Tag Archives: Texas

Open Carry: Would You Want To Be At A Festival Where People Carry Guns

I thought seriously about attending SXSW this year.  The owner of one of the sites I write for knows the organisers and a number of PR companies wanted to partner with the site for coverage at SXSW.

The festival falls a great time, it is still cold in the UK and festival season is still dormant here.  I have never visited Austin or Texas so SXSW would have been a great opportunity to put that right and with an always eclectic range of new and established musical talent on offer to photograph and interview I would certainly have found plenty to keep me interested and occupied.

Despite the temptation I decided not to attend SXSW and today I am breathing a huge sigh of relief.  This is possibly the first time ever that I have been really happy not to be at a music festival.  Why I hear you shout.

The answer is a very simple one.  Guns!

Those of you who live in the U.S. may not be aware but today is the 20th anniversary of the Dunblane school massacre.  Thomas Hamilton murdered 16 children and a teacher before killing himself.  This still ranks as the U.K.’s worst ever gun related crime.

If any good came out of Dunblane it was the fact that increased gun control since then has resulted in a significant reduction in already extremely low levels of gun crime in the U.K.

I what is the most bizarre irony Time reports today that gun supporters in Texas will “crash” president Obama’s keynote speech whilst openly carrying guns. Seriously, this is the worst kind of lunacy.  I fully accept that the attitude to guns in the U.S. is very different to that in the U.K. and every day I give thanks for that.  Put simply in my view anyone who wants to walk around carrying a gun should be locked up for a very very long time.  Anyone who believes that allowing more people to carry guns will reduce gun crime belongs in the Donald Trump school of race relations.

According to the Washington Post C.J. Grisham of ‘Open Carry Texas’ made the following statement which to me epitomises why I am glad not to be in Texas this week.

“The president is an American, just like every one of us is an American,” Grisham said. “He’s nothing special. Granted, he is the president, but him being there for us doesn’t change anything. We’re no threat to the president, and the president better not be a threat to us.”

Just read that last sentence again “the president better not be a threat to us!”  I don’t know about you but it seems that this idiot just made a threat to the president of the United States.  These are the people who are walking round in Texas openly carrying guns. The mind boggles!

Just look at the banners these idiots are carrying.  “Obama if you want my gun come and take it.” Again an implied threat.  These are the kind of people who would never get anywhere near a gun in the U.K. and for that small mercy I give thanks.

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Changing Train - Theory of Everything

Changing Trains – Theory Of Everything – Album Review

Changing Trains are a six-piece who hail from Limerick in the South-West of Ireland.  The Theory Of Everything  may be their debut album but the members of the band have been around the music scene for many years and it shows.

One of the many delights of this album is that Changing Trains have managed to pull off a very rare double.  They manage to sound both fresh as well as incredibly polished.  Make no mistake that is no mean feat for a band, who like so many great bands these days, have recorded and self produced their own album.

Between them the band members have dedicated hundreds of hours to putting this album together.  They have done so without record company backing, without PR and without a producer.  You would never know it because this album is beautifully recorded, mixed and produced.  It is easily the equal of any big budget production.  So what of the music?

Put simply it is delightful.  Hannah O’Brien takes the lead on the vocals throughout and the puts the lyrics over in fine fashion.  On the opening track “One Of these Days” I was reminded very much of Sharleen Spiteri and Texas.  The stripped back piano and acoustic guitar on “I Loved You Once” provides the back drop for a truly beautiful ballad that had a touch of The Fray about it.  It really is a beautiful song, perhaps the track that wormed it’s way into my consciousness the quickest.

Won’t Let you Down” is another ballad cut from similar cloth and every bit as lovely.  I thought is had the feel of a Snow Patrol ballad about it but check out the video and judge for yourself.  Check out the drama that Hannah injects into the song at around 1.25 into the video when she sings “I won’t let you down……… Again” beautiful!  I love the line “He says I have a perfect smile, but it just hides my darker side.”

Gathering the Sunlight” feels very optimistic as it open with just the vocal and what I assume to be a Uke (but it could be a mandolin).  It’s a song about breaking free and reaching for your dreams and that seems to be exactly what Changing Trains are doing on this album.

“Staring at The Moon” kicks off with that sort of ‘sat up all night round the camp-fire drinking and singing’ vibe that Jack Johnstone puts across so well.  “Feeling Great” is another of those very optimistic ,reach for the stars, songs, it is an up-tempo rocker and perhaps showcases the band as a whole rather than in elements.

Let me Breathe” returns to the more acoustic and is a lot deeper than you perhaps give it credit for at first.  It seems to be a gently rebellious attempt to break out of religiously dominated small town Ireland, an environment where your future is mapped out, where “Having faith is not the same as knowing love.”

Album closer “Away From Me” touches again into the idea of not conforming to what is expected of you, it throws out a challenge, it tells you to lift your head up, look around, reach for the stars, chase your dreams, you do not have to accept that your life is no more than footsteps in the sand.  You don’t have accept that the marks of your passing will disappear with the next tide.  You just have to go for it.

With the Theory of Everything you get the feeling that Changing Trains are doing just that.  The dream is there, it may be just out of reach at the minute but it is getting closer.  With the Theory of Everything there is every chance that Changing Trains are about to grasp their dreams.

The Theory of Everything is out tomorrow, February 27.  If you are a fan of indie rock, strong ballads and the work of bands like Texas, Snow Patrol or Catatonia then you will love this album.  Do yourself a favour and click on one of the links below and buy yourself a copy.

Theory of Everything on iTunes

Theory of Everything on Amazon 

Changing Trains are:

Paul O’Riordan – Guitar
David Carroll – Drums
Neil Delaney – Guitar
Robert Carey – Bass
Peter Delaney – Mandolin
Hannah O’Brien – Vocal