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Paul Nelson GRAMMY Nom: ‘My Friend the Late Johnny Winter Would Be Proud of Joe Louis Walker and Me’

EXCLUSIVE: Producer of GRAMMY-Nominated Blues Album Chats with California Rocker

By DONNA BALANCIA

Blues great Joe Louis Walker is getting some.  After all, that’s what he asks for in his GRAMMY nominated album ‘Everybody Wants a Piece.’

And Paul Nelson is helping him. Paul is the force behind the music, who rose the ranks as performer and as producer to, most notably, the late Johnny Winter. Paul produced and and also performed on Everybody Wants a Piece, which has been nominated for a GRAMMY Award this year in the Blues category.

“What I like about Joe Louis Walker is he’s a contemporary blues artist but he respects the tradition of the older musicians,” Nelson said about Walker.

 

Paul Nelson and Pork Chop

Nelson is no newbie to this GRAMMY business. He won a GRAMMY two years ago for producing the Johnny Winter album, Step Back, Johnny’s last record.

But with every musician there are different styles and different results from collaboration, Paul said.

Paul’s beloved dog, Pork Chop will be memorialized on the record – Photo courtesy of Paul Nelson

“With Joe, I wanted to get the best performance possible,” Nelson said.

The songs were recorded at Chop Shop, Nelson’s studio in Connecticut.

“We had a lot of fun,” Paul said. “And the album also features my dog Pork Chop, who died. He was a miniature Pinscher. He barked on one of the songs. So, he’s now a GRAMMY-nominated dog! He will be forever remembered.”

Nelson said he was proud of the work.

“Everyone on the record did a fantastic job,” he said.

Is the Blues Genre a Dying Breed?

Nelson says he doesn’t think the blues as a genre is going away any time soon.

Paul Nelson: The Blues Will Live On

“I don’t think the blues is dying, it’s meshing together with other types of music, like southern rock, or with music from New Orleans, that kind of mixture. There’s been a huge influence from Britain. Everyone’s looking at the Claptons, a lot of British fans know the tradition. Jeff Beck, a lot of singing guitar players. We’ve lost the art of frontman. It’s hard to find the next Bobby Blue Bland.”

Nelson said the music may be evolving and so is the presentation.

 

Paul Nelson – Photo courtesy of Paul Nelson

Acoustic Blues Guitar

“There’s a big call for acoustic because of the economy and it’s easier to hire one artist,” he said. “There are pockets of places in Florida and New Orleans where you’ll see that. It’s really becoming difficult for artists to survive these days. But the Blues isn’t going away. It’s the first thing people learn to play to this day. It’s not going anywhere.”

Paul says he thinks of Johnny often and still has a hard time without his friend and mentor.

‘Johnny Wanted Me to Succeed’

“Johnny wanted to be considered blues but he always had rock stigma because of the clothes, because of his style,” Paul said. “He always wanted me to succeed, he wanted me to do well. When we were finishing up recording Step Back, he leaned over to me and said ‘If we don’t get a GRAMMY for this, they’re nuts.'”

Paul said he had to keep his resolve when he accepted the GRAMMY for Step Back.

“When I hit the podium at Staples Center it was difficult,” Paul said. “It was very emotional. Edgar came up with me.”

As for this year, Paul said he is thankful.

“I’m just crossing my fingers and I appreciate everyone thinking of me for a second time,” Paul said. “And the great thing is, my phone is ringing off the hook.”

 

The GRAMMY Awards Nominations List Includes Surprises, Young Performers and Music Legends

List of GRAMMY AWARDS NOMINATIONS 2017

In case you forgot which of your favorite performers, producers and musicians are up for GRAMMY Awards this year, here is the nominations list.

The 59th annual GRAMMY Awards will kick off at 5 PM PT, 8 PM ET on Sunday, with red carpet beginning two hours earlier and parties lasting well into the late night.

The 59th annual GRAMMY Awards will be held at the Microsoft Theater LA Live

The 59th annual GRAMMY Awards will be held at the Microsoft Theater LA Live

 

Album of the year:

“25” — Adele

“Lemonade” — Beyoncé

“Purpose” — Justin Bieber

“Views” — Drake

“A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” — Sturgill Simpson

 

Record of the year:

“Hello” — Adele

“Formation” — Beyoncé

“7 Years” — Lukas Graham

“Work” — Rihanna featuring Drake

“Stressed Out” — Twenty One Pilots

 

Song of the year:

“Formation” — Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles & Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyoncé)

“Hello” — Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele)

“I Took a Pill In Ibiza” — Mike Posner, songwriter (Mike Posner)

“Love Yourself” — Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin & Ed Sheeran, songwriters (Justin Bieber)

“7 Years” — Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard & Morten Ristorp, songwriters (Lukas Graham)

 

Best new artist:

Kelsea Ballerini

The Chainsmokers

Chance the Rapper

Maren Morris

Anderson .Paak

 

Best pop vocal album:

“25” — Adele

“Purpose” — Justin Bieber

“Dangerous Woman” — Ariana Grande

“Confident” — Demi Lovato

“This Is Acting” — Sia

 

Best dance/electronic album:

“Skin” — Flume

“Electronica 1: The Time Machine” — Jean-Michel Jarre

“Epoch” — Tycho

“Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future” — Underworld

“Louie Vega Starring…XXVIII” — Louie Vega

 

Best rock album:

“California” — Blink-182

“Tell Me I’m Pretty” — Cage the Elephant

“Magma” — Gojira

“Death of a Bachelor” — Panic! at the Disco

“Weezer” — Weezer

 

Best alternative music album:

“22, a Million” — Bon Iver

“Blackstar” — David Bowie

“The Hope Six Demolition Project” — PJ Harvey

“Post Pop Depression” — Iggy Pop

“A Moon Shaped Pool” — Radiohead

 

Best urban contemporary album:

“Lemonade” — Beyoncé

“Ology” — Gallant

“We Are King” — King

“Malibu” — Anderson .Paak

“Anti” — Rihanna

 

Best rap performance:

“No Problem” — Chance the Rapper featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz

“Panda” — Desiigner

“Pop Style” — Drake Featuring the Throne

“All the Way Up” — Fat Joe & Remy Ma featuring French Montana & Infared

“That Part” — Schoolboy Q featuring Kanye West

 

Best country solo performance:

“Love Can Go to Hell” — Brandy Clark

“Vice” — Miranda Lambert

“My Church” — Maren Morris

“Church Bells” — Carrie Underwood

“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Keith Urban

 

Best jazz vocal album:

“Sound of Red” — René Marie

“Upward Spiral” — Branford Marsalis Quartet With Special Guest Kurt Elling

“Take Me to the Alley” — Gregory Porter

“Harlem On My Mind” — Catherine Russell

“The Sting Variations” — The Tierney Sutton Band

 

Best gospel album:

“Listen” —Tim Bowman Jr.

