It’s almost too easy to beat up on the Grammy Awards.
And they deserve the slaps, too, given the cluelessness, historically, suggested by some of the picks: Milli Vanilli? Jethro Tull in the “metal” category? Christopher Cross? The Jonas Brothers?
It’s worth mentioning, too, that if there are going to be categories for best tropical Latin album, best regional Mexican album, best tejano album, best banda album, best Hawaiian album, best Native American album, best surround sound album, and other obscure areas, then FOR PETE’s SAKE it might be time to have categories for New Orleans/Louisiana artists, jambands, and altcountry artists, and give Americana its own category (separate from folk).
On the other hand, the Grammys sometimes do provide much-needed attention to deserving artists.
Herewith, a few of the Grammy nominations for releases by worthy musicians and bands that you might not have heard about:
- Best bluegrass album – Cherryholmes, Cherryholmes III: Don’t Believe; Del McCoury Band, Live at the 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
- Best new age album (?) – Jack DeJohnette, Peace Time
- Best traditional gospel album – The Blind Boys of Alabama, Down in New Orleans – check out my review
- Best traditional blues album – Buddy Guy, Skin Deep; B.B. King, One Kind Favor; Elvin Bishop, The Blues Rolls On
- Best contemporary blues album – Marcia Ball, Peace, Love & Barbecue; Solomon Burke, Like a Fire; Dr. John and the Lower 911, City That Care Forgot (good playing and funky grooves, but not one of his finest); Taj Mahal, Maestro; Irma Thomas, Simply Grand.
- Best contemporary folk/Americana album – Ry Cooder, I, Flathead; Rodney Crowell, Sex & Gasoline; Emmylou Harris, All I Intended To Be; Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raising Sand
- Best zydeco or cajun music album – releases by Michael Doucet, Pine Leaf Boys, BeauSoleil, and Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys
- Best reggae album – Burning Spear, Jah is Real; Lee Scratch Perry, Repentance; Sly & Robbie, Amazing
- Best traditional world music album – Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Ilembe: Honoring Shaka Zulu
- Best contemporary world music album – releases by Gilberto Gil; Youssou N’Dour; and Mickey Hart, Zakir Hussain, Sikiru Adepoju & Giovanni Hidalgo