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Don't You DARE Sound Like You -- UNLESS You Sound Like Him!


Editor Boy

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GP Associate Editor Darrin Fox just interviewed Marty Stuart, and the country guitar star bemoaned the fact that he can't tell any of the current country players apart due to the homogenization of radio-friendly country music. (He mentioned that he can absolutely identify EVERY player on the tunes in rotation on satellite radio "classic country" channels.)

 

I'm paraphrasing a bit because I don't have the transcript in front of me, but one of his comments was: "We have some of the best guitarists in the world in Nashville now, but they have to check their personalities at the [recording] studio door!"

 

This is sad.

 

And yet, homogenization continues in ALL genres.

 

Are session guitarists, engineers, and producers so afraid of losing work that they'll gleefully sign on for such anti-creative, vibe killing antics such as cloning hit guitar sounds?

 

Is the public so dead to true impassioned vision and uniqueness of thought that they can only gobble up new stuff that sounds almost exactly like last week's stuff, but with a different hairdo or jacket?

 

Will anyone stop the madness?

 

I think I'm okay now -- but thanks for listening. I just got a little scared.

 

Best to All,

Mike

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In answer to your questions,

 

Yes

 

Yes

 

No

 

Be afraid, be very afraid. We may very well live to see the death of live music.

Nothing is as it seems but everything is exactly what it is - B. Banzai

 

Life is what happens while you are busy playing in bands.

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My impression of country these days is bad 80's pop music.I wacthed the country award thing tonight and except for the tribute to Buck,it all sounds like the stuff you used to hear and ignore on the radio back in the day.It comes off as some of the most coperate kinda stuff ive ever heard.I could see a band like quarterflash or wang chung making a killing with some little tempo changes and cowboy hats.Its no wonder that Mutt lange is hicthed to Shania twain or whatever her name is.Most of the stuff ive heard is just as bad as Def leppard.You just string any old shit to a chorus that sounds familar.I wish i had a home studio so i could try to make some demos and send them to nashville.I could use the money.Not to get of topic but i also find it funny that something that is considered so american has so many guys on import guitars.But most of it is fake anyways so why care.
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Yet, there are doubtless many talented and creative people out there in that genre! Sure, they're outside the megabucks industry, but they DO have fans!

 

We can't do much to undermine the system, but we can support the artists we like... it's our ONLY REVENGE!!

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It's been creeping in, slowly, for along time now. "The Formula".

 

It started with radio DJs back in the late 70's who played rotations of "the popular stuff". Videos in the eighties tried to break away from the redundancy of pop radio, but by the end of the decade, they had also fallen victim to "The Formula".

 

Bands tried to conform to fit the mold of what, "The Formula" dictated as "in", so that they could be stars.

 

It has since spread to many other facets of our lives. The reality tv trend is a good example of the "The Formula's" cookie cutter, being used to create new tv shows.

 

I even watched it being used in corporations. Follow the trend, create a copy of the store that is doing the best. Saturate the market and, when you have consumer brand devotion, do away with the little guys.

 

"The Formula" may be a terrible thing that leaves us all with a sense of deja-vu, but it is what we all wanted right? ;)

 

Be careful what you wish for.

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One Factor might be:

 

I think it's just a "buy" product of the modern media boom.

 

Seems like with the proliferation of "learn how to play like..." DVDs and Lessons is creating a generation of players who become skilled at sounding like someone else.

 

Also, seems like the mass-market supports this, because that is were the money is.

 

However, I am one of the people who does not follow current trends. I look for music that pleases my soul. I look to the past to rediscover lost artists, I listen to what ever I can to find music that speaks to me.

 

If there is someone that plays guitar from thier heart and soul, I will always listen.

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Originally posted by Editor Boy:

"...homogenization continues in ALL genres."

Sad but true; been that way, gradually at first, but picking up speed, ever since isolated regional styles and regional-radio began to give way to bigger, format-oriented broadcasters and television and all.