“Fill This House” — Shirley Caesar

“A Worshipper’s Heart [Live]” — Todd Dulaney

“Losing My Religion” — Kirk Franklin

“Demonstrate [Live]” — William Murphy

 

Best contemporary Christian music album:

“Poets & Saints” — All Sons & Daughters

“American Prodigal” — Crowder

“Be One” — Natalie Grant

“Youth Revival [Live]” — Hillsong Young & Free

“Love Remains” — Hillary Scott & the Scott Family

 

Best Latin pop album:

“Un Besito Mas” — Jesse & Joy

“Ilusión” — Gaby Moreno

“Similares” — Laura Pausini

“Seguir Latiendo” — Sanalejo

“Buena Vida” — Diego Torres

 

Best American roots performance:

“Ain’t No Man” — The Avett Brothers

“Mother’s Children Have a Hard Time” — Blind Boys of Alabama

“Factory Girl” — Rhiannon Giddens

“House of Mercy” — Sarah Jarosz

“Wreck You” — Lori McKenna

 

Best spoken word album (includes poetry, audio books & storytelling):

“The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo” — Amy Schumer

“In Such Good Company: Eleven Years Of Laughter, Mayhem, And Fun In the Sandbox” — Carol Burnett

“M Train” — Patti Smith

“Under the Big Black Sun: A Personal History Of L.A. Punk (John Doe With Tom DeSavia)” — (Various Artists)

“Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink” — Elvis Costello

 

Best song written for visual media:

“Can’t Stop the Feeling!” — Max Martin, Shellback & Justin Timberlake, songwriters (Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, James Corden, Zooey Deschanel, Walt Dohrn, Ron Funches, Caroline Hjelt, Aino Jawo, Christopher Mintz-Plasse & Kunal Nayyar). Track from: “Trolls”

“Heathens” — Tyler Joseph, songwriter (Twenty One Pilots). Track from: “Suicide Squad”

“Just Like Fire” — Oscar Holter, Max Martin, P!nk & Shellback, songwriters (P!nk). Track from: “Alice Through the Looking Glass”

“Purple Lamborghini” — Shamann Cooke, Sonny Moore & William Roberts, songwriters (Skrillex & Rick Ross ). Track from: “Suicide Squad”

“Try Everything” — Mikkel S. Eriksen, Sia Furler & Tor Erik Hermansen, songwriters (Shakira) Track from: “Zootopia”

“The Veil” — Peter Gabriel, songwriter (Peter Gabriel). Track from: “Snowden”

 

Best music video:

“Formation” — Beyoncé

“River” — Leon Bridges

“Up & Up” — Coldplay

“Gosh” — Jamie XX

“Upside Down & Inside Out” — OK Go

 

Producer of the year, non-classical:

Benny Blanco

Greg Kurstin

Max Martin

Nineteen85

Ricky Reed

 

Best pop duo/group performance

“Closer” — The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey

“7 Years” — Lukas Graham

“Work” — Rihanna featuring Drake

“Cheap Thrills” — Sia Featuring Sean Paul

“Stressed Out” — Twenty One Pilots

“Culcha Vulcha” — Snarky Puppy

 

Best rock performance

“Joe (Live From Austin City Limits)” — Alabama Shakes

“Don’t Hurt Yourself” — Beyoncé featuring Jack White

“Blackstar” — David Bowie

“The Sound of Silence (Live On Conan)” — Disturbed

“Heathens” — Twenty One Pilots

 

Best metal performance

“Shock Me” — Baroness

“Silvera” — Gojira

“Rotting In Vain” — Korn

“Dystopia” — Megadeth

“The Price Is Wrong” — Periphery

 

Best rock song

“Blackstar” — David Bowie, songwriter (David Bowie)

“Burn the Witch” — Radiohead, songwriters (Radiohead)

“Hardwired” — James Hetfield & Lars Ulrich, songwriters (Metallica)

“Heathens” — Tyler Joseph, songwriter (Twenty One Pilots)

“My Name Is Human” — Rich Meyer, Ryan Meyer & Johnny Stevens, songwriters (Highly Suspect)

 

Best rock album

“California” — Blink-182

“Tell Me I’m Pretty” — Cage the Elephant

“Magma” — Gojira

“Death of a Bachelor” — Panic! at the Disco

“Weezer” — Weezer

 

Best alternative music album

“22, a Million” — Bon Iver

“Blackstar” — David Bowie

“The Hope Six Demolition Project” — PJ Harvey

“Post Pop Depression” — Iggy Pop

“A Moon Shaped Pool” — Radiohead

 

Best R&B performance

“Turnin’ Me Up” — BJ the Chicago Kid

“Permission” — Ro James

“I Do” — Musiq Soulchild

“Needed Me” — Rihanna

“Cranes In the Sky” — Solange

 

Best traditional R&B performance

“The Three Of Me” — William Bell

“Woman’s World” — BJ the Chicago Kid

“Sleeping With the One I Love” — Fantasia

“Angel” — Lalah Hathaway

“Can’t Wait” — Jill Scott

 

Best R&B song

“Come See Me” — J. Brathwaite, Aubrey Graham & Noah Shebib, songwriters (PartyNextDoor featuring Drake)

“Exchange” — Michael Hernandez & Bryson Tiller, songwriters (Bryson Tiller)

“Kiss It Better” — Jeff Bhasker, Robyn Fenty, John-Nathan Glass & Natalia Noemi, songwriters (Rihanna)

“Lake by the Ocean” — Hod David & Musze, songwriters (Maxwell)

“Luv” — Magnus August Høiberg, Benjamin Levin & Daystar Peterson, songwriters (Tory Lanez)

 

Best urban contemporary album

“Lemonade” — Beyoncé

“Ology” — Gallant

“We Are King” — King

“Malibu” — Anderson .Paak

“Anti” — Rihanna

 

Best R&B album

“In My Mind” — BJ the Chicago Kid

“Lalah Hathaway Live” — Lalah Hathaway

“Velvet Portraits” — Terrace Martin

“Healing Season” — Mint Condition

“Smoove Jones” — Mya

 

Best rap performance

“No Problem” — Chance the Rapper featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz

“Panda” — Desiigner

“Pop Style” — Drake featuring the Throne

“All the Way Up” — Fat Joe & Remy Ma featuring French Montana & Infared

“That Part” — Schoolboy Q featuring Kanye West

 

Best rap/sung performance

“Freedom” — Beyoncé featuring Kendrick Lamar

“Hotline Bling” — Drake

“Broccoli” — D.R.A.M. featuring Lil Yachty

“Ultralight Beam” — Kanye West featuring Chance the Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & the-Dream

“Famous” — Kanye West featuring Rihanna

 

Best rap song

“All the Way Up” — Joseph Cartagena, Edward Davadi, Shandel Green, Karim Kharbouch, Andre Christopher Lyon, Reminisce Mackie & Marcello Valenzano, songwriters (Fat Joe & Remy Ma featuring French Montana & Infared)

“Famous” — Chancelor Bennett, Ross Birchard, Ernest Brown, Andrew Dawson, Kasseem Dean, Mike Dean, Noah Goldstein, Kejuan Muchita, Patrick Reynolds, Kanye West & Cydel Young, songwriters (Kanye West featuring Rihanna)

“Hotline Bling” — Aubrey Graham & Paul Jefferies, songwriters (Drake)

“No Problem” — Chancelor Bennett, Dwayne Carter & Tauheed Epps, songwriters (Chance the Rapper featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz)

