Roots Run Strong for 56th Grammy Award Nominees

Grammy Noms Americana

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Science held their big to-do to announce a few of the nominees for the next round of the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards. The choices in the Americana and roots categories again display an appreciation of some of the veterans of the genre and the roots they represent.

Collaborations reigned in the Best Americana Album category. Emmylou Harris may add another trophy to the 12 GRAMMYS she a lead has on her mantel with “Old Yellow Moon,” her duet collaboration Hot Band guitarist and legendary singer-songwriter , Rodney Crowell. Steve Martin & Edie Brickell are nominated for “Love Has Come For You,” their first joint effort and Americana stalwarts Buddy Miller And Jim Lauderdale are up for their “Buddy And Jim.” Mavis Staples , who won for Best Americana Album in 2011 is up for “One True Vine.” Legendary composer, producer, performer Allen Toussaint intimate and live deliberation of his new New York City home “Songbook” rounds out the list

Nominees for Best American Roots Song include another new New York resident (By way of Texas) Sarah Jarosz for the title cut of her third studio release, “Build Me Up From Bones.” Steve Earle snagged a spot for “Invisible,” his song focused on the homeless and indigent, from his latest “The Low Highway.” Old partners reconvene to gain a spot with Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott’s “Keep Your Dirty Lights On” from their Memories and Moments. Best Americana Album nominees Edie Brickell & Steve Martin is nominated for the title cut “Love Has Come For You” and Allen Toussaint for “Shrimp Po-Boy, Dressed.”

There are no slackers in a bluegrass band, and Best Bluegrass Album nominees are some of the best in the field. A nice surprise was the choice for newcomers Della Mae’s nomination for their sophomore release “This World Oft Can Be” Members of The Boxcars have collected numerous IBMA and GRAMMY Awards and have shared the stage with legends so it’s no surprise that their third album “It’s Just A Road” was nominated. Though Harlan Howard was referring to country music when he coined the term “…three chords and the truth.” James King and his cracker-Jack band adopted it as the title for their first GRAMMY-nominated album. Veterans Dailey & Vincent (Jamie Dailey (guitar, bass, vocals), Darrin Vincent (mandolin, guitar, bass, vocals)) are up for their 3rd GRAMMY Award nomination for their sixth release “Brothers Of The Highway” and the Del McCoury Band nabbed a nomination for their 14th release “The Streets Of Baltimore.” Del and the band won in the category in 2006 for “The Company We Keep.”

Roots music greatness continued with the Best Folk Album category, whose boundaries blur so much with Best Americana Album category that any performer from either side could swap with a perfumer from the other and few people would notice. Patriarch singer/songwriter Guy Clark grabbed his 6th nomination for his latest “My Favorite Picture Of You.” The Greencards received their 3rd GRAMMY nomination for their sixth studio album “Sweetheart Of The Sun” and Sarah Jarosz is up for her 2nd nomination for “Build Me Up From Bones.” Newcomer favorites The Milk Carton Kids are on the list for their current “The Ash & Clay.” “They All Played For Us: Arhoolie Records 50th Anniversary Celebration,” the roots-rich benefit
in tribute to the Arhoolie Foundation, and the 50th anniversary of Arhoolie Records, is also included.

Music Row continues to show some interest in Americana-leaning performers with country newcomer
Kacey Musgraves up for Best New Artist, Best Country album (Same Trailer, Different Park) andBest Country Snog (“Merry Go ‘Round”.) Best Country Duo/Group Performance category features The Civil Wars for “From This Valley, ” Kelly Clarkson Featuring Vince Gill for “Don’t Rush” and Kenny Rogers With Dolly Parton for “You Can’t Make Old Friends.”

Other nominations honoring Americana and roots artists are the soundtrack for “Muscle Shoals”, nominated for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media.

Root-rock pioneer Neil Young, with his band Crazy Horse, is looking to garner this third GRAMMY win with “Psychedelic Pill” for Best Rock Album

Multiple GRAMMY winner, and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, folksinger Pete Seeger received a GRAMMY nomination for “The Storm King,” in the category of Best Spoken Word Album.

Uncle Tupelo / Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy is up for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical for his work with Mavis Staples, Low and Sarah Lee Guthrie And Johnny Irion.

Alabama Shakes is up for Best Rock Performance (“Always Alright”) Jack White for Best Rock Performance (“I’m Shakin'”) Neko Case for Best Alternative Music Album (The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight…) and Mumford & Sons are nominated for Best Boxed or Special Edition Limited Package, Best Music Film (The Road to Red Rocks)

After the nominations were announced twitter was abuzz with folks pointing out a glaring oversight of Jason Isbell’s “Southeastern” for Best Americana Album. The album is on all Americana and roots music end of year lists.

