Frank Gutch Jr: The Grammys: The Decline of the Major Labels (and Civilization) Continues; When Three Bands (Don’t) Collide; Michael Fennelly— On Vinyl; For the Tots at Christmas— Goodnight Songs; Plus N-n-n-notes…..

Frank Pic

Every year I get my hopes up and every year the so called experts behind the Grammy’s dash them against the rocks like fishkill, blood and brain cells covering the entire music industry with fresh stench in the form of what they claim to be “the best”—  their words, not mine.

Last Friday, they regaled us with five choices vying for that title in each category they laid out— “the best” country album, “the best” rock song, “the best” rock album— five chosen out of a bucket of, let’s say, fifty that they would even consider worthy.  I mean, why consider more when we know that the world’s capacity for music— real music— has shrunk to the size of a pea.

Grammy-logo1

What the hell happened to the Grammys, I think to myself every year, but I already know.  They have never reflected my choices of “the best” of anything.  At least, I don’t think so.  But I figured, what the hell, to be on the safe side, maybe I should revisit the past and make sure.  So I called Sherman and Mr. Peabody and asked for permission to use the Wayback Machine and here is what I found.  And while you may think the various choices acceptable, especially in retrospect, please try to look at it from the standpoint of the number of choices from which they powers-that-were had to choose at the time.

You remember 1965, right?  Well, I sure do.  At least, I think I do.  That was the year I went to college.  The year I actually drank beer instead of sipped it.  The year I was talked out of having a transistor radio surgically implanted in my head (I was sure it was more than a fad and would last forever).  The year our band, The N Crowd, drove the unheard of distance of 90 miles to play the Teen Fair at the Portland Coliseum for the unheard of sum of one professional (or semi-professional, being’s how they didn’t really pay cash money, it being a barter thing) promo picture and played before a good 200 people on a side stage, most of the 200 passing by on their ways from somewhere important (maybe the concession stand) to a stage where a real band was playing.  At least ten stuck around for the whole set, though three of them because they worked there.

Beatles_ad_1965To get back to the point, did you know that The Beatles won the Grammy for Best New Artist that year (They also won Best Performance by a Vocal Group, though you wouldn’t think so by all of the headlines they were garnering for their hair)?  Well, not that year, actually.  It seems that they were the Best New Artist of 1964, but the ceremony took place in 1965.  Kind of like the car manufactures unveiling their 1965 models in August of 1964.  Jesus.  Even before they became corporations, corporations were messing with our heads.  Roger Miller swept the Country awards for, of all songs, Dang Me (and the album it rode in on).  That was the year that they gave Frank Sinatra the Lifetime Achievement Award, not knowing that his life was far from over, Louis Armstrong the Best Male Vocal Performance Award for Hello, Dolly (I hated that song, no matter who sang it), and Stan Getz & Astrud Gilberto ran away with Record of the Year for The Girl From Ipanema.  Record of the Year must have morphed into Song of the Year judging from the lack of the category in this year’s nominations, records being a thing of the past, or so the Grammy Committee seems to think.  The world was changing and the world of music was changing as well.  I could almost understand these choices, outside of the Roger Miller sweep.  I mean, Dang Me and Chug-a-Lug were good novelty songs, but to say that they were the best Country had to offer at the time was a stretch.

The next year saw Tom Jones make his debut as Best New Artist and you can imagine what I thought of that.  The guy didn’t even play an instrument, for chrissake!  And the songs he came up with were not even in my ballpark.  Of course, I could not deny that my buddies were walking around humming Tom Jones songs, so I have to give the guy that much.  Roger Miller again pushed most Country out of the way, his King of the Road album and song charting high on  both Country and Pop stations.  The only real choice that year which made perfect sense to me, though, was the choice of James Brown‘s Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag as the Best R&B Recording.  It didn’t impress me much when I first heard it, but the more I heard it the more I liked it and, in fact, because of it, became a closet James Brown fan for life.

John Lennon & Paul McCartney received a Grammy the next year for Michelle, a song I have always considered a weak link in their legacy.  Frank Sinatra hit with not only Song of the Year (Strangers In the Night) but Album of the Year (A Man and His Music).  A real surprise for me was finding that Cortelia Clark took an award home for Best Folk Recording (Blues In the Street), a name and album of which I have been totally unaware until now.  Seldom does a record totally get by me, even back then.  Another surprise was the number of what we used to call MOR (Middle of the Road) or AOR (Adult-Oriented Radio) artists in the mix— Anita Kerr, Ray Coniff, Eydie Gorme, and Frank Sinatra among them.  Klaus Voorman won for Best Album Cover (The Beatles’ Revolver) and Stan Cornyn took the prize for Best Album Notes (Sinatra at the Sands), which undoubtedly had the crowd on the edge of their seats until word came down.  I don’t understand.  Rock was powering up, big-time.  How did those old fogies get in there?

