Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Annie Up

646 Miles To Go

The Pistol Annies pack a smoking combination of sex appeal, country charm and down home humor.

This allows them to shoot nothing but bull's-eyes on their first two releases - 2011's Hell On Heels and 2013's Annie Up.

Born out of a songwriting partnership between Miranda Lambert ("Lone Star Annie") and Ashley Monroe ("Hippie Annie"), the trio also features Angaleena Presley ("Holler Annie") to create a vocal posse that is pure gold artistically and commercially.
Hell On Heels

(Check out the fantastic interview by Twang Nation's Baron Lane with Monroe on the Pistol Annies and her solo work.)

Lambert is country music royalty and half of its most successful power couple as Mrs. Blake Shelton. Or, is he Mr. Miranda Lambert?

Monroe is flowering on her own with the new Like A Rose record.

If their Hell On Heels title track is to be believed, the sultry and sometimes salty sirens made a deal with the devil to be pretty, smart and remorseless heartbreakers.

Lyrically, Annie Up and Hell On Heels successfully rely on a low-cut combination of blue collar blues with bright and dark sides, catty family secrets and feuds, and serious life hardships that pour on the pain.

Throughout both offerings, the music is pure twang banging of every tempo with the three Annies swapping verses and harmonizing together at every bitter and sweet turn.

While Annie Up is a toast to be loved by the boys and girls alike, the second album takes a slightly more somber tone than Hell On Heels, especially on Trading One Heartbreak For Another and Dear Sobriety.

Don't let the outfits fool you, these gals can shoot to stun, wound or kill.

Annie Up Song For The Soundtrack: I Feel A Sin Comin' On

Hell On Heels Song For The Soundtrack: Takin' Pills

Running Data For Saturday, May 18:
5.06 Miles

Mileage In The Change Jar: 0.29 Miles

Friday, May 24, 2013


Court Yard Hounds

651 Miles To Go

The Erwin Sisters (a.k.a. Martie Maguire and Emily Robison) took the first flight away from the Dixie Chicks as the Court Yard Hounds and flew into Sheryl Crow airspace on their 2010 debut.

Motherhood, personal strife and the ongoing fallout from the Dixie Chicks/W. controversy put the band on the shelf following the 2006 "Accidents & Accusations" tour.

The combination of circumstances, including Robison's 2008 split from Texas singer/songwriter Charlie Robison, inspired Emily to write as an outlet for all that was going on around her.

"The first year of our hiatus, I was getting very restless and needed to be creative for my own sanity," the younger sister said on the Court Yard Hounds web site. "And, at the same time I was going through my divorce, so it was very fertile ground for writing."

Robison writes or co-writes and sings on 11 of the 12 songs on the album. Her elder sister Maguire takes the creative lead and vocals on a single song - Gracefully.

The resulting Court Yard Hounds collection is filled with heartaches, heartbreaks and hard choices, along with splashes of breezy ballads and sunny mid-tempo rockers.

Musically, it plays like a softer Sheryl Crow record and both sisters' vocals are similar to the quiet Crow. Surprisingly, there's barely a taste of country or bluegrass on any the songs.

Even Robison's banjo and Maguire's fiddle playing are very subtle on Court Yard Hounds. In fact the fiddle play is more "violin" than would be expected (Ain't No Son the one exception), especially given Maguire's fiery flashes with the Dixie Chicks.

Skyline, Fairytale, Gracefully, April's Love and Fear of Wasted Time are atmospheric and lonely.

See You In The Spring is a duet with a Jakob Dylan in which a San Antonio girl and a Chicago boy use the weather as an excuse to avoid commitment.

The Court Yard Hounds crank the cadence on The Coast, Delight (Something New Under The Sun), Ain't No Son, Then Again and It Didn't Make A Sound to show they weren't the only Dixie Chick who wanted to move out of the country now and again.

Given the grandness of the songwriting and singing departure for Robison and Maguire on Court Yard Hounds, it stands as a solid opening effort.

