Just finished watching the 54th Grammy Awards a little while ago (as of this writing)… I watched them for the first time in I-don’t-know-when. It had been a long time – I know that. Some random impressions that stood out from the proceedings…. LL Cool J made a perfect host and he should be host every year (or for how ever long he wants to do it). Nice to start off the show with Bruce Springsteen, accompanied by Nils Lofgren and Miami Steve Van Zandt, but minus saxophonist Clarence Clemons who was greatly missed (RIP, Clarence), and also to see the jam session at the end with Bruce, Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, and Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters and of course, Nirvana. Also like what he had to say about learning to play your instruments. Nice tribute to Whitney Houston who sadly passed away over the weekend. Glad to see Adele win Album of the Year – she deserved it, glad to see Bon Iver won Best New Artist, and good to see Glen Campbell performing – would have liked to hear a little bit of “Wichita Lineman” in there. Many shots of Sir Paul in the audience with his new wife and Joe Walsh sitting next to them, and a couple of great intense performances by the Foo Fighters, which is what we’ve come to expect from them.
The main reason I tuned in this year was for something they didn’t even show on TV. There was more of a rooting interest to see the outcome of at least one category – Americana. I have been following fellow ReverbNation and Indie Grammy-nominated artist Linda Chorney (for her album, “Emotional Jukebox” on Dance More Less War Records – love it!) through her blog as she made her way from the East Coast to L.A. for the awards ceremony. Her posts have made for good, entertaining reading and I’ve enjoyed them as she chronicled her journey to the Grammys and you can check ’em out here.
In particular, I like this excerpt from her post yesterday:
“My music is my music. I am very proud of my album, “Emotional Jukebox”. And once again, I am humbled by the kindness, support, and enthusiasm that has surrounded this passion project.
“Oh shit. I am starting to cry. Overwhelming tears of joy, and wonder. Wondering how I could have gotten so lucky that one man, Dr. Jonathan Schneider, was so kind, that he paid for me to record this album, wanting NOTHING in return. He believed in me and my music.” – Linda Chorney
This is what it’s all about – making the kind of music you want to make and having it reach a large(r) audience. She should rightly be proud of her album. I’ve listened to “Emotional Jukebox“; I think it’s a great album. She didn’t win the Grammy – Levon Helm won the Americana category (American Roots on www.grammy.com) – but she ‘won’ nonetheless.
Linda and her album’s nomination is significant for several reasons but it didn’t come without a certain amount of controversy. For one thing, some members of the press and the music industry seemed to be up in arms over her nomination and how a “complete unknown” could make it to the Grammys. I read a couple of articles by one particular critic – whose name escapes me (not important) – who seemed to be highly incensed that this could have happened, that somehow the “gatekeepers” involved in the nominating process were “played” and that there were other more deserving artists who should have been nominated. While there may have been other artists who were just as deserving as Linda and her album, the amount of vitriol coming from this one critic – delivered with a fervor usually reserved for Democrats on Fox News – was unwarranted, dismissive and disrespectful, both to Linda and to those commenters who supported her, and way out of line. Dude, you’re not Lester Bangs or Robert Christgau – just get over yourself.
This type of criticism and the whole concept of “gatekeepers” itself is outdated and “old model” music industry. What Linda’s nomination shows, as well as the general state of the industry and most of the music it produces for mainstream audiences, is that the music industry is going to have to adapt and make major changes, which is as it should be in a more democratic Internet age where artists have the means to reach a potential audience and enjoy the rewards of what they produce in terms of album sales and growing a fan base. The more tightly the music industry tries to hold on to the old model, the more revenue they will see slipping through their fingers (this has already been the case for a few years now).
And change is a good thing. On ReverbNation alone you will find more than 2 million artists/bands from which to choose and listen to. 2 million! That’s mind-boggling to think about and that’s a lot of diverse music out there. Who has that kind of time? Just from the small sampling of artists I’ve listened to and/or communicated with, I have always been impressed by the music I hear; the talent level on this site is nothing short of amazing. These artists deserve to be heard and to have a much larger audience. Some are hoping to get signed by a major label, some (maybe most) aren’t, but all of the music I’ve listened to on RN is better than most current music you’ll hear on the radio. Over the last year or so that I’ve been on RN, I’ve compiled a playlist of favorites on the Nights on Venus page, so check it out.
I’ve never met Linda personally, but through her blogs I’ve gotten to know her and she’s one funny, feisty, talented lady who is committed to and cares about the music first and her own work. You should get to know her too. As Bruce sang last night, “we take care of our own.”
NIGHTS ON VENUS NEWS:
This week, a new song – the title track from NoV’s forthcoming album, “In 4 the Evening” (summer, 2012). A little bit darker and (perhaps) more mysterious than what has been recorded for the album so far, it appeared briefly on the Reverb site and then I went back and re-recorded the guitar parts. Aside from a few final tweaks and some ambient street noise and wind chimes at the end of the song, it appears here in its final pre-mastered album version. Enjoy…
IN 4 THE EVENING
© 2012 Nights on Venus/Craig C. Thomas. All rights reserved.)
Until next week… oh and Happy Valentine’s Day!