Sunday, February 10, 2008

Hag Still Miffed by Grammy Snub. Well, Get Miffed and Get Over It!

On November 2, 2007 the Bluegrass Blog made a post titled "Grammy committee says Hag is not bluegrass," in which they stated:

"The nominating committee for the National Academy Of Recording Arts & Sciences, who distribute the Grammy Awards each year, decided yesterday that the new release from Merle Haggard, titled The Bluegrass Sessions would not be eligible for Grammy consideration in the Best Bluegrass Album category in this year’s voting."

The Bluegrass Blog has updated us (Feb 8, 2008) with another post titled "Hag still miffed by Grammy snub." There is also a story on the iBluegrass.com web site. The story is currently on the front page of iBluegrass.com but will probably be archived on another page in the coming weeks.

Personally, I cannot believe some of the things I'm reading in these posts. Things like:

"Anyone who knows the bluegrass community knows that its members like to debate definitions," McCoury Music's General Manager Chris Harris said. "But this is an album that Merle and Del decided to call The Bluegrass Sessions, produced by a bluegrass musician with bluegrass musicians, recorded at a bluegrass studio, released on a bluegrass label, racked under bluegrass in record stores, aired on bluegrass radio, covered by the bluegrass press, and it's currently in it's fourth consecutive week at # 1 on Billboard's Bluegrass chart. If that's not enough, even The Washington Post wondered why 'no one had thought to pair Merle and Bluegrass together before.' "
Let's analyze some of these statements, shall we?

"...this is an album that Merle and Del decided to call The
Bluegrass Sessions..."
That's nice. You can call something whatever you want to, but a name or title doesn't turn something into something it's not.

"...produced by a bluegrass musician with bluegrass
musicians..."
Oh. Well excuse me! I guess the simple fact that the CD was produced by a guy that normally plays Bluegrass music himself and because Bluegrass musicians were involved, that automatically makes the CD a Bluegrass project. Honestly, where are these people coming from?

"...recorded at a bluegrass studio..."
Well, la tee da. Of course, you know what la tee da means don't you? That's hillbilly for "c'est la vie." Anyway, please excuse me again; I should have realized. Yes, I remember the rule now. I think it's rule number one. Anything recorded in a "Bluegrass" studio shall be called Bluegrass. What I'd like to know is this: what exactly, is a Bluegrass studio? Is that a studio that is owned by a Bluegrass musician or is it a recording studio within the sate of Kentucky? I'm obviously missing something here!

"... released on a bluegrass label..."
Yeah, whatever! What is a Bluegrass label? That's right, it's just a label!

"... racked under bluegrass in record stores..."
Of course it is - they're trying to pawn this project off as Bluegrass. In just what category do you think they're going to put a CD titled The Bluegrass Sessions? Um, hello?

"... aired on bluegrass radio..."
Don't even get me started on this one!

"...covered by the bluegrass press..."
Again, of course it is. Check the title of the CD.

"...and it's currently in it's fourth consecutive week at #
1 on Billboard's Bluegrass chart..."
That's because the Bluegrass radio stations are playing it every chance they get. Have you checked the title of the CD? In my opinion, this CD has no business being played on any Bluegrass radio stations but, hey, you can't get a country radio station to play the Hag any longer (through no fault of the Hag), so where else are you going to play it? It also happens to be true that by my estimation, the vast majority of Bluegrassers are also Merle Haggard fans, so they're not going to complain about it, are they? But, the fact that it's being played by Bluegrass radio stations and has been at the top of the charts for a while still doesn't mean it's Bluegrass music. Have you checked out some of the other non-Bluegrass content being played by these "so-called" Bluegrass radio stations?

Nonsense like this is the kind of stuff that tends to make my blood boil, but I'll settle down before I blow an artery. I can't tell you how pleased I am that the NARAS has not bowed to pressure and made decisions based on "who" the artist and producers are rather than the content. Good job NARAS; you have my full support on this one!

Now that I've got all of that out of my sytem and I don't feel like I'm going to have a stroke, I would like to point out that I have nothing but the highest respect for Del McCoury and Merle Haggard as musicians, and I think "Merle Haggard - The Bluegrass Sessions" is a fine CD, but PLEASE, don't try to pass it off as being Bluegrass. It's not! Not by any stretch of the imagination!

