We all tend to put things into little niches. It’s probably the only way our minds can keep track of all that is going on around us, and given that all THAT STUFF seems to be multiplying each day, the ability to categorize and file away meta data about people, companies, and other things is, in my opinion, key to being a highly-functional person today. Naturally, I thought about this last night while watching the Grammy awards.The Grammy’s are famous for paring up two or more performers who seemingly have nothing to do with one another musically for a live performance during the show. Generally, and last night was no exception, the performances prove more about the differences in music than they do about the similarities. However, one seemingly improbable pairing was the big winner – Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, arguably one of the founders of the “heavy metal” school, and Alison Krauss, arguably the current queen of bluegrass music and a woman whose work can be said to have revived an entire musical genre.
How can that be? Who in their right mind would put together a sweet, soulful country soprano and the man who invented the high, screaming rock vocal (OK, Little Richard had a bit to do with that as well). Well, look at the meta data. Bluegrass is based on English folk music and improvisation. Led Zep began as a blues band rooted in improvisation and would, from time to time, show their folksy Celtic roots (as lots of Led Zep III and The Fourth Album will demonstrate). Rock and bluegrass? Any fan of The Grateful Dead knows they began as a bluegrass band and Jerry Garcia had a number of side projects in that genre, including the Old and In The Way disc that might have been an influence on the young Alison (she was born just a couple of years before it was recorded) as it was on a musicians of all genres. Alison Krauss cites Lou Gramm of Foreigner as an influence and believe me, without Robert Plant, there is no Lou Gramm. Will the circle be unbroken indeed!
Do you let your quick reads get in the way of a good, deep look at the meta data? Are you missing out on business opportunities because you categorize something off the top of your head and fail to extract as many permutations of meta data as you can? In music, often they try to mix and match without doing the digging and it doesn’t work. This time, somebody did some digging and came up with Grammy winner. Do the same!