Monday, January 27, 2014

Grammys 21014 Recap

Grammys 2014

The Grammys can be a mixed bag when it comes to live performances: with such a large stage, some acts really go all-out and create unforgettable and even career-building moments, while others aim a little too high and crash and burn. Complicating the mix is the production, which might cut your performance short or juxtapose you with an entirely unrelated genre.

Last night's Grammys were no different. The great performances were great; the awful performances were awful; and in-between there were real duds performed by surviving Beatles who really ought to demur and gracefully turn down the self-indulgent airtime. McCartney is no longer writing good music. Let it be, eh, Paul?

First, the duds: Lorde looked ghoulish and her herky-jerky dance style made it look like she was always on the verge of tossing her cookies. Ringo sang the extremely tired "Photograph" while doing what looked like a circulation-stimulation shuffle at the Old People's Home. It's Ringo, people. And Madonna looked like a hobbling cautionary tale all gaudied up in her suits and hats and pimp cane. What happened to British Madge? Wigger Madge ate her. Shiver.

Now the stars: Because this is the Inky Jukebox, we'll focus on the way Country represented, and boy, did they. Keith Urban showed all the haters why it's good to have real musicians who know about music as American Idol judges. Now, all he has to do is work on his sad hair situation, pronto.

Hunter Hayes showed the young'uns what a genuine talent is — including stage presence — and he didn't even pick up a guitar! Rolling Stone dissed him for the trite quotations that loomed large in the background, but that might not have been his idea, y'know?

And we don't care how much people make fun of Taylor Swift — girlfriend can deliver a performance like this in a ballgown and heels, y'all. Apart from winning the Red Carpet in her sparkly gown, she also reminded us that this is a concert, and got up and danced. Ain't no lip-synching here (Beyonce).

Kacey Musgraves was cute as a button in her throwback rockahillbilly outfit and neon cacti, but we wonder who was still watching as her spot fell hard upon Imagine Dragons's supersonic set. Congrats, by the way, on that whole Album of the Year thing. A very Grammy idea of country music.

The Willie / Merle / Kris / Blake quartet was quite lovely too — even if it rolled out the same old tired notion that a genre named "Country & Western" still exists and is populated by old men in cowboy hats and bolero ties called "Highwaymen."Eric Church — wherefore wert thou? 

Finally - can we persuade John Legend to try Nashville?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dustin Lynch - The Hurricane Cometh

Well hello there
When the video for “Cowboys and Angels” first came on the radio, The Inky Jukebox’s ears pricked up; here was a very nice tune sung well. The general theme was a bit clich├ęd, but oh well. Then, when the video appeared, The Inky Jukebox sighed: here was just another pretty boy giving it the good old Nashville go. Seemingly too good-looking to be genuine, Dustin Lynch might be the only singer in history actually hampered by handsomeness.

This became apparent when The Inky Jukebox relented and got Lynch’s self-titled debut album — late to the game, as it was released in 2012, but six months later, it still hasn’t left the car, having been on pretty constant rotation ever since. Damn, but it’s a good record.

While “Cowboys and Angels” is clearly a made for radio record, Lynch has been underserved by Broken Bow, who put out the lead track “She Cranks My Tractor” as a follow-up. It’s a raucous double-entendre up-tempo romp, nothing like “Cowboys” but obviously an attempt to showcase another side of this versatile singer-songwriter. Then they went with “Wild In Your Smile,” which is just too retro for today’s charts.

Instead, they should have gone with two other tracks which really stand out. “Hurricane” is an anthem they clearly ignored because it’s another ballad — stupid move. It’s great. It’s even better live, where the band gives it a real long, thundery intro before the hook spills over.

Then they should have released “Last Lap,” a lazy hip-hop number that is so laid-back it grooves in your ears long afterwards. (Listen to album track here.)

The Inky Jukebox is a fan. We’ll even forgive him his cuteness. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Acoustic Swift


Say what you like about Taylor Swift, this kind of live performance is pretty damn sweet. Add Alison Krauss and Vince Gill for pure class.

From this year's CMAs.