The nominees for the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards were announced yesterday, and as such it’s come time to talk a little bit about their “Children’s” category (which would be more aptly titled “Family” at this point). I have mixed feeling about the GRAMMYs overall, me being in the camp of people that finds the overall award system to be archaic, out-of-touch, and largely irrelevant. The nominees are often a crapshoot, and the winners… well, sometimes you have circumstances like the infamous upset of 1988 where JETHRO TULL’s CREST OF A KNAVE beat out METALLICA’s …AND JUSTICE FOR ALL in the Hard Rock/Metal category, or how certain “older” artists seem to win a GRAMMY based simply on the fact that they released an album that year (check out the archives). While I’ve only been involved in the family music scene for a few years now (and for the past two, a judge for the Fids & Kamily Music Awards), I can say that the nominees for the Children’s category can be equally curious, yet I’m certainly happy for everyone that finds themselves nominated. Here’s my thoughts on the 2014 Children’s GRAMMY Nominees… and who should win.
Elizabeth Mitchell & You Are My Flower – BLUE CLOUDS (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings)
An excellent album, BLUE CLOUDS was a 2012 Fids and Kamily Winner, and was featured here on The Rock Father back in August ’12. With Mitchell having already released new music post-BLUE CLOUDS, it’s inclusion in the 2014 GRAMMY race seems dated already. Her equally excellent holiday album, THE SOUNDING JOY, is out now for Christmas 2013. Available on Amazon and iTunes.
Beth Nielsen Chapman – THE MIGHTY SKY (BNC Records)
Chapman has been making music for ages (I remember carrying her albums back in my record store days), but her recent entry into the family music realm was barely a blip on the radar for most that I know. Not previously-covered here on the site, THE MIGHTY SKY did not move the needle for the 2013 Fids and Kamily awards, either. Available on Amazon and iTunes.
Justin Roberts – RECESS (Carpet Square Records)
I gave Roberts’ RECESS a 4/5 star review back in July here on The Rock Father. The fact that he’s a Chicagoan automatically activates a little of my localized nepotism, and his recent appearance with my friends from Sprout certainly doesn’t hurt his chances in my eyes, either. But, in my opinion, Justin Roberts didn’t make the best album of 2013, despite topping the Fids and Kamily Awards. Available on Amazon and iTunes.
Alastair Moock & Friends – SINGING OUR WAY THROUGH: SONGS FOR THE WORLD’S BRAVEST KIDS (Moockshake Music)
“If it’s not in the running for a GRAMMY next year, I will be very disappointed,” was my closing quote in my July review of this all-star effort from Alastair Moock & Friends. Another winner for the 2013 Fids and Kamily Awards, I’m re-using and changing my quote after seeing the competition for the GRAMMY race. “If it doesn’t win the GRAMMY, I will be very disappointed,” Read my full review to find out why. Available on Amazon and iTunes.
Jennifer Gasoi – THROW A PENNY IN THE WISHING WELL (Sparkling Productions)
Another interesting inclusion as it did not make the 2013 Fids and Kamily Awards, nor was it even a runner-up, I have not heard this album from Jennifer Gasoi, nor had I even heard of it until today. I knew of Miss Gasoi’s existence, but the inclusion of this album is from left field for me. Really cute cover art, though. Available on Amazon and iTunes.
The winners will be announced in January. Additionally, the 2014 GRAMMY Nominees album will be released on January 21. Pre-order it now.