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STYLE v GENRE

There has been a musical cold war happening for decades with GENRE v STYLE – and STYLE is winning. Is this the end of the Australian country music genre?

First things first; what is the difference between genre and style and should we really be worrying about it?

Well genre is an overall grouping of music that has become socially accepted over time such as Rock, Blues, Jazz and Country. Style is a subcategory of genre as in Heavy Metal is a style of the genre Rock. Trad Jazz has become a style of Jazz (even though some would argue that it was the original Jazz) and likewise Bluegrass is seen as a style of Country.

However, it is just Country that seems to have fewer styles associated with it when compiling lists for charts, placing in record stores and for that matter, helping to guide artists in their career decisions. A genre is the key to unlocking lost avenues for music industry success, so resist the urge to shrug it off as a meaningless label. It really is an important part of communicating your music to the masses.

In placing songs in the genre of Australian country music, there is little to no academia, study or educational grants taken up for research, either historically or in business.

Countless books have been written about country music, all with little or no peer review. Wikipedia is plagued by very slick country artist entries, edited by professional Wiki editors, about people who have just entered the industry with their first album but there are few entries for our historical legends.

Along with this, country music in Australia is plagued by a plethora of charts from any number of sources, also with little to no credibility. These charts are authored by anyone from community radio hosts, to print and digital media journalists, to Australian recording industry companies again with little or no peer reviewed data.

The data for these numerous charts comes from a variety of again, dubious sources such as ARIA’s country album chart (they don’t have a country ‘singles’ chart?) derived from sales from a ’club’ of music stores. Even though their website proclaims that:

…over a thousand physical and digital retailers, as well as music streaming services across Australia contribute their weekly sales/streams…

This data is from just 15 national chains (JBHIFI, Sanity etc), who all sum their national data for ARIA and a handful of state based stores plus Apple, Google Play and iTunes et al (https://www.ariacharts.com.au/stores).

So who calls the shots at these stores as to what is country and what isn’t? After ringing several head offices, I found out that none of the stores mentioned above provide staff that sort albums into genre.

Enter ‘Trade Services Australia’. Never heard of them? Neither had I till I researched this article. Do they provide academic rigour to their choices? Not by the way it’s presented on their website:

…Trade Service of Australia aggregates product information provided by the mainstream Home Entertainment distributors in Australia. The information is received in various formats and processed by enthusiastic editors, into a central database. Information from the database is used to create and publish paper-based reference catalogues, and provide a standardised and structured data format for clients to feed their software systems and websites…” (http://www.tradeservice.com.au/about/aboutus.aspx). Please note the ‘enthusiastic editors‘ bit.

The stores listed above, used by ARIA to gain their data, do not place albums in any genre. TSA supply their data to all of the above stores for cataloguing purposes.

The rest come from unreliable and undocumented sources, even down to purely subjective taste, all with no academia applied, no peer review.

Hence, all of Australian country music is now clouded with objective and subjective ‘opinion’ – the majority confusing ‘style’ over ‘genre’. Is it any wonder that our country music is in such disarray?

This situation has culminated in the unbelievably ignorant but seemingly acceptable practice, happening on a daily basis in Australia, of a bush ballad being placed on the same chart as an obvious pop/rock song.

Sure, as an artist, content is chosen on what the fans/market want. However should it be them or for that matter the industry that chooses what is ‘country’ and what is not as far as genre is concerned? I say NO!

The situation we have at present is motivated by economic concerns and so academia is our only solution.

An example is the Melinda Schneider track ‘My Voice’, clearly a pop song, but one that sits on many country charts because “it’s Melinda and we love her”.

This is my objective argument that academia has a vital role in helping to lead the future of Australian country music.

© Pixie Jenkins 2018

Bachelor of Entertainment Business Management (2016 JMC Academy)

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NEW ALBUM FOR LEGENDARY FIDDLER

Multiple ‘Golden Guitar’ winner and ‘Lifetime Achievement’ recipient Pixie Jenkins is releasing his first solo album – in 25 years!

He won back to back ‘Best Instrumental’ awards in 1993 and 1994 off two albums released in the previous years.  Then he started Pixeland Country Theatre, wrote and produced his own mutimedia theatre shows and created a legend.  Now he’s back with a brand new release of original songs and tunes that he says “… is a dream come true – all my other dreams have” giggles the diminutive entertainer.

“I have been working on other peoples dreams for so long I had forgotten I had my own so I sat in my home studio and wrote and produced this collection”.  There are 7 originals and two surprising covers – Slim Dusty’s ‘2nd class wait here’ and a beautifully emotional mashup of ‘Diamontina drover’ by Hugh Macdonald  a ‘Rain from nowhere’ performed wih the help of two of Pixie’s mate, Ryan Sampson and Manfred Vijars.