“Ultralight Beam” — Chancelor Bennett, Kasseem Dean, Mike Dean, Kirk Franklin, Noah Goldstein, Samuel Griesemer, Terius Nash, Jerome Potter, Kelly Price, Nico “Donnie Trumpet” Segal, Derek Watkins, Kanye West & Cydel Young, songwriters (Kanye West featuring Chance the Rapper, Kelly Price, Kirk Franklin & the-Dream)

 

Best rap album

“Coloring Book” — Chance the Rapper

“And the Anonymous Nobody” — De La Soul

“Major Key” — DJ Khaled

“Views” — Drake

“Blank Face LP” — Schoolboy Q

“The Life of Pablo” — Kanye West

 

Best country solo performance

“Love Can Go to Hell” — Brandy Clark

“Vice” — Miranda Lambert

“My Church” — Maren Morris

“Church Bells” — Carrie Underwood

“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Keith Urban

 

Best country duo/group performance

“Different For Girls” — Dierks Bentley featuring Elle King

“21 Summer” — Brothers Osborne

“Setting the World On Fire” — Kenny Chesney & P!nk

“Jolene” — Pentatonix featuring Dolly Parton

“Think of You” — Chris Young With Cassadee Pope

 

Best country song

“Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey & Steven Lee Olsen, songwriters (Keith Urban)

“Die a Happy Man” — Sean Douglas, Thomas Rhett & Joe Spargur, songwriters (Thomas Rhett)

“Humble and Kind” — Lori McKenna, songwriter (Tim McGraw)

“My Church” — busbee & Maren Morris, songwriters (Maren Morris)

“Vice” — Miranda Lambert, Shane McAnally & Josh Osborne, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

 

Best country album

“Big Day In a Small Town” — Brandy Clark

“Full Circle” — Loretta Lynn

“Hero” — Maren Morris

“A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” — Sturgill Simpson

“Ripcord” — Keith Urban

 

Best New Age album

“Orogen” — John Burke

“Dark Sky Island” — Enya

“Inner Passion” — Peter Kater & Tina Guo

“Rosetta” — Vangelis

“White Sun II” – White Sun

 

Best improvised jazz solo

“Countdown” — Joey Alexander, soloist

“In Movement” — Ravi Coltrane, soloist

“We See” — Fred Hersch, soloist

“I Concentrate On You” — Brad Mehldau, soloist

“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” — John Scofield, soloist

 

Best jazz vocal album

“Sound of Red” — René Marie

“Upward Spiral” — Branford Marsalis Quartet With Special Guest Kurt Elling

“Take Me to the Alley” — Gregory Porter

“Harlem On My Mind” — Catherine Russell

“The Sting Variations” — The Tierney Sutton Band

 

Best jazz instrumental album

“Book of Intuition” — Kenny Barron Trio

“Dr. Um” — Peter Erskine

“Sunday Night at the Vanguard” — The Fred Hersch Trio

“Nearness” — Joshua Redman & Brad Mehldau

“Country For Old Men” — John Scofield

 

Best large jazz ensemble album

“Real Enemies” — Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society

“Presents Monk’estra, Vol. 1” — John Beasley

“Kaleidoscope Eyes: Music of the Beatles” — John Daversa

“All L.A. Band” — Bob Mintzer

“Presidential Suite: Eight Variations On Freedom” — Ted Nash Big Band

 

Best Latin jazz album

“Entre Colegas” — Andy González

“Madera Latino: A Latin Jazz Perspective on the Music of Woody Shaw” — Brian Lynch & Various Artists

“Canto América” — Michael Spiro/Wayne Wallace La Orquesta Sinfonietta

“30” — Trio Da Paz

“Tribute to Irakere: Live In Marciac” — Chucho Valdés

 

Best gospel performance/song

“It’s Alright, It’s OK” — Shirley Caesar featuring Anthony Hamilton

“You’re Bigger [Live]” — Jekalyn Carr

“Made A Way [Live]” — Travis Greene

“God Provides” — Tamela Mann

“Better” — Hezekiah Walker

 

Best contemporary Christian music performance/song

“Trust In You” — Lauren Daigle

“Priceless” — For King & Country

“King of the World” — Natalie Grant

“Thy Will” — Hillary Scott & the Scott Family

“Chain Breaker” — Zach Williams

 

Best gospel album

“Listen” — Tim Bowman Jr.

“Fill This House” — Shirley Caesar

“A Worshipper’s Heart [Live]” — Todd Dulaney

“Losing My Religion” — Kirk Franklin

“Demonstrate [Live]” — William Murphy

 

Best contemporary Christian music album

“Poets & Saints” — All Sons & Daughters

“American Prodigal” — Crowder

“Be One” — Natalie Grant

“Youth Revival [Live]” — Hillsong Young & Free

“Love Remains” — Hillary Scott & the Scott Family

 

Best roots gospel album

“Better Together” — Gaither Vocal Band

“Nature’s Symphony In 432” — The Isaacs

“Hymns” — Joey+Rory

“Hymns and Songs of Inspiration” — Gordon Mote

“God Don’t Never Change: The Songs of Blind Willie Johnson” — (Various Artists)

 

Best Latin pop album

“Un Besito Mas” — Jesse & Joy

“Ilusión” — Gaby Moreno

“Similares” — Laura Pausini

“Seguir Latiendo” — Sanalejo

“Buena Vida” — Diego Torres

 

Best Latin rock, urban or alternative album

“ilevitable” — ile

“L.H.O.N. (La Humanidad O Nosotros)” — Illya Kuryaki & the Valderamas

“Buenaventura” — La Santa Cecilia

“Los Rakas” — Los Rakas

“Amor Supremo” — Carla Morrison

 

Best regional Mexican music album (including Tejano)

“Raíces” — Banda El Recodo De Cruz Lizárraga

“Hecho A Mano” — Joss Favela

“Un Azteca En El Azteca, Vol. 1 (En Vivo)” — Vicente Fernández

“Generación Maquinaria Est. 2006.” — La Maquinaria Norteña

“Tributo A Joan Sebastian Y Rigoberto Alfaro” — Mariachi Divas De Cindy Shea

 

Best tropical Latin album

“Conexión” — Fonseca

“La Fantasia Homenaje A Juan Formell” — Formell Y Los Van Van

“35 Aniversario” — Grupo Niche

“La Sonora Santanera En Su 60 Aniversario” — La Sonora Santanera

“Donde Están?” — Jose Lugo & Guasábara Combo

 

Best American roots performance

“Ain’t No Man” — The Avett Brothers

“Mother’s Children Have a Hard Time” — Blind Boys of Alabama

“Factory Girl” — Rhiannon Giddens

“House of Mercy” — Sarah Jarosz

“Wreck You” — Lori McKenna

 

American roots music

“Alabama at Night” — Robbie Fulks

“City Lights” — Jack White

“Gulfstream” — Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars

“Kid Sister” — The Time Jumpers

“Wreck You” — Lori McKenna

 

Best Americana album

“True Sadness” — The Avett Brothers

“This Is Where I Live” — William Bell

“The Cedar Creek Sessions” — Kris Kristofferson

“The Bird & the Rifle” — Lori McKenna

“Kid Sister” — The Time Jumpers

 