A new record is promised for this summer along with a series of high profile Court Yard Hounds concerts including Milwaukee's Summerfest, Lollapalooza and both weekends of the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

Whether Chicks, Hounds or both, Robison and Maguire won't be turning into anyone's hen-pecked lap dogs anytime soon.

Song For The Soundtrack: Then Again

Running Data For Wednesday, May 15:

4.63 Miles

Mileage In The Change Jar: 0.23 Miles

Wednesday, May 22, 2013



656 Miles To Go

"You got a gift. When you were a baby, the Gods reached down and turned your right arm into a thunderbolt."
- Crash Davis in Bull Durham

It's uncertain what kind of fast ball Natalie Maines throws, but there's no doubt the Gods had something to do with her vocal chords of gold. (Being the daughter of master musician Lloyd Maines probably didn't hurt either.)

In her solo debut Mother, she attacks her craft in a completely new direction with the soaring vocal style that played a key role in making the Dixie Chicks so successful, artistically and commercially. 

Maines will be forever linked with the Chicks and the crazy controversy over her "ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas" remark.

For all that the incident took away, it also freed Maines and the band to move into whatever musical veins it wants and, now, allow its lead singer to explore the rock 'n' roll roads without ever looking back at the country.

She's even ditched her blonde Dixie Chicks look for a short brunette cut that's punk rock tight on the sides.

Most of the songs are covers from artists as diverse as Pearl Jam (Without You), Pink Floyd (Mother), Patty Griffin (Silver Bell), Jeff Buckley (Lover You Should've Come Over) and The Jayhawks (I'd Run Away).

Free Life comes from Dan Wilson, who co-wrote six songs from Taking The Long Way including Not Ready To Make NiceCome Cryin' To Me is an unreleased cut from those sessions.

Because most of these selections are outside of the mainstream, they'll play like new songs for many.

Ben Harper is Maines' chief co-conspirator on the project. He writes, plays, co-produces with Maines and brings his band along for the gig - guitarist Jason Mozersky, bassist Jess Ingalls and drummer Jordan Richardson.

Maines sing/talks the ultra-paranoid (bombs, guns, government) Mother with her crystal clear enunciation for an even starker version than Pink Floyd's original from The Wall, all irony probably intended given her 2003 "W." experience. It's also almost impossible not to bust into a Beavis & Butthead routine every time she asks, "Mother, do you think they'll try to break my balls?"

She brings the yearning on Lover You Should've Come Over, Vein In Vain and the closer Take It On Faith. The last two were co-written with Harper, Mozersky and Ingalls.

She duels with the guitars on Silver Bell and Come Cryin' To Me, and shows off her range on Free Life and I'd Run Away; both rate as perfect pairings with Maines' voice.

Only Without You and the duet with Harper on Trained fall a little flat.

Mother proves there's plenty of wide open spaces for Maines as she moves forward with and without the Dixie Chicks.

She can certainly play the role of interpreter on the paths previously taken by contemporaries such as Linda Ronstadt and Willie Nelson. Moreover, the world will always need the Dixie Chicks whether it's with new material or not.

Here's hoping Maines finds a way to scratch all the right future itches for herself and her audience. We just need the time in labor to be less than Mother took to finally be born.

Song For The Soundtrack: Silver Bell

Running Data For Tuesday, May 14:
5.02 Miles

Mileage In The Change Jar: 0.60 Miles

Monday, May 20, 2013


Taking The Long Way

661 Miles To Go

"Just so you know we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."
- Natalie Maines, March 10, 2003

That single line of Shepherd's Bush Empire stage banter in England was not Bob Dylan going electric at the Newport Folk Festival.

But, it may have created nearly as big a media tidal wave.

It was a singer/songwriter making an offhanded remark as her country readied for a war in which the world was not convinced of its merit.

But no matter how innocuous the comment, it stymied the commercial and career surge of the Dixie Chicks, the biggest selling all-female band of all time and country music's biggest selling act from the Nielsen SoundScan era that began in 1991.

