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Post new topic Sad State of Affairs
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Author Topic:  Sad State of Affairs
Marty Pollard


Post Posted 23 Jan 2000 1:15 pm     Reply with quote

Watched some Austin City Limits w/ Clay Walker then Trace Adkins. Awful vocals, boring lyrics, uninspired music, and stupor inducing musicianship. No wonder Top 40 country is struggling.

Then I saw (on a diff show) the Dixie Chicks and a new cut by Alison Krauss. Tight, well executed vocals; fun, catchy lyrics; excellent construction, and somewhat less stilted playing.

This just served to reinforce what I've noticed for years, that real performance excellence comes from a bluegrass background. Bluegrass is where musicianship matters. Bluegrassers reach for eclectic material to avoid sounding like everyone else. They know how to sing and play in live situations. They understand dynamics. The players know how to back each other up, use rhythmic/melodic figures, twin and harmonize with each other, and create improvisational excellence out of whole cloth.

So, Nashville, there's your trouble.

[This message was edited by Marty Pollard on 23 January 2000 at 01:19 PM.]

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Mike Dennis


From:
Stevens Point WI.
Post Posted 23 Jan 2000 7:23 pm     Reply with quote

I felt the same way when I saw the most recent performace of Hal Hetchum on ACL....

extremely boring band...

sorry Hal... but without Scotty N. on guitar and steel to liven things up... something was lackin'.
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Mike Dennis


From:
Stevens Point WI.
Post Posted 23 Jan 2000 7:26 pm     Reply with quote

PS...

Scotty is performing with Trace Adkins.... but I'm not a big fan of Trace.... nothing catches me there.
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Bill cole


From:
Cheektowaga, New York, USA
Post Posted 23 Jan 2000 7:31 pm     Reply with quote

I agreewith you that Nashburg is in trouble. But if your looking for Crabgrass music to bring it back then I think IMHO the trouble is going to get a lot worse some people do not care to hear a plinky plinky Banjo and a bunch of gals screaming not that there is anything wrong with Gals. But I think the younger one better listen to some of the older ones and learn something
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Mike Dennis


From:
Stevens Point WI.
Post Posted 23 Jan 2000 7:55 pm     Reply with quote

PS.. I'll take Allison Krauss over top forty country any day of the week.....
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Marty Pollard


Post Posted 23 Jan 2000 8:31 pm     Reply with quote

Bill, you are aware aren't you, that a lot of people refer to the thing we play as the twangy, twangy steel? Unfortunately, a lot of steel players justify that perception. I may not be Bela Fleck, but I venture I could work my Mastertone into anything YOU could throw my way. And about the 'yellin' gals', you ever heard Tammy or Loretta live? Caterwauling ain't the word for it. Carry a tune? Not even in a hopper car. And no, I don't think 'Crabgrass' needs to go to Nashville. Gawd, they'd probably kill that too. I stand by my assertion that GOOD bluegrassers are REAL musicians.

--==}PLINKY PLINKY{==--
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Bill cole


From:
Cheektowaga, New York, USA
Post Posted 23 Jan 2000 9:23 pm     Reply with quote

Marty I won't hold it agi ya cause ya pluck the Banjo. But I will say that as far as the steel guitar being Twangy Twangy in some cases you may be very right But how can you possibly think that Tammy or Loretta could not care a tune now that would make me think that either you havn't listened or you been playing that banjo so long that it has affected your thinking. Now I must admit that in the hands of some people the mastertone will sound good and since I don't know you or how you play I will not knock the way you play for all I know you could be the second coming of Earl Scruggs whom I must admit played a pretty mean Banjo. but you must admit that the Bluegrass music sure do get boring
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Raybob


From:
S. Lake Tahoe, CA, USA
Post Posted 24 Jan 2000 12:17 am     Reply with quote

Bill you obviously haven't listened to Allison Krauss or you would have never said, "...gals screaming..." Holy moley, give her a listen and you'll eat those words!

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Sierra S12 8+5 A6/D9 Uni


[This message was edited by Raybob on 24 January 2000 at 12:19 AM.]