Isbell took to twitter to address with humor the snub,”Don’t worry guys, I’ll get plenty of noms. There’s a Chipotle right across the street from the hotel! #NOM”

“Don’t worry guys, I’ll get plenty of noms. There’s a Chipotle right across the street from the hotel! #NOM”

Congratulations to them all the nominees. Keep an eye on and on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/P on on January 26, 2014 to see who wins.

Watch Out! My Morning Jacket ft. Brittany Howard and Merrill Garbus “Trouble Sleep” [VIDEO]

My Morning Jacket ft. Brittany Howard and Merrill Garbus

My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard and tUnE-yArDs’ Merrill Garbus took to NBC’s Jimmy Fallon Show, Backed by Fallon’s house band, The Roots, to perform their version of late Nigerian bandleader Fela Anikulapo Kuti ‘s “Trouble Sleep Yanga Wake Am.”

The band wonderfully reflects Fela’s love for American R&B blended with a classic African afro-pop style.

The cut can be found on Red Hot + Riot, with this second volume celebrating Fela’s music. This , and all their excellent releases, help fund the not-for-profit Red Hot organization fight AIDS worldwide.

Slaid Cleaves’ New Release ‘Still Fighting The War’ to Benefit Returning Soldiers

Slaid Cleaves' New Album Still Fighting The War

Slaid Cleaves’ new song, Still Fighting the War, was inspired in part by Denver Post photographer Craig F. Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photo essay about a soldier trying to reconnect with civilian life as he struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder. Cleaves said he began the song before seeing Walker’s work, but “when I came across the photo essay, it helped me feel closer to the experience of what a vet goes through when he comes home. I don’t have anybody in my family who served, but I used that photo essay to find out what it was like for those people.”

Still Fighting the War, co-written by Ron Coy and featuring the legendary Jimmy LaFave on harmony, is the title song for the acclaimed Texas singer/songwriter’s forthcoming album. Cleaves tells USA Today “As I was putting together all these songs that I had recorded, this song was one of the strongest, and I saw a little bit of a theme,” Cleaves says. “They’re songs about perseverance and holding your head up through hard times, so I decided to use it as the title.”

Cleaves has is using the song as a vehicle to help raise money for Operation Homefront, an organization that provides emergency financial relief for service members and their families.

“Operation Homefront raises funds for people, whether they’re in need of car repair, help with their rent or help getting to their job,” Cleaves says. “It’s a very personal, easy-to-understand way to help people.

“I had a song that speaks to an issue of the day, and I’m thrilled when my songs connect with people. That’s the main reason I write songs. But with this one, I could go a step further and do some good with it, use it to get more attention to this cause.”

Head to Cleaves’ website and donate a minimum of 99 cents for the single. 100% of proceeds from the download will go to Operation Homefront.

Still Fighting the War, produced by Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Lloyd Maines and Mark Hallman, is out June 18 on Music Road Records.

Visit Operation Homefront for more information.

Levon Helm Documentary To Open in Woodstock, N.Y.

levon healthOn Saturday (April 13), nearly one year to the day after his death, ‘Ain’t In It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm’ will open in Helm’s hometown of Woodstock, N.Y.

The documentary has been in the works since 2007, when director Jacob Hatley, who was hired to spend a weekend directing a video for Helm’s Grammy-winning Dirt Farmer, his first studio album since 1982. “Levon and I just happened to hit it off. I just ended up hanging out there. I found an excuse not to go home immediately.” Hatley says

“Jacob was the perfect fly on the wall for many months as we experienced the ups and downs of a wonderful time in all our lives,” Helm’s longtime musical partner Larry Campbell tells Newsday. “The result is a rare, artful, and honest glimpse into the fascinating world of one of our true American treasures, Levon Helm.”

The CD and DVD of the Oct. 3, 2012 tribute tribute concert ‘Love for Levon’ featuring friends, admirers and musical disciples such as Roger Waters, Warren Haynes, Gregg Allman and Lucinda Williams, has recently been released. Proceeds from the concert went to his family to help them keep his barn — the studio and live venue where his famous Midnight Rambles takes place to this day.

