueno, Walgreens, and the liquor stores are happy to see them.  Some of our local businesses try to entice students to spend money at their establishments by catering to their needs and tastes (those sinister marketing experts at Orange Leaf).  Others, like our live music venues, seem to ignore the community of thousands on The Hill completely. The Fayetteville music scene has seen better days.  Have you seen the acts coming to town this fall?  Forgive me if you are a Charlie Daniels, Meat Puppets, Chris Robinson (from the Black Crowes) or a Candlebox fan, but quenching my musical thirst will once again happen after a long drive to Tulsa or Kansas City.  Sure we’ve got Lucero, Dr. Dog, and “The Gambler” Kenny…Continue Reading
Kindred Spirits Featured
Asher B. Durand finished Kindred Spirits in March 1849.  It was a memorial to his friend and mentor Thomas Cole, who stands in the landscape with writer and poet William Cullen Bryant.  The painting was commissioned following the death of Cole (aged 47) by dry-goods merchant and longtime art patron Jonathan Sturges.  Sturges gave the painting to Bryant, a close friend of Cole (his “kindred spirit”) and Durand.  Durand’s work remained in the Bryant family until 1904 when it was donated to the New York Public Library. Kindred Spirits was sold by the NYPL to Alice Walton at private auction for a purported $35 million dollars in 2005 (156 years after its completion), the highest price ever paid for a piece by an American artist.  Over the past 50 years, the painting has gained distinction (that it did not have in the 19th century) as emblematic of the Hudson River…Continue Reading
It is currently 106°F outside.  It’s the hottest summer in my lifetime and it’s going to be above body temperature in NWA for the foreseeable future. We seem to make playlists during significant weather events (see our Snow Day and Rainy Day playlists), I think this qualifies.  Here are ten songs to listen to while your energy bill skyrockets.  I decided not to include any Nelly’s “Hot in Herre.” 1. The Gossip – Arkansas Heat 2. The Who – Heatwave 3. Eddie Vedder – Hard Sun 4. Pavement – Summer Babe (Winter Version) 5. Horse Feathers – The Drought 6. Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers – I Love Hot Nights 7. Shannon Stephens – In the Summer in the Heat 8. The Shaky Hands – Summer’s Life 9. Beck – Gamma Ray 10. Martha & the Vandellas
Last week we listed our favorite albums of the year so far, mainly as an exercise of organization.  Here are our favorite tracks so far this year for those of you who enjoy this sort of thing.  Songs from our favorite albums seem to dominate the lists and there are quite a few repeated artists. We agreed on the top two songs, and have a few of the same picks throughout our top 50. If we unjustly left something off our lists, let us know. Just click on the pictures (of the top ten) or the play button to listen.
“Best of” lists are always arbitrary, especially those that assess only a six-month period. Assigning a specific numbered position to something as complex and variable as a music album is silly. But that doesn’t make them any less fun to make. We all believe that our opinions matter, ranking things gives order to our all-important thoughts. Plus, its 120 degrees outside, what else are we going to do? Others Worth Mentioning:
GoodLlistening Vol 4
Good Listening: Vol. 4 (May – June Releases) The past two months have been exciting for new album releases.  My Morning Jacket has been on tour bringing Circuital to life.  Bon Iver is back bringing a fine-tuned falsetto to his highly anticipated second album.  Indie rock veterans Death Cab For Cutie left a trail of crumbs leading us to a solid summer album, Codes and Keys.  One of my favorite hot weather bands, Woods have released a new album, fittingly titled Sun and Shade.  It’s perfect for 4th of July playlists, just mix it in with some Real Estate and you’re headed in the right direction.  As night creeps in, press play on Chad VanGaalen’s long awaited new album, Diaper Island.  Chad’s also got a tour coming up, but he won’t come anywhere near Arkansas.  He’ll be floating around up north.  Finally, one song we just can’t get enough of…Continue Reading
If you ever find yourself driving down Hwy 45, it’s easy to miss Canehill, AR.  There’s a few rough looking buildings, the old Cane Hill College, and the rusty old mill at the side of the road.  For most Washington County residents, Canehill is just another small dot on the map.  Last week, the Postal Service announced that it might be closing some post offices in Arkansas.  Canehill was on the list.  The news hit the local television stations yesterday.  Residents of Canehill strongly oppose the possibility, as you can see on the clip from KFSM bellow.  I imagine most folks in Fayetteville or Springdale think it is a shame, but probably understand the financial reasons for its possible closure.  They might even be surprised that Canehill had a post office, their own area code, in the first place.   It’s hard to see in the rotting buildings and the crumbling…Continue Reading
  June 2, 2011 – For two years there will be a gravel road running through Old Main Lawn.  For two years trucks will be rumbling up and down Lafayette Street, crossing over the already cramped and dangerous Arkansas Avenue, before rolling through the most important piece of property in the state of Arkansas and along the campus sidewalks.  For two years. The road is all part of the plan to renovate Ozark Hall and expand Vol Walker Hall.  These projects require the use of heavy equipment.  The heavy equipment require roads.  According to University of Arkansas officials, this service route is the best available.   (Apparently this was determined after construction began on the $1,000,000+ gate at the entrance of the former Campus Drive off Maple Street, a much closer and less elevated entry point for the trucks.) I have been enrolled as a student at the UA for 24 full…Continue Reading
