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POP INTERVIEW: Singer/Songwriter Carter Beckworth Wants to “Lead the Resurgence”



Meeting Carter Beckworth at lunch, I realized through the course of the interview he was unique. He is an artist you haven’t heard of whom you probably will hear a lot about when history looks back at his songs. He himself sums his style up, “Aside from the Black Keys, who plays rock ‘n’ roll that’s popular today? The most recent band before them was probably Kings of Leon. The reason it’s hard to classify my music for me is because it’s meant for a mainstream audience, but its not riding the coattails of anything that’s currently breaking ground or any kind of scene that currently exists. It’s more my music has a unique personality to it. I could see it sort of changing the landscape.”

“There’s a song called ‘Terrified’ on my first solo-album (There is also a version on the Baker Hotel album). I remember writing that song when I was 19 in the bedroom of my first apartment, in Oxford, Mississippi and thinking ‘That is a good song!’ I’ve always believed that the best songs almost write themselves. Songs that are written in one sitting tend have a sound that is both cohesive and Satisfied. ‘Let’s Just Dance’ (from the new album) is another one that was written that way. So is ‘Humble Heart,'” says the man whose songs have been on the soundtracks of several indie films.

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An English major at the University of Texas at Austin, Carter Beckworth learned that once acquired, strong writing skills apply to anything, including song. “Language was the one subject in which I excelled in school, so naturally I got more excited about it than the other required classes. More than anything, I think it facilitated the space and time for me to practice writing. I am fortunate in that I have always knew that I wanted to write, so studying literature and creative writing just provided me with more incentives,” he said.

“”I’ve lived a lot of places. I’ve lived in Mississippi and Alaska in addition to Texas. I used a fishing guide in Alaska. I would play for guests at the lodge I worked at. I guess I started playing in high school, in seventh grade, but I started playing professionally while I was in college in Mississippi. Which is where I lived when I putout my first album in 2007.”

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His arrival in Austin was preceded by tragedy. “When I was 20. I got stabbed.”

“It was a catalyst. I had been playing shows in Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia for the college crowd. I’m kind of a hippie at heart, and the Deep South wasn’t a conducive environment for my style of art. That incident sort of, it sounds cliched to say it, it put everything in perspective, but it made me realize I knew I always wanted to live in Austin. I first started coming here in high school. I knew I wanted to play music. It was a wake up call of sorts. It sort of it scared me bec I thought, ‘Anything can happen. Today can be the last day of your life. If you’re not doing what you want to do right now, you better have a good reason. I transferred to St. Edward’s University for a year and ended up finishing my degree at UT Austin.” His degree also included a minor in Spanish.

“From the time that I moved to Austin in 2008 until I graduated in 2010, I was playing with a band called Baker Hotel. We wee gigging full time. I was having to build my schedule and make up classes we put out two albums, played some major festivals and big shows and did a lot of tours around Texas. I started the band with two other guys that went to Ole Miss. We all relocated to Austin except our drummer. We still play shows every once in a while, but everybody got involved with other projects. I released two of my own albums and have done several tours across the country as a deal with the cellist and Steve Bernal. He and I play a lot together as a duo and when we do full band shows, he’ll play electric bass.”

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For women, there’s nothing like a guy singing love songs with his guitar. “Girls in particular can relate to my music because it’s really sensitive, I think, often vulnerable. More than anything, it’s relatable and a lot of times, it’s easier for girls to champion a new artist or song and get behind something they like and want to share it, whereas men, while they might relate to it just as much, if it’s not necessarily their favorite style of music, they’ll be less likely to listen to just the lyrics unless it’s their particular taste. They’re not gonna be as easily persuaded to listen to some guy singing the song. You’ve got to have the girlfriends first because then, the guys go where the girls are. Conversely, if you are playing an acoustic show that isn’t full, a middle aged man may be willing to listen to the lyrics more than teenage girls, which is one reason I love acoustic shows,” he said.

“I have changed styles of music several times. The band was a grunge rock band, while my solo stuff is still rock with a bit of a singer-songwriter element. That being said, I would never change the subject matter. As you grow and change, your outlook on the world changes and your approach to your craft changes and therefore, your style changes with it. As long as I’m able to record my own material, I don’t think I’m in danger of drastically altering my sound, and I also think I’m past the point of being someone else. I’m not a Michael Bublé, I’m a songwriter. I’m not like frank Sinatra where I have this whole act and this image. My art and my live show is about the lyrics in the songs I have written. Plus being a live performer from Texas, if that [traditional country music] were a possibility, I would’ve started playing straight up honky tonk music a long time ago. I would’ve brought in a fiddle player and started singing about dirt roads and beer. It would’ve been a lot easier out of Austin.

