Meet the nominees with Memphis ties
The nominations for 61st annual Grammy awards were announced Friday, and those recognized among the 84 categories include several Memphis and Mid-South artists, writers and producers.
“My phone is blowing up this morning, said Memphis Grammy senior executive director Jon Hornyak, whose chapter also represents Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. “It’s a good year for our chapter.”
One of the year’s top nominees, hiphop star Drake — whose paternal family is from the Bluff City and who spent his childhood summers here — is actually a Grammy member through the Memphis chapter. He racked up seven nominations (second only to fellow rapper Kendrick Lamar with eight), including Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year.
Meanwhile, Millington native and pop superstar Justin Timberlake also checked in with a nomination in the best Pop Duo/Group Performance for his team-up with country singer Chris Stapleton on “Say Something.”
Beyond the big names, plenty of locals rang up Grammy nominations. Hill Country bluesman Cedric Burnside earned his second nomination of his career. Burnside’s most recent LP, “Benton County Relic,” is up for the Best Traditional Blues Album award. Burnside will be going up against an esteemed group that includes Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy and the duo of Ben Harper and Mississippi-born, Memphis-bred Charlie Musselwhite.
Memphis blues pianist — and Blues Music Award perennial — Victor Wainwright earned his Grammy recognition in the Best Contemporary Blues Album category. His LP, "Victor Wainwright and the Train," will seek to best albums by veterans like Boz Scaggs for the trophy.
In the Best Gospel/Performance Song category, “You Will Win” by West Memphis singer Jekalyn Carr was recognized. Carr and her father, Allen Carr, are nominated as songwriters in the category.
Writer, historian, blues expert, longtime of University of Memphis professor and past Grammy winner, Dr. David Evans will be vying for a Grammy for best album notes. Evans was nominated for his work on the box set “Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris.” The Ferris package will also be up for a Best Historical album award.
Two-time Grammy winning engineer Matt Ross-Spang, will have a chance to add another trophy to his mantel. RossSpang worked on singer-songwriter John Prine’s “Tree of Forgiveness,” which is up for multiple honors, including Best Americana Album. Should the album win — besting competitors like Brandi Carlile and Lee Ann Womack — Ross-Spang will earn a third Grammy for engineering the LP.
Another Ross-Spang client, Americana star Margo Price — who recorded both her breakthrough albums in Memphis, at Sun and Phillips — is up for the Best New Artist trophy, in a tough field that includes Bebe Rexha and Greta Van Fleet.
Also, Memphis native Kenneth Whalum has a pair of writing credits on the late Mac Miller’s record “Swimming,” which is up for Rap Album of the Year.
The 61st annual Grammy awards will be presented Feb. 10 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Memphis pianist Victor Wainwright is nominated for the Best Contemporary Blues Album Grammy.