Best bluegrass album

“Original Traditional” — Blue Highway

“Burden Bearer” — Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

“The Hazel and Alice Sessions” — Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands

“North By South” — Claire Lynch

“Coming Home” — O’Connor Band With Mark O’Connor

 

Best traditional blues album

“Can’t Shake This Feeling” — Lurrie Bell

“Live at the Greek Theatre” — Joe Bonamassa

“Blues & Ballads (A Folksinger’s Songbook: Volumes I & II)” — Luther Dickinson

“The Soul of Jimmie Rodgers” — Vasti Jackson

“Porcupine Meat” — Bobby Rush

 

Best contemporary blues album

“The Last Days of Oakland” — Fantastic Negrito

“Love Wins Again” — Janiva Magness

“Bloodline” — Kenny Neal

“Give It Back to You” — The Record Company

“Everybody Wants a Piece” — Joe Louis Walker

 

Best folk album

“Silver Skies Blue” — Judy Collins & Ari Hest

“Upland Stories” — Robbie Fulks

“Factory Girl” — Rhiannon Giddens

“Weighted Mind” — Sierra Hull

“Undercurrent” — Sarah Jarosz

 

Best regional roots music album

“Broken Promised Land” — Barry Jean Ancelet & Sam Broussard

“It’s a Cree Thing” — Northern Cree

“E Walea” — Kalani Pe’a

“Gulfstream” — Roddie Romero and the Hub City All-Stars

“I Wanna Sing Right: Rediscovering Lomax In the Evangeline Country” —  (Various Artists)

 

Best reggae album

“Sly & Robbie Presents … Reggae For Her” — Devin Di Dakta & J.L

“Rose Petals” — J Boog

“Ziggy Marley” — Ziggy Marley

“Everlasting” — Raging Fyah

“Falling Into Place” — Rebelution

“SOJA: Live In Virginia” — SOJA

 

Best world music album

“Destiny” — Celtic Woman

“Walking In the Footsteps Of Our Fathers” — Ladysmith Black Mambazo

“Sing Me Home” — Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble

“Land Of Gold” — Anoushka Shankar

“Dois Amigos, Um Século De Música: Multishow Live” — Caetano Veloso & Gilberto Gil

 

Best children’s album

“Explorer Of the World” — Frances England

“Infinity Plus One” — Secret Agent 23 Skidoo

“Novelties” — Recess Monkey

“Press Play” — Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could

“Saddle Up” — The Okee Dokee Brothers

 

Best comedy album

“… America … Great …” — David Cross

“American Myth” — Margaret Cho

“Boyish Girl Interrupted” — Tig Notaro

“Live at the Apollo” — Amy Schumer

“Talking For Clapping” — Patton Oswalt

 

Best musical theater album

“Bright Star”

“The Color Purple”

“Fiddler On the Roof”

“Kinky Boots”

“Waitress”

 

Best compilation soundtrack for visual media

“Amy” (Various Artists)

“Miles Ahead” (Miles Davis & Various Artists)

“Straight Outta Compton” (Various Artists)

“Suicide Squad” (Collector’s Edition) (Various Artists)

“Vinyl: The Essentials Season 1″ (Various Artists)

 

Best score soundtrack for visual media

“Bridge of Spies” — Thomas Newman, composer

“Quentin Tarantino’s the Hateful Eight” — Ennio Morricone, composer

“The Revenant” — Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto, composers

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” — John Williams, composer

“Stranger Things Volume 1″ — Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein, composers

“Stranger Things Volume 2” — Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein, composers

 

Best song written for visual media

“Can’t Stop the Feeling!” — Max Martin, Shellback & Justin Timberlake, songwriters (Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, James Corden, Zooey Deschanel, Walt Dohrn, Ron Funches, Caroline Hjelt, Aino Jawo, Christopher Mintz-Plasse & Kunal Nayyar)

“Heathens” — Tyler Joseph, songwriter (Twenty One Pilots)

“Just Like Fire” — Oscar Holter, Max Martin, P!nk & Shellback, songwriters (P!nk)

“Purple Lamborghini” — Shamann Cooke, Sonny Moore & William Roberts, songwriters (Skrillex & Rick Ross)

“Try Everything” — Mikkel S. Eriksen, Sia Furler & Tor Erik Hermansen, songwriters (Shakira)

“The Veil” — Peter Gabriel, songwriter (Peter Gabriel)

 

Best instrumental composition

“Bridge of Spies (End Title)” — Thomas Newman, composer

“The Expensive Train Set (An Epic Sarahnade For Double Big Band)” — Tim Davies, composer

“Flow” — Alan Ferber, composer

“L’Ultima Diligenza Di Red Rock”  Versione Integrale — Ennio Morricone, composer

“Spoken at Midnight” — Ted Nash, composer

 

Best arrangement, instrumental or a cappella

“Ask Me Now” — John Beasley, arranger

“Good Swing Wenceslas” — Sammy Nestico, arranger

“Linus & Lucy” — Christian Jacob, arranger

“Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds” — John Daversa, arranger

“We Three Kings” — Ted Nash, arranger

“You And I” — Jacob Collier, arrange

 

Best arrangement, instruments and vocals

“Do You Hear What I Hear?” — Gordon Goodwin, arranger (Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band Featuring Take 6)

“Do You Want To Know a Secret” — John Daversa, arranger (John Daversa Featuring Renee Olstead)

“Flintstones” — Jacob Collier, arranger (Jacob Collier)

“I’m a Fool to Want You” — Alan Broadbent, arranger (Kristin Chenoweth)

“Somewhere (Dirty Blvd)” (Extended Version) — Billy Childs & Larry Klein, arrangers (Lang Lang Featuring Lisa Fischer & Jeffrey Wright )

 

Best recording package

“Anti” (Deluxe Edition) — Ciarra Pardo & Robyn Fenty, art directors (Rihanna)

“Blackstar” — Jonathan Barnbrook, art director (David Bowie)

“Human Performance” — Andrew Savage, art director (Parquet Courts)

“Sunset Motel” — Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds, art directors (Reckless Kelly)

“22, A Million” — Eric Timothy Carlson, art director (Bon Iver)

 

Best boxed or special limited edition package

“Edith Piaf 1915-2015” — Gérard Lo Monaco, art director (Edith Piaf)

“401 Days” — Jonathan Dagan & Mathias Høst Normark, art directors (J.Views)

“I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It” (Box Set) — Samuel Burgess-Johnson & Matthew Healy, art directors (The 1975)

“Paper Wheels” (Deluxe Limited Edition) — Matt Taylor, art director (Trey Anastasio)

“Tug of War” (Deluxe Edition) — Simon Earith & James Musgrave, art directors (Paul McCartney)

 

Best album notes

“The Complete Monument & Columbia Albums Collection” — Mikal Gilmore, album notes writer (Kris Kristofferson)

“The Knoxville Sessions, 1929-1930: Knox County Stomp” — Ted Olson & Tony Russell, album notes writers (Various Artists)

“Ork Records: New York, New York” — Rob Sevier & Ken Shipley, album notes writers (Various Artists)

“Sissle and Blake Sing Shuffle Along” — Ken Bloom & Richard Carlin, album notes writers (Eubie Blake & Noble Sissle)

“Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism & the Phonograph, 1890-1900” — Richard Martin, album notes writer (Various Artists)

 

Best historical album

“The Cutting Edge 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series, Vol.12” (Collector’s Edition) (Bob Dylan)

“Music Of Morocco From the Library of Congress: Recorded By Paul Bowles, 1959” (Various Artists)

“Ork Records: New York, New York” (Various Artists)

“Vladimir Horowitz: The Unreleased Live Recordings 1966-1983” (Vladimir Horowitz)

“Waxing the Gospel: Mass Evangelism & the Phonograph, 1890-1900” (Various Artists)

 

Best engineered album, non-classical

“Are You Serious” — Tchad Blake & David Boucher, engineers; Bob Ludwig, mastering engineer (Andrew Bird)

“Blackstar” — David Bowie, Tom Elmhirst, Kevin Killen & Tony Visconti, engineers; Joe LaPorta, mastering engineer (David Bowie)

“Dig In Deep” — Ryan Freeland, engineer; Kim Rosen, mastering engineer (Bonnie Raitt)

“Hit N Run Phase Two” — Booker T., Dylan Dresdow, Chris James, Prince & Justin Stanley, engineers; Dylan Dresdow, mastering engineer (Prince)

“Undercurrent” — Shani Gandhi & Gary Paczosa, engineers; Paul Blakemore, mastering engineer (Sarah Jarosz)

 

Producer of the year, non-classical

Benny Blanco

Greg Kurstin

Max Martin

Nineteen85

Ricky Reed

 

Best remixed recording

“Cali Coast” (Psionics Remix) — Josh Williams, remixer (Soul Pacific)

“Heavy Star Movin’” (staRo Remix) — staRo, remixer (The Silver Lake Chorus)

“Nineteen Hundred Eighty-Five” (Timo Maas & James Teej Remix) — Timo Maas & James Teej, remixers (Paul McCartney & Wings)

“Only” (Kaskade x Lipless Remix) — Ryan Raddon, remixer (Ry X)

“Tearing Me Up” (RAC Remix) — André Allen Anjos, remixer (Bob Moses)

“Wide Open” (Joe Goddard Remix) — Joe Goddard, remixer (The Chemical Brothers)

 

Best surround sound album

“Dutilleux: Sur Le Même Accord; Les Citations; Mystère De L’instant & Timbres, Espace, Mouvement” — Alexander Lipay & Dmitriy Lipay, surround mix engineers; Dmitriy Lipay, surround mastering engineer; Dmitriy Lipay, surround producer (Ludovic Morlot & Seattle Symphony)

“Johnson: Considering Matthew Shepard” — Brad Michel, surround mix engineer; Brad Michel, surround mastering engineer; Robina G. Young, surround producer (Craig Hella Johnson & Conspirare)

“Maja S.K. Ratkje: And Sing …” — Morten Lindberg, surround mix engineer; Morten Lindberg, surround mastering engineer; Morten Lindberg, surround producer (Maja S.K. Ratkje, Cikada & Oslo Sinfonietta)

“Primus & the Chocolate Factory” (5.1 Surround Sound Edition) — Les Claypool, surround mix engineer; Stephen Marcussen, surround mastering engineer; Les Claypool, surround producer (Primus)

“Reflections” — Morten Lindberg, surround mix engineer; Morten Lindberg, surround mastering engineer; Morten Lindberg, surround producer (Øyvind Gimse, Geir Inge Lotsberg & Trondheimsolistene)

 

Best engineered album, classical

“Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles” — Mark Donahue & Fred Vogler, engineers (James Conlon, Guanqun Yu, Joshua Guerrero, Patricia Racette, Christopher Maltman, Lucy Schaufer, Lucas Meachem, LA Opera Chorus & Orchestra)

“Dutilleux: Sur Le Même Accord; Les Citations; Mystère De L’Instant & Timbres, Espace, Mouvement” — Alexander Lipay & Dmitriy Lipay, engineers (Ludovic Morlot & Seattle Symphony)

“Reflections” — Morten Lindberg, engineer (Øyvind Gimse, Geir Inge Lotsberg & Trondheimsolistene)

“Shadow of Sirius” — Silas Brown & David Frost, engineers; Silas Brown, mastering engineer (Jerry F. Junkin & the University Of Texas Wind Ensemble)

“Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow  Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9” — Shawn Murphy & Nick Squire, engineers; Tim Martyn, mastering engineer (Andris Nelsons & Boston Symphony Orchestra)

 

Producer of the year, classical

Blanton Alspaugh

David Frost

Marina A. Ledin, Victor Ledin

Judith Sherman

Robina G. Young

 

Best orchestral performance

“Bates: Works for Orchestra” — Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor (San Francisco Symphony)

“Ibert: Orchestral Works” — Neeme Järvi, conductor (Orchestre De La Suisse Romande)

“Prokofiev: Symphony No. 5 In B-Flat Major, Op. 100” — Mariss Jansons, conductor (Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra)

“Rouse: Odna Zhizn; Symphonies 3 & 4; Prospero’s Rooms” — Alan Gilbert, conductor (New York Philharmonic)

“Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow – Symphonies Nos. 5, 8 & 9” — Andris Nelsons, conductor (Boston Symphony Orchestra)

 

Best opera recording

“Corigliano: The Ghosts of Versailles” — James Conlon, conductor; Joshua Guerrero, Christopher Maltman, Lucas Meachem, Patricia Racette, Lucy Schaufer & Guanqun Yu; Blanton Alspaugh, producer (LA Opera Orchestra; LA Opera Chorus)

“Handel: Giulio Cesare” — Giovanni Antonini, conductor; Cecilia Bartoli, Philippe Jaroussky, Andreas Scholl & Anne-Sofie von Otter; Samuel Theis, producer (Il Giardino Armonico)

“Higdon: Cold Mountain” — Miguel Harth-Bedoya, conductor; Emily Fons, Nathan Gunn, Isabel Leonard & Jay Hunter Morris; Elizabeth Ostrow, producer (The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra; Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for Singers)

“Mozart: Le Nozze Di Figaro” — Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor; Thomas Hampson, Christiane Karg, Luca Pisaroni & Sonya Yoncheva; Daniel Zalay, producer (Chamber Orchestra of Europe; Vocalensemble Rastatt)

“Szymanowski: Król Roger” — Antonio Pappano, conductor; Georgia Jarman, Mariusz Kwiecień & Saimir Pirgu; Jonathan Allen, producer (Orchestra of the Royal Opera House; Royal Opera Chorus)

 

Best choral performance

“Himmelrand” — Elisabeth Holte, conductor (Marianne Reidarsdatter Eriksen, Ragnfrid Lie & Matilda Sterby; Inger-Lise Ulsrud; Uranienborg Vokalensemble)

“Janáček: Glagolitic Mass” — Edward Gardner, conductor; Håkon Matti Skrede, chorus master (Susan Bickley, Gábor Bretz, Sara Jakubiak & Stuart Skelton; Thomas Trotter; Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; Bergen Cathedral Choir, Bergen Philharmonic Choir, Choir of Collegium Musicum & Edvard Grieg Kor)

