Flying Burrito Brother and legendary Emmylou Harris collaborator Gram Parsons was the twangy, mellow-voiced crooner and guitarist/pianist credited with bringing the sounds of the South to the West Coast for the hippie generation, steering the psychedelic-folkie Byrds into Nudie suits for the landmark album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Inadvertently, by doing a lot of hanging out with people like David Crosby, Parsons helped invent the Laurel Canyon hipster country rock that dominated L.A. throughout the late 60's and early 70's. (Pro: he's generally accepted as an influence on Mick and Keith. Con: The Eagles.)
Had he not died in 1973, he would have been 61 years old today. Fans who want to mark the day can visit him in Metairie (scroll to the very bottom). The less morbidly inclined might want instead to head down to the Kerry Irish Pub on Decatur Street tonight about 10 p.m., where Les Poissons Rouges and the Balsa Wood Flyers will be playing an all-Gram tribute set.