I think 1968 was the year I mark as a banner year for music and not just the popularity of certain pieces of it.  That was the year The Beatles won Album of the Year for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Many of you have heard me denigrate The Beatles and their history (histories are always bigger in retrospect than it is in the reality of the moment), but of all albums, this was the one which really had an impact across the board.  Unless you were there, you cannot possibly understand the huge gap spanned by the boys, truly separating them from the pack.  Aretha Franklin was honored for Respect, Sam & Dave for Soul Man, and Fifth Dimension for Up, Up and Away— an exceptional year for soul.  This was possibly the sanest year Nashville ever had, nominations and winners coming from all aspects of the Country field.  Even John Hartford won as songwriter for Glen Campbell‘s Gentle On My Mind.  Almost made me believe in the efficacy of the Grammys, themselves, though it would not last.

You do realize that the Grammys cover the year before, as regards the ceremony?  That Grammys 1969 is a supposed celebration for music released in 1968 and so forth?  By the time they got to 1970 (music of 1969), I was beginning to smell a rat.  Or, more aptly, the Grammys started smelling like a rat.  Certain things fell in line with the world as I heard it.  Crosby Stills & Nash gained notoriety as Best New Artist, though that first album would soon fade due to its too-slick sound.  When Young joined the band later, it felt better, but the superstar syndrome began to kick in and I knew things would never be the same.  Harry Nilsson won Best Male Vocal Performance for Everybody’s Talkin’, a cover of a Fred Neil tune.  I liked the tune though I would always associate it with Midnight Cowboy and would have preferred Nilsson to win with a song he had written, and there were a few which could easily have made the grade.  Best Contemporary Song was Joe South‘s Games People Play, which I didn’t care for right off the bat, especially with the plethora of outstanding songs of that year (Everyday People, Get Back, I Can’t Get Next To You, Come Together, Someday We’ll Be Together, to name only a few).  It was the year of Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In, which was an across-the-board radio favorite (by 1970, I never wanted to hear that song again).  The music industry was warping my head and I saw gaps growing in my musical tastes, which I came to understand later as AM radio’s implementation of stricter and less adventurous playlists.  The most telling winner that year, to me, was Joni Mitchell‘s Clouds.  I didn’t hear her quite yet, but Blue would make me look back at Clouds as one of the times the Grammys really got it right.

That gap between the Grammy’s picks and my picks widened further in 1970 (Grammys 1971).  While they were all over Simon & Garfunkel for what I consider to be a real masterpiece, Bridge Over Troubled Water (an album which, to my mind, owed as much to the excellent arrangement talents of Larry Knechtel as anything— he and Paul Simon roping in the award for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)— I mean where do they come up with their categories, for Chrissake?), they missed the boat on some absolute beauties.  That was the year of Guess Who‘s American Woman, which received blanket airplay in the Pac Northwest, The Carpenter‘s Close To You, Edwin Starr‘s War and a few hundred other songs worth hearing but cut down to only a few.  It soon would become obvious that radio and the formatted playlists were taking a toll on music itself.  Lucky for the US, Underground Radio was stepping in to take up the slack.

tapestry

Carole King owned 1971 (Grammy Year 1972), Tapestry shoving real music off to the side.  I mean, the album sold very very well but if sales were criteria, some of the previous “bests” would have been kicked to the curb on that basis alone.

While I was drowning in excellent music in 1973 (Grammy Year 1972), the Grammys were slipping into a coma.  America was supposed to be the Best New Artists (shudder), The Concert For Bangladesh was chosen Album of the Year (that sound you hear is my head banging against the corner of my desk), and Helen Reddy won Best Performance for a Female Artist with I Am Woman (make that a double shudder, bartender).

deodatoAs if the Grammy people wanted me to leave the room, they went whole hog on musical pap in 1974 (Grammy Year 1973), picking a whole string of popular but bland tunes and albums to honor.  I mean, Stevie Wonder‘s Innervisions was a smash, but it bored me to tears, as did Gladys Knight‘s Neither One of Us (Wants To Be the First to Say Goodbye) and Deodato‘s fingernails-on-a-blackboard takeoff on Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra.  If they wanted me gone, they did it right.  I seldom looked at Grammy lists again.  In my musical mind, they were always a year late and a few million dollars short.  ‘The Grammys suck’ became my mantra.

