Monday, February 15, 2016

Music Monday: Review: Vinyl

When I heard that the creators of HBO's hit series Boardwalk Empire, had a new show in the works I was pumped ! I am so glad that their newest series Vinyl is off to a good start. The new critically acclaimed series, Vinyl drops us into the pre-Internet music business of 1973. This was a period where a hundred-dollar handshake might open doors to radio airplay, and well before anything as civilized as market research was considered. The show was created by Mick Jagger, Martin Scorsese, Rich Cohen, and Terence Winter (the creator of Boardwalk Empire). The new series, Vinyl follows the turbulent life of Richie Finestra (Boardwalk Empire's Bobby Cannavale), the founder and president of American Century Records, as he struggles with what might be the death of his beloved music label. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the pilot unveils a "colorfu" group of characters that could legitimately have "Sex, drugs, and rock & roll" printed on their business cards.
Actor Bobby Cannavale is ideal for the role of Richie, a man with a good ear and a deep-rooted love for music who climbs to prominence from humble beginnings in the '60s, However I would say that the cast as a whole will likely draw viewers back to a world of Humble Pie and Frampton's Camel performing on radio's "King Biscuit Flower Hour" and business being conducted by rotary-dial phone. As Richie draws near to a once in a lifetime deal with a group of Germans for the sale of American Century, a deal that hinges on the signing of Led Zeppelin. The episode gives a number of memorable scenes ripe with entertaining period references and an  underscore that shows the plight of the label's staff. The meeting turns volatile when Richie scolds those present for not seeing the commercial appeal of ABBA ("Who knew Vikings could sing?" is overheard after someone sees their 45's picture sleeve) and for letting The Good Rats slip away. Office assistant Jamie Vine (Juno Temple) offers a possible saving grace with The Naughty Bits, a young new band led by singer Kip Stevens (James Jagger, son of Mick Jagger). And when Frank "Buck" Rogers (a scene-stealing Andrew Dice Clay), the owner of a chain of radio stations, threatens a boycott of American Century airplay over an incident with Donny Osmond, Richie is drawn into a series of events that could threaten everything.
Rounding the cast out is Head of promotions/payroll Zak Yankovich (Ray Romano),the gifted yet shady head of sales Skip Fontaine (J.C. MacKenzie), and ill-fated artist Lester Grimes (Ato Essandoh) are among the engaging characters who could ensure that Vinyl lives for more than just one season. (www.hbo.com/vinyl)