Carpener goes to Rounder and Vega to Blue Note

In the revolving door of record labels, Mary Chapin Carpenter has left Sony Nashville, where she has spent her entire musical career, and moved to Rounder Records. Carpenter was seemingly lost at Sony Nashville, more a pop singer than a country singer, they just did not know what to do with her. Clearly, Rounder's work with Alison Krause, who crossed over from bluegrass to an amazingly wide audience must have played into this decision. Carpenter has quietly amassed an amazing body of work, a new start will be a good thing. The new album is slated for a March release.

And Suzanne Vega is moving from A&M to, of all places, Blue Note. One wants to point to the sucess of Norah Jones here, but Jones musical style would seem to have nothing at all to do with that of Vega. In the end, A&M just did not seem to know how to promote or position Vega's quircky work. The Blue Note gig may not be as far out as it seems, given that they have taken a chance on much less commercial franchises than this.

Best of luck to both artists on a new beginning.
Interesting stuff Marty! I have grown to respect Mary Chapin Carpenter. She is very diverse, and talented...

Blue Note has made some unusual choices in the past. I was surprised to see Van Morrison release one CD with them.

Nate, just to muddy the water further. Have you noticed the spate of artists who are making terrible albums in other genres? You mentioned Van Morrison and I have been listening to his country album of late, "Pay The Devil". What a disaster, like slowing down to watch a car wreck. At times Van The Man - whose music I adore - seems to not even know what the lyrics mean. If that was not enough, Willie Nelson's side trip into reggae, "Countryman" reminds me of Yogi Berra's oft quoted phrase, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it". This record makes the Morrison effort seem palatable. Of course, my favorite in the crossover genre will never be equalled; Pat Boone's heavy metal album, "In A Metal Mood" on Curb. To hear him do "Enter Sandman", "Smoke On The Water" and other touchstones of the metal cannon is just too rich. My question is, has anyone ever done a good crossover album? And please, before someone starts spewing that Jean Pierre Rampal and Yo Yo Ma stuff, this is worse than the Morrison and Nelson slumming.
Viridian, when you're right, you're right :^).

I am sure if I thought about this some more, I could come up with more examples. Also, it makes sense to separate cross over from different genre collaborations.

Cross-over album that worked:

Placido Domingo's first non-classical album "Perhaps Love" - 1981. Note: his other efforts were not very good, this was excellent.

Collaborations that worked:

Metallica "S&M"
Procol Harum "Live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra"
Elton John "Live with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra"

I'll chime in with others later.


Rich, I would repectfully disagree with some of your examples. For instance the Procol Harum Live In Concert is basically just Procol Harum songs with instrumental accompaniment. They did not write a symphony, ditto for the Elton John, no change in genre here. Now Billy Joel and Roger Waters have actually tried their hand at writing symphonic music. I cannot speak to Joel's effort, as I have not heard it, but Waters, while pleasant and derivative enough, is akin to something from a first year music student. YMMV
Dr. John on Blue Note
Madeline Peyroux on Rounder
Marty. I bought "Pay the Devil" while my vinyl rig was down and have only just gotten it running again. The new VM is still sitting to the side and sealed. Based on what you said, it might stay there...

No Nate, I think that you will find it fascinating and the musicians are great. In some sense, bad VM is better than good most anyone else. YMMV. BTW, your system is looking awsome! I have a serious case of envy. How is that analog front end sounding? Enquireing minds want to know!
I don't know if this is the place to say it, but the front end sounds amazing! Sota, with some prompting has taken their flagship to another level. I know the Millenia is more expensive but it's different than all the other Sota tables so in my opinion not in competition with the others.

The level of detail I get from LPs is better than I ever have before. I wish I could get you out to this part of the world some time. Talk is cheap, but hearing is believing...


I think that you missed my point. I suggested making a distinction between cross over efforts and collaborations. A cross over would be a change in genre ... Placido Domingo, an opera star, singing songs from the great American songbook (it really merits a listen). A collaboration is not a change in genre, per se, but rather presenting material in a different way. For example, Elton John's music is normally not accompanied by a symphonic orchestra. Additionally, it's hard to criticize Elton John for not writing a symphony, when a symphonic orchestra doesn't write one either.

Regards, Rich
Rich, ahhh now I've got it; sorry for being thick.