Grammy vs. Music

Grammy time –
I love music. I watch the Grammys every year. To be honest with you, most of the time I am really disappointed. Remember the time Jethro Tull won Metal Band of the Year, or was it Metal Album, whatever. Ridiculous. I mean I love JT, and even got to meet the guys a few years ago (thanks to a friend who played on one of their albums). Martin, the guitar player, was one the nicest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Gracious, kind, and easy to talk to. Very humble and self-condescending when it came to his own guitar playing abilities.

But Metal? What were they thinking? I watched, and tried to listen last night to the whole thing. I have to admit I was really happy to see and hear so many folks actually playing and singing on stage. The contrasts of talent was so obvious. Melissa Etheridge and Joss Stone is a great example. I’ve never been an Etheridge fan, but she is a great talent for singing some Joplin songs. If I had been Joss Stone, I think I would have left the stage. You can really tell what the studios do when you hear folks live.

But that’s life isn’t it? Even here in cyber world, or even in books, we can write what we want. We can “sound” so talented, or smart, or maybe stupid, but like books, who knows who has edited it, ghost wrtiers, etc. Life, real life, is the lie detector for all of us. Milli Vanilli ….. Spears …… lip syncing posers with good producers and handlers. Reminds me of church life …. don’t get me started!

Green Day’s contribution seemed to me to be totally out of place. What are they doing with Ray Charles? Our culture has no problem with this. Recognizing true talent, and integrity in that talent, is a by-gone art. “American Idiot”, great title, and somewhat self-disclosing, in my humble opinion.

Kanye West, wow, that production was something else. U2, unreal. Did anyone else notice Bono didn’t sing when the mass of singers were on stage? That made sense. It was (again in my humble opinion) a free for all. John Mayer, again, wow! There’s a true musician and song writer. Norah Jones, what a gracious, wonderful talent. I couldn’t help but be amazed at the differences between Alicia Keys and Norah. Not just in talent, but in the way they carried themselves. If you’ve ever seen Norah, you know it just flows so easy from her. There’s no need for straining, and even the comparison with the way they play piano is a contrast.

I know, we’re not supposed to compare, just enjoy. But isn’t that what the Grammys are all about? Competition? I’m just throwing in my two cents worth.

What in the world is Sheryl Crow doing? She’s a great songwriter, singer, player, but no, she’s got to push the skank factor. I don’t get it. Why not let your art speak for you instead of distracting people from your talent by looking like ….. well, you get the point.

Egos are the ruin of all of us and it’s never more obvious than at the Grammys. The sad thing is that the vast majority of good music goes unlistened to. People like Martin Sexton, Monte Montgomery, and you can just name your favorite that no one else listens to.

I’ve known and know quite a few musicians, and it is true that we are a sensitive, insecure lot. It sees no matter how good you get, no matter how many accolades you receive from peers and public, there’s always a need to express and prove yourself. The hole inside gets deeper as the popularity grows. You would think the opposite would be true. The million of dollars of glitz and glamour are only pearls on the pig’s nose of our hearts.

So, I’ll watch the awards shows, the egos, the averice, the waste, the lip synching, the posing, bragging, pouting, and realize that what I’m watching is …. me. The human dilemma. Grabbing fig leaves in a hasty move to cover my own sense of lack and loss; fear of exposure that I’m not what I appear. But every now and then someone receives an award who is shocked; who is humble; who is appreciative, and it gives me hope. And every now and then someone who really is talented, beyond the norm, gets recognized. I think we all hold out for those moments because we long for that ourselves.

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