Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gram Parsons's Cosmic American Music

Today, OTR commemorates the birthday of Gram Parsons, the singer and songwriter who sought the fusion of rock and country into what he called Cosmic American Music. Parsons died young, and well-before he was acknowledged as one of America's most influential innovators in the world of popular music. Most authorities credit him with founding the country rock genre.  He leaves behind a wonderful legacy of sound through his membership in three bands, the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, and the Flying Burrito Brothers; his solo work, and a legendary association with Emmylou Harris.

Parson would have been 65 today. Here are the Byrds performing his song, "One Hundred Years From Now," on their groundbreaking album - and Parsons's concept - Sweetheart of the Rodeo:

 And here he is as lead vocal on "Hickory Wind," another of his compositions - this one with Bob Buchanan - recorded for the same album:

Parsons passed away in 1973 with hardly a decade of musical composition and performance behind him. Though his life was short, his influence on music was profound, and OTR and his other fans hope that music will live on for generations.

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