Merle Haggard says

We intended this to be accepted by people who like bluegrass music, and I want to know how I missed that...”
Well Merle, it is accepted by people that like Bluegrass music. Most of us like it. We just won't accept it as Bluegrass; the exception being all of the Bluegrass radio station owners - they'll play anything with the word Bluegrass in it.

If you want to know how you missed it, I'll be happy to tell you. It's not sung in a Bluegrass style - not at all - not even a little bit. I don't care who produced the CD or who is playing on it. This only serves to support the notion that "just because it's got a banjo in it, doesn't mean it's Bluegrass" idea. The music on this CD is sung in a 100% old country music style. Nothing wrong with that, it's just not Bluegrass.

It's not that I don't like Merle Haggard or Del McCoury. I do. I like both of them. I'm just having a small problem with their logic, which appears to go something like, if I say the word Bluegrass a thousand times, my music will turn into Bluegrass music by mere association. I'm really confused as to how two professional musicians (and they are not the only ones involved in this project that share the same line of reasoning) that have been in the music business for as long as Del and Merle have, could come to such conclusions. Actually, I think they know full well this project is not Bluegrass, but it makes for a great debate and publicity - it's all about money and marketing. But, as usual, what do I know? They're the pros; I'm just a consumer of the product.

You can listen to samples of Merle Haggard's CD, The Bluegrass Sessions, on the McCoury Music web site and come to your own conclusions. In fact, please do.

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17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hay Mike Cool down my friend.Ive listened to the Haggard cuts and I too see that it is definitly country.True the instrumentation is done by recognised bluegrass people using bluegrass instruments,but the songs are not bluegrass. I am probably one of the biggest fans of Merl Haggard and I believe that he does a GREAT job on this CD.But that doesnt make it Bluegrass.The Haggard voice is not a Bluegrass voice and he has done nothing to try to make his voice sound like bluegrass in this CD...Ill definitly buy this CD but for the country sound not because I think its Bluegrass. I believe that the answere to why it is even being considered as Bluegrass lies in the fact that it opens the door to more of an audiance and thus more money to be made.Money seems to be at the root of most music today.You have Rock stars putting country or Bluegrass albums out.Because these people are well known in their field ,people go out and buy the CDs to see what they sound like in a new field.Thus more MONEY for the producers and artists.Its everywhere Just look around you and you will see what I mean. In conclusion I happy to see that someone has finally stood up and said Enough is Enough.Lets be honest Haggard is one of the Greatest Country entertainers Ive heard and seen.But Bluegrass he is not... Fungus

Sunday, February 10, 2008 7:19:00 PM  
Anonymous REGMAN said...

WHILE I AGREE SOME CUTS ARE NOT TRADITIONALLY BLUEGRASS MATERIAL I THINK THE OVER ALL ALBUM HAS A BLUEGRASS FEEL TO IT,ITS JUST THAT WE ARE USED TO HEARING SOME OF THESE SONGS AS COUNTRY CLASSICS AND THEREFORE OUR EARS STILL HEAR THEM THAT WAY ,HAD THEY BEEN ALL NEW BLUEGRASS TUNES AND HAD MERLE HAD THAT HIGH LONESOME SOUND IN HIS VOCALS (WHICH I THINK IS WHAT YOU GUYS ARE BASICALLY CRAPPING ABOUT) THEN IT WOULD BE EASIER TO DEFINE IT AS BLUE GRASS, I THINK UNLESS YOU HAVE A HIGH WHINY PITCHED,THICK SOUTHERN DRAWLED VOCAL ABILITY IT WILL NEVER BE TRULY BLUE GRASS HOWEVER I THINK ALL OF THE BLOGGERS PUT TOGETHER WOULDN'T HAVE THE EXPERIENCE IN YEARS THAT MCCOURY OR ANY OF THE BLUEGRASS MUSICIANS ON THE ALBUM HAVE,SO IF THEY THINK IT IS WORTHY OF BEING CALLED A BLUEGRASS ALBUM I DARE ANY OF YOU TO CALL MR MCCOURY UP AND TELL HIM OR ANY OF THE OTHER MUSICIANS ON THE ALBUM ITS NOT BLUEGRASS.. WE ARE ALL INTITLED TO AN OPINION BUT SOME FOLKS NEED TO REMEMBER WHERE THEY ARE AT WITH RESPECT TO MUSICAL ABILITY AND REALISE THAT OWNING A RAFT OF BLUEGRASS MUSIC DOES NOT MAKE ONE AN EXPERT ON ALL THINGS BLUEGRASS OR ROCK OR COUNTRY OR WHATEVER YOU DON'T HAVE TO LIKE IT BUT YOU ALSO CAN'T EXPECT OTHERS TO SAY YEAHH RIGHT ON!!! IT IS WHAT IT IS GOOD MUSIC BY A LEGEND

