Monday, January 21, 2008

Americana Music Steps Up; Sundance Preview

earbender applauds the Americana Music Association for choosing to recognize Martin Luther King Day for the first time this year! I really noticed when the Americana chart didn't come through yesterday (after bristling all the years it came in like clockwork on MLK day). I am pleased they stunted reports to honor those who honor the man, I feel like Stevie Wonder (left) having his song "Happy Birthday" come true.

But Stevie Wonder will never be on the Americana chart. I think there is room for more blues, reggae, r&b and jazz -- some of our best American art -- among the white singer songwriters on the charts, and in the culture of college and community radio. That's my spiel since 1984 or so and I'm sticking to it. Black Americana is a genre I named a few years ago in response to the Gavin Americana which had shown a similar lack of inclusiveness.

I am attending my second Sundance Festival this week, with an ever growing number of music artists, managers and marketers present. Is there a term for the assault on the senses of texts, twitters, street teams, bloggers, reality tv crews, news crews, reporters and whatnot yet? I hope to contribute some updates, so stay tuned.

There is a great music presence in some of the movies I highlighted including CSNY Deja Vu (directed by Bernard Shakey), Amy Redford's Guitar, Patti Smith, and the one I'm most excited about, Anvil: The Story of Anvil. Hit any of the links to learn more naturally.

I'm into environmental documentaries and Yung Chang's Up the Yangtze about the Three Gorges Damn that will result in 2 million being relocated and the landscape being changed forever. The film is about a farewell cruise to take one last look before it all goes away.

btw, charity: water is something I heard about at Sundance last year, an organization dedicated to bringing clean water to people who need it. Here's an update from Scott Harrison.

A few others include Michael Keaton's directorial debut Merry Gentleman, Jonathan Levine's second film The Wackness, stars Ben Kingsley (to busy for Cleaver though), Green Porno by Isabella Rosselini, Hell Ride, Transsiberian (a Hitchcock-esque thriller starring our buddy Woody Harrelson, Morgan Spurlock's Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?, DeNiro in What Just Happened? or many others I haven't mentioned here.

Click here for U23D - but beware, the trailer is half credits - still, my guess is it's much better than Rattle and Hum. Larry Mullen on Elvis' bike, not cool. At least they stayed away for 20 years. I'm looking forward to anything U2, especially the Patti Smith documentary (because Bono sounds vocally inspired by her to me).

I will report back in a few days!

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