Saturday, October 1, 2011

The music industry is desperate for sales. Music is free for the taking everywhere on the internet. Every record store closed down even if you wanted to buy music there you can’t. You tube makes it very convenient to even see the musical artist on its videos of concerts for free. I remember buying the concert album and getting into the excitement of hearing the audience reacting to every move of the artist on stage. We used to have to wait for that album to be released weeks after a concert.
Even if you bothered to purchase tickets to a live concert, everyone has their cell phone held high in the air recording the concert and sending it to their friends instantly for free. What is a musical artist to do in a free music society to make money. Now they have to drag their aging carcasses out to do a concert and hope to make some money on ticket sales or on the t-shirts and coffee mugs they sell at the door with much youthful images printed on them. Musicians deserve more respect than that.
The artists aren’t making money. There are creepy guys like Simon Cowell with his breast implants becoming billionaires profiting from the sales of songs he releases from anything aired on TV from his musical competition shows like American Idol and now the X Factor.
So, now we have great veteran musical artists doing duets on new albums with the most unlikely hook-ups in an effort to make new money and create interests again in their musical styles. There are a whole bunch of new albums being released with duets. For example, If you want to hear a combination of blues and jazz, there is an album of the trumpeter Winton Marsalis playing with Eric Clapton. The album is simply called” Marsalis & Clapton play the blues” live from Jazz at Lincoln Center the beautiful concert hall in New York. It was recorded at the center last spring.
If you like rap music, buy the new album ”Watch the Throne” featuring Kanye West and Jay-Z who at times are saying different things at the same time. But, they are huge stars with collections of their own trying to make money together in the same songs.
Like rock music? Buy the weird combination of Lou Reid that I really haven’t heard any of his brand of music in a long time. His most well known song is “Sweet Jane” and who remembers that anymore. It is a cross generational match up of Lou Reid and the awesome Metallica. The new album is called “LuLu.” Metallica has been around for 30 years and is sitting on a ton of money from their stuff alone.
More duets are coming from Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones and Willquintupplea. Their album is called “Super Heavy.” Mick Jagger is over 70 years old, still looks great and trim has all his hair and is rockin’ with this weird group. They are known individually too. Dave Stewart, Jocelyn Stone, A.R. Rahman, and Damien Marley.
You like country music? They are playing the duet game as well. From the lost notebooks of Hank Williams a dozen new artists reach across 50 years to finish songs that Hank Williams left uncompleted at the time of his death. Merl Haggered, Vince Gill, Nora Jones, Bob Dylan and even more artists warble out songs on the new album called, ”The Lost Notebooks.”
And finally, the crooners of light music, Carrie Underwood, Tony Bennett and the late Amy Winehouse, John Mayer and others crank out the oldies but great songs like “It Had to Be You” in grand orchestrated smooth romantic music on “Tony Bennett’s Duets II” album. It is truly unique that younger artists in their 20’s like Lady Gaga can sing along with Tony who is now 85 years old. His son is his manager keeping Tony busy appearing everywhere singing with everyone so it seems.
This new album release schedule is like all the creatures of the forest singing together in unison. Truly amazing and never done before. Like Noah’s Ark they are coming out two by two. Go steal all this stuff somewhere too. At least all these guys are sitting on their millions earned from their own individual careers.
All this proves that these musicians are true artists in that they can collaborate with anyone. The language of symbols on a page with 5 horizontal lines called sheet music is universal. Land masses or languages do not get in the way of the musical notes on a page. It is a universal language that can be read in any country if the musicians have skills and can turn black spots on a page into magical sounds. All the above do just that. Enjoy, I will!

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