Best Bluegrass Album, Grammy Nominees 2016
"Pocket Full of Keys" Dale Ann Bradley, Pinecastle Records
"Before the Sun Goes Down" Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, Compass Records
"In Session" Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Mountain Home Music
"Man of Constant Sorrow" Ralph Stanley & Friends, Red River Entertainment
"The Muscle Shoals Recordings" The SteelDrivers, Rounder
Not a bad album in the group. My one sentence reviews:
"Pocket Full of Keys"- Bradley's voice is one of the most pure things to encounter within the bluegrass world, and it is shown to perfection throughout this heart-engaging set; she is a bluegrass vocalist and true artist of substance and vision. My rating: 5/5 My odds of it winning: 15%
"Before the Sun Goes Down"- Not a bluegrass album, by any reasonable measure, and therefore not sure why it is nominated here; still, an excellent Americana release. My rating: 3.5/5 My odds of it winning: 15%
"In Session"- A long-delayed, but welcome return to the form and quality expected from Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. My rating: 4/5 My odds of it winning: 10%
"Man of Constant Sorrow"- With a range of guests, from Robert Plant to Welch & Rawlings and McCoury to Lauderdale, this is a tremendous little set that many have not encountered as it is a Cracker Barrel exclusive. My rating: 4/5 My odds of it winning: 30%
"The Muscle Shoals Recordings"- Constantly evolving around a well-established core sound, this group demonstrates that there is sufficient room within bluegrass confines to do things a little bit differently. My rating: 5/5 My odds of it winning 30%
The last several winners of the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album have been outstanding bluegrass albums- The Earls of Leicester, Del McCoury Band, The Steep Canyon Rangers, and Alison Krauss & Union Station. It seems the voters have an idea of what bluegrass is...and isn't. The best news for these nominees is that Ricky Skaggs and AKUS are not nominated; the Grammy voters favour them over all others.
The Grammy voters seem to like Ralph Stanley, previously awarding him an award for "Lost in the Lonesome Pines" one of his Jim Lauderdale collaborations. And, the voters like Lauderdale, and he and Buddy Miller produced this Stanley collection. But, Grammy voters also seem to appreciate what Rounder Records does, and The SteelDrivers may benefit from their association with Chris Stapleton.
I like Dale Ann's album best, and I would love for her to win...but I don't think she will. Please, prove me wrong!
If I was a voter, Bradley would get my vote. But, I'm not. And I am betting that either The SteelDrivers or Dr. Ralph will walk away with the Grammy.
"The Muscle Shoals Recordings" is the stronger album, in my opinion.
What are you thinking?