Monday, February 12, 2007

They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting

Well, the Grammys are over, and some folks I have worked with won some gold, including Gnarls Barkley and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

But some folks I haven't worked with won big time: The Dixie Chicks. John Amato at Crooks & Liars has this:

Congratulations to the Dixie Chicks for winning the Grammy for Record of the Year. Good to see Joan Baez up there…

grammys-dixiechicks.jpg


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And this from the AP via Huffington Post:
I, for the first time in my life, am speechless," said Maines, who became a controversial figure in 2003 after making critical comments about President Bush. "Not Ready to Make Nice" was a response to the controversy; after Maines' comments, the Chicks' songs were pulled from a number of country music stations and the group was pilloried by former fans.

The Chicks have won three awards. They also won best country performance by a duo or group with vocal and, after the song of the year award, were honored with best country album for "Taking the Long Way."

Indeed. Thing is, there were some pretty ugly comments at both places, about process and conclusion, including a few of the following:
I pay entertainers to entertain, not to spout political views, either right or wrong, oops, I mean left.

My suggestion: don't listen.

And this:
Let's be real here: They beat Justin Timberlake! The Grammys are a joke they mostly promote popular crap music. They waited 30 years to give an award Bob Dylan, for god's sake! And they'd give an award to U2 even if they released an album of farts.

As for the Dixie Chicks. They are relatively good considering the country genre is the most pathetic along with rap.

And:
Let's be honest, the Grammy's are kind of a joke. The Black Eyed Peas won for "My Humps". Come on!
They haven't meant much for a long time! If they were truly rewarding artistry, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, etc. would be winning every year they have an album out.

I have to comment, since this is something I know a little about.

First, I am, and have been, a voting member of the Recording Academy for many years. Yes, the awards tend to be conservative, but that's because of the process. And it's based on who shows up at nominating meetings at various Chapters of the Academy.

Periodically, during the year, a group of insiders in every Chapter meet and "spin some wax" as the kidz used to say. It's a chance for people to share new music with peers. And people don't tout their own productions, that is really not cool. So they get together at a studio, and play tracks from CDs that they think other people haven't heard yet. Why? Because this year, everyone heard the Mary J. Blige CD. And everyone heard the John Mayer CDs. But far fewer folks heard Imogen Heap.

Yes, the radio playlist system is corrupt, there's nothing new there. Like all forms of political corruption, it will stop the minute people take it seriously.

Most of the folks I know deeply involved with the Recording Academy are indeed pretty conservative musically, and thus tend to recommend and vote for conservative artists. Partially, I think, this is because the less conservative musicians feel they might not make a difference, or that they're "too hip" to be bothered. But this year, The Dixie Chicks played spoilers. I haven't talked with many other music business insiders, but for me, the decision to vote for them was 20% political, 80% artistic.

They're just that good.

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