Country Music People December 2017 - Page 56

HELLO C ountry music today might not be in such a sorry state if people would, as Dale Watson suggested in A Real Country Song, “speak up and say what’s wrong”. Artists, DJs, and anyone involved in the industry. Secretly they nearly all think it, but say something and you might watch your career go down the toilet quicker than the Dixie Chicks following a George Bush comment. Even George Strait and Alan Jackson had to backtrack when they recorded Murder On Music Row. We all know they meant every word but officially they had to say that it was just a bit of fun. Lars Pluto, however, will not be silenced. The Michigan-born singer and songwriter is these days based way out west… in deepest Devon where as a devoted family man he is fast losing his American accent. Catch one of his live shows and you’re sure to hear him sing his self-penned Dear Country Music, in which he asks in no uncertain terms, “Dear country music, what the fuck happened to you?” It’s a pertinent question that has disturbed many a country fan for the best part of twenty years. The song didn’t make it onto his recent album, The Remote Sessions, but he promises it will be on his next. Still, in a ‘you can kiss my country ass’ kind of way rather than some homoerotic imagery, Lars bares his butt on the cover of The Remote Sessions. Yes, Lars Pluto is a troublemaker and if this alone doesn’t endear the tattooed and quiffed singer to you then you’d better stick with your Kane Brown records. Just a few months ago Lars Pluto found himself nominated for a BCMA award and promptly posted a video of himself online in which he sets fire to the nomination. Sure, he might not be on a live telecast as Charlie Rich was when he set fire to the John Denver envelope at the 1975 CMA Awards show, but it still makes a statement. Trouble might well be his middle name, but for Lars Pluto actions speak even louder 56 cmp - DECEMBER 2017 TROUBLE LARS PLUTO originally hailing from Michigan, these days lars pluto is now uk-based and more than happy to speak and say what is wrong with country music on both sides of the atlantic. quite a lot it turns out. he speaks to duncan warwick than words and he is responsible for putting on a show in Manchester in January which he hopes will highlight a world of country music far removed from that of The Shires. “Well, I do my best,” laughs Lars at the suggestion that he is a trouble maker. “I think a lot of the powers that be, BCMAs and whatnot, no one says anything to them and you’d be surprised by the amount of messages I get off performers that say, ‘Oh, I’m so glad you’re saying stuff’. And I’ll go, ‘Why aren’t you saying anything if you agree with me?’ And they’re like, ‘I don’t want to rock the boat or make anybody mad or whatever’. I personally don’t understand that kind of mentality. I’ve always been raised that if something feels wrong, sounds wrong, then you say something or you do something about it. I make my money elsewhere because there isn’t really no money in this BCMA type UK country music scene for the majority of the acts, even the larger ones who are winning these awards, they’re not making money off their job. And because I’m not holding to them in any way I feel like I’m free to be able to say whatever I want and I just always have. I don’t really know any other way to be but in some circles it makes me unpopular.” That Lars Pluto was even nominated at all he suspects might have been a ploy to silence him. “That seems to be the case,” he affirms, “I’ve been really, really vocal talking about... Look at all these people that are nominated. How many BCMAs has Luke Thomas won? Six. He’s won six BCMAs in six years. His mummy and daddy are on the committee so it’s not really rocket science when you start to look at the people they nominate and the people that win year after year after year, like Gary Quinn and his partner. His partner is also on the nominating committee and he’s been nominated for six years in a row. You see a lot of that. It’s all this cronyism and phonyism to me that just is so transparent and I’ve been really vocal. “I started being vocal because I just didn’t, I was like, ‘Well, they’re never going to nominate me because first of all I play real country music and they don’t nominate real country music.’ So I didn’t feel like I had anything to lose. I was never going to be quiet about it but then I got into a little bit of an online spat with Luke Thomas’s mother, she’s the director and secretary of BCMA, and got into a pretty decent, heated debate with her on it and then the very next day I was nominated for a Horizon Act. It was the only category where they had seven nominees, all the others were like four or five nominees, but they squeezed me in last minute. I honestly think they were trying to shut me up like, ‘Oh, we’ll give him a nominee and then he won’t be able to badmouth us and say that we’re rubbish and if we give him a nomination. He’ll shut up and go away.’ But I just took it as quite the opposite. I was like, ‘First of all it’s not really a nomination, second of all I honestly don’t believe that they count any of the votes cast by the BCMA members