The Dixie Chicks have sold more than 30 million records worldwide, sold out arenas across the globe and were mainstays of country radio from their 1998 release of Wide Open Spaces until that single remark incited anti-Chick demonstrations, the pulling all of their songs from country radio play lists, and even death threats during their U.S. tour for their third release Home.
Lubbock Or Leave It: The Dixie Chicks didn't
know they would be remembered with
Buddy Holly for a different reason than just
this Fall 2000 Texas Music cover.

But, for all the ill effects, the controversy inspired the Dixie Chicks to release their most personal and inspired record of their catalog and, seven years later, Taking The Long Way (2006) remains a testament to their resolve.

Unlike their previous three releases, all three Chicks - Maines, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire - put "six strong hands on the steering wheel" to share writing credit on every song on the album.

Though not the case with all, most burn white hot with rage and betrayal over an unintended civics class lesson that seems even more impossibly absurd a decade later.

"It's been two long years now," Maines sings on the opening The Long Way Around. "Since the top of the world came crashing down/And I'm getting back on the road now/But I'm taking the long way."

The unquestionable centerpiece, Not Ready To Make Nice, spits as much venom today as it did when it came out and, amazingly, loses none of its sting.
Easy Silence: The tour's "Accidents &
Accusations" moniker came from a
line in a song that portrayed a less
easy tone than its title. 

"With no regrets and I don't mind sayin'/It's a sad sad story when a mother will teach her/Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger/And how in the world can the words that I said/Send somebody so over the edge."

Additionally, Easy Silence, Everybody Knows, Bitter End and Lubbock Or Leave It are overtly influenced by the actions and reactions of 2003.

With Silent House and Voice Inside My Head, it's arguable that the lost loves and tough choices are metaphors for those who left the band behind.

Lullaby explores the joys of motherhood, while So Hard cries for the sometimes difficult path to conception.  

With muddied expectations at best for country radio to re-embrace the Chicks movement, they turned the production controls over to legendary studio impresario Rick Rubin, the drumming to Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and included a host of recognizable rock names in the backing line-up (John Mayer, Mike Campbell, Keb Mo', Bonnie Raitt, Gary Louris and Benmont Tench among others).

All of this adds up to a more rock than country feel for most of The Long Way and that's not a bad thing.

Maines' lioness of a voice roars, growls and whispers as necessary, while the two-sister fiddle, banjo and strings army of Maguire and Robison meshes in perfect sync with the other players in the posse.

Despite a suspended disbelief for their situation, there is a sense of hope that runs throughout  the record on songs such as I Like It, Baby Hold On and the gospel closer I Hope.

Even if no one in the band was "ready to make nice", it sold more than two million copies in the U.S. and won five Grammy Awards. 

And, in the Bitter End, the Dixie Chicks left the door open even to those who shut it in their faces.

"Let's raise a glass to the bitter end/Farewell to old friends/We'll still be here when you come 'round again." 

Song For The Soundtrack: Voice Inside My Head

Running Data For Saturday, May 11:
2.80 Miles

Conversation Stop at Johnny Go's House of Music

2.74 Miles

Mileage In The Change Jar: 0.58 Miles

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


The Black Belles

666 Miles To Go

The name says soul sisters or Southern Gothic.

And, the heavily stylized look is the hook.

The Black Belles: black hats, black hair, black lipstick, black dresses.

The CD case photo album and lyrics sheets are Tim Burton-styled art and B&W shots of The Belles. The last one features the quartet brandishing hanging ropes, a knife, scissors and a saw.

Just don't get caught in the black fishnet alone. Because, musically, these ghouls flash sharp fangs.

They are the rock 'n' roll brides of the night to Jack White's Dracula.

And, the master has taught them well.

Ruby Rogers (bass), Olivia Jean (vocals, guitar, organ), Shelby Lynne (drums) and LiL' Boo (synth) know how to torture their instruments just right for staccato guitar screams, spooky organ backgrounds and squealing synthesizer sounds.

