Several years ago I was listening to a very popular music program on NPR and their tag line said something like "With so much music out there, how do you know what's good? Let us go through it so you don't have to and we'll bring you just the very best." For a person who has spent more than a decade preserving and studying popular music I was shocked to hear such a claim. First and foremost, music is subjective. My idea of 'the very best music' would be very different than maybe someone in Southeast Asia, or even the Southwest United States. To say some genres of music are not relevant to explore is shocking and depriving listeners of the exciting and ongoing adventure of Popular Music.
Music is also evolutionary. We can easily link the sounds of Donna Summer to Dr. Dre, or Frank Sinatra to Chuck Berry. Many people have favorite genres of music without any idea how the genre came about, it's creators, or it's influences. I have spent the last few years preparing an ongoing audio series exploring musical genres, musicians, and great musical moments called Music Anatomy. I see the future of Music Anatomy as a bi-weekly/18-22 yearly episodes looking into the depths on Popular Music. Each episode will explore a theme. Some themes will focus on specific genre and its histories such as Folk, Soul, Punk, Hip Hop, or music from a specific region such as Southwestern United States, Eastern Asia, Western Europe. Cutlural themes in music may also be explored, such as sexuality, protest, love, drugs, as well as specific artists such as Donna Summer, The Seeger Brothers (Mike and Pete), Rick Rubin or Tom Waits. Often times, we will have special guests to help guide us on our journey, or broadcast from specific locations be it the New Orleans French Quarter, or Mussel Shoals Alabama, meeting key players, historians, and average listeners involved in specific scenes.
5 years ago, when I first heard an NPR voice tell me they knew what was best for me musically, I began to figure out how I could provide a different kind of musical information so audiences could not only decide what music was for them based on sound, but on its cultural context and inherent histories and contradictions. I was 10 years into running my record label, Louisville Is For Lovers and was producing special programming for an NPR affiliate in Louisville, KY, but knew I needed to think and study further.
Additionally, regardless of my overwhelming experience, full time production jobs were typically reserved for those with college degrees. If I wanted to make Music Anatomy a reality I would need to go to college and get prepared. I have spent the last 4 years finishing a degree in Popular Culture (with a minor in Communication) preparing myself for this moment.