Ain’t In It For My Health will screen at Upstate Films in Woodstock on Saturday, April 13 (132 Tinker St., On the same night of the film’s screening, a special “Midnight Ramble” concert will take place in Helm’s Woodstock barn. The doors open at 5 p.m., and the event will feature a barbecue and another screening of the documentary, as well as a performance and Q&A session with The Levon Helm Band. Tickets are $125 and available for purchase at

Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Dan Auerbach, Kris Kristofferson To Pay Tribute to Cowboy Jack Clement

Cowboy-Jack-Clement_5Ggx_full“Cowboy” Jack Clement has carved out a storied career as a sinsinger/songwriter having his songs have been recorded by folks such as Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Ray Charles, Carl Perkins, Bobby Bare, Elvis Presley and more. A producer for Townes Van Zandt and Waylon Jennings and DJ with a weekly program on Sirius XM Satellite Radio’s Outlaw country)

The Memphis-born, 81-year-old, Clement recently lost his house to a fire in 2011. Now some of his friends are coming together at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville January 30 to help out.

According to American Songwriter “one of those musicians was Artist Growth founder Matt Urmy, who Clement recently produced, Artist Growth joined up with Dub Cornett, a long time protege of Clement’s, to put together Honoring A Legend: A Tribute To “Cowboy” Jack Clement, featuring an all-star list of artists influenced by and associated with Clement.”

Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys, Kris Kristofferson, Charley Pride and more will gather to pay tribute to “The Pied Piper of Music City.”
All proceeds for the concert will go toward The Music Health Alliance and launching the “Cowboy” Jack Clement Fund to help the cost of medical bills for musicians not covered by insurance.

Get tickets

Check out the full list of artists below:

Dan Auerbach
Bobby Bare
Marshall Chapman
Rodney Crowell
Jakob Dylan
Emmylou Harris
Charley Pride
John Prine
T-Bone Burnett
Billy Burnette
Shawn Camp
Mary Gauthier
Kris Kristofferson
Nikki Lane
John C. Reilly

‘Lowe Country: The Songs Of Nick Lowe’ Free MP3 Download

Fiesta Red Records is starting business out right with an inaugural solid compilation,  ‘Lowe Country: The Songs Of Nick Lowe‘ (September 18.) Hayes Carll,  Caitlin Rose, Amanda Shires, Chatham County Line and some of Americana’s other finest interpret songs from Lowe’s 4½-decade career.
Robert Ellis does a great honky-tonk meets quirky version of All Men Are Liars that you can pick up below for free.
Nick Lowe is no stranger to the world of and Americana. He’s on the YepRoc label with label mates Dave Alvin , Jim White and Chuck Prophet. He’s recently opened some show for Wilco (okay, they used to be
Proceeds from the album will benefit victims of the 2010 Nashville floods and Texas wild fires of last year via The Central Texas Wildfire Fund (administered by the Austin Community Foundation) and The Nashville Rising Fund (administered by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee).
‘Lowe Country’ Track Listing:Lately I’ve Let Things Slide – Caitlin Rose
Don’t Lose Your Grip On Love – The Parson Red Heads
All Men Are Liars – Robert Ellis (FREE MP3)
I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass – Amanda Shires
Marie Provost – JEFF the Brotherhood
Hayes Carll – I’m Gonna Start Living Again If It Kills Me
Lover Don’t Go – Erin Enderlin
When I Write The Book – The Unsinkable Boxer
You Make Me – Colin Gilmore
Heart Of The City – Chatham County Line
What’s Shakin’ On The Hill – Lori McKenna
Crackin’ Up – Griffin House
Where Is My Everything – Ron Sexsmith

News Round-Up: Hayes Carll and Ryan Bingham Leave Lost Highway

  • The latest news from the wasted trailer-park that is music industry; Hayes Carll and Ryan Bingham have parted ways with their label the Universal Americana imprint Lost Highway. Mike Crowley, Carll’s manager, said in response to Carlls’ departure “Being part of Universal Music, we’ve watched as the corporation has tightened the reins on Lost Highway…The requirements that Universal imposes just make less and less sense for artists like Hayes and Ryan, who are never going to be something that can be marketed like Lady Gaga.”
  • Johnnie Wright, Country Singer, Bandleader, manager and husband of Kitty Wells, had died at the age of 97. (New York Times)
  • The current King of Country, George Strait, has been added to an already stellar lineup for the Fire Relief:
    The Concert for Central Texas event, which already booked Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, the Dixie Chicks and
    Asleep at the Wheel, Eric Johnson, Steve Miller, Joe Satriani, Shawn Colvin, the Texas Tornados and the Court Yard Hounds will make guest appearances, and Turk Pipkin and ‘Friday Night Lights’ star Kyle Chandler will host the event.. The benefit show, which is slated for October 17 at the Frank Erwin Center in the capitol city of Austin, Texas, will raise money to help replace the estimated $250 million loss in damages.   Tickets range from $25-$250, with the higher end being VIP tickets that allow concert-goers close access to the stage as well as an exclusive lounge area.
  • Looking forward to seeing Merle Haggard today ay Hardly Strictly Bluegrass with that youngster Kris Kristofferson. Here is the The Hag discussing his recent bout with cancer and his take on the current political climate. Here’s a hint, he recently penned a anti-government cut entitled “Shut It Down.” Take that Steve Earle.