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“The people in the country scene I have written e it’s are more Americana artists. Some of my favorite songwriters could be classified as country songwriters, but I liked them because of their songs, not their style of music, so the writers I sought to write with are people whose subject matter is more thoughtful and deeper than your average country song. Some of my favorite country writers are guys you’ve never heard of who have written songs you have heard of. Most of the country artists I’ve collaborated with are songwriters that write for other people more than doing their own live shows. While I was born and raised in Texas, I can’t related to dumbing down the subject matter to be a pop country artist. I play a rock and roll, Americana, folk music. Whatever you want to call it, but by the subject matter and lyrics alone, there’s nothing country about it. I think Keith Urban could record one of my songs, and it could be a country smash hit. When you listen to my new album you’re gonna hear more rock. Kid Rock has done a lot of stuff I would call Americana, a lot of people would call country. It’s Southern rock.”

In the end, he says, “I’m not out to define a new genre. I just think my music has something to offer the music listening world that there isn’t a whole lot out there. I’m not putting out music that sounds like any popular music, and that’s not to say it doesn’t sound like any pop music in general, but I do feel like with all the the tech and club music, the resurgence in organic rock music is inevitable. I would like to be one of the people that leads that resurgence.”


What’s Brian Tryin’? The Crispy Sandwich Maker by Apod!



This weekend I tried out a new product that’s been crowdsourcing on IndieGogo. (The link is here.)

It’s called a Crispy Sandwich Maker, made by Apod.

I always love trying out a new gadget, so it was fun to see how this one would play out.  What makes this one a bit different than most sandwich makers is that this only requires just one single slice of bread to make a compact, easy to eat snack that can be sweet or savory. It can be used over a gas stove flame, or, with caution, a campfire, although the design’s arm length better lends itself to a smaller flame like a home kitchen stove.

Because I love a s’more, I decided to do an interpretation of that using  nutella spread and marshmallow spread. My friend John and I were happily making these little sandwiches in the kitchen while I friends taste tested the results along the way.

While the product description says that it requires no oil, we did decide to butter the bread to give a nice brown color to the sandwich, although it could easily be done without it.

The results of the nutella and marshmallow spread crispy sandwiches were consistent and delicious. After about two minutes per side, sandwiches were golden brown and the inside filling was oozy and delicious.

Then it was on to make a savory snack in the form of a crispy ham and cheese with dijon. Again, about two minutes on each side over the flame was just enough to brown the bread and warm up the savory fillings.

This was a fun gadget to play with, and the results were delicious. All in all, everyone gave the results a thumbs up!

To be part of this indiegogo campaign, visit this link!

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Get The Look! A Buyer’s Guide To Brian Balthazar’s Philadelphia Home Redesign



As the world was forced to spend more time at home, Brian Balthazar found himself in a position where he had sold a house before the lockdown and had to find a new one.

“We sold our home with all the furniture in it, so not only did we find ourselves struggling to find a new place, once we found one we didn’t have any furniture to put in it.”

And so, Brian and partner Dennis got resourceful, turning to refurbishing and buying store floor models. They were inspired to make bold, fun choices in color and style when they started shopping around for wallpaper.

Below is the segment as it appeared on the Today Show, and further down, a rundown of where you can find the pieces or ones with a similar look!


Let’s start with the Dining Room!

Move the slider dividing the image to see all of the before or all of the after!

Brian saysThe dining room was the first space we wanted to do. I haven’t had a true dining room since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted a big table for dinner parties! There were no tables within the price range we wanted, so we found a floor model at one of our favorite go-to stores, Arhaus. We easily saved 75 percent on this table by getting the one that they weren’t going to carry anymore. The chairs are from Wayfair.  On each side of the fireplace (not seen in the photo, but visible in the Today Show video) are two black tall lanterns flanking the fireplace. I got them at Target. I can’t currently find them on their app, but similar versions pop up every year. Get thee to Homegoods! Homegoods and Homesense (same parent company) are my go-to spots for home accessories for virtually every room in the house. You never know what you’re going to find, which is part of the fun.

But let’s focus on the real WOW element to this room – the wallpaper! This pattern is called Bellewood, by RebelWalls.   As you will soon see, I’m sort of obsessed with their patterns. To me, this room is magical with the added whimsy of this forest pattern. (They also have a more muted version with grays and even one with blues.) I also love that by hanging the paper from the chair rail up, you almost get the feeling that you’re standing on a balcony overlooking the forest. I surrounded the whole room with this paper, which I love, but you could easily add the same magical feeling by just doing one feature wall. Their website shows how it can translate to a bedroom or office. You might be intimidated by hanging wallpaper but don’t be! This pattern has so much going on that it really looks perfect when it goes up!



Brian says: The guest bedroom is on the top floor of the house, so it’s got roof lines on two sides that make it a tricky space to navigate if you’re not careful. The planning of this space alone resulted in a few bonked heads. On the upside, the wall where the bed goes is tall, so it was an obvious place to create some visual pop. Again, the wallpaper takes the spotlight.  Called “Nude Roses,” also by RebelWalls, I love this design. Floral wallpaper was ‘big’ in popularity back in the 1920s when this house was built, but the patterns at that time were smaller, repeated more often, and were often really bold in color. This interpretation is so fun to me! Gone are the small roses in favor of oversized blooms, and the bold colors are more subdued pink and gray hues, with touches of dark green and creamy whites.

