Every year about this time, the Grammy awards pop up and set the blogs and music message boards on fire with calls for relevance and better representation for non-mainstream music. This year was no different as the majority of the major awards went to the who’s who of popular radio.
In the end, the Grammy’s are what they are, year in and year out. An overblown spectacle complete with predictable awards and bloated “performances” from flavor of the month entertainers. While it is a shame that America’s largest music awards ceremony has gone the way of the FM radio, every year there are exceptions(although they rarely make the broadcast). While the calls for the Grammy’s legitimacy may have their merit, it is nice to see some great work be honored, even if they are relegated to the categories at the bottom of the page.
While I am in no position to second guess every category and say who should have won what; I can recognize some of the winners who’s work I have really appreciated this year.
Best Alternative Music Album - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix – Phoenix
I am not sure exactly what entails an Alternative Music Album, but I am sure this album has it. A very solid album that brought this band into another stratosphere.
Best Pop Instrumental Performance – Throw Down Your Heart – Bela Fleck
The man can play the banjo! From his “Tales of the Acoustic Planet” Series, I didn’t realize traditional African music classified as pop music, but Bella takes his show to Africa and comes out with a Grammy. Works for me.
Best Rock Instrumental Performance – A Day in The Life – Jeff Beck
Jeff Beck is a guitar monster, and this live take on the Beatle’s classic is flat out awesome. While his version of this song has been around for years, this cut from the “Live at Ronnie Scotts” gets him the trophy.
Best Pop Instrumental Album – Potato Hole – Booker T. Jones
Booker T or Booker T and the MG’s fame gets the Drive By Truckers and Neil Young as his backing band. Yes, it is pretty cool.
Best Long Form Music Video – The Beatles – All Together Now
There is just something about the Beatles winning Grammy in yet another decade that makes me grin. The “Love” Show is awesome, why should the behind the scenes documentary be any different?
Best Americana Album: Electric Dirt – Levon Helm
We knew he had the Americana sound in him. After all, he was the only American in “The Band”; widely known for their roots Americana sound. “Electric Dirt” and Levon Helm are as about as Americana as it gets, sorry Wilco!
Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package: Neil Young Archives Vol. 1
Yeah, this is an award for packaging, but this box set was incredible, and any awards it gets are good in my book.
Best Contemporary Blues Album: Already Free – The Derek Trucks Band
Beating his wife out for this award probably won’t win him any points at home, this has to feel good.(Susan Tedeschi also nominated for her Album “Back to the River) With a pretty busy day job with the Allman Brothers, it is great to see Derek honored for his hard work on this album
Best Contemporary Folk Album: Townes – Steve Earle
This album full of songs by his mentor Townes Van Zandt was a pretty close to home project for the troubadour Earle. Too bad this one wasn’t broadcast, knowing Steve this is one acceptance speech I would have liked to have seen.