First of all, the sound in a few of these videos is lousy, I’m not a bootlegger, but at least you get to see what was going on (on stage, I don’t want to think about what was going on in all of those tents) up at Mulberry Mountain during Wakarusa 2011. All videos can and should be viewed in 720p HD. First up is My Morning Jacket ripping through “One Big Holiday” and “Mahgeetah.” The audio is particularly decent thanks to Not many folks caught Frontier Ruckus at the far away Backwoods Stage, but those 70 or so who did heard the most unique band at the festival. I hate when people write comparisons like this, but this seems like the easiest way to get people to listen: For fans of the Decemberists and Neutral Milk Hotel. Watch Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings groove to “Soul Train.”…Continue Reading
Waka Sat
Saturday June 4, 2011 – 6:00 on the Main Stage: Mumford and Sons Mumford and Sons attracted perhaps the most excited crowd at Wakarusa, rivaling My Morning Jacket’s minions.  I’m not sure what it is about British bands that make girls scream, but the yelping was in full force in the humid 6:00 heat.  Despite their current popularity, the rise of Mumford and Sons hasn’t been exactly meteoric.  It has been slow and steady, something downright old-fashioned in our internet age.  The band was formed in 2007 and gained notoriety in the UK after touring.  We were lucky enough to grab a copy of their first EP, the UK only Love Your Ground, in late 2008.  Much of that excellent EP was included in their 2009 LP, Sigh No More, which eventually gained an American audience by 2010, selling over 1,000,000 copies by March 2011.  Their appeal stems from their…Continue Reading
Waka Friday
Friday June 3rd – 4:30 at the Revival Tent:  Langhorne Slim When we spoke with Langhorne Slim in May he promised us that his Wakarusa performance would cause “faces to melt with sweet love and carmel popcorn…vegan carmel popcorn.”  Well if you caught his set it wasn’t far from the truth. Langhorne himself melted off the stage and into the crowd while preforming “I Ain’t Dead.”  He took a swig from a random water bottle, got a nod from it’s owner, and then poured the rest of it on to his head.  He was barely into his set before he gave off more energy than the crowd had combined.  He wasn’t wasting anytime.  He seemed determined to get everyone on his level.  He pulled a woman up from her lawn chair and sang with his arm around her.  He put his hat on the head of a young boy and…Continue Reading
The buzz is officially on for writer/director Jeff Nichols’ new film, Take Shelter.  The film took the Grand Prize of the Critics Week  at the Cannes Film Festival last week and was awarded best film at the Sundance Competition.  Jeff Nichols also won the SACD award for best screenwriter. The Little Rock native Nichols shot his first feature, 2007’s Shotgun Stories, in southeast Arkansas.  The small budget Shotgun Stories tells the story of three brothers feuding with the family that their now dead father began after he abandoned them.  The audience knows tragedy can be the only outcome, creating a slow burning intensity that Nichols relishes. Based on the trailer, Take Shelter has a similar “impending dread” pace.  It stars the excellent Michael Shannon (who was in Shotgun Stories as well as Revolutionary Road, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) as Curtis LaForche who experiences visions of a massive, apocalyptic storm…Continue Reading
In 1927, a Virginian textile mill worker named Kelly Harrell traveled to Camden, New Jersey to record some songs for Victor Records. It was his third time recording for Victor; his last two (in 1925 and 1926) garnered enough interest for six new cuts with his own backing band, the Virginia String Band. He was an unlikely pioneer of country music considering he couldn’t play an instrument, but his short career predated Jimmie Rodgers (who Harrell wrote a few songs for) and the Carter Family’s.   One of the songs Harrell recorded in 1927 was “My Name is John Johanna,” a traditional ballad about the state of Arkansas.  Harrell’s cut might have been the first time the ballad was recorded. “My Name is John Johanna” (or Jo Hannah) is also known as “The State of Arkansas” (or Arkansaw), “Bill Stafford,” “Stanford Barnes,” and “Misery in Arkansas” among others. Like most…Continue Reading
Bon Iver
Bon Iver – Calgary Bon Iver released a new single today from his upcoming self-titled album.  It sounds a lot like the songs from his last album with some added electro-elements, which is fine with me.  It’s called “Calgary,” named after (I assume) the largest city in the province of Alberta, Canada.  The song’s lyrics are cryptic, but we can tell that it isn’t really about the city.  It’s a nice song but Vernon has missed the opportunity to contribute to the short list of good songs about Canadian cities, something that is important to all of us. Listen below to the best songs “about” the metropolises of the North. WINNIPEG:  The Weakerthans – One Great City! (From Reconstruction Site, 2003) In “One Great City,” the Weakerthans’ John K. Samson proclaims, “I hate Winnipeg!”  Of course Samson, who is a very underrated songwriter, doesn’t hate his native city.  Like with our own hometowns, its a…Continue Reading
