Posts Tagged With: Grammy Awards

“Greatest Southern Musician” Madness

Whether in sports or music, GREATEST-OF-ALL-TIME arguments are inherently pointless — but they sure are fun. And here’s another solid argument-starter: The Alabama Media Group  is conducting an online poll asking readers to “Vote for the Greatest Southern Musician” of all time. To that end, they’ve done up a seeded NCAA Basketball Tournament-style bracket of 64 acts in four different Southern regions, from Texas-Louisiana to Florida-Kentucky-North/South Carolina-Virginia.

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 8.54.38 AMNorth Carolina native Ryan Adams shows up in the latter bracket as a No. 14 seed. That puts him in a tough first-round matchup against No. 3 Lynyrd Skynyrd in what Al.com calls “the Battle of the Jacksonvilles,” Florida versus North Carolina. In that case, I think Ryan should get extra credit for “Jacksonville Skyline” and “Jacksonville.” Looks like he could use a little help, too. When I voted this morning, the ’70s Southern-rock icons were winning in a blowout with more than 88 percent of 819 votes cast so far.

This “ACC” Southeast region’s No. 1 seed is soul godfather James Brown, which actually seems just about right; he should make short work of No. 16 Chris Stapleton. Of North Carolina interest further down the bracket is confessional singer-songwriter James Taylor, who was born in Massachusetts but spent enough of his formative years in Chapel Hill to write one of North Carolina’s definitive songs, at No. 9 and matched up with No. 8 Jimmy Buffett; Tryon-raised r&b icon Nina Simone at No. 6, pitted against Wilmington native Charlie Daniels at No. 11; and songbird Emmylou Harris, an Alabama native who did some time at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro (and was also Ryan’s duet partner on “Oh My Sweet Carolina”), at No. 10 and up against No. 7 Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass.

There’s a whole section of rules about how they determined who rated a spot in the field and where. This round of voting closes Saturday (June 25), with the eventual winner scheduled to be unveiled on July 18. And if Ryan is to have better luck with this than the Grammy Awards, he’s got some ground to make up. Cast your vote here.

UPDATE (6/26/2016): Well, Ryan’s stay in this particular tournament was a short one. Lynyrd Skynyrd beat him with ease, pulling just under 80 percent of 1,235 votes cast to win by a final count of 987-248. James Taylor also bowed out in the first round, losing to Jimmy Buffett, as did Nina Simone to Charlie Daniels. But Emmylou Harris managed to advance past Bill Monroe; looks like she’ll be up against No. 2 seed Tom Petty in round two.

UPDATE (7/18/2016): The Overall winner is George Strait.

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Asleep at the Wheel wins Grammy #10!

AATWGrammyMajor congratulations to my “Comin’ Right at Ya” co-writer/subject/star Ray Benson, who has done it again at the Grammy Awards. Asleep at the Wheel’s Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys has won for best recording package, which makes it an even 10 Grammys for The Wheel going back to their first way back in 1979. It’s also their first Grammy since 2000, which happened to come in this same category for another Wills tribute album, 1999’s Ride With Bob.

If you want to read a funny story about the night Asleep at the Wheel won its very first Grammy, click the “EXCERPTS” link here. and check out the “Prologue” to “Comin’ Right at Ya.”

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Grammy love for the Wheel, but not Ryan Adams

Grammy2016In the media blitz that accompanied the release of DRA 1989 back in September, there was some hyperbolic speculation about Grammy Awards — that the album might get Ryan Adams a few nominations, maybe even for album of the year to set up a Grammy showdown against Taylor Swift’s original 1989. But that turned out to be wishful thinking.

Grammy nominations are out today and Swift checks in with seven total, including the categories of record, song and (yes) album of the year. So she certainly did her part — but Ryan, alas, did not make the cut. He didn’t pick up any nominations this go-round, which means he’ll have to wait at least another year to win his first Grammy (Ryan has been nominated seven times since 2001 but has yet to win one).

AATWKingEven if Ryan wasn’t nominated this year, however, a handful of others from North Carolina were, most notably Fayetteville-raised hip-hop star J. Cole and Carolina Chocolate Drops co-founder Rhiannon Giddens. You can find a recap of North Carolina-connected nominations here.

On a personal level, meanwhile, there is a bit of Grammy news in my book-related world. My “Comin’ Right at Ya” co-writer/subject/star Ray Benson’s Asleep at the Wheel is up for best recording package with his group’s third and latest Bob Wills tribute album Still The King: Celebrating The Music Of Bob Wills And His Texas Playboys, alongside albums by Florence + the Machine, Snoop Dogg, Alagoas and the late Elvis Presley.

