|Last week, the Kennedy Center honored musicians Buddy Guy and Led Zeppelin, two longtime veterans of the game whose work can stand up against any other group or artist to this day.
With that in mind, it spurred my mind about what all goes into honors and awards ceremonies, and especially, whom do they pick to pay tribute in song?
For Guy, tribute songs were performed with Gary Clark Jr., an up and coming young bluesman from Texas, Jimmie Vaughn, Beth Hart and Jeff Beck.
Also, Bonnie Raitt closed his portion, which was more fitting than anyone, given her own accomplishments in the blues genre, while Tracy Chapman also performed as well.
The Led Zeppelin portion of the night opened with an introduction by Jack Black and The Foo Fighters, with Lenny Kravitz and a cackling Kid Rock thrown in the mix too.
But the highlight of the night came in the performance of “Stairway to Heaven” with the late John Bonham’s son, Jason Bonham, on drums along with Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart. They belted out great vocals, and at times, had a backing choir for an added heartfelt effect.
When the camera focused on the honorees, you could see the emotion in Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones’ eyes. It looked as if they were all interested in how the songs were played, and more than likely, it was a reflective period for the group.
While I agree with the choice of most of the performing artists, there could have been some that stayed home.
Awards shows can be hit or miss.
Most of the time, my favorite part of the Grammy Awards is the memoriam portion when they take a look back at those who have died in the past year.
It may seem morbid at first, but it can bring a tear to the eye, especially when your think about what songs they left you.
And as for me, most artists that I thoroughly enjoy aren’t the ones receiving awards. Most of them wouldn’t want anything to do with a so-called award show in the first place.
But all in all, I do believe that performances help drive these shows. They are what everyone looks forward to seeing, and it’s what people talk about for the next few days. Whether it be shock and awe or how great or awful someone sounded, it’s what they are all about.
In my experience with these shows, the Americana Music Association has one of the finest around town, as it includes performances mixed in with the awards.
With the Kennedy Center Honors, it was a good precursor to the show that will hit in a month when The 55th annual Grammys take center stage. I’ll watch, but I’ll have my own opinions on the show like most will the day after it ends.
In celebration of song, I’ve come to the conclusion that if I were to pay tribute to myself, then I’d want a band with Ryan Adams, Chris Robinson and Emmylou Harris on backing vocals. I’d toss in Warren Haynes on guitar with Les Claypool and Carter Beauford holding down the rhythm section.
Yes, an alt-country, Americana, jamming ode to myself that would include songs like “When I Paint My Masterpiece” and “Angel Band,” all of which would be played loud and proud.
That’s how I’d do it, most definitely.