The return of real music

Whether it’s the piano playing of Jerry Lee Lewis or the superb picking of guitarist Scotty Moore behind those Elvis classics, one thing is clear.
It’s real music, recorded with talented musicians.
The success of new groups like Mumford & Sons, Alabama Shakes, Rival Sons and The Lumineers suggests that musicianship is making a comeback. Guitars, bass, drums, even banjos and all those odd instruments that Arcade Fire uses to great effect.
Younger music fans crave authenticity and call bullshit on recording techniques like auto tune. When Paris Hilton can cut an album and have it not sound out of place in today’s pop landscape (which might say more about the likes of Ke$hia than it does about Paris), something is horribly out of tune.
In Greg Kot’s book, “Ripped,” Thom Yorke of Radiohead says, “The reason the revenues in the music business are slipping is because most of stuff they’re trying to sell you is shite.”
Shite indeed.
For as long as I’ve been old enough to appreciate music I’ve been in awe of Ritchie Blackmore, Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi, Neil Peart and many more great players. I’ve been wowed by the vocals of Janis Joplin, Ronnie James Dio, Little Richard, Pat Benatar, Roy Orbison and scores of other fine singers.
They were doing something I could only dream of. They had the chops. Thanks to auto tune just about anyone can sing on key.
And, while “Someone Like You” irritated me to no end with its dreariness, there’s no doubt Adele is a terrific singer. Her massive success is another sign that things are moving away from disposable, interchangeable pop princesses and towards a brighter musical future.
Those young folks, bless ’em, are responding to genuine talent and substance.
Go back 20 years and there’s no way a less-than-glamorous singer like Alabama Shakes’s Brittany Howard would have been seen on national television. The major label execs would have taken one look at her and said, “We can’t sell that.”
Thankfully, people now want to buy that. Brittany’s real. She can sing and play. The kids know it so here’s a big salute to their growing rejection of computerized, auto-tuned songs written by committee.
To quote those old geezers known as The Who, “The kids are all right.”

About johnnymaraca

host of Johnny Maraca's Rock & Roll Riot, the rockingest show on the radio. 60 years of rockin' rhythm and blues, from the late '40s pioneers like Louis Jordan to Elvis, Chuck Berry, CCR, Stray Cats, Ramones and tons more. Friday and Saturday nights at 7 on 97.7 the Beach, listen live at http://977thebeach.ca, and WRSG in Middlebourne, West Virginia, Tuesdays 6-8 pm.
This entry was posted in Blog. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The return of real music

  1. Dan says:

    In the early 80s (seems like yesterday) I had the pleasure of sitting almost beside Little Richard at a small Vancouver club (the “Cave”, long gone) & watched his fingers fly over the keys as he worked through his songbook

    Awesome

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s