While roses can inherently feel feminine, the plaid bedding (30 dollars for a queen set from Target) are a surprising complement that keeps everything from feeling a little stereotypical. The side tables are mismatched – partly because we didn’t want to go too “matchy=matchy” – but also to save some money – the one on the left side (hard to catch here) was from West Elm. Normally $199, we got it for half off as the floor model. The one on the right we found in the trash. It was perfectly fine, clearly someone had just gotten tired of it! Nothing some disinfectant can’t fix. That gave us some extra money to spend – To reduce the softeness we went with industrial lamps and edison bulbs. The lamps  are called “Ginyard,” from Wayfair. The headboard was on sale at Arhaus. The dark gray takes balances out the pink hues well. The pillows are from Target and Homegoods.

For the 360 degree view of this room, watch the Instagram reel below!  You’ll see the dresser, on sale for $599 from Arhaus, a lamp from Homegoods, and mobiles from Amazon which we fashioned into a ‘piece of art’ that keeps you from hitting your head on the angled wall opposite the bed. Watch the video to check it out!


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A post shared by Brian Balthazar (@brianbalthazar)



Brian says: The idea for the basement game room was to create a space that feels like a lounge you might find if you went out with friends. When you go into this basement it definitely feels like you’ve gone someplace unique! Believe it or not, I found out the Today Show had invited me to to record my house tour just a few days in advance, and so we turned around this spot in just THREE days! There was literally no pool table at the time, (although it had already been scheduled to come on Friday, the wallpaper came on Saturday, (as well as the floor tiles!) and by Sunday we were covered in paint and glue and drinking wine to celebrate it’s completion! I recorded the final video that Monday.

Some people might not think to take a bright basement and make it dark, but that was our first instinct. Clubs are dark and moody, and we wanted this to feel like that. We painted the walls Wrought Iron by Benjamin Moore, which is a very dark gray that seems to take on different hues based on where you paint it and the light that shines on it. We painted the ceiling black. This was Thursday night! Then Friday the pool table came. The floor tiles (“Tweed Indeed” in black by Flor) hadn’t arrived until the next day, so when they did arrive I meticulously trimmed four tiles to fit around the pool table legs so it looks like they were there the whole time. I had ordered the pool table online weeks before from and by sheer coincidence it was scheduled to arrive in time for me to shoot the redesign. This was the second time I have ordered a pool table from them (which was initially scary because you’re not even seeing it beforehand!) but it always arrives in perfect condition to your specific selections. I love that the felt jet black and keeps things dark and moody. In the time that has passed since this photo was taken, I’ve added more of the carpet tiles to make the carpeted floor area darker and bigger.

But once again, the wall mural steals the show in a marvelous way! This mural is called “A Priori” from Rebelwalls, and is inspired by The Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power, a famous fresco by Italian artist Pietro da Cortona. Fitting, because this house is Italian in style on the outside. You can’t see it from this photo but the wallpaper runs up part of the ceiling as well. It truly gives the room a wow factor when you enter it. The lamps are from Homegoods, (we’ve since added some industrial floor lamps for extra mood lighting) and the piano was something we brought with us. The bar tables are from Amazon ($72 each) and the stools we brought with us – they were discards from someone who didn’t like their original bright colors and thought they were dated! We covered them ourselves with gray plaid fabric and they’re better than they were new!


So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the rooms and find something you like!

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Well Sh-t, Leslie Jordan Has Shared Three Videos Of Himself Dancing In One Week And They’re All Perfect



Doing much better now, Leslie.

If you’ve never believed that “good things come in small packages” then you’ve never seen Leslie Jordan’s instagram. The 4’11” actor known for his iconic roles in shows like Will & Grace and American Horror Story has recently developed a whole new fanbase who loves him for his viral Instagram videos. Usually starting each video by greeting fans with “Well shit, how y’all doing?”, viewers have grown to anticipate Jordan’s hilarious recounting of stories from his time in show biz or growing up in the south. This week, however, the Tennessee native has shared 3 videos of himself dancing within 5 days and honestly it’s precisely what we all need right now.

The first video was posted on August 12th and shows Jordan taking part of the “Git up and dance challenge” which swept the internet about a year ago. Even though he is a little late, the video is still perfection.

On August 13th, Jordan does a dance to “You Can’t Stop The Beat” from Hairspray a with special guest dance partner Katie Couric!

Finally, on August 15th, Jordan does an epic “tootsie roll” and challenges Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills star, Lisa Rinna, to do the tootsie roll herself. Of course Rinna commented with a big “ON IT ❤️😂.” Who could say no to the viral star?!?

The moral of the story here is that the world is going through some tough times right now but maybe, even for a few seconds, we could all feel better if we’d just dance it out. Thanks for the inspo Leslie Jordan!

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