Ten Albums That Should Be Grammy Nominated Over Linda Chorney's

amanda-shires-wolter.jpg
Photo by Jason Wolter
Jason Isbell (left) and Amanda Shires (right) are both more deserving than Chorney.
The small world of Americana music is all a-twitter over New Jersey woman Linda Chorney's nomination for a Grammy in the Americana category. In case you haven't been following the story, Chorney discovered a way to game the system and managed to convince quite a number of Grammy voters (who obviously are a little under-educated and under-exposed to the Americana genre) to vote for her tepid album, Emotional Jukebox, to get it on the final ballot in spite of it not having sold a single unit so far according to Sound Scan, the official industry tabulator of album sales.

According to interviews she's given, Chorney seems to have very little working knowledge of Americana or the artists in it. The Americana Music Association, which normally issues a boilerplate congratulatory statement to all the nominees, has not done so this year and speculation is that the association is not happy about Chorney's nomination since she is not a member of the organization and has never attended any of the annual events.

Frankly, we don't care if she's a member of the AMA or not; what bugs us about Chorney's gameswomanship is that she has knocked a number of exemplary albums out of a chance to win. And we'll bet she hasn't heard a damned one of them. So here's a list for you, Linda, of people you are basically screwing over. Like we said, do the right thing and withdraw your nomination.

Amanda Shires - Carrying Lightning
On her second solo album, Shires hits the big time with her Dolly Parton-esque vibrato and a fiddle that echoes giants like Spade Cooley (look it up, Linda). A Lubbock native who snuck into bars to play fiddle in bands when she was only 14, Shires hit pay dirt in 2011 with a major feature in Texas Monthly, an upcoming cover story in Texas Music, and a sideline playing in boyfriend Jason Isbell's band. Her "When You Need A Train It Never Comes" was selected as the number five song in American Songwriter magazine's annual list of top fifty songs.

Jason Isbell - Here We Rest
Jason Isbell dropped as close to a perfect Americana album as can be done in 2011. His third solo since parting ways with Drive By Truckers (look it up, Linda), Isbell drives nails through hearts with "Alabama Pines," "Tour of Duty," "Go It Alone," gets all Muscle Shoals funky on "Never Could Believe" and "Heart on a String," and kills us emotionally with the unforgettable "Codeine," which contains one of the killer lines of the year: "If there's two things that I hate / It's having to cook and trying to date." No wonder "Codeine" was number two on the American Songwriter list. If we could vote, this would be our 2011 winner. Sorry, Linda.

Jessica Lee Mayfield - Tell Me
At 22, Mayfield is a battle-hardened troubadour, the spawn of a bluegrass family who took her music down the dark roads of people like Elliott Smith. When Dan Auerbach of Black Keys (look it up, Linda) got a copy of an EP Mayfield recorded at 16 -- she only printed a hundred copies but one ended up in Auerbach's hands -- the Black Key genius jumped in to produce her next two albums, including this year's excellent Tell Me. Don't look now, Linda, but Mayfield's album was number 17 on the American Songwriter list of top fifty albums. Didn't notice Emotional Jukebox anywhere on that list. Mayfield's tune "Trouble" is number 11 on the song list. Let us know when Auerbach calls you, Linda.

Fred Eaglesmith - 6 Volts
Fred writes exactly the kinds of songs Linda Chorney doesn't: Memorable, believable characters, lyrics cut from the earth like a scribbling strip mine, and a sense of humanity and blue collar emotion that comes from farming (not commodities trading). Take a listen to "Betty Oshawa" and get a clue to what this songwriting stuff is all about, Linda.
Eaglesmith's musical enterprise is so successful he barely engages the system at all, barnstorming across Canada, the States and northern Europe in an endless trail of hard currency and adoring fans. And record sales. And just to be clear about the ornery Eaglesmith, he don't need no stinkin' Grammy and he certainly would never sink to campaigning for one.

Brian Wright's House on Fire - Proper In All Cases
A virtual unknown on the Americana scene, since his move from Central Texas to Los Angeles Wright's inner Texas singer-songwriter has awakened and he delivered one of the most pleasant surprises of 2011 with Proper In All Cases. A long term studio project that Wright pieced together mostly on his own, it features several stunners that stretch the Americana boundaries right to the edge of adult contemporary or adult alternative; "Had Enough" is a sly love song that approaches Hayes Carll territory for its subtle humor, but the monster tracks are "Maria Sugarcane" and the amazing "Accordion," which pays homage to the kind of woman we all want and are afraid of: "She don't record, she don't rehearse / She's got no chords, she's got no verse / Sweetest song you never heard." (No, we don't think that verse is about Linda and her folkie Muzak.)


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28 comments
aec
aec

I think there are always other artists that people will feel are more deserving of the Grammy nomination than the ones who are nominated.  That's the case with with Grammys every year.  Every year in some category or another there's reason to wonder why in the world did they nominate that artist.  It's par for the course.  However, I don't think there's a reason to be so upset about it.  What's good music is always subjective and the voters this year thought she had good enough music and deserved the recognition.  She presented herself to them, they didn't have to vote for her.  She got her nomination fair and square doing what every body does, just without the money and influence of a label.  More power to her!  It's good to see an independent, not widely known artist up there with everyone else.  It evens the playing field. 

unbelievable
unbelievable

Did she meet the requirements below? 

