• Maya Rudolph’s Prince cover band pays tribute at Moontower Comedy

    As Maya Rudolph and Gretchen Lieberum’s cover band, Princess, took the Paramount Theatre stage Saturday night, the sold-out crowd waved purple glow sticks in the air wildly, setting the tone for what became a celebratory tribute to their mutual “hero:” Prince.

     

    Though Rudolph, a Saturday Night Live alumna, and Lieberum, a jazz musician, were added to the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Fest months ago, Prince’s unexpected death last week turned the set into a timely memorial of the musical legend’s prolific career. Renditions of songs such as “Head,” “Little Red Corvette” and “Let’s Go Crazy” energized the crowd, motivating them to stand and dance for the full concert.

    But as fun and lighthearted as the pair’s dancing, howling vocals, and metallic costumes were, they also took time to share personal stories of “screaming and crying” at their first Prince concerts growing up and meeting him later in life. In one encounter, Prince told Rudolph he had them “programmed into his DVR,” referencing one of Princess’s performances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in 2012 that he’d recorded.

     

    After well over an hour of slow dancing, rose petal showers, and Prince’s biggest hits, the band wrapped up the show with a fitting, emotional rendition of “Purple Rain,” putting a poignant cap on a night dedicated to celebrating the legacy Prince leaves behind.

     
  • Remembering Merle Haggard’s legacy with these four songs

    Country legend Merle Haggard died Wednesday on his 79th birthday at his home in California, The New York Times reported

    The Grammy-winning “outlaw” sent 38 country hits to the top of the charts throughout his decades-long career, one of the most illustrious in country music history. To celebrate his life, The Daily Texan compiled this list of four of Haggard’s best songs.

    “Okie from Muskogee”

    Arguably Haggard’s biggest hit, “Okie from Muskogee,” released in 1969, features lyrics about life in small-town America during the height of the Vietnam War. But while singing “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee,” and denouncing the icons of the authority-challenging hippie lifestyle such as beads and sandals, the song was mostly seen as a satire, becoming a favorite among those involved in the counterculture movement. 

    “Workin’ Man Blues”

    It’s not easy getting by. Or at least that’s what Haggard preaches as he sings about “working as long as my two hands are fit to use” from the perspective of a working-class husband and father of nine. While the story isn’t autobiographical, it resonated with families around the country, becoming an anthem for those who had to work just to make ends meet.

    “Pancho and Lefty”

    With friend and collaborator Willie Nelson, who today released a statement calling Haggard his “brother,”  Haggard recorded this cover of the Townes Van Zandt song. The lyrics tell the story of a bandit from the “deserts down in Mexico” and his friendship with a man named Lefty, who leaves for Ohio after Pancho’s death. The two trade off verses, their somber voices and simple guitar parts giving the ballad the feeling of an intimate campfire story.

    “Today I Started Loving You Again”

    This 1969 love song is one of Haggard’s sweetest serenades. Written with then-wife Bonnie Owens, the track later was covered by Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, among others.

    For more of Haggard’s classic tunes, check out Rolling Stone’s list of the top 30 here