It's that time of year again when the nominations are announced for the Golden Guitars (or CMAA awards). There's so much talk about the perilous state of the music industry (and much of it true) and for those in the Country Music Industry plenty of healthy debate about the state it's in. Personally there's a lot of things about the country scene that drive me batshit crazy but on Monday when the awards were announced I came away from it with renewed enthusiasm. Look at some of the nominees and you may feel the same.
Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson predictably were nominated in every category they were eligible for and so they should've been. Their new record is outstanding and will earn it's place as one of the best albums ever made in this genre.
When Troy Cassar-Daley puts out an album he cleans up at the awards. This is the pattern. Is it predictable? Maybe but it's also justified. When I used to play in Troy's band years ago he idolised Slim Dusty. At times I wondered if he loved him more than his wife! (just kidding Laurel) but Troy better get used to the fact that he's creating a body of work that will be just as revered as his idol if not more so.
Catherine Britt to me she is the very definition of a great artist. Why? Because she keeps evolving and getting BETTER every time she puts out a record. Stop and think about what she'll be writing in 10, 20 years. I don't know what it'll be but I'll be buying it.
If there's any controversy in this scene it's that Harmony James doesn't sell a bucketload of records. I was so happy to see her recognised this year and pray that it'll help her to sell more and more of em. At the very least, to keep making them cause we need her.
From a personal standpoint I was very happy to see some of the artists I produced do well also. McAlister Kemp's star continues to rise, The Harmonators got nominated for their amazing song "Perfect Storm" and Harry Hookey was nominated for Best New Talent. If there was a category for BEST TALENT FULL STOP Harry would be there.... he's that good.
There were many others that deserve equal space such as Luke O'Shea, Camille & Stuie French, Amber Lawrence etc etc but I need to stop writing and get to work. I wish them all the best of luck on the big night
Sometimes it's great to be proven wrong. If we were right ALL the time we wouldn't have our sometimes narrow perceptions challenged, our minds wouldn't be as open. This week I've been proven wrong and in spectacular fashion.
For years I've listened to many artists, musicians/engineers and others in the music industry talk about the "Nashville Sasuage Factory". How most of the records that come out of there sound bland, homogenised and made to order. How the musicians there play essentially the same ole parts over and over. I've been a willing participant in these conversations time and time again. Until now....
I'm here at the moment producing (with Sam Hawkesly) an album for the Harmonators and 2 EP's for Jessica Jade-Bruce and Brooke Schuberth as part of the Nashville Recording Package I put up on my website a while back. We've spent the last 4 days recording the band tracks for these artists. Same group of players, same mic setups for each act. What I've experienced has been truly magical. These players right from the start have given their heart and soul to these songs. Once they realised that Sam and I weren't here to make carbon copies of whatever they'd done the day before they were off. Suggesting often brilliant chord and arrangment ideas, freely experimenting with different sounds and working and sculpting their parts until they were completely satisfied that they'd given their very best (even when Sam and myself thought they'd long since gotten there) . I was concerned that because we're using the same players for each artist that they would all sound too similar. Wrong again. After 2 days of tracking the modern country sound of the Harmonators they shifted effortlessly to the pop/soul sound of Jessica Jade-Bruce. One track had a funk groove so deep Sam and I were even compelled to dance (not with eachother of course)....a rare and not alltogether pleasant sight.
Now I'm not suggesting for one second that this is the only good record to come out of Nashville.....There are hundreds of incredible records made in this town every year. What I have learned out of this more than anything is that people want to be inspired no matter where they are or what they do. If you give someone the right conditions, the right encouragement, put the right people around them and you get down in the trenches with them then you're going to see that person truly give the best of themselves.
Sam and I have managed to create that this week and I am truly grateful for the experience. Cannot wait to come back and do it again! Thank you Nashville