Saturday, September 24, 2005

Look Out...The Saints Are Comin' Through

Highly recommended this week is director Martin Scorsese's powerful new Bob Dylan bio/documentary "No Direction Home".

PBS will air "No Direction Home" over two nights [Sept. 26/27] as part of their American Masters series with Part 1 airing on Monday, Sept. 26 and Part 2 concluding on Tuesday, Sept. 27. This epic film is an absolute masterpiece and you don't need to be a fan of Bob Dylan to appreciate it either folks. A remarkable achievement and truly "must see" television of the highest order.

Don't miss it.

I have viewed the full DVD version just this past week and it absolutely blew me away as the definitive story connected with the early, essential years of my favorite singer/songwriter, the peerless Bob Dylan. In looking back, one is again reminded as to just how important Bob Dylan's impact has truly been on our collective consciousness and music culture. He's been an unfathomable enigma for many, but No Direction Home unravels the puzzle and makes a tight connection with Bob as a human being and as an artist.

That and so much very much more in fact, that rather than attempt to provide you here with only my own insights, kindly let me direct you to some great links for your browsing pleasure related to many things concerning Bob and No Direction Home.

Firstly, has a very interesting critical piece worth reading as does powerlineblog...but for a true wealth of review links and other related links, check out essential and daily updated Dylan site...Right Wing Bob will no doubt also be posting his comments in due course as well, so keep checking in with that site this week...and if you have any personal comments you'd wish to pass along, please feel free to forward them as I'd love to know what you think also about this fine documentary.

Your comments are always welcomed at FRANKtalk on this or any topic of related interest so don't think's alright!

You know it was always interesting living and working in Nashville in the mid 80's as I got to meet and know many high profile people in our industry. Two individuals whom I spent some time around also factor prominently in this new film as they were both important players in Bob Dylan's life and career. Artie Mogul and Al Kooper. Artie was the New York music publisher who brought Bob's early songs to prominence with several recordings by other artists. A real "tin pan alley" guy, Artie once described to me how he basically saved Dylan's bacon by buying back all Bob's song copyrights which had been given away by Dylan's manager Albert Grossman. Albert had naively sold publishing rights on Bob's songs for $500. When Artie found out, he flipped and made a deal with Albert that if he could get the songs back, he would get a cut on potential earnings. Albert, dubiously agreed and Artie simply went back to the publisher on Albert’s behalf and offered to buy back all the songs for twice what the publisher paid...$1,000. The publisher happily agreed and thus the copyrights reverted back to Bob Dylan. That catalog has since gone on to earn in excess of $100 million dollars. And people ask me why I'm in the songwriting/publishing business for the long run.

Perhaps this story may illuminate things in other than musically creative terms.

Al Kooper, a musician who played on many studio recordings of Bob's in the early years, [including organ on Like A Rolling Stone from Highway 61 Revisited], was living in Nashville during the same time I lived there and I also got to meet him and hang out at his house which was memorable mainly for his vast record collection. Al is a very important figure in rock music having discovered Lynyrd Skynyrd among other bands and having also founded Blood, Sweat and Tears. Add up his Bob Dylan history and you have one of the icons of the American rock 'n roll story. It was a pleasure and my true privilege to meet the great Al Kooper.

Al's wife Vivian, who I first met through Tony Joe White's wife Leanne, was a poet and we shared poetry back and forth on occasion as well. Vivian actually sent me one of the funniest postcards I've ever seen and so, on the eve of No Direction Home, I offer that postcard as my own reflection on how the music business has snagged me but good [chuckle, chuckle] see below.

You'll love this sweeping documentary folks...take my word for it.

It is absolutely fantastic viewing.

You'll be truly impressed.

Frank Trainor

Saturday, September 17, 2005

They Stopped Loving Her Today

Observing the rapid decline of the formerly dominant media culture in the US is getting to be a richer experience by the day. ABC News actually cut off an interview yesterday with a relocated Katrina evacuee because she responded so gratefully and so positively towards President Bush in lauding his truly compassionate efforts towards helping the poor and the dispossessed of the Gulf Coast region which has been so hard hit in recent weeks. The interviewer was clearly baiting the lady, who happened to be black, into saying negative things against President Bush on behalf of the many victims from New Orleans and other evacuated areas who have been affected by the recent hurricane and floods. But, she expressed only gratitude and much appreciation for the federal response and instead, criticized state and municipal response as having been totally unsatisfactory. The interview was going so badly for ABC News and its leftist, anti-Bush agenda, that it actually cut the video feed midway through the interview without explanation or later replay. The mainstream media wants bad news for conservatives to be the dominant item on their agenda at all Iraq, in Biloxi, in New Orleans. But there are good news stories illuminating many substantive efforts and positive developments resulting from policies of the current administration, which simply can no longer be suppressed anymore by lame, liberal biased news organizations or strident leftist activism in the wake of new media, ascendant conservative culture and the maturing of the American political mind.

