Local Rhythms – Grammy makes me grumpy

When Jethro Tull took home a Grammy for, of all things, best hard rock/metal performance, it was already over for me.  Ever since Taste of Honey beat out Elvis Costello in 1979 on the strength of their execrable disco hit “Boogie Oogie Oogie,” I’ve expected nothing less than irrelevance from the annual music awards.

But this year’s nominees are just plain lazy.

How else to explain Daryl Hall and John Oates’ pick for their performance of “Sara Smile”?

Don’t check your calendars, it’s not 1977.

Really, though, the ceremony should be called the Mulligans. Every Grammy is a do-over, the musical equivalent of a Lifetime Achievement Oscar.

You know – the consolation prize given for missing the best stuff in an artist’s career.

Hey, Neil Young – sorry we blew it on Harvest and Rust Never Sleeps – how about a Grammy for the packaging of your Archives box set? Young’s nominated for that – and his latest album, Fork in the Road, which I’m betting you’ve never heard.

What really fries my oysters are all the live recordings in contention this year. 19 nominations are nothing but re-makes of songs that came out years ago, including Hall & Oates, Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood, Jeff Beck and Judas Priest.

The tunes, in case you’re wondering, are as old and gray as the guys singing them.

There should be an inverse rule to the one qualifying artists for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – no song older than 25 years makes the cut.

Probably won’t happen, since a song only has to “come to prominence” during the nominating period (which is well over a year) to be eligible.

Oh, and the new stuff is so predictable.  Beyoncé is nominated 10 times – I had to check the male categories to make sure she hadn’t slipped in there accidentally.

More injustice – there’s Madonna again, but no Tegan and Sara.

Come on.

Another crime of omission – Ida Maria’s “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” is nowhere to be found on Grammy’s list.

Americana and bluegrass are my only respite, and I think those decisions are outsourced to West Virginia – or maybe England.  There I find Maura O’Connell’s lovely, quirky a capella album, Naked With Friends, or the latest from Loudon Wainwright III – no doubt because they missed “Dead Skunk” in 1972.

But for the most part, Grammy just makes me grumpy.

On to the rest of the week:

Thursday, Dec. 10: Second Wind, Carmella’s – Terry Gould and Suzi Hastings’ nights in downtown Claremont have been turning into impromptu jam sessions of late, with guests dropping in for dinner and a song or two.  A percussionist who missed last week due to a hand injury will probably be by tonight. “The smiles and laughter of friends is the music of life,” says Terry. ”A beautiful symphony of the world.” – wise words, indeed.

Friday, Dec. 11: Saylyn, Imperial Lounge – Tropical music is the best cure for the combination of cold weather funk and no cash for a southern vacation. Saylyn is the area’s homegrown reggae band, with a good vibe and an authentic rock steady sound, complete with horns and a deep groove bass line delivering an infectious backbeat. Fronted by two brothers born and raised in Jamaica, these guys are the genuine article.

Saturday, Dec. 12: Sirsy, Salt hill Pub – One of my favorite New York imports returns to the area.  If you haven’t seen them, Sirsy is a two-person band that plays like five.  Lead singer/drummer and flutist Melanie Krahmer belts it out like there’s an amp wired inside her chest, and guitarist Rich Libutti doesn’t just ride along – he drives the action, too.  Sirsy packs the pub’s dance floor every time they’re in town – no mean feat for a duo.

Sunday, Dec. 13: Willem Lange, Chandler Music Hall – Off topic, and bit out of town, but this man’s storytelling skills merit mention.  I’m a fan of Lange’s “Favor Johnson” story, but tonight he’ll read Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” using the same condensed version of the story that Dickens himself employed for reading tours of the United States..

Monday, Dec. 14: Community Concert, Charlestown Congregational Church – Bill Von Gillern again assembles of program of holiday music performed by locals for locals, sponsored by Charlestown Women’s Club to benefit the Fall Mountain Food Shelf.  Admission a dry good, and a silver collection will be taken for the area Christmas fund to help provide Christmas dinner to the needy and toys for kids.

Tuesday, Dec. 15: Natalie McMaster, Lebanon Opera House – Here’s an out of the ordinary holiday option – a special “Christmas in Cape Breton” program from that island’s official musical ambassador.  McMaster is a whirling dervish of energy, bringing world-class step dancing and fiddling fireworks to Celtic melodies and Christmas carols.

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