Well, if you've been wondering what I've been doing the last couple of days since the Grammy Awards were presented on February 13 and why I haven't posted anything since then, the answer is pretty simple -- it's pretty hard to type when you're using both hands to feed yourself some crow to eat.
Of course, this is with respect to my bold prediction (which I still stand by) that Willie Nelson would win the Best Americana Album award for his "Country Music" release. The winner was Mavis Staples for her ANTI- Records release "You Are Not Alone." Having heard the title track, I can see why Ms. Staples would receive this honor, and I wholeheartedly congratulate her. My only regret is that I did not have the opportunity to preview the album in this space prior to the awards presentation. If I were a voting member, Willie would have gotten my vote, but I will say this, Mavis Staples' album will be in my collection shortly. You can count on the review coming up in a future column. Congratulations Mavis, this is a well deserved Grammy.
I was quite thrilled when I noticed some of my other favorites and notables walked home with some hardware. Patty Loveless has long been one of my favorite female country artists, and she walked home with the Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album for her Sagauro Road Records release "Mountain Soul II." The Carolina Chocolate Drops won the Best Traditional Folk Album award for their release on Nonesuch Records, "Genuine Negro Jig." And, Marty Stuart walked home with the Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance for "Hummingbyrd", which you will find on his Sugar Hill Records release, "Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions" (read review here).
One this is for certain, if an album is nominated at the Grammy Awards, it is deserving of your time. The unique thing about the Grammy Awards versus other awards shows and organizations, is that it doesn't focus on the chart position of a song or album. It focuses on the art that is presented before them. Of course there's some politics involved, it's a tough thing to escape when it comes to awards. But I find, more often than not, the voting committee for the Grammy's get it right. While I may not agree with their choice of victors on a couple of their winners ("Need You Now" by Lady Antebellum over "Free" by the Zac Brown Band? ... not so sure about that one ... a debate for another day), I do respect their choices because all of the nominees are of such high calibre and high quality.
Now we have a whole year to look forward to new releases from exciting and creative artists who will give us something to talk about at length next year. Before the next Grammy's though, we have the Americana Music Association Awards at the Americana Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee in October, so that will give us a nice debate in the fall. In the meantime, we have a lot of things to look forward too, including a spring, summer and fall filled with Americana music festivals all across North America and Europe. For more information on festivals, artists and all things Americana (and to purchase discounted tickets to the Americana Music Festival from October 12 to 15, 2011 in Nashville), check out the official web site of the Americana Music Association.
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