When it comes to Gram Parsons it’s pretty hard to write things on him that hasn’t been written many times before.
Hopefully, this column won’t be rehashing old news or beating to death the subject of Parsons’ being inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame as the architect of the Cosmic American Music genre.
The Cosmic American Music genre is also described as being Alt-Country Rock, which might be more palatable for the voting panel of the Country Music Hall Of Fame to wrap their heads around as it’s the LA Music Scene’s guess that the voting panel of the Country Music Hall Of Fame consists of the more stalwart Country Music genre which conjures up names like Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Dwight Yokum, Willie Nelson, Bill Monroe, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson and Marty Stuart, to name a few that come to mind.
When it comes to petitions, Will James is the one that started the petition that is being featured here and it was begun in 2007. James moved it to Go Petitions in October 2010 and to date has 13,820 signatures. Is this enough? Who knows as the CMHOF has told LA Music Scene that what is done with petitions and letters is that they are given to the voting panel for “consideration.” When I asked Brenden Oliver of the Country Music Association which they would prefer I was told that the petition is better than letters because if they were to receive letters it might overwhelm them. Hmmmmmm… maybe calling them at 1-615 -244-2840 would help or you might want to try writing to them at 35 Music Square East Suite 201, Nashville, TN 37203.
As Oliver explained “The process is confidential.” Oliver also stated that “The process has a nominating committee of experts which is a large membership group. There are two rounds in the voting process. The nominations are in March and the inductions are in October.”
The Country Music Association are the ones that oversee the process for the Country Music Hall Of Fame.
When I asked James about how many signatures would be needed he pretty much said the same thing as Oliver did. So maybe it’s time to strike since the nominating process begins in March 2020. Write letters to the Country Music Association, call them, and sign the petition which is located at http://gramparsonspetition.com.
Some readers might be asking themselves who is Will James and how is he connected to Gram Parsons. James puts on an event that will be in its 13th year in September 2020. This upcoming event will be titled “Burrito Deluxe @50 1970 to 2020” and is sponsored by James’ organization “Cosmic American Productions.” The events are staged in Nashville, Tennessee at The Local. Last year’s event took place on November 9, 2019 and was titled “ Gilded Palace Of Sin @50 Fest” and featured Gene Clark’ son Kai Claraks, of The Byrds fame, Parson’s daughter Polly Parsons and Polly’s godmother Pamela Des Barres, to name a few of the 2019 participants. All of these events are in support of Gram Parsons and his music. For those that do not who Des Barres is she wrote a book titled “I’m With The Band,” which was a bestseller, was a member of the fan group “The GTO’s,” and gives writing workshops to aspiring writers.
Polly does all that she can to support James’ efforts to get the petition signed and get the word out there. She would love to see her father inducted into the CMHOF.
James is also a writer and among his writing credits is an article about how he believes that Gram Parsons wrote one of the best songs that the Rolling Stones did a la Country Music, “Wild Horses.” In the article, James outlines quite convincingly why he has this opinion. For the record, LA Music Scene agrees with James.
LA Music Scene has its favorites when it comes to Parsons’ music and why he should be inducted in the Country Music Hall Of Fame. The first and foremost reason is Parson’s “Return To The Grievous Angel.” Next is “Wild Horses” which has been credited to Keith Richards but potentially written by Parsons. The best love song in the Alt-Country/Cosmic American Music fashion is “Love Hurts” which was a duet sung with EmmyLou Harris and written by Bourdieaux Bryant, and after that is “A Song For You” which is a five-minute love ballad and the closest thing that Parsons did that had a southern “twangyness” to it.
There is also “Hickory Wind” and “Brass Buttons” to be considered as his Alt-Country/Cosmic American Music top 10 songs, but Parsons’ first masterpiece is and always will be “Return Of The Grievous Angel” with its two-part harmonies with Harris and is a high point in the short career of Parsons who left us way too early. It is mind-boggling to think that Parsons’ few months with The Byrds in 1968 was enough to bring him to the forefront as a Country Rock icon and an Alt-Country pioneer.
According to James in his presentation on the petition site, Parsons’ album with his “Submarine Band” titled “Safe At Home” is included in the Library Of Congress representing Country music.
When asked if he had any favorite Parsons stories he referred to Des Barres, a frequent guest at James’ events, and a few of her stories. “She might say her top moment was seeing tears rolling down Gram’s face as he sang “She Once Lived Here” at The Palomino” or maybe it’s “Gram singing at The Palomino in satin pants, fearing the truckers would beat him up afterwards, but they ended up loving it.” Des Barres did confirm these two stories and added that there were more to tell, but we couldn’t get our busy schedules to come together so we’ll have to do it another time. Maybe after the Last Philgramage in May.
When asked what made James want to create a petition for Parsons, James responded by telling a story about how he was returning to Buffalo from Boston and he was blasting Gram the last 100 miles or so, singing along and the thought struck him: Why isn’t Gram Parsons in the CMHOF? Got home and began the petition right away. That was in 2007. James explains his motivation as “the need to get Gram Parsons inducted as a pioneer in the evolution of Rock and Country music. He was pivotal in the melding of the idioms.”
The photos of Polly Parsons, Pamela Des Barres and Will James were taken by kohlphoto.com and were taken at the last Gram Parsons event in Nashville, Tennessee during November 2019. The two photos of Gram Parsons came from Polly Parsons’ collection.
Vicky Hamilton has got herself quite a winning combination in her act Lovely World that played their debut gig at Harvard & Stone in Hollywood, CA recently. I went to their soundcheck to hear them and to get to know them and was impressed at how nice and polite they are. Drummer Cade Rojas listened politely as I rattled on about the bands LOVE and The Doors and how Bido Lido’s wasn’t too far from Harvard & Stone where LOVE played a lot. Cade did know who The Doors were.
When singer and axman Landon Rojas was standing around I wandered over to him and we began a dialogue about his boyish good looks and how it worked for Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner and would work well for him. Again he listened politely as I rattled on about his looks.
I ran into the guitar player Cameron Smith, bass player Michael Gilbert and Cade Rojas while walking around and we talked a bit about politics and LSD and I told them that I was glad that I had dropped LSD as a kid and didn’t lose my mind and how it helped me to be able to discern BS from the real thing. The three of these young men were so soooo polite to listen to my tangent regarding politics.
As these fine young men had their fine selves turned to me I could see their fine asses and posted “Nice ass guys.”
Lovely World had been in town in November to record four songs with well-known music producer Rick Parker. The songs were on Lovely World’s setlist and are: “Edge Of Time,” “Don’t Lay Me Down,” “Compromise” and “Bones.” The songs contain relevant issues such as unrequited love, drug addiction, social afflictions and political paranoia.
Good musicianship is always a plus when a band has the songs and Lovely World can carry a tune with their orbital performance and its “solid bottom end” that was really impressive because so many young acts don’t have that and then the song kind of falls flat.
Their music has been described as Indie Rock, Alt-Rock and Rock, but as far as L A Music Scene is concerned the Southern gentlemen from Spartanburg, South Carolina come so close to the Arctic Monkeys’ “Alt-Rock meets Indie Rock” that it’s scary. We love it, but it’s scary. Landon goes without socks in his shoes…naked feet oh my. And Smith takes off his shirt to reveal a well-sculpted chest. Put it all together and you’ve got heat as in “Come on baby and light my fire!” YEAH!
Their latest music is set for release on February 14, 2020. Keep your Eyes on Lovely World ‘s and Vicky Hamiton’s Facebook pages for the links.