[l1]E[/l1]very place John is mentioned online, someone brings up the immense unfairness of the bass player and drummer of CCR never getting their due from him.
As a bass player and drummer myself, that all sounds like kneejerk emotional reaction, not objective assessments of Doug Clifford’s and Stu Cook’s value to the band. I’m not good enough to play drums for John, but I can play the bass line on any CCR song without even practicing.
There is nothing distinctive, irreplaceable about CCR’s rhythm section. Any competent bass player and drummer could have backed up Fogerty and CCR would have been the same band. With the right choices, they might even have been better.
CCR was John Fogerty was CCR. His songwriting, his guitar playing, crimenently his voice. Anything special and unique about that group was that man.
[l1]S[/l1]hort version: lyrics are poetry, and I’m with Rolling Stone on this one.
[az]B00138H876[/az]The official Nobel press release says The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2016 is awarded to Bob Dylan for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.
Do they not have the right to award it to whomever they please? Is there supposed to be some internal logic we don’t expect from Grammys or Oscars?
This is an organization that gives the world’s most famous peace prize and it’s named after the guy who invented dynamite. I, for one, think Mr. Zimmerman would find that amusing, though to this point, he has yet to comment on the award.
[l1]L[/l1]ike the difference between a redneck and a hillbilly, scissoring Americana out of the pages of country pop, folk-rock, and alternative music is an ethereal thing. It’s been on my mind the past 12 hours, since I went to see an “Americana” band last night, and except for Steve Earle’s Copperhead Road it was an evening of country-pop and, I kid you not, 70s and 80s metal.
Hint: if the band is singing about pouring sugar on a deaf leopard or whatever that was, it ain’t Americana.
I’m not here to set the record straight. This is just the opinion of an aging hillbilly who writes and performs Americana.
Oh, that’s it. Joel is feeling misunderstood. Again.
I’ll come in through the back door with examples first, explanations later.
Some artists I consider Americana through and through:
(Their name links to their website, and I’ve included a link to their stuff at Amazon. Yes, it’s an affiliate link. If you use it I might make some money. Americana doesn’t care. Neither do hillbillies.)
And some who spend a lot of time there, but whose main body of work might tend toward straight country or rock:
Here’s my attempt to identify the musical elements that make me think “Americana”:
It must twang. If there is no twang, it might be rock, it might be country, might even be bluegrass, but it ain’t Americana. Twang it must. Twang it will. No twang, no Americana. Have I made myself clear?
If there is not a dobro or other slide guitar, you, at the very least, expect one, knowing it is lurking around the next bridge. Fiddle is optional.
The singer’s voice is more notable for its expressiveness and power than silken smooth beauty. (Emmylou Harris gets a pass here, because she’s Emmylou Harris fer cryin’ out loud.)
The lyrics are thin slices of truth from the sandwich of life, subtle commentary on the wider world through the lens of a moment in time as told by a weary wanderer. It may put you in mind of cowboys and sunsets. Might could, anyway.
Acoustic, electric, fast, slow, drums: all immaterial. Both Neko Case’s Mood to Burn Bridges, a whip-fast rocker with drums and electricity, and Patty Griffin’s Long Ride Home, a melancholy acoustic number (and, lyrically, perhaps the best song ever written about regret) both qualify, unequivocally.
Vocal harmonies show up. A lot.
You won’t hear distortion on the guitar. Maybe it’s there, I don’t know, but it ain’t no grinding crunch.
It has nothing to do with politics. The word America (or is it American?) is, in this case, geographical, historical.
Sorry. Stumbled upon a video of case/lang/viers performing their album live and went into a trance. I sorta like the way Neko tosses that red mane. Where was I? Huh. That’s all I got.
[l1]A[/l1] testament to the power of musical connections indeed.
I’m a die-hard Nissan fan, and fairly dismissive of American cars (too many Pintos and Vegas in my past.)
And yet, after watching Dylan’s Chrysler commercial last night, I feel an overwhelming desire to buy a Chrysler product.
My Little One, who’s not yet 10, watched the whole thing, and at the end when the snippet of lyrics comes in, she squealed “I KNEW it was that song” and made that the first song on her bedtime playlist.
The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine is toying with my head, and it’s all because of music.
This machine kills anything you want killed. Use your power for good instead of evil.
[l1]I[/l1][az]B000GG4XJM[/az]’ve been plagued by a particular earworm for over 40 years.
I’ve got a mule, her name is . . .
If her name popped unbidden into your mind, you’re either a fan of American folk music or you went to elementary school in California in the 60s.
The song was originally entitled Low Bridge, Everybody Down when Thomas Allen wrote it in 1905. Now it’s called The Erie Canal Song, 15 Miles on the Erie Canal, and any number of other names. It’s about the years, decades really, when boats on the Erie Canal were towed by mules. By 1905 the era of the mules was just about over.
I wish the era of this earworm were over.
Oh; the mule’s name? Sal. I’ve got a mule her name is Sal. Enjoy your earworm.
[l1]T[/l1]he youngest smallest smartest kid in my High School classes was tough. In the middle of 1st grade, they moved me to 2nd grade in the little 2-room country school I attended.
Volga and Range both had 2-room school houses, with 1st through 3rd in one room, 4th through 6th in the other. About 10 kids in each grade; 60 total in the school. We moved in after the school year started so I had the last seat in the 1st graders. When I was promoted, I didn’t even have to move my desk, I was just the first seat in the 2nd graders.
[l1]A[/l1]fter repeated listenings to Cream’s Born Under a Bad Sign a few years ago I went to my music room to play around on my bass. Rather than trying to copy Jack Bruce’s bass line, I played what it made me feel like.
Speeding it up a little and moving down and back up a few times, all I needed was a brief refrain at the end, a turnaround between verses, and it felt complete.
A rockabilly shuffle on the drums is loads of fun, but it’s hard to keep up if you’re not practicing regularly. The drums seem to have survived most of this trip.
When you commit to writing 14 songs in 28 days there’s a bit of a time constraint. When I started recording the springy lead guitar I realised that, though it was recording, it wasn’t coming out of the amp, and it wasn’t coming through the computer to my headphones. I could hear a tinny little noise straight off the strings on my Stratocaster, but even that was muffled by the headphones.
Knowing I could do it over, I soldiered on.
I didn’t do it over. This is what I sound like playing lead guitar when I can’t hear myself. Maybe I should try it more often.
Blues without harmonica seemed wrong. Then the piano started complaining about being left out.
I’ve written a handful of short verses which I might record some day, but if Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust can survive as an instrumental for more than a decade, this one will be okay.