When I become a famous musician – for 15 minutes – this is what I want to do at the 9:45 mark: Play music by some other dude.
It’s Friday here at Pollstar, which means that four writers who normally are devoted to the business side of show business over at PollstarPro.com are spending the day playing catch-up: returning phone calls, cleaning out the inbox, transcribing interviews and researching the Internet (Phil Mickelson is currently at –3).
Friday also gives us a chance to help out with Pollstar.com. I’ve been asked to do a piece on a new “project” by Loudon Wainwright III – an album he devoted to songs by one of his idols, an old country music artist named Charlie Poole. At first it was, like, whatever. But then I got to thinking about how cool this is. What if we could all give an artist more exposure?
I’ve played in several bands over the years (Thank you. Thank you very much). They were pretty crappy; I’m crappy. But in my head I stand in front of Madison Square Garden, thanking Springsteen for warming up the crowd. And at that moment, I graciously launch into a song by another artist, and my Manchurian candidates go out and buy the music.
Stay with me on this one. Even if you don’t play or, at the very very least, want to try out for that American Idol crap, don’t we all have one or two artists we would want to introduce to the world?
We did some quick research and Wainwright’s project isn’t that common. There are plenty of albums of KISS or Neil Young songs played by the faithful, but not the opposite. Dylan hasn’t devoted too many albums to Eric Von Schmidt, dig? Remember that TV special where Garth Brooks brought out Don McLean to sing “American Pie”? I know you don’t but still, that sort of thing.
And wouldn’t that be cool. For instance, my one moment at MSG, choices include:
• Tim Easton, “Poor, Poor L.A.” Anyone who sings “You don’t have to break your mamma’s heart to change the world” in a voice that sounds like he just ate an ashtray deserves a few moments in the sun.
• Jayhawks, “Madman.” Any act that can disband, then see the Grammys introduce an award for Americana, and not name it the “Jayhawks award” has the worst luck in the world.
• Shivaree, “Goodnight Moon.” Never heard of them, have you. Something went wrong somewhere.
• Loudon Wainwright, “You Can’t Fail Me Now.” See what I just did? As They Might Be Giants would say, it’s a snake head eating the head on the opposite side. Love this dude.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m a total tough guy. Just feelin’ these today.
Thanks for taking this journey with me. (Loudo’s project drops Aug. 25).