Every few years I would try to revisit the idea of the Grammys but I could never look past the first list of nominees.  It’s like a company CEO picking the best employees in the various departments, you know?  It’s like they have no clue!  It doesn’t mean, of course, that they get everything wrong, but they do their best.

miley-cyrus-twerk-vma-2013-robin-thickeThe thing about it is, maybe I’m the one who has no clue.  As deep as I am into the Indies, I am barely listening to anything popular.  Beyonce?  Muzak.  Miley Cyrus twerking?! Triple shudder.  (I will never get the image out of my mind) Taylor Swift, Beck, Coldplay, Arcade Fire, Ryan Adams, The Black Keys?  Retreads.  Best Country Album is downright embarrassing, making “same as the old boss” truth.  The only viable candidate, in my opinion, is the one unknown (to me), Brandy Clark.  I have no idea why she was chosen because I have not heard anything by her yet, but Nashville has gone out of their way for the past few years making sure standard-and-boring defines what they call Country these days— (I mean, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Lee Ann Womack, and Miranda Lambert again?  I guess no one else in Nashville is worth a shit.  Well, besides Ms. Clark, that is.  I see that they threw in a Glen Campbell song in the Best Country Song category.  Can anyone say John Wayne and True Grit?  It is hard to take any awards show seriously when oddball reasons behind the choosing is so transparent.  Oh, and I can’t let the choice of Katy Perry for Pop Vocal Album pass without rolling my eyes.  I mean, Grammy people, are you f**king serious?!  Because it sure doesn’t seem like it.  It is about music, right?

Maybe that’s where I am going wrong.  Maybe it is no longer about music.  Maybe it is about the cliquishness of the business, the personal relationships, the fear of not including certain artists.  Maybe it is about selling!  In the mid-seventies, I was fairly convinced that the major record labels pretty much bought and sold not only the nominations but the final awards as well.  My jaw locked with the prolonged yawn every year the Grammy nominations were announced.  My jaw is getting sore.  I can’t take it anymore.

Which is not to say that I hate everything Grammy-related.  I hate Nashville-generated music on the whole but actually enjoy a few of Taylor Swift’s tunes, which are not even close to Country, as if you care.  Beck has put out some pretty fine stuff,, his latest album being a good example.  What I’ve heard from Haim has impressed me.

No, it is not the music.  It is the lack of effort put into the selection I have a problem with.  It’s not like they have a week to make their choices.  They have a whole year.  The fact that it is so automatic to hear and nominate a Taylor Swift while ignoring off-hand so many other artists makes me want a disclaimer.  The Best New Artist Within the Framework of Our Less Than Perfect Framework.  Album of the Year, Though We Have Not Heard But a Small Portion of Them and Wouldn’t If You Made Us.  Best Female Vocal Performance Because It Is (insert superstar name here).  I don’t know what it is that makes me want a fair system.  Maybe I’m crazy.

Whatever it is, you can give my ticket to the Grammys to anyone who doesn’t consider such awards shows obsequious.  I am too busy enjoying the real music corporate refuses to recognize.  Like that of Lost Leaders, who will head my list of the Best of 2014 which I will post right after the first of the year.  Or New American Farmers, whose The Farmacology Sessions goes retro-seventies in a very good way.  Or Chris and Gileah, whose self-titled album is as sweet as they come.  Or…  so many others.  These are not alternatives to the Grammys, sports fans.  They are albums fully worthy of award status.    Regardless what the idiots at Grammy Central think.

When Three Bands (Don’t) Collide…

I have personal favorites when it comes to bands and musicians— music which I have learned not to share because of the resounding silence from people when I tried.  The first of those was Cargoe, a band from Memphis by way of Tulsa who released an album on Ardent Records just before Big Star‘s #1 Record.  I loved both bands, but I could get people to listen to Big Star.  Cargoe, not so much.  I have a number of such albums in my collection, albums I dearly love but which don’t strike others the same way.  So when I come across an album which could practically be a band I covet, I am thrilled.

