Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Where the Road meets the CMAs

Last week, I posted a blog about Trucks (with the requisite capital "T") on the day that the CMA awards were held here in Nashville.  I'm sure there are some southern fan-girls (and fan-boys) somewhere out there wondering why I never seem to report/blog on the music scene here in Music City USA.  It has nothing to do with my preferences (other than much of country music makes me want to drive my car off a cliff in the rain with my ex in the trunk and my dog drinking coffee and lamenting in harmony beside me.) No, it's just that the Nashville Music Scene is not my Cup of Southern Sweet Tea.

Tuesday evening, as our bus wound its way out of the downtown area, we saw huge crowds surrounding one of the local clubs on our route.  When I say huge, I mean 20-30 people deep standing OUTSIDE the club watching the performers through the big windows.  No one on the bus knew who was performing, but someone pointed out that many of the "B" performers will schedule a performance in Nashville during the CMAs so that their travel expense is tax deductible.  (Yeah, these are the things we discuss on the bus.)  But the main point here is that no one knew who it was - and we even got a nice view of the performers above the heads of the crowd as the bus turned the corner right in front of this place. So it's not just me who seems out of touch with the scene. 

A lot of it comes down to my music background and my view of music and music listening. There is a prevalence in the music industry these days which is counter to my own thoughts and beliefs.  It works like this:  Let's say there is a song coming on the radio.  Let's say it's Elvis' "Such a Night."  I like this particular song, and turn up the radio just a bit.  Someone will say, "Oh you like Elvis?"  They say it like I had just admitted that I like to roast kittens on an open spit. 
  "Well, no, not exactly..." I reply, "I do, however like this song." 
  "Oh.." There is a short pause while they take this in.  "So, you like Elvis, is that it?"
  "No..."  this can go on a long time before someone (usually me) calls an end to it. 

You see, - to me, just because I listen to one song by a performer doesn't mean I am going to go out and buy all their albums, tickets to live shows and have their band logo tattooed on my shoulder or name all my kids after the band members.  I like the Song.  This means That I Like This One Song, Regardless of Who Performs It. Maybe two or three by this performer, but regardless, it's the song, not the performer that catches my attention.  AND, if the same band puts out a song I DON'T like, this doesn't mean I am going to stop listening to that one song I DO Like. It's not an all or nothing proposition.  I like music, not bands or performers per se. 

And so now we have the CMAs.  Which, like the Emmys and the Oscars and the Tonys and the Drama Desk Awards and the Golden Globes and the VMAs and the BAFTRA awards and the MTV Music Awards and the CMA Video Awards and the YouTube Awards (Dear Lord, YouTube? Really?) which, to me, are merely a reason for a bunch of entertainment millionaires to get together and congratulate each other on making another million off those of us who don't know how to download their stuff free. 

Now, don't get me wrong.  If I made a million dollars in the same way I'd probably be going to these awards events myself.  I used to watch them on TV, rooting for my favorite performer and reacted properly when they won or lost. Then I found out that I don't need to watch, I just need to check the winners list the next day. I care, but I don't need to BE there or WATCH to actually care.  

In point of fact, Wednesday morning, the day of the CMAs our big bus pulls into downtown at just before sunrise (about 6:30 am) and there is already a huge crowd in front of the Arena. Almost 12 hours before anyone of any note actually shows up! I tried to get a photo, but the bus driver wouldn't stop for me to frame the thing up right.  All I got was the shot above. Two blocks away and you can't even see the big tour buses parked up and down Broadway.

Now, here is the part I've been leading up to.  As much as I really don't care who wins or who loses, I have to admit, I'd like to be part of that crowd.  Take the day off and hang out down there watching the stars arrive and drink a few cool beverages and listen to some good music (hopefully something I will enjoy.) No matter where you live, if someone important is in town and things are happening, it's always something you want to be a part of.  Here in the South, we get the CMAs and that's what's neat about the South. 

Yes, Bubba, I Like Elvis - THIS ONE SONG (and maybe a couple more, don't push it!)  Now, let it go. 

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