The Grammys will be presented on Feb. 15 in Los Angeles. If the Wheel wins, this would be the group’s first since 2000 (which was in this same category — for another Wills tribute, 1999’s Ride With Bob) and 10th overall. To read about the star-crossed night when Asleep at the Wheel won that very first Grammy way back in 1979, click the EXCERPTS link here.


 

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Welcome to Bypass, North Carolina

NCUSAI heard from a fair number of people yesterday, all asking some variation of the same question: Do you think Ryan Adams will turn up at the Jenny Lewis show tonight?…

Aw, bless your hearts, you crazy naive kids.

And yet the question did have some apparent plausibility, all things considered. Lewis and Ryan are chums, he produced her 2014 album The Voyager and she accompanied him to the Grammys this past spring. More to the point, Lewis is the support act on the current leg of his tour, in which capacity she opened for Ryan Sunday night in Charlottesville and will do the same Tuesday night in Charleston. Yes, it’s hard not to notice that his tour routing seems designed to surround North Carolina without playing it, hitting every adjoining state except us with such deliberation that it has to be on purpose (and we’re coming up on the 10-year anniversary of the last time he played Raleigh).

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 10.08.16 AMAnyway, Ryan again bypassing the state that lies between Virginia and South Carolina left a hole in the tour schedule Monday night. So Lewis took the opportunity to play a headlining show of her own at the Haw River Ballroom, in the old mill town of Saxapahaw about an hour west of Raleigh. And if Ryan were to get a wild hair and decide to make an impulsive settle-up gesture with the Old North State, sort of like what he did with “Summer of ’69” at the Ryman last week, an unannounced cameo some distance away from his former downtown Raleigh stomping grounds seemed as likely as anything else.

So of course, it didn’t happen. Lewis played her show and it was quite fine, but Ryan did not appear. The only mention of him onstage was a story Lewis told at the end of her set about Ryan forcing her to write one more song for The Voyager — which he didn’t like, so she made it the album’s title track (ha!). Gotta say, I do like The Voyager a lot more than Ryan Adams, and hearing its songs live underscored that; especially “The New You,” which is still bouncing around my head a day later.

As for where Ryan was last night if not Saxapahaw, if his Twitter feed is to be believed, he was already in Charleston and seeking pinball machines:

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Ryan’s Grammy report

 

RyanGrammyLossWhen it comes to Grammy Awards, our man Ryan Adams has a mixed track record. He’s quite adept at scoring nominations, including this year; but for all that, he has yet to actually win one of the darned things. And it looks like he’ll have to wait another year for his breakthrough, because he’s coming up empty so far at this year’s awards. Most of the Grammys were presented at the pre-telecast “Premiere Ceremony,” from which Ryan emerged 0 for 2 — losing rock performance to Jack White (which I expected), and rock song to Paramore (I expected him to lose, but not to them).

Grammy57He’s got one more shot, at rock album. But given the competition — Beck, Black Keys, Tom Petty, U2 — he’s the longest of longshots there, too. Meantime, I’m live-blogging the festivities here, so do drop in. Ryan, it seems, is not the only North Carolina native striking out tonight.

UPDATE: Well, Ryan also didn’t win rock album, which went to Beck’s Morning Phase, leaving him 0-for-7 lifetime at the Grammys. The rest of North Carolina fared no better, going 0-for-14 on the night; even Eric Church didn’t take any of his four nominations in the country categories.

ADDENDUM (2/10/2015): This probably made Ryan really glad he’s not more famous than he already is.

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Different strokes: “Gimme Something Good,” indeed

voxlogoOn the one hand, I’m still not too fond of Ryan Adamsso I’m kind of with the writer of this “11 great songs of 2014 that were buried on terrible albums” listicle about the overall quality of that album. On the other hand, however, “Gimme Something Good” is not what I would have picked as the redeeming track on Ryan Adams, because I’m even less fond of that song than the rest of the album.

“Still, this one is a stunner.” Um…no. No, it is not.

But heck, Grammy seems to like both, so what do either of us know?


 

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Ryan Adams picks up more Grammy glory

Grammy57Grammy Award nominations are being announced today, rolled out a few at a time on Twitter this morning before the full list is posted at 2 p.m. Eastern Time — and our man Ryan Adams is already up for two. Ryan Adams has been nominated for Best Rock album, while “Gimme Something Good” has been nominated for Best Rock Song.