nylon-union-istrochem-bratislava-skusobna-cca-2002

The album I speak of is Sine Sine recorded and released by a band from Slovakia, of all places.  They call themselves Nylon Union and I am not really sure where or how I found them.  I am going to guess and say that it was through Bandcamp’s new release pages, about a year ago.  What caight my ear were the chord progressions of the first song, Hyper A which seemed straight out of the songbook of a Bay Area band calling themselves Mist and Mast.  Surely you have never heard of them but I have written about them in earlier columns, I assure you.  I even caught two of their shows in Eugene awhile ago and they blew me away.  They were professional and solid with a rhythm section to write home about and a sound not quite like anyone else I’d heard— until now.  Swear to God, the opening of Hyper A could easily have fit on any of Mist and Mast’s albums.  Except for the vocal.  That, surprisingly, was straight out of the world of Oami.  Indeed, subsequent tracks mixes the best of both Mist and Mast and Oami and has had my head nodding with the beat ever since.

You can listen to Mist and Mast here, Oami by clicking here, and Nylon Union here.  The video below is the first video of a Slovakian band I have had the pleasure of seeing/hearing.  They even have vinyl.  I’m impressed.

You Want Vinyl?  This Is As Good As It Gets!!!

(This section is lifted from my column of June 18, 2013— reprinted because of the vinyl resurgence and the absolute excellence of the music on this album)…

fennelly---backWho is Michael Fennelly, you ask?  Actually, my good buddies in music would not have to ask that because they all know Fennelly from his days with The Millennium and Crabby Appleton.  The names sound familiar at all?  Well, Crabby Appleton had an actual hit (Go Back 1970) and The Millennium have become legends after-the-fact.  Fennelly also put out a couple of solo albums before pretty much calling it quits.  The record biz takes a lot out of you sometimes (and rather quickly).

This just came in the door a couple of hours ago and I won’t be able to listen to it until this column is completed, but here’s the deal.  This one is personal.  Fennelly himself picked the tracks.  In fact, most are from his personal archives.  Maybe all.  This, in fact, seems to be a chronology of what he wanted to do and not what the label told him to do.

Pluses?  It is in mono.  No fancy dressing up in stereo clothing for these.  They are demos on the whole and as demos they should be heard.  You get two sets of liner notes.  The first is a basic history of Fennelly and his partners in crime, written by one Domenic Priore, author of Riot On Sunset Strip: Rock and Roll’s Last Stand in Hollywood.  The second is a track-by-track explanation of the tracks written by Fennelly himself.  Minuses?  I don’t know yet.  I have a feeling there will be none, as far as I’m concerned because not only do I deal with demos on a day-by-day basis, I many times prefer demos to finished tracks.  The album is titled Love Can Change Everything: Demos – 1967 – 1972.

fennellydemos

And by the way, it is available on 180-gram vinyl as well as compact disc, driving a stake into the hearts of the idiots who said that vinyl was dying and are saying that compact discs are also soon a relic of the past.  Doomsayers, I say!  And idiots.

Monophonic.  I love it!

Goodnight Songs:  A Gift to Kids Everywhere…

goodnightsongs(A Christmas gift, possibly.  Another reprint from an earlier column, this one highlighting what should be an automatic gift for young kids— a book/CD package of recently discovered Margaret Wise Brown works.  And there is more coming)

If you have kids, pay special attention.  Once upon a time, there was a childrens book of poemswritten by one Margaret Wise Brown titled Goodnight Moon which kids took with them into their adult lives.  It was a good book and a very special book for those children and many have more than likely read or are reading it to their children, maybe even grandchildren (I, unfortunately, was not exposed and do not have year dates available).

It has come to pass that a whole new book of Brown’s poems have been discovered and published and Charlottesville’s own Tom Proutt and Emily Gary have put the poems to music in a package titled Goodnight SongsKeith Morris of C-ville’s The Crooked Numbers contacted me and said I needed to hear it.  Tom and Emily arranged for a copy to be sent to me and I now understand Keith’s insistence.  The poems are perfect for song.  Tom and Emily are the perfect people to put them to music.

prouttromanobellgaryTo be honest, I am not heavily into music geared toward kids.  I’ve heard some good childrens music over the years, but outside Linn Brown and Linda Marie Smith, I have found few who really took the music beyond the children to the adult.  After hearing this, I honestly have to say that I have to add Tom and Emily to that list.

The music is folky, melodic and either fun or solemn.  Perfect for young ones.  What really pulls it over the top, though, is the voice of Emily Gary.  She has a voice so open and sincere and true to the poems that you would swear that the songs were written just for her.  Because, in fact, they were.  Not the words, of course, but the music.  It is as exceptional as Keith said it was and I owe him for helping pass it along.

