Alison and Robert Sand the Grammys

Last year I was Grumpy about the 50th Annual Grammy Awards. I can’t be grumpy this year. My gal Alison Krauss cleaned up. Producer T-Bone Burnett worked his magic on her duet album with Robert Plant, Raising Sand [ Rounder].

  • Record of the Year
  • Album of the Year
  • Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals
  • Best Country Collaboration With Vocals
  • Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album

Alison Krauss is simply the best thing out there right now.

And I’m conflicted about that.

I don’t “get” Raising Sand. I don’t dislike the CD. I’m a long-time fan of Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin days. I just don’t “get it”. The plethora of gold record players gives me an idea why and it’s as obvious as the beard on my face.

I like to keep my music close to the roots. Songwriter. Guitar. Maybe a stand-up bass. Tell me a story, maybe one I can do a two-step to. I like my Alison closer to her roots—her high lonesome done-me-wrong songs. But she’s been there and done that. It’s only appropriate that she wants to grow as an artist, to challenge herself and try new things.

There’s nothing like finding a new artist that you connect with . It’s very much like making a new friend. In today’s flattened world of internet radio and social media, it often is making a new friend, or at least adding them as a friend on FaceSpace. However, we also all grow up. There are a few of my childhood friends that I’ve kept up with, more now with the latency of FaceSpace. There are many more whom we have gone our separate ways. Maybe I’m just jealous of all her new friends. I don’t know.

I am concerned. It’s not appropriate to sully your hard-earned reputation fawning over a “Pop Collaboration With Vocals”. I’m not sure if it’s a sorrier statement on the ill health of popular music, country music, or Americana. I could celebrate that Krauss, Plant & Burnett were able to put together a production that successfully bridged the chasms. That would be the pragmatic thing to do. I’m not a pragmatist. I’m a strong believer in the quality of music and the musicians craft.

Here’s hoping Alison comes back around to visit her old friends soon.

Other Kudos from the 51st Annual Grammy Awards

  • Best Pop Instrumental Album: Jingle All The Way, Béla Fleck & The Flecktones [Rounder]
  • Best Male Country Vocal Performance: Letter To Me, Brad Paisley. Track from: 5th Gear [Arista Nashville]
  • Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals: Stay, Sugarland. Track from: Enjoy The Ride [Mercury Records] (Was there ever any question?)
  • Best Country Song: Stay, Jennifer Nettles, songwriter (Sugarland) Track from: Enjoy The Ride [Mercury Records; Publisher: Jennifer Nettles Publishing]
  • Best Country Album: Troubadour, George Strait [MCA Nashville] (I can’t keep up with George)
  • Best Bluegrass Album: Honoring The Fathers Of Bluegrass: Tribute To 1946 And 1947, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder [Skaggs Family Records]
  • Best Traditional Blues Album: One Kind Favor, B.B. King [Geffen Records]
  • Best Long Form Music Video: Runnin’ Down A Dream, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers; Peter Bogdanovich, video director; Skot Bright, video producer [Warner Bros.]

Of the others, I would have liked to see Kathy Mattea recognized for her concept album, Coal, even if I haven’t actually heard it.

p.s. After I initially posted this on last.fm, I got a Tweet contemplating a good question about release dates for Raising Sand.  Amazon.com gives ‘em a release date of October 23, 2007.  Now I’m wondering: Plant & Krauss won a Grammy LAST year for Pop Collaboration. How can they repeat? My guess is it’s single release vs. album release. Anyway, artists, not all release dates are created equal.  Remember that.

-jc

(updated & cross posted from last.fm )

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