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Santa Maria Sun / Music
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 47
The Grammy Awards remind us that great music isn't produced by machines and megalomaniacs, but skilled musicians
BY JOE PAYNE
I’ve never won any popularity contests for my taste in music, but I’m bolstered in my feelings by actually having taste in music. Even I couldn’t be torn away from the cultural road-kill that was the Grammy Awards this year: the glitz, the spectacle, the collaborations, and, of course, the awards.
What is pop music supposed to be? Is it a summation of the times, an accurate distillation of the current zeitgeist? Or is it indicative of what young people are listening to, giving us a peek into the minds and hearts of the up-and-coming generation? Hardly either. Pop music is what sells, plain and simple. It’s a product.
This was a big year for a few artists. Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z (I personally think the latter is riding the former’s shiny, skimpy coattails) held their own in the opening performance, proving that mommies and daddies can sing and dance as good as anyone else, even though they didn’t clean the floor as far as the awards went.
So who took home the big prizes? Well, a couple of robots actually. Daft Punk, a futuristic-themed electronic dance group, took home the Grammy for record of the year and album of the year for “Get Lucky” and “Random Access Memories.” The producers who make up the group accepted their awards in their iconic shiny robot gear, while collaborators spoke for them.
Here I was naïve in thinking we were ready to say goodbye to these songs. “Get Lucky” has to stand as possibly the most annoying song of 2013, and not just because it’s a mindless hymn to the shallower things in life. Has anyone else noticed that most of these songs essentially rehash good music of yesteryear?
I guess I’m not the only one. Robin Thicke’s equally overplayed and overrated “Blurred Lines” is the subject of a copyright settlement with the family of Marvin Gaye. That’s because this inescapable song rips off one of the greatest R&B artists of all time. This is standard operating procedure in pop music these days. If you aren’t sampling a song everyone already loves, you retool it and try to pass it off as your own.
The Grammys actually gave plenty of awards to capable, skilled musicians; unfortunately most of them were relegated to the pre-telecast ceremony. Literally 72 out of the 82 awards the Grammys gives were presented before anyone started watching, leaving the majority of the year’s recipients out of sight and ear for most Americans—which is a shame, because a number of skilled and talented musicians made up the ranks. Among them was Los Angeles-based band La Santa Cecilia, which performed in Guadalupe and Santa Barbara recently thanks to Viva el Arte de Santa Barbara, and won best Latin rock album. Unfortunately, the televised Grammys ceremony is reserved for the artists everyone has already heard receiving awards they hardly deserve, and then performing the songs again, but with amazingly meaningless collaborations with other groups.
My favorite part of the Grammys this year was how, all the while, sitting in the audience, awaiting their chance to perform together, were Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. As if to remind all the techno-obsessed children on stage what music was, the remaining half of the greatest rock band of all time graciously accepted their lifetime achievement recognition (like they needed it from the Grammys) and performed wonderfully live and on instruments.
Artists like Jay-Z have sampled from The Beatles’ work, creating electro-Frankenstein mashups of drum machine beats with dissected pieces of perfect rock ’n’ roll. Is this good; is this bad? Maybe I can’t say. Maybe I’m just lording over these artists with my less-than-humble opinion. But it’s 2014, and Ringo and Paul can still sling the goods. My question is: Will we be clamoring to give the stage to the likes of Daft Punk, Macklemore, or Robin Thicke in 50 years’ time?
More music …
The Chumash Casino Resort presents live music in its Samala Showroom including The Eagles tribute band Hotel California performing Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. Gerardo Ortiz performs live on Feb. 6 at 8 p.m. Both shows happen at the Chumash Casino Resort, 2400 E. Highway 246, Santa Ynez. Cost is $25, $35, and $45. More info: 1-800-CHUMASH or chumashcasino.com.
Bringing the blue
Bluegrass West! presents Peter Feldmann and The Very Lonesome Trio in concert on Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. at Saint Marks in-the-Valley Episcopal Church, 290 Nojoqui Ave., Los Olivos. Cost is $12. More info: 688-9894 or bluegrasswest.com.
The Sindicate performs live reggae rock on Feb. 5 at 8:30 p.m. at O’Sullivan’s Pub, 633 E. Main St., Santa Maria. More info: 925-0658.
Catch Calo twice
The 510 Event Center features a live show by Calo on Jan. 31 at 8 p.m. at the 510 Event Center, 510 South Broadway, Santa Maria. More info: 928-5510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Radisson Hotel offers live music Fridays and Saturdays, including Calo performing Feb. 1 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel, 3455 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria. More info: 928-8000.
Live from the vine
The D’Vine Wine Bar and Bistro features Mike Shelton live on Jan. 31, Sean Wiggins and Paul Houston on Feb. 1, and Jerry Stickell live on Feb. 5 with shows starting at 7:30 p.m. Karaoke nights are Thursdays from 7 to 9 p.m. at the D’Vine Wine Bar and Bistro, 107 W. Ocean Ave., Lompoc. More info: 430-8356 or facebook.com.
Creative Juices presents a blue jam with Ted Waterhouse on Sundays from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Creative Juices Lounge, 874 Guadalupe St., Guadalupe. More info: 219-0518 or creativejuiceslounge.com.
Lucia’s Wine Co. offers an open mic featuring wine, poetry, and live music on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. at the tasting room, 126 E. Clark Ave., Orcutt. More info: 332-3080.
The Maverick Saloon offers live entertainment, including live country and rock by Teddy Spanke and the Tex Pistols on Jan. 31 at 8:45 p.m., followed by “Late Night with guest DJs” at 11:30 p.m. “Concert on the Deck” featuring Melanie Devaney is Feb. 1 at 3 p.m. Teddy Spanke and the Boys perform on Feb. 1 at 8:45 p.m., followed by “Late Night with guest DJs” at 11:30 p.m. at the saloon, 3687 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez. More info: 686-4785 or email@example.com.
Contact Arts Editor Joe Payne at jpayne@santa mariasun.com.