 

"Are session guitarists, engineers, and producers so afraid of losing work that they'll gleefully sign on for such anti-creative, vibe killing antics such as cloning hit guitar sounds?

 

Is the public so dead to true impassioned vision and uniqueness of thought that they can only gobble up new stuff that sounds almost exactly like last week's stuff, but with a different hairdo or jacket?"

Like Uncle Frank said, "People don't know what they like, they like what they know."

 

"Will anyone stop the madness?"

In the broader commercial market? Nope. Won't, and can't. Like Uncle Yogi said, "Horticulture? You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make 'er think." :freak::rolleyes::D

 

For example, I had a friend who's family was all into all the new poular radio 'n' video Country music stuff, even though for years he and his wife- since they were kids- had been pretty much "classic rock" and pop/rock subscribers. I commented on how similar much country music, rock 'n' roll (especially classic, '50s-ish r&r and rockabilly), and blues are, underscoring this with a few stylized variations on the venerable I-IV-V on my venerable flat-top acoustic. He didn't want to accept or recognize this, and flat out contradicted me when I pointed out that "country" music was essentially a blending of Irish and other European folk-musics with that of African-Americans over the course of the 19th and 20th Centuries! Gheeze, black people couldn't possibly have had anything to do with Countree And West-Turn... Next yer gonna be tellin' me that there were black cowboys! :rolleyes:

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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Yes Caevin, there are Black Cowboys ;)

 

http://www.artistdirect.com/Images/artd/amg/music/cover/3212208_ct_200.jpg

 

 

and what's the deal with Country Rap, Hick Hop or whatever you wish to call it.

 

 

The lines are blurring.

 

and Thank Goodness for Brad Paisley, There are still some great players there that stick to their guns.

Lynn G
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It is sad on an artistic level that mass produced music can be cookie cutter. But that is the nature of capitolism. Can you really blame someone for following a formula that almost guarantees that a song will sell? Styles will change as people get bored with a particular genre but most people just want to hear the same old stuff. Just remember you can play whatever music you want, you don't have to make money at it.
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When did country "shut the gate"?

 

I mean, once upon a time, it would have been VERY daring to turn up to a gig carrying your telecaster. Or your P Bass. And people did and verily, these things became a part of the country sound.

 

So once upon a time, country audiences must have been a lot more open minded than they are these days. When and why did that stop? :confused:

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I dunno if its the audience that stopped being open minded vince.... I think its the record labels doing as craig tha stringo said that when they have something people buy they will saturate the market until nobody can bare to hear it anymore... Then they will find another inventive musician that people are getting into and do the same with that style. Its more about squeezing every last bit of profit out of something before discarding it. Because lets not forget for them its not about music its about money.
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Originally posted by Guitar Geezer:

Yes Caevan, there are Black Cowboys ;)

 

http://www.artistdirect.com/Images/artd/amg/music/cover/3212208_ct_200.jpg

 

 

and what's the deal with Country Rap, Hick Hop or whatever you wish to call it.

 

 

The lines are blurring.

 

and Thank Goodness for Brad Paisley, There are still some great players there that stick to their guns.

I was referring to the real, original cowboys of history, from when and where the term came from. (Many of them were black; I've met some people who find this upsetting, and actually deny its veracity. Sad.)

 

Yeah, I know, you displayed the " ;) " winky-smily-guy... Sorry! :thu:

 

As for blurring lines, I'm all for that, or at least new hybrid re-combinations of musical influences. Bland corporate homogenization is another thing entirely!

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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I know, just had a Geezer brain F#$t. Last time I was at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Ok City( It's been a while) There was a whole wing dedicated to the Black Cowboys!!!!

 

Back to the subject, I initially did NOT care for Big & Rich, thoght it was a one trick pony, HOWEVER it's neat to see them performing on the Awards Shows with a big Marshall backline, Les Pauls etc.....

 

But the new guys (including Cowboy Troy ;) ) seem to be the exception.

