In 2006, friends Andrew Shapter and Joel Rasmussen, decided to make a documentary focused on the homogenization of popular music. I know. Big word that simply means to blend things that might not go together. In this case, they are referring to several things. Corporate America, strategic marketing, formulated music and finally, a pretty face.
For me and the music I’m so fond of, the fingers of big corporate America have managed to keep a safe distance. Which for my tastes translates into weak markets that don’t generate big revenues.
For instance, aside from a lot of other music, I love bluegrass. It’s a complex soulful kind of sound with abundant European influences. And the market for bluegrass music is so small, it remains pure and untainted.
So you’re asking yourself, what’s the big deal with Corporate America getting involved with the music industry? Simply put, when business mixes with art it’s like dogs and cats trying to live together. And too often the dog ends up killing the cat.
A great example of this is the now popular country music. And folks, I’m truly sorry but that ain’t country. If you think it is, you’ve lost your mind and need to immediately purchase some Patsy Cline and listen to “Crazy” because you are. Country music used to be about the MUSIC. Words that represented real life and not that it’s “Five O-Clock Somewhere”. Lyrics that told a story leading its listeners down a path of someone’s life. A life that was lived by a professional guest of real experiences.
So what kind of guy am I talking about if not the new country musician with a real tight t-shirt who does a lot of boating in the Caribbean? I’m talking Charlie Rich country. I’m talking Loretta Lynn and George Jones. These are people that I believe if had existed in today’s country music market would have made it as far as a joint on highway 80. And that’s as far as they would have ever gone.
Pat Green is a great example of this conundrum. At the heart of Pat is a real song writer and not a Justin Timberlake with a cowboy hat on. He’s the real deal and because he is the real deal, he will struggle against what’s marketable.
I know you, the reader, are busy. Which is why I try to keep my articles fairly small. But if you really love music, I would invite you to watch the documentary by Andrew Shapter and Joe Rasmussen. It’s called “Before The Music Dies” and you can watch it for free on Hulu.com.
So get yourself a glass of merlot and flip your laptop open. And don’t forget the earphones so you can drown out the cries for water from the kid’s bedroom. I don’t get that. Why do they get thirsty after you put them to bed?
Peace Out and remember…go listen to some real music!
The below is just a trailer and not the full feature film.