Nominations for the 54th annual Grammy Awards were announced yesterday, and hey, Louisiana didn't do so bad!
In the ring for the new "best regional roots album category" are three Louisiana acts: Rebirth Brass Band received a nomination for the impeccable Rebirth of New Orleans. C.J. Chenier also earned a nomination for Can’t Sit Down.
Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys also land in the category, for the album Grand Isle — read Dege Legg's story in Gambit on the oil disaster-inspired homage (produced by C.C. Adcock) from Lafayette's Cajun music pioneers. Legg wrote, prophetically, "Like recent albums by other eminent Cajun/zydeco artists, it's likely Grand Isle will be nominated for a Grammy Award. The songs, the timing, the collective effort and the historical stature and robust discography of Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys are very much in evidence on this album even when they are attempting to deconstruct and/or evade the legacy of their past."
Other Louisiana nominations: New Orleans' ex-pat Lil Wayne somehow grabbed five nominations from his disappointing Tha Carter IV. Harry Connick Jr. was nominated for best traditional pop vocal album for In Concert on Broadway. Gospel group Trin-i-tee 5:7’s Angel & Chanelle earned a nod for best gospel album.
And a surprise nomination went to The Banana Plant for GulfAlive, up for best children's album. The album uses music to bring to life the wildlife of Louisiana's Gulf, using funk and Cajun music geared for kids' ears. (GulfAlive also comes with a coloring book.) Portions of the sale of the album benefit the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. "When we heard that the oil-spill response plans of major oil companies discussed how to protect walruses in the Gulf, we felt an obligation to enlighten the world about this wonderfully unique region," said Gwynn Torres, part of The Banana Plant duo with Sid Berger, both ad executives and jingle writers.
Also, Kanye West (who with Jay-Z performs at the New Orleans Arena on Saturday; tickets are $mortgage payment-$GDP of New Zealand) earned seven nominations, for both the near-perfect My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and his Jay-Z collab Watch the Throne. Bon Iver received four noms, including record of the year, song of the year, best new artist and best alternative album.