Monday, February 11, 2008 2:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Chris Harris said...

Mr. Floyd....first let me say that I appreciate you putting your name on the post, and posting in a forum where a response could be made. The members of the NARAS committee that chose to move Merle's album without consulting with the label are still unwilling to come out of the shadows. With that said, I'll ask you the same question we asked NARAS. What are your credentials that make you more of an expert on Bluegrass than Del McCoury, Ronnie Reno, Marty Stuart and Merle Haggard? Bluegrass has taken on many forms in recent times, with Grammys being won by piano player Bruce Hornsby, country singer Dolly Parton, and unbelievably in the year that Merle's album was not given the opportunity to be voted on, another country singer, Jim Lauderdale won. If you are a NARAS member, then you could have decided not to vote for Merle based on your reasoning above, but this does not mean NARAS had the right to take away the opportunity of the other members to vote.

Also, I need to point out that the album didn't show up on Billboard's chart because it was on Bluegrass radio, it was on Billboard's chart because the gentleman in charge of the chart, Wade Jessen, thought it belonged there.

Chris Harris
McCoury Music

Monday, February 11, 2008 2:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Fungus said...

Hi,

For those that don't know me I'm Fungus (Ken Innis). I've read these comments and I just have to reply to what Reg and Mr. Harris said. Reg said "HAD THEY BEEN ALL NEW BLUEGRASS TUNES AND HAD MERLE HAD THAT HIGH LONESOME SOUND IN HIS VOCALS (WHICH I THINK IS WHAT YOU GUYS ARE BASICALLY CRAPPING ABOUT) THEN IT WOULD BE EASIER TO DEFINE IT AS BLUE GRASS, I THINK UNLESS YOU HAVE A HIGH WHINY PITCHED,THICK SOUTHERN DRAWLED VOCAL ABILITY IT WILL NEVER BE TRULY BLUE GRASS". Reg if you believe this so be it. But Bluegrass is much more than that. It's a Styling, and a feeling...

You also said "I THINK ALL OF THE BLOGGERS PUT TOGETHER WOULDN'T HAVE THE EXPERIENCE IN YEARS THAT MCCOURY OR ANY OF THE BLUEGRASS MUSICIANS ON THE ALBUM HAVE,SO IF THEY THINK IT IS WORTHY OF BEING CALLED A BLUEGRASS ALBUM I DARE ANY OF YOU TO CALL MR MCCOURY UP AND TELL HIM OR ANY OF THE OTHER MUSICIANS ON THE ALBUM ITS NOT BLUEGRASS.. . Reg, I know one thing, I Love Haggard and he is definitly not Bluegrass. Apparently the NARAS people don't think his CD is Bluegrass. What have you to say about that? I believe they have way more experience than any of us do. Good to see someone stand up and make a sensible decision for a change.

Mr. Harris asked "What are your credentials that make you more of an expert on Bluegrass than Del McCoury, Ronnie Reno, Marty Stuart and Merle Haggard?" Does this mean that if these people say something is Bluegrass that it automaticly makes it Bluegrass? If these people say a Rock song is Bluegrass does that make it Bluegrass? For once it's nice to see an organization like NARAS stand up and make a ruling based on what a CD is as to content and styling and not who recorded the CD. I believe that they are right. Haggard is Great but not a Bluegrass preformer. That's my opinion and I DARE ANYONE to tell me that I don't have the right to express my opinion.

