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Topic: Grammys spurn Nashville Return to archive
02-25-02 12:51 PM
CS As the Grammys near (Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS), we continue
our close-ups of key categories. This week: the controversial country
album race.

Gasps greeted the reading of the country
Grammy nominees in Nashville last month.
Lucinda Williams? Ryan Adams? Sheryl
Crow? These were country acts? By the time
the best-country-album nominees were
announced, there was little reaction beyond
stupefied silence. Soon, the Nashville music
industry began to realize that its peers would
rather hear Willie Nelson sing children's tunes
or rock stars cover the songs of a long-dead
hillbilly than listen to almost anything it had put
on the radio in the past year.



Three albums from the country mainstream made the cut: Tim McGraw's Set
This Circus Down, the top seller of the bunch; Diamond Rio's One More
Day; and Trisha Yearwood's Inside Out. But past Grammy trends seem to
favor either five-time winner Willie Nelson's Rainbow Connection or
Timeless: Hank Williams Tribute, a multi-artist album honoring a country
icon.

"Timeless is the likely winner," says Jay Orr, managing editor at CMT.com,
the Country Music Television Web site.

"The nominations this year were a surprise to the people in Nashville. The
tracks from Timeless scattered throughout the country categories meant some
mainstream candidates we would have thought would've been included didn't
get nominated."

In addition to nominated performances by Crow, Williams, Adams and
Johnny Cash, Timeless includes contributions from Bob Dylan, Tom Petty,
Beck, Emmylou Harris and Keith Richards. The participants have a combined
51 Grammys to their names, so generating enough votes to beat its
broad-based support may prove insurmountable for any one artist.

Even so, says Orr: "The field is strong. The Diamond Rio is a good album.
The Tim McGraw album is the best he's made since Everywhere. And Inside
Out was one of my top 10 albums of the year. The Nelson album is a little
more puzzling."

Even Nelson says he didn't have a clue Grammy voters might nominate
Rainbow Connection, which features such songs as I'm My Own Grandpa
and the theme from The Muppet Movie.

"I did a lot of the old traditional things," Nelson says. "Maybe that's where
they're at."

"The Grammy voters know Willie," says Neil Pond, editor in chief of Country
Weekly and Country Music. "It's safe to say more of them know Willie than
know Tim McGraw, certainly more than Diamond Rio and probably even
Trisha Yearwood."

All this discussion probably would be moot were it not for a Grammy
technicality that disqualifies the perceived favorite. Soundtracks aren't eligible
in other genre fields, so the quadruple-platinum soundtrack for O Brother,
Where Art Thou? an album-of-the-year nominee was tucked safely
away in the category for compilation soundtrack.

The country album category is a relatively recent Grammy inclusion, with
Mary Chapin Carpenter's Stones in the Road the first recipient, in 1994.
Since then, Lyle Lovett, Shania Twain, Cash, the Dixie Chicks and Faith Hill
all artists familiar to people outside country music circles have won.

"The voting body of the Grammys is much broader, more diverse than the
voters that come up with the country music industry awards," Orr says.

"It's been frustrating to the country music world, and it's also sent a message,
sometimes subtly, and sometimes, as in the case of Johnny Cash's victory and
subsequent Billboard ad (in which he flipped the Nashville industry his middle
finger), not so subtly."
02-25-02 02:10 PM
Gazza >Gasps greeted the reading of the country
Grammy nominees in Nashville last month.
Lucinda Williams? Ryan Adams? Sheryl
Crow? These were country acts?


Theyve more link to and feel for country music than the array of singing hats and MOR orientated "Melrose Place" lookalikes that masquerade as country artists as far as I can see!

>By the time the best-country-album nominees were
announced, there was little reaction beyond
stupefied silence. Soon, the Nashville music
industry began to realize that its peers would
rather hear Willie Nelson sing children's tunes
or rock stars cover the songs of a long-dead
hillbilly than listen to almost anything it had put
on the radio in the past year.

Probably cos the songs of that same "long dead hillbilly" happen to be the greatest country music ever written by anyone and also probably because hes one of the best 3 or 4 American songwriters of the last century and anything produced in Nashville ever since has suffered by comparison! At least the Grammy people have seen through the dross!



>"It's been frustrating to the country music world, and it's also sent a message, sometimes subtly, and sometimes, as in the case of Johnny Cash's victory and
subsequent Billboard ad (in which he flipped the Nashville industry his middle finger), not so subtly."

My admiration for the "Man In Black" grows by the day!!

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