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Dining Review

Three Fold improved

October 12, 2017
Three Fold improved
The noodle and dumpling co. moves to Main Street and a good thing gets better. /more/

Dining Search

A&E Feature

How a Sheridan native started with soda can purses and landed at the top of the handbag industry

October 12, 2017
How a Sheridan native started with soda can purses and landed at the top of the handbag industry
Christopher Belt won three titles at the 11th annual Independent Handbag Designer Awards. /more/

Columnists

Max Brantley

Pork barrel III

Mike Wilson, the Jacksonville lawyer and former state representative, for the third time last week won a victory for the Arkansas Constitution and taxpayers and set back pork barreling. /more/

Ernest Dumas

Tax tales

The easiest task in the world may be to persuade people that they are paying higher taxes than folks in other communities, states and countries, but there is never a shortage of people taking on the task. /more/

Gene Lyons

Conspiracy theories

Hardly anybody today believes that once unsettling events like solar eclipses are caused by wolves or demons eating the sun. But when it comes to all-too-frequent eruptions of what Philip Roth calls "the indigenous American berserk," many retreat into superstition, or worse. /more/

Movie Reviews

American Made' is as swift as Seal's hustle

October 5, 2017
American Made' is as swift as Seal's hustle
It's a Reagan-era romp from director Doug Liman. /more/

Pearls About Swine

The end is near

October 12, 2017
The end is near
It has fast become gospel around here that if Bielema's staring at a smaller number on the scoreboard as he saunters into the locker room at the midway point of a game, there's no credible reason for Arkansas to take the field for the last 30 minutes of action. /more/

Blog Roll

Arkansas Blog

Hourly news and comment

Rock Candy

The guide to Arkansas entertainment

Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 14:58:00

Bipartisan deal to continue subsidies Trump ended. But ...

Everyone's reporting that Sens. Patty Murray and Lamar Alexander have struck a bipartisan deal on to continue federal subsidies for health coverage that Donald Trump cut off.

Well, sure, two reasonable human beings could reach a deal like this. But there are Republican senators, the House Republican majority and the guy in the White House who don't necessarily fall in that demographic.

The president says he's on board (a day after he issued contrary orders), but Washington Post says other congressional Republicans aren't so certain.

If the deal does happen, it would solve a lot of potential problems for Arkansas, particularly with loosening fo waivers for specific state plans. Sometime today Benji Hardy plans to write more about Gov. Asa Hutchinson's somewhat perplexing statements on the position the state currently finds itself in.

 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 14:05:00

Tuesday: Open line, news roundup

Start atHere's the Tuesday open line, plus a roundup of news and comment.

 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 11:26:00

Hutchinson opposes diversion of general revenue to highways

click to enlarge GOV. HUTCHINSON: Opposes highway raid on general revenue. - BRIAN CHILSON/FILE PHOTO
  • Brian Chilson/file photo
  • GOV. HUTCHINSON: Opposes highway raid on general revenue.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson called reporters to the Capitol to say that he would "vigorously oppose" any potential highway funding plans that tap general revenue funds.

The highway construction industry and Highway Commission are working again on a money proposal to put into highway construction. A tax increase failed in the last legislative session.

Hutchinson last session approved a rare one-time use of general revenue to obtain $200 million in federal money. But he said that the principle of not allocating general revenue funds for highways  "bears underlining and emphasizing today as the different groups look at the potential for a new highway plan in the future.

"There's some discussion that we ought to divert sales tax from new and used cars or batteries over to highways. This would be anywhere from a $100 to 300 million hole in the general revenue budget if you took that funding and applied it to highways," he said. "Those are funds that are necessary for education, for public safety, and for all the other needs of our state. And so, I say: 'No.' We cannot divert that general revenue stream for education, for higher education, and for other needs over to highways."

Proponents of highway funding have said that it would be a gradual shift covered by a growing economy. Hutchinson said he wanted to use potential growth for other goals, like cutting taxes.

"They're basically saying it's not going to hurt general revenue that much because we're going to grow our economy and it'll be gradual," he said. "Well, we want to use that growth revenue as an opportunity to reduce the tax rate or do other things in state government."