From Grammy official site: How are recordings entered? The Academy accepts entries online from its members and from registered labels. Entrants are provided information on how to submit their recordings electronically for consideration.What are the eligibility requirements? For the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards, albums must be released between Oct. 1, 2010 and Sept. 30, 2011. Recordings must be in general distribution in the United States, i.e. sales by label to a branch or recognized independent distributor, via the Internet, or mail order/retail sales for a nationally marketed product.The Recording Academy®VOTE SOLICITATION GUIDELINESMembers of The Recording Academy, record labels and other industry professionals are not prohibited from promoting their releases during GRAMMY Award ballot season.However, in order to protect the integrity of the voting process and to foster the protection of Members’ contact information, it is crucial that the following guidelines be understood and observed.1.The Recording Academy does not disclose the contact information of its Members. 2.While “for your consideration”-type advertisements and communiqués are notprohibited, the specific category, field and balloting numbers are proprietary information belonging to The Recording Academy; such information may not be used, disclosed, published or otherwise distributed in connection with any advertisements, communiqués or for any other purpose. Member content posted on GRAMMY365 or any website cannot contain field and category numbers

Afish96745
Afish96745

I just am stunned you can get a nomination without actually selling an album.  Im sure she has sold some at her shows, well, maybe. Is it just me or does this seem crazy? At least sell one or two, but zero? That makes it a farce.  Another reason not to care about these awards.

Alison
Alison

This article should be titled, "10 Artists Who Pay their Publicists Too Much". 

unbelievable
unbelievable

I don't understand how you can list Americana artist and not include Robert Earl Keen. His 16th album "Ready For Confetti" this year charted #1 on the Americana Music Chart twice.  This Grammy incident is what makes this business so wrong. We follow the rules and in the end someone who doesn't gets on the ballot. As a manager I am truly disappointed.But seriously people if you are going to list Americana Artist have the common courtesy to mention the person who made it possible for several artist to have a career. Discouraged Manager So to sum it up, Ready For Confetti's a keeper.  It's a must if you're a Robert Earl Keen fan and a recommended try if you're new to him.  Enjoy.– No Depression – Mando Lines …far and away his most accessible and fun album to date.– Slant Magazine No weepy violins here; Keen is an ironist with a soft spot for both strivers and losers. What makes this his best album is the giddy, sunshiny way it mixes up the genres—the reggae-and-pedal-steel mix of the title track, for instance, or the hypnotic rhythm of “I Gotta Go.”– Stephen King from his “My 2011 Pop Culture Favorites” in Entertainment Weekly

Yourstory
Yourstory

For years, many have nicknamed Americana "A-Man-icana" since it is so heavily Mr. Man dominated. Got an off-key, scratchy voice and a 4-day beard, some stinky clothes, and a seriously paunchy body along with a handful of "I'm a ramblin' down-on-on-my-luck darkside kinda guy" songs? You could be an Americana "star" too!!

My guess is that much of this wacked-out-of-proportion hatred is due to the fact that this is an unknown woman. If it had been a man who fit the above description, a lot of these haters would be all, "Hmmm. Very cool. Good for this unknown dude!"

Betsy Lynn Paisley
Betsy Lynn Paisley

Sorry I never heard of her and I am from New Jersey. But you give me Amanda, Jason or Fred any day and I will go out of my way to see these fine musicians. Each one of them deserves the top awards!!!!

Marnold
Marnold

Linda Chorney is the new Jethro Tull.

Abnljohnny
Abnljohnny

Two things;OneIf her music was the best thing anyone has ever heard, I would be behind her and her method of entry, her music is less than mediocre which is why it has not sold at all.TwoIf a soldier buys a Silver Star or Purple Heart from the from the medal store and wears it, all the other troops think he's a scumbag, you have to earn it.

Bruce
Bruce

I don't understand the vitriol directed at Chorney. Yes, she shamelessly campaigned for votes in a loosely defined category. But did she do anything wrong? Break any law? Even bend any rule? Chorney was simply was doing what anyone else seeking a Grammy nomination was free to do. If anything, people should be angy at the Grammy voters who are so easily influenced and not as knowledgeable and aware as they ought to be. Chorney's efforts pointed out inherent weaknesses in the Grammy nomination process and perhaps embarrassed a voting member or two when her name made the final cut. If I were a voting member, Amanda Shires would get my vote hands down, but I'm not. I had never heard of Chorney prior to this brouhaha, but I have since learned she has earned a living for the past two decades playing her music for a small, but loyal contingent of fans. She simply used an avenue available to her (and anyone else mentioned in this article) to raise her profile. Isn't that the American Way? Chorney exhibited self-reliance, initiative, persistence, innovation, and shameless self-promotion. That could be said of any popular musical artist at the top of the charts today. I say more power to Chorney, and wake up Grammy voters.