Goodnight Songs is available in a hardcover package with cover jacket and CD included.  You can find out more by clicking here.  The kids will thank you.  In the photo:  Tom Proutt, Jeff Romano, Charlie Bell and Emily Gary.

Want To Know Why I Will Never Drink Dr. Pepper (Or Snapple) Again?

(Another column lifted from the past.  I saw a series of Dr. Pepper commercials during this last weekend’s football games and it has prompted me to re-post a small piece I wrote explaining my problem with Dr. Pepper and its “family” of products)

Soda Pop

This comes courtesy of Don McGilvray who in the sixties fronted Fort Worth band The Mods and worked with T-Bone Burnett on a variety of recording projects before Burnett became T-Bone.  I met Don through Julie Taylor Halyard while I was working on the story of Fort Worth rock legends Space Opera (you can read it by clicking here, if you so desire).  Thanks to Facebook, we have been in constant contact since.  Well, just yesterday Don, who is somewhat of a promoter of health, posted that he had broken down and poured black cherry syrup over three heaping scoops of real vanilla ice cream before wolfing it down and me, living my culinary life precariously, asked what brand.  “I got it from the old Dublin Dr. Pepper place,” he replied, and in doing so awakened my extreme distaste for Dr. Pepper itself.  It wasn’t that long ago that the head corporate maggots at Dr. Pepper/Snapple notified the Dublin, Texas plant that they would no longer be allowed to produce “Dublin Dr. Pepper” as Dublin made it with pure cane sugar and violated the formula demanded by corporate dictates— i.e., that they only use high fructose corn syrup.  Well, Dublin immediately tied the severed arm to their boat, middle finger extended (it’s a reference to the movie Sometimes a Great Notion, friends) and drove the boat past the head office’s management and legal teams.  Good old corporate got the drift and cut them loose, which sucked.  Because the Dublin people were famous for standing their ground on more issues than that one.  Because it put the Dublin company (now called Dublin Bottling Works)in dire straits.  Because in these modern times, David seldom beats Goliath (think Monsanto and Blackwater and every major and minor oil company you can name).  Because Dick Cheney is a soulless bastard.  (I threw in that last one as a bonus)  Anyway, long story short, Dublin is still limping along and have added some soft drinks to help cushion the blow.  I support them.  I support their idealism and their courage in standing up to corporate fascism.  Here is a video sampler for what I hope will become a documentary embraced by any and all who see the inherent negative side of corporatism on the whole and of Dr, Pepper/Snapple specifically.  By the way, Don, how was the ice cream?

Time to set the Wayback Machine for the present, Mr. Peabody.  It’s time for some…

NotesNotes…..  Lots of stuff happening down under.  Bill Jackson is preparing his new album for release, Hannah Gillespie is once again writing songs after an hiatus (and a successful Majors Creek Festival), and Munro Melano serves us up a video from his upcoming EP, due to be released around the 12th or 13th of this month.

Vancouver BC’s Laurie Biagini takes Christmas to the beach.  I can see Annette and Frankie kicking sand to this one.

One of my Seattle favorites is back with a new video.  I loved C-Leb & The Kettle Black‘s first album, which is slightly reminiscent of Des Moines IA’s Bright Giant.  This next album sounds like it will be another beauty.  Rock & Roll!

I have no idea why The Living Sisters impress me the way they do, but I love these gals.  Here is their latest video, a Christmas song recorded for their new Harmony Is Real album.  Nothing like the Holidays for a theme, eh?

This is The Living Sisters song which bowled me over.  I loved the early fifties feel of the video.  I think it way cool.

The best news I’ve heard in some time is that Picture The Ocean and Nocona are both back in the studio.  I’m expecting big things from both.

Jeez, I inadvertently left The Curtis Mayflower‘s latest album, Everything Beautiful Is Under Attack, off of my recent column on vinyl you should pick up.  It’s a killer.  Here’s a sample:

It’s getting close to the end of the year and I am checking out the many videos and albums and songs that I think need to be revisited, the least of which is definitely NOT this one from Bow Thayer & The Perfect Trainwreck.  There is a certain seventies vibe to this that sends chills up my spine.  I love the instrumental breaks.

I had to do this.  Devon Sproule and Paul Curreri cover a Kinks song.  Man, I miss Paul’s guitar!