Hutchinson said he wanted the potential highway funding to go through the voters. But, asked if he would support a highway proposal that included a tax or fee increase, Hutchison was reluctant.

"The voters should make the decision on any initiative and I'm for it going to the voters for them to decide," he said. "I won't take a position on a particular ballot initiative until I see the exact language."

Pushed again, Hutchison again said that the "voters should decide" if a fee or tax increase were tied to highway spending.

 

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 12:55:00

Guest Playlist: Flap Jones of "Not Necessarily Nashville" schools us on real country music

click to enlarge 22406157_1334385740004469_6162970346639191006_n.jpg

Hosting a radio show for 30 years is no joke, and hosting a good one for 30 years is an absolute triumph.

"Not Necessarily Nashville," which airs on KUAR-FM 89.1 every Saturday, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., celebrates three decades of the "best of the rest of country music" with a party Saturday, October 21 at the White Water Tavern with Brad Williams of The Salty Dogs & The Creek Rocks, and we asked host Flap Jones to curate a playlist for us ahead of that anniversary celebration. 
click to enlarge Flap Jones with Jerry Douglas of The Earls of Leicester, 2016
  • Flap Jones with Jerry Douglas of The Earls of Leicester, 2016
What’s “the best of the rest of country music” you say? It’s the stuff that’s been thrown in the backseat while this hip/hop/pop stuff they call country takes over the airwaves. The stuff that’s not about guys on a beer run in their pickup looking for hot chicks in tight blue jeans. The stuff with heart and soul that tells the truth. If you’re still confused, check out this twelve pack of tunes. They’re not all pretty and you can’t dance to all of them, but by God, they’re real.

-Flap Jones

“I’m Just An Old Chunk of Coal” – Billy Joe Shaver. Billy Joe wrote it, and you need to hear him sing it.


“Stay All Night (Stay A Little Longer)”
– Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. Ok, this one you can (and probably should) dance to.


“Hello, I’m An Old Country Song” – Dale Watson. If you don’t like this one, then you don’t like country music.


“Country Music I’m Talkin’ To You” – Darrell Scott. Got nothing to add here.


“Long Gone Lonesome Blues” – Hank Williams. I pity the fool that doesn’t get Hank Williams.


“Waiting on June” – Holly Williams. Hank’s granddaughter, If this one doesn’t make you cry, you might not have a heart.


“Lonesome Cowboy” – Melissa Carper. It’s just another lonely love song. Nothing wrong with that.


“Old Devil’s Dream” – The Nashville Bluegrass Band. A little bit of bluegrass never kilt anybody!


“You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” – Patty Loveless. Just more of that heart and soul stuff.


“The Rock of My Soul”
– Rodney Crowell. This song is at least 10 times better than any song of the year in the last 30 years.


“The Year That Clayton Delaney Died” – Tom T Hall. Actually, you could insert just about any Tom T song here.


“Tecumseh Valley” – Townes Van Zandt. There are boatloads of singer/songwriters out there and I’m guessing they all aspire to be like Townes.


 

Monday, October 16, 2017 - 12:09:00

Jason Aldean at Verizon Arena: A Review

click to enlarge 1397673740.6688.ja9702sml.jpg

Just 12 days after performing at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas when a gunman opened fire from a hotel window in a shooting that left 58 people dead and more than 500 wounded, a determined Jason Aldean played Verizon Arena Friday night in North Little Rock with a renewed vigor and a heavy heart.

 

“We appreciate y’all coming out to see us,” Aldean said after beginning just his second show after the tragic incident with “They Don’t Know,” “The Only Way I Know” and “Johnny Cash.” “I just want to say, man it’s good to be here. Every show we do is one step closer to us sorta getting through this whole thing. By you guys being here tonight to support us, support the show, the tour, that means the world to us."

“I can promise you, not a day will go by that we won’t remember what happened in Las Vegas. … It’s something that will always be with us in our minds and our hearts. But at some point, you know, we have to do what we do, which is come out here, play our songs, show people we’re not scared of ’em and live life like we’re supposed to live it. Our thoughts and prayers are always with the victims and their families – everybody that was there that night.

