The Grammy Awards will be handed out this Wednesday. About a dozen will make it to the live telecast, while most of the 105 awards (yikes!) will be doled out earlier. Folk music will receive at least a passing mention since Pete Seeger and the Weavers are being honored with a lifetime achievement statue. They may even give the prize for contemporary folk album out on air (the woman at the Grammys said they won’t know until a couple of days out), since Bruce Springsteen is nominated and he’ll be performing on the big night (along with Madonna and Sir Paul McCartney).
Speaking of Bruce… once again the nominees for contemporary folk album bear little relation to the artists who actually call themselves “folk” (traditional folk album is a much more aligned list). I shouldn’t blame the Academy, since it’s the artists (or their people) who pick the categories they enter. And it’s probably too expensive for many folk artists or smaller labels to enter. At least Bruce’s album has a narrative, acoustic sensibility (with Warren Zevon, I think they were just so desperate to give him the award that they shoved it in the nearest open hole).
If you were giving out the Grammys, what are your picks for contemporary and traditional folk albums released last year? And, what about best new folk artist (I’m going to say first album, I don’t remember the real Grammy criteria)?