For your consideration… a great discussion in this video on what killed Rock & Roll between Rick, Rhett, and Dave. Several years back we considered this from the perspective of R&B as in the removal of the Blues component from the music. Except for the few examples covered in the video that are at the top of the pyramid there’s not much happening in “R&B” in the super commercial mainstream that is Blues based anymore. Again, when we have these discussions I have to always be careful to not leave out the qualifier that we’re talking in terms of the mainstream.

Another great point that is covered in this video(which I really do invite you to watch in its entirety)is the idea of what software products like Pro Tools, Auto-Tune, Melodyne and the like have done to music. While all being great tools(emphasis on tools)the downside is when the music that is presented as being “the best” (which really just means popular there are times that really good music can be popular but more and more these days…)has been made perfect by lining up the beats on a grid and tuning all the vocals so that many aspiring creators of music, record labels and the like fall in line to use the same tools to be well, popular too. The net effect of all of this is that the human side of music has been removed and because this has been a gradual progression over time many don’t even realize it.

What exactly do I mean? To me what gives music character is our imperfections as humans. A drummer may be a little ahead or behind the beat. A singer may just be under the note a hair but his or her voice has so much character to it who cares? The band as an ensemble has a certain groove that exists because of the individual playing style of the members, and that all gets stripped away when we edit everyone to the same standard.

It’s interesting that just the other day I was having a conversation that went down memory lane. I mentioned to the person I was chatting with this recording setup I had in the 90’s. The setup was by no means elaborate, but I was telling them that in my estimation I made some of the best recordings I ever made because a lot of what we were doing wasn’t perfect because we didn’t have access to the tools to make it such. Then a little neuron fired off and I said to myself I really wouldn’t mind having something similar(not everything because to be honest rewinding tape often did get on my nerves)to be able to get people in a room and record and not worry about the pretense of perfection and to be able to pay homage to the roots of where all this music comes from – The Blues.

Also make sure you check out and subscribe to Rick’s You Tube channe here, lots of great music gems he’s providing!

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.