“Lloyd: Bonhoeffer” — Donald Nally, conductor (Malavika Godbole, John Grecia, Rebecca Harris & Thomas Mesa; the Crossing)

“Penderecki Conducts Penderecki, Volume 1” — Krzysztof Penderecki, conductor; Henryk Wojnarowski, choir director (Nikolay Didenko, Agnieszka Rehlis & Johanna Rusanen; Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra; Warsaw Philharmonic Choir)

“Steinberg: Passion Week” — Steven Fox, conductor (The Clarion Choir)

 

Best chamber music/small ensemble performance

“Fitelberg: Chamber Works” — ARC Ensemble

“Reflections” — Øyvind Gimse, Geir Inge Lotsberg & Trondheimsolistene

“Serious Business” — Spektral Quartet

“Steve Reich” — Third Coast Percussion

“Trios From Our Homelands” — Lincoln Trio

 

Best classical instrumental solo

“Adams, J.: Scheherazade.2” — Leila Josefowicz; David Robertson, conductor (Chester Englander; St. Louis Symphony)

“Daugherty: Tales of Hemingway” — Zuill Bailey; Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor (Nashville Symphony)

“Dvořák: Violin Concerto & Romance; Suk: Fantasy” — Christian Tetzlaff; John Storgårds, conductor (Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra)

“Mozart: Keyboard Music, Vols. 8 & 9” – Kristian Bezuidenhout

“1930’s Violin Concertos, Vol. 2” – Gil Shaham; Stéphane Denève, conductor (The Knights & Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra)

 

Best classical solo vocal album

“Monteverdi” — Magdalena Kožená; Andrea Marcon, conductor (David Feldman, Michael Feyfar, Jakob Pilgram & Luca Tittoto; La Cetra Barockorchester Basel)

“Mozart: The Weber Sisters” — Sabine Devieilhe; Raphaël Pichon, conductor (Pygmalion)

“Schumann & Berg” — Dorothea Röschmann; Mitsuko Uchida, accompanist

“Shakespeare Songs” — Ian Bostridge; Antonio Pappano, accompanist (Michael Collins, Elizabeth Kenny, Lawrence Power & Adam Walker)

“Verismo” — Anna Netrebko; Antonio Pappano, conductor (Yusif Eyvazov; Coro Dell’Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia; Orchestra Dell’Accademia Nazionale Di Santa Cecilia)

 

Best classical compendium

“Daugherty: Tales of Hemingway; American Gothic; Once Upon A Castle” — Giancarlo Guerrero, conductor; Tim Handley, producer

“Gesualdo” — Tõnu Kaljuste, conductor; Manfred Eicher, producer

“Vaughan Williams: Discoveries” — Martyn Brabbins, conductor; Andrew Walton, producer

“Wolfgang: Passing Through” — Judith Farmer & Gernot Wolfgang, producers; (Various Artists)

“Zappa: 200 Motels – The Suites” — Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor; Frank Filipetti & Gail Zappa, producers

 

Best contemporary classical composition

“Bates: Anthology of Fantastic Zoology” — Mason Bates, composer (Riccardo Muti  & Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

“Daugherty: Tales of Hemingway” — Michael Daugherty, composer (Zuill Bailey, Giancarlo Guerrero & Nashville Symphony)

“Higdon: Cold Mountain” — Jennifer Higdon, composer; Gene Scheer, librettist (Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Jay Hunter Morris, Emily Fons, Isabel Leonard, Nathan Gunn & the Santa Fe Opera)

“Theofanidis: Bassoon Concerto” — Christopher Theofanidis, composer (Martin Kuuskmann, Barry Jekowsky & Northwest Sinfonia)

“Winger: Conversations With Nijinsky” — C. F. Kip Winger, composer (Martin West & San Francisco Ballet Orchestra)

 

Best music video

“Formation” — (Beyoncé) Melina Matsoukas, video director; Nathan Scherrer, video producer

“River” — (Leon Bridges) Miles Jay, video director; Dennis Beier, Allison Kunzman & Saul Levitz, video producers

“Up & Up” — (Coldplay) Vania Heymann & Gal Muggia, video directors; Juliette Larthe & Natan Schottenfels, video producers

“Gosh” — (Jamie XX) Romain Gavras, video director; Iconoclast, video producers

“Upside Down & Inside Out” — (OK Go) Damian Kulash Jr. & Trish Sie, video directors; Melissa Murphy & John O’Grady, video producers

 

Best music film

I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: Steve Aoki — Justin Krook, video director; Brent Almond, Matt Colon, David Gelb, Ryan Kavanaugh, Happy Walters & Matthew Weaver, video producers

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week the Touring Years —  Ron Howard, video director; Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Scott Pascucci & Nigel Sinclair, video producers

Lemonade — Beyoncé Knowles Carter & Kahlil Joseph, video directors; Beyoncé Knowles Carter, video producer

The Music of Strangers — Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble Morgan Neville, video director; Caitrin Rogers, video producer

American Saturday Night: Live From the Grand Ole Opry — George J. Flanigen IV, video director; John Burke & Lindsey Clark, video producers

EXCLUSIVE: Peter Ascher Tells Musicians ‘Don’t Expect To Make Money Unless You’re Ed Sheeran’

Renowned Music Producer and Manager Says Go Solo

By DONNA BALANCIA

Peter Ascher, famed musician and manager of James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt and who worked with The Beatles, said musicians should not be in it for the money, because there is none.

We asked Ascher the question: How do musicians make money today?

“They don’t,” he told CaliforniaRocker.com in an exclusive interview following his NAMM Show keynote address. “You have to do it because you love it.  You have to be Ed Sheeran. He fills Wembley Stadium and does it all by himself.”

Sheeran is known to appear onstage solo, with a loop pedal and a guitar.

peter ascher -5-namm-balancia (1 of 1)

Bob Lefsetz interviews Peter Ascher – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

‘The Reward is in The Work’

Ascher said the reward is in the work. And his work has been particularly enviable, working with The Beatles’ Apple Records, and managing and producing artists such as Taylor and Ronstadt. Helping them create their albums was a thing of joy, Ascher said.

With Ronstadt, he said, “Linda chose a lot of the songs but she liked folk music.  If the songs were more rock, then I picked them.”

Of his first meeting with Ronstadt, Ascher said, “Kate Taylor told me there was this young girl who sang in short shorts and bare feet, and of course she was incredibly hot. I didn’t sign her on the spot because I was working with Kate Taylor, James’ sister. I helped Linda finish ‘Don’t Cry Now’ then I became her manager.”

Peter Ascher on ‘You’re No Good’

With Ronstadt’s superhit, “You’re No Good,” Ascher said he and Ronstadt both loved the song and they were aware it was a bit hit for Betty Everett.

“We played with the arrangement a lot, and we brought in Andrew Gold and he built the song track by track.”

Sweet Baby James was a superhit album in the late 1970s with great songs. How did the tune, “Suite for 20 G,” which was actually a compilation song, come about?

peter ascher namm-general-8-balancia (1 of 1)

Creative producing is the key to having the hit records, Peter Ascher tells Bob Lefsetz – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

‘Sweet Baby James’ and The Rise of James Taylor

“James came to me and said, ‘I haven’t got any more songs, they’re fragments,’ so I told him to string them all together.” Ascher said that’s why you can hear three distinctive parts of the song.  And when the song was finished he got the last 20 Gs he was owed.

