There was plenty of irony to go around at last night’s Grammy Awards. We had a chicken (Cee Lo) and an egg (Lady Gaga). The major awards went to a group whose very name invokes a period in American history that is best to be forgotten (Lady Antebellum). In an evening where style was clearly favored over substance, the Best New Artist went to Esperanza Spalding, an outstanding musician who has been steadily working her craft without the mass media bells and whistles.
We had NARAS President champion free speech and finally acknowledge the importance of Internet radio and Satellite radio, yet NARAS continues to resist downloading and awarded the Album of the Year went to a band that practically has zero support from radio. NARAS also made sure that hip hop got plenty of TV exposure to help its ratings, but for the second straight year, awarded its top awards to the only genre that is still moving physical CDs: Country. Yet again, when it came to public recognition, the industry told hip hop, rock, metal, R&B, blues, gospel & jazz to get to the back of the bus (And yes, the snub of Abbey Lincoln and Guru during the salute to the dearly departed was exceptionally WACK).
In short, it was the usual.
I was going to go on and on about it, but instead, I’m going to follow my good friend Darrell McNeil’s advice and get on with the job. The job of getting the word out about independent artists that are out there making music for the sheer love of making music and not just trying to make a buck; promoting progressive artists who are rising above the wack and try to raise the bar; and making sure the underdogs have their day.
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