Whenever I do an article on Hardline music talk, I get a lot of comments highly critical of The Hard Ones, especially noting (1) music snobbishness, usually by Danny but sometimes by Corby, and (2) the frequency that a small number of artists are featured: Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, a handful of others.
I'll declare my bias. Long before I was aware of The Hardline, if you had asked me to name my three favorite modern acts, they would have been Steely Dan, Jeff Beck, and Neil Young -- three of Mike R's favorites as well, plus Petty. So off the bat, I don't mind most of the music talk at all. Other than Danny's (fairly rare) mentions of newer local and obscure national acts, the guys' fave raves coincide with those I got a taste for from my years of primo music appreciation.
But I'm not defending their taste in music. I want to make a larger point about The Hardline, and probably The whole Ticket. I'll concede the Confessors' point, that there is a fairish degree of repetition in a lot of it. Even Nude Music Tuesday, on whatever weekeday it happens to fall, tends to feature new releases by old acts. (So that's where the one cheer gets subtracted.)
The thought I want to share is this: Isn't one of the things that makes The Hardline and all of the showgrams great that they don't pander to the P1? That these shows are almost more overheard than heard? A bunch of white guys + Donovan sitting around talking? Sure enough, repetition can be boring. But I'd much rather that Mike, Corby, and Danny were unselfconscious in their music talk rather than trying to gin up chatter for stuff they don't care much about. I've never heard a single Widespread Panic song, but Corby's enthusiasm for the band has attained the status of a bit, and it's OK. Mike defends his attraction to certain older, sometimes schmaltzy, pop hits that earn Corby's and Danny's scorn, and it's always a refreshing interude.
So I'm good with the quantity and quality of music talk on The 'Line. Sure, I disagree with it sometimes, as I did with Andy Williams. And I've defended The Beach Boys in these pages against Danny's and Corby's sneering. (Oh Danny, Danny, Danny -- or, Little Douche Coupe)
And, to get you all good and lathered up, let me say that Neil Young has made some of the most beautiful music, and written some of the most striking songs, of the past fifty years.