(NASHVILLE SKYLINE is a column by CMT/CMT.com Editorial Director Chet Flippo.)
So, what will likely be
remembered about these 2013 Grammy ceremonies and awards? Judging from the past,
not a lot. What is most remarkable every year is that the producers manage to take a huge mess of a multi-genre, multi-generational
variety show and mash it all together into a good-looking and mildly entertaining spectacle for a wide audience.
now, I couldn’t tell you a single highlight from last year’s show or from the year before.
I can tell you what stood
out this year, at least for me. There was the very moving and wildly rocking tribute to the late Levon
Helm with Mavis Staples joining forces with Elton John, Zac Brown,
T Bone Burnett and Mumford
Sons on “The Weight.” That’s one of the best-loved songs from one of the most-respected artists in the history of
Two nights earlier, those same artists were joined by a host of others to pay tribute to Bruce
Springsteen at the MusiCares charity show. Alabama Shakes were
featured, as were Patti Smith, Tim McGraw and Faith
Hill, Kenny Chesney, Ben Harper, Natalie Maines, Emmylou
Harris, Neil Young and John Legend. Springsteen followed with an impromptu concert of his own.
A huge reason why
both of those tributes worked so well is simply due to the stature of those being honored. There aren’t many Springsteens
and Helms anymore, and it doesn’t look like any more are coming anytime soon. So, Grammy, enjoy them while you have them.
Where are the new voices of a generation? I didn’t hear them at this year’s Grammys. Poor Frank Ocean obviously isn’t one
Unless the new voices might come from such talents as Mumford Sons, who won a stunning victory for album
of the year for Babel. The Mumfords have been a well-kept secret for quite some time now, so it’s good to see them
get the attention they deserve.
There is another great singing voice that is going into retirement mode this year.
George Jones, now 82, will hang up his touring shoes after his 2013
Finding young simpatico male singing voices with the traditional George Jones sound and sensibility in Nashville
these days is not an easy thing. So for his farewell concert in Nashville this fall, he’s settled on a great choice to join
him, Jamey Johnson, who is the most ideally-designated candidate to
provide the classic Jones sentiment in such a song as “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes.”
Not coincidentally, there is
a spectacular new reissue of wayback Jones radio singles, back when he had the buzzed-down, butch-waxed flattop hairdo. It’s
the Complete United Artists Solo Singles, with 32 cuts spanning the years 1962-1966.