Ken Innis

Monday, February 11, 2008 6:09:00 PM  
Anonymous NewfieBro said...

Wow , this sure is an interesting topic that we are "blogging" on about. I'd like to hear all the cuts on this album before deciding if I think it could be rated as a Bluegrass Album ((or at least what I think might be Bluegrass)). I've viewed the video on the McCoury Music web site and , while I wouldn't rate that particular song as having a 100% Bluegrass sound or feel to it, I most certainly enjoyed listening to it a lot more that some of the "traditional" Bluegrass songs I've heard over the years. I think if Merle had selected "traditional" Bluegrass material to record (and maybe some of the cuts are) then "The Bluegrass Sessions" CD would have been eligible for the Grammy Awards. As I noted earlier , I haven't heard the rest of the cuts , but I do know that it is quite possible to take a song that was recorded in a certain style and change it to sound like a different style of music altogether. I'm looking forward to hearing all the cuts on this CD but, even if I did hear them , who am I to say what is or isn't Bluegrass music? I like (what I think is) Bluegrass Music but, on the other hand, I dislike a lot of music that I've heard that has been labeled "Bluegrass Music". I was looking at purchasing a boxed-set of CD's labeled "Bluegrass Classics" last week but when I saw George Jone's "He Stopped Loving Her Today" as being one of the cuts I put it back on the shelf and walked away with a smile on my face. I may not be 100% sure on what is or isn't Bluegrass Music but I do know that "HSLHT" is not, in my opinion, a Bluegrass Classic. Never was , Never will be
classified as a "Bluegrass Classic"
But, then of course, since I haven't heard that particular cut I'll never know if it is, was , or forever shall be a "Bluegrass Classic .............. or not!!

Monday, February 11, 2008 8:03:00 PM  
Blogger Michael Floyd said...

Well now, looks like a can of worms has been opened up here... but not just by me. You can find tons of comments about this CD on many web sites. Check http://TheBluegrassBlog.com, http://BluegrassWorks.com and http://iBluegrass.com to name just three. From the comments on these three sites, the consensus seems to be that almost everyone that made a comment said they liked the CD, but it was not Bluegrass. that is my take as well. A friend just read (over the telephone) a review from the Bluegrass Music profiles magazine which also seemed to agree with that sentiment.

This is what I ask of everyone: listen to the CD (or samples) for yourself and come to your own conclusion. However, in coming to that conclusion it would be great if you could leave any biases behind. Never mind the fact that you're a die-hard fan of the Hag or that you are somehow connected to the project (producer, label, distribution, whatever). Just listen to the music and base your opinion on content.

I'll address some of the comments made by each of you.

Regman said "while I agree some cuts are not traditionally bluegrass material I think the over all album has a bluegrass feel to it,its just that we are used to hearing some of these songs as country classics and therefore our ears still hear them that way."

I personally don't think any of the cuts on this CD have any Bluegrass feel whatsoever, or, it is so small that it is insignificant. As far as being used to hearing them a certain way is concerned, this may be the case for many, but not for me. I have listened and based my opinion on what the cuts on THIS CD sound like, not on something in the past.

Regman went on to say "Had Merle had that high lonesome sound in his vocals (which I think is what you guys are basically crapping about) then it would be easier to define it as blue grass, I think unless you have a high whiny pitched,thick southern drawled vocal ability it will never be truly blue grass."

I love the "high lonesome" sound, but you don't need that kind of sound to be Bluegrass, so that's not it. A little high lonesome certainly would have helped though.

"High whiny pitched" is not a term I like to use when describing the "high lonesome" sound, or any other Bluegrass sound. Many people use this terminology to describe the high vocals, but I certainly don't think Ricky Skaggs or Don Rigsby (just two examples) exhibit the "whiny" sound people like to refer to when they do "high lonesome." I'll agree though, there may be some "whiny" voices in the business.

Regman said "I think all of the bloggers put together wouldn't have the experience in years that McCoury or any of the bluegrass musicians on the album have,so if they think it is worthy of being called a bluegrass album I dare any of you to call Mr McCoury up and tell him or any of the other musicians on the album its not bluegrass."