Ascher said the rise of James Taylor and the famous album Sweet Baby James was a great accomplishment.

“I had James playing every place I could think of,” Ascher said. “He was becoming popular, ‘Fire and Rain’ was the single that would change our lives.’

How did Ascher manage to do it all?

“I don’t sleep much,” he said.

At the moment, Ascher is working with composer Hanz Zimmer, who’s next big gig will be performing at Coachella. Ascher has also been working as music director on the Steve Martin play Bright Star. The Bright Star album is a contender for Best Musical Theater Album GRAMMY Award.

EXCLUSIVE: BORNS Performance Electrifies GRAMMY Showcase Crowd at The Fonda Theatre

BORNS - Photo by Donna Balancia

BORNS – Photo by Donna Balancia

Alexander Jeans, Blondfire, BORNS and Kirby Maurier Impress

By DONNA BALANCIA – BORNS was the surprise headliner at the third annual Grammy Showcase at the Fonda Theatre Tuesday night.

Alexander Jean, Blondfire and Kirby Maurier were also on the GRAMMY short list.

The showcase was packed to the brim with fans and industry members who came to see some of the young GRAMMY up and coming musicians.

Borns is one of the hotest performers around with a hit song “Electric Love” that has been gracing the airwaves and the advertising world.  The video for “Electric Love” has been watched more than 7 million times.

Blondfire - Photo by Donna Balancia

Blondfire – Photo by Donna Balancia

Diverse Music, Different Influences, Similar M.O.

BORNS has been a presence at SXSW, Coachella and other top festivals, where he gained notoriety.

He makes no bones about licensing his music for commercials, as “Electric Love” is featured on Southwest ads as well as the Hulu “You Know You Want To” spot.

In addition to “Electric Love,” the band performed other works off its latest LP, Dopamine.

BORNS is on tour and in addition to West Coast and East Coast dates, Borns will play the Santa Monica Pier on July 14.

Alexander Jean is Mark Ballas and BC Jean who are an item in real life. Mark gained notoriety from his regular gig on Dancing With The Stars, for which he received an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Choreography. He and singer-songwriter BC were engaged last January.

Kirby Maurier - Photo by Donna Balancia

Kirby Maurier – Photo by Donna Balancia

Kirby Maurier wowed the crowd with her modern interpretative hip-hop, her style is fresh.

The Miami gal told California Rocker that Miami is hotter than L.A.

And if the singers in Miami are all like her, then that could be true. Her latest album is Doing The Most.

Blondfire centers around brother and sister Bruce and Erica Driscoll, who are Brazilian-Americans. Their style is alternative and their look is the 1980s, but their sound is current. Their most recent single is “True Confessions.”

The Grammy showcase is held to give young performers an opportunity to be seen by industry heavyweights.

Jackson Browne, Crosby and Nash, Melissa Etheridge To Play Fonda Theatre

Graham Nash - Photo courtesy of Eleanor Stills

Graham Nash – Photo courtesy of Eleanor Stills

Jackson Browne, David Crosby and Graham Nash, and Melissa Etheridge will headline The Concert for Social Justice at The Fonda Theatre on Wednesday, April 8.

The concert will be produced in partnership with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the GRAMMY Museum. KCSN 88.5 is a media sponsor.

Additional headliners are La Santa Cecilia, Tom Morello and Rocky Dawuni.

The Concert For Social Justice will also feature special spoken word performances from actors Dennis Haysbert, David Arquette, Chad Lowe, Martin Sheen, and Alfre Woodard.

The purpose of the concert is to highlight the power of music as a tool for social justice.  Performers are expected to play a collection of songs that have helped generate change over the past five decades.

The Concert For Social Justice

The Concert For Social Justice

Funds from admission tickets support the organizations’ joint K-12 education program, “Speak Up Sing Out: Songs of Conscience.”

That program, first piloted in Los Angeles schools in 2014, invites middle-school and high-school students to write songs about social justice issues using materials from the RFK’s Speak Truth To Power human rights curriculum, and the GRAMMY Museum’s Civil Rights curriculum.

For more information

 

GRAMMYs: McCartney, Dylan and … Tom Jones?

Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Rhianna -- Photo courtesy of Grammy.com for CaliforniaRocker.com California Rocker

Paul McCartney, Kanye West, Rihanna prep for performance — Photo courtesy of Grammy.com for CaliforniaRocker.com California Rocker

LOS ANGELES — Honorees take all different styles and shapes at the GRAMMY Awards.

But 2015 is definitely a nostalgia year as Paul McCartney and Tom Jones were set to perform, and Bob Dylan was honored.

With 84 categories in 2015, there were several wins that viewers tuning in to CBS at 8 PM EST would not see.

Early winners include “Happy” by Pharrell Williams for Best Music Video and 20 Feet From Stardom as Best Music Film.

Ricky Dillard, nominated for Best Gospel Album for Amazing, was outshone by Erica Campbell, whose Help won the statuette.

“I feel I am blessed to be a nominee,” Dillard told California Rocker. “I’ve been around a long time.”

“Don’t get yourself get cornered by fear,” said Angelique Kidjo, winner in the Best World Music Album category. “Every one of us have the power to transform this world. What I tried to do is give the voice to the African women. They want to live in dignity.”

Another veteran, Toni Braxton, secured a Best R and B Album win with Love, Marriage and Divorce, surpassing Aloe Blacc, whose album Lift Your Spirit was considered a strong favorite in the category.

Rockin’ performances are expected during the evening, with McCartney teaming with Rhianna; Beyonce teaming on a Selma tribute with John Legend and Common and 60s sex symbol Jones performing with Jesse J.

Jones said: “I got my first GRAMMY in 1965, 50 years ago exactly, and I got it for Best New Artist, now (I’m) back with Jesse J  for ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin.’”

Dylan was honored with a fundraiser Musicares concert Thursday night and he gave a speech that moved the audience.

###GRAMMYS###

 

 

 

Bob Dylan’s Speech from MusiCares Concert: ‘Fringes then, Fringes Now’

Bob Dylan Bob Dylan courtesy Musicares

Bob Dylan courtesy Musicares for California Rocker

I’m glad for my songs to be honored like this. But you know, they didn’t get here by themselves. It’s been a long road and it’s taken a lot of doing.

These songs of mine, they’re like mystery stories, the kind that Shakespeare saw when he was growing up. I think you could trace what I do back that far. They were on the fringes then, and I think they’re on the fringes now. And they sound like they’ve been on the hard ground.

I should mention a few people along the way who brought this about. I know I should mention John Hammond, great talent scout for Columbia Records. He signed me to that label when I was nobody. It took a lot of faith to do that, and he took a lot of ridicule, but he was his own man and he was courageous. And for that, I’m eternally grateful. The last person he discovered before me was Aretha Franklin, and before that Count Basie, Billie Holiday and a whole lot of other artists. All noncommercial artists.

Trends did not interest John, and I was very noncommercial but he stayed with me. He believed in my talent and that’s all that mattered. I can’t thank him enough for that. Lou Levy runs Leeds Music, and they published my earliest songs, but I didn’t stay there too long.

