A few days ago, Billboard decided to broach the subject of who should be considered “The Real Queen of the Grammys”? Adele, Taylor Swift, or Beyoncé? But they failed to regard the Grammy record of Alison Krauss.
O Brother Where Art Thou
‘Rolling Stone’ published a list of the The 100 Greatest Country Albums of All Time this week, and as per usual, it has many arguing its merits, omissions, and inclusions. There was a time when whatever Rolling Stone said was taken as the definitive word in music. These days it’s more polarizing.
The latest album from Kacey Musgraves called ‘Star-Crossed’ is more pop than country. Nonetheless, in the polarizing time we live in, the recent decision by the Grammy Awards to move Star-Crossed from consideration in the country category has set off a firestorm.
Like so many modern day true country fans, Tony Rice held a pretty outspoken distaste for what country music had become, and wasn’t afraid to speak about it publicly. “There’s still a lot of good music out there that John and Jane Doe will never hear.”
The impact and reception for the “O Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack was so significant, it’s very fair to characterize it as one of the most important albums in country music history, and it was most certainly one of the most significant releases of the last 20 years.
Yeah yeah, it’s awesome that Sturgill Simpson received an Album of the Year nomination from the Grammy Awards for A Sailor’s Guide to Earth and everything, and just the nomination itself feels like an awesome victory overcoming insurmountable odds for an underdog record and artist. But what are the prospects that Sturgill Simpson could actually win this thing?
Ralph Stanley, one of the last living legends in both the country and bluegrass world, has passed away. This was the word Thursday evening (6-23) from his grandson and protege Nathan Stanley. “My heart is broken into pieces. My papaw, my dad, and the greatest man in the world, Dr. Ralph Stanley has went home to be with Jesus just a few minutes ago.”
“Awards shows don’t matter.” This is the bill of goods fans of true country music, and fans of independent music have been forced to sell themselves for years as a consolation prize for continuously being overlooked, losing in bulk, and being generally embarrassed during the moments when America and the world crowds around the boob tube for the spectacle of a televised award show like the CMA’s or the Grammys.
Though The Kossoy Sisters were surrounded by the folk revival, much of the inspiration and compositions for their music originated farther south in the Southern Appalachians. Their focus was gospel and primitive country murder ballads. Most importantly, that innocence and purity that the world had scarcely heard since those original Ralph Peer Bristol Sessions was present in their music.
Today, 86-year-old bluegrass maestro Ralph Stanley announced that he will be embarking on an 80-show farewell tour beginning October 16th entitled the Man Of Constant Sorrow Tour: The Dr.’s Farewell. At 86-years-old, the frail Stanley’s best performance days are probably in the past, but if you’re wondering if it is worth seeing Ralph Stanley on his last go round, I couldn’t encourage it more deeply.
Many of the bold changes in the direction of popular music begin with artists that are too fey, too polarizing to become popular themselves. So it takes others who understand how to soften music with sensibilities to make it accessible to the masses, and hopefully, if time is on their side, transect the popularity timeline, resulting in superstardom.
Yeah, that’s right. I said it. I don’t care if T-Bone Burnett, or anybody else with a famous name produced your album. What I am concerned with is if it is good. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying T Bone Burnett is a bad producer. It’s just at some point hype far exceeds substance, and I think we have passed that point with the “T-Bone Burnett” name.