 

“But the way I look at it," he said, "you guys bought a ticket tonight to see a rock ’n’ roll country music concert. And so from here on out, the rest of this tour, I intend to play every song for you guys; I intend to play it for the people that came to our show that night and didn’t get a chance to see the whole show. Starting right now, we’re about to kick it into high gear and show what country music is all about. Y’all ready?”

 

His 10,222 fans in attendance were more than ready, standing, cheering and singing along as Aldean and his band went through a boatload of hits. Although some of the equipment and even some instruments intended for use on this stop on their They Don’t Know Tour was still in Las Vegas, that didn’t affect the sound or the show. The heartache-laden – and more traditional than most of his country-rock hits – “Any Ol’ Barstool” was a favorite as it details what a guy who is crushed by a breakup is doing to try to not let his ex know how she’s hurt him: “Sure I stay ’til they’re all long gone, and I take the long way home, but I ain’t sittin’ ‘round.” 

 

As he explained later, Aldean, the reigning Academy of Country Music entertainer of the year, feels “music is all about experimenting” – sprinkling his country sound with more than just a little rock ’n’ roll. Case in point, tunes like the celebratory “My Kinda Party,” the huge hit “Dirt Road Anthem,” “Crazy Town” and “Tattoos on This Town.” But he also delivers on the ballads, such as “Amarillo Sky” off his first album.

 

“Burnin’ It Down,” “Hicktown” and the pleasing “Texas Was You” proved to be other crowd favorites. It was a little after 11 when Aldean treated his fans to a ride on his “Big Green Tractor” and “She’s Country” in his encore.  

 

Chris Young, performing as the middle act, kicked off his part of the show with the stirring “Underdogs” and proceeded to serve up an hour-long, 13-song set on Friday the 13th that concluded with a love song that he co-wrote, the No. 1 smash hit “I’m Coming Over.” Highlights in between included his good-time tune “Save Water, Drink Beer” and his duet with Cassadee Pope (who appeared via video) on the reflective ballad “Think of You.”

 

Young’s powerful voice is best showcased on tried-and-true country themes, such as on “Tomorrow,” which deals with an acknowledged broken relationship, but a reluctance to part ways: “But tonight I'm gonna give in one last time, rock you strong in these arms of mine.”

And then there’s “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song),” which he took to the top of the country charts back in 2009. His reliable, faultless delivery on the catchy song has made it a fan favorite that he still includes in his concerts. Gotta love it – and him.

 

Talented newcomer Kane Brown opened the show with a seven-song set that featured his first gold single, the passionate “Used to Love You Sober,” his new single, “Heaven,” and his No. 1 hit “What Ifs,” which he recorded with Lauren Alaina. 




 

Friday, October 13, 2017 - 15:14:21

Come with the Arkansas Times to the Johnny Cash Heritage Festival

click to enlarge Johnny Cash in the backyard of his Dyess boyhood home.
  • Johnny Cash in the backyard of his Dyess boyhood home.

After several years of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro hosting benefit concerts to raise money for the restoration of Johnny Cash's boyhood home, this year the Johnny Cash Heritage Festival debuts in Dyess just outside the Cash homeplace. And of course the Arkansas Times is chartering a bus to be there. The lineup is spectacular: Kris Kristofferson (one of the greatest songwriters of all-time easily), Rosanne Cash, Joanne Cash and Tommy Cash and Buddy Jewel.

For $109, you get roundtrip transportation, a ticket to the festival, adult beverages on the ride, a delicious box lunch from Boulevard Bread Co. Plus, local singer/songwriter Jason Lee Hale will provide on-bus entertainment. Tickets are available at centralarkansastickets.com. The bus leaves at 9 a.m. at the old Ray Winder field, UAMS parking lot. You're encouraged to bring chairs and blankets.


 

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Civil rights attorney Mike Laux has spent years taking on the LRPD over fatal shootings of suspects. He isn't done yet. /more/

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