Gram Parsons Tribute at Roma

Gram Parsons in his famous white suit by Nudie Cohn during The Flying Burrito Brothers period (1968-74), Photography: Jim McCrary

Gram Parsons (1946-1973) was a pioneer within the history of American music. With his groups The International Submarine Band, The Byrds and, in particular, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Gram fused his love of country music with rocj, soul and blues to articulate a new musical genre, country-rock (an epithet he allegdly disliked preffering to use the term ‘Cosmic American Music’).

Gram’s louche stance, rakish body, long locks and androgynous good looks ran counter to the usual connotations of country music and he provided a prism through which it could be viewed and appreciated afresh by new generations of music fans. During his short life Gram enjoyed little commercial success but this belies the huge influence that his haunting and beautiful music has had upon the generations that came after him. As his friend and collaborator, Keith Richards noted, “His actual output -the number of records he made and sold – was pretty minimal. But his effect on country music is enormous. This is why we’re talking about him now”.

Belgian allstar band band The Cowboy Angels (with members of The Seatsniffers, The Soul Messiahs and many other great nads) pay their respects to this “father of country rock” with a tribute concert in De Roma on Thursday, January 19th.

(text on Gram Parsons by Mairi MacKenzie, curator of the exhibition Dreamsuits. Designs by Nudie Cohn, the Rodeo Tailor – featuring the collection of Bobbejaan Schoepen at the MoMu Gallery.)