Lynn G
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RE: Without the services of the eight or nine thousand Negroes - a quarter of the total number of trail drivers - who during the generation after the Civil War helped to move herds up the cattle trails to shipping points, Indian reservations, and fattening grounds and who, between drives, worked on the ranches of Texas and Indian Territory, the cattle industry would have been seriously handicapped. For apart from their considerable numbers, many of them were especially well-qualified top hands, riders, ropers, and cooks. Of the comparatively few Negroes on the Northern Range, a good many were also men of conspicuous abilities who notably contributed to the industry in that region. These cowhands, in their turn, benefitted from their participation in the industry, even if not to the extent that they deserved. That a degree of discrimination and segregation existed in the cattle country should not obscure the fact that, during the halcyon days of the cattle range Negroes there frequently enjoyed greater opportunities for a dignified life than anywhere else in the United States. They worked, ate, slept, played, and on occasion fought, side by side with their white comrades, and their ability and courage won respect, even admiration. They were often paid the same wages as white cowboys and, in the case of certain horsebreakers, ropers, and cooks, occupied positions of considerable prestige. In a region and period characterized by violence, their lives were probably safer than they would have been in the Southern cotton regions where between 1,500 and 1,600 Negroes were lynched in two decades after 1882. The skilled and handy Negro probably had a more enjoyable, if rougher, existence as a cowhand than he would have had as a sharecropper or laborer. . . . Negro cowhands, to be sure, were not treated as equals except in the rude quasi-equality of the roundup, stampede, and river-crossing - where they were sometimes tacitly recognized even as superiors - but where else in post - Civil War America, at a time of the Negro nadir, did so many adult Negroes and whites attain even this degree of fraternity? The cow country was no utopia for Negroes, but it did demonstrate that under some circumstances and for at least brief periods white and black in significant numbers could live and work together on more equal terms than had been possible in the United States for two hundred years or would be possible again for nearly another century.
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I'm getting so sick and tired of comments like the bulk of this thread.

 

Someone makes a valid statement that there's a measurable amount of crap in country music today and all of a sudden the rats come out of the sewers to feast. :rolleyes:

 

Like all genres, there's good stuff and crap. If you don't like it, don't listen. But don't come in as a country bashing, rock, jazz, or what-have-you listening consumer and come down on music you don't like in the first place. :rolleyes:

 

Marty's a great musician and performer, but there was a time when people complained that he was watering down country along with his contemporaries. He shouldn't throw stones in his glass house, considering his lead player, Kenny Vaughn is firmly plugged in to the A-list of session players. Marty's music and that of his contemporaries has stood the test of time and Marty still makes great music with great players (Several of whom I'm acquainted with), but despite my own loathing for certain artists and the seeming cookie-cutter-ness of the industry as a whole, as usual I can find good stuff being released. Even some of the people that are vilified while their record sales are on top have redeeming qualities in some music.

 

I don't like Big & Rich. I can't stand the whole "Cowboy Troy" thing. Shania has some good songs but I could do without the dance floor mixes. I abhor Sara Evans hyper-pitch-corrected recordings (and live performances) and the fact she's a royal PITA to work with. All that and more said of what I don't like in today's country, the following is just as true.

 

Whether or not you think Tim McGraw is a poster boy for Country Hunk sans voice, he's recorded some great songs and done them well. He's wonderful to work with, too. The same is true of Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney. Keith Urban is a fantastic singer, musician and performer whose album delivered at least 5 great songs and the rest are good. I've mixed sound for him and can attest to the fact this guy is a consumate professional, in his vocal and instrumental prowess.

 

Frankly, I'm not a fan of the music from today's rising female stars, but Carrie Underwood has a fantastic voice that was well recorded, even if I can't stand the lyrics to Jesus Take The Wheel. She has a great future ahead. There are others who will grow and hopefully make better song choices. We'll see.

