News in Review: Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young, 53rd Annual Grammy Award Nominations
First Appeared in The Music Box, December 2010, Volume 17, #12
Written by John Metzger
Thu December 23, 2010, 06:30 AM CST
The Return of Buffalo Springfield
Over the weekend of October 23-24, Neil Young, Stephen Stills, and Richie Furay reignited Buffalo Springfield before a sold-out crowd at Young’s annual Bridge School Benefit concert. It was the first time in 42 years that the trio had shared a stage. Although the reunion had been billed as a one-time-only event, the rumors are now swirling that Buffalo Springfield will hit the road sometime next year, possibly for an extended sojourn across the country during the summer months. Immediately after the Bridge School Benefit, Furay had told Rolling Stone that he was pleased with Buffalo Springfield’s performance. David Spero, his manager, later confirmed that Furay, Stills, and Young were discussing their options.
Fire Damages Neil Young’s Guitars, Cars, Paintings
Early in the morning on November 9, fire trucks raced to a warehouse in San Carlos, California. Once they arrived, firefighters witnessed flames shooting through the roof of the building. Fortunately, it only took them 15 minutes to extinguish the three-alarm blaze. Nevertheless, the fire caused more than $1 million in damage.
Neil Young had been renting the 10,000 square-foot warehouse in order to store a variety of items, including vintage automobiles, instruments, paintings, and other assorted memorabilia. It was later determined that the fire began in a 1959 Lincoln Continental that Young had converted into a hybrid vehicle that ran on batteries and a bio-diesel generator. The cause of the blaze was a faulty wall-charging system that had not been fully tested and mistakenly had been left unattended.
53rd Annual Grammy Award Nominations
Once again, the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (N.A.R.A.S.) staged an hour-long, primetime television broadcast to announce the nominees for Grammy Awards in each of the major categories. In a blatant bid to court young viewers, the program featured performances by big-name pop stars, including Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Miranda Lambert, Justin Bieber, and Train. The problem, however, is that no one seemed to care. Not only did CBS’ Grammy special score fewer viewers than last year’s show, but it also was trounced in the ratings by NBC’s Law & Order: Los Angeles. Hopefully, N.A.R.A.S. is paying attention.
The big winner, at least in terms of nominations, was Eminem, who was recognized in 10 categories. Love the Way You Lie, his collaboration with Rihanna, received nods for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rap Song, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, and Best Short Form Music Video. Not Afraid was nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance and Best Rap Song. Both tracks appear on his latest set Recovery, which was nominated for Album of the Year and Best Rap Album. Eminem was also recognized for his appearance with Hayley Williams on B.O.B.’s Airplanes, Part II.
Bruno Mars, Jay-Z, Lady Antebellum, and Lady Gaga were among the other artists who accumulated an abundance of accolades. Bruno Mars picked up seven nominations, mostly for his collaborations with B.O.B. and Cee Lo Green. Lady Gaga, Jay-Z, and Lady Antebellum each scored six nominations.
By some miracle, Elton John and Leon Russell’s If It Wasn’t for Bad managed to break through the morass of mediocrity and land a nomination in the category of Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. (The other nominees were Airplanes, Part II (B.O.B., Eminem, and Hayley Williams), Imagine (Herbie Hancock, Pink, India.Arie, Seal, Konono No. 1, Jeff Beck, & Oumou Sangare), Telephone (Lady Gaga & Beyonce), and California Gurls (Katy Perry & Snoop Dogg). John and Russell deserve to win, but it’s doubtful that N.A.R.A.S. voters will be so kind. After all, they completely missed the boat by not nominating John Mellencamp’s outstanding new effort No Better Than This for any awards.
As usual, music fans will have to dig deeper into the lengthy list of Grammy Award categories in order to find the more interesting collections of nominees. For example, in the category of Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance, Eric Clapton’s Run Back to Your Side and Neil Young’s Angry World will square off against Robert Plant’s Silver Rider, Paul McCartney’s Helter Skelter (from his concert recording Good Evening New York City), and John Mayer’s Crossroads. Likewise, the Best Rock Album category pits Pearl Jam’s Backspacer, Tom Petty’s Mojo, and Neil Young’s Le Noise against Jeff Beck’s Emotion & Commotion and Muse’s The Resistance.
For roots-music fans, Mavis Staples’ You Are Not Alone, Willie Nelson’s Country Music, Rosanne Cash’s The List, Los Lobos’ Tin Can Trust, and Robert Plant’s Band of Joy will compete for Best Americana Album. Meanwhile, Solomon Burke’s Nothing’s Impossible, Dr. John and the Lower 911’s Tribal, Buddy Guy’s Living Proof, Bettye LaVette’s Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s Live! in Chicago were nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album. As for the category of Best Contemporary Folk Album, Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs’ God Willin’ & the Creek Don’t Rise, Guy Clark’s Somedays the Song Writes You, and Richard Thompson’s Dream Attic will square off against Mary Chapin Carpenter’s The Age of Miracles and Jackson Browne & David Lindley’s concert set Love Is Strange.
The winners will be announced on February 13, 2011 during a ceremony at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. The program, which will air on CBS, is expected to feature the usual array of performances. Once again, most of the acts deserving some recognition are likely to be hidden from sight. After all, the Grammy Awards broadcast long ago decided that the best way to gain viewers was to favor spectacle over art.
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