A stark example of just how galling these mawkish, media lemmings are today, can be found in an item posted just yesterday at which details the true, unvarnished background of "media mom" Cindy Sheehan who has been lionized by the extreme left in recent months for her angry protest against George Bush for "killing her son" in Iraq. Ms. Sheehan makes her close associate and supporter, the avowed anti-freedom advocate, Michael Moore, look like a choirboy, as the powerlineblog item discloses.

In light of this unflattering unveiling of Ms. Sheehan and her activist communist consorts, you'd think the media would be all over this story revealing what it has now discovered about this once sympathetic media darling and leftist icon...but the media are nowhere to be found on this story proving once again the chasm of disconnect between liberal bias and the truth.

Note: Prayers and best wishes go out this weekend to all the Godbloggers at Hugh Hewitt some great blog links here.


Country music as an art form is dead. It has been for awhile now, but the cadaver continues to be propped up for display in order to serve the malign purposes of a wholly cynical, nutrient-free corporate industry designed to sell the masses a lifestyle-light product appealing to women predominantly, and whose bottom line is automated, consolidated, monopoly radio airplay control.

Mmm...sounds delicious.

Reminds me of a song actually did that go again...? Oh his classic song called "Visions Of Johanna", Bob Dylan sings..."in this room the heat pipes just cough...the country music station plays soft...but there's nothin'...really nothin' to turn off..." Exactly right.

I'm obviously supportive of various individual efforts to be successful in the country format however, as I'm a free enterpriser and a dedicated fan of true talent whatever the format choices or genres and as far as the business goes, hey...I think I said it best in my song A Buck Is A Buck ...check it out.

But, it's good that alternative avenues of promotion and distribution exist today for artists across all genres. In order to be able to exploit their work and gain acceptance for their created visions as artists, new methodologies are a true blessing. There aren't really many artists of substance left at the major format level now anyway as most have been dropped in favor of the grotesque cross-platform junk merchants dominating today who can not only afford to play consolidated radio's expensive game, but who actually encourage more of monopoly posturing in the marketplace. God knows, the former monopoly on copyright control is pretty much out the window for the music business today, so I say let it be. Good luck to Infinity and ClearChannel. After all, with the severity of the multi-billion dollar write downs and staggering losses radio has incurred this last couple of years, they're going to need it. By the way, the new classic country radio format now springing up will suit some for the short term, but like so much of classic rock radio, it is already doomed to the insipid, consultant driven programming constraints of sanitized mainstream commercial formats. Old country has outlived its time and better purposes as a genuine force in shaping the values and culture of song creation in any event.

Songwriters today are not looking to continue in the lyric traditions or musical footsteps of great country writer/artists like Hank Williams or Merle Haggard. As Tom Petty plainly puts it in his great song "Money Becomes King" it all just makes him crave a light beer. These days music itself seems to be nothing more than an ongoing light beer commercial. I don't drink anymore, so that might be part of my disconnect, but as a professional songwriter I can tell you that songs which aren't written for specific cross-platform projects and radio promotion, are not as well received in the business today as those which are manufactured "in-house" by production teams.

EMI Music Publishing Nashville in fact has recently changed from having a "Creative Staff" to now employing an "A&R Staff". That's a groundbreaking, monumental distinction in terms of music publishing functionality. You have no idea what that really means...but, I do. And, sad to say as well, for all those pure songwriters out there especially...the reality today is "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue".

As for me, my music is online, downloadable, freely accessible and features solid songwriting from stem to stern. Yes, there's some country in my blood, but not the beer commercial variety. I'm a lyricist/composer of substance AND commercial disposition...I like to write Hit Songs while conveying something real in an artistic sense. Hope you enjoy.

But my songs deal with things beyond "party time" if you catch my drift...I also don't write exclusively for only female sentiment. I love women, but I write from inside my heart and soul as a man who also has a brain, for women who also have brains and men too of course. Indeed, all of my major influences were great male writer/artists with whom I could personally identify and relate to...Kris Kristofferson, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, Tom Petty...artists that many women also enjoy, but not due to songwriting or singing designed only to cash in on the lowest common denominator or cheap Oprah Winfrey type sentiments that SOME women gravitate towards. My kind of woman wants a man to be a man and not a male sister she can confide in. I was born in a time when men were men and women were damn glad of it...that still makes a lot of sense to me, but then again, I am definitely an "A" type Alpha male.

