Time really does fly when you are having fun… I wanted to mark today by re-posting my very first GFM posting from one year ago today as well as provide some links to a few of my favorite rants and reviews.

You know this journey for me all began on Twitter. In the Summer of 2009, I began to notice some intriguing tweets from @grownfolksmusic, then a dialogue began between us and then as is often said: the rest is history.

Social Media is a tool and just like any other tool you will have persons who will use that tool to build and others who will either have no purpose at all or can unfortunately use the tool for destructive purposes.

I feel very fortunate to be aligned with a team of folks who are committed to the preservation of the rich musical heritage of great music of all styles and genres, throughout the ages, with an eye for highlighting those artists who embody that legacy in our contemporary musical conversation.

This certainly is no easy charge and with the sheer volume of musical output today we may miss some gems and sometimes we may highlight something that you disagree with, but at the end of the day please know that GFM puts the music first. No wannabe celebs here, there’s too music to listen to for that, there’s still too much work to be done to insure that subsequent generations aren’t even further disconnected from their musical heritage by market forces. Yes it’s that serious. I’m not anti-industry, I’m just anti-mediocrity. So whoever aligns themselves with the mediocre and tries to pass that off as music I will be critical of.

Finally, I really want to extend my most heartfelt thanks to the entire GFM Staff for being gracious enough to provide me with a forum for all of my rants and raves, providing me with a platform to get to know some amazing artists all over the world through the reviews and interviews that I have been assigned. Sometimes I think my family feels that I have a somewhat Snuffleupagusesque online life where they often chide me about who I allegedly interviewed… all thanks to GFM!

This has been a great 365 I cannot wait to see what the next 365 will bring…

First post for GFM August 27, 2009

The purpose of this post is to begin a discussion that I believe is long overdue. I’m talking about the scarcity of “bands” in Grown Folks Music over the last two decades. First let me begin with how I’d like to define “band” for the purposes of this discussion. Band – A self-contained musical ensemble comprised of singers, musicians and often writers, that functions with the sole purpose of advancing the musical identity of the group through live performance, recordings etc.

First for a point of clarity, I’m speaking about the scarcity of bands [as I have defined them] in the mainstream. There are numerous fantastic bands in every section of this country creating new and vibrant music that would clearly be defined as Grown Folks Music. As we continue this dialog there will be ample opportunity to highlight these wonderful groups and bring them to a much deserved, and wider audience. But I want this discussion to begin with a look at the broad media and musical consciousness of 2009.

Let’s begin with a simple exercise: Name three bands that you consider to be Grown Folks Music, who have had major visibility (songs charting, videos shown daily etc.)in the last decade. Okay you probably can name at least one. Now repeat the exercise for the decade of the 1990’s on back to the beginning of the recorded music industry. Do you notice a trend? What do you believe are some of the factors for the decline in the marketing of bands vs. solo artists or vocal groups? Are these factors social? Economic? What part has technology played?

Having played in numerous bands, I realize the difficulty in maintaining a cohesive unit of players over a few months let alone decades. But the fact remains although it is a struggle it can be done. Rolling Stones? U2? It’s not just the fact that these bands continue to tour because fortunately there are Grown Folks Music bands from bygone eras that continue to tour incessantly to this day. I’m sure I’m not the first person to draw this comparison but I often think of the P-Funk Allstars as a brown version of the Grateful Dead. P-Funk like the Dead has never needed a record out to draw hundreds of thousands of fans. But I digress. What’s most important in the discussion of groups like U2 and The Rolling Stones is that they continue to be relevant in the mainstream consciousness. That doesn’t happen by accident.

I’m really interested to hear your thoughts and opinions on this matter. Now remember at this point in our dialog we are starting at the broadest point possible. In other words, look at an artist that has a very broad appeal and ask why is there not a band equivalent in appeal to that artist. As you work through the exercise above (in the third paragraph) you will find that there have been moments where you have had bands with the same amount of appeal and there will be decades like this one where there are few bands with mass appeal. You may also find that there are decades where there is an inverse relationship and you will be hard pressed to find an artist or group with the mass appeal of a band.

Have fun and please drop us a line, we look forward to hearing from you. Now you’re with the band.

Some favorite rants and raves over the past year.


First interview I conducted ever in life and for GFM

Meshell Ndegeocello Interview

First review I wrote ever in life and for GFM
City Lights Vol. 2-Shibuya

First phone interview for GFM(I was a little nervous, Chinah Blac was so cool I was instantly at ease)
Chinah Blac Audio Interview

One of my many rants
Mac vs. PC

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.