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Tight Competition for This Year's Best Contemporary Folk-Americana Album Grammy


The votes are in. Soon we'll know who'll be taking home the big honors that will be handed out in Los Angeles, at the 49th Grammy Awards on February 11. Due to time limitations, only a few of 108 Grammys will be presented on television. VOA's Katherine Cole reports on this year's nominees for another less-mainstream award, Best Contemporary Folk-Americana Album.

In the space of two years, singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash lost three of the most important people in her life: Her father Johnny, her mother Vivian, and her stepmother June Carter Cash.

From that sorrow came Black Cadillac, an album of honest and emotional songs that deal with mortality, mourning, and moving on. It's arguably the best album Rosanne Cash has released in a 25-year career that's produced 11 highly-regarded albums of original material, and it is one that's worthy of the Contemporary Folk/Americana Grammy.

The problem is, so are the other four nominated CDs. The list includes one from an artist who's been putting out groundbreaking albums for almost twice as long as Rosanne Cash. It's Bob Dylan, nominated for Modern Times.

Also in the race for the Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Grammy is Workbench Songs by Guy Clark.

Known more for songwriting that performing, Guy released his first album in 1975. Since then, some of American music's most respected songwriters, including Johnny Cash, Steve Earle, and Rodney Crowell, have recorded his songs. "Magdalene" has the makings of being a "classic" Guy Clark song. It tells the story of a man trying to convince his love to go to Mexico with him, where they can reinvent their lives.

From listening, you wouldn't know that Guy Clark wrote and recorded this Grammy-nominated CD while battling lymphoma.

Also in the race for the Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Grammy is All The Roadrunning, a collaboration between longtime friends Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler.

Despite being recorded at various times over seven years, this CD sounds seamless. Much of the record, including the title track, "All The Roadrunning," relates to the life of the itinerant musician.

Our final nominee for the "Contemporary Folk/Americana" Grammy is Jackson Browne, nominated for his solo acoustic live album simply titled .

Among its 12 songs is "These Days," first heard on 1973's For Everyman, but no new music from the 2004 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Jackson Browne, Rosanne Cash, Bob Dylan, Guy Clark and the duo of Emmylou Harris and Mark Knopfler are all nominated for the Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Grammy this year. The awards will be handed out in Los Angeles on February 11.

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