May 292024
kane brown

When I was a young kid growing up in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s I was obsessed with The Flintstones. I would watch reruns nearly everyday after school, so I was constantly bombarded with mid-20th century pop culture references. Some made total sense to me, like secret agent Jay Bondrock or “Bug Music” with the Four Insects. Others took decades for me to decode.

One of my favorite moments happened in an episode where Fred and Barney took a stab at songwriting. They wrote lyrics, took them to a professional tunesmith to add music and then tried to get the song published. While at the publishers’ office, a piano player by the name of Hoagy Carmichael offered to play the song, only to realize the tune was a rip-off. It was only years later when listening to a swing compilation did I realize that Carmichael was an actual songwriter, and the song Fred and Barney presented was set to the melody of his classic “Stardust.”

As a kid I was oblivious to the fact that Carmichael was one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century. His music is still finding its way to national television in 2024. Recently, singer Kane Brown performed a live cover of another one of Carmichael’s classics, “Georgia on My Mind,” at the Academy of Country Music Awards. He released a studio version on the streaming services soon after.

Brown performs “Georgia …” as a gospel tune, singing about the Peach State as if it was the almighty itself. He’s backed by a full choir, orchestra, a hard-rocking guitar and drums that boom as if recorded by an ‘80s metal band. At times, the production seems overblown, and Brown would have been better served with a sparser rendition. Still, his voice, with a solid blend of soul and twang, carries the day as he sings the “old sweet song” for a new generation of listeners.

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