Why Is There No Grammy for Folk Music?

By Ross Altman

Ry_Cooder_-_Election_SpecialClassical cellist Yo Yo Ma won the Grammy for “Folk” this year, for a recording released on “Sony Classical.”

Hello? Who were Ry Cooder and the Carolina Chocolate Drops competing with—perhaps the Berlin Chamber Ensemble too? Banjoist Stephen Wade—who wrote his own liner notes for Banjo Diary—lost out to a jazz scholar who wrote the liner notes for Ray Charles complete ABC recordings.

Why not just eliminate the “Folk” category and be done with it. Woody Guthrie—safely dead and gone—would not stand a chance to win the Grammy for the boxed set that Smithsonian Folkways won were he still alive.

The National Academy for Recording Arts and Sciences should be ashamed of itself: they love to put halos around the heads of dead legends, but God forbid some living folk singer like Ry Cooder or Stephen Wade should dare to enter the competition.

Read more: Why Is There No Grammy for Folk Music?

2012 GRAMMY NOMINEES AND WINNERS
OF INTEREST TO FOLKWORKS READERS

winners MARKED IN RED

Read more: 2012 GRAMMY NOMINEES