The presence of the usual amount of dubious nominees (Avril Lavigne, *NSYNC, Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears) in the 2003 Grammy Awards is no surprise, but while Spears, Mystikal and Big Tymers were the only big-name Louisiana nominees, there was plenty bubbling under the surface to make the collective home team proud.
BeauSoleil didn't release a new album last year and therefore didn't snag one of its perennial nominations in the folk category, but BeauSoleil fiddler Michael Doucet still has reason to be proud -- Fiddlers 4 (Koch), his collaboration with fellow fiddlers Bruce Molsky, Darol Anger and Rushad Eggleston scored a nomination in the Best Traditional Folk Album category. Among his competition is Doucet's neighbor Ann Savoy, who produced the all-star album Evangeline Made -- A Tribute to Cajun Music (Vanguard Records).
In the Traditional Blues Album category, a number of Louisiana artists snuck in under the radar. On the James Cotton's Blues Band's 35th Anniversary Jam of the James Cotton Blues Band (Telarc), Tab Benoit has a guest spot in a duet with Maria Muldaur. And Benoit is also one of four local players who contributed to Preachin' the Blues: The Music of Mississippi Fred McDowell. Joining Benoit on the album were Anders Osborne, Jumpin' Johnny Sansone and Brian Stoltz. Both albums are on the Telarc label, and those tracks were recorded in Larose at the recording studio owned by Benoit's manager Reuben Williams.
Despite the fact that there isn't a Traditional Jazz category in the Grammies (a transgression that Grammy parent company The Recording Industry Association of America needs to rectify), some classic trad New Orleans jazz earned a nod in the Best Historical Album category, thanks to Mosaic Records' The Complete Okeh and Brunswick Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer and Jack Teagarden Sessions 1924-36. (Incidentally, fans of Mosaic Records' beautiful packaging should keep an eye out for their new box set, The Complete Brunswick and Vocalion Recordings of Louis Prima and Wingy Manone, which contains more than 145 tracks cut in the mid-1930s by Prima and Manone, including sessions featuring fellow luminaries Jelly Roll Morton and Artie Shaw.)
One final Louisiana Grammy note: co-owner Trina Shoemaker of Ninth Ward recording studio Truck Farm is nominated for her engineering work on Sheryl Crow's C'mon, C'mon (A&M). Shoemaker's best-known for her high-profile gigs with the likes of Crow, Emmylou Harris and Queens of the Stone Age, but it bears repeating that she started out working with late Cajun balladeer John Dubois, and did live sound for George Porter Jr. in her early days in New Orleans. É
Musicians looking to cut costs in the current rough economic climate should consider attending the Arts Council of New Orleans' upcoming workshop at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 24. The workshop details the Arts Council's new Riverland Credit Union program, which offers alternatives to traditional banking services and the accompanying fees. Benefits include free checking accounts with no minimum balance, no-money-down vehicle loans, free Internet banking, ATM and debit cards, low-interest credit cards, and home improvement and tuition loans. The forum is free and open to the public, and takes place at 225 Baronne St., Suite 220.
While the Arts Council of New Orleans is often associated with performing arts such as ballet, this is a timely reminder that musicians are also eligible for Council programs. The free legal services available through the Council and Louisiana Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts are reason enough to join. Annual membership in the Arts Council is free for individuals with annual income less than $30,000, or costs $35 a year for individuals with annual income greater than $30,000.
To RSVP for the Jan. 24 workshop or for more info on the Arts Council, call 523-1465.
On the topic of finances, the series of monthly business workshops spearheaded by Scott Aiges, Director of Music Business Development for the City of New Orleans, has a timely subject slated for its next workshop. With tax season approaching, "Getting Straight with the IRS" is the title and mission of the session on Monday, Feb. 3, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. No advance registration is necessary, and the workshop takes place at the New Orleans Public Library at 219 Loyola Ave.
- Tab Benoit had a hand in Grammy nominations for two albums in the Traditional Blues Album category of the 2003 Grammy Awards.