Fervor Coulee Bluegrass Blog
The Grammys are tonight...but so is The Walking Dead
Donald Teplyske | February 8, 2015
I try not to get too worked up about awards shows and such, but I do understand their relevance. Safe to say, I won't be watching.
Being involved within the roots music world, the award show broadcasts are of next to no interest to me but I do like to follow along to see who will be recognized in the categories that I have connection to. As a member of a couple different voting juries, I appreciate the importance award nominations can have for an artist.
Tonight, the Grammy Awards are handed out. I didn't realize this until Twitter told me; I am more interested in tonight's continuation of The Walking Dead season. Here are my thoughts:
45. Best American Roots Performance
"Statesboro Blues" Gregg Allman & Taj Mahal
"A Feather's Not A Bird" Rosanne Cash
"And When I Die" Billy Childs Featuring Alison Krauss & Jerry Douglas
"The Old Me Better" Keb' Mo' Featuring The California Feetwarmers
"Destination" Nickel Creek Track from: A Dotted Line
Not a terribly exciting slate; of the tracks I've heard, the Allman is sleepy and the Nickel Creek is indistinctive. Rosanne would be my pick.
46. Best American Roots Song
"A Feather's Not A Bird" Rosanne Cash Rosanne Cash & John Leventhal, songwriters
"Just So Much" Jesse Winchester Jesse Winchester, songwriter
"The New York Trains" The Del McCoury Band Woody Guthrie & Del McCoury, songwriters
"Pretty Little One" Steve Martin And The Steep Canyon Rangers Featuring Edie Brickell Steve Martin, songwriter
"Terms Of My Surrender" John Hiatt John Hiatt, songwriter
Again, not the most compelling list- safe is perhaps what I'm thinking. Of this batch, John Hiatt rises above although I like the DMB's take of "The New York Train" (although I can't find it for sale) and the Jesse Winchester song is from a masterful album.
47. Best Americana Album
"The River & The Thread" Rosanne Cash
"Terms Of My Surrender" John Hiatt
"Bluesamericana" Keb' Mo'
"A Dotted Line" Nickel Creek
"Metamodern Sounds In Country Music" Sturgill Simpson
By now, the pattern should be apparent: this year Grammy voters really like Rosanne Cash, John Hiatt, Keb' Mo' and Nickel Creek.
A year ago, Sturgill Simpson was- for me- the bright light of country music. But his "Metamodern Sounds..." album left me cold and bored. I just don't think the songs are there. I'm pulling for John Hiatt- he delivered a wonderful album with some of his best songs.
48. Best Bluegrass Album
"The Earls Of Leicester" The Earls Of Leicester
"Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe" Noam Pikelny
"Cold Spell" Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen
"Into My Own" Bryan Sutton
"Only Me" Rhonda Vincent
This is a tough one. Rhonda's album was, by design, only half bluegrass. "Cold Spell" was terrific, but the Earls and Pikelny looked back while moving forward. I would be pleased to see either album win, but am going to have to go with "Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe" just because it was such a cool concept.
49. Best Blues Album
"Common Ground - Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin Play And Sing The Songs Of Big Bill Broonzy" Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin
"Promise Of A Brand New Day" Ruthie Foster
"Juke Joint Chapel" Charlie Musselwhite
"Decisions" Bobby Rush With Blinddog Smokin'
"Step Back" Johnny Winter
My interest in the blues is limited. I've followed and appreciated Ruthie Foster longer than most, having been introduced to her at the Calgary Folk Music Festival a long time ago, but haven't heard this album. Phil and Dave, for my money.
50. Best Folk Album
"Three Bells" Mike Auldridge, Jerry Douglas & Rob Ickes
"Follow The Music" Alice Gerrard
"The Nocturne Diaries" Eliza Gilkyson
"Remedy" Old Crow Medicine Show
"A Reasonable Amount Of Trouble" Jesse Winchester
My favourite category this year. I bought the OCMS album, but have only listened to it once or twice, so that comes off the slate; obviously, it hasn't grabbed me. I also listened to all the others and reviewed a couple of them. I would love to see "A Reasonable Amount of Trouble" be recognized. My favourite album of last year was "The Nocturne Diaries" so I am pulling for Eliza. But, my heart is with Alice Gerrard and "Follow the Music." A truly 'great' album and one that I have grown to appreciate even more since I wrote my review a few months back. Yup, "Follow the Music." Fingers crossed.
I don't give a darn about the country categories, but hope Brandy Clark and "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" are recognized.