 

I don't think everyone who knocks country is ignorant of what country is and was, but I wonder how many whiners here actually listen to country or have listened to country.

 

Again, if you don't like it, say so and move on. You don't hear me going on and on of how I think rap and what passes for R&B these days both suck, ad infinitum.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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I would like to go on record as saying I never singled out one genre.

 

I personally think that most of the "new" music you hear on the radio today (pick any station) is very cookie cutter-ish. Those who produce this music know who they are.

 

There are bright spots and breaths of fresh air in all genre's as well. People that put out honest music that was created by someone instead of a marketing group. Those who produce these songs know who they are.

 

There always have been quick flash-in-the-pan imitators. They never seem to last, that's why there's always room for a fresh batch. But the cream always seems to find a way to rise to the top. So there always seems to be worthy new music to imitate.

 

I think it just seems like cookie cutting has taking an upturn because of the modern intensity of the mass media onslaught. It's always in your face, and it never let's up. Not until you load your MP3 player with the really good stuff: You know, Jackson Brown, the Eagles, The Rolling Stones, etc.

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Having said all that (see above).

 

I think that people who don't play guitars expect them to sound a certain way. I'm assuming most of the Music Company Big Wigs don't play guitar. They only know that someone played a really cool riff, and they want to duplicate that. They mey not even notice or acknowledge a certain tone the way we do.

 

They probably just figure that all instruments will sound the same no matter who plays them.

 

For instance, they want a pan flute in thier mix, but Zamfir isn't available and they don't feel like getting a CD of pan flute samples from Sound Tank. Luckily, Oberon is in the Studio next door working on the sound track to Mid Summer Nights Dream, Problem Solved.

 

Certain record producers are after a certain sound. You're better off to just give them what they want.

 

I think Michael is concerned that the doors are closed to innovations. I think Michael is concerned that you will have to play loud and long to be heard over the current din of "Today's Sound".

 

His concerns are most likely well founded. Can any of us be sure that there are not some amazing undiscovered unique and innovative guitarists/musicians who will never have the oppurtunity to be heard?

 

Who could possibly know the answer to that. It is all in the hands of providence.

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Originally posted by fantasticsound:

 

 

I don't think everyone who knocks country is ignorant of what country is and was, but I wonder how many whiners here actually listen to country or have listened to country.

Yeah...modern country ain't what it was 30-40 years ago...

...but there's still some "classic country soul" to be found every now and then if you can get past the country/disco/pop/rock-with-cowboy-hat-n-boots thing.

You get someone like a Shania who should probably be releasing a pure R&B or Dance or POP record...but instead she/they sell it as "country"...and it does tend to blur/homogenize things.

 

And then the younger country artists all get on that band wagon...plus, if they can cross over into 2-3-4 other genres...thats more sales/money! :thu:

So in a cookie cutter atmosphere like Nashville, you get a whole lot of people tring to sound like a little bit of everything/everyone else.

 

Kind reminds me of the Donnie & Marie Osmond tune...but with a twist:

"I'm a little bit country...and pop...and rock...and disco..." :D

miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

 

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."

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We just have to keep people aware of the talented and creative artists out there, since the mass media clearly are not going to do it.

 

However, people are constantly recording CDs and promoting them over the Internet and elsewhere. There IS an audience for non-mainstream material; there are plenty of audiences out there! The "mass market" is by no means the only market, and bitching and moaning about corporate greed and insensitivity, while certainly justifiable, serves no purpose. Letting people know about talented people DOES, and supporting them by buying their product. An artist doesn't have to sell MILLIONS of CDs to make a living, but they do have to sell SOME... or have some paying students...

 

One thing we CAN do is let Congress know we want the Internet kept free! Sorry to introduce something that may be considered political, but it directly affects a lot of musicians, and has nothing to do with Republican vs. Democrat!

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I don't think everyone who knocks country is ignorant of what country is and was, but I wonder how many whiners here actually listen to country or have listened to country.

 

Again, if you don't like it, say so and move on.