Levy himself, he went back a long ways. He signed me to that company and recorded my songs and I sang them into a tape recorder. He told me outright, there was no precedent for what I was doing, that I was either before my time or behind it. And if I brought him a song like “Stardust,” he’d turn it down because it would be too late.

He told me that if I was before my time — and he didn’t really know that for sure — but if it was happening and if it was true, the public would usually take three to five years to catch up — so be prepared. And that did happen. The trouble was, when the public did catch up I was already three to five years beyond that, so it kind of complicated it. But he was encouraging, and he didn’t judge me, and I’ll always remember him for that.

Artie Mogull at Witmark Music signed me next to his company, and he told me to just keep writing songs no matter what, that I might be on to something. Well, he too stood behind me, and he could never wait to see what I’d give him next. I didn’t even think of myself as a songwriter before then. I’ll always be grateful for him also for that attitude.

I also have to mention some of the early artists who recorded my songs very, very early, without having to be asked. Just something they felt about them that was right for them. I’ve got to say thank you to Peter, Paul and Mary, who I knew all separately before they ever became a group. I didn’t even think of myself as writing songs for others to sing but it was starting to happen and it couldn’t have happened to, or with, a better group.

They took a song of mine that had been recorded before that was buried on one of my records and turned it into a hit song. Not the way I would have done it — they straightened it out. But since then hundreds of people have recorded it and I don’t think that would have happened if it wasn’t for them. They definitely started something for me.

The Byrds, the Turtles, Sonny & Cher — they made some of my songs Top 10 hits but I wasn’t a pop songwriter and I really didn’t want to be that, but it was good that it happened. Their versions of songs were like commercials, but I didn’t really mind that because 50 years later my songs were being used in the commercials. So that was good too. I was glad it happened, and I was glad they’d done it.

Purvis Staples and the Staple Singers — long before they were on Stax they were on Epic and they were one of my favorite groups of all time. I met them all in ’62 or ’63. They heard my songs live and Purvis wanted to record three or four of them and he did with the Staples Singers. They were the type of artists that I wanted recording my songs.

Nina Simone. I used to cross paths with her in New York City in the Village Gate nightclub. These were the artists I looked up to. She recorded some of my songs that she [inaudible] to me. She was an overwhelming artist, piano player and singer. Very strong woman, very outspoken. That she was recording my songs validated everything that I was about.

Oh, and can’t forget Jimi Hendrix. I actually saw Jimi Hendrix perform when he was in a band called Jimmy James and the Blue Flames — something like that. And Jimi didn’t even sing. He was just the guitar player. He took some small songs of mine that nobody paid any attention to and pumped them up into the outer limits of the stratosphere and turned them all into classics. I have to thank Jimi, too. I wish he was here.

Johnny Cash recorded some of my songs early on, too, up in about ’63, when he was all skin and bones. He traveled long, he traveled hard, but he was a hero of mine. I heard many of his songs growing up. I knew them better than I knew my own. “Big River,” “I Walk the Line.”

“How high’s the water, Mama?” I wrote “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” with that song reverberating inside my head. I still ask, “How high is the water, mama?” Johnny was an intense character. And he saw that people were putting me down playing electric music, and he posted letters to magazines scolding people, telling them to shut up and let him sing.

In Johnny Cash’s world — hardcore Southern drama — that kind of thing didn’t exist. Nobody told anybody what to sing or what not to sing. They just didn’t do that kind of thing. I’m always going to thank him for that. Johnny Cash was a giant of a man, the man in black. And I’ll always cherish the friendship we had until the day there is no more days.

Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Joan Baez. She was the queen of folk music then and now. She took a liking to my songs and brought me with her to play concerts, where she had crowds of thousands of people enthralled with her beauty and voice.

People would say, “What are you doing with that ragtag scrubby little waif?” And she’d tell everybody in no uncertain terms, “Now you better be quiet and listen to the songs.”

We even played a few of them together. Joan Baez is as tough-minded as they come. Love. And she’s a free, independent spirit. Nobody can tell her what to do if she doesn’t want to do it. I learned a lot of things from her. A woman with devastating honesty. And for her kind of love and devotion, I could never pay that back.

These songs didn’t come out of thin air. I didn’t just make them up out of whole cloth. Contrary to what Lou Levy said, there was a precedent. It all came out of traditional music: traditional folk music, traditional rock ‘n’ roll and traditional big-band swing orchestra music.

I learned lyrics and how to write them from listening to folk songs. And I played them, and I met other people that played them back when nobody was doing it. Sang nothing but these folk songs, and they gave me the code for everything that’s fair game, that everything belongs to everyone.

For three or four years all I listened to were folk standards. I went to sleep singing folk songs. I sang them everywhere, clubs, parties, bars, coffeehouses, fields, festivals. And I met other singers along the way who did the same thing and we just learned songs from each other. I could learn one song and sing it next in an hour if I’d heard it just once.

If you sang “John Henry” as many times as me — “John Henry was a steel-driving man / Died with a hammer in his hand / John Henry said a man ain’t nothin’ but a man / Before I let that steam drill drive me down / I’ll die with that hammer in my hand.”

If you had sung that song as many times as I did, you’d have written “How many roads must a man walk down?” too.

Big Bill Broonzy had a song called “Key to the Highway.” “I’ve got a key to the highway / I’m booked and I’m bound to go / Gonna leave here runnin’ because walking is most too slow.” I sang that a lot. If you sing that a lot, you just might write,

Georgia Sam he had a bloody nose Welfare Department they wouldn’t give him no clothes He asked poor Howard where can I go Howard said there’s only one place I know Sam said tell me quick man I got to run Howard just pointed with his gun And said that way down on Highway 61

You’d have written that too if you’d sang “Key to the Highway” as much as me.

“Ain’t no use sit ‘n cry / You’ll be an angel by and by / Sail away, ladies, sail away.” “I’m sailing away my own true love.” “Boots of Spanish Leather” — Sheryl Crow just sung that.

“Roll the cotton down, aw, yeah, roll the cotton down / Ten dollars a day is a white man’s pay / A dollar a day is the black man’s pay / Roll the cotton down.” If you sang that song as many times as me, you’d be writing “I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more,” too.

I sang a lot of “come all you” songs. There’s plenty of them. There’s way too many to be counted. “Come along boys and listen to my tale / Tell you of my trouble on the old Chisholm Trail.” Or, “Come all ye good people, listen while I tell / the fate of Floyd Collins a lad we all know well / The fate of Floyd Collins, a lad we all know well.”

“Come all ye fair and tender ladies / Take warning how you court your men / They’re like a star on a summer morning / They first appear and then they’re gone again.” “If you’ll gather ’round, people / A story I will tell / ‘Bout Pretty Boy Floyd, an outlaw / Oklahoma knew him well.”

If you sung all these “come all ye” songs all the time, you’d be writing, “Come gather ’round people where ever you roam, admit that the waters around you have grown / Accept that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone / If your time to you is worth saving / And you better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone / The times they are a-changing.”

You’d have written them too. There’s nothing secret about it. You just do it subliminally and unconsciously, because that’s all enough, and that’s all I sang. That was all that was dear to me. They were the only kinds of songs that made sense.

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