Richard
Richard

Yes, these are all very good records. But get over it. Linda Chorney didn't personally screw any of these albums out of a nomination any more than that forgettable Levon & Friends live album did. Albums don't magically get nominated on merit alone. They need votes to get on the ballot, and if supporters of these albums (including the artists and labels) didn't rally enough behind them, then the blame is on them. And on Grammy members for being apparently out of the loop. But get over Chorney already, because the hate is getting old and lame. If she wasnt on the ballot, would you even fucking care about the Grammys this year?

Wingnutt
Wingnutt

Linda Chorney: The Rick Perry Of Americana Music

wms
wms

Who cares? Her music sucks, that's the issue.

wms
wms

That's one reason I love Eaglesmith: no publicist, couldn't give a damn about being nominated for anything. I think they call it integrity.

wms
wms

Oh, there's no doubt that the publicists and labels screwed something up. That said, however, all ten are better albums than Linda's syrupy softball.

runnynose
runnynose

and......aren't you putting a lot of validity in the Americana Chart now if he would have crossed over onto another chart that would have talked volumes wouldn't it have????? Come on Ms/Mr manager, aren't you smart enough to know that that damn chart does not relate to record sales of any sizeable amount????  No where's the quote from the New York TImes, Rolling Stone, LA TIMES,..or most import of all of them NPR....that would be impressive not what Stephen King says..really REK, time agin for a new manager who can help you crossover your music like it deserves to be.  I think your spamming on FB daily about buying the record was 10 times more offensive than Linda Chorney or any one doing what she is doing.

runnynose
runnynose

Oh hear we go from the biggest crybaby of all time Robert Earl Keene...alot of us were waiting for this one.  He gave people an opportunity to have careers...holy shitski that's really pushing the envelope but I am sure he believes that and it's probably him writing this note :)  Ad who cares what Stephen King thinks, really??? Has Mr. King become the authority on Americana music.  Robert's got a good record and so what if it didn't get a grammy nomination, seriously.  Disappointing that a manager would stoop this low....get some tissue REK and get over it or get a new manager.   

wms
wms

Nah, I don't think so. And we could probably name a hundred women in the genre right now. We had several bands here in town who had albums submitted. We knew they had no biz being on the final ballot.

wms
wms

Three words: her music sucks.

Play4
Play4

seriously who cares about the Grammys and or the Americana Association.  While there are fabulous people on the board and not on the board dedicated to the genre, way before there was an Americana anything,  it's a rinky dink little trade organization that is run by someone who takes credit for things..and by the way, people are not big fans of him..Jed Hilly is his name.  Let's all take a big break from Linda Chorneyville....who by the way does living in NJ for 4 years make someone a New Jersyian...that might be the biggest scam here. And how about people who solicit artists  to be paid to get you votes?  Is there something wrong with that????  Hayes should have wound up on the ballot as should REK but...are they crying, well maybe for a minute or two....I encourage the Houston Press to have their own Americana Awards ...that would be fun.

wms
wms

Yes, I always care about the Americana and country bands. You get over it if you want. Putting the Levon album in just shows the lack of knowledge at the Grammy voter level. But hell, that's how Linda C. and her musical dreck pile got in, right?

Knowzit
Knowzit

If you're so in love with Fred Eaglesmith's integrity over not caring about a Grammy, why are your panties in such a wad over Chorney's caring about it?

Hmmmmmmmm?

Alison
Alison

I am happy for Eaglesmith---got just want he wanted.

Alison
Alison

It must be awesome living in your world of sugarplums and fairies---where only the most deserving are recognized. In my world, life isn't always fair. That goes double for the entertainment industry.

I personally know some of these artists you mentioned. While they may be deserving, they didn't ask for consideration--so they didn't get it. This is the way the Grammys (and other entertainment awards) have worked since Day 1. LC made an album and asked people to vote for it. They did. It was all above board. She got a nomination.

Let it go, dude, before you have a stroke.

wms
wms

The last time I checked, REK was managed by his Mrs. "Confetti" was ok by me, but not great. Certainly not as memorable as Isbell's or Lucinda's.

Knowzit
Knowzit

Um, yeah.

You think "a hundred women" in an entire genre disproves Yourstory's point? It proves it even more, you arrogant and misguided dunderhead!

wms
wms

Okay, Miss Jaded, you run your life, I'll run mine. I've been doing okay without your life instruction. Linda's music sucks, these albums are better, that's what the article says. Period.

wms
wms

I meant name them right off the top of my head. Lucinda, Allison Moorer, Shebly Lynne, Sarah Jarosz, get the point? Anyway, what does the hundred women or your assertion have to do with the point of the story, which is that Linda Chorney's "nomination" knocked out some deserving acts (and if you noticed, several we named were women), "you arrogant and misguided dunderhead"! I still say your assertion that this would all be okay if it was some unknown "guy" is idiotic. You obviously haven't read our other stories about local bands here who use the term "grammy nominated" freely in their p.r. "Knowzit." Yeah, right, sure.

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