Last night The Recording Academy held a fancy shindig on TV to announce the nominees for the 55th Annual Grammy® Awards ceremony, which will be held on Sunday, February 10th, 2013 and broadcast at 8:00 PM by CBS. After a couple years that I've been moaning and griping about it, you all know the drill by now...the Academy cut the number of blues categories in half, reducing the number of deserving artists who receive the prestigious nomination and reducing America's founding musical style to one measly award.
This year's crop of nominees for the "Best Blues Album" is mostly an impressive roster, including such heavyweights as Shemekia Copeland's excellent 33 1/3 album and Dr. John's Locked Down nominated alongside relative newcomers like Ruthie Foster's Let It Burn and the Heritage Blues Orchestra's And Still I Rise. The only real problem I have is in the fifth nominee, Joan Osborne's Bring It On Home. Although our Guest Writer Steve Pick thought enough of the album to give it a 3˝ star rating, I can't help but think that name familiarity got Osborne the nod over (in my mind) excellent recordings from more deserving artists like Janiva Magness, Lurrie Bell, Walter Trout, Anders Osborne, and the perpetual Grammy® oversight, Joe Bonamassa.
Because of the reduction in categories by The Recording Academy, blues-oriented artists have begun seeping over into other categories to make up for the lack of opportunity in the blues category. Luther Dickinson's recent Hambone's Meditations album earned a "Best Folk Album" nomination, as did the Carolina Chocolate Drops' Leaving Eden (which, to be fair, is fairly folkie in orientation). Bonnie Raitt, whose comeback album Slipstream has sat atop the blues chart since its release earlier this year, garnered a nomination for "Best Americana Album."
Who would you like to see walk off with this year's "Best Blues Album" Grammy®? Vote for your choice below...
Shemekia Copeland's 33 1/3 photo courtesy Telarc Records