March 5, 2014 – Country Music
As an Australian, I am one of the first to acknowledge that my knowledge of country and western music is fairly limited. As a kid growing up, my only association with country music was from John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd in the “Blues Brothers” where in one classic scene they falsely portray themselves as a band called “The Good Old Boys” where they win the hearts of the audience by playing the Tammy Wynette song, “Stand by Your Man.”
Over the last couple of years I have been fortunate enough to get to listen to some truly amazing country music including two weeks ago when I visited my office in Nashville, the home of country music. But last night I got to hear one of the great evenings of country music I may ever hear. It was a fund raising event for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the guest artists were Vince Gill, Emmy Lou Harris, Mason Mraz, Heart, with guest appearances by Holly Williams the grand daughter and daughter of Hank Williams Senior and Hank Williams Junior.
The event was held at the Club Nokia at LA Live, an intimate venue where I was sitting no more than 50 feet from the musicians who spent close to two hours playing acoustic guitar to the audience’s delight and constant amazement. To see such legends performing together was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Vince Gill and Emmy Lou Harris have been the featured artists at this event for some time. Vince Gill, at the age of 57, has recorded over 20 albums and has sold over 24 million albums. He has earned over 20 Grammy Awards and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Emmy Lou Harris has also won 13 Grammy Awards and has performed with artists such as Neil Young, The Band, Bob Dylan just to name a few. When you think about the combined number of record sales of these two artists, there are not too many acts today that come close to this level of popularity.
Although many people associate the band “Heart” with there famous song “Barracuda”, their gentle voices and melodic guitar playing was a reminder of how good they really are.
Jason Mraz, the youngest member on the stage, has an extraordinary voice and is definitely someone I want to listen to more of. His extended version of the hit song “I’m Yours” was definitely one of the highlights of the evening and certainly one of the songs that the entire audience joined in on.
For a large part of the last 20 years, I have probably flicked passed the country music stations on the radio dial but now have been lucky enough to get the opportunity to hear how good this music can be at its best, I am certainly going to slow down a lot more when I reach that section of the channel lineup.
“Of emotions, of love, of breakup, of love and hate and death and dying, mama, apple pie, and the whole thing. It covers a lot of territory, country music does.”
(Photos taken with my iPhone and Club Nokia on March 4, 2014)