Yes, dear readers, I was READY...the juices were flowing, and the anger was at a fever pitch. I had a fine cache of bile stored, swirling and brackish, smelling of sulfur and fumes of disgust. But alas, technology interceded, and the simple act of DVR maintenance, mastered by roughly 84.3 per cent of the 6 year old population of this country, was the single point of failure in my plan.
So I improvised. "What would Demko do?" I asked myself. After shuddering at the thought of the answer to that question, I proceeded rationally to "Plan B."
The rock bottom fact to life today is that radio and TV are on their way out. A lot of propeller heads who were born after Watergate would argue that the personal computer was the most important invention or device of the 20th Century, but these children are fools. Television and Radio were vastly more important; the personal computer made a popcorn fart dent in the last decade and a half, and kicked off the subsequent millenium. The 85 years leading up to that were dominated by the tools of mass communication, the great equalizers, the delivery vehicles of a pluralistic society.
But now, the internet has supplanted them. And it's their own fault. Oh well.
Instead of sitting through 2 or 3 hours of chicken wing induced drool, let me spare you:
What would have, did, probably happened:
Martina sang some song about overcoming challenges that probably involved angels and/or children and/or puppy dogs
Taylor Swift or Carrie Underwood continued on their highway to hell to wide open beaver shots in the Enquirer
Gary LeVox will wear an oversized silk shirt and sing falsetto about "his girlfriend/wife"
Somebody who fell off the radar will show up and get a standing ovation for essentially doing nothing
What won't happen:
Let's go to youtube for the verdict:
Kenny pouting with aforementioned "fell off radar" person. I can't overstate the damage these two people have done to Country Music. This entire vignette is a statement of a self-serving industry patting itself on the back for catering to the lowest common denominator. More than just a talentless, tone def hack, Kenny Chesney is a standard bearer for a cabal of money launderers who decided long ago to destroy the substance of Americana in the name of greed. Look at this dreck:
So he's a Reggae singer now? Let me be perfectly clear about this, the reasoning behind this performance, the pairing with "The Wailers," (Bob Marley is not only turning over in his grave, he's filling a gourd with chicken blood to throw on Kenny, and then jabbing him in the face with two extended fingers, giving him the ancient, yet powerful stink eye), the palm fronds, the overall bullshit, is to SELL SOMETHING ELSE. This song, this image, this ambience, will be paired with some kind of alcohol/apparel/apparatus sales and marketing gimmick, and Kenny will profit handsomely for momentarily appearing tall, laid back, yet well healed, and international, when in fact he's nothing more than the worst kind of marionette. Since so many Country music heroes are dead or dying, it's hard to pick just one Kenny, but I want you to know that no matter what they say to your face, people like Merle Haggard hate your guts. You too Buddy Cannon.
You want organic Carib influenced, Southern Hemisphere meets thin white blues music? Try this:
This is simple and stupid, but Kenny couldn't pull it off with an army of Bob Marley zombies.
Nashville simply doesn't understand, or refused to recognize a simple fact about America, American art, and the roots behind an Americana oeuvre: Al Swearingen said it best at 5:18 of this clip:
You see, within certain bounds, we're all specialists. Cowboys from Montana are different than cowboys from Alabama. But theyr'e all cowboys. So you can sing to them about common experiences, but you shouldn't just offer them a straight whore house. You need to understand your clientele. You need to cater, you need to nurture the uniqueness. If it's all one big funnel to the gaping vagina of musical homogeneity, you're not only killing your own industry, you're killing the culture.
I spent a good 45 minutes clicking through the youtube clips of the 42nd Annual CMA Awards tonight, and I saw exactly nothing different than I have seen for the past 5 to 10 years. It is simply a repeatable, repeated product now. It is not organic, it is not based or connected to the music of even 30 years ago in the same town. There's no artistic progression. It's a soulless assembly line of people and parts designed to deliver a demographic to advertisers, and we're all much much poorer for it.
At this time of year, given the economic uncertainty this country faces, and the grand opportunity we all have to reboot and reclaim the foundations of our society as we stare down the failures of the last two decades, it's time to tell Nashville to finally and essentially fuck off. Delete Kenny Chesney off your iPod; don't buy into the pedophilial experiment that is Taylor Swift; wash your hands of the manufactured empathy of Martina McBride; and let rust the robotic cynicism that drives the creation of phoney super groups like Rascall Flatts.
We're a better country than this, and Country Music is better than this.
My friend Martin Devaney is producing a group called The Porchlights. Look them up, you'll get more out of it, like putting romaine lettuce on your sandwich instead of ice berg.