The bloodline is early B-52's when they were more guitar gang and less pop novelty, along with Last Splash-era Breeders and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs of 2001.

And, of course, there's plenty of Jack White siring. You can almost see him jumping from guitar to organ to synthesizer to show The Belles the right way to grab an audience by the throat.

Lyrically, Olivia Jean spins the playfully sexy bad girl/bad boy banter you would expect, with some tales ending better than others.

"I can't control my fate/I am in a cage," she confides on In A Cage.  "How long must I wait/I am in a cage."

On The Tease, well, it's a tease: "Now pull him in real close - he'll flip out/Tell him that it was a joke then walk out."

Honky Tonk Horror ends badly for the boy who trades lies for love. Her gun's in the river. He's under the dirt. And, she's chanting "I've been a bad girl/I've been a bad girl/I want to be good again."

Unfortunately, The Black Belles haven't been much ringing since their debut release on Third Man Records. You can still find their page on the record company site, but the last traces of activity on their web site and Twitter account are nearly a year old.

Here's hoping Jackula brings these brides back; they need to be undead.

Song For The Soundtrack: Breathing Down My Neck

Running Data For Thursday, May 9:
3.01 Miles

Mileage In The Change Jar: 0.04 Miles


The Low Highway

669 Miles To Go

This isn't the first time Steve Earle has guided a tour of The Low Highway, just the latest in his nearly four-decade career.

"My hitchhiking days are long behind me now," he explains in the liner notes, before later adding. "I've been on every interstate highway in the lower forty-eight states by now and I never get tired of the view."

Seen through Earle's egalitarian eye, it's a bumpy road for many of his songs' characters, but not for listeners who reap the rewards of The Dukes (& Duchesses) coming along for the ride.

They provide the growling guitars, gale-force fiddle storms and accordion accents that bring the lows and highs of Earle's latest to life with musical twists that acoustic guitars alone don't allow.

"And the ghost of America watchin' me/Through the broken windows of the factories/Naked bones of a better day," he sings in the title track. "As I rolled down the low highway."

Calico County is a rocking return to Copperhead Road with meth the new drug and industry of choice.

The haunting disenchantment in Burnin' It Down brings the narrator to the consideration point of using "10 gallons of gas and a bottle of propane/Electric igniter off my grill ..." to blow up his hometown Wal Mart.

Despite the dark despair of the three opening songs, there's plenty of light along The Low Highway.

That All You Got and After Mardi Gras are tributes to The Big Easy and its undying survival and party instincts. The former features Earle's wife Allison Moorer on lead vocals.

Love's Gonna Blow My Way, Pocket Full Of Rain - the jazzy gem of the collection - and Invisible angle through the anguished hopes many hold onto in today's troubled times.

Earle also bends down Bruce Springsteen Boulevard on 21st Century, as he wonders why he doesn't have the Star Trek toys and "the future that Kennedy promised me."

Remember Me provides the final exit on The Low Highway with a prayer for his and Moorer's 3-year-old son John Henry that's reminiscent of Warren Zevon's Keep Me In Your Heart.

"Remember me on a stormy night/When there's no sign of shelter in sight/And you soldier on through to the light/'Cause that's all you see/Remember me."

This trip down The Low Highway is impossible to forget.

Song For The Soundtrack: 21st Century Blues

Running Data For Wednesday, May 8:
4.08 Miles

Mileage In The Change Jar: 0.03 Miles

Saturday, May 11, 2013


live at the Roxy

674 Miles To Go

Aging isn't easy or graceful in rock 'n' roll.

It's an even tougher trick for punk bands since acoustic sets and blues renditions of old favorites really don't fly in the mosh pit.

Social Distortion and Mike Ness are the middle-aged exceptions who continue to rule the road that most of their compatriots have long since abandoned.