Pixie has called the help of two of hs oldest musical compadres, Lawrie Minson from Slim Dusty and Lee Kernaghan bands  and one of the finest country keyboard players in the world Gary Steel.  All other instruments and production have been done by our Pixie.

Brigalow Moon avaialble November 1 from iTunes and www.pixiejenkins.com

Check out the Youtube release of the title track Brigalow Moon – https://youtu.be/JWtgLgTUcfI

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THE DOME – Hellish horror on our doorstep.

Runit Island - 4800k from my front door
Runit Island – 4800k from my front door
Runit Island - 1 of 40 that are part of the Enewetak Atoll - the ring of an ancient volcano in Micronesia.
Runit Island – 1 of 40 that are part of the Enewetak Atoll – the ring of an ancient volcano in Micronesia.
The Dome - HORROR INCARNATE.  18" thick cement covering raw plutonium waste.
The Dome – HORROR INCARNATE. 18″ thick cement covering raw plutonium waste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Runit Island in the Enewetak Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands is only 4800 klms from my front door and is barely containing an unimaginable horror that is about to change the world.

At first glance, a tropical paradise but as climate change accelerates these islands are already drowning at a frightening rate. This would be enough of a problem alone for the people of Micronesia.

However, do you remember the name Bikini Atoll and the US bomb tests of the 1940s and 50s? Just 350 kms from the Enewetak group?

Apart from the forced removal of the natives to what was thought ‘safer’ areas only 30 kms away…

Apart from the 100s of dead and dying US personnel because of what the natives called ‘snow’ (Read: Nuclear Fallout) causing skin and internal cancers…

Apart from the 1000s of islander inhabitants affected by this fallout…

Apart from the nuclear horror and damage to the world’s ozone layer from the 23 gigantic bombs triggered at these islands (100s of times more powerful than Hiroshima)…

ONE OF THEM FAILED!

…..and the result is terrifying and horrifying and a danger to the entire globe.

When this huge weapon was triggered it failed to trigger the nuclear fission necessary and simply blew up the outer casing spreading large bits of fissionable plutonium over the island.  I’m not going into a treatise here on plutonium suffice to say it is the deadliest thing on the planet.

So the USA in their almighty wisdom, sent in a cleanup crew to gather up these chunks of highly radioactive matter, place them in plastic bags and throw them into the pit of a previous detonation and seal it with a thin skin of cement which of course is now breaking down and already releasing its toxic waste into the surrounding waters.  It is more often than not, now battered by waves breaking up this cement dome covering the horror underneath.  Nearly all of the cleanup crew are dead or dying and they weren’t told about the danger until they arrived at the site.

With the rise of sea water globally it has been estimated that this and many other Micronesian islands will be inundated by the end of the next decade; in less than 12 years.

The US has repeatedly reneged on its reparations in this matter with islanders suffering horrific cancers and the loss of their homes and livelihoods.

But what about the rest of us?  What will happen when ‘The Dome’ (already exuding waste) finally cracks and releases all of the deadly waste and radiation trapped inside?  This is one of the largest deposits of pure plutonium in existence.

Help needs to come now.  If we wait for the inevitable, the outcomes for humanity will be catastrophic.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_testing_at_Bikini_Atoll

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Prince Can’t Die — Discover

Carvell Wallace on Prince: “It is not an apologetic blackness that seeks to be indistinguishable from whiteness…. His blackness is unchecked and complex, layers of angry masculinity on a bed of rose petals and women’s perfume. His blackness is a golden fitted backless bodysuit on the taut, coiled frame of a bantamweight boxer.”

via Prince Can’t Die — Discover

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Guns v Government

I know it’s hard for most Americans to come to grips with a society that has grown up without guns being around every corner.
In Australia, I did and still do.  I am proud of the fact that my country is almost singular in getting to nationhood without the loss of life and misery brought about by civil war (No. The Eureka Stockade was not a civil war…an ‘uprising’ maybe. There was just 13 people and a flag). We didn’t have a ‘wild west’ that romantised the cowboy into an almost mythical figure (although we do have one bushranger called Ned that drives a lot of tales).

When guns were prevalent in Australia, we wiped out the aboriginal population in Tasmania completely and massacred thousands of 1st nation peoples. I could make a link here with why Mr.Average in the Australian suburbia hasn’t been able to carry a weapon for over 150 years. Just as well, judging by what we did when we had ’em.

Sure we have our massacres and gun fights but we also have an adequate police force to deal with this which keeps the guns ‘mostly’ off of our streets period. We even have laws preventing their import.

What I’m trying to say is that most Australians can’t understand a country that enables the common man to bear arms.  Even though the 2nd Ammendment gives this right, it is to protect the ‘people’ against the ‘government’ and Downunder we just vote the bastards out.

This is a fundamental difference between our two nations.