Reviewing the country music awards
I couldn't care less about country music, but Jack does care and I like what he has to say.
Jack Sparks reviews the 40th Annual CMAs. Before he gets likkered up and starts yelling at the teevee, here's his selection for Country music of the year:
Finally, I'd just like to reprint who should have won each of these awards, just so you have it fresh in your mind as the Wham of "Country" music, Brooks & Dunn, start piling up awards.
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
Alejandro Escovedo--The guy's got a crap liver and he's been to the cities twice in the last year. On top of everything else, when he's on his game, and he has purposefully put himself back on his game for these performances, he'll break your fucking heart. If you hear him do "I was drunk," live, you finally get it that he never actually calls out "her" name during the song. It's a very poignant moment in live performance that I've rarely witnessed. Gives me the chills.
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Tie - Tift Merritt and Jenny Lewis--Tift released an album's worth of live performances of her latest best songs. Jenny Lewis and her band released a record called Rabbit Fur Coat. They're the female co-vocalists of the year for different reasons: Tift for the uplifting quality of her record, Jenny for the dark murder of hers.
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Ryan Adams--This is a no brainer for me. See below.
Charlie Parr--Who knows who's the best "new" thing out there? Why not pick somebody from my own backyard? Charlie's record, Rooster on Eclectone Records is deep fried in chicken fat, salted with cigarette ash, and washed down with the Hamm's from dirty taps in an old St. Paul bar. You want to get some grease on your fingers and some fear in your soul? Go get a copy.
VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR
The Little Willies--I listened to their self-titled record once all the way through, then I went back and played the song "Roll On" over and over again about 50 times. You see, she's Ravi Shankar's daughter, and she likes to hang out with Willie Nelson. It all makes sense. Their rendition of "Nightlife" proves that it's a song about fucking sung by people who like to fuck, for people who like to fuck.
VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR
Brooks & Dunn, they're going to win it anyway...Wham! always wins. I think it bears repeating that Nashville is full of duos where one guy wears a cowboy hat, and the other is kinda "kooky." Typically, one of them is a good singer, and the other is a passable musician of some sort. One smiles all the time, and the other broods. Blah blah blah. If they loaded all of these acts on an old milk cart and shoved it off of a very high cliff, NONE of us would be worse off. Was "Boot Scootin' Boogie" really central to our way of life in this country?
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
(Award goes to artist and producer) This assumes radio airplay, which is as phoney as the $3 bills Mick Anselmo hands out at Utica on Christmas Eve.
MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR
Jerry Douglas the Dobro Player in Union Station. Just accept it. He's better than everybody at everything.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Jacksonville City Nights--Eat shit Nashville. Look, the guy's got a lot of baggage, but this whole disk is a non-steroidal musical homerun. He coulda, shoulda, and woulda been the Wunderkind of Country if he gave a shit. Some might say he was ripping off Gram Parsons right after he ripped off Paul Westerberg; but, for me at least, that's exactly what he SHOULD have done. Because where Country IS, and where it oughta BE right now is somewhere between Westerberg and Parsons, and far far away from Honky Tonk fuckin' Badonkadonk.
MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
(Award goes to artist and director) Who cares? Videos are what screwed everything up in the first place. Kenny Chesney is 5'2" tall and bald, but music videos make him look like he's the 6 foot tall big dicked regular on the fist fuck all star team. I'll go out on a limb and say whoever wins this category is the phoniest of the phoney bastards in Nashville today.
MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR
Ryan Adams and Norah Jones on "Dear John" on Jacksonville City Nights--If you don't get the creeps listening to this song, you can't get the creeps.
SONG OF THE YEAR
(Award goes to songwriter and primary publisher) Tie, Roll On--The Little Willies, Cowgirl Hall of Fame--Joe West
My gal and her friends constantly talk about their no penalty star sandwich. The two celebrities you get to roll around with in a 3some with no penalties if the situation presents itself to you. My musical metaphorical star sandwich consists of Norah Jones and Kelly Willis singing "Roll On" and "They're Blind" while running their fingers through my hair on a warm summer day. If you need to excuse yourself to throw up now, be my guest. I'm just sayin.
If you don't have a copy of The Human Cannonball, by Joe West, you probably don't live in the extreme southwest corner of Colorado somewhere, eating spit roasted rabbits stuffed with homegrown jalapeno peppers. "Cowgirl Hall of Fame," should have been the theme song to the movie Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, even though there's a song of the same title sung by everybody including EmmyLou Harris.
The only list you're going to read grounded in twang reality. If you're new to this exercise, and you think what you listen to on stations like K102, KEEY is country music, or even worse, you think it's good, you should stop reading now. As always, this will end up being an indictment of the Nashville system of picking singers and music based on delivering a demographic for the advertisers who sponsor country radio and should not be taken as an insult to the extremely talented and hardworking studio musicians, the real artists of country music, who'll never get recording contracts because they can't get botox injections, braces for their teeth, or saline bags for their boobs.
On with the show...
Jack Sparks reviews the 40th Annual CMAs