This is where our opinion differs greatly. Del McCoury has been in the business for a long time, and I'm pretty sure he has a decent grasp of what Bluegrass music is and is not. That is why I'm having such a difficult time with the idea of trying to sell this as a Bluegrass project.

Not to be confrontational at all, but I would love to ask Mr. McCoury or Merle, or anyone else that was involved with the project why they think the project IS Bluegrass and I would tell them straight up that I believe they missed the mark.

Apaprently those involved with the project DO think the CD is worthy of being categorized Bluegrass, but I don't, and I'm not the only one of this opinion. It was the opinion of NARAS as well, and also of many listeners as I noted at the begining of this response.

Whether or not the people involved with the project have more Bluegrass experience than all the bloggers combined is not relevant as to whether this CD is Bluegrass or not.

Regman said "We are all intitled to an opinion but some folks need to remember where they are at with respect to musical ability and realise that owning a raft of bluegrass music does not make one an expert on all things bluegrass or rock or country or whatever."

Indeed we are all entitled to an opinion and I'm glad you and others are expressing yours.

Where folks are with respect to their own musical abilities though, is also not relevant as to whether the CD is Bluegrass or not. The fact that I can barely play an instrument (or sing) myself is simply not part of the equation. We are not talking about whether "I could do it better." We are talking about whether The Bluegrass Sessions CD is Bluegrass or not. And it doesn't matter who is on the CD or what their background is; based on what you hear on this CD, ask the question: Bluegrass or not?

And finally, Regman said "It is what it is good music by a legend."

There is no disputing the fact that this CD contains good music by a legend. But that's beside the point. The issue is trying to convince the public that it's Bluegrass when it clearly is not.

Monday, February 11, 2008 9:33:00 PM  
Blogger Michael Floyd said...

Mr. Harris,

Thank you for responding. Wow, the GM of McCoury Music! How in the world did you stumble on this site?

You said "Mr. Floyd....first let me say that I appreciate you putting your name on the post, and posting in a forum where a response could be made."

While the opinions on the main blog are mine, I welcome any and all comments from others so long as they don't contain profanity. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I suppose many would consider me to be a "Bluegrass purist," but my intent is not to be confrontational. I just call it the way I see it and I have strong opinions as to where Bluegrass music is headed.

"The members of the NARAS committee that chose to move Merle's album without consulting with the label are still unwilling to come out of the shadows."

I'm not sure why the NARAS won't come out of the shadows, but I'm not convinced it matters either.

"With that said, I'll ask you the same question we asked NARAS. What are your credentials that make you more of an expert on Bluegrass than Del McCoury, Ronnie Reno, Marty Stuart and Merle Haggard?"

I don't consider myself to be more of an expert on Bluegrass than Del, Ronnie or Marty; not at all. Based on this particular project however, I'm still scratching my head as to the criteria used by everyone involved when deciding this CD was in fact Bluegrass.

I'm just a want-to-be Bluegrasser with not much talent. The fact that I'm just a hack has no bearing on my knowledge of the topic, however.

"Bluegrass has taken on many forms in recent times, with Grammys being won by piano player Bruce Hornsby, country singer Dolly Parton, and unbelievably in the year that Merle's album was not given the opportunity to be voted on, another country singer, Jim Lauderdale won."

In my opinion, all of these incidents are "just as wrong" and "just as disappointing."

I listened to the Jim Lauderdale CD that won the award. While I found it to be more grassy than Merle's project, it certainly wasn't grassy enough to win Best Bluegrass CD - not by a long shot.

I do not like where Bluegrass is headed.

Monday, February 11, 2008 10:25:00 PM  
Blogger Michael Floyd said...

Newfiebro said "I'd like to hear all the cuts on this album before deciding if I think it could be rated as a Bluegrass Album."

You can listen to samples of all of the songs on Merle Haggard's CD, The Bluegrass Sessions, on the McCoury Music web site. The samples are very good quality and decent length as well. Here is the URL:

http://www.mccourymusic.com/product.cfm?share=99J446407890441

Monday, February 11, 2008 10:36:00 PM  
Blogger jack said...

