Nonbelievers may guffaw, but perhaps Avenged Sevenfold wasn’t fated to possess a Grammy until the Huntington Beach band issued its seventh album — therefore avenging past oversights.
The hard-rock quintet, which was birthed in 1999, has been grinding riffs and gathering fans through albums including “Sounding the Seventh Trumpet,” “City of Evil,” “Nightmare” and “Hail to the King.” But only with its 2016 album “The Stage” did the band draw the attention of Recording Academy voters.
Maybe it was the album’s conceptual underpinnings, which address current-day issues involving progress, religion, technology and the very question of life itself. Or maybe it’s an acknowledgement that Avenged Sevenfold, nearly two decades into its career, is just hitting its stride.
Nominated in the alternative music album category, the National’s “Sleep Well Beast” has earned praise for a looser but still intricate sound and lead singer Matt Berninger’s downcast lyrics, which touch on politics as well as his usual chronicles of domestic uncertainty.
Citing the band’s need to “open a new chapter,” guitarist and “Sleep Well Beast” producer Aaron Dessner spoke to The Times this fall about the new album, which he said was colored by each member’s side projects, including his work with bandmate and twin brother Bryce curating last year’s compilation “Day of the Dead.”
A 59-track venture through the Grateful Dead catalog that included performances by Wilco, Moses Sumney and Vijay Iyer (to name a few), the set connected the band with the Dead’s Bob Weir, who in turn recorded with members of the National for his 2016 album, “Blue Mountain.” The collaboration left an impression going into “Sleep Well Beast.”
As the Nashville axiom goes, there are two kinds of music, country and western — and both of them were shut out of the major Grammy categories this year.
Eclipsed by rap, R&B and contemporary pop artists including Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar, Sza and Jay-Z, acclaimed country artists Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town and others had to settle for genre nominations.
Though country musicians have been skipped over in the major awards in years past, it’s rare that the whole genre is shut out. That’s especially true considering that the new artist Grammy usually features one Nashville-centric artist (Maren Morris, Sam Hunt, Brandy Clarke, Kacey Musgraves).
Old music doesn’t get much play during Grammy season for obvious reasons. Excepting the centuries-old composers whose work is represented in the classical categories — nothing personal, Gustav Mahler — the annual honors don’t have much time for the thriving world of reissued and undiscovered music.
So we find it worthy to now celebrate the five resurrected recordings that leaped across borders and decades to earn attention in the here and now.
Issued by noted archival company the Numero Group, “Bobo Yeye: Belle Epoque in Upper Volta” gathers 1970s music from the landlocked central African country now known as Burkina Faso.
Given that he routinely fills stadiums and has notched 30 No. 1 hits, it’s a pleasant surprise for Kenny Chesney to still be experiencing firsts in his 20-plus-year career. Tuesday morning he celebrated his first solo Grammy nomination: best country album for “Cosmic Hallelujah.”
“To me, the Grammys represent the best of what all music is,” Chesney exclusively told The Times. “It’s everyone who makes music, who creates and plays, coming together as one big family — and really considering the best of the year.”
The Tennessee native has previously been nominated five times, including nods for duets with Pink (2016’s “Setting the World on Fire”) and Grace Potter (“You and Tequila” from 2011) and group outings with friends like Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson. But all of those were either in the duo/group or collaboration categories so this solo recognition was particularly meaningful.
For all the strides the Grammys made in completing a long-overdue embrace of hip-hop in its 2018 nominees, there remained a glaring and all-too-depressing omission: the visionary group A Tribe Called Quest.
Released a year ago this month, “We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service” was an immediate critical favorite as Tribe emerged from a roughly 15-year hiatus and sounded as vital as ever despite the loss of influential co-founder Phife Dawg, who died in 2016 before the album was completed. The group’s performances to celebrate the release, which included a bittersweet tribute to Phife in a November appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” a farewell tour as well as a triumphant set at the 2017 Grammys with Busta Rhymes and Anderson .Paak, seemed to set the stage for a well-deserved awards-night victory lap for the group’s final statement.
Sadly, it was not to be. Hampered, perhaps, by that late 2016 release date, it was shut out in the Grammy nominations even as genre-mates Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar led the way in the major categories. Even more disappointing, “We Got It From Here” marked the group’s final shot to win a Grammy award after losing out in 1997, 1999 and 2012 (for the documentary “Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest”).
“The Defiant Ones” was one of the most ambitious projects Allen Hughes had tackled in his 25 years behind the camera.
The four-part miniseries, nominated for a music film Grammy, sought to chronicle the different yet deeply intertwining lives of billionaire music moguls Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.
It was a wildly fascinating look into the rise (and falls) of both men separately — and together — with candid interviews from the subjects. Along the way, the film became a who’s who of contemporary music, with many of the players traced to Dre or Iovine.
But it almost didn’t happen – at least in the way we saw it.
In 2011, Hughes directed Dre’s “I Need A Doctor” video from his infamously shelved “Detox” record. Though the two had known each other for years, it was the first time they had worked together. And soon an idea of a Dre-focused documentary was born.
OK, maybe “mysterious” is the wrong word at this point, but the production team known as Shampoo Press & Curl earned three Grammy nominations on Tuesday morning for its work on Bruno Mars’ massive hit album“24K Magic.” Other than with Mars, the production team has no other credits.
But it’s not too hard to deduce its members, even if the origin story hasn’t officially been written. The songwriters included in Mars’ nominations for album of the year are identified as Christopher “Brody” Brown, James Fauntleroy, Philip Lawrence & Bruno Mars, and those credits permeate the album. Each time the team is cited as Shampoo Press & Curl, three of those four members are also listed as songwriters.
Though the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher was best known as an actress, and specifically for her role as Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” films, Fisher was also an acclaimed author who penned eight books. She was previously nominated in this same category for her 2009 book, “Wishful Drinking.”
Although she had written about her life extensively before, “The Princess Diarist” was notable for its deep dive into Fisher’s time making “Star Wars,” from tales from the make-up chair to the revelation of a brief affair the then-19-year-old actress had with costar Harrison Ford.