Ok. I don't like the state of top 40 country music today. I like the Texas singer/songwriter/outlaw country folks like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Willie, Waylon, etc, bluegrass, pickers like Johnny Hyland and the Hellcasters, but pop country, like most pop, is just opium for the masses. IMO.
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AKA Americana Music! :thu:

 

My Pro stint was in the late 70 early 80s doing the Cosmic Cowboy / Outlaw music scene, So I still harbor an Anti-Nashville grudge - possibly ;) But I keep the Americana station programmed instead of the Top 40 Country stations. Plus, spending 6 years in the Heart of Texas Music - San Antonio , Austin etc where these people play every weekend, you get spoiled!

Lynn G
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Originally posted by Editor Boy:

Will anyone stop the madness?

What? Why? What did I do??? :o;):D

 

But back on topic, I agree that we can't really stop the corporate ways but music also lives outside the corporate channels and encouraging those other channels is the thing to do.

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Originally posted by Editor Boy:

Are session guitarists, engineers, and producers so afraid of losing work.....

 

Is the public so dead to true impassioned vision and uniqueness of thought.......

 

Will anyone stop the madness.......

Great post. I myself have written three posts along these lines and then "torn them up" in self-censorship, for whatever reason.

 

I agree with the other guy....YES YES NO.

 

Yes the present day music buying public is being completely manipulated by the marketing crowd who work for labels that do not give a shit about artistic integrity. All they care about is a fast $, and lot's of it. This goes also for just about all "stuff" that is being sold to the current generation that is becoming the buying power today.

 

Without taking the time to articulate my thoughts cohesively, these are some things that come to mind for me.

 

Ever since the internet and the new speed of info age we live in now that resulted from it, there is a new sense of impatience and intolerance that seems to control how people go about aquiring stuff, and interacting with others. I want it now, and if possible I want it for free and if ( whoever ) does not have it, fuck them, I will get it elsewhere.

 

People steal stuff on a regular basis and feel it is their right to do so.

Software, music, published works, games, movies etc etc. And when someone comes along and makes it so their stuff can't be stolen by encoding it, or by prosecuting the website owners who make it possible for people to steal....all of a sudden everyone is jumping up and down and whining and sniveling about it. " Hey if it is on the web it is my right to have it..." for example the TAB sites.

 

And with all these Forums and places to post stuff, many seem to have become experts in whatever field grabs their fancy at the time. And sometimes they just won't shut up. And God help you if you cross them by disagreeing.

 

And when something gets touched on that is against the rules and it is pointed out, so many people get pissed off and start with the freedom of expression thing and again with their rights. Doesn't matter that it is a rule that was agreed on, by everyone.

 

It is okay to steal, okay to bend the rules, okay to break the law, okay to lie etc etc and when called on it it is okay to get pissed off about it or whine and snivel.

 

And so few seem to want to really work hard to get anything. Minimal effort seems to be the flavour of the day. Even guitar playing...that old question " how can I get good real quick without too much effort.." or words to that effect.

 

What has happened to us?

 

I am not talking specifics here, or pointing at anyone on this forum.....this is based on what I see as I walk through life with my eyes and ears open, shit I hear at work, see on TV, read on the internet etc etc.

 

I don't even want to get started on big time crime.

 

Add this to the fact that the boomers are starting to die off, and the old guard who were raised on the ethics like "keep your mouth shut, work hard, respect your elders etc etc etc" are disappearing fast....... it is no wonder that things are the way they are. Big money saw this coming a long time ago. I hope the greed is going to bite them in the ass eventually though.

 

Does nobody really give a shit anymore... are the old school values out the window....gone....forever?

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They are not always long are they.....sorry about that...I am just passionate about this....or did I have a hair up my ass....hmm dunno....did not get to surf today....have not had a bong hit in 5 years.....Xanax prsecription ran out........same with the Vicodin's :D other than that all is good...oh yeah long posts....you got it Scatter.
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