Friday, September 02, 2005

Pickin' on My Wallet

O Brother, Where Art Thou? is quite possibly my favorite movie. The writing is amazing, the acting superb, and the cinematography astonishing. The movie is polarizing, I’ve found out, because most people I talk to either dislike it or love it. One of the most amazing phenomenons surrounding the film was the soaring take-off of its T Bone Burnett produced soundtrack. All of a sudden pop country radio, usually specializing in ditties like “Save A Horse, Ride a Cowboy” and “Redneck Yacht Club” was throwing in classic old-timey numbers like “Man of Constant Sorrow” and “The Lonesome Valley.”

Things were looking up. Mainstream Country radio was poised to make room for less flourishing, gimmickless acts that actually had some songwriting ability and talent. Nickel Creek and Union Station began to sell lots of records. More attention was turned to the roots of Country music, roots that sprouted from the southern soil of the Mississippi Delta, the birthplace of the Blues.

But, like all good businessmen, someone spied a way to make a buck off this burgeoning revival. I hadn’t really thought about it until yesterday when I went into the record store and there at the listening station was a CD entitled “Pickin’ on Jack Johnson.” I almost started laughing thinking about how we made the jump from ultra chill, feel-good surf guru, to twangity twang-twang tributes of “Sexy Plexi” a’la banjo. I honestly don’t know. You’ve seen these albums for sure. The first ones weren’t that difficult to imagine in bluegrass form, “Pickin’ on Wilco,” “Pickin’ on the Eagles.” Yeah okay. But here is a list of albums that, believe it or not, these ingenious bloodsuckers at “Pickin On…” have actually released:

“Pickin’ on The Indigo Girls”
“Pickin’ on AC/DC”
“Pickin’ on Green Day”
“Pickin’ on Modest Mouse”
“Pickin’ on Creed”
“Pickin’ on R.E.M.”
“Pickin’ on Nickelback”
“Pickin’ on John Mayer”
“Pickin’ on Counting Crows”
“Pickin’ on Franz Ferdinand”
“Pickin’ on Def Leppard”

You guys probably think I’m joking, but check it out, for about seventeen bucks each at Amazon you could start a mean collection of bluegrass barf. Personally I’m holding out for a copy of “Pickin’ on Britney Spears.” (She already has a Greatest Hits out). Just watch. It'll happen.


Tod Robbins said...

It's just as bad as those awful String Quartet renditions of any possible artists you can imagine... They did Mars Volta for serious serious even even!

The Mars Volta!

Les M. Blake said...

The Mars Volta on Strings? Picture that at a wedding!

Yeah, I noticed a String Quartet tribute CD to Elliott Smith a while back. It's all just a little disturbing.