Keller Williams and bluegrass quintet The Hillbenders have teamed up to form PettyGrass, a group that will perform select Tom Petty covers “in a rollicking bluegrass style.”The new project has its origins in a number of Tom Petty covers that Williams put together for a Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals benefit back in 2015. After Petty’s surprising death in the fall of 2017 Williams and longtime collaborator Jeff Covert released the recordings as a tribute to the rock icon.“There is nothing like a room full of people singing along to the same song,” Williams says in a statement. “With his untimely passing, these songs have been pushed to the forefront of my mind and it seems like as good a time as any to celebrate, publicly, the music of Tom Petty. Luckily, The Hillbenders share my passion for this music and it just so happens that they are kick ass pickers who have amazing attention to detail. These Petty songs lend themselves quite easily to bluegrass and by the end of the night, the audience will more than likely be singing in harmony.”“We’ll do at least 15 songs, the ones everybody knows, and maybe dive into some other Petty stuff, too,” Williams tells Billboard. “Most are three minutes long or so. That’s how simple they are. But we can really dig into these arrangements and kind of find little spaces to stretch out into more of an improv thing and then come back into arrangements. It should be really great.”As Williams explains of the project, “I’m very self-indulgent in terms of entertaining myself first. I put a lot of emphasis on me having fun. I can’t be expected to entertain an audience if I can’t have fun myself, can I?”Williams and The Hillbenders will take PettyGrass on the road this summer for a series of festival sets, including performances at the Redwood Ramble in Navarro, CA and FloydFest in Floyd, VA. You can listen to a number of the Petty covers that Williams released last year below.As previously reported, an autopsy recently revealed that Tom Petty died of a mixed drug overdose. Examiners found a wide array of pain meds in his system, including Fentanyl, oxycodone, and generic Xanax, as well as a sleep aid and an antidepressant.For more information on Keller Williams’ PettyGrass and his various other projects, head to his website.[Photo: Petty: From Super Bowl; Williams: Emily Butler]
It’s safe to say that the approach Blizzard has taken to Overwatch esports has been maligned by many. Accusations of a game which is extremely difficult to spectate and has little to no proof of concept have been thrown around, whilst non-endemics have invested huge money to be part of the new Overwatch League.In a recent video Jeff Kaplan, the Game Director of Overwatch has outlined changes to the spectator mode which, if implemented correctly, may go a long way to quell fears about the game from a viewer’s perspective. As Kaplan explains in the video, teams that will compete in the Overwatch League will have colours and a “home and away” kit which will help viewers identify which team each hero belongs to. With Overwatch being a six versus six game with an awful lot going on, many heroes are duplicated across the two teams and thus knowing which team is which can prove difficult. By having each team with a clear colour identity, it instantly becomes easier for spectators to identify and understand what’s what.Additionally, the video suggests that projectiles and spells will be colour coded, too, so again it provides clarity as to who’s using what abilities and when. Another interesting aspect is the introduction of a “top-down” map which casters can utilise to better paint the picture for spectators or simply use as a tool to better keep tabs on what’s happening across the map. There’ll also be an instant replay feature, which will allow those broadcasting competitive Overwatch to show spectators the kill-cam following a death. It’s ideal to recap a kill that, in a game as fast-paced and frenetic as Overwatch, might otherwise be missed.Esports Insider says: This is definitely a much needed change to the Overwatch spectator mode. It still doesn’t answer a lot of questions people have about the OWL, but with notable quality of life improvements for broadcast, at least it should be a significant improvement on what we’ve seen so far.