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Bill cole


From:
Cheektowaga, New York, USA
Post Posted 24 Jan 2000 6:10 am     Reply with quote

Yes have and I wasn't talking about Allison
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Kenny Davis


From:
Great State of Oklahoma
Post Posted 24 Jan 2000 10:47 am     Reply with quote

I'll agree that Bluegrass is where it's at. With the exception of AJ's & Jones' last releases, my cd purchases have been: Dale McCoury(2), Ricky Skaggs(2), Jerry Douglas(5), and California Connection Bluegrass. The musicianship is phenomenal on these releases, and although some of the lyrics are a little dated, the music itself is usually very intricate. I'd put any of the top bluegrass players toe-to-toe with any Nashville top hand when it comes to ability and delivery.

There are great musicians in all forms of music. For example, it blows me away to see a good stringed harp player....I don't want a steady diet of it though! I think that most people can't get past the nasely vocals that stereotype the bluegrass folks.
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Ron Page


From:
Cincinnati, OH USA
Post Posted 24 Jan 2000 11:00 am     Reply with quote

Awe, now Marty, donít go getting your sensibilities offended. I bet you and Bill can find a lot more points on which you agree than donít agree on this board. Off-topic, who knows?

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HagFan
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Jerry Hayes


From:
Virginia Beach, Va.
Post Posted 24 Jan 2000 11:12 am     Reply with quote

Hey Marty,
I come from a Bluegrass background as the first instrument I ever played was a mandolin, then guitar, 5 string banjo, dobro and such. In my early 20's I started concentrating mostly on the Country Music of the day (early 60's) and got away from it for a few reasons. I come back from time to time but don't keep interested as it seems they're are more MUSICAL SNOBS in Bluegrass than any other style of music. This is supposed to be a form of original mountain folk type stuff but it seems to be more structured than the Nashville crap they're giving us these days.
Now on to the quote about performance excellence! There's a little BS in that statement! I've know a lot of bluegrass players and you'd be suprised by how many of them (guitarists) when asked to take a solo in the key of Bb without putting a capo on the 3rd fret and playing out of the G fingering couldn't do it. I'd like to see one of them throw away their capo and play all night without it. I was at a jam one time and I asked a question of another mandolin player "Why don't mandolin players use capos in Bluegrass music" and was told "IT'S AN UN-WRITTEN LAW. I thought that was pretty wild. I've used the mandolin in other types of music more than in bluegrass for a long time now and I use one all the time although I can play in the flats and sharps.
Most Bluegrass bands look like a bunch of morticians (No offense Jim Bob Sedgwick) and are really boring to watch. I think they all should plug in and get a drummer and driving electric bass and then they'd have something. My band here in Virginia uses bluegrass instruments but we're all electric along with pedal steel, and electric guitar with an ocasional keyboard player thrown in. I really enjoy people like Sam Bush, Pat Flynn, Jerry Douglas and such as they play both electric and acoustic or whatever is needed. But performance excellence I think is not common in most bluegrass music. (Allison Krauss is an exception) I saw her on TV recently with a drummer. Old Bill would roll over in his grave on that one for sure.

------------------
Have a good one! JH U-12
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Marty Pollard


Post Posted 24 Jan 2000 11:36 am     Reply with quote

Agreed on most points, Jerry. A lot (most) of the shade tree pickers at the festivals are very limited in their ability and musical outlook (bigger snobs than even the diehard traditionalists here on the forum). But those limitations are not confined to the bluegrass genre. I can't believe my ears when I hear some of the country bands around here (or in Dallas, either). But I'm not talking about amateurs, Jerry. I think I sabatoged my own premise by segueing into the bluegrass thing. My original point (Sad State of Affairs) was directed at the crap (sorry, I don't how else to put it) I heard from Walker and Adkins. Is this REALLY the best Nashville has to offer?

In defense of the 'performance excellence' proposition though, the BIG BOYS (Alison, Newgrass, Tony Rice, JD Crowe, Del Mccoury, etc.) use musical figures and intricate arrangements I NEVER hear done in mainstream country. I mean, if the music is that unimportant, why have live musicians at all? The musicians would have been the ONLY redeeming feature of the Walker/Adkins show had they BEEN ALLOWED TO PLAY. As it was they (and the hat bozos fronting the thing) would have been better off staying home.
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