:happy trails

Twang For Tots Celebrates Album Release and Helps School

While lawmakers and administrators appear to be cutting school music and arts budgets even more this year in California, San Francisco school teacher Marisa Martinez is  helping kids learn while providing a big dose of musical inspiration with her newly-released compact disc, “ABC And Chickens”. A San Francisco album release party and benefit concert, Twang for Tots, will celebrate the new record.

“Twang for Tots” is a benefit concert to support music in the schools through the production and sale of an educational CD for children created by Martinez, a kindergarten teacher and longtime San Francisco musical performer. After completing her master’s thesis on the crucial interaction between music and art in a young student’s educational development, Martinez realized that ongoing cuts in music classes both in her San Francisco Unified School District and hundreds of schools across the country were robbing students of that important component of schooling. Aimed at the pre-K to 2nd grade set, the 18 songs on “ABC And Chickens” help kids learn counting, naming the days of the week, spelling, social skills and other important lessons.

Working with San Francisco producer Phil “Philbillie” Milner, Martinez gathered a few friends who happen to be some of the most noteworthy players in San Francisco, all former or current band mates – guitarist Eric McFadden (George Clinton, Eric Burdon), drummer Paulo Baldi (Les Claypool, Cake), cellist Sam Bass (Les Claypool), bassist/tubist Ed Ivey (Faraway Brothers, Brass Monkey Brass Band) and multi-instrumentalist Jenny Kerr. Martinez composed most of the songs and sang or played on every cut. The recording sessions were great fun for the musicians and more than a few admitted they learned something new just being involved.

The Twang For Tots concert features Eric McFadden, The Jenny Kerr Band  and J.L. Stiles and proceeds from the concert will help defray production costs, and proceeds from CD sales will help provide materials for ongoing music classes which have been cut due to the current budget crisis in California, a cutback that has hit SFUSD especially hard. Martinez’s school in the city serves students from the highest-poverty areas in the city, and her commitment to making the difference for kids who will truly benefit from her passion has become well-known to school parents struggling to keep their youth moving forward as the district continues to cut programs.

What: Twang For Tots Celebrates “ABC And Chickens” Children’s Album Release
Where: Restoration Workshop, 630 Treat Ave Suite C, San Francisco CA 94110
When: Friday June 4, 2010  7:00 – 10:00 PM
Cost: suggested donation $10 – $20, sliding scale

News Round Up: Country for Our Country Supports the Troops

  • The Country for Our Country benefit concert will occur  in Tyler, Texas this Saturday night (10/24). The event will celebrate the troops and benefit wounded soldiers by providing them with counseling and support during a difficult transitional period in their lives. The benefit will feature performances by Joe Nichols, Heidi Newfield, Derek Sholl, and Kacey Musgraves and The Big D & Bubba Show will emcee the event.
  • Check out Ryan Bingham’s new video for his song Country Roads.
  • Paste magazine’s Andy Whitman gives his view of the landscape of country (really Americana or music of the aughts (’00.)
  • Find Lighten’ (the opposum) over at and get entered to win prizes like: Cracker Barrel Gift Cards, Autographed CD’s, and concert tickets.

News Round Up:WSM to Launch Live From The Loveless Cafe

  • Tune in tomorrow night to catch Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill perform together Wednesday’s Jay Leno Show. The pair on the West Coast participating in a series of All For the Hall benefit shows. Proceeds from the all-start line up, which also includes Melissa Etheridge, Dwight Yoakam, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, Faith Hill and Taylor Swift, will allow Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to expand. (The Boot)
  • Dr. Ralph Stanley’s autobiography Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times will be released on October 15 (
  • The Americana brand continues to grow! Legendary radio station, WSM 650-AM, will launch a weekly Americana program called Music City Roots: Live From The Loveless Cafe. The on Oct. 14 debut show will feature  the legendary Emmylou Harris,  acclaimed duo Pam Rose and Mary Ann Kennedy, and emerging artists Annie Crane and Robin Ainger. Artists slated to performing in the coming months include Sam Bush, Radney Foster, John Cowan, Dexter Romweber, Dale Ann Bradley, Peter Bradley Adams, Mike Farris, Scott Miller and Webb Wilder. Each Wednesday evening broadcast will feature three to four artists in 30-minute segments, followed by a free-form “Loveless Jam” where all the artists and their bands will be invited to collaborate on the fly. WSM will air the show Wednesday nights from 7 – 9 p.m. live from the Loveless Barn in Nashville, TN. Ticket are on sale for performances.