Don't Pass the Salt
“Don’t Pass the Salt” will be a semi-regular feature that glorifies the greatest gastronomical creations of Northwest Arkansas. Today’s feature is perhaps our region’s most delicious. I have tried dozens of hushpuppy varieties across the South and none compare to those found at the Catfish Hole in Fayetteville and Alma. Although its exact origins are a mystery, the hushpuppy is an entirely Southern dish. Nineteenth century Americans, particularly Southerners, ate a lot of corn. The hushpuppy was deep fried, unlike other corn-based foodstuffs like corn bread, corn pone, griddle cakes, and corn dodgers that were a staple of the Southern diet. Unsurprisingly, the hushpuppy was a product of fish fries. Fish were fried with a dusting of cornmeal; the remaining cornmeal was mixed with water or milk, rounded into balls, and fried in the same oil as the fish. Onions, eggs, baking powder, and even sugar, became standard additions over…Continue Reading
(Updated – The facebook page that was protesting Chipotle’s choice of signage received this message: “I checked with our team responsible for our Fayetteville location, and they have made the decision to remove the Chipotle sign and relocate it.  The original sign was completely protected and is not damaged in any way.  We are beginning this process in the next couple of days.  Please tell everyone not to worry, the sign is still there!  We appreciate your support, and we look forward to seeing you soon! – Ashley – Chipotle“ Well done Chipotle, well done.  I am not surprised that they decided to remove the sign.  They made a mistake and they did not realize it until some folks spoke up.  Well done Fayetteville.  I’m actually glad Chipotle moved into the location, despite the over-abundance of fast-Mexican food on Dickson.  The Frisco Depot has had a run of lousy businesses filling its…Continue Reading
Since the end of the ’90s, Langhorne Slim has been turning out homegrown hit after hit, gradually gaining a wider recognition.  Langhorne and his loyal band, The War Eagles, have been touring non-stop, state to state and country to country, greeting fans and giving folks a night to remember.  Their popularity has grown by word of mouth from fan spreading the love.  It’s fair to say, that right now, Langhorne Slim is bringing around one of the greatest shows on Earth. Langhorne Slim has created a genre of his own, it’s something he has always had inside him (with a touch of subconscious influence). Listen to a finger picking intro and it’s easy to recognize that it’s Langhorne.  His unique voice was made to sing his style of music.  This is feel good music, in the most lovable way. You’ve probably even gotten one of his songs in your head…Continue Reading
April was a fantastic month for music and I have been waiting to listen to this one very special album for the past three years so I am more than excited to share this with you. Chris Bathgate – Salt Year Released on April 26, 2011 (Quite Scientific) 4.8 out of 5 Chris Bathgate – No Silver There are some albums that you simply need to listen to. For one, the highly anticipated (by those who know him,) new album from Chris Bathgate titled Salt Year. Chris Bathgate is a staple in the Ypsilanti, Michigan folk scene. If you don’t know Chris Bathgate, it’s not because you have been living under a rock – it is probably because he has not received the widespread recognition he deserves. He is not making obscure music either, he plays indie-folk-rock that is effortlessly easy to relate to and enjoy. I feel like everyone…Continue Reading
Once in a while I will hear a song for the first time that gives me a kind of déjà vu. It’s like, “Ok, I’m here, I know this, I want to keep going.” This is what I felt the first time I heard the song “Orion Town 2” by Frontier Ruckus. It was cathartic but not dramatic, just a girl in her room surrounded by her things and stuff, listening to music, and then putting on an album that a friend recommended. Frontier Ruckus gave me pleasure as much as it gave me a tool for self-discovery. Frontier Ruckus’ music has a folk-heavy sound filled with urban and suburban themes. Songwriter and Detroit native Matthew Milia’s songs are about decaying metros, northbound highways, and revisiting memories once discarded. The banjo, harmonica, and singing saw bloom alongside the propelling lyrics. It is an unwound poetic experience that pulls the listener…Continue Reading
It’s another rainy day in Northwest Arkansas, but we’re not complaining. (04.25.2011 – Update – Now we’re complaining.)
Lucero Casually Arm-Wrestling
Lucero is wildly popular in our state.  The rowdy Memphis rock band earned every bit of that popularity during their thirteen years of existence.  In 1998, Little Rock’s Ben Nichols and Memphis’ Brian Venable decided to form a band.  Eight albums and a guesstimated 2,000+ concerts later, Lucero has garnered critical success while nearly perfecting their live shows. Lucero is no stranger to Fayetteville, they’ve made frequent stops to George’s and JR’s Light Bulb Club over the years and to Wakarusa in 2009.  They will be playing Wakarusa for the fourth time on Friday, June 3 at 6:00 PM (and not at 12:00 PM as reported on Waka’s stage schedule).  Get your tickets here.  Check out Lucero’s massive tour schedule here. Brian Venable, lead guitarist and all-around nice guy, talked with us about their affinity for Fayetteville, their NEW ALBUM, the lost Bob Seger, and countrified heavy metal.  We’ll be using that format where we…Continue Reading