Grumpy Grammys


11. Feb. 2008, 15:32

If you needed confirmation of the irrelavence of the Grammy awards, you need go no further than their track record of awarding Spoken Word albums to loon left-wing politicians like Bill Clinton, Jimmie Carter, and now media darling Obama bin Laden. Can you say Left Coast love fest? I'm much more interested in the IBMA, Americana Awards, or even the annual 3rd Coast Music Freeform American Roots Best of list. Yet I suppose the Grammy's still sell records, so here goes my novel of a rundown...

Record of the Year: Amy Winehouse. I can't say anything bad about Amy Winehouse. I can say bad things about Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake. I liked Foo Fighters at one time just haven't paid them much mind. So we'll call this one best of a bad lot.

Album of the Year: Herbie Hancock. I would have loved to see These Days. I mean, pile on John Anderson, Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Diana Krall & The Del McCoury Band, and how can you go wrong? Then again, like they would give Vince Gill a mainstream award. Now if he had put on left-wing darlins Dixie Chicks maybe he woulda had a chance. Herbie's not bad of a not as bad lot.

Song of the Year: Rehab. It's been interesting to watch how TV media darling Carrie Underwood flip-flopped from her breakthrough Jesus Take The Wheel with Before He Cheats. Good girl goes bad, eh? Trying for her Reba cred?? I'd say "give it up TV girl pop star" but Underwear is mostly harmless.

Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On) I love Alison Krauss, love, love, love. I respect and admire Robert Plant from his Led Zeppelin days, and increasingly from his more recent work. I just can not click with Robert Plant & Alison Krauss together on Rounder Records. It's just too much of a Jump-the-Shark deal for me. At Smo's urging I listened some online, even found streaming audio at Rounder's website. My sister, whose music judgement I trust more than my own, gave it thumbs up. In the end, I figured there's too many albums I want and too little money so I took a pass.

I will take some justification in the Grammy's nominating the effort as a "Pop Collaboration". I can feel superior in my snobbery against "Pop" anything, you know...

Best Rock Album Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (RCA). Hey, at least the Foo Fighters won best Rock Album, there's honor in that. I wouldn't have minded Wilco winning here, but I don't mind them not (no offense intended Tweedy-ites.... well maybe just a little).

And for the "Country" categories:
Best Female Country Vocal Performance: Before He Cheats. Of course I was rooting for my gal Alison's Simple Love. Then again this field was increadibly weak. Miranda Lambert has a good radio hit, but the song itself just kinda peters out--it needs another verse to tie together the story, but that would make it too long for modern radio. I still hold LeAnn Rimes' teeney-bopper and extreme sex kitten rebound against her, yet I caught myself humming Rimes' radio tune as well. Just no beating the made-for-TV model.

Best Male Country Vocal Performance: Stupid Boy. This song completely failed to make an impression on me. I like Alan Jackson's entire album, but it's not his best effort. As always George Strait puts in a yeoman's effort with Give It Away.

Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals. The Eagles are NOT COUNTRY MUSIC. I like The Eagles, really I do. But they are no more Nashville than Bon Jovi was. Grrrr.

Best Country Collaboration With Vocals: Lost Highway. FINALLY THE IDIOTS GET IT RIGHT! Willie Nelson and Ray Price on the Lost Highway. Now THIS is Country Music.

Best Country Instrumental Performance Brad Paisley. If Brad has to settle for something, this is a good place to settle. I was glad to see The Greencards nominated.

Best Country Album These Days. Payback for Vince.

Best Bluegrass Album The Bluegrass Diaries. Anybody nominated is deserving. Cherryholmes. J. D. Crowe & The New South. Seldom Scene. Tony Trishcka.

Best Southern, Country, Or Bluegrass Gospel Album: Salt of the Earth. Ricky Skaggs deserves any accolades he gets. The Whites are no slackers either.

Best Traditional Folk Album Dirt Farmer. I haven't heard this album that I know of, but I have seen ALOT of good buzz on it. Levon Helm should be on my go seek it list.

Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album Washington Square Serenade. Oooooh, I could editorialize all day on Steve Earle. This is getting long enough is getting all clunky so I'll save that for another day. Of course my fav is Children Running Through. Sorry, Patty, no beating the Left Coast media darlin.

And last but certainly not least...
Best Short Form Music Video: God's Gonna Cut You Down. God love you Johnny Cash, you are still the best man in Nashville. RIP.



  • jbembe

    nice journal. You know I get strange mental impediments toward liking good music myself, like you described for the Krauss/Plant album. For example, my wife really liked Old 97's from way before we got married and I didn't trust her tastes (with some good reason there) but recently I have really been getting into them. The Krauss/Plant album is good, someday maybe you'll come around to it!

    11. Feb. 2008, 16:29
  • jcshepard

    Thanks. I'm even worse with the Alison/James Taylor love fest. I like the Old 97s when I hear them, too, but I never really got into it enough to go search them out. I said I couldn't say anything bad about Amy Winehouse. Actually, I couldn't say much about 'cause for all the chatter I never listened to her (talk about my anti-pop bias showing). So I fired up the in-page, 3-free-for-now player on Rehab. I kinda like it, in a Blues Brothers neo-soul kinda way. And I do have a particular thing about Beyonce, since her daddy bought up Compadre Records and has gone about KILLING one of the best labels in Texas Country/Americana. OK, I should blame the founder of Compadre who sold out, but I don't want to do that in case he recovers his sanity (he is a nice guy, just gone a little bit off the deep end with this deal). Anyway, such is life.

    11. Feb. 2008, 17:46
  • diamondgrrl

    I'm listening to the Plant/Krauss album as we speak, and so far I'm not hooked either. Killing the Blues is a pretty decent track, but it's going to take me a few more listens of the whole album to form a real opinion. Simple Love is excellent, and I'm totally going to have to join both your Alison and JT love fest, because their duet on this album is really good. For some reason, the harmony on it sounds much more natural to me than some of her other pairings, and I really wish she'd do a whole lot more with him. As far as Vince goes, I completely agree. These Days is the finest work released by anyone is God-knows-when, and it absolutely deserved mainstream recognition with Album of the Year. Then again, I may be biased. I *do* have a crazy amount of Vince love. Ever heard Ollabelle? Their second album is really good (better than the first, IMO), and I think they're totally streamable on lastfm now. (Levon Helm reminded me of this one.) Hey, the Greencards! Nobody knows about them but me! Ha!

    25. Feb. 2008, 16:20
  • jcshepard

    Thanks for the comments. Killing the Blues has been done so much it's a great measure to compare style and approach, just hard to do anything original with a standard. The more I read about what Vince Gill has done to revitalize the Grand Ole Opry, in addition to his own career, the more impressed I get. Now it sounds like Brad Paisley is picking up that torch as well. I've heard good buzz on Ollabelle from picky people. I'm kida like that old [b]Pace Picante[/b] TV ad, sceptical of anything out of NEW YORK CITY that calls itself part of the country. Then again, we get Aussies & Brits together in the Greencards & they're more Americana than Nashville, so what the hey your secret's out. -jc

    26. Feb. 2008, 15:47
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