Thursday, February 10, 2011


I had the hardest time voting in the Americana field, but Best Contemporary Blues Album was difficult also.

I was glad to see Solomon Burke's Nothing's Impossible nominated. It's a tribute to two great artists who are no longer with us: Solomon and also produced Willie Mitchell (who produced most of Al Green's greatest records). Willie died before the album was released, Solomon shortly after. This was one of my favorites of 2010, I was even kind of OK with his cover of Anne Murray's "You Needed Me." But what is most haunting about the album is the last song, "I'm Leavin'." I'm glad that the Grammys are paying tribute to Solomon at the ceremony (via a performance by Mick Jagger and Raphael Saadiq).

Dr. John is having a good year: he's getting into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month, and he has Grammy nominations for his contribution to The Princess and The Frog... in this category though, he is nominated for his album Tribal. I've got to check it out a bit more, but I love the song, "Manoovas," which features Derek Trucks (the Dr. digs The Allman Brothers Band I guess: he's the piano player on Gregg Allmans'great Low Country Blues album).

Buddy Guy's Living Proof was another of my favorite albums of 2010. The man is just badass. There's no cute hook or big name producer on the album. There's guest spots by Carlos Santana and B.B. King, but other than that, it's just Buddy and his band and they cook.

Talk about badases: Bettye Lavette is as bad as they come. Her album Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook shows her taking a lot of iconic songs and making them her own. I don't mean to sound all "American Idol," but it's true. My favorite track on the album is her cover of Ringo Starr's "It Don't Come Easy," and she would know!

The last nominee is Kenny Wayne Shepherd, who I am not as familiar with. I know he's an incredible guitar player, and I'm glad he is one of the guys out there really bringing the traditional blues to younger fans. But I haven't heard his album so I can't comment on it.

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