Big News!

my friend and excellent engineer, Neal Cappellino, has won himself a Grammy award! well, i don't actually know if he gets a little metal gramophone of his own, but he was the engineer on del mccoury's The Company We Keep, winner of this year's bluegrass album of the year. I don't know who was producer, but i'm almost sure it was Del himself, which says even more for Neal's input.

I'm just vibrating with exciting for him. Yeah, Neal!

Usually an album's essense would be triangulated between artist, producer and engineer (and probably in that order). in this case, the only thing in between the artist's audio "vision" and your ears would be neal's handiwork--a difficult acoustic row to hoe in this age of production trickery. one slight and nearly inaudible tweak on the knob of a compressor and a bluegrass album can go from instant classic to sonic mush.

mccoury, for those that don't know, is the leader of a family band--his sons ronnie and rob holding down mandolin and banjo. although i'm torn sometimes about the value of devotion to tradition, the mccourys' have certainly held down the "real" bluegrass fort for a little over a decade now (with del doing his thing since what?...1950?...he was one of bill monroe's guitar players).

Their contribution to bluegrass has been invaluable. While some older artists have forged ahead with the same approach for years, or younger artists have altered things entirely, the mccourys' have always found a way to top themselves musically and lyrically while always maintaining a respect for a very narrow (and deceptively simple) genre of music.

what i mean is this: bluegrass is a communal music, and due to its (again, deceptively simple) structure, most developing musicians can get together with each other at "jams." every day of every week you can bet, somewhere near you, a group of folks come together to play "how mountain girls can love."

that's a good thing, BUT...how many times can you play that song? one of the mccourys' important contributions is that they've been able to continue that musical accessability while maintaining a slight leading edge. that slight edge is the thing that keeps bluegrass from slipping into becoming just another dead art (or, conversly, an inaccessable avant garde). in short, del is providing the "how mountain girls can love" for the bluegrass pickers of 2050.

anyway, kudos to Neal. he's recieved a great acknowlegement for playing an important part in american culture.

now, how 'bout that new baby, nello?


The Mom said...

That's great news about Neil. [Of course I changed my exclamation point to a period... :-) ]And what a good explanation of the art you gave. I really enjoy both your and Alison's entries in your blog.

mary said...

whooo! when are they having their new baby... or has it already happened?
p.s. gridgey & me gots a rotbot.blogspot.

Maig said...

Congrats to Neal! That's awesome.