And the Nominees Are

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) announced its nominees for the 45th annual Grammy Awards on Tuesday, and it was a pretty sweet day for Dallas acts. Well, kind of. See, Norah Jones and the Dixie Chicks both are up for a handful of awards, and both cut their teeth around these parts. Of course, neither lives here anymore, so Dallas will get little to no credit (except from the writers of The Dallas Morning News, who will not only claim them as locals but will insist they made them). As usual. But, hey, we know, and that's all that matters, right? Sure. Whatever helps you sleep at night. Bitter? Just a little bit. But that's no reason to piss on anyone's parade. They deserve whatever awards they take home from Madison Square Garden, and we'll be plenty happy if they do.

They're bound to take home something. Jones' debut, Come Away With Me, is up for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album, as well as Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical (and that category is sure to make it onto the February 23 telecast). In addition, "Don't Know Why" is in the running for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. And Jones is up against John Mayer, Ashanti, Michelle Branch and Avril Lavigne for Best New Artist. Since none of those performers is actually an artist, you'd figure she's a shoo-in. Then again, there's this sentence to deal with: "And the Grammy goes to Milli Vanilli."

(Side note: Being connected with Jones was good for Grammy hopefuls this year. Her half-sister, Anoushka Shankar, is nominated in the Best World Music Album category for Live at Carnegie Hall, and Arif Mardin got a nod in the Producer of the Year, Non-Classical category for his work on Come Away With Me.)

The Dixie Chicks should also have their arms full at the end of the night. Last year's Home got tapped in the Album of the Year and Best Country Album categories (as well as Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical), and "Long Time Gone" is up for Best Country Song and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal. They also have a shot at Best Country Instrumental Performance for "Lil' Jack Slade," which goes to show they shouldn't have been hiding away their love for bluegrass all these years. Even art director Kevin Reagan was nominated for Best Recording Package; fitting, since the CD booklet makes almost as strong a statement as the album does.

Besides for Jones and the Chicks, a few other locals should be looking into formal wear. Erykah Badu released only one song last year--"Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)," her duet with Common for the Brown Sugar soundtrack--but that was enough to garner noms for Best Urban/Alternative Performance, Best R&B Song and Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. Bowling for Soup got a surprise nomination in the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal category for "Girl All the Bad Guys Want," off Drunk Enough to Dance. It'll be a bigger surprise if they win, since they're battling Bon Jovi, No Doubt, Dave Matthews Band and 'N Sync.

And way down on the list of the 104 categories, there are the Light Crust Doughboys for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album (We Called Him Mr. Gospel Music: The James Blackwood Tribute Album, with The Jordanaires and Larry Ford) and the late Charlie Christian for Best Historical Album (The Genius of the Electric Guitar, Sony Legacy's beautiful boxed set).

We'll be watching on February 23 to see what happens. But since they only televise, like, five categories now, nothing much will happen.

Three bands to check out in the next week or so: Ashburne Glen, playing songs from Making Aeroplanes of Our Bodies (the Belle & Sebastian of the ball), at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios on January 10, with Wurlitzer Prize. Stanton Meadowdale opens for the Baptist Generals and Fruit Bats at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios on January 17, unveiling the lo-fi choruses from the forthcoming self-titled debut. And Mur has a CD-release party for its own self-titled disc of cinematic rock at Gypsy Tea Room on January 11. All worth showing up for. Like you care what we think...

And, finally, one bit of news. Actually, two: MossEisley no longer goes by that name. (Guess George Lucas was making them nervous.) They're now called Neverland, and under that moniker, they'll be opening for Coldplay January 28-31, including Chris Martin and company's gig at NextStage in Grand Prairie.


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