=FGJ=

Frank’s column appears every Tuesday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonFrank Gutch Jr. looks like Cary Grant, writes like Hemingway and smells like Pepe Le Pew. He has been thrown out of more hotels than Keith Moon, is only slightly less pompous than Garth Brooks and at one time got laid at least once a year (one year in a row). He has written for various publications, all of which have threatened to sue if mentioned in any of his columns, and takes pride in the fact that he has never been quoted. Read at your own peril.”  

2 Responses to “Frank Gutch Jr: The Grammys: The Decline of the Major Labels (and Civilization) Continues; When Three Bands (Don’t) Collide; Michael Fennelly— On Vinyl; For the Tots at Christmas— Goodnight Songs; Plus N-n-n-notes…..”

  1. Without going into a lot of reallllly reallllly boring details of how Grammy voting works, I will say I agree with much of what you said. I am a Grammy member, band manager, artist advocate, and music industry nerd. The sad truth is, the show itself has to cater to the populous, and the populous is stupid. Maybe that isn’t fair to say. The populous, collectively, doesn’t seek out music that’s slightly left of center, as you seem to, rather they’re happy with what Clear Channel….oops, I’m sorry…they’re happy with what I Heart Radio and major labels tell them to like. Big marketing budgets have dictated that Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Coldfuckingplay are the *most* to die for artists and the public ate it right up. That’s not to say those artists don’t love what they do and aren’t deserving of a shot at success. Just because it’s not my thing doesn’t mean there’s not a place for it. There’s a place for all music, I firmly believe that. Now, back to the Grammys. As you said, the timing of the Grammys is a bit wonky, to say the least. It becomes especially so when people pay close attention to music and artists from other countries and, as was the case with Ed Sheeran some years ago, they release music in other countries before it’s released in the US. His record ‘+’ was released in the UK in 2010 and he won awards there for it. He won ‘Best New Artist’ at The Grammys last year….that’s quite a gap. The major awards, the awards which *most* people watch for ‘Best Song,’ ‘Album of the Year,’ etc, will most of the time always go to a mainstream act. Occasionally there’s a surprise- ie; Steely Dan winning Album of the Year over Radiohead, who seemed a sure thing, Esperanza Spalding beating Justin Bieber- but for the most part major artists have such legions of people voting for them they are going to win most of the time. Now, the great thing about The Grammys and why I really like being a member are the *other* categories. The categories where indie artists really shine. Categories I never would have given thought to until I was a member. Categories I would have, in fact, been annoyed by, when I was younger, and wanted to brush past to get to the big categories. Categories such as Children’s, New Age, Jazz, Folk, and scads of others, where I’ve had the pleasure of becomign friends with amazing artists who are nominees, friends, and winners who work tirelessly creating music they believe in with all their being, not for an award, but because they love it. It usually ends up that they submit for Grammy consideration at the suggestion of others and then get really excited by all the merriment and camaraderie of the process. Last year’s Children’s winner, Jennifer Gasoi, is an absolute love of a person, and was so deserving. This year had so many wonderful nominees in the Children’s category that there was no way go wrong- even though Lucy Kalentari (who was my favorite) didn’t make it to the final ballot. All who did are wonderful, though. I was so excited on Grammy day, and it was all for the ‘smaller’ categories! The New Age category saw ‘Winds of Samsara on the final ballot, which took 2 years to make! 120 musicians and the heart and sould of Wouter Kellerman and Ricky Kej, and I promise you I’ll cry if it wins! They are wonderful people and I adore them. So while I do understand your frustration- especially since the band I manage, Noughts and Exes, whom have enjoyed much success everywhere but the US, I ask that you look beyond the main, more corporate categories and remember that there are still a lot of other categories where less mainstream artists get their recognition. Like you, I hope there’s an indie revolution of sorts. Maybe next year the indies will take over the big categories!! So sorry to have left such a very long comment! Yikes! Have a lovely day ❤ ~ Christine

  2. I wish there were more like you, Christine, who take music to heart. I have tried to write about the Grammys in the past but knew it was more of a task than I was prepared to undertake. You make a few points which I will ponder, for sure. As for your involvement with Noughts and Exes, about whom I know nothing, they are now on my radar. As are Jennifer Gasoi, Lucy Kalentari, Wouter Kellerman and Ricky Kej— a grand slam of names (my favorites are Biff Pocoroba and Phil Villapiano)! Let us hope that the Indies, if they do bite into the Grammy pie, can do it without selling out.

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