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Dando and Parsons

(Yes, this mid-90s era photo is of Evan Dando
dressed in a Gram Parsons t shirt)
As I (and countless others) have written before, Gram Parsons left a huge musical legacy for a man who died an early death. While many have emulated his style, no one comes closer than Evan Dando, both with The Lemonheads and as a solo performer. The career of Dando has more than a few parallels with the career of Parsons, including being "the next big thing" while not quite making it.

The Lemonheads' music was fun three chord rock during the Seattle grunge era, when everyone hated themselves and wanted to die. Thus, Dando's lyrics were often criticized for being childlike by people who missed the point entirely. Tho popular in the early to mid 90s, the Lemonheads never reached superstar status, in much the same way Parsons' work with the Flying Burrito Brothers and as a solo artist never seemed to get off the ground.

The parallels don't end with great music greeted with less than stellar receptions. Both are legendary substance users, with Parsons dying at 26 from tequila and downers, while Dando admitted to using crack cocaine before disappearing from the music scene for several years. Both musicians sang duets with very talented women, Emmylou Harris in the case of Parsons and Juliana Hatfield with Dando.
Better still, Dando has performed covers of Parsons' songs, such as this:


Is Evan Dando the Gram Parsons of his generation? Perhaps so. And while Gram left us far too young, Dando has continued to make great music almost in spite of himself. May he long continue.

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