This marks Ryan’s first multi-nomination year since 2002, when he picked up two nods for 2001’s Gold (Rock Album and Male Rock Vocal) and a third for his contribution to that year’s Hank Williams tribute album Timeless, “Lovesick Blues” (Male Country Vocal). He was also nominated for his 2003 cover of Oasis’ “Wonderwall” in the category of Solo Rock Vocal Performance; and producer Glyn Johns also picked up a nomination for Ryan’s 2011 Ashes & Fire album, as Best Engineered Non-Classical Album.

But for all that, Ryan has yet to win a Grammy and I’d say he’s not likely to win this go-round, either, given who he’s up against: Black Keys, Jack White, Beck and Paramore for song; and U2, Tom Petty, Black Keys and Beck for album. Black Keys look like early odds-on favorites in both categories.

Ryan Adams might well pick up another nod or two, so I’ll update as events warrant. The Grammys will be presented on Feb. 8.

UPDATE (2 p.m.): The complete nominations list is out and “Gimme Something Good” is also up for Best Rock Performance; which brings him to three for this year. But given that he’s up against a lot of the same acts — Beck, Black Keys and Jack White again, as well as Arctic Monkeys — I’m afraid he’s just as much of a longshot to win this one, too. Based on what he just posted, Ryan seems to agree:

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Ed Sheeran is gonna throw it back to you

EdSheeranOn Twitter the other day, I saw someone pose a rhetorical question: Was Ryan Adams ahead of his time or is it just coincidence that 1000 bands sound like him now? That’s pretty funny, given that the rap on Ryan has always been that he’s too retro and/or little more than the sum of his influences. And yet he has kept on keepin’ on, building up a body of work and a presence to the point that it seems like every emotional singer-songwriter who comes along nowadays is “RIYL Ryan Adams.” I must see that description several times a week, at least.

One such act following in Ryan’s wake is Ed Sheeran, a young singer-songwriter who is still more popular in his native England than in America (although touring as Taylor Swift’s opening act this year should raise his U.S. profile a good bit). Oddly enough, it almost seems like he’s shadowing Ryan. Sheeran was on the Grammy Awards telecast last month playing with Elton John, one of Ryan’s big fans and benefactors; and while Sheeran has yet to cover a Ryan song as far as I know, he did cover Oasis’ “Wonderwall” — a song Ryan also covered (and earned a Grammy nomination for) a decade ago on Love Is Hell.

So here, give ’em a comparison. Which version do you like better: Ed’s, or Ryan’s? I don’t pretend to be an impartial observer here, and I do find both quite pleasant. Nevertheless, I do feel like Ryan’s version has…more there there. Ed’s version is nice enough, a pretty rendition of a song I like; it’s almost placid. Meanwhile, Ryan’s “Wonderwall” has more raw emotion, revealing pockets of shell-shocked despair not to be found in either the Oasis original or Sheeran’s cover.

It ain’t easy, being the Next Ryan Adams. But Sheeran appears to be managing: His “Wonderwall” has more than 3.7 million Youtube views.

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Grammy report: Ryan Adams’ “Ashes & Fire” comes up empty

Grammy2013

I was hoping that Ryan would tangentially win his first Grammy Award Sunday. While Ryan wasn’t nominated himself, his 2011 album Ashes & Fire was up for “Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.” But as I feared might happen, the Grammy instead went to the Yo-Yo Ma-led all-star album The Goat Rodeo Sessions during the pre-telecast portion of the program. Oh well. Ryan has been directly nominated four times in years past without winning, but none of those were surprising given the competition he was up against; this was one I figured might have a shot. One of these years…

Meantime, I’ll be live-blogging this year’s Grammy ceremony, starting around the telecast time of 8 p.m. Sunday. Do drop in.

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Grammy shine for Ryan, sort of

Grammy2013So I was pulling for our man Ryan to get a Grammy nomination, mostly because I figured visibility and attention from that might help attract an eyeball or two in my direction; but also because he’s from North Carolina, and I keep up with my peeps. Anyway, he did turn up in the nominations announced Wednesday night, albeit indirectly. Ryan himself didn’t get nominated — but his 2011 album Ashes & Fire did, in the category of “Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.”

Should Ashes be deemed the winner, the Grammy will go to producer Glyn Johns and mastering engineer Bob Ludwig. Also nominated are albums by Jason Mraz, Rebecca Pidgeon and Melody Gardot, also-rans all; and the Yo-Yo Ma-led all-star album The Goat Rodeo Sessions. In terms of handicapping (and I must confess that I’ve got a less-than-stellar batting average at this), I’d say it will come down to either Ryan or Yo-Yo Ma. Ryan has been nominated four times in years past without ever winning, and it would be funny if his record won a Grammy for someone else.

Tune in Feb. 10, 2013, to find out.

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