Founded while Ness and the late Dennis Dannell were in high school in Southern California, the Social Distortion formula is equal parts Ramones, The Clash, Johnny Cash and Rolling Stones.

"Throughout the years, Social Distortion has tried to defy certain stereotypes of punk music," Ness writes in the live at the Roxy liner notes, "and we've brought elements of roots rock and roll to punk.

"Punk music is class music like blues or country; it's music that exposes the soul."

There is an undeniable sonic similarity to almost all of the material, but Ness' songwriting prevents parody, self-inflicted or otherwise, from settling in.

His tales of " junkies, winos, pimps and whores" still maintain their edge. Ness' personal struggles with drug addiction make their realities even sharper.

A song such as Mommy's Little Monster rages just as relevantly three decades after its debut without a hint of manufactured nostalgia.

live at the Roxy is Social Distortion's greatest hits package in its preferred setting -  on stage in front of an audience.

It ranks in my personal Top Five favorite live albums along with the Ramones' It's Alive, the Stone's Get Your Ya-Ya's Out, Bruce Springsteen's Live 1975-85 and Warren Zevon's Stand In The Fire.

The set list leads with their biggest hit - Story of My Life - and roars to "11" from there, never once slowing down in the 17 songs spanning each of their releases to that point.

Bad Luck, Prison Bound, Mommy's Little Monster, Mass Hysteria, The Creeps, Another State Of Mind, Let It Be Me and No Pain, No Gain follow.

"You guys want to hear a happy song?" Ness asks mid-concert before ripping into Cold Feelings. "I'm sorry homey; we don't do no happy songs."

In a continued staple of their shows, Social Distortion torches through snarling covers of the Stones' Under My Thumb and Cash's Ring Of Fire that pay tribute while also burning their "SD" brand into both classics.

The other songs included are Telling Them, I Was Wrong, 1945 (written from Ness' high school history class), Don't Drag Me Down, and Ball & Chain, another Social D. mainstay made even better by being live.

"Ball & Chain is a folk prayer," Ness writes. "When you've gotten to a point so far beyond what you thought you were capable of and you can't take it anymore and you have to surrender.

"It's asking God to take me out of this hell and point me in a new way. I wrote this song in 1988, three years after I cleaned up. Everything that had happened to me, facing a prison term, nearly dying twice a week, and the unbearable loneliness were all still fresh in my mind."

Ness comments on each of the songs on live at the Roxy in its liner notes to add to its overall appeal.

There's only one missing link on the album and Ness acknowledges it with "we're very sorry that we forgot Sick Boy."
Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll

Set List for May 26, 2005
Show at PromoWest Pavilion
Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll Tour
The band went on a hiatus after live at the Roxy. Ness released two solo albums in 1999, Under The Influences and Cheating At Solitaire. In 2000, Dannell died suddenly at age 38.

Eight years after 1996's White Light, White Heat, White Trash, Ness and the Dannell-less Social Distortion came back with its first album of new material - Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll - in late September 2004.

Dedicated to Dannell, Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll is seasoned punk rock for the parents who grew up with Social Distortion and an appropriate introduction for the next generation.

The Sick Boys and Sick Girls are all grown, in love and "looking nice dressed up on a Saturday night."

They're also sporting a few decades of wear and the realizations of being an adult whether they want to be or not.

"When I was young I was invincible/I found myself not thinking twice/I never thought about no future/It's just a roll of the dice," Ness reflects on Reach For The Sky.

Call it a mid-life crisis prescription taken with the multi-guitar attack that's expected from Social Distortion. It's heavy riffs against heady issues like faith, love and redemption. 

"Are you happy now with all choices you've made?/Are there times in life when you know you should have stayed?/Will you compromise and then realize the price is too much to pay?," Ness asks. "Winners and losers, which one will you be today?"

Crank through a dose of Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll and call me in the morning.

Licorice Pizza Notes: One of the "lullabies" I used to sing to my daughter was Ball & Chain. After all, she was too young to understand all that's connected to "a broken nose and a broken heart, an empty bottle of gin."