I bought the CD being discussed here because I've been a fan of Haggard and McCoury forever. I enjoy listening to it because of the Haggard sound. Whether it's bluegrass or not, who cares. If you like it play it, if you don't, give it away. I've heard Beatles music played by "bluegrass performers", I liked it, and that's what it's all about.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Michael Floyd said...

I agree Jack. If you like it, buy it and enjoy it.

I have also been a fan of both of these artists for a long time, and certainly will continue to be a fan. This little debate does not change my respect for Del or Merle as two of the finest artists in the music industry. And, at no time have I ever stated that the CD was "bad" music, in fact, I like it.

The issue here is that the CD is being marketed as Bluegrass. In my opinion this is not accurate.

No doubt, you are probably aware that "anyone who knows the bluegrass community knows that its members like to debate definitions" as Chris Harris of McCoury Music points out.

But why all the debate in the first place? One of the reasons is because of issues that are being discussed here; one of calling everything and anything Bluegrass. This is something that I cannot condone.

But, I wouldn't suggest to any artist that they change the way they interpret and play music - just stop calling it Bluegrass if it isn't. The public is already confused enough with regard to what is and what isn't Bluegrass.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:47:00 AM  
Anonymous regman said...

yippee!! isn't this fun? one thing I can absolutely guarantee, Merle is getting lots of publicity on this one and he's gonna sell a lot of CD'S just because folks want to know what all the ruckus is about, I'd call that a smart marketing ploy! And as we are all entitled to our opinions where does James king stand in all of this I sing some of his songs yet I hear the same comments about him. and while we are at it to prove a point that no one really knows any more what country or bluegrass or rock is some joker is passing an R&B song "SUSPICIONS" off as a country tune, Jeez louise!! give me a break that is quite easily the most blatant non-country song there is unless you also look at Johnny Reid's 'Darlin' or his Joe Cockerish rendition of Skipping' Stones. So yes if you are a purist bluegrass officionado then Merle's album might be suspect but as in all things that progress the way they do,If suspicion can make it on a country chart (Yecch) than Merle should be able to be called blue grass,And yes Bluegrass is a "feel"however that feel comes from vocal stylings not just the instruments. As a lover and player of all styles of music,I am not knocking any of the music I have mentioned above,I am simply stating the obvious,, bluegrass is changing much the way country has , I was told to suck it up and get over it and any one with a negative opinion about Haggards CD not being bluegrass might as well suck it up and get over it too!! Regman.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 3:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi again..I believe Reg has hit the nail on the head.Haggard sure is getting lots of free publicity and more than likely he is making lots of money off of this.But that doesnt make his CD Bluegrass. You mention James King in your writings.I for one love the music that King does.It may not be traditional Bluegrass,but in my mind its Bluegrass enough to be called Bluegrass.He certainly is way more Bluegrass in his songs than Haggard ever dreams of being.I believe King is versitile enough to make it either as a Country or Bluegrass Artist.Ive only known King as a Bluegrass entertainer and I enjoy the material that he does. Reg your statements are all true,but I think that you have lost what the question was.Is Haggards CD Bluegrass enough to be called Bluegrass?Unfortunately,I still havnt seen,read or heard anything for me to say yes.Haggard is Country and theres no mistakening that.His CD is not what I would call Bluegrass Ken Innis

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 6:13:00 PM  
Anonymous regman said...

It is also unfair to use the term "Bluegrass Instruments" We should be saying Instruments traditionally used in "Bluegrass Music" as none of the instruments Guitar,banjo,fiddle,stand up bass,mandolin,dobro etc have their roots in bluegrass music, all of these instruments pre-date the history of bluegrass music, and have been adapted to the style perpetuated by the likes of Bill Monroe,the Stanley Bros and a raft of other Bluegrass Pioneers. Before bluegrass you had basically a mix of Hill and Appalachian music with a touch of Negro blues and Irish and Scottish folk lore passed down through generations ,It really doesn't matter what any of us think we are all right(in our own minds)so now that I've had my fun working up the tempers of a few folks my work as a novice blogger is done "LONG LIVE MERLE" !!! hehehe P.s maybe I don't qualify as a grasser because I have more than three teeth OOOOOOOH!! ha!ha! Just kidding I love the stuff! Keep your Grass blue and your Knees Green y'all Regman .

