Who makes their biggest announcement of the year on a weekend? One paralyzed by Antarctic temperatures at that? The Grammys! Business as usual for the award avatars, contemporary flavors (Lorde, Bruno Mars, Daft Punk) versus fossil rock (Sabbath, Zeppelin, Stones). Sarah Jarosz and Gary Clark Jr. saved the day – locally.
Rap acts Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Lewis battle it out come Sunday, January 26, on network TV, both hip-hop entities having had big presence in Austin this year. South by Southwest fed their buzz in March, Lamar then returning to the Austin City Limits Music Festival in October to steal everyone’s thunder save perhaps for the torrential weather.
Macklemore also nabbed seven nominations, including biggies Album of the Year and Song of the Year, yet topped out at some 5,000 fans in three Texas markets starting with this one. Nonetheless, to rise from truly indie artist to the top ranks of radio and now music’s annual awards ball cannot be understated in any way. As the cliche goes, the Seattle MC’s already a winner.
Stepping confidently into this larger popularity contest, Jarosz and Clark obviously matter most here at home. She: Best Folk Album (Build Me Up From Bones) and Best American Roots Song (“Build Me Up From Bones”). He: Best Rock Song (“Ain’t Messin’ Round”) and Best Traditional R&B Performance (“Please Come Home”).
The former sees stiff competition for Folk LP, particularly from Austin-centrics Guy Clark (My Favorite Picture of You) and the Greencards (Sweetheart of the Sun). Then there’s the openers of Jarosz’s recent tour, the Milk Carton Kids (The Ash & Clay). She’s no better off for her title cut, up against Steve Earle’s “Invisible” (live on the recent KGSR Broadcasts disc) and Texan Edie Brickell with Steve Martin (the title track to their Love Has Come for You).
Clark likely sports little to no chance for Best Rock Song, runner up to Black Sabbath, Paul McCartney, Muse, and the Rolling Stones, but the Traditional R&B category could well be his, the bluesman’s name the most easily recognized on the list, which proves him prescient for the breath of his 2012 debut. His rise into the greater national dialog rivals Macklemore’s.
Other than that, the Best Alternative Music Album arrives well populated: Neko Case, the National, Nine Inch Nails, Tame Impala, and Vampire Weekend. All made good showings here in the cap city. Otherwise, I note that piano genius Roberto Fonseca in the Best Latin Jazz Album never did make it to his opening slot for the Buena Vista Social Club at the Long Center in October, but Best Regional Mexican Music Album hopefuls Intocable did headline Pachanga Fest at Fiesta Gardens in the spring.
All nominees here.
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