A favorite parenting moment came after elementary school one day when she said dejectedly, "Daddy, the other kids don't like the same music I do."

"How do you know that?" I asked.

"Today, they asked us who our favorite bands were and most of the kids said stuff like Britney Spears and Spice Girls," she replied.

"I told them I liked old school punk and Johnny Cash country and they just looked at me funny."

I couldn't have been prouder.

 live at the Roxy Song For The Soundtrack: Ball & Chain

Sex, Love and Rock 'n' Roll Song For The Soundtrack: Live Before You Die 

Running Data For Saturday, May 4 (Capital City Half Marathon):
13.22 Miles

Mileage In The Change Jar: 0.95 Miles

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


My True Story

687 Miles To Go

Aaron Neville decided to look back for his first record on Blue Note Records and the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards came along and not just for the ride.

On My True Story, the 72-year-old Neville and the 69-year-old Richards recorded a 12-song love letter to the Doo-Wop era of the 1950s and 1960s.

Neville's signature falsetto is as immediately recognizable as any voice in music history and infinitely suited to the familiar hits on My True Story. 

Richards plays and co-produces the album with Blue Note President Don Was who discovered the guitarist's affection for Doo-Wop during their work on a Stones project.

The Stones legend also tipped his hand with the '50s feel and harmonies on I Should Have Stood You Up from his solo debut Talk Is Cheap.

In addition to Richards, the backing band includes Tom Petty henchman Benmont Tench on keyboards, Greg Leisz on guitar, Tony Scherr on bass, George G. Receli on drums and Lenny Pickett on saxophone.

Neville's vocals remain in the forefront throughout and the band stays understated and slow dance subtle, save for a few sock hop raves on The Drifters' Money Honey and Ruby Baby, and Hank Ballard & The Midnighters' Work With Me Annie, which includes Aaron's brother Art on Hammond B-3.

Bobby Jay, Eugene Pitt, Joel Katz, Earl Smith Jr., David Johnson and Dickie Harmon rotate on the perfectly paired backing vocals.

Every entry in the collection is a classic memory in an American Graffiti kind of way, even if you don't know the original performers as intimately as the songs.

The Impressions' Gypsy Woman, The Ronettes' Be My Baby, Little Anthony & The Imperials' Tears On My Pillow and The Drifters' Under The Boardwalk rate among the highlights. (I can't quit singing Gypsy Woman in my head or aloud - "She was a gypsy woman/She was a gypsy woman.")

Fittingly, it ends with Goodnight My Love (Pleasant Dreams).

Whether My True Story serves as an introduction to the originals or as a standalone tribute, a second verse feels fittingly inevitable.

Song For The Soundtrack: Ruby Baby

Running Data For Tuesday, April 30:
3.44 Miles

Mileage In The Change Jar: 0.73 Miles

Sunday, May 5, 2013



690 Miles To Go

Snoop Doggy Dog is dead.

Tha' Doggfather is resting in peace.

And, Snoop Dogg has been left on the porch.

Snoop Lion has been Reincarnated a Rastafafian and I don't think he's lyin'.

It's not a huge leap to imagine Snoop jumping into the Jamaican jam, but Reincarnated is as surprising for what's not on it as what is.

No "Parental Advisory" label. No N-words. No F-bombs. No bitches. No gangstas. No pimps. No ho's. No body parts bravado.

The Fruit Juice song doesn't even include any gin, just all natural ingredients depending on how you count electronica backing tracks.

This is remorseful Snoop (Tired Of Running featuring AkonAshtrays And Heartbreaks featuring Miley Cyrus) with a new set of rules (Rebel WayNo Guns Allowed featuring Drake & Cori B.)

This is the Lion in love (So Long featuring Angela Hunte, The Good Good featuring Iza).

This is him heading into heartbreak (Torn Apart  featuring Rita Ora).

And, of course, it's Snoop getting high (Lighters Up featuring Mavado & Popcaan, Smoke The W**D featuring Mr. Vegas.). After all, it is Snoop and a reggae record, so there has to be ganja, lots of ganja.

He's here to love, be loved and play at the Reincarnated party all summer long.

Because of the variety of musical styles (most at dance beat) and the song-to-song spotlight given to the guest stars, Snoop's Reincarnated reggae comes premixed for those who want to get their Lighters Up whether carrying a real one or just the imaginary Smartphone version.

Everyone is invited: "East side/West Side/North Side/South Side/Unified/Come On And Ride With Us/Put Your Lighters Up."

It's too electronic to be Bob Marley & The Wailers, but this is Snoop Lion reggae fun for the whole family from coast to coast.

If any of the senior listeners are offended by the marijuana references, just remind them that Willie Nelson has been a member of the legal or not club for decades. According to legend, he even smoked dope on the roof of the White House during a visit in the Jimmy Carter years.

In 2005 Willie did a reggae record of his own - Countryman - that was 10 years in the making.

Rather than go "The Willie Way" on a collection of reggae standards. He plants an island stamp on nine of his own songs and includes only three covers - Jimmy Cliff's The Harder They Come and Sitting In Limbo, along with I'm A Worried Man written by Johnny and June Carter Cash.

The later was previously released as a Willie/Johnny duet on their stellar Storytellers set.

Produced by Don Was, Countryman is an easy listen even when it drifts and provides further proof that Willie and Trigger may be music's all-time best interpreters.

My recommendation is to mix a little Snoop Lion Reincarnated with Countryman and add some Marley to roll a sunny day play list that won't be completely twisted without Willie's Roll Me Up (featuring Snoop Dogg, Jamey Johnson and Kris Kristofferson) from 2012's Heroes.

Roll Me Up was the inspiration for this long run combination and it provided Heroes' hilarious novelty - Snoop singing with a country twang and the idea of Willie being rolled and smoked by his friends after he dies - but it is far from the only highlight.

Look at this album as a campfire gathering that only can exist in "Willie World".

In addition to our host, Snoop, Jamey and Kris, the circle includes Merle Haggard, Sheryl Crow, Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Price, and Willie's sons Michah and Lukas. Tom Waits, Pearl Jam and Coldplay, or at least their songs (Come On Up To The HouseJust Breathe, The Scientist), are here as well.

Though honky tonk heroes and legitimate legends abound at this hootenanny, Lukas Nelson grabs the torch from the stars on Heroes.

He sings with a warbled drawl that combines Hank III, Wayne "The Train" Hancock and Willie.

Whether it's on the duets with Dad (six of the 14 songs) or part of a power trio (Come On Up To The House with Willie and Sheryl Crow, Cold War With You with Willie and Ray Price), Lukas' singing is a perfect pairing whether on lead or harmony.

The gospel reinvention of Waits' Come On Up To The House is a revelation, not a re-do.

But, the Shotgun Willie moment comes when reading the Heroes songwriting credits and realizing that the best of the road woes and lows, highs and goodbyes come not from the father, but the son.

On No Place To Fly, Lukas sings: "The road is like a river that sings when I'm alone/I'm sitting beside a window of light that floods in my eyes and keeps me from finding my way."

Then a song later on Every Time He Drinks He Thinks Of Her, "But the party life is dangerous when you left your love behind/Because it hides in every bottle that you find."

Call it a coming out party if you like.

Back at the campfire, Willie, Lukas and Micah plead: "Come on back Jesus/And pick up John Wayne on the way."

Let's just say Jesus does and John Wayne sits down on the log next to Snoop.

Does The Duke toke, pass or deck the Dogg?

Reincarnated Song For The Soundtrack: Lighters Up

Countryman Song For The Soundtrack: The Harder They Come

Heroes Song For The Soundtrack: Every Time He Drinks He Thinks Of Her

Running Data for Sunday, April 28:
11.81 Miles

Mileage In The Change Jar: 0.29 Miles