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 7:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hay Reg Thats cool .We are all entitled to what we believe.I just think that if something is prompted as a Bluegrass CD that it should be a Bluegrass CD.I love the Haggard,but he a COUNTRY entertainer.His so called Bluegrass CD is (in my view) nowhere near being Bluegrass.Ive enjoyed this discussion Hope to see you at the jams so we can poke a few digs at each other Ken Innis

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 12:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well ,I wasn't going to post anymore on the subject but just as a footnote and then I won't say anymore,Our Monday night jams had less bluegrass content than Merle's cd but then again it's just an opinion! No where near bluegrass in content was a phrase used by mike I believe I think if we could have played like that we would have been tickled pink once again just an opinion! Why did the Monday night jams fall apart not enough bluegrass hhmmm just an opinion? Regman. p.s. thanks for the forum mike nice to argue about something besides gas prices hehe hope we are still buddies Reg.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger Michael Floyd said...

Oh Reg, why do you make me do this?

You can go ahead and post as much as you want on this or any other topic - you don't need to stop.

Let's not confuse the quality of the Monday night jams with the quantity of Bluegrass they contained.

It is true that I was less than happy on more than one Monday night, but don't forget that for the most part, the Monday night jams are attended by a group of people that just wanted to play their little hearts out without regard for the style of music. A good portion of those that attended didn't know what Bluegrass was when they first heard of the Monday night Bluegrass jam. Unfortunately, a good portion of them still don't appear to know what it is, even now, after 3 years of jamming. You are correct, I did use the phrase "nowhere near Bluegrass" or something similar on many occasions.

Regarding quality you said "I think if we could have played like that we would have been tickled pink." I assume you mean if we could play like the musicians on Merle's CD. If that is what you mean, then yes, I think all of us would be tickled pink if we could play like that; I know I would.
The topic however, is whether Merle's CD can be considered Bluegrass; it has nothing to do with how well the musicians on it played or how well Merle sang on it, or how poorly all of us "wanna be stars" play in comparison.

In actual fact (opinion actually, I guess), I would have to say a lot of our Monday night jams had more Bluegrass than Merle's CD because Merle's CD has zero Bluegrass content in my opinion. We may not have played as well as the musicians on Merle's project, but at least some of us tried to play Bluegrass

"Thanks for the forum mike nice to argue about something besides gas prices hehe."

Are we arguing? I'm just discussing calmly, except in my original blog where I threw in a good dose of sarcasm to help make my the point.

You also said, "Hope we are still buddies."

Absolutely Reg. It's going to take a whole lot more than a difference of opinion on a CD to change that. Now when are you going to get off your butt and come to one of our private jams?

PS - I've said it several times now, but I'm not sure if anyone has heard me on this point: I like Merle Haggard; always have. The material on his new CD is fine; I just don't think it's Bluegrass, which is what it is being marketed as.

I think I know why it's being pushed as Bluegrass. Country radio no longer plays country music, or very little. That means they're not playing Haggard, Jones and Strait any more, which is a sad state of affairs indeed. The Bluegrassers are the next best target for Merle's material because most of us like it. In order to get it in the hands of all of us grassers, it was

"produced by a bluegrass musician with bluegrass musicians, recorded at a bluegrass studio, released on a bluegrass label, racked under bluegrass in record stores, aired on bluegrass radio and covered by the bluegrass press."

You already eluded to the fact that this CD is getting more attention than it ever would if not for the controversy, and I'm sure it is, because controversy always makes people curious.

From a marketing point of view it's a smart move, but the tactics being used don't change what this CD really is any more than saying the word "Bluegrass" a 1000 times does.

You mentioned in a previous post that an R&B song called "SUSPICIONS" was being passed off as a country tune on country radio stations. You know that song, the way it is being performed is no more country than a door-knob is. In the same way, I know Merle's CD is no more Bluegrass than a door-knob is.

Too bad we couldn't get the country radio stations to play Merle's new CD.

Thursday, February 14, 2008 12:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AMEN Mike!! I would love to get to a private jam unfortunately Friday nites are a tie up for me at Gene's so i'll try to make one sometime I really miss them Reg

Thursday, February 14, 2008 8:12:00 AM  

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