Grammys, New Music, and a Retiring Queen
Roots artists made a bit of a splash when Grammy nominations were announced late last year — prompting Sturgill Simpson to print up some “Who the F*** is Sturgill Simpson?” T-shirts — and they didn’t disappoint at the big show last weekend. Here’s a list of roots music winners, including Simpson, Sarah Jarosz, Willie Nelson, and more. If you missed our lively tweets from throughout the big night, well, you’ll just have to grab some bubbly and join us next year (@nodepression). Black-tie optional.
Ryan Adams is back in the headlines ahead of a new album (Prisoner, coming this Friday), and he’s been making the most of it. He guest DJ’d on NPR’s All Songs Considered, has a First Listen stream on NPR Music, and penned an essay about his famous heckling incident for the New York Times.
After releasing a short teaser video that was heavy on the rawk, Jason Isbell shed a little more light on its sound, telling Rolling Stone that it’s “topical” and “for once there’s a chance you might also dance a little.” Sign us up! [Rolling Stone]
I guess we all saw it coming, but Aretha Franklin uttered the word “retiring” to a Detroit TV staation last week. She plans to record an album that has Stevie Wonder as a producer, then step back to spend more time with her grandkids. But the Queen of Soul doesn’t retire like us mere commoners might. There’ll be some relaxation, but “I’m not going to go anywhere and just sit down and do nothing,” she said, envisioning “some select things” in her future. [The Guardian]
For Valentine’s Day, the folks at World Cafe put together a list of Top 10 musical couples, including Jason Isbell + Amanda Shires, Shovels & Rope, and more. Awwwwww. [NPR/World Cafe]
Elvis Costello has recorded a PSA for an Alzheimer’s charity, putting a personal stamp on a subject that’s close to his family and career. Check it out. [Rolling Stone]
She Shreds magazine takes a look at female country artists who are taking a progressive message to a conservative audience. [She Shreds]
Lastly, we wanted to put in a good word for the beautiful town of North Adams, Mass., host to our Freshgrass Festival each September. North Adams is a finalist in The Small Business Revolution’s Main Street revitalization initiative, which awards the winner$500,000 for its downtown. If you feel so moved, please head to http://bit.ly/northadams to learn more and vote. Voting lasts through this Thursday and you can vote once per day, per browser, per device. Let’s go, North Adams!