That will have to suffice for today’s blogging folks as I'm outa here.

Until next time, don't let your deal go down.

Frank Trainor

Quote of the day..."You gotta be born on my side Sweetheart"
[Jack Fate...from "Masked And Anonymous"]

Monday, September 05, 2005

Highwater Risin'...

Hollywood film maker and talented multi-media artist Aaron Trainor [my brother] has had his new short feature film "blanc" selected for inclusion in this years Los Angeles International Short Film Festival 2005. The 9th annual L.A. film festival runs this year from Sept. 6-13 with Aaron's Highwater Films premiere of "blanc" slated for Sept. 11/05 at the Arclight Cinemas. I've seen "blanc" and was truly impressed by the artistry and craft that went into the creation and making of this new short film. Aaron is the writer/director of "blanc' and he also stars in this, his debut as a short film maker.

Aaron is no stranger to the craft of film acting however, as he has worked in several movies and television productions this past number of years between Vancouver and Hollywood where he now makes his home. Aaron is a very talented musician & songwriter as well, having had success this past two years with a few highly rated songs which scored big numbers at Garageband gaining him an appreciative international audience for his music. He has also just been signed to the very prestigious and successful Morgan Agency in L.A. I want to take the opportunity in this forum today, to offer my heartfelt congratulations, support and love to my "little" brother in light of these recent and previous accomplishments on his way to stardom.

Here's a Highwater Films poster and promo for "blanc".

Film festivals have a reputation of being a hotbed and a springboard for up and coming talent, and The Los Angeles International Short Film Festival is amongst its leaders. It is the biggest and most prestigious short film festival in the world. Having had 19 of its films nominated for an Academy Award (5 having taken home the coveted prize), this festival is truly a breeding ground for the next generation of filmmakers and actors.

We invite you to come and join us for this exciting event. It is a chance for you, being part of the media, to not only help promote only us, as filmmakers and actors, but to present this community and all it has to offer to the rest of the world. And without a doubt, you will be witness to some rising stars of tomorrow. Just as Luke and Owen Wilson kick started their successful careers with a short film called “Bottle Rocket”, so too, will filmmakers and actors begin successful careers at the LA Shorts Fest. So come on out!

As artists, we depend on media representatives like you to help promote our work so, thank you for your time and I hope to see you there!
…especially on Sunday, Sept. 11th in Theater 13 @ 1pm for the program “More of the Worlds” featuring the short film, “blanc”. ; )

Aaron Trainor
--writer/director of “blanc”
Official Selection of The Los Angeles Short Film Festival 2005

Good Luck, Aaron...!

Also today, I wish to extend my personal thanks and sincere appreciation to for his decision to link my FRANKtalk blog to his website. I was unaware that my blog had been added to RWB until recently. I was overjoyed.

Merely seeing my new FRANKtalk link featured so prominently on such an intelligent site as was exciting enough, but to see it linked there along with names and icons such as Hugh Hewitt, Michelle Malkin, Instapundit, Powerline, Charlie Daniels and more, was humbling indeed. I am very grateful, to say the least, that my values and views, shared by these and others, are recognized by as insightful and purposeful a voice as

I'm an ardent admirer of the timeless artistry and songs of Bob Dylan, whose work resonates so deeply and on so many multiple levels of spiritual appreciation that it defies mere categorization. I stand in full support and approval of RWB in his own dedicated cause of illuminating a wider scope of perspectives on Bob Dylan and the infinite worlds Bob so eloquently expresses in his music and his art.

Thanks again, RWB!

A further recommendation today as well for my wife Linda's wonderful Keefe Family website.

Linda has just returned from Prince Edward Island and her latest "Keefe Family Reunion" which is held in PEI every 5 years. This year's events constituted the 6th Keefe Family Reunion. It was a smashing success from all reports and indeed, Linda has just posted photos as of this weekend of the various activities and relatives in attendance. You'll find her new pictures at the Family Photos Gallery #9 link of her website...while there, check out her cousin Danny's 18,000 sq.ft. home and beautiful property complete with equestrian stables.

Just a reminder that Martin Scorsese's new bio flick on the early years of Bob Dylan in New York, is coming soon to PBS. You can check your local listings for "No Direction Home" and the DVD is due for release any day now. For information and updates, check out ....and visit today!

Frank Trainor
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