This year’s Grammys were good to Louisiana. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences gave out its awards February 8 and handed four trophies to Lil Wayne. His album Tha Carter III led to Grammys for Best Rap Album, Best Rap Song (“Lollipop”), Best Rap Solo Performance (“A Milli”) and Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group (“Swagga Like Us” by Jay-Z and T.I. featuring Kanye West and Lil Wayne). Only Robert Plant and Alison Krauss won more Grammys—five—for their Raising Sand collaboration.
New Orleans’ musicians were highly valued at this year’s Grammys. Actor Gary Sinese introduced a performance by Lil Wayne (with Robin Thicke), Allen Toussaint, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Terence Blanchard by referring to the city as “a musical Garden of Eden [that] still needs our tending.”
Terrence Blanchard also won a Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Solo with “Bebop”, and BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet won Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album with Live at the 2008 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
The Best Contemporary Blues category was dominated by New Orleanians and friends of New Orleans. Dr. John’s City That Care Forgot won, defeating Irma Thomas’ Simply Grand, Marcia Ball’s Peace, Love & BBQ, Taj Mahal’s Maestro and Like a Fire by Solomon Burke, who’ll perform at this year’s Jazz Fest.
For Best Traditional Gospel Album, the Blind Boys of Alabama won for Down in New Orleans, the album they recorded here with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Hot 8 Brass Band, Allen Toussaint and a New Orleans-based band that included David Torkanowsky and Roland Guerin.
Congratulations to all of those nominees/winners of this year’s Grammys.