Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Apples and Oranges

Well, The Grammys have come and gone, and folk music did pretty well this year. Allison Krauss and Robert Plant won all five categories their album "Raising Sand" was nominated in, including Best Album and Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album. I guess they were sort of like the "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" of 2009 (interesting that T-Bone Burnett produced both albums). Pete Seeger won Best Traditional Folk Album for his album "At 89." The complete list is here.

Whatever you think of the term "Americana" for describing folk music, it's refreshing to see the Grammy categories divided between "Contemporary" and "Traditional" folk music.

Here in Canada, the Juno Award categories for folk music are divided into "Roots and Traditional Album of the Year: Solo" and "Roots and Traditional Album of the Year: Group." I'm not sure who decided how to divide the categories, but it makes no sense to me. Wouldn't it be much more meaningful to have a traditional award and a contemporary award? I don't think it really matters how many people created the music, as long as apples are being compared to apples and oranges are being compared to oranges.

Right now we end up with an odd mixture of acoustic pop, singer-songwriter, out-and-out rocking music, and maybe a bona-fide traditional or traditional-sounding album. It would be nice to see more traditional music represented. And it would be nice if there was so much contemporary folk music being nominated that they had to sub-divide the contemporary category into "solo" and "group." That I could support.

Am I the only one who is bothered by this?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Award shows are only good for the performances...and sometimes not. The rest is business, marketing of some sort, and categories reflect that. Enjoy the music, make a fruit salad, and forget the prize. Unless you're hoping to get one.

February 11, 2009 at 5:09 PM  

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