cyberBob Howe Each month guitar picker and Webmaster Bob Howe brings you the latest Country Music happenings on the Internet.
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Cowboys In Cyberspace - July 2007


Solving your computer woes and salving your poetic soul...

Leo Laporte

Occasionally we have looked at technical problems in this column but the main focus has always been country music. There are many dedicated magazines and sites that can help with the techno nitty gritty and I'm going to share two of my favourite sources with you. If you subscribe to pay-television in Australia (and let's face it, many country music fans do just to watch The Country Music Channel), perhaps your package may also include the How To Channel. If so, look out for THE LAB WITH LEO showing every weekday. Genial host Leo Laporte (pictured above), who also fronted the show's predecessor Call For Help, answers questions from viewers both in Canada where the show is filmed and also from Australia. Many of those viewers appear on screen via their webcams and that illustrates how worldwide communication has evolved. No matter if you are a novice user or a fully-fledged geek (hey, are you lookin' at me?), there will be a lot that you can relate to on this show. Also featured are many specialist guests who cover various topics, several of whom also supply free help via their own podcasts. Check out one such identity who was a regular during the Call For Help days, Cali Lewis, who hosts GeekBrief.TV. Although there is no country music, I found a hilarious blooper special in their archives where Cali's Texas heritage becomes apparent as she tries not to refer to a car as a ve-hickel.

Bob talked to Barbara Morison on 2SER 107.3 FM
about this month's column and more...
barbed wire
barbed wire
DVD cover The vaults of Austin City Limits continue to reveal a never-ending treasure trove of fantastic music as they repackage the hour-plus full versions of their television concerts. From 1999 comes DAVE ALVIN: LIVE FROM AUSTIN, TX featuring a man who has been likened to Dylan, Springsteen, Steinbeck and Haggard, to name just a few. He refers to himself as a 'barroom guitar basher' and claims that "...there are two types of folk music: quiet folk music and loud folk music. I play both." Indeed, with his band on this DVD they run the full gamut from sensitive to rockin', as they run through a fine repertoire that led to the esteemed Rolling Stone magazine describing Dave Alvin as 'a master of small town laments'.
New West NW8036 (via Shock in Australia)

DVD coverIt must be said that because of the prioritisation to make American country music so radio-friendly in the last few decades, not only has a lot of the musical variety been squashed, but also the poetry of the genre has been relegated to a lesser value. A crime against the arts and a shame, because it lessens the opportunities for younger audiences to appreciate the poetic lyrics of the early Merle Haggard and also a master such as Guy Clark, who should be revered on a much larger scale than he has been. From 1989 comes GUY CLARK: LIVE FROM AUSTIN, TX and it is a masterful performance on many levels. He is accompanied by his own acoustic guitar, plus the mighty fiddle and mandolin of bluegrass supremo Stuart Duncan and on acoustic bass (bowed and plucked), the virtuoso Edgar Meyer. The song list includes classic Guy Clark compositions such as L.A. Freeway, the light-hearted Homegrown Tomatoes and the sublime Desperados Waiting For A Train. Legend has it that the Clark household didn't have a record player until young Guy was a teenager, but they read poetry every night. Whether that made the difference we'll never know for sure, but lovers of great lyrics and sensitive music shouldn't miss this concert.
New West NW8028 (via Shock in Australia)

Until next time, happy surfing!

If you want to share the location of an interesting site you've seen
or request a topic for discussion in future columns, why not E-mail me.

Don't forget to listen out for cyberBob each month on the radio waves with
Barbara Morison
on 2SER (107.3 FM in Sydney and on the Web)
and listen for Big Bob from Bondi every Saturday night with
John Nutting on Saturday Night Country (your Local ABC Radio and the Web).



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