American Idol. Eurovision Song Contest. What is happening to music these days? While this has been a process that has been going on for about the past decade and a half, if not longer, it is sad to hear what passes for musical craftsmanship. Has all originality gone out the window?
Perhaps I am a bit of a dinosaur, but I feel very lucky growing up as part of the last generation to experience rock/pop/ punk, and whatever other tag you want to apply, as original and creative music. I remember all my friends and I would be glued to the radio to WNEW-FM in NYC to hear what new groups were out there, and what DJ's like Scott "The Professor" Muni would let us be privy to. This is when radio DJ's had a tremendous amount of freedom to play what they wanted to, and this allowed a huge array of talent to be brought to the forefront of America.
Originality. It is something that seems to be so sadly lacking today. Sampling has taken the place of any original ideas. Stealing others work passes for the lack of any real talent. There are very few artists that have caught my attention over the last 10 years or so. Have I not been paying close enough attention? I don't know. I will admit to liking Fatboy Slim, for reasons I cannot articulate. (Yes, he tends to sample, but he seems to have an original style as well.) If anyone has other suggestions to things that might catch my ear, I am open to them.
I got to thinking about this while watching one of my favorite concert films, "The Last Waltz." The Band was one of the most influential American (Canadian-American, if we want to be precise.) bands that ever existed. For those not in the know, they started off as a back-up band to Ronnie Hawkins, an American rockabilly singer living in Canada. They were known then as "The Hawks," and through a series of events, wound up in Woodstock, NY backing up Bob Dylan. (They were Dylan's back-up band when he went electric.) Simply known then as The Band, they were so influential, that Eric Clapton tried for quite sometime to join them. They took so many musical influences and came up with music so original and so their own.
I would highly recommend getting this DVD, if you are not familiar with it. Here is a little taste:
I have to wonder why it is that as I have gotten older, I have less embraced new music as much as gotten more into jazz and blues. They seem to speak to me more. While I am not a musician, I appreciate good musicianship. I appreciate craftsmanship. I have no doubt that stems from my own work as a theatre and film actor. Creation of a character is akin to creating a piece of music; it comes from somewhere deep inside of a person. It is an expression of themselves.
Somehow, too much of today's music is less about personal expression, and more about style over substance.
P.S. - If you want to know more about The Band, look here: http://theband.hiof.no/
the state of windmills - This is a nice series of old windmills the USPS put out in 1980 the one in *Virginia* is located in Williamsburg, known as the Robertson Windmill. the on...
3 days ago