Thursday, January 17, 2002

To a talented newcomer... uh oh
You won't find me chatting about popular music much, as my tastes are entirely too, uh, old. I'd barely heard of Dido before I saw that she was nominated for a British Best New Artist award, only to see the nomination withdrawn when they discovered they'd nominated her for Best Female Artist last year. Oops.

She doesn't seem too broken up about it, but still, something seemed familiar about this...

Then I remembered what it was. Way back in 1984 (before some of you were born, sigh), the Academy of Country Music presented its Best New Artist award to Nicolette Larson, for work that would eventually appear on her first MCA album, "...Say When."

Her first MCA album. "...Say When" was Larson's sixth album: Her first, "Nicolette", contained her best-known hit, "Lotta Love", which made it up to #8 on the Billboard charts in 1975.

At the time, I wondered if the CMA didn't know that "their" Larson was the same Larson. Now I understand: They didn't care. The music industry was so firmly segmented (and, for all I know, still is) that if it didn't hit the country charts, it didn't matter. And the same separatism seems to be in place from the other side: Her Rolling Stone biography talks about her pop activity, then trickles off into, essentially, "then she did some country stuff" after her five Warner albums. (Rolling Stone gets the count wrong: She did three country albums, not just one.)

What's really odd is that her sound didn't change that much in the transition from pop to country, but her wardrobe sure did. But then anything would have been a dramatic change after her last "pop" album, "All Dressed Up and No Place To Go", on which she wore -- a pink towel.

[I admit it, I'm a fan. I had all of her albums, but lost